from the American Academy of Matrimonial LawyersAAML,
American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, divorce law, family law, divorce
lawyer, divorce information, divorce, information, attorney, best, matrimonial
lawyers, matrimonial, the liz library, joint custody
"STEPPING BACK FROM ANGER:
Protecting Your Children During Divorce."
to see cartoon
Sigh. Has father's
rights propaganda permeated EVERYTHING? Would seem so. The
American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers's ostensibly authoritative webpage,
edited by Stephen J. Harhai, Esq., a noted family law attorney, is replete
with the most dangerous kind of propaganda: the kind that quietly mixes
in with good advice and facts, half-truths and outright lies.
For example, notice the AAML's
touting of the Children's Rights Council
-- an unabashed anti-feminist FR propaganda machine -- as a general "source
of information." (But nothing contra.) For another example,
notice the continual insertion of plugs for joint custody -- along with
a marked absence of information telling the truth about how impractical
it is (at best) and how harmful it is (at par.) And for yet another
example, read the following "handbook" article, publicized via
Ann Landers, giving apparently sage and experienced lawyerly advice to
divorcing couples. It merits an "example" critique here,
if for nothing else, than as an illustration of what subtle gender bias
really is. Talk about an agenda parading under the guise of "just
some neutral advice!" The title of the handbook is "Stepping
Back From Anger. Protecting Your Children During Divorce."
Sounds terrific, doesn't it? The below quotes in italicized
purple are directly from that handbook, and liznotes are in
black. The handbook is (or was) posted in full at the AAML website at http://www.aaml.org/stepping.htm.
So says the AAML (pushing
mediation, too, of late):
you are six, and suddenly the only people you have ever relied on for food,
shelter, and love are at each other's throats. In your young mind, you
conclude that you are the cause of their anger, and that you might get
lost in the shuffle. Before you know it, you think to yourself, there won't
be anybody left to scare off the closet monsters.
SUDDENLY (?) the "only
people" are at each other's throats? It's possible, of
course. Almost anything is. But this is hardly the typical
prelude to divorce. Relationships usually don't turn bad "suddenly,"
without a long build-up of worsening interaction (or lack of it.)
It's just as likely, and perhaps more likely, that that "six-year-old"
has lived a life in which, for his or her entire memory, those parents
were "at each other's throats," or, in the alternative, not having
much to do with each other at all.
It's just as likely, and
perhaps MORE likely, given the lack of parental interaction, that both
parents were NOT both parents that the child "relied on." At
least not equally. Often, one spouse does the escapist thing from
a bad relationship, working overtime, hardly ever home, going out drinking,
having an affair, and so forth, during a lengthy deterioration of the parents'
to the father's rights propaganda, couples do NOT usually "suddenly"
divorce, and most times it's not only not sudden, but a long time in coming.
When divorce does come, often it's merely a legal and financial formality.
During this period, it's highly likely that there were few of those
family things, and less and less of any "joint" anything between
the parents, one of whom is likely to have been shouldering the bulk of
the child caregiving and responsibility, while the other was off feeling
alienated, crying over beer to an understanding "friend," taking
on extra business trips, or resolving the dissonance by avoiding it. Sure,
this "suddenly" scenario can happen, too.
But the one-size-fits-all
plea to emotionalism is specious. The fact is, is that the picture
of divorce isn't necessarily a "six-year-old child" facing "suddenly-divorcing,"
but otherwise functional parents. No battery, no molestation, no
individual circumstances...? [note] Can't
the AAML appeal to reason instead of emotions? It's an odd way for
lawyers -- artists of logic -- to preface neutral advice backed up with
reasoned argument. Or is it... Surely, they're not advocating
for something here in this neutral turf...?
parents, it is not enough to assume that your children will bounce back
once the legal machinations of divorce are through. Though many adults
find their post-divorce lives are vastly better than their pre-divorce
lives, for many children, that is not the case.
makes its mark on children both in the short-term and the long-term. Young
children whose parents are divorcing often suffer from depression, sleep
disorders, loss of self-esteem, poor academic performance, behavioral regression,
and a host of other physical and emotional disorders.
Of course, we ALL would agree
that "in general" divorce (i.e. the demise of a family) is "bad."
But it's not the "divorce" per se that's bad, IS IT. The
divorce is there because it's a bad situation, a bad marriage. The adjective's
right, but what it's modifying is wrong.
No question that the
trauma of change and upheaval, even if it results in a better and less
conflicted life for the child in the long run, will leave its negative
mark. Permanently. And unavoidably. But there's either
a bad marriage or there's a divorce. What's bad about divorce is
the trauma of change that can follow what's really bad: the conflict.
But the conflict that is bad is something that exists independently.
It is the conflict between a child's parents, whether or not it
results in a divorce, which harms the child! It's not
the divorce that creates this problem, it's the lousy relationship between
the child's parents that creates this problem! BEFORE and AFTER the
divorce. Divorce is just a symptom. "Divorce reform" is
not going to change the parents' bad personal relationship. Or the
harm to children from it. The Timberlawn
study found that the relationship between a child's parents,
more than ANYTHING else, is the primary factor in a child's well-being.
All we can do, given the existence of the bad relationship between
the parents, is to look for ways to minimize additional harms, and to not
make an already bad situation worse.
So what's the AAML building
up to? First there's an appeal to emotions posturing as "reason"
in a pamphlet geared to be read by rather emotional people. (Can
we say manipulAtion?) Then there's the blaming of DIVORCE itself
on children's problems. (And which parent is more likely to file for that
divorce? WHOSE guilt are we playing on here?) And then there's the
stab at appealing to reason (it's coming, it's coming.) Just beware that
used car salesman (or that lawyer-mediator, hero-wannabe) who keeps getting
you to say yes, yes, yes... because in a few moments, you'll find yourself
saying yes, yes, yes to some other stuff without thinking it through...
after the divorce is final, children of divorce often have trouble entering
into committed relationships of their own, fearing their relationships
will end as their parents' did.
be true. Divorce itself could be a factor in this correlation.
It would be simplistic factor, though, without isolating just what
it is ABOUT divorce -- not a single simplistic event --that is the factor.
Other factors contributing to the greater likelihood that children
of divorce will have relationship problems of their own when they grow
up may be found more often in divorced families, but they actually are
NOT the "divorce" factor. For example: generational (genetic)
dysfunctions such as tendency to alcoholism; for example: the lessons children
"learn" observing parents who put paramours in a priority above
their families; and, for example: that children who grow up in homes in
which they cannot observe a healthy marriage INTACT will not have the role
models to teach them how to function in one, either as a parent or as a
spouse, regardless of what happens with or to either or both of the parents
much of the correlation of "divorce" to all the negatives attributed
to it is really about the casting around for quick answers and solutions,
and how much of the correlation really is attributable to the children's
acquisition of innate or learned qualities that their parents (who themselves
couldn't keep this important marriage together) share? I don't know.
And neither does the AAML. But it's a factoid, and factoids
are necessary to convince thinking persons that a position is correct.
An appeal to emotion, followed by a factoid: "divorce = harm
to your child" -- lissen up, lest negative consequences befall your
baby. (Oh stop, I'll do anything, anything... I'm feeling so guilt-ridden
at this point...)
SO THE ANSWER TO "DIVORCE IS BAD" IS...
don't divorce, right? Wrong. Couldn't be. And in
fact, isn't said. We're too sophisticated for that. And we'd
also recognize this immediately as women-blaming, father's
rights stuff, since it's far more often that the mother
actually files for the divorce. We're not THAT guilt-ridden...
And of course, we also wouldn't expect this from the American Academy of
Matrimonial (aka DIVORCE) lawyers, FR or not. That would be too easy. Also
too hard. It also would tend to open up a line of thinking about
whether in fact it is divorce that actually causes the problems...
factoid. A correlation. A correlation you already know and
can say "yes" to. But which doesn't give any causation.
And which is insufficient to say anything anyway, because even IF there
were a causation, the solution would not work here! Need more factoids...
more factoids follow. Note, they FOLLOW. They are positioned
to follow so that in case you said, yes, yes upon reading the first factoid
recognizing the correlation you didn't need the AAML to tell you, you might
not even notice, while you're yes-yessing, that the factoids that follow
are not even correlations:
addition, a Princeton University study showed that children who live apart
from one of their parents are more likely to drop out of school, become
idle (neither be in school nor have a job), and have a child before reaching
20, than children who live with both parents. Other studies have made similar
findings, concluding that the effects of divorce on children are pervasive
and the FR PROPAGANDA makes its entrance. "A"
one single one of these correlations between "children who live apart"
from one of the parents, gleaned from circumstances that include never-married
(i.e. never DIVORCED) homes as well as divorced homes, gleaned from circumstances
that include utterly dysfunctional parents as well as your average normal
Joe and Sally, supports what it's laying the groundwork for! LOOK AT WHAT IS EMPHASIZED.
Propaganda. First, there was a buildup all about "two
divorcing parents" and the trauma of divorce. The only long-range
correlation (set apart in a leading paragraph) that followed was about
difficulties adult children seem to have later on in their own committed
relationships. And then, suddenly ("suddenly") we're
hearing all about -- NOT THE TRAUMA OF DIVORCE, but
the ills of a child's living apart from one of his or her parents.
Given that we all know which parent that is USUALLY going to be,
suddenly, this has become all about why being without daddy harms
responded to this stuff at length in another article (liz
responds to Wade Horn and the National Fatherhood Initiative.)
sad facts make it imperative that divorcing parents put their children
before their legal battles. This often means that two people who find it
difficult to be in the same room without screaming at each other will have
to calmly, deliberately, and most of all, lovingly, make joint decisions
about their children's well-being.
it may mean suppressing their anger at a cheating or neglectful spouse,
the winner, in the long run, is the children.
stakes are obviously quite high.
They "will have to"
what? "Lovingly, make joint decisions?" Nonsense.
They're unlikely to be doing that. That's why they're getting divorced,
and now want to divvy up the child. To AVOID having to have interaction
with the other parent! Consider: if the stakes actually were all
that high, why wouldn't the Academy just be telling people to not get divorced?
You KNOW why. Because (1) that's clearly an absurd and impossible
position which won't work -- these people just don't get along,
and chances are nearly certain that at least one of them already HAS put
in herculean efforts at doing so (people just don't divorce "suddenly"),
and (2) that's not the agenda. The agenda
is, other than the attempt to "normalize" and white-wash divorce,
to push something altogether other than the well-being of children. What
is it. Here it is. (If you didn't see it, read more carefully.)
one-third of the children of divorce lose contact with one of their parents,
depriving them of years of adult guidance, support and love. But
even many of those who remain in touch with both parents are not any better
off, as they continue to be tormented for years by their parents' continual
Read: a third of children
lose contact with fathers, depriving them of years of adult guidance.
Mothers, the usual custodial parent, don't count, apparently, as
adult guidance. And yes, I changed it to "fathers."
Because the STUDIES are that a third of children lose contact with
their FATHERS, not "one of their parents." This is an example
of "gender-neutral" posturing disguising what's really meant.
The AAML goes on to explain
away why studies show that there's actually a greater correlation of
less-than-well-being among children as the noncustodial parent has greater
and greater time and interaction. Yes, I gave you the
complete factoid. Because that IS what
the studies show. That is the counter-intuitive,
argument-smashing embarrassment of a factoid being glossed over here. The
AAML glosses over this as attributable to "continual arguing."
Arguing by whom? (There's no arguing when there's only one
parent around.) Doesn't it seem strange that the very same common
denominator, present or not, causes the same kind of harm?
So children both with and
without their noncustodial parents around are suffering the same evil.
And what is that evil? The AAML says that the continual arguing
means that the children are still no better off, they still are being deprived
of (code phrase) "years of adult guidance, support and love."
And, again, that evil is...? Logically, the conclusion (harm) as
presented appears to boil down to merely "deprivation of fathers."
The AAML propagandlet doesn't actually say why that's harmful.
You are to presume it has something to do with the reiteration of
horrors, above, in [single mother households.]
The AAML pamphlet carefully
avoids stating an outright falsehood and too clearly exposing its biases.
The AAML argument, though, if you look carefully, actually
has jumped here, in what otherwise would be a gross error of logic (were
it inadvertent) from a recitation of the evils of single mother households
to the conclusion that harm = children's being deprived of years of father
You're supposed to connect the two on your own. (Getting the other
side to draw your intended conclusions themselves is the MOST convincing
way of convincing someone of something. I know this, too. I'm
also a lawyer. I also can tell you that this is why the damn thing
just sounds so good and common-sensical to most all who casually read over
it! Even lawyers!)
the longer the parental conflict continues, the more serious is the psychological
damage to the child. Many children respond to such stress by turning off
their feelings and walling up their emotions. Those children are not only
deprived of the joys of childhood, but they often find themselves emotionally
adrift as adults.
(An argument for sole custody
if I ever heard one.)
important for parents to remember that their actions during their divorce
can have long-term consequences they might not intend. A mother who forbids
her daughter from seeing her adulterous father, for instance, is laying
the groundwork for her daughter to be distrusting of all men, thus potentially
sabotaging the child's intimate adult relationships.
Ah, the mother. That
visitation-interfering, parental-alienating bitch who harms her daughter's
fondness for MEN. God forbid anyone should put in a divorce lawyer's
pamphlet a strong admonition to cheating men about how they have set a
shitty, shitty example of how a wife should be treated, absolutely trashed
their child's mother by word and deed by their adultery, set the stage
for the perpetuation of the kind of misogyny that permeates (but that's
okay, it's normal in) our society, and made themselves into one heck of
an example of what their daughters can expect from men in the future.
NOPE. It's the mother's visitation interference, and her feeble attempts
to reassert herself that HARMS DAUGHTERs and puts them at risk of
"distrusting men." Feh.
must also realize that children often interpret anger between spouses as
anger at the children. That is because children are aware, even at an early
age, that they are "part mommy" and "part daddy." When
divorcing couples disparage each other in their children's presence, their
developing self-esteem can take a battering.
And how about telling children
that in reality, they are NEITHER? This half-half tritism has gone a bit
too far already, given that it's actually not true, and that actually children
believe themselves to be unique. And the kicker is that children
ARE their own unique selves, formed of DNA from huge numbers of persons
of past generations, all combining and recombining differently... (Ignoring
of course the disparaging role modeling as affecting self-esteem... because
it's not what daddy did that harmed anyone, it's that mommy complained
divorce is never easy on children, such crises are often opportunities
in disguise. Because a child's emotional health after his parents' divorce
is so dependent on his parents' behavior during the divorce, the separation
process is a good time for parents to reflect on their children's well-being
and, if necessary, seek out professional help for themselves and their
may even be necessary for children to spend some time alone with a counselor
who might detect hidden messages in a child's artwork or storytelling.
And a few more plugs (now
that we're on a roll, and the potential buyer is nodding away) for the
normalization of divorce, the blaming of the behavior of what primarily
amounts to divorcing women,
and the enrichment of the divorce-support, psych community (let's get those
fees going, and put everyone, in every combination and alone, into therapy...)
informing children of an impending divorce, parents should not divulge
such details as infidelity or sexual deprivation, and they should not blame
one parent or another. One possible approach is to present the divorce
as a solution to the family's problems, an end to the fighting and tension
that have filled the home with anger.
is a crucial element in informing children of the split. They should be
told that their lives will change, and that some things, like spending
time with the parent they're not living with most of the time, will be
Do not divulge those ("parental-alienating?")
details, but be "honest."
Note that sex is conveniently
given here twice as an example of "such details," twice,
because most parents would be rather horrified anyway at the idea of discussing
the details of their sex lives with their children.
(Remember we're imaging a six-year-old, above.) It's a yes-getter.
Those yes-yes-yesses just wouldn't be as forthcoming, would they be, if
the AAML pamphlet had said instead: "a mother should not divulge such
details as the fact that her absence for four days last week in the hospital
was on account of daddy's slamming her head into the kitchen cabinet."
Or "daddy should not acknowledge the fact that his drinking
has made life a misery for the entire household." And no one
should mention as a cause of the family breakdown -- heaven forbid a kid
should actually know why, or find it unnecessary to fill in the blanks
in what he actually knows with false speculations (let's pretend and keep
secrets) that daddy has filed for divorce because mommy has moved in with
the mailman, or has been lying around the house in a drug-induced stupor
for the past two years...
Never mind that secret-keeping,
and parental failure to acknowledge the truth in family systems
is a PRIMARY cause of adult child dysfunction. Those secret-keeping
households that pretend all is well, when all obviously is not well are
the ones (see Bradshaw, among others) -- the very same ones -- that create
future substance abusers, addicts, overeaters, neurotics... They are the
very same ones in which children agonize over what happened, and are unable
to reconcile what they feel is the abandonment of themselves, and where
they grapple around for reasons this all happened, sometimes feeling themselves
to blame. Shhhh. Don't tell them.
And of course, we wouldn't
want to let the kids know what mistakes were made, or (within reason) what
really has gone on, so that they could rest a bit secure that divorce doesn't
"just suddenly happen" for no reason, making them into future
commitmentphobes. Nope. We're JUST doing this to stop the fighting
about nothing at all. We wouldn't want to use this as an "opportunity
in disguise" to teach a few lessons about life and love and how people
are not perfect, or how we can know and accept our parents for what and
who they are, IF we choose to. Nope. Something more important
is at stake, you see. It's making sure that (above), in all those
situations which are the MOST bitter (for some reason, or was that just
"vindictiveness" without reason), the children are not "deprived
of years of adult love, guidance, and support." And that (after a
little diversion so it's not as obvious, with a few paragraphs of some
routine stuff, deleted here) is:
custody option to consider is joint conservatorship or joint custody (depending
on the state). It allows both parents an equal say in decision-making on
the child's behalf, even if physical custody of the child is not 50/50.
No mention of the other "options."
sharing parenthood so intimately with someone a parent no longer shares
a marriage can be difficult, it is one of the best ways parents can show
their love for their child.
WRONG. If this has
conjured up for you a MARRIED image of two loving parents, heads huddled
together, working out a decision regarding the child, ditch it. "Sharing
parenthood" -- for whatever purposes that insipid cliche is yet again
trotted out (in lieu of more truthfully just saying "decision-making
authority," since the parents already "share parenthood")
is hardly "one of the best ways parents can show their love for their
child." That's because custody
-- i.e. decision-making authority, which is what is really being talked
about here -- is really about the PARENTS' legal relationship vis
a vis each other, NOT their personal relationship with the child.
custody isn't about "sharing" anything in the sense of togetherness.
It's about splitting the
spoils (in this case, rendering children possessions) down the middle to
"share" in the sense of halving.
It's about operating separate
automonous households that do NOT have to confer, because EACH can do whatever
the heck it wants to, consistent or not, approved by the other parent or
Joint legal custody is about
granting the parent that would be the noncustodial parent the right to
second-guess, meddle with, disagree with, argue with, and generally interfere
with the custodial parent's decisions and the running of the child's household.
A recipe for conflict-avoidance? NO WAY. A recipe for
continuing conflict, for legally-blessed conflict, for creating more and
more conflict, and for a schizophrenic childhood. (And WHO is advocating
this -- the American Academy of Matrimonial LAWYERS and MEDIATORS and their
roster of "therapists?")
Moreover, as we all know,
and as has been used as rationale in this same pamphlet in another context,
the BEST way a parent can show love for his or her child is by doing what
is first and foremost in the child's interests, and putting that before
self-interest. And in the interests of ending conflict, in the
interests of reestablishing a renewed relationship between the parents
free of old wounds and baggage, in the interests of getting to all these
nice things that parroting the concept "shared parenting" won't
actually do (only promise), that may well be UNshared "parenting."
Sole custody with the child's primary caregiver and a period of time
for things to settle down. That would entail, of course, shredding
that little mine-yours mental point-counting, divvying-and-calculating
"fairness-to-parents" pad, i.e. the "parenting plan,"
et cetera. Notice that this AAML lawyerly piece of advice quite readily
encourages doing the selfless thing when it comes to preaching about letting
bygones be bygones (which primarily benefits...?) However, in the
end, it (shamelessly) plays on selfishness, by encouraging divorcing
couples to adopt the very opposite of selfless thinking (and doing) in
the context of post-divorce tallying and "shared parenting."
This is not about the child's interests at all.
Honesty, but don't tell...
Let bygones be, but tally the future... Be
reasonable and don't give in to anger, emotions, but adopt these illogical
arguments based on their emotional appeal...
[By the way, consistency
is generally considered to be a good parenting trait. Consistency benefits
kids. That includes not only consistency of discipline, but also
consistency of reasoning, and consistency of primary caregiver... ]
A WORD ABOUT
THE CHILDREN'S RIGHTS COUNCIL
Rights Council, "CRC", is a father's rights group originally
founded by, inter alia, FR ideologue David Levy, who is its president.
It is a 501(c)(3) organization that purports to be"educational."
In reality, its membership is strongly tied to FR political lobbying groups.
It's political, not educational.
When the organization was formed, (about
the time it began to become popular for father's rights groups to include
mention of "children" in the names of their organizations, and
also about the time joint custody started getting a lot of academic notice
via Ph.D. studies as a "new idea"), the founders put together
an honorary membership in a "board" that currently is listed
on the organization's stationery. It is common for non-profits, particularly
charitable non-profits (this is not) to solicit actors and other famous
persons in this way. They do it because it facilitates their public relations
appearance of philanthropy and interest in causes, and in return, this
simultaneously lends an air of immediate credibility to the non-profit
The Children's Rights Council carefully
postures its supposed "officials" in a way designed to make it
appear that the group is inclusive of all interests.
In particular, the C.R.C. plays down
its FR ties, and plays up its "women" ties, e.g. hawking joint
custody supporter, Karen DeCrow (childless second wife) and FRster Warren
Farrell because that permits repeated mention of these individuals
now dubious ties to "N.O.W." to cast the impression that the
C.R.C. is a group comprising mothers and sanctioned by feminists!
But according to its masthead, the working
officers and board consist of only four persons.
Of those four, two are David Levy, president,
and Ellen Dublin Levy, secretary. This information is indicated in small,
inconspicuous type on the Council's stationery. Quite a tight-knit group.
Few might notice or question this, however, or notice that it's not at
all up-front about who are the powers-that-be-in-charge, because the organization's
stationery (below, as of 1998) and publications obscure this lack of informative
information with a LENGTHY listing of ostensible executives including,
An Honorary President (what the heck
is this?) comedian David Brenner
Parenting Education Spokesperson, NBA
hall-of-famer, Wes Unseld (based on his child development experience or
his legal experience?)
National Spokespersons, Darryl Grant,
Washington Redskins; Doug Superman, a country music singer; and Dwight
Twilley, a pop music singer. (More entertainers and ball players...)
The "general counsel" is FATHER'S RIGHTS
ACTIVIST-lawyer-writer MICHAEL L. ODDENINO who is a founder and organization
His actual influence is downplayed by
listing his name as if it is on a par with the comedians and sports figures.)
Then there's the long "impressive"
list of "Advisory Panel" members:
Mendel Abrams, a rabbi,
Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby),
Senator Fred Thompson (TN), an actor,
Senator Bob Graham (FL),
Judith Bakersfeld, president of the Stepfamily Association of America,
Kay and Ray Berryhill, founders of Grandparents Rights in New Strength,
David Birney, an actor.
Pat Boyd, of Parents Without Partners,
Jim Cook, president of the Joint Custody Association, an FR organization,
Karen DeCrow, former president of NOW and well-known misguided supporter
of the FR agenda (but if you didn't know this, her inclusion on a quick
glance down the roster certainly makes this organization look woman-friendly,
Ellen Diamond, Children's Rights Council Co-founder
Phyllis Diller, an entertainer
Warren Farrell "Ph.D.,
a self-proclaimed "sexologist" and father's rights activist,
Larry Caughan, director of Family Mediation of Washington, DC,
Jonathan Goodson, the Hollywood TV producer,
Jennifer Isham, president of Mothers Without Custody, and
Joan Berlin Kelly, researcher and author.
The panel listing was designed to appear
to represent a spectrum of positions and interests, particularly to be
inclusive of women and feminists.
The former NOW presidency of (childless,
second wife) Karen DeCrow is touted as her sole claim to fame (is it?),
and, as is typical, so is (childless) Warren Farrell's board membership
in the NYC chapter of NOW, which (as he usually portrays it) is written
up to appear to have been membership in the national board, with a dangling
modifyer implying that the national board is headquartered in NYC. (One
has to wonder about THIS being Farrell's listed credential? What
about his decade or so AFTERWARD studying
incest and pedophilia and claiming to be a sexologist...?)
In summary, then, the C.R.C. honchos,
both active and titular, include: lots of sports figures and entertainers,
a representative of a stepparent's association, a representative of a noncustodial
mother's association, a couple of childless former feminists
(including one who has opined that "...millions
of people who are now refraining from touching, holding, and genitally
caressing their children, when that is really part of a caring, loving
expression, are repressing the sexuality of a lot of children and themselves"),
the founders of a grandparents rights organization, the P.W.P. social
dating club, and okay so there's the unmistakable FRs like Oddenino and
Jim Cook, but everyone's represented, right? Wrong.
Notably, you will not see one single
individual or organization listed, even among the titular luminaries, who
represent primary parenting-custodial mothers, married, unwed or divorced.
Not represented. Mothers with children are not represented.
At all. The single largest demographic group with hands-on
experience in child rearing, the one demographic group with the MOST interest
in and concern for children's welfare: NOT represented.
The agenda of the C.R.C. is in favor
of joint custody and extended visitation rights. It has put its support
behind a range of FR legislative proposals and position papers. Its featured
speakers include (e.g. 11th Annual Conference in fall of 1997) the likes
of Sanford Braver, Ph.D. (pro-joint custody propagandist "researcher"),
Richard Gardner, M.D.
of Parental Alienation Syndrome fame, Canadian Senator Anne Cools (dyed
in the wool anti-feminist for those of you who are familiar with Canadian
politics -- what was she doing here in a U.S. policy group?). Members of
Congress routinely are invited to the organization's D.C. area meetings,
such as the above 11th annual conference which featured the above notable
The C.R.C. downpeddles its FR agenda
and RR ties, and markets itself in a way designed to appear to the disinterested
observer as an organization backed by important people, concerned about,
studying and working in the interests of children and their divorce problems.
The agenda of groups such as the C.R.C.
often passes easily on a quick look-see by scholars and legislators as
neutral and benign. (Another one of these, albeit not an organization per
se but a program is the National
Fatherhood Initiative.) Although these professionals should be "smarter,"
their very posture as objective and neutral means that they frequently
will fail to examine surface presentations. And many of them are in fact
men with personal agendas that are not pro-woman.
So what's the American Academy of Matrimonial
Lawyers doing endorsing this bunch on its website? There are two possibilities:
either (1) this supposed smart group of some of the nation's top family
lawyers is ignorant of family law politics, or (2) they are themselves
anti-mother, non-neutral, father's-rights ideologues.