The November 1993 Central Ohio Fathers And Children for Equality (FACE) Newsletter
The November 1993 Central Ohio
Fathers And Children for Equality (FACE)
In all that is decent ... in all that is just, the framers of our
Constitution could never have intended that the "enjoyment of life"
meant that if divorce came, it was to be attended by throwing the two
unfortunates and their children into a judicial arena, with lawyers as
their seconds, and have them tear and verbally slash at each other in a
trial by emotional conflict that may go in perpetuity. We have been
humane enough to outlaw cockfights, dogfights and bullfights; and yet,
we do nothing about the barbarism of divorce fighting, and trying to
find ways to end it. We concern ourselves with cruelty to animals, and
rightfully so, but we are unconcerned about the forced and
intentionally perpetuated cruelty inflicted upon the emotionally
distressed involved in divorce. We abhor police beating confessions out
of alleged criminals, and yet we cheer and encourage lawyers to
emotionally beat up and abuse two innocent people and their children,
because their marriage has floundered. Somewhere along the line, our
sense of values, decency, humanism and justice went off the track.
- From a petition for a Writ of Certiorari submitted to the
Supreme Court of the United States of America by Cleveland,
Ohio attorney Sanford J. Berger on behalf of a divorced
client's request for protection from cruel and unusual
punishment (associated with penalties suffered in divorce
litigation) as guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment of the
United States Constitution.
Children with Two Homes
- some simple guidelines for making the transitions from home to
home easier for children of divorce -- proffered by some famous
Nation Needs to Reverse Trend Towards Fatherless Families
- William Raspberry, who has written some of the most eloquent
and inciteful missives in the last year on the plight of
fatherless families and the impact of divorce and having
children out of wedlock on our society, once again presents a
stellar evaluation of the problem.
Parents Who Avoid Support End Up on TV
- A Contra Costa County TV station will put deadbeat parents'
pictures on TV in hopes of embarrassing them into coughing up
- a quick summary of some important child support payment
statistics as reported by custodial parents to the US Census
The Disappearance of Obligors
- Dr. David Garrod notes that one obvious effect of the
federally mandated changes to child support laws and
guidelines is the disappearance of obligors. After the
guidelines and other new federal regulations were put in
place, more parents than ever are simply skipping out of the
picture. Wasn't part of the idea of these regulations to
get more folks to pay?
California Judge Targets Joint Custody Foes as `dangerous...unbalanced'
- A California judge hits the nail squarely on the head.
Child Support Fed Style
- As of January 1, 1994, all states must be in compliance with
federal mandates that stipulate that child support must be
withheld from an obligors paycheck, among many other things.
Understanding Distressed Fathers' Perceptions
- excerpts from an article that recently appeared in Family and
Conciliation Courts Review summarized and reported by
Dr. David Garrod.
Excerpts from "Finding Fairness in Family Court: Divorced Fathers
Bristle at a System They Say Often Treats Them as Little More than a
- excerpts from an article that appeared in The Christian
Science Monitor that discusses how fathers feel about the
biased treatment they receive from the courts.
A Letter to a Referee
- a referee recently testified to a state legislative committee
hearing that most fathers seek shared parenting solely to
avoid paying child support. This is a copy of a letter sent
to that referee calling her on her statements.
Columbus No Land Of Discovery: Prosecutors Hold All the Cards
- as many divorcing people who get falsely accused of something
heinous to keep them from getting custody already know, local
prosecutors walk all over the letter of the law in making a
legal defense as difficult as possible. In fact, they break
the law in the name of getting convictions, whether the
accused is innocent or guilty.
Scaring Them Sexless
- a county in Ohio created a pamphlet to inform young men about
the law in regards to paternity and child support. It's an
First, the advice given during meetings, by members directly and in
telephone conversations, should not be taken as legal advice. It is the
opinion of the person answering the questions at the time, and the
answers are based upon legal advice that attorneys on our board have
given in similar situations. Consult your attorney before taking any
action in your case.
Second, the articles in the Newsletter are culled from a variety of
sources, cover many topics and reflect differing opinions. Every
article is the expressed opinion of only the author of that article.
These articles do not necessarily represent the collective opinion of
FACE nor of the FACE directors. Even articles written as editorials by
members of this group are not the opinion of the group itself or of
leadership. The Newsletter attempts to present both sides on issues so
readers can form their own opinions and make informed decisions.
This group is for equality.
We are NOT against women. Women who become noncustodial parents face
the same kinds of problems noncustodial fathers face.
We don't think that child support guidelines are fair. We have actively
worked to help the state fix the child support guidelines so they are
fair and logical. We want parents to pay their child support -- on time,
all the time.
We are NOT advocates of child abuse -- we are very much AGAINST child
abuse. Yet, we want the courts and social agencies to recognize that
many contentious ex-spouses make bogus allegations of abuse during
custody battles. We are trying to help the courts and the professionals
that handle such allegations to come up with better methods for doing
We are NOT in favor of the overuse of the adversarial court system for
resolving custody disputes. We think that mediation of these disputes
is a more effective and less expensive solution and we strongly
encourage the courts to utilize this resource more often, more
We are not advocates solely for fathers. We are advocates for children,
because too many children suffer from the consequences of the courts
tearing one parent out of the children's lives and making that parent a
"visitor" and a remote wallet. We don't think that is right or fair. It
hurts children and weakens our society.
We believe that children have the right to and deserve TWO parents. We
believe in equal legal rights and equal physical access to children of
divorce for both parents and the extended family. Hence the name -
Fathers And Children for Equality.
From the Desk of the Editor
October's guest speaker, Attorney Ralph Kerns, a trustee of Fathers
And Children for Equality, summarized the recent changes in Ohio's
child support guidelines, including several new and important reasons
for deviating from the guidelines. Among those reasons for deviation
are (and likely effects):
* Special needs of the children (increase)
* Other court-ordered payments (probably decrease)
* Extended times of visitation -- extraordinary costs of
* Additional employment of second family (increase)
* Disparity of income between spouses (increase or decrease)
* Sharing living expense with new spouse (increase or
* Financially secure children (decrease)
* Assets of each parent (increase or decrease)
* Standard of living being maintained in both homes
(increase or decrease)
* Support from others (decrease)
* Anything else relevant (?)
We'd like to thank Mr. Kerns for educating our members about the new
guidelines and reasons for deviation.
This month the trustees will coordinate with some folks in the
Lancaster, Ohio area to hold a rally to protest recent actions taken by
the Child Support Enforcement Agency in Fairfield County.
Also, this month at the trustee meeting the trustees will vote on a set
of motions to consider changing the structure of the group.
Specifically, the motions add affiliations to the National Congress for
Men and Children (NCMC), Fathers Rights and Equality Exchange (FREE),
Grandparents United for Children's Rights (GUCR), Mothers WithOut
Custody (MW/OC), and the Stepfamily Association of America (SAA).
These motions also include provisions for strengthening the
affiliations with the Children's Rights Council (CRC) and the Children
And Parents Rights Association (CAPRA) and possibly renaming the group
to something like the Ohio Children's Rights Council -- central Ohio
chapter. If you are interested in attending the trustee meeting and
providing some input on this topic, please do so. Note that the trustee
meeting is on Sunday evening, November 14th at the Best Western on 161
-- the regular meeting is Monday, November 15. We changed the trustee
meeting night for this month (just as we did last month) for the
convenience of several trustees.
Children with Two Homes
United Press Syndicate
Whether shared custody means dividing the month evenly between parents
or splitting the arrangement otherwise, it's not easy to smooth the
wrinkles for a child caught in the strands of divorce.
Even in the best of times, a transitory existence for someone young can
mean confusion and insecurity. When caused by a family split-up, the
stress factor of moving around escalates -- unless there is love,
understanding and continuity.
With so many issues like school and activities coming into play, a
child's personal space may be overlooked by parents. Considering how
much environment influences development, however, surroundings are
extremely important, especially in a home setting where kids spend the
What can be done in dual residences to foster continuity? How can
topsy-turvy feelings be quelled while shifting homes?
Some psychologists and educators believe comforting touches can cushion
the uprooted experience.
"Kids can adjust to a lot if parents respect each other and there's no
conflict between them," said Rosemarie Bolen of Kids' Turn, a San
Francisco agency aimed at alleviating the anxiety of kids in family
A child's clothing is one issue divorced parents would do well to
coordinate, Bolen said. "It's better when kids don't have to drag
clothes back and forth; it saves a lot of arguing." Because two
wardrobes would be pricey, provide basics such as play clothes,
underwear and weather gear at both locations.
Shuttling other possessions, however, is a different matter.
"There is a comfort to having things nearby that belong to you," said
psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers. Objects that comfort kids, she feels,
may be as basic as a security blanket and bed pillow that are
soothing by virtue of familiarity and scent.
"Smell is very close to emotions," she said, "even your own scent."
If a child likes a particular scented soap, she adds, it's a good idea
to allow it to be used in both homes even if it means taking the same
bar back and forth in a travel container.
Be prepared if your child expects the family cat or another pet to
share joint custody. "It's a companion you can cuddle," explained
renowned psychologist and author Dr. Judith Wallerstein of the Center
for the Family in Transition. Because it's important that a child's
interests be taken seriously, she recommends that parents consult with
their young ones about these matters.
"One eight-year-old always talked about his bird. It was his closest
ally," she said. "His central concern during the divorce was `Where
would the bird go?'" Another child she recalls made parent-to-parent
treks with the same house plant in tow.
Distance and the pet or plant in question dictate whether or not they
can be transported.
"Allowing the child to carry something back and forth is a way to
provide a sense of continuity," said Wallerstein.
Having counseled more than 6,000 children of divorce since 1971, she's
convinced that objects to which a child is emotionally attached instill
a feeling of security that may lessen stress.
To ease adjustment to double living situations, involve your child in
decisions about their personal quarters in each home. "Children often
feel very peripheral," said Wallerstein. "It's extremely good to
involve them in their room."
Brothers said: "If you can, let a child choose color."
Divorced people often remarry other parents, so unrelated kids often
become part-time roommates. To prevent the transitional child from
feeling like an intruder, experts advise:
* Set aside a shelf, a corner or another area that conveys the
notion of private territory that can be left undisturbed.
* Let treasures be stored in a box that locks for privacy.
* Display a child's artistry in both locations.
* Pick a place where a mess can be made without disruption.
* Hang a drawing of the route between Mom's and Dad's homes with
familiar sites so a child formulates a mental map and knows he
or she isn't at the end of the earth on drop-off days.
* Duplicate a pattern or color on each bed or in another area.
It can be as general as stripes or as specific as a particular
Laura Ashley print. But let your child select it, says Laura
Ashley designer Judy Mashburn whose experience shows kids often
pick a more adult pattern than a parent would for them.
If fabric chosen for one room has a matching border, repeating the look
is as easy as putting a tiny strip on a keepsake box.
A child of divorce, explains Wallerstein, has "a real loss of `Who am
I'? So there's advantage to recognizing your room."
If a young person in a move-around life-style feels like a gypsy,
viewing their photos of themselves with others may offer a context of
belonging. One educator suggests putting two photos by a child's bed;
one with family and one alone happily engaged in activity.
The effect? A lasting impact of being loved and capable.
"People use photos at times of change to cope with crisis," said
Tennessee family life educator Anna Mae Kobbe. It's important for kids
with two families to view photos of themselves with each group to feel
a significant part of each, she said.
Kids' Turn directory Bolen agreed. "Pictures of both parents in both
houses give the message to the child that the parent whose home they're
in values their relationship with the other parent and the other
parent's relationship in their life."
Source: The Columbus Dispatch, October 3, 1993
Nation Needs to Reverse Trend Towards Fatherless Families
By William Raspberry, Washington Post Writers Group
A friend of mine got married the other day, and as part of the wedding
ceremony, her new husband embraced -- and specifically vowed to love
and care for -- her two young sons.
For me, it was one of the most moving parts of the ritual. Perhaps
that's because circumstances had conspired to put the centrality of
children (and the importance of two-parent families) on my mind.
A chance mention during a Congressional Black Caucus breakfast had our
entire table talking about the need for husbands and wives to find ways
to put children first -- ahead even of maximizing their joint income
and individual careers.
A day later, I was in a discussion (not initiated by me) on the deadly
effects of father-absence on everything from school failure to
And on Sunday, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-NY, a fellow guest with
me on NBC-TV's Meet the Press, was touting the importance to
civilization of two-parent families and trying to figure out how we can
reverse the trend away from that tradition.
So when my friend's new husband publicly committed himself to her sons,
I wanted to jump up and shout, "Yes!"
I knew something truly important was taking place. I still know it.
What brings me back to Earth is something else I know: that the
likelihood of such a scene being repeated -- the likelihood that any
given youngster will grow up with two parents -- diminishes every day.
There are two overlapping sets of reasons for this projection. The
first is the one we will talk about: Two-thirds of the black babies in
this country are born out of wedlock, and a still higher proportion are
born to mothers who are young, poor and black. These are the young
mothers we think of when we discuss the "welfare problem" and the
problem of haphazardly raised children. These are the babies we mean
when we speak of "at-risk" children. These are the families most likely
of all Americans to be poor.
We talk about them as single-parent households, though my preference is
to call them fatherless households. It is not the presence of the
single mothers but the absence of fathers that makes the children more
vulnerable to that range of pathologies we have in mind when we say
But the young women in this group are not the only ones who have come
to reject the importance of fathers in child-rearing. The phenomenon
now embraces the "Murphy Browns": unmarried middle-class women, more or
less accidentally pregnant, who decide to raise their children alone;
women who would prefer marriage but who won't let the absence of a
marriage partner stand between them and motherhood; women who,
apparently giving little thought to marriage, "use" men -- lovers,
friends, even near-strangers -- for their sperm and then are done with
What has caused this era of what David Blankenhorn has called the
"superfluous father"? For poor women, particularly teenagers, the cause
may be the inner-city joblessness that makes young men poor marriage
prospects. The young women they impregnate prefer to "marry" a more
reliable provider: the welfare system.
For middle-class women, I hazard two guesses. The first is a matter of
limited options: a dearth of professionally, economically and
chronologically eligible men and the inexorable ticking of the
biologically clock. The second is a growing unhappiness with what they
see as the unfairness of marriage -- that its advantages seem to flow
only to men and subservient wives, not to strong, career-oriented
All these things make sense. But so does the primacy of children.
Children need both parents -- not just two breadwinners, but two
parental roles. Two-parent homes are a protection not merely against
poverty, but also against a variety of emotional insecurities.
This is not to suggest that the children of any particular one-parent
family are doomed. There have always been widowed, divorced and
never-married parents who manage to raise wonderful children. What
concerns me more is the growing existence of entire neighborhoods where
a fully functioning two-parent household is the exception together with
a trend that says fathers don't count for much.
They do. Restoring fatherhood might do more than the 20 next-best
things we could think of to give our children the chance they deserve
-- the chance they must have if we are to arrest the disastrous slide
of recent years. (Moynihan said that if we start now, we may get it
done in 40 years.)
How do we start? By doing what my friends did: putting the healthy
development of children first. There may be a better device than
two-parent families for raising children, but I wouldn't bet on it.
There's too much at stake.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch, September 27, 1993
"In summary, 30% of the children in the present study experienced a
marked decrease in their academic performance following parental
separation, and this was evident three years later. Access to both
parents seemed to be the most protective factor, in that it was
associated with better academic adjustment. .... Moreover, data
revealed that noncustodial parents (mostly fathers) were very
influential in their children's development..... Of greater importance
was the finding that the less time fathers spent at work the better
adjusted were their children's views of the separation. These data also
support the interpretation that the more time a child spends with the
noncustodial parent the better the overall adjustment of the child."
- "Factors Associated with Academic Achievement in Children
Following Parental Separation," L. Bisnaire, Ph.D.; P.
Firestone, Ph.D.; D. Rynard, MA Sc, American Journal of
Orthopsychiatry, 60(1), January, 1990
Parents Who Avoid Support End Up on TV
MARTINEZ, Calif. (AP) -- Stiff your kids, appear on TV.
That's the message of Deadbeat Parents, a new local cable program that
zooms in on child support scofflaws.
Proponents are hoping the 15-minute show will do what the courts have
not: embarrass delinquent parents into paying up.
"The generation of parents we're talking about are so televi-
sion-oriented. What they see on TV, they believe," said Nona McGaa,
whose two stepchildren are owed more than $31,000 by their mother.
"It's not so much that it's intimidation or fear ... it's pointing out
to them that it's not OK."
The show which starts in Contra Costa County on October 25, features 10
alleged deadbeats, including a stockbroker, a physician and a tattoo
artist. It will be broadcast weekly, with the cast of delinquents
changing every month.
After a brief introduction, viewers in the county east of San Francisco
will be shown pictures and vital statistics of the parents and a
telephone number to call with tips.
Parents featured must be at least six months delinquent and owe more
Deadbeat Parents is the latest weapon states are aiming at non-payers.
In central California, brief spots have been broadcast on cable TV in
Kern County. A new law says that the state can yank professional
licenses for nonpayment.
"Taxpayers are picking up the tab for the delinquent parent," said
Contra Costa County Supervisor Sunne McPeak, who proposed the public
access program on cable TV.
Several states circulate "most wanted" posters of alleged deadbeats.
But some aren't happy with the cable show.
"The primary concern that we have is that the standards by which a
gentleman is labeled a deadbeat dad still leave room for a lot of
mistakes," said Neil Holmes of Divorce for Men Only, a Walnut Creek law
firm specializing in men's issues.
Holmes said parents could fall behind on payments because they lost
their jobs or became disabled.
But Gayle Graham, a county district attorney, said officials screen the
cases carefully and won't put such hard luck stories on TV.
Nonpaying parents are told before they are featured on the show and can
make a down payment to stay off. The custodial parent also has to
approve the broadcast.
In the McGaa case, relatives of the nonpaying mother, Maryann Daniels
Christensen, 39, say the former legal secretary and her husband are
living out of a car and don't have the money to pay child support.
Officials don't know where Christensen lives. Efforts by the Associated
Press and other news media to find her have been unsuccessful.
The state and Christensen's daughters, Patricia McGaa, 14, and Jennifer
McGaa, 16, believe she has concealed her assets as well as her
"It's not ex versus ex," Patricia McGaa told the Contra Costa Times.
"It's the children who need to be heard."
Source: The Columbus Dispatch, October 8, 1993
The popular theory that the child has "one psychological parent" as
espoused by the Goldstein, Freud and Solnit thesis of 1973 is NOT
supported by my clinical studies or by other research in the field. The
theory places an inordinate emphasis on one home and one parent,
stressing the themes of continuity and stability. Courts and "experts"
who use this argument in support of sole custody appear to be confusing
the continuity of one household with the more important continuity of
maintaining relationships with both parents.
- Dr. Stanley S. Clawar, Clinical Sociologist, Rosemont College,
According to a study issued by our government in September of 1991, of
nearly 10,000 women surveyed in 1989, a full 75.2% of them received
child support, and of those, 51.4% received the full amount awarded.
Think about this, and ask yourself why it is that these figures don't
mesh with the propaganda being distributed throughout our society.
Furthermore, of the women in this survey who were below poverty level,
more than 50% (56.7%) had no child support award. This is very
different than having an award, and the father not paying it; this
means that in more than 50% of the cases where women were below the
poverty level, child support had not even been ordered, let alone not
complied with. Again, ...ask yourself....
Finally, where the parents shared joint custody, child support was paid
in 90.2% of the cases, compared to 79.1% where the father had only
visitation, and 44.5% where the father had no timeshare at all.
Source: Current Population Reports: Consumer Income, Series P-60, No.
173, "Child Support and Alimony: 1989"; Gordon H. Lester. [U.S.
Department of Commerce; Economic and Statistics Administration; and
Bureau of Census].
Any married man should forget his mistakes -- no use two people
remembering the same thing.
- Duane Dewel
The Disappearance of Obligors
By David K. Garrod. Ph.D., September 24, 1992
At this point in time there is little published regarding any
correlation between child support collection and the introduction of
guidelines. In one county in Indiana, after two years of effort, it was
possible to persuade the data board and county attorney that I should
be allowed to access the names and addresses of child support obligors
to conduct a survey. The results of the survey are still coming in and
may be published at a later date, but what was dramatic immediately on
receipt of the computer print out of names and addresses was what
happened after the introduction of the child support guidelines in
Reported below is a snapshot in time (late 91, but not released until
mid 1992) of the addresses in the files of the county clerk of
Tippecanoe County, Indiana. (For those of you not familiar with
Indiana, Tippecanoe County's major cities are Lafayette and West
Lafayette, home of Purdue Univ.)
Here is a summary of the data obtained:
Total number of obligors: 3,487
Number of juvenile/paternity cases
and other restricted access, for
example, Title IV-D 1: 963
Number of regular divorce obligors: 1,524
Total percentage of restricted
access cases with no address: 829/1963 (42.23%)
By year of filing, restricted access percentage without addresses:
# without without
Year address/total address
1980 27/100 27.0%
1981 39/85 45.9%
1982 27/89 30.3%
1983 49/117 41.9%
1984 65/123 52.8%
1985 74/171 43.3%
1986 60/126 47.6%
1987 58/187 31.0%
1988 96/171 56.1%
1989 67/130 51.5%
1990 92/138 66.7%
1991 33/53 62.3%
The child support guidelines were introduced on a suggested basis in
1987. They became mandatorily presumptive on Oct 1, 1989.
Average of disappearances for cases filed 1980-87: 40.0%
Average of disappearances for cases filed 1988-89: 53.8%
Average of disappearances for cases filed 1990-91: 64.5%
We thus see a dramatic increase of disappearance/desertion after the
child support guidelines were introduced!
The stated intention of introduction of the guidelines was to increase
The disappearance rate for regular divorce situations was very low and
there is no statistically meaningful variation with time. (In fact
there are only eight names without addresses in this category.)
There was no way of knowing from the data given whether all those
fathers for whom the address is known are paying in full or only in
part, but I think one can guarantee that if the address is not known
then that parent is not paying any child support.
Of course, there will always be a few rotten apples, and I do not wish
to imply there are not any. But this research backs up other results
coming from sociological research and questionnaires of the custodial
and noncustodial parents.
Substantial conflict over parenting issues is not present in a majority
of marriages nor is it a major reason for divorce. Furthermore, anger
between parents usually diminishes within a year after divorce. In
denying joint custody solely on the basis of one parent's opposition,
the child's wishes and developmental needs are not even being
considered as a relevant factor in decision making.
- Joan Kelly, Ph.D., "Examining Resistance to Joint Custody"
California Judge Targets Joint Custody Foes as `dangerous ...
A top California family court judge has blasted ultra feminists'
efforts to undermine the state's child-centered joint custody law.
Using strong language, Los Angeles County Superior Court
Commissioner-Judge Richard A. Curtis in a 4500-word statement, urged
the California Legislature to turn down bills violating the principle
that children need the love and nurture of both parents.
He described AB 2116, one of three pending bills, as "...a
mean-spirited attack on joint custody brought on behalf of angry,
embittered parents who are incapable of cooperation in their chil-
dren's best interest and who only wish to bend the court system and our
healthy, child-centered body of law to their end of controlling their
children and controlling the other parent through their children."
Although unnamed, his target in part was the National Organization of
Women, leader of a drive aimed at legislatively emasculating the
state's strong joint custody law that serves as a national model.
Current anti-joint custody proposals would:
* delete from the joint custody law a requirement for "frequent
and continuing contact" for the noncustodial parent,
* delete language instructing judges in awarding custody to
consider which parent is more likely to allow children contact
with the noncustodial parent,
* bar judges from awarding joint custody if either parent
* free the custodial parent to move with the children without
* tie the child's welfare to a "healthy primary relationship"
(meaning, with mom),
* declare psychological adjustment "not related to particular
visitation or frequency or length of visits," and
* stress the importance for the children of the "primary
"Primary caretaker," is the code phrase, he charged, "for a lot of
inappropriate public policy statements they wish to promulgate." Using
it, their ultimate goal is to transfer custody determinations from
judges to administrators.
"They don't want equality, they don't want justice, they don't want
individuals dealt with as unique people with individual needs . . .
They would be perfectly satisfied with an administrative hearing system
which delivers cookie cutter results so long as they're playing with a
deck stacked in their favor," he declared. Studies have shown, he
pointed out, that single custodial fathers are every bit as capable of
nurturing their children in their own way. Passage of the bills, in
effect, would intensify litigation and nullify current practices'
success in persuading couples to mediate and settle. Such nonlegal
techniques, however, simply don't work, he added, for the five percent
"who aren't too tightly wrapped."
"But it is very important that the trial court continue to have the
power to impose joint custody on the far larger majority . . .who come
to court . . .tightly wrapped but in an uncooperative frame of mind.
...most such parents will learn to put aside their differences for
the sake of giving their children a peaceful life and benefits of
having two involved parents."
To the contrary, he warned, "if the backers manage to hornswoggle the
Legislature into passing this bill, they will have succeeded in
getting you to say, `The public policy . . . is to discourage parents
to share the rights and responsibilities of child-rearing. They will
have succeeded in (putting) the child right back into the middle of
their petty personal conflicts..."
The bill backers, he concluded, "like all zealots, victims, and
self-righteous people, have a peculiarly warped view of reality which
prevents them from seeing the other side. . . They are very, very
dangerous, one-sided and unbalanced people from whom to take public
Source: from a report on the Fathers' Rights Newsline, October 25, 1993
The single greatest tragedy facing Americans today is the destruction
of the nuclear family.
- Former President George Bush
Child Support Fed Style
(AP) -- On Jan. 1, 1994, a quiet revolution will be won in the way
Americans pay child support. On that day, federal law will require
virtually all new child-support awards to be withheld from the
paychecks of absent parents.
It is a momentous change, at least on the face of it. From that day on,
Americans can regard child-support in the same light as taxes and
health insurance -- hidden payments that don't come out of anyone's
wallet because they never make it that far.
But like a lot of momentous changes, especially those dreamed up in
Washington, this one is neither as simple nor as straightforward as it
To begin with, there won't be any change in some states because they've
required withholding of child-support payments for years. Other states
will probably miss the federal deadline, which has been lurking in the
statute books since the Family Support Act was enacted in 1988.
"It's a very fluid situation right now," said Craig Hathaway, a senior
policy specialist at the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement.
Translation: States are still scrambling to try to comply with the
federal rules, and some don't have a prayer of making it on time.
"I don't think (it's) going to work," said Irwin Garfinkel, a pro-
fessor of social work at Columbia University who has written
extensively about child support. "I think we're going to have a little
problem here," he added.
None of this means withholding won't happen. It's already used to pay
child support to welfare recipients, and the new rules -- which expand
it to nearly everyone else -- will eventually make it universal. Under
the new law, exceptions are basically only made when couples agree on
Almost everyone agrees that withholding works, ensuring that many women
and children (a few men are on the receiving end, but very few) will
receive child-support payments without a monthly tug-of-war.
Of course, some men may be dismayed to learn that their paychecks are
suddenly lighter because of child-support payments -- and that their
personal lives are suddenly the business of their bosses. The bosses,
who will have additional paperwork to fill out, aren't going to be
Sensitivity to business may explain one aspect of the new law that is
anathema to many state governments. Federal officials say the new rules
require public agencies to mail out the child-support checks.
That way, employers have to make out only one check each month -- to
the public agency. Otherwise, they would have to send checks directly
to each child's custodial parent. That might be no problem for a
business with only one or two employees with child-support orders, but
it could be daunting for larger employers.
Some states now require businesses to send checks directly to the
custodial parents, however. And state officials are loath to lift the
burden from employers' shoulders and put it on their own.
Payroll withholding for child support is hardly a new concept. Some
states have used it in some cases since the turn of the century. It was
a way for judges to make sure their child-support awards were carried
Source: (c) 1993. The Associated Press, October 17, 1993. All Rights
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that
you end up being governed by your inferiors.
Understanding Distressed Fathers' Perceptions
By David K. Garrod, Ph.D.
For those who think there is no problem with sexist attitudes of the
judiciary in divorce and post-divorce problems, take a look an article
by Joyce A. Arditti and Katherine R. Allen in Family and Conciliation
Courts Review, Vol. 31, October 1993, 461-76, entitled, "Understanding
Distressed Fathers' Perceptions of Legal and Relational Inequities
While I personally disagree with their failure to more fully explore
joint custody as a remedy, there are many interesting quotes, for
"People who say it's man's world are not fathers that have been through
a divorce process. It's as if the system rewards women for divorce."
"Some fathers seemed to view custody as a crucial factor determining
their level of involvement with their children. Many had an acute sense
of being excluded from influencing their children`s development because
of custody arrangements."
"The courts were perceived as one-sided and favoring the mother. The
hopelessness that pervaded perceptions about custody also affected
fathers' perceptions about the outcome of visitation."
"Not only was the legal system perceived as biased towards mothers, it
was also believed to be insensitive to men's individual circumstances."
"Lawyers were seen as only in their professions for the money."
"Many men attributed their lack of rights in the divorce process to the
fault of the courts."
"Men felt especially punished by the court system when they tried to be
reasonable and fair themselves."
Unfortunately the conclusion was fairly wimpy.....
"The results of this study suggest that distressed fathers' perceptions
of inequity begin with the divorce process itself and continue to
influence feelings about custody, visitation and child support payment.
Such perceptions can potentially affect the father-child relationship
-- heightening fathers' feelings of exclusion with respect to their
children and hostility and conflict with their ex-wives. Ferreiro
(1990) points out that equity is a question of values belonging in the
political arena. Whereas most people would agree that laws should be
equitable, balancing the interests of men, women and children
postdivorce in a fair, consistent manner is difficult to do. This study
suggests that changes in the legal system and intervention practices
are needed to translate equity from theory to practice. Strategies for
supporting noncustodial parenting need to be implemented in the
contexts of legal and mental health systems. Efforts to minimize
perceptions of unfairness and feelings of helplessness could result in
more satisfactory and less conflictual relationships for all family
members following divorce."
30 references cited in the paper.
"The Draw a Family Test is administered to school age children in the
first year of parental separation and at follow up one year later. Our
focus on family composition and the relative size of each parent,
reveals that children from mother custody families, with time,
increasingly omit their fathers from the drawings, and tend to draw
their mothers as larger than their fathers. It appears as if in this
way children express their sense of the growing peripherality of their
fathers. We also found a relationship between children adding people
from outside the nuclear family and omitting their fathers. Finally, an
increasing constriction in the drawings of one quarter of our sample at
one year follow up, raises for us the question of how well or poorly
children of divorce do over time."
"It is interesting, however, that frequent visitation was apparently
not enough to prevent the father from diminishing in size in the eyes
of his children, as the time increased from the event of his moving out
of the house."
- Who's in My Family? A longitudinal Study of Drawings of
Children of Divorce, M. Isaacs, Ph.D., I. Levin, MSS, Journal
of Divorce, V. 7(4), Summer, 1984
She said much of the peer pressure among students is emphasized by
the media and society, which perpetuates the myth of women wanting
- from an article on date rape in the Mustang Daily
Excerpts from "Finding Fairness in Family Court: Divorced Fathers
Bristle at a System They Say Often Treats Them as Little More than a
By Marilyn Gardner
Experts anticipate more legislation to enforce child support. Robert
Griswold, author of "Fatherhood in America," says, "There's a social
consensus that fathers have to take responsibility for their children."
But, say many fathers, responsibility should bring some reward. They
tell of mothers who won't follow court orders that say children may
visit fathers, and of mothers who move out of state, further separating
fathers and children.
One long-distance father, John Hedin of Burlington, Vt., has a
six-year-old son living in California with Mr. Hedin's former wife.
Hedin sued to have his son returned. "The mothers's right to move
outweighs the father's right to visitation," he says. Last month the
Vermont Supreme Court remanded the case to family court.
"I have followed the court order that says it is most important to see
my son," says Hedin. "I've spent every last cent I have to meet my
obligations and to pay for legal expenses in order not to be alienated
from my son. I spend thousands of dollars a year to visit him and let
him know I'm still his dad and that I love him."
Some Feel Shut Out
Other organizations are working at reforming the culture itself,
seeking not only to change laws but to educate fathers that they are
entitled to participate as parents -- and are needed in that role. Anne
Mitchell, an attorney in Palo Alto, Calif., is founder and director of
a national organization, Fathers Rights and Equality Exchange. Members,
she says, are fathers who recognize their responsibility and their
obligation to support their children but feel shut out by mothers and
Yet many fathers in their position are less aware of a fuller and more
rewarding role they could play as a parent. A study by researchers at
Stanford University finds that, as Ms. Mitchell puts it, "Fathers have
bought into this whole thing. They believe that kids belong with their
mom. They think, `It's my job to pay. I'm nothing. I'm just a weekend
dad.' It just doesn't occur to them that they should still be
Mitchell has seen both sides of the court system. As a divorced parent
who has not received a dime of child support in 10 years," she says, "I
am often told that I am a traitor to my sex by being an advocate for
fathers. But in terms of custody, time-share, and support, women have a
lot of power in family court. It often never occurs to them to be
fairer to the father."
Source: The Christian Science Monitor, October 12, 1993
The primary negative aspect of divorce reported by children in numerous
studies was loss of contact with a parent.
- Hetherington et al., 1982; Kurdek & Berg, 1983;
Wallerstein & Kelly, 1980; Warshak & Santrock, 1983
A Letter to a Referee
By Mike Hamill
[This is a copy of a letter sent to Referee Judith King of the
Montgomery Co. Court of Common Pleas Court of Domestic
Relations in Dayton.]
Dear Referee King:
The board of trustees of Fathers and Children for Equality (FACE) met
on October 17. Two of our trustees who had attended a legislative
hearing on House Bill #415 recently related something to us that we
found disturbing. The trustees indicated that you testified to the
committee members at the hearing. They said that you expressed the
opinion that most fathers were seeking shared parenting solely for the
purpose of trying to reduce their child support obligations.
I wasn't present at that hearing, but when opinions such as this are
voiced to the state legislature, the FACE trustees consider this to be
a serious matter that deserves a response.
We at FACE strongly disagree with the claim that shared parenting is
first and foremost a means for nonresidential parents -- usually
fathers -- to reduce their child support obligations. Shared parenting
provides a means of allocating parental rights and responsibilities
with more leeway than is normally possible with a sole custody order.
It makes it easier for both children and a nonresidential parent to
maintain a closer relationship than is otherwise possible. We believe
that it is mutually beneficial for children and nonresidential parents
to maintain close, loving ties after parents separate. I would add that
court officials ought to be suspicious of parents who seek to keep a
loving parent apart from their children.
When we hear of testimony such as yours, it is dismaying. Thirty
years ago, it was normal for a mother to stay home and care for
children while a father worked as the sole provider. But times have
changed, the norm is now that both parents work outside the home, and
that both parents are usually involved in the day to day upbringing of
children. Fathers are far more likely to feed children, change diapers,
care for sick kids at 2 a.m., etc., than was the case a generation
ago. After experiencing the daily ups and downs of raising children,
many fathers want to remain closely involved with their children after
a relationship breaks up. And mothers who are sensible and aren't
consumed with anger are usually ready to accommodate a father's desire
to be an involved parent.
The current practice in most Ohio courts, to our knowledge, is that
deviations in child support are not being granted unless both parties
consent to it. In these cases, when there is a shared parenting decree,
the residential parent -- usually the mother -- often reaps a windfall,
because she is collecting full child support, sometimes for weeks or
months, at times when the children are not with her. The flip side of
this is that the nonresidential parent has to pay for many expenses out
of pocket (in addition to full child support) during those times when
his children are with him. We believe that this is an unfair practice.
We think that nonresidential parents should be entitled to reductions
in child support to offset their child care costs. We don't believe
discrimination should be legally sanctioned. Obviously, the status quo
is beneficial to residential parents. Those who benefit from
discrimination are unlikely to protest against it.
Fathers aren't very popular in domestic relations courts these days. If
a mother is being uncooperative or vindictive on a matter relating to
children, or won't obey a court order, usually a father's only remedy
is to seek court intervention. This doesn't endear them to judges and
referees who already feel busy. Here in Franklin County, we detect an
attitude from the court that fathers should suffer in silence whatever
problems they're having, so that court officials aren't bothered.
Divorced mothers are fortunate in that the legal system is more
responsive to their typical concerns, and there is less need to hire a
lawyer or file motions; for example, child support can usually be
handled administratively through an agency, and the police quickly
respond to any claim of violence (against women). If court officials
expect the public to have confidence in them, than we believe they
ought to make a concerted effort to be fair to both women and men.
Ohio lawmakers and judges are going to have to deal with groups like
FACE, and its parent organization, Children's and Parents' Rights
Association (CAPRA), and groups such as the Children's Rights Council,
a national organization based in Washington, D.C., for a long time to
The traditional visiting pattern of every other weekend, most often a
maximum of four overnights spent with the father per month, created
intense dissatisfaction among children, and especially young boys.
Youngsters expressed profound feelings of deprivation and loss, and
reactive depressions were frequently observed in young school-aged
- Wallerstein & Kelly, 1980
Columbus No Land Of Discovery: Prosecutors Hold All the Cards
By Martin Yant
Columbus, which often promotes itself as the land of discovery, is
anything but that when it comes to turning over potentially exculpatory
evidence to defense lawyers.
Thirty years after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Brady rule, which
requires prosecutors to produce evidence during the discovery process
that may prove a defendant's innocence, the Franklin County
Prosecutor's office still reveals as little about its cases as
In addition, defense attorneys and/or defendants are routinely stymied
in their attempts to obtain the investigative files on their cases from
Columbus-area police, even though the Ohio Supreme Court has repeatedly
said the state Public Records Act gives them the right to most of these
Take the case of Sean Ennis, whose questionable 1990 rape conviction
was detailed in Columbus Alive. When Ennis' attorney, Richard S.
Ketcham, requested access to the Columbus Division of Police file on
the case, he was turned down.
After the Franklin County Court of Appeals ordered the records'
release, Ketcham discovered the names of several individuals that
Ennis' previous attorney says he was never provided. One of the names
was Steven Goble, who was flagged down by Ennis' accuser shortly after
the alleged rape.
In a July 19 evidentiary hearing before Franklin County Common Pleas
Judge Deborah O'Neill, Goble testified that the victim asked for a ride
home and resisted his insistence that he take her to the police station
to report the rape. Goble also related the version of the rape the
woman told him, which differed significantly from what she later told
As limited as the information turned over to Ennis' attorney was, it
was more than what rape defendant Terrance Zerla got. Zerla was
provided with 20 lines -- half of which were blacked out -- of an eight
page Columbus Division of Police summary of its investigation. All of
the information left out concerned Zerla's personal background --
including the amazing fact that he could read and write -- and his only
statement to police: "I was not trying to rape her."
At Zerla's trial in 1991, his defense attorney was provided with
summaries of police interviews of the victim and witnesses only after
they had been questioned by the prosecutor. This procedure makes it
extremely difficult for defense attorneys to ask witnesses about
discrepancies between their original statements and their trial
Zerla's conviction was overturned by the Franklin County Court of
Appeals in May 1992, because Common Pleas Judge Michael L. Close
refused to excuse a juror who had been raped three years earlier and
was still receiving counseling.
Zerla is scheduled to go on trial again on August 9. When he does,
defense attorney Dennis Day will have the full police report on the
alleged rape only because Zerla won a court order for its release.
After considerable delay, Columbus police gave a copy of the report to
Zerla in late June. But they claimed to no longer have a crucial
tape-recorded interview with the victim. Zerla, who heard the tape when
his attorney was allowed to listen to it during a court recess, says it
contains several statements which contradict what his alleged victim
said at his trial.
Sorry, Columbus police said. We don't have the tape, and we're not
going to help you find it -- court order or not.
After the runaround, though, police found the tape and turned it over.
It did, in fact, contain some discrepancies.
That, unfortunately, is how the high-stakes game of justice is played
in Franklin County. Police and prosecutors have all the cards, and they
keep most of them close to the vest until it's time to play their
The rules are different at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Dayton.
There, as in several states, the prosecutor has an open-file policy
through which everything but legal work product is turned over to
But Montgomery County is an exception to the rule. Take the 1990
child-abuse case of David Doles in Ross County. As Columbus attorney
Carol Wright argues in an appeal now before the Ohio Supreme Court, the
Ross County Prosecutor withheld a statement given by the survivor's
mother. In the statement, she gave the specific dates for two of the
alleged offenses, and said the next occurred on a third Saturday of the
month "between April and June" 1987.
Instead of providing Doles' trial attorney with the mother's narrow
time frame, the prosecutor provided one that said the alleged offense
occurred on an unspecified day of the week between March 1 and Sept.
30, 1987. Doles didn't learn of the narrow time frame until the mother
testified at his trial. By then, it was next to impossible to provide
an alibi, as he had for the dates of the other two alleged offenses.
Notes in the prosecutor's file, to which I gained access through the
public-records law, confirm that the prosecutor was aware of the
mother's time frame when he said he wasn't. They also show that a
former police officer who lent Doles a "sympathetic" ear fed the
prosecutor information -- including a key detail on one of Doles'
alibis -- before the trial.
The withholding of evidence is also a major issue in the 1984
conviction of John G. Spirko Jr. for the murder of Betty Mottinger, a
postmaster in Elgin, Ohio.
Dale A. Baich, assistant state public defender, says the prosecution
failed to deliver records to Spirko's trial attorney that would have
greatly aided his defense. Among them are statements witnesses gave
under hypnosis that differ significantly with what they said at trial.
The obvious solution to the withholding of favorable evidence is
open-file discovery. According to the National Law Journal, an American
Bar Association criminal justice panel is expected to endorse some form
of open discovery next year.
Requiring prosecutors to put all their cards on the table would help
assure that innocent people are not convicted of crimes committed by
someone else -- or that weren't committed at all.
That may sound like a novel concept to some Ohio law enforcement
agencies and prosecutors. But it's as old as the U.S. Constitution
they've sworn to uphold.
Source: Columbus Alive, August 5, 1993
[Martin Yant, a Columbus free lance writer and former Columbus Dispatch
editor, has started The Ohio Observer, a monthly magazine dedicated to
exposing problems in all levels of government in Ohio. For subscription
information, you may write to The Ohio Observer, P.O. Box 14306,
Columbus, OH. 43214, or call (614) 447-8456. A basic yearly
subscription will be $25.00.]
All the research on divorce has suggested that the loss of a continuing
parent-child relationship is the single most critical variable in the
adjustment of the child.
- Philip Stahl, "A Review of Joint and Shared Parenting
Social service workers have long wondered how to make young men
understand their responsibilities when siring children. Now some
counties have simply taken to...
Scaring Them Sexless
By David Smigelski
Teenage boys beware. Girls may be out to take your money -- and
possibly your future. And your only protection may be to keep your
That seems to be the message behind a pregnancy prevention brochure
that is being circulated around the state called "Males, Babies and
"If you are not married to a woman and she becomes pregnant, the woman
alone can decide to have an abortion or keep the child and force you to
pay child support," the brochure begins.
"After the baby is born, if the mother decides to raise the child:
1. The mother may decide to name you as the father, or at a later
time the child may name you as the father. You may be named the
father up to five years after the child reaches the age of 18.
2. If named as the father, you must enter an answer either
admitting or denying you are the father.
3. If you deny you are the father, the Court will order you to
submit to a blood test... if you are proven to be the father,
you will be forced to pay for the blood tests, which cost over
4. If you fail to admit or deny, a trial date will be set.
5. The trial will go on with or without you, whether or not you
take the test or appear at any of the hearings.
6. At the trial the mother must only swear before the court that:
she had sex with you at least once; approximately nine months
later she had a child; she did not have sexual intercourse
with anyone else two months before or after the time of
7. Regardless of whether or not the mother had sex with someone
else, you will be named as the defendant."
The brochure, partially paid for with state money from Ohio's Teenage
Sexuality and Pregnancy Prevention grant incentive program, goes on to
detail all the nasty things that can happen to a boy or man if the
court declares him to be a dad.
* You may be ordered to pay birth expenses which usually cost
several thousand dollars.
* You may be ordered to pay back support from the date of the
* You will be ordered to pay current support which will be
automatically deducted from your paycheck.
* You will be ordered to pay whether or not you have a job. The
money will build up and you'll have to pay when you get a job.
"If you don't pay," the brochure states, "the law can automatically
attach your wages, put a lien on your house, intercept both your
federal and state income tax refund, put you in jail or order you to go
"For the next 18 to 21 years of your life, no matter what you earn, no
matter where you run, whether the mother is good or bad, whether you
visit the child or not, whether or not the mother spends your support
money wisely [she doesn't have to account for any of it], whether or
not the mother receives welfare, each week you will be required to pay
a percentage of your income for the support of your child."
The brochure, produced by the Washington County Career Center, was
introduced nearly three years ago, but is still being circulated.
Xeroxed copies of the brochure were recently found at Harding Hospital.
Other counties and some state programs also have printed similar
The purpose, says Jane Hutchinson, a grants coordinator with the
Washington County Career Center, is to try to get teenage boys and
young men to think about the consequences of their actions.
The brochures are circulated in high schools, teen centers and other
places frequented by teens.
While the brochures are aimed at scaring boys into acting responsibly,
some women think they paint a pretty unflattering picture of young
women as manipulative creatures out to hook boys for money.
"I guess I've never seen that reaction to it," Hutchinson says. "From
boys you'll sometimes get indignant reactions. They'll yell, `Unfair,
unfair. They can't do this to me.'
"They say, `I'm entitled to have sex if I want to and it's no one's
Plus, while it may not happen in the majority of cases, some girls do
make false accusations against boys, Hutchinson says.
"I think that's true. It doesn't happen often, but it's not infre-
quent, either. Sometimes a girl doesn't know who the father is so she
has a decision to make about who the best prospect is, and the law
allows that. All she has to do is say who the father is and the burden
of proof is on him."
And while blood tests can be 99-percent accurate in determining who
the father is, the child has to be six months old before the test is
taken, meaning the stressful process can drag out. "In teenage life,
six months is an eternity. You can go through several relationships in
that time," Hutchinson says.
While the brochures may be unflattering to women from a feminist
perspective, teen pregnancy counselors face a tough job in trying to
instill a sense of responsibility in boys, Hutchinson says.
"We don't know much about boys and their reactions. They're being left
out of it," she says, referring to the fact that most pregnancy
prevention programs focus exclusively on educating girls. "Somehow we
have to find a way to get the boys involved."
Some of the brochures are distributed at hospitals, she says, because
"85 percent of boys will visit the baby in the hospital. But once is
all that many of them will come. That may be the only chance you have
to reach them."
Hutchinson says the brochures were written with the help of the
Washington county prosecutor to ensure that they were based on actual
Source: The Columbus Guardian, June 30, 1993
The FACE Newsletter Staff
Jack Quinn Research, Contributing Editor
Aaron Hoffmeyer Research, Typesetting, Contributing Editor
Mike Hamill Research, Contributing Editor
Paul Bokros Mailing List
The FACE Officers
Mike Driscoll President
Mike Hamill Vice-Presidents
John McKinley Treasurer
R.W. Fowler Secretary
The Fathers And Children for Equality Foundation is supported by the
Ohio United Way.
(c) 1993. All copyrights are implied and applicable.
P.O. Box 18022
Columbus, Ohio 43218
Aaron L. Hoffmeyer
Humans put up with and do a lot of things that usually seem pointless
and arbitrary. We don't mind as long as the stuff that lots of years
of being mammals and primates have taught us to want is satisfied:
connection with family, love, a sense of belonging, sexual
gratification, a place in the social system. We say to ourselve that,
somehow, what we do is helping to ensure that. When one of these basic
needs is ripped from us, without being traceable to something bad or
stupid that we have done, this whole set of assumptions gets called
into question, and all bets are off. All the motivation for certain
kinds of routine and mundane behaviors goes away.
- Eric Pepke