["Pearle Harbour's" words are in blue text.]


"i have visited your website, and would like your opinion on my article, Gender Bias in Family Court, at

"thanks for your time.
"katie/pearle harbour"

    I thought it sounded like a sincere article written by a person who really doesn't have the breadth of background in the subject matter to see the big picture and whose perception might be clouded by a personal case.  I have more specific comments below:
"Shame on all those women of the 1990's who now use these laws to their advantage in family courts to bring men to their knees; and to erase fathers from the lives of their children! False allegations by women of child abuse, domestic violence, and stalking are almost never questioned by judges for fear of being politically incorrect."
    Shame, indeed!  Fortunately, relatively few "women" are using the laws in this manner.  It's only a tiny percentage of cases in which women actually make false allegations, and the percentage of these is the same as it is in the general population, e.g. in other areas of false criminal allegations outside of divorce cases.  I trust you know this; your implication is unclear however, and could be misleading in this regard.

    The voices of the men who have been wronged (or who perceive themselves to have been wronged -- not necessarily the same) are loud and active.  Their collective sound is disproportionate to the problems.  That's testimony in itself to the continuing power of men's points of view and their creativity in the "false allegation" area (or would this be psychological projection...)

    At any rate, take comfort that while some "false allegation" cases might result in injustice for men, there actually are far MORE "true allegation" cases that result in injustice for women and children, because disbelieving women has always been -- even better than "politically correct" -- subtly and thoroughly ingrained in our culture.  Political correctness has never succeeded in overcoming this, and I seriously doubt that it ever will -- witness the vigilance of persons such as yourself who will make sure that political correctness will always bear a negative connotation.

"Women who feel justified in punishing men use these false charges indiscriminately. Children are forgotten and have become our newest victims with full cooperation from our Family Court system. Children need fathers too. A recent US Department of Education study, "Fathers Involved in Their Childrens' Education" (free for a phone call - 1-800-424-1616, option 3) will bear out these truths."
    Your first statement here seems to imply again that you are speaking of a systemic problem that merits addressing, rather than isolated cases.  The remainder of your paragraph floats nonsequitorious sentences.  A scholar who reads this will recognize immediately that you are not supporting your argument, and therefore, in the interests of the critique you requested, I suggest you try to do so.  It also appears (gleaning from the remainder of your article) that you probably have misinterpreted the study you cite, and you don't want to embarrass yourself this way.  Be cautious about hypothesizing from studies that do not actually support father involvement outside of intact marriages, or whose findings are the result of outcomes on account of factors present in demographically disparate groups that were not controlled for.
"Women have become educated in the ways of our legal system. A new study purports women are filing 70% of divorces today. The first person to file usually wins."
    Again, you are not supporting your argument, but, rather, stringing blanket statements. Women as a group are LESS educated in the legal system than men, have less in the way of pre-existing personal support systems, are less able to access funds to hire legal assistance, and are far more likely to have less prior actual legal experience and fewer attorney contacts, e.g. as through business, than men.

    Women do indeed file for most of the divorces.  The party in a marriage who is more culpable in its downfall, OR who has, as men generally are more able to do, alleviated his misery via escapist behaviors, OR who already has access to the marital funds and therefore has no need of a court order, is not going to be the party more likely to file for a divorce.  (The guy who breaches a business contract likewise isn't going to be the one who brings THAT kind of matter into court, either.)

    As for the who-files-first correlation with apparent outcomes, you might want to note that this actually conflicts with your hypothesis regarding bias. "The system" is not stopping men from filing for divorce first, and surely, if filing first were that determinative, the percentages of who files first rapidly would be changing. They are not.

"The unfortunate person against whom false allegations are charged must prove their innocence while a plaintiff proves nothing. As a paralegal and a woman, I am no longer proud of those of female gender who abuse our legal system."
    How do you feel "as a woman" about the GREATER numbers of women who are making TRUE allegations, but who are punished in a variety of ways for making them?  
"An innocent father involved in a nasty contested divorce from a woman who vows vengeance is helpless in Family Court.  Important child support laws enacted are now strictly, and sometimes unfairly enforced. There are stories of fathers who lost their jobs from downsizing and/or circumstances beyond their control.  When the mother of his children insists on back child support, he is thrown into jail. Child support is based on his 'earning ability.'  Debtor's prison has become our most recent politically correct means to control men.  Here again, our Family Courts condone whatever women allege, accuse, and dictate to control men."
    Here you are simply misinformed. While I'm not saying that it's _impossible_ in isolated cases for laws to be applied incorrectly (obviously judges can be wrong; that's why we have levels of appellate courts as well as federal law protections), the laws do NOT permit men to be jailed for inability to pay child support. When they go to jail it is for CONTEMPT because it has been established that they CAN meet their obligations, but refuse to do so. That is a very different thing.  In Florida, especially, it is next to impossible to get a person jailed even when contempt is shown because of the purge procedure.
"Should a husband make the mistake of remarrying, further angering his ex-wife, a second wife's income is used as "a way to show ability to pay." The mother of their children, on the other hand, can marry another man. The "other man's" income is never used to lower child support."
    And again, you are misinformed.  In those jurisdictions (not all, by a long shot) in which second wives' income is relevant, it is relevant evidence on the issue of his actual expenses, and is not about her income per se.  We don't HAVE to look at the custodial stepfather's income.  Why?  Because just by being there, he already is contributing most directly to those children!  Those children are getting the benefit of his higher income via the house they live in and its accutrements, and their general standard of living, as well as direct expenditures he makes for them.  Where parents can provide more, we expect them to give more; it's not a basis for reducing the obligation of either.

    You also have a pretty wild presumption in there, about ex-wives being "angered" when husbands remarry.  If I were you, I'd take it out.  It's unseemly to be on the complaining side, while characterizing the other side as the angry one.  Sounds specious.  Probably is, anyway.  Consider: would these be the same ex-wives who did the filing for divorce?  Doesn't make sense, does it, except as a perpetuation of the "vindictive wife" stereotype, yet another "evil, lying woman" portrayal in a long line of those that have been so common from the story of Adam and Eve onward.

"Court's rationale - "they are not his children, not his responsibility." Since when did a mother bear no responsibility for her children?  Today's women are earning more, and are becoming a majority in our workforce. The stay at home mom of the 50's rarely exists today.  I knew of a man who ended up paying so much child support (plus child expenses) he had to move back home with his parents. Yet his ex-wife earned more than he did."
    It looks like you believe that bearing and caring for children takes no time or energy and leaves women (who still do the bulk of the housework and childcare) over the years, through pregnancies, during periods with small children, and afterward with just as many hours, and just as much opportunity as men to devote to earning money, gaining experience and contacts, and advancing in their careers.  If you hope to convince any women but the ones who are childless, inordinately stupid, or clouded by identification with the men they are attached to (or jealousy of the woman who was "there first,") you need to handle this issue in a more realistic manner.  
"False allegations of child abuse by a vengeful ex-wife devastates not only children, but fathers.  The wife files first to take advantage of all laws passed to protect true victims of abuse and violence.  The wife charges everything from domestic violence to stalking to child abuse.  Courts almost always believe a woman over a man today."
    I'm wondering why you jump around from topic to topic, even within paragraphs, from child support, to "false allegations," to child abuse, etc.  Doesn't make your essay very convincing. As for your belief that "courts almost always believe a woman over a man today," you might benefit from reading some of Karen Czapanskiy's studies.  Just the opposite remains true, across the board in all kinds of legal proceedings in all kinds of matters (and "life" generally, e.g. back to the vindictive lying woman stereotype; e.g. even to the studies which have found "higher authority" in the deeper male voice.)

"I know of a man who was falsely accused of child sexual abuse. By the time he was found innocent, he lost his job, his reputation, and everything he owned. Recent statistics do show women are becoming our primary child abusers, and yes, even killers of our children. Yet our Family Courts consistently believe, 'the mother always makes the best parent'."
    The man you refer to in your example must be very close to you indeed, for you to be able to opine with such certainty that the allegations were "false."  I can understand how this may have colored your perceptions; however, the courts do not "consistently believe" that "the mother always makes the best parent."  This is obvious when you look at how many men who were NOT the primary caregiver in their marriages have received custody of their children -- it's way out of proportion there.

    You also apparently have been mislead by the common misportrayals of child abuse statistics, which (1) lump things like "neglect" in with things like sex abuse, and (2) fail to take into account the far higher numbers of women who care for far higher numbers of children for far greater amounts of time.  From a statistical standpoint, women are not even close to being "our primary child abusers." In fact children are at 400-600% more risk [if not more] being cared for by a man than a woman.

"Some mothers today emotionally blackmail and intimidate their children into fabricating abuse by their father.  I know a man who fought two years to get custody of his son from a proven mentally ill mother who abused their son.  Each time the court insisted 'the mother is the best parent'."
    Another man, or the same case which is moving your advocacy?  You know, "SOME" persons can be found who will do or have done just about anything that can be imagined by human thought.  But when you're advocating it as an implicit theme in the big picture, it just doesn't wash to extrapolate from "a person I know" or from facts gleaned by association with only one party to a dispute.
"A large number of children are ordered to see a child psychologist when divorce is filed. Counselors and psychologists are encouraged by our system to give bad reports against a father. Fathers are automatically presumed capable of abuse before any mother."
    You'll want to reword here... your argument appears to have disintegrated into airy generalizations that don't even make common sense.  At any given time, half of all advocates in the system are advocating for fathers.  "The system" (even accepting your poetic personalization of the abstract concept) would hardly be, let alone have a stake in, "encouraging" any particular party "to give bad reports" about the other.
"Mothers are intentionally denying visitation to loving, child support paying fathers, who then spend money and time in court trying to get visitation enforced.  I know a man who hasn't seen his son in 14 years, but religiously pays his child support.  He stopped pursuing visitation in court when the mother threatened harm to the son. Is this fair?  Why is there no press on 'intentional denial of visitation'?"
    Third anecdote or story.  To my comments above, regarding what "some" persons do... doesn't support your argument.  And... "no press?"  There's GOBS of press on the mythology of visitation denial.  We hear about it constantly, and we've even developed cadres of experts who testify about an invented "alienation syndromes".
"One of the saddest true stories I know of is a little nine year old boy who was put in a mental institution by his mother until he stopped saying, 'I want to see my daddy.'  There are too many stories of children committing suicide. I personally know of a woman who kept her teenage son up night after night crying about her divorce, repeatedly telling him "children ruin marriages." Her son turned to drinking, drugs, and dropped out of college."

[Ed: Click on "true stories" above, for a bit more of Ms. Harbour's creative writing.]

    I'm wondering how many of these examples are the same case...?

"Divorce is a reality. It is currently a billion dollar a year business. Contested divorce is guerilla warfare whether people want to acknowledge it or not. Everyone wants fuzzy warm answers to harsh reality.  There are none unless we all recognize the gender bias against males perpetuated in Family Court today, and the undeniable damage it does to our children.

"Years ago women had a disadvantage in our domestic courts.  Now they can feel quite happy knowing most women win.  They can manipulate child support into "backdoor alimony," deprive their children of their fathers, and ruin their husband. Truth no longer exists in our legal system.

"Yes, we have come a long way.  Women can be proud of the laws they fought hard for 30+ years ago.  I am personally grateful for these laws.  Let us not blaspheme those women who died for the very laws that many women are abusing today.  We must stop abusing these laws, or one day our legal pendulum will swing back and our true victims will not be believed again."

    I think it's nice that you are pandering to the ostensible accomplishments of the women's movement, even as you are working against their success.; But argumentum ad consequentiam? It's a far less skillful technique of persuasion; since you asked, my suggestion is to ditch it.

"You think you are beating men? You are beating yourself; destroying your children; and making the racketeers in our legal system rich. You are creating a generation of children who think love is conditional and possessive; who learn that violence by proxy and misuse of the law will make you a winner."
    My own feeling is that the term "racketeers" conjures up the obsessive stalker-abuser types and the UPL violators who think that being in court is "guerilla warfare."  Check out the Florida Bar News this week, first page -- one of these paralegal "defenders" is on his way to jail, I see. [Ed. note: ten years later, it also applies to therapeutic jurisprudence -- largely moved by the FR movement joint custody demands.]

    I don't think it helps your argument to persist in the male-dominant thinking of "winners" and "losers" and "war," etc.  It makes the underlying agenda too obvious.  The ego and competition thing already is moving too many men's misperceptions of bias, when in reality, all they were subjected to is a wounded ego and a thwarted sense of entitlement.

    At any rate, suffice it to say that your "racketeering" reference is unproductive.  Pretty much anyone with half a brain already knows that family law attorneys are among the lowest earning of any specialty.  Obviously, they are not churning business to perpetuate a "divorce industry." Where money is the motive, all family lawyers already are licensed to earn MORE money (way more easily, too) simply by switching to a different area of practice.

"I will never be associated with any "feminist" movement which advocates false allegations, destroying children, and eliminating good fathers."
    Interesting!  Do you actually know of a feminist movement which advocates for ANY of these things?  I don't. 
"Let's remember that it is children, not women, who are the real victims of the gender bias in our family courts."
    (Or the grandmas?) Dump this pretext. Doesn't work. Anyone who is anybody in the field already has observed over the years the evolution of arguments, focii, position papers and name changes in the father's rights movement in order to characterize the men's rights positions (when the bias angles didn't fly) as "children's rights" issues.

Pearle Harbour is the author of Guerilla Divorce Warfare
    Ipse Dixit.

    [liznote:  Interesting anecdote, there.  Even MORE interesting is that "Pearle Harbour" notes, on the webpage entitled Chapters and Excerpts from Guerilla "Divorce" Warfare by Pearle Harbour, at, (essentially a web advertisement for the purchase of the book), the following "true story" with remarkably similar facts (emphasis mine), below:
(True story). Little Sally asked her mother, "why doesn't daddy love me? He doesn't visit me anymore." Her mother's shameful, unforgivable response was, "you ruined our marriage. Children always ruin a marriage. It's your fault." (Now it didn't matter that her mother had kept her daddy from seeing her. After all, mothers are the best parent, right?!?)
    and on the very same page, yet ANOTHER "true story" with the same line, sounding very much like another "gender reversal" of psychological projection:
True Story. Maggie decided the only way to stop Harry from divorcing her was to put Samantha in the middle of their fights, making her constantly reaffirm her love for her mother. Maggie kept telling Samantha her father left because he didn't love Samantha. Having a child had ruined their marriage. Samantha, age 10, tried to commit suicide. Harry stopped his divorce and went back home. None of the fighting stopped, but Maggie did get what she wanted and that's all that mattered to her. He is now, of course, serving a "marriage life sentence"; creating a dysfunctional family; and a seriously messed up child. Moral: Leave anyway and file for custody (why can't the courts see that she tried to kill her own child). Society MUST be forced to see how cruel mothers have become in the 90's.

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    i have visited your website, and would like your opinion on my article, Gender Bias in Family Court, at

    Gender Bias in Family Court, at

    thanks for your time.

    katie/pearle harbour


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