"He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help." ~ Abraham Lincoln


How Does the Public View Conflict in Custody Decisions?

How Does the Public View Conflict in Custody Decisions?

One of the main reasons that judges do not automatically award equal parenting in custody decisions is because of their concern about the conflict between the parents and the harm it will do to the children. In previous work, (see blog post on this work) researchers at Arizona State University found that the general public generally favors custody decisions that award both parents equal time in custody decisions, but many custody battles involve conflict between parents. When conflict persists among divorcing parents, most judges and custody evaluators have recommended against shared parenting in order to keep children out of the conflict.

In this study, Braver and his colleagues wanted to find out how the public thinks custody decisions should be handled in which there is conflict. (SeePsychology, Public Policy and Law, 2011). 
To examine these questions, the researchers developed hypothetical cases that described a low conflict scenario and two types of high conflict scenarios. In the low conflict case, the parents were described as reasonably good parents who are involved in the children's lives. There were two types of high conflict cases, one in which both parents were described as extremely angry at each other and fight in front of the children. In the second case only one parent was angry. Half the time this was presented as the father and half the time as the mother.
These cases were presented to citizens who had been summoned to serve on a jury panel in an Arizona community. About 250 people participated in this study. The participants were given the hypothetical cases, and then asked to imagine themselves as the judge deciding these cases based on the merits of the cases and what was best for the child. In each case they were asked how much time the child should spend with each parent.

In both the case of low conflict and high mutual conflict, the participants in this study favored awarding both parents equal time (about 65%). This finding indicates that almost two-thirds of the public still favors equal parenting time even in cases in which there is continued conflict. There was not complete consensus on this arrangement however. The remaining one-third of the participants were more likely to favor having the children live with the mother and reduce the amount of time that the dad got time with the children. This group of participants favored awarding more parenting time to the mother in conflicts in which both parents were described as angry and fighting.
When the cases were presented in which one parent was described as the cause of the conflict, then participants recommended that the parent causing the conflict should get less parenting time. The participants did not differ in their judgments about mothers and fathers. Regardless of whether it was the mother or the father was the source of the conflict, participants thought they should get less time with the child if they were angry, fighting and causing conflict.

These views of custody in high conflict divorces run counter to the views of most professionals. When families are embroiled in conflict during the divorce, they recommend that children be given primary custody with one parent. This is based on the evidence that conflict between parents is one of the most damaging factors in children's well-being during a family breakup. Professionals assume that the parents will not be able to resolve their conflicts resulting in the children being continually exposed to angry, bitter altercations. The findings in this study indicate that the general public does not hold this view. The researchers conclude, "Family lawmakers need to confront that equal custody enjoys genuinely great popularity among the citizenry."


I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Lay judgments about child custody after divorce.

 Braver, Sanford L.; Ellman, Ira Mark; Votruba, Ashley M.; Fabricius, William V.
Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol 17(2), May 2011, 212-240. doi: 10.1037/a0023194


In a pair of studies, we examine lay people's judgments about how hypothetical cases involving child custody after divorce should be resolved.

The respondents were citizens called to jury service in Pima County, AZ. Study 1 found that both male and female respondents, if they were the judge, would most commonly award equally shared custody arrangements, as advocated by most fathers' groups. 
However, if the predivorce child care had been divided disproportionately between the parents, this preference shifted, slightly but significantly, toward giving more time to the parent who had provided most of that care, consistent with the Approximation Rule advocated by the American Law Institute. 
Moreover, respondents judged that the arrangements prevailing in today's court and legal environment would award equal custody considerably less often, and would thereby provide much less parenting time to fathers, than the respondents themselves would award. 
Study 2 found that respondents maintained their strong preference for equally shared custody even when there are very high levels of parental conflict for which the parents were equally to blame, but awarded substantially less time to the culpable parent when only one was the primary instigator of the parental conflict. 
The striking degree to which the public favors equal custody combined with their view that the current court system under-awards parenting time to fathers could account for past findings that the system is seriously slanted toward mothers, and suggests that family law may have a public relations problem. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved) 
From the Huffington Post 

Mike Whitney
On this thanksgiving or any other day... No matter what is going on in your life and no matter how bad it is or how sad it makes you feel, No matter what you'refaith or beliefs are, No matter if you're all alone or if you're surrounded by a bunch of assholes, No matter how hard it may seem to you..
Please take the time to really think about some of the things you actually do have to be thankful for. No matter how insignificant you may think those things may be they're probably something that somebody somewhere dreams about having.
You may even realize that there's actually many things you have to be thankful for, so really think about it. Even if it means you only find one thing and you feel like you just don't care, as if all you have in life is barely even a small spark of hope. Well at at least you have that so don't take it for granted and minimize it. Instead you should try hard to focus and build on it.
Even if it means you feel you can't or won't help yourself it's still possible for you to help others in some way. You could give somebody or something else a bit of hope if only just for a moment. By doing this it means you do matter and in a round about way you will be actually helping yourself as well.
That's how this shit works. You're alive! so just try hard to think about what you do have to be thankful for no matter how insignificant you think it is. Some of us may think differently about it being insignificant and may be quite thankful for you being there making an effort.. I know I would be.
I tip my hat to those who find light in the darkest places and are willing to share it. Much Love & respect to all those who are willing to help themselves and help others.
"Happy" may be a word that seems very far off to many people and animals who are in a bad way, but remember that no matter what you've been through or what you think you know... the truth is that it's always very possible for you to still make a difference in some way. Help yourself by helping others in any way at all. Even if it goes unnoticed it still means something if you try and never give up.
The word "Happy" can actually sting to those who are truly hurting. So instead I'll wish a "Hopeful" Thanksgiving to all.. with no exceptions.
So for your sake and everyone else.. hang tough & start paying it forward.


Enact Uniform Parenting Guidelines in Family Law



Our Constitutional right to bear arms is front and center in state and federal legislatures.  But where is the debate on protecting our basic human rights to parent our children? (also constitutionally protected by the 14th amendment)  Every day in every state, mothers and fathers lose their basic human right to parent their children.
Why?  Because the divorce industry wants your family’s money!  Estimated at $170 Billion annually!  How? We all have a family member, friend or neighbor who has been through a nasty divorce.  Most of us believe children need both parents equally and that there exist a standard of 50/50 custody that the courts start from.
In litigated divorce, there is no standard as to how children should spend their time between parents.  The lack of a parenting time standard causes our children to be viewed as a prize where unethical lawyers and custody evaluators use them as pawns between parents.  If there were a parenting time standard, it would resolve over half of divorce litigation taking place right now.


Start with the presumption that both parents are fit and entitled to an equal role in their children’s lives.  This presumption is rebuttable only by findings of fact based upon a preponderance of evidence in abuse, neglect or addiction.   Everything else unconstitutionally denies parents their rights to parent children.


The divorce industry is $170B annually and motivated to oppose standards so they can create, promote and perpetuate conflict to increase billing hours exponentially.  Have you ever heard “It's only the lawyers who win in divorce”?
Add to lawyers: custody evaluators (duplicate roles in some states), criminal lawyers, courts, psychologists, therapists, investigators, GALs, an entire cottage industry of brokers! With overdue and demanded, simple and just changes to state statues, families and children can be forever protected from the ravages of the divorce industry by a simple and equal standard. The lack of a presumptive 50/50 rebuttable standard destroys lives and families, often forever.  Children as pawns can be scared for life, arbitrarily lose a parent, or two, for life and are in much greater peril in life.  Mothers and fathers lose their children and react badly.  Suicide and homicide is not uncommon.  Mothers and fathers can be jailed for protecting their children or going bankrupt. 

Listen to internet radio with SyndicatedNews on BlogTalkRadio

Family Matters with Wendy Archer
Wendy Archer, Parental Alienation Awareness and Education Advocate, has been involved in Parental Alienation Awareness and the related necessary Family Court Reform since September 2009.  Wendy founded The LRC Foundation Inc, a non-profit Texas Corporation.

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Family Matters visits with Dr. J. Michael Bone
Parental Alienation and Family Court Cases involving Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) are perhaps the most vexing and difficult that exist in Family Court. These cases require careful and painstaking preparation, analysis of voluminous documentation, preparation of experts and collateral witnesses. They can be difficult to demonstrate in court and include arduous steps that exceed the normal representation of a Family Law case without parental alienation. These cases exploit and wear down the system and do so in the service of the alienation.

Listen to internet radio with SyndicatedNews on BlogTalkRadio

Men Matter with Dr. Maguire & Melody Brooke
This project will only be funded if at least $120,000 is pledged by Friday Sep 9, 10:47pm EDT. Hollywood won't make this movie or tell this story. This is not a “politically correct” film, it goes against the current media position on the role of father’s in children’s lives and is NOT something that can be funded through traditional sources. This is an important message. The film needs to reach millions worldwide. To do that we have to do a better job than you typical special interest indie film. Mass appeal demands an entertaining, funny, and well acted film with great production values.

Don't you lose hope, your daddy is here!

The poem below was sent by ACFC member and supporter Mike H. In it he captures the essence of lost Christmas' many men experience but ends in a way that exudes the attitude of a father determined to overcome the challenge of being separated from his children. Together, with the same attitude we will overcome this system that pits family member against family member.

Three Dark Christmases

The first and the darkest painful Yule Tide
Came after a year of chasing my bride

Her anger as cold as the winter snow
Was buried so deep, how could a man know?

With hope I had ventured across the land
Hoping in Heaven to still hold her hand
I was ignorant of her hateful plan

To steal from me children, loves of my life
Who would suspect that from his lovely wife?
We were celebrating Christmas that day
And because I was no longer away
My goal to make that Christmas so lovely
But that painful day I would have spared you
The pain you would feel when mommy would say
I hate you! Get out! While nearby you played
How shocking it was on that hateful morn
To learn that mommy viewed daddy with scorn
Stunned I was also, my child and my joy
To hear words of hate come out of your mom
Your mother, my lover, my friend and wife
Gave me no warning of this change in life
"Get out" I did, twas the last time I saw
You, or spoke to you for many weeks more
We met the next week on a frigid night
I can recall the thought, can I save this?
Perhaps I might remind her of fam-ly
Of children and of happier times when
Our love was stronger. I thought I'd prevail
I'm sorry my child, my love, but I failed
I asked her for reasons that fateful night
The answer she gave me was quite a slight
"You're not good enough for me" said my wife
The worst seven words I’ve heard in my life
Shocked, I went through the daily motions of
Routine, hoping I'd wake from this bad dream
Thinking the worst part was over for me
Soon did I learn that I was not quite right
When six weeks had passed since that Christmas night
Being apart from the loves of my life
The weeks turned to months that we were apart
And I almost did succumb to my heart
Until one day I finally “got it.”
I am a father, and fathers don't quit.
Back home to my fam-ly is where I went
Feeling a failure to my Heaven-sent
I went back to regroup, and back to heal
I went back to learn of strength unrevealed
Strength that was born of a weakness profound
Broken and humbled, 'twas self love I found
To learn that to love you, I first must love Me.
Because a daddy who hates himself
Cannot a good daddy be
I attacked with a passion flaws I had
Because nothing is better than being "Dad"
During these dark months, often I would say:
“Know I will always love you and be near
I will never give up, my child, don't fear”
Well, another dark Christmas came last year
I spent all I had to bring Yuletide Cheer
No way! Not a chance! Is what she did say
These children are mine! You just go away!
Just a short visit, I begged and I pled.
But she slammed the door and wished I were dead
I learned that tears can freeze, that Christmas day
A message from God to strengthen my heart
For His children need a daddy who's smart
Into the snow I went pondering this
Onto the motel I brought all your gifts
Thinking of ways for your spirits to lift
A visit we had, and love we did share
It wasn't on Christmas, and though not fair
Was happy to see you. I didn't care
How much you had grown! Your feet and your hair!
Telling you Daddy would always be there
And noticing that now you might not care
Stuffing this fear because I know what's right
A child needs a daddy on Christmas night
Well, Daddy is here, loves; this is not right
I gave you my love, hon, in that short time
That time they allowed, so short twas a crime
There's never been danger from me, my love
Never did I harm my purpose for life
No, we're both victims of a bitter wife
Sure, mistakes I have made during my life
But nothing that merits this bitter strife
Frozen tears I pondered on my way home
And the lessons you'll miss before you're grown
If this dad gave up on this fight of fights
I will not. I cannot. This just ain't right
So a team I did hire to help me win
This unfortunate battle that's a sin
And money they did charge, hand over fist
It was payment toward our big Christmas list
But when Christmas season was 'round the bend
I realized no money I had to spend
To pay for more promises unfulfilled
And support the local lawyers guild
So I parted ways with my lawyers then
And approached the third Christmas, now darkened
But have heart in this story my children
This is where good things will really begin
Know that your daddy has a plan for you
Because frankly, there's nothing I won't do
As I write this on Christmas the third so far
Please know my darlings that daddy's going to war
No more tears will I shed for the time that we've lost
No more lamenting the exorbitant cost
Of fighting to see you so little it hurts
No more will I let lawyers make things worse
No, they've woken a tiger whose efforts won't wain
They've taunted a father whose children are in pain
It's time that this daddy dealt some of the same
So don't you despair this Christmas my loves
Send those scary thoughts to God up above
He loves you like me, and knows what you need
Ask him to bless Daddy with strength and speed
Your heavenly father will never fail
I know cuz he's carried me through this tale
See he's my Father, too, and he loves me
A perfect example of fathering
He has a big plan, and it involves us
Being together for our next Christmas
Having this knowledge, this passion, this love
Has caused your daddy to take off the gloves
Within legal bounds I will focus my strikes
Just anger will focus my thoughts at night
Bad things come in threes, they always do say
So we're about due for a lovely day
So don't you lose hope, your daddy is here
There's no reason for sadness, or of fear
Your father, he loves you. He'll make this right
Let's see if these bastards know how to fight
Copyright 2011 (c)

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