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 "Court Ordered Sexism: The Child Custody Battle Rages On"

The following comments, written by NCFM, GNY member Werner R. Stutz, are in response to an article about discrimination against fathers by the courts. Please view the article "COURT-ORDERED SEXISM" by Robyn E. Blumner, Times Perspective Columnist, St. Petersburg Times (05/16/04).

Response by Werner R. Stutz:

Dear Ms. Blumner:

As the father and legal custodian of my son and my daughter following some extremely protracted divorce proceedings, I would like to thank and congratulate you for your GREAT article published in the St. Petersburg Times on May 16, 2004.

It is indeed gratifying to notice that you dared to publish and disclose against formidable opposition the legally enforced sexism in our court system. Currently, most custody decisions are primarily decided for the personal and financial benefit of the mothers rather than following the hollow theory *in the best interest of the child*. In todayís political and tainted domestic relations climate, it seems to be more convenient for the judges to award child custody to the mothers. It will avoid controversy. There will be no outcries and tears.

Letís hope that your article will lead to further discussions and eventually result in positive, remedial actions. What are needed are corrective legal provisions, mandatory interpretation guidelines and accountability for EQUAL justice that is applicable to both parents in the procedure for awarding child custody. In reality, the activist groups protecting the mothersí interests will fight any such efforts. Clearly, they do not want equality.

I can personally confirm the distinct bias and blatant aversion in the entire court system against fathers seeking custody of their children. This open and freely admitted discrimination is expressed in all facets of the divorce and child custody proceedings, by the courts, the social services, other government agencies, including the police, and the psychiatric profession. Despite the apparently toothless legal statutes and likely following some unwritten guidelines fueled by outside pressure applied by radical feminist interest groups, most judges like and prefer to award child custody to the mother in the vast majority of cases rather than to the better parent.

If these lost fathers behave, shut up and pay up any amount that is dictated to them (who cares how and where they live?), the empowered mothers may possibly but reluctantly permit these fathers to see their own children. The location and hours for such (sometimes supervised) visitations by the fathers are often dictated and curtailed, should they be unable for whatever reasons to pay all of their support obligations at any given time.

Worse, our society, the entire legal system and even the extended family structure treat and sneer at these non-custodial fathers as jerks and losers. Everyone seems to be against these *bums*. Surely, they are guilty and the cause of their divorce mess. Further, it is not unheard that mothers often influence their children against their banned fathers and nourish the burning flame to blame and hate the very same fathers for not being around in the family home.

The new generation of lawyers is apparently still trained to advise their male clients to forget seeking custody of their children. The attorneys generally seem to counsel them in effect to be content in becoming the relegated absentee parent.

As a prelude, it is quite often the divorce lawyers who urge fathers to move out of the marital home for the *benefit and peace of the children*. Once this goal is accomplished, these reluctant fathers are *cooked and done*. After all, HE left the house and, therefore, he abandoned his family and marital residence Ö resulting upon application in a quick *temporary custody* arrangement for the benefit of the mother. Needless to say that the *temporary* soon becomes permanent, probably coupled with a sanctioned court order that prevents the father from entering his own house.

If this does not work, some women are known to be encouraged by their peers to fabricate charges of child molestation against the fathers, or perhaps spousal abuse or marital rape against the husbands. Such concerted actions of unsubstantiated accusations, lack of proof and witnesses, will at once make a court date available for obtaining temporary restraining orders etc. Obviously, in one way or the other, these men had it, not to speak of their personal suffering, mental torture, humiliation and loss of trust and respect these targeted fathers must go through.

We can easily argue that the legal profession is largely to blame for (promoting or ignoring) these traps for fathers. In fact, many judges and the lawyers on both sides favor this expedited outcome. There is less to do to conclude each case.

A fatherís worth? In the final analysis, the monetary size of his checkbook and the regularity of his support payments is all what counts.

What a scheme! What a cruel punishment and detriment for the children, since many fathers are often the better parents, the primary caregivers and the steady, good adult influence on their children.

Werner R. Stutz
Brewster, New York

May 2004

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