In The Best Interests of the Child: How The Courts Get it Wrong. Part 2.

 

There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.

Charles de Montesquieu January 18, 1689 – February 10, 1755 [1]

 

Ostensibly we have laws that purport to treat “…all persons equally before the law…” these laws are enshrined not just in the domestic legislation of common law jurisdictions [1] (Ireland, the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand to name but a few) but in international Human Rights Instruments [2] that are applicable in these individual States and Nations.

But, while it may appear that the protections of the law apply to all persons equally, the reality is different. Part of the underlying problem is, in my opinion, a reliance on assumptions, on myths, on what Dr. Linda Neilsen comprehensively rebutted in her study, (see Part 1). Further, that by default, International Rights Instruments explicitly state, to paraphrase, that children have the right to a meaningful PARENTAL relationship with both their parents, that both parents have “parental equality” by default, and Joint Physical and Legal Custody is the optimum way for parents to exercise those default equal parental rights  – yet,  sole physical custody continues to be granted to mothers, and even in cases where joint physical custody is granted, the parents are still categorized into “the primary carer” and the other or secondary parent with this secondary parents parental status characterised as “access” as “contact” as“visitation”

“My review of 54 studies on shared parenting finds that, independent of parental conflict and family income, children in shared physical custody families—with the exception of situations where children need protection from an abusive or negligent parent—have better outcomes across a variety of measures of well-being than do children in sole physical custody. Knowledge and understanding of these findings allow us to dismantle some of the myths surrounding shared parenting so we can better serve the interests of the millions of children whose parents are no longer living together.”

(emphasis added)

Presumptions, Assumptions and Cultural Language – v – Rights Language.

No doubt, as many fathers have found when participating in “legal proceedings” in particular Family Law proceedings there is a unique language and vernacular used – not only that, there is a distinct method by which decisions are reached – (Ratio Decidendi)[4] but, for many lay litigants (which is usually the case with fathers seeking “access” to their children) this “Ratio” is incomprehensible gobbledygook, legalese and goes completely over their heads.

Part of the reason for this is because (in my opinion) the judicial atmosphere is clouded by the use of presumptions, assumptions and cultural language skewed towards a distinctly female perspective and this dictates the parameters of the judicial decision making process – in other words – the language of Rights, both parental and children’s rights is obscured in favour of taking a cultural framework approach – and – without a doubt, that cultural framework, and its language is informed by a particular ideology that has no place in the decision making process that affects the long term wellbeing, safety, and welfare of children.

The rights of children get subsumed under an ideological toxic cloud of rhetoric and mythologies about “motherhood” that serves only the interests of the person manufacturing that toxic rhetorical cloud and usually her equally ill-informed and ideologically driven counsel. (say no more)

Children’s Rights

The most obvious question is of course – do children have rights?

It might seem and appear to be a ridiculous question, but, when it comes to Family Law proceedings in this jurisdiction in particular (Ireland) and in other common law jurisdictions the default paradigm through which judicial decisions are made is NOT that children have distinct rights as autonomous human beings, but that those rights are and can only be exercised with the consent of and co-operation of a litigious parent, whose very actions in making applications for sole custody and/or limited “access” to the other parent is a stance that quite clearly indicates that the child “in dispute” most certainly does not “have rights’ distinct and separate from that parent.

Giving sole custody to mothers who present as opposed to “access” who seek to limit the amount of real time “access” fathers get to spend with their children, who go to court demanding that the court endorse and sanction them with a “gate-keeping” role in the exercise of a full and meaningful parental relationship for fathers and their children should be immediately presumed as a violation of the fundamental principles of “equal parental rights” enshrined in CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

Article 24 – The rights of the child

  1. Children shall have the right to such protection and care as is necessary for their well-being. They may express their views freely. Such views shall be taken into consideration on matters which concern them in accordance with their age and maturity.

  2. In all actions relating to children, whether taken by public authorities or private institutions, the child’s best interests must be a primary consideration.

  3. Every child shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis a personal relationship and direct contact with both his or her parents, unless that is contrary to his or her interests.

 

Article 7 – UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child)

The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or  her parents.

Article 9

1 States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of the child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately and a decision must be made as to the child’s place of residence.

2 In any proceedings pursuant to paragraph 1 of the present article, all interested parties shall be given an opportunity to participate in the proceedings and make their views known.

3 States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to   maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child’s best interests.

(all emphasis added)

Mothers who persist in objecting to, obstructing, litigating against “access” should be immediately be viewed as suspect and in particular, being, not only in violation of the above mentioned provisions of law but if either “sole custody” is sought or a “gate-keeping” role in relation to “access” is sought, it should be presumed to be a deliberate intention to breach NOT JUST the parental rights of the other parent (the father) but the children’s rights under the provisions of the above mentioned Instruments.

Unfortunately, the Courts tend to only pay lip service to the concept of children’s rights, and while judges may make a passing reference to “the right of child to ………………., it gets lost under the blanket of toxic ideological fog generally created by the obstructionist, conflict generating, gate-keeping parent – in most cases – the mother.

The Illegitimacy of the Concepts of “Access to”, “Contact with” and “Visitation with” Your Children

Bearing in mind that it is the Right of the Child to “to know and be cared for by his or  her parents….” and the Right of the Child to have and “to  maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis,” I would argue that ANY application by any parent grounded on a curtailment of, reduction of, infringement of the full exercise of those rights BY THE CHILD, is ab initio unlawful, fundamentally flawed and in breach and violation of he provisions of Article 24.3 of CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, and is in breach and violation of Article 9.3 of the UNCRC.

I would also argue that any application to curtail, limit, disrupt and/or impose conditionality, or to award a “gate-keeping” parental authority to one parent over the other parent is also ab initio a fundamental breach and violation of, in this jurisdiction (Ireland) the provisions of:

Article 40

1 all citizens shall, as human persons, be held equal before the law.

Article 42a

1 the state recognises and affirms the natural and imprescriptible rights of all children and shall, as far as practicable, by its laws protect and vindicate those rights.

 4 1° Provision shall be made by law that in the resolution of all proceedings–

i brought by the state, as guardian of the common good, for the purpose of preventing the safety and welfare of any child from being prejudically affected, or

ii concerning the adoption, guardianship or custody of, or access to, any child, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.

The question is, what is the underlying cultural and societal fundamental hindrance to achieving a just outcome FOR CHILDREN, when their parents no longer live together?

Answer.

Myths about women – assumptions and presumptions presented as a de facto credible basis’ for skewing “custody” to women and “access’ to men.

Bit of an aside here. I took a little look see around the internet to see what the feminists were up to, what was pushing their buttons in the here and now.

Was like Deja vue all over again – same shoite different year.

Housework???? Still whining about housework. Wage gap???? Really? Notwithstanding that this particular myth has been comprehensively discredited. I Have no intention of addressing these issues – they have been more than adequately addressed by other writers and bloggers. Though the housework thing is beyond ridiculous.

I read a few studies – and nope, couldn’t be bothered giving a link – in a nutshell, the impression created was that wimmin were, to all intents and purposes working their fingers to the bone slaving over steaming tubs of water using washboards to do the laundry. Sigh.

Guess what. Two hours ago, I threw a wash into the machine, took me all of 30 seconds, 20 minutes ago, at grave physical risk and danger, I pulled the laundry out of the washing machine and fecked it into the dryer – can hear the dryer from where I’m sitting, at my laptop, writing this.  Though, the 30 seconds it also took to feck the laundry into the dryer has me only exhausted! I may need funding for a support group to be set up so I can “share my feelings” about how random men all over world “oppressed” me for a full minute!

Seriously though.

This language of “oppression” and martyred motherhood” needs to be unpicked, rebutted, discredited – in Court – and on a basic fundamental level.

Yep – I know it sounds nit-picky but think about it – “Primary Carer” being a case in point.

Childhood lasts approximately 18 years (legally speaking that is) – the first 4 – 6 years being what I suppose could be called labour intensive – that is before this putative child goes to school., with the first two years being the most labour intensive. By which stage most children are walking, eating grown up food, possibly starting to become toilet trained. By two years old, the vast majority of children are in a routine – i.e. they go to bed by 7ish pm and they sleep till 7ish am.

In other words, by the time they’re two their routines are predictable, manageable and equally able to be carried out by BOTH or either parent(s).

But, because of the promulgation of the myth of martyred motherhood, Courts continue to give credence to this discriminatory concept of “Primary Carer” based on the notion that there are some magical, extraordinary things that women can do that men are not only incapable of doing but are genetically handicapped (by being men) from ever being able to do.

The biological reality is this – there is only one thing, and one thing only that women can do and men can’t – breast-feed. And any reasonable person will tell you, that breast-feeding is unnecessary beyond maybe 8 – 10 months (babies have teeth at this point)

Conclusion

In order for States that are signatories to the ECFRF (European Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms) the ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights) UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) and on individual domestic “equality” legislation to be IN COMPLIANCE with the provisions of these documents there MUST be a presumption of Joint Legal and Physical Custody of children.

There MUST be a presumption that the child is entitled to a full, meaningful and EQUAL relationship with BOTH parents, with NO CONDITIONALITY other than practical and logistical matters to make co-parenting work with the minimum of stress FOR THE CHILD.

Any parent who creates conflict around implementing a co-parenting arrangement, causes difficulties, creates obstacles should be the one sanctioned – including a loss of parenting time, and in extreme cases – loss of Joint custody, until to be blunt SHE cops onto herself, puts the child’s needs before her own selfish need to be “in control” to “set the rules” to “dictate the parameters of the other parents role” and yes I did use the word “she” deliberately – because it is nearly always “she” who causes, creates and manufactures the conflict.

Family Law judges have allowed themselves to be bullied, to be manipulated, to be hood-winked – and to be blunt – when presented with what is referred to as a “high-conflict” custody case to be emotionally blackmailed by the perpetrator – the mother, invariably.

In effect – absent mitigating factors (real credible and evidence based) Sole Custody Orders are, in my opinion – Unconstitutional, (Ireland) and in breach of the provisions of the ECHR and ECFRF.

TPAC (Toxic Parental Alienation Conflict) perpetrated by one parent against the other parent, the visible manifestation of which ARE these applications for sole custody, ARE applications for restricted “access” for the other parent, constitute sufficient mitigating circumstances to reduce parenting time, and in extreme cases loss of Joint Custody for the parent making these applications.

I draw your attention to the provisions of Section 63 of The Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, [6] at ;

(i) where applicable, proposals made for the child’s custody, care, development and upbringing and for access to and contact with the child, having regard to the desirability of the parents or guardians of the child agreeing to such proposals and co-operating with each other in relation to them;

(j) the willingness and ability of each of the child’s parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent, and to maintain and foster relationships between the child and his or her relatives;

(k) the capacity of each person in respect of whom an application is made under this Act—

(i) to care for and meet the needs of the child,

(ii) to communicate and co-operate on issues relating to the child, and

(iii) to exercise the relevant powers, responsibilities and entitlements to which the application relates.

(emphasis added)

 

Part 3: In The Best Interests of the Child: Review of the Case Law.

 

References

[1] Charles de Montesquieu https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/Montesquieu/

[2] http://guides.law.sc.edu/c.php?g=315476&p=2108388

[3] European Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf

European Convention on Human Rights https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_ENG.pdf

UNCRC http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/ProfessionalInterest/crc.pdf

Ireland and the UNCRC https://www.ihrec.ie/download/pdf/ireland_and_the_united_nations_convention_on_the_rights_of_the_child.pdf

[4] Ratio Decidendi http://lib.oup.com.au/he/Law/chew2e/chew2e_BLG2_chapter1.pdf

[5] Irish Constitution 1937 http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/pdf/en.cons.pdf

[6] The Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2015/act/9/section/63/enacted/en/html

In The Best Interests of the Child…..Getting it Wrong: A Pyrrhic Victory Creating Conflict to “Win” Custody of Children. Part 1

 

 

How women manipulate the legal system and rely on judicial ignorance, judicial reliance on faulty and unsupported assumptions and “mother myths” to sever, disrupt, poison and damage Father/Child Relationships by creating a toxic conflictual environment, (which for convenience I will refer to as Toxic Parental Alienation Conflict TPAC)I contend that it isn’t the manufactured “conflict” that damages children the most – it is losing their Fathers through Family Law Judges relying on and applying the above mentioned judicial ignorance, faulty research and unsupported assumptions and “mother myths”  in judicial decision making in contested “custody” cases that causes the worst outcomes for children.

In effect – Family Law Judges who make custody decisions “in the best interests of the child” by allowing TPAC to influence erroneous decisions to award “sole custody” to the mothers creating the TPAC and “limited” or “supervised access” to Fathers are entrenching, endorsing and supporting the continuing negative psychological damage being inflicted on children.

How? By giving TPAC mothers permission to continue to cause psychological damage to children BY PREVENTING THESE CHILDREN FROM HAVING A FULL MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR FATHERS.

To reiterate – it isn’t the “conflict” that ultimately causes the most damage to the children – it is losing their fathers.

Which is not to say that that the TPAC isn’t damaging – it is – but there are two negative processes interacting here – children being used as pawns in TPAC, and the RESULT of children being subjected to TPAC – losing their Father – and yes, I acknowledge that mothers have also been the victims of TPAC – but the vast majority of parents being targeted are Fathers.

The Nature of Conflict

It is, for want of a better expression, human nature to disagree with or dispute the opinions, views or positions of other people – we are betimes in conflict with the stated opinions of other people, we express that disagreement and put forward an alternative opinion and/or view. We debate. We argue.

My mother used to say “it would be a boring world if everybody agreed with everybody else all the time” and I concur. No doubt you have all either been involved in, or observed two people in heated exchanges – usually because there is passionate disagreement – if one is unable to convince the other of the validity of your point of view, despite your best efforts, the normal adult thing to do is to “agree to disagree”

On a more mundane everyday level, human life is peppered with small micro disagreements, small incidents of conflict – I want to watch Babylon 5 (Duh!) someone else wants to watch Top Gear (Huh!) ooops – conflict. The solution is glaringly obvious……………for grown ups that is. Get another bloody television.

The point is human life is about conflict, disagreements, disputes, large, small and microscopic – we manage them, we resolve them, usually on the fly and we MOVE ON. This happens in all human relationships – ALL – including parental relationships – obviously some parental relationships are more argumentative, more tetchy, more conflictual than others – but – in the context of those parental relationships, the issue isn’t and shouldn’t be about the level of parental conflict BETWEEN the parents – the issue is – are the children dragged into these conflicts and how do the courts view this “conflict”

There is of course another more insidious underlying process in play – in TPAC the conflict is manufactured, engineered, deliberately instigated, for one purpose and one purpose only – to sever the parental relationship between the child/ren and the targeted parent – usually the father, and the children are manipulated into becoming involved in, part of, and enmeshed in this manufactured “conflict”

The fact that there is “conflict” in particular where one parent is actively engaging in behaviour’s that disrupt, prevent, impede and/or damage the other parents relationship with his child/ren, is actively seeking judicial endorsement of a curtailment of the other parents relationship with his child/ren is, in my opinion an immediate red flag – and should be. Any parent who demands that the Court sanctions and endorses a “gate-keeping” role, authority, position over the other parents relationship with his children is immediately suspect.

I’m going to pause here for a moment for a little aside and quote from Re-examining the Research on Parental Conflict, Coparenting, and Custody Arrangements: Linda Nielsen Wake Forest University: Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 2017, Vol. 23, No. 2, 211–231

Empirical Basis for the Conflict Hypothesis

The assumption that, unless parents have a low conflict, cooperative relationship, the children will fare more poorly if they have frequent contact with their father or if they live in a JPC family seems to have originated from five studies in the 1980s. Twenty five to 30 years ago when these studies were conducted, it was generally assumed that children benefitted most from maximum mothering time while their parents lived together, as well as after they separated. From this perspective, restricting the children’s time with their father would have a less negative impact than exposing them to the parental conflict. The assumption was that, unless the parents had a friendly, low conflict relationship, the more time fathers and children spent together, the more conflict would likely arise. These beliefs are reflected in custody laws which have historically restricted children’s time with their fathers to every other weekend and occasional vacation time (DiFonzo, 2014). The earliest of the five studies (Johnston, Kline, & Tschann, 1989) garnered nationwide attention when cited in Wallerstein’s bestselling book on divorce (Wallerstein, Lewis, & Blakeslee, 2000) to support the view that,

Joint custody arrangements that involve the child in going back and forth at frequent intervals are particularly harmful to children in a high conflict family. Children who are ordered to traverse a battleground between warring parents show serious symptoms that affect their physical and mental health. The research findings on how seriously troubled these children are and how quickly their adjustment deteriorates are very powerful. (Wallerstein et al., 2000, p. 215)

Wallerstein’s books received national media attention for well more than a decade (Kirn, 2012). Prioritizing conflict and recommending against JPC or frequent “visitation” unless conflict was low gained further momentum in books written for family court and mental health professionals (Garrity & Baris, 1997; Hodges, 1991; Johnston & Campbell, 1988; Stahl, 1999). Johnston et al. (1989) was a pioneering study that for many years was misinterpreted and cited as evidence that joint physical custody was only suitable for parents with little to no conflict. Given its longstanding influence and the fact that its author (Johnston, 1995) has expressed regret about how the study has been, and continues to be (e.g., Shaffer, 2007) misunderstood and misused, it merits careful attention.”

NB JPC means Joint Physical Custody.

A summary of Dr. Neilsen’s research is available here and the full text of her research paper is here. Dr. Neilsen reviewed 54 studies conducted over an extensive period of time, including the one quoted from above, which has been relied on extensively to support SPC (Sole Physical Custody) decisions and more importantly, the assumptions that Family Law Judges use and are consistently trotted out to support SPC arrangements – Dr. Neilsens research empirically discredits (in my opinion) ALL previous assumptions in relation to SPC decisions, and the erroneous and flawed thinking upon which those decisions have, and continue to be made with regard to the custody of children.

From:

10 Surprising Findings on Shared Parenting After Divorce or Separation: Linda Neilsen

  1. In the 54 studies—absent situations in which children needed protection from an abusive or negligent parent even before their parents separated—children in shared-parenting families had better outcomes than children in sole physical custody families. The measures of well-being included: academic achievement, emotional health (anxiety, depression, self-esteem, life satisfaction), behavioral problems (delinquency, school misbehavior, bullying, drugs, alcohol, smoking), physical health and stress-related illnesses, and relationships with parents, stepparents, and grandparents.
  2. Infants and toddlers in JPC families have no worse outcomes than those in SPC families. Sharing overnight parenting time does not weaken young children’s bonds with either parent.
  3. When the level of parental conflict was factored in, JPC children still had better outcomes across multiple measures of well-being. High conflict did not override the benefits linked to shared parenting, so JPC children’s better outcomes cannot be attributed to lower parental conflict.
  4. Even when family income was factored in, JPC children still had better outcomes. Moreover, JPC parents were not significantly richer than SPC parents.
  5. JPC parents generally did not have better co-parenting relationships or significantly less conflict than SPC parents. The benefits linked to JPC cannot be attributed to better co-parenting or to lower conflict.
  6. Most JPC parents do not mutually or voluntarily agree to the plan at the outset. In the majority of cases, one parent initially opposed the plan and compromised as a result of legal negotiations, mediation, or court orders. Yet in these studies, JPC children still had better outcomes than SPC children.
  7. When children are exposed to high, ongoing conflict between their parents, including physical conflict, they do not have any worse outcomes in JPC than in SPC families. Being involved in high, ongoing conflict is no more damaging to children in JPC than in SPC families.
  8. Maintaining strong relationships with both parents by living in JPC families appears to offset the damage of high parental conflict and poor co-parenting. Although JPC does not eliminate the negative impact of frequently being caught in the middle of high, ongoing conflict between divorced parents, it does appear to reduce children’s stress, anxiety, and depression.
  9. JPC parents are more likely to have detached, distant, and “parallel” parenting relationships than to have “co-parenting” relationships where they work closely together, communicate often, interact regularly, coordinate household rules and routines, or try to parent with the same parenting style.
  10. No study has shown that children whose parents are in high legal conflict or who take their custody dispute to court have worse outcomes than children whose parents have less legal conflict and no custody hearing.

These findings refute a number of popular myths about shared parenting. One among many examples is a 2013 study from the University of Virginia that was reported in dozens of media outlets around the world under frightening headlines such as: “Spending overnights away from mom weakens infants’ bonds.” In the official press release, the researchers stated that their study should guide judges’ decisions about custody for children under the age of four. In fact, however, the study is not in any way applicable to the general population. The participants were impoverished, poorly-educated, non-white parents who had never been married or lived together, had high rates of incarceration, drug abuse, and violence, and had children with multiple partners. Moreover, there were no clear relationships between overnighting and children’s attachments to their mothers.

My review of 54 studies on shared parenting finds that, independent of parental conflict and family income, children in shared physical custody families—with the exception of situations where children need protection from an abusive or negligent parent—have better outcomes across a variety of measures of well-being than do children in sole physical custody. Knowledge and understanding of these findings allow us to dismantle some of the myths surrounding shared parenting so we can better serve the interests of the millions of children whose parents are no longer living together.

Dr. Linda Nielsen is a professor of Adolescent and Educational Psychology at Wake Forest University. She has written numerous articles on shared parenting research and is frequently called upon to share the research with legislative committees and family court professionals. For copies of her research articles contact nielsen@wfu.edu

So, TPAC creates, manufactures, engineers and feeds the conflict, damaging the children subjected to it, and the Courts sees this “conflict” and award SPC to the perpetrator, the instigator, the manipulator, further causing psychological distress and damage to these already burdened children, and the circuit is complete.

The alienator has achieved her object – destroyed the relationship between the children and his/her father, and basking in the glow of victory, sweeps out of Court with a smirk – the children are……..collateral damage. She won!

Family Law Judges believe they have achieved a “reasonable and just outcome”………………..in the best interests of the child.

Feminists, their twisted acolytes and enablers cheer yet another victory over “the patriarchy” and all’s well with the world, alternatively they pen this rubbish. Sigh. I know.

From: “… HE’S JUST SWAPPED HIS FISTS FOR THE SYSTEM” THE GOVERNANCE OF GENDER THROUGH CUSTODY LAW Author(s): VIVIENNE ELIZABETH, NICOLA GAVEY and  JULIA TOLMIE Source: Gender and Society, Vol. 26, No. 2 (April 2012), pp. 239-260 Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.

“In Anglo-Western countries like New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, state interventions to “assist” parents who cannot agree on postseparation care arrangements are informed by the welfare principle, better known by the seemingly simple phrase “the best interests of the child.” As others have pointed out, the welfare principle is notoriously indeterminate; what is in the child’s best interests is open to interpretation and contestation (Boyd 2003,2004,2006; Collier 2006; Coltrane and Hickman 1992; Fineman 1988; Kaganas and Day Sclater 2004; Rhoades 2002, 2006; Smart 1997; Smart and Neale 1999a).

Partly as a result of attempts by a global fathers’ rights movement to reassert entitlements to children, the welfare principle is currently defined in terms of an ongoing relationship with both parents. This understanding of a child’s best interests is associated with a shift to joint legal custody, which accords the rights and in theory the responsibilities of parenthood to both parents irrespective of the nature of their relationship, and the rise of joint physical custody—a situation that includes a wide variety of care arrangements for children, all of which generally involve children spending time in the physical care of both parents.

In Australia and an increasing number of U.S. states, emphasis is placed on equal shared parenting, which entails children spending approximately 50:50 time in the physical care of each parent.

In this article, we treat the intervention of custody law, framed by both custody legislation and the actions of various family law professionals, including judges, lawyers, mediators, psychologists, counselors and social workers, in the lives of separated parents as an instance of the governance of gender (Brush 2003).”

Though one of my favourite quotes from this “research” is this:

“Indeed, Rekha Mirchandani (2006) on the basis of her research on a domestic violence court in Salt Lake City, Utah, claims that state institutions can be transformed into feminist regimes that challenge “male dominance in the home” by undermining men’s prerogatives in relation to their partners and children.”

The irony of the authors use of the words “entitlements” and “men’s prerogatives” has not escaped me, nor you I would imagine.

So, “best interests of the child” is to all intents and purposes the new mantra of Family Law Courts, notwithstanding the authors of HE’S JUST SWAPPED HIS FISTS FOR THE SYSTEM” THE GOVERNANCE OF GENDER THROUGH CUSTODY LAW………etc  contention that “……what is in the child’s best interests is open to interpretation and contestation…….”

“In Anglo-Western countries like New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, state interventions to “assist” parents who cannot agree on postseparation care arrangements are informed by the welfare principle, better known by the seemingly simple phrase “the best interests of the child.” As others have pointed out, the welfare principle is notoriously indeterminate; what is in the child’s best interests is open to interpretation and contestation (Boyd 2003,2004,2006; Collier 2006; Coltrane and Hickman 1992; Fineman 1988; Kaganas and Day Sclater 2004; Rhoades 2002, 2006; Smart 1997; Smart and Neale 1999a).”

Actually – it isn’t – in contention – by legitimate unbiased and responsible persons working in the area of child welfare. But, feminists do so love their vague wishy washy, woozly, “what the hell is she talking about” “research” “I’m just going to pull a load of figures out my ass and present them as legitimate research to support whatever twisted and ideologically driven “theory” I have subscribed to”

Nor, I might add, is it a vague and ephemeral concept in law.

In The Best Interests of the Child…..How The Courts Get it Wrong. Part 2.

Part 2 on Monday.