Beating the Trojan Horse

I have blogged extensively about the subject of Men’s Rights Groups and 50/50 Custody arrangements. But there is much more to be said on both of these subjects and I feel that these groups, the crisis in our Family Court System and inappropriate custody and financial situations affecting millions of children across our nation is something that needs to be discussed, debated and ultimately fixed.

I brought up the Men’s Rights or Fathers Rights groups in a post last year.  This post blew up my social media channels with hundreds of men spewing hostile words, obscenities and threats in my inboxes. I likened the anger of these groups to the way psychologists describe narcissistic rage when the mask slips and the real self has revealed in all its ugliness.

In a subsequent post, I exposed “joint custody” or “50/50” as the trojan horse that it can be used for. A useful tool to avoid paying child support.

I will repeat myself for the peanut gallery: to “share custody” and be true equals in a relationship that is in the BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD, the two parents must live in the same school district, be able to cooperate and COMMUNICATE, have similar parenting styles and the same rules at each house and have similar finances. Anything less is a mess, for the KIDS bounced between the two homes.

Now you can imagine my surprise to hear of a real “trojan horse” this spring legislature session, this one rolling into Tallahassee, Florida under the guise of “alimony reform”. But this so-called “alimony reform” bill was brought to the Florida legislature for the third time by the Florida Family Law Reform PAC, a Father’s Right’s Group started by two angry “permanent alimony payers” in the state. It also had a mandate to make 50/50 Florida law. But you had to read the actual bill to find out that Florida was going to have a new “law” affecting so many children and families.

In that piece, I quoted an LMH Practitioner in Childhood Therapy who has worked with children and families for almost 18 years.
“I was horrified at the brainwashing that 50/50 was in the best interest of the child. Especially the 3/3/2 or 2/2/3 divisions of time. This is horrible for a child’s development and creates unimaginable confusion. These kids have the equivalent of “jet lag”. They never know where they are waking up, especially in the middle of the night during normal childhood nightmares. After nearly 18 years in the field, I can count on one hand the number of 50/50 cases I consider “successful”. To even be somewhat successful the parents MUST live in the same school zone and zip code so as not to disrupt the child’s sleep/wake cycles. Even a 30-minute earlier wake time or a 30 minute later bedtime can cause major issues. And with discrepancy’s in income some parents cannot afford even an apartment in the same zip code as the other parent, or former marital residence. Also, even if the child has items at both residences, they are still living out of a suitcase, think favorite blanket, stuffed animal, comfort items, for older kids tablets or laptops needed for entertainment or school. They also tend to have extreme attachment issues with missing pets. Chronic and severe adjustment disorder is inevitable to these custody arrangements.”

While speaking with this therapist about the amazing push for 50/50 going on in multiple states across the nation she mentioned not only the “brainwashing” of younger therapists but that fact that many research articles she has used in the past to back her stance against 50/50 are disappearing from their former online homes and being replaced by pro 50/50 pieces.

One-piece that so far has survived the purge is an article from 1989 in the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice by Dianne Post.

I would like to share Ms. Post’s introduction to her piece here for you to consider:
“In my practice, I have seen the sad results of a joint custody mania which is sweeping the courts. Joint custody is popularly seen as the solution to the divided family: the parents may divorce, but the children remain legally and emotionally “married” to both. Unfortunately, joint custody is more often an arrangement designed to protect the divorcing father’s rights rather than the best interests of the children. Fathers are often economically motivated since they are often successful in reducing their child support obligations by seeking joint custody orders. Allegedly since they have joint custody, they are providing half of the cost of caring for that child. However, the tendency of the fathers in joint custody arrangements is to leave the children with their mother during the father’s physical custody time. Not only does this cause psychological harm to the children and inconvenience to the mother, but it also costs the mother money. She must feed and entertain the child for the extra time that the father had agreed to spend with the child. Thus, the fathers retain control and get rights with no responsibility. The following is a guide to resources about the negative effects of joint custody for practitioners arguing against this arrangement.’ It discusses the psychological effects on children of joint custody, situations in which the award is inappropriate or dangerous, and the legal status of joint custody. The sources listed below represent some of the strongest arguments made against the casual awarding of joint custody.”
One of the saddest things in this entire article was a simple statement: “Joint custody did not protect any of the children from experiencing the grief and anxiety common to young children when parents divorce.” (this was from a sample of 25 families studied)

Also, of interest was the listed parental characteristics that lead to a failed outcome for 50/50:
The parental characteristics that led to a failed outcome for the joint custody arrangement included:
1. Intense, continuing hostility and conflict with the spouse that spilled over onto the child.
2. Overwhelming anger and the continuing need to punish the spouse.
3. A history of physical abuse.
4. A history of substance abuse.
5. A fixed belief that the spouse is a bad parent.
6. An inability to separate their feelings and needs from those of the child.

This study, like that of McKinnon and Wallerstein, concluded that in certain instances, such as where physical, verbal, or substance abuse is present, joint custody fails.
Parents with these problems are the ones who cannot mediate, cannot agree and end up in front of a judge.
A judge who now must follow a mandated law pushed into law by potential Hate groups. Seriously?

Parents of America, you know what your kids need.

Two stable involved parents are the ideal, but one stable parent will do. One consistent stable home, consistent and stable financial support.
Let’s make it happen.