An Appeal to Women from Fathers and Families Board Member Elizabeth Barton, Ph.D.
[caption id="attachment_11249" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Elizabeth Barton, Ph.D."][/caption] Like many of you, I have witnessed first-hand the unfair treatment that fathers -- and sometimes mothers -- receive at the hands of a court system which often cares little for protecting the loving bonds between children and both their parents. It was very painful to watch my husband and stepchildren endure this treatment. It would be a nightmare to see it happen one day to one of my children. As a woman, a Board Member of Fathers and Families, a mother of three children and two stepchildren, and a second wife, I appeal to women to support family court reform. Why do I work with Fathers and Families, specifically? Because we are the only family court reform organization that is engaged in the political process on a professional level. Because of this approach, we are getting results. This year Fathers and Families led the passage of seven different family law bills nationwide, including five in the bellwether state of California. Our legislation grows out of the needs of Fathers and Families members and supporters such as yourself. Our recently passed bills include child custody reform, child support reform, alimony reform, protection from family court financial abuses, and others. A more detailed list of our many legislative accomplishments can be seen here. [caption id="attachment_11267" align="alignright" width="250" caption="Fathers and Families Board Member Elizabeth Barton, Ph.D. and family"][/caption] But legislative work isn't just about passing good bills--it's also about defeating harmful and misguided ones. A simple failure to act has been one of the critical shortcomings of the family court reform movement for the past several decades. In large states, there are often 50 or more family law bills introduced into each legislative session. Most are benign, but some are harmful to families. For years this movement has inadvertently let bad legislation through because we did not have fulltime staff and legislative representatives to monitor legislation and defeat harmful bills. Fathers and Families is different. For example, this year powerful California organizations put forward two bills that would have made it very difficult for target parents of Parental Alienation to get courts to act. We were able to build strong coalitions to defeat both bills. This was a huge victory, not just for California families, but also for those in other states who would have faced similar legislation had these bills passed. We have an ambitious, exciting legislative agenda for 2011 which we will soon be unveiling. The Fathers and Families model works, but it also requires resources and a lot of help from you. Family court reform is not just a men's issue. It can affect everyone. My goal is to raise money from WOMEN to expand and extend Fathers and Families' family court reform efforts. There are three ways to give: www.fathersandfamilies.org/give.