July 10, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
Karen Woodall is a British psychotherapist who blogs extensively about parental alienation. She’s one of the clearest, strongest voices in the fight to make family courts more equitable for parents and healthier for children. Her views deserve respect.
That makes her opinion about the recent case, Re S, cause for some celebration. Woodall calls the case in the UK Court of Appeal, “highly significant” and “exceptionally clear commentary on the Court’s view of the problem of a child’s unjustified rejection of a parent after divorce or separation.” Finally, it may be that British courts have had enough of parents who alienate their children.
In the past, one of the most important problems encountered by alienated parents has been the scandalous amount of time and money it cost to litigate issues of parental alienation. The Re S judges cite a few cases to illustrate.
July 9, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
Bad facts make bad law, at least Australian Labor MP Graham Perrett hopes they do.
Perrett has seized on a single horrible incident that took place in February of this year to attempt to (a) change Australian family law to marginalize fathers in the lives of their children even more than they already are and (b) short circuit the inquiry into family law now in progress.
On February 19th, Rowan Baxter poured gasoline on his three children and their mother, Hannah Clarke, and set it alight, killing all four. He then stabbed himself to death. Baxter and Clarke had been embroiled in a child custody case prior to their deaths.
A family tragedy doesn’t get much more shocking and appalling than that and Perrett was johnny on the spot, ready to make whatever legislative hay he could from the deaths. Strangely, he’s put forward a bill that would do away with the presumption of parental responsibility that’s the last vestige of fathers’ rights in Australian family law. “Parental responsibility” is what we in the U.S. call “legal custody,” i.e. the right to have a say in children’s schooling, medical care, etc. How removing that presumption would have changed the Baxter/Clarke tragedy, I can’t understand and Perrett hasn’t explained. It seems that, in the Land Down Under, it’s always open season on dads and their access to their kids.
July 9, 2020 by Indiana Lee
No one enters into a marriage expecting it to end in divorce. No parent wants their child to have to face the separation of her parents. But not even a divorce can change the fact that you, your former spouse, and the children you made together are, and always, will be a family,
If parental separation is handled well, a child of divorce doesn't come from a "broken home". She has two fixed homes. Together, you and your former spouse can shepherd your child through this transition. No, it won’t always be easy. No, you won’t always have all the answers and you may sometimes feel as if you simply don’t know what you’re doing. And yes, you will make mistakes.
But that’s okay. Because you’re human and humans make mistakes. And when your child sees you and your former spouse facing adversity together as a whole family, even in the face of divorce, then they’re going to learn resilience.
July 8, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
Amazing but true, The Guardian has a positive article about fathers, and a reasonably accurate one too (The Guardian, 6/30/20). Of course the article is well behind the research it deals with and barely scratches the surface, but, within those limitations, it gives its readers valuable information.
It seems there’s some recent research out of Cambridge University on fathers playing with their children and how that influences children’s behavior, both immediately and in the years to come.
Research carried out by Cambridge University’s faculty of education and the LEGO Foundation looked at how mothers and fathers play with children aged 0 to 3 years and how it affects child development.
While there are many similarities, it found that fathers tend to engage in more physical play like tickling, chasing, and piggy-back rides, which researchers claim appears to help children to learn to control their feelings.
The research is based on a review of data from 78 studies, carried out mainly in Europe or the US between 1977 and 2017, which found a consistent correlation between father-child play and a child’s ability later to control their feelings.