Malicious Mother Syndrome
Ira Daniel Turket, PhD
With the increasing commonality of divorce involving children, a
pattern of abnormal behavior has emerged that has received little
attention. The present paper defines the Divorce Related Malicious
Mother Syndrome. Specific nosologic criteria are provided with
abundant clinical examples. Given the lack of scientific data
available on the disorder, issues of classification, etiology,
treatment, and prevention appear ripe for investigation.
A divorced man gains custody of his children and his ex-wife burns
down his home. A woman in a custody battle buys a cat for her
offspring because her divorcing husband is highly allergic to cats. A
mother forces her children to sleep in a car to "prove" their
has bankrupted them. The actions illustrate a pattern of abnormal
behavior that has emerged as the divorce rate involving children has
Today, half of all marriages will end in divorce (Beal and Hochman,
1991). The number of children involved in divorce has grown
dramatically (e.g., Hetherington and Arastah, 1988) as well.
the majority of such cases are "settled" from a legal perspective,
outside the courtroom the battle continues.
The media have spent considerable effort raising public awareness
about the problem posed by divorced fathers who do not provide
court-ordered child support payments. Hodges (1991) has noted that
less than 20 percent of divorced fathers provide child support
payments three years after their divorce. Research on the decline of
women's economic status following (e.g., Hernandez, 1988; Laosa, 1988)
has contributed to recent legislation to address the "Deadbeat Dad"
While the media correctly portray the difficulties imposed upon women
and children by the "Deadbeat Dad" phenomenon, the cameras have yet
to capture the warfare waged by a select group of mothers against child
support paying, law-abiding fathers. Everyday, attorneys and
therapists are exposed to horror stories in which vicious behaviors
are lodged against innocent fathers and children. Unfortunately,
there are no scientific data on the subject. Similarly, the clinical
literature has relatively ignored the problem..
A noted exception can be found in the clinical writings of Gardner
(1987, 1989) who has provided excellent descriptions of the Parental
Alienation Syndrome. Here, a custodial parent successfully engages in
a variety of maneuvers to alienate the child from the non-residential
parent. Once successfully manipulated, the child becomes
".preoccupied with deprecation and criticism of a parent-denigration
that is unjustified and/or exaggerated" (Gardner, 1989 p. 226). In
the typical case of Parental Alienation Syndrome, both mother and
child engage in an array of abnormal actions against the father.
Gardner views "brainwashing" as a concept "too narrow"
(Gardner, 1989) to capture the psychological manipulation involved in turning
a child against his/her non-residential parent.
While Gardner's pioneering descriptions of the Parental Alienation
Syndrome provide an important contribution to our understanding of
divorce-related child-involved hostilities, the present paper is
concerned with a more global abnormality. As noted in the examples
provided in the beginning of this manuscript, serious attacks on
divorcing husbands take place which are beyond merely manipulating the
children. Further, these actions include a willingness by some
mothers to violate societal law. Finally, there are mothers who
persistently engage in malicious behaviors designed to alienate their
offspring from the father, despite being unable to successfully cause
alienation. In sum, these cases do not meet the criteria for
Parental Alienation Syndrome. Nevertheless, they portray a serious
The purpose of the present paper is to define and illustrate this more
global abnormality with the hope of generating increased scientific
and clinical investigation of this problem.
The present section provides a beginning definition of the
Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome, which has been derived from
clinical and legal cases. As in all initial proposals, it is
anticipated that future research will lead to greater refinement in
the taxonomic criteria.
The proposed definition encompasses four major criteria, as follows:
1. A mother who unjustifiably punishes her divorcing or divorced
a. Attempting to alienate their mutual children from
b. Involving others in malicious actions against the
Engaging in excessive litigation
2. The mother specifically attempts to deny her child (ren)
a. Regular uninterrupted visitation with the father
b. Uninhibited telephone access to the father
c. Paternal participation in the child(ren)'s school
3. The pattern is pervasive and includes malicious acts towards the
a. Lying to the children
b. Lying to others
c. Violations of law
4. The disorder is not specifically due to another mental disorder,
separatemental disorder may
In this section, I will provide clinical illustrations for each
criterion using the reference numbers provided above. As criteria 1-3
are behavior specific to the Malicious Mother Syndrome, I will provide
a series of clinical examples. The fourth criterion which addresses
the relationship of the proposed syndrome to other mental disorders,
will be discussed more generally.
Criterion 1A: Alienating the Children
The range of actions taken by a mother to attempt to alienate her
children from their father is impressive. For example:
One mother lied to her children that she could no longer buy food
because their father had spent all of their money on women in topless
A doctor's wife forced her 10-year-old son to apply for federally
funded free school lunches to delude the boy that his "daddy has made
A woman who for years was very close to the children in a custody
battle, was asked by their mother to give up neutrality and join her
campaign against the father to "dance on his grave." When the
refused to give up her neutrality, the mother falsely informed her
children that their father was having an affair with this woman.
These behaviors, if successful, could lead a child to not only hate
the father, but perhaps go years without seeing him. As Cartwright
(1993) has noted: "The goal of the alienator is crystalline: to
deprive the lost parent, not only of the child's time, but of the time
of childhood." (p.210).
Criterion 1B: Involving Others in Malicious Actions
The second component of the first major criterion where the mother
attempts to punish the husband, involves manipulating other
individuals to engage in malicious acts against the father. Examples
of this kind are as follows:
During a custody battle, a mother lied to a therapist about the
father's behavior. The therapist, having never spoken with the
father, appeared as an "expert" witness to inform the Judge that
mother should be the primary residential parent and that the father
needed to be in therapy.
One angry mother manipulated teenagers to leave anonymous threatening
notes at the ex- husband's home.
A mother who had lost legal custody of her children, manipulated a
secretary at the child's school to assist in kidnapping the child.
In the above examples, it is important to note that the person
manipulated by the angry mother has, in a way, been "alienated"
against the divorcing husband. Typically, the individual
takes on a righteous indignation, contributing to a rewarding climate
for the mother initiating malicious actions.
Criterion 1C: Excessive Litigation
There is little question that either party in a divorce or custody
proceeding is entitled to appropriate legal representation and action.
Individuals suffering from Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome,
however, attempt to punish the divorcing husband by engaging in
A belligerent and unreasonable mother verbally attacked her ex-husband
whenever she saw him. Over time, his response was to ignore her.
then took him to court, asking the judge to require the ex-husband to
talk with her.
One mother told a judge that her daughter was not really her divorcing
One woman refused to stop attacking her ex-husband through the courts,
despite numerous attorneys being fired or voluntarily leaving the
case. Over a three-year period, seven different attorneys were
Data exist which can help in determining the range of excessive
litigation. For example, Koel et al. (1988) report on the
of post-divorce litigation in a sample of 700 families. Their data
indicate that only 12.7% of families file one post-divorce petition to
the court, whereas less than 5 percent file two or more petitions
(Koel et al. 1988); less than one percent file four or more petitions.
Criterion 2A: Denying Regular Visitation
Experts are in relative agreement that regular and uninterrupted
visitation with the non-residential parent is desirable and beneficial
for children, except in extreme circumstances (Hodges, 1991). In
fact, some states, such as Florida, have laws written to reflect this
view (Keane, 1990). Unfortunately, even when the father and children
have legal rights to visitation, individuals with Divorce-Related
Malicious Mother Syndrome continue to interfere with it.
A mother who previously attacked her ex-husband physically during
visitation transfers of the children, refused to provide the children
when the ex-husband had the police attend to monitor exchanges.
When one divorced father arrived to pick up his children for
visitation, the mother arranged for her and the children to be
elsewhere so that the father could not visit with the children.
One mother had her physically intimidating boyfriend assault her
ex-husband when he came to pick up his children for visitation.
The President of the Council for Children's Rights (Washington, D.C.)
notes that such alienation is considered a form of child abuse (Levy,
1992). Unfortunately, the police typically avoid involving themselves
in such situations. Furthermore, unless a victimized father is
financially capable of returning to court on an ongoing basis, there
is little that can be done to prevent such mothers' behavior.
Finally, even when such cases are brought to trial, the courts are
often inadequate in supporting fathers' visitation rights. (Commission
on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992).
Given the physical absence of one parent, the telephone plays an
important role in maintaining the bond between child and
non-residential parent. Individuals suffering from Divorce-Related
Malicious Mother Syndrome engage in an array of actions designed to
circumvent telephone access.
A father called to speak to his children and was told that they were
not at home when, in fact, he could hear their voices in the
When one father called to speak with his children, the mother put him
on "hold," informed no one, and then left him on hold.
Knowing that the children's father was away on vacation, one mother
encouraged them to leave several messages on his answering machine to
call back immediately only if he would like some additional visitation
time with his children.
Some fathers find the alienation attempts so painful and fruitless
that they eventually are extinguished from calling their children;
they simply "give up." Placed in a no-win scenario, the
"abandonment" (Hodges, 1991) unfortunately achieves the precise
aimed for by the individual suffering from Divorce-Related Malicious
Criterion 2C: Denying Participation in Extra-Curricular
An integral part of the process of maintaining one's bond with one's
child is to participate in activities that one did before the parents
separated. School plays, team sports, and religious events are just
osme of the type of activities of importance. Malicious Mothers
frequently engage in maneuvers designed to prevent participation in
One father was deliberately given the wrong date and time for an
important event for the child. The child was asked by the mother,
wonder why your father didn't want to come to see you today"?
One mother refused to provide the father with any information about
any extra-curricular activities in which the children were engaged.
Prior to a child's soccer game, one mother told many of the team
parents disparaging falsehoods about the visiting father. When he
came to watch his son's soccer game, many of these parents looked at
him with angry eyes, refused to talk with him, and walked away when he
moved toward them.
Malicious Mothers who engage in such behaviors rarely have to face
penalties for such actions. Judges, attorneys, and policemen cannot
involve themselves in every instance of blocked paternal access.
Furthermore, most fathers cannot afford the financial requirements
involved. As such, the cycle of access interference perpetuates
Criterion 3A: Malicious Lying to the Children
Given their developmental status, children in a disputed divorce
situation are quite vulnerable. When one parent decides to attack the
other by lying to the children, examples of this type of malicious
behavior may include some of the following:
One divorcing mother told her very young daughter that father was "not
really" her father, even though he was.
An eight-year-old girl was forced by her mother to hand unpaid bills
to her father when he visited because the mother had falsely told the
daughter that the father had not provided any economic means of
support to the family.
One mother falsely told her children that their father had repeatedly
beat her up in the past.
These examples of malicious lying can be contrasted with the more
subtle maneuvers typically seen in Parental Alienation Syndrome, such
as "virtual allegations" (Cartwright, 1993). Here, the mother
up a Parental Alienation Syndrome may hint that abuse may have
occurred, whereas the individual suffering from Divorce-Related
Malicious Mother Syndrome falsely claims that abuse has actually
Criterion 3B: Malicious Lying to Others
Individuals suffering from Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome
may engage a wide range of other individuals in their attacks upon the
ex-husband. However, with this particular criterion, the individual
with Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome specifically lies to
other individuals in the belligerency against the father. Some
examples include the following:
One furious mother called the president of the (1500 employee)
workplace of her divorcing husband, claiming falsely that he was using
business property for person gain and was abusing their mutual
children at his work locale.
One woman falsely told state officials that her ex-husband was
sexually abusing their daughter. The child was immediately taken away
from him and his access to her was denied.
During the course of a custody dispute, one mother falsely informed
the guardian, who was investigating the parenting skills of each
parent, that the father had physically abused her.
Snyder (1986) has reported on the difficulty imposed upon legal
authorities when confronted with someone who is an excellent liar.
Consistent with research on the inability of "specialists" to
lying (Ekman and O'Sullivan, 1991), a skilled fabricator can be a
compelling witness in the courtroom (Snyder, 1986). While sometimes
seen in borderline personalities, Snyder (1986) notes that
pathological lying (Pseudologia Fantastica) is not restricted to that
particular character disorder.
Criterion 3C: Violating Law to Attack the Husband
Individuals suffering from Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome,
have few, if any boundaries in their campaign against the divorcing
husband. Violations of law are common in many cases, although the
laws broken may be relatively minor. However, in some cases, the
violations of law may be quite serious.
One woman deliberately drove her automobile into the house of the
ex-husband where their mutual children resided.
In the midst of a custody battle, one woman broke into the residence
of her divorcing husband and stole important business papers.
An angry divorcing mother called a Christian evangelical television
station and pledged $1,000, giving the name, address and phone number
of her divorcing Jewish husband as the pledgee.
The above descriptions may remind the reader of certain personality
disorders (e.g., antisocial, borderline, sadistic) but these behaviors
may be demonstrated by individuals with Divorce-Related Malicious
Mother Syndrome who do not appear to meet official diagnostic criteria
for an Axis II disorder. Further, in each of the four examples
provided above, none of the Malicious Mothers involved was sentenced
for such behavior by a Judge.
Criterion 4: Not Due to Another Disorder
In assessing the Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome, it is
important to note that many of the above clinical examples seem to
have occurred in individuals who had no prior mental disorder
diagnosis or treatment. In fact, one mother who engaged in extreme
maliciousness toward her divorcing husband had several mental health
professionals testify that she was not suffering from any type of
In the author's experience, for each mental disorder that might come
to mind to account for some of this behavior, an exceptional case
presents. For example, in some cases, an Adjustment Disorder might
seem an appropriate diagnosis, yet one woman still denied her
ex-husband visitation 10 years after the divorce. Other cases might
suggest a possibility of a personality disorder diagnosis, yet one
woman who repeatedly violated the law in attacking her ex-husband,
received no personality disorder diagnosis despite being evaluated by
masters level and doctoral level examiners. In some instances,
Intermittent Explosive Disorder might be considered, yet the anger for
many of the mothers does not appear to be intermittent.
Finally, the reader should appreciate that while diagnostic accuracy
for certain psychiatric difficulties is not as good as one would like
(e.g., the personality disorders, see Turkat, 1990), the problem is
compounded in family law where incompetent mental health examiners
sometimes become involved in the judicial process (Turk, 1993).
Clearly, the relationship between Divorce-Related Malicious Mother
Syndrome and other mental disorders is a complex one which requires
The above description of the Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome
raises a variety of important clinical, legal and scientific issues.
From a clinical perspective, families that involve a Divorce-Related
Malicious Mother Syndrome are subject to serious episodes of stress
and distress. Yet, there is no scientific evidence on how to treat
this phenomenon. It is particularly compromised by the fact that many
of these cases that appear to meet the proposed diagnostic criteria
deny that there is anything wrong with them.
An additional difficulty is that many therapists are unaware of this
pattern of malicious behavior (Heinz and Heinz, 1993). As such, there
are malicious therapists who are "fooled" by such cases and, as
earlier, will come to court testifying that there is nothing wrong
with the mother involved.
From a legal perspective, there are some attorneys who may
unintentionally encourage this type of behavior (Gardner, 1989). On
the other hand, there are some attorneys who deliberately encourage
such behavior as the financial rewards for them are time dependent.
In other words, the more involved the litigation process, the greater
the profits for the attorney. (Grotman and Thomas, 1990).
even for the subset of attorneys for whom this may be true, there is a
point of diminishing returns. Furthermore, independent of economic
considerations, many who become involved with family law courtrooms
find that these types of cases are not handled well (Greif, 1985;
The woman who is not disturbed "enough" to lose custody of her
children in the courtroom will not have money denied to her because
she engages in this behavior; nor will she go to jail. Thus, many
clients report significant frustration when they and their children
are exposed to this type of behavior, and the courts seem to do
In a review of pertinent law literature on bias against men in family
law proceedings, Tillitski (1992) concluded that there is widespread
discrimination. This is well illustrated by one family law Judge's
statement that, "I ain't never seen the calves follow the bulls, they
always follow the cow; therefore, I always give custody to the mamas."
(Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992, p. 741).
Similarly, it is noted that visitation rights of fathers are not
enforced as rigidly as are child support orders (Commission on Gender
Bias in the Judicial System, 1992.) Such bias against men in family
law proceedings results in a unique group of fathers who
unintentionally become relatively helpless victims of the system
(Tillitski, 1992). This situation would seem to reinforce much of the
vicious behavior displayed by women suffering from Divorce-Related
Malicious Mother Syndrome.
The issue of sex distribution of the disorder certainly needs to be
addressed. The overwhelming majority of custodial parents are female
(Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992). Gardner
(1989) has noted that Parental Alienation Syndrome appears most
commonly in females, although it is possible for a male who has
custody of the children to engage in the same type of alienating
behaviors. The author's experience with Divorce-Related Malicious
Mother Syndrome is similar to Gardner's. However, the present writer
has yet to see a case of a father engaging in all of the criteria
listed. This does not mean that it is not possible for there to be a
"Malicious Father" Syndrome. In fact, Shephard (1992) reports
there is significant abuse of some custodial mothers by
non-residential fathers. On the other hand, it should be noted that
there are females who are required to pay child support, but we have
yet to hear about "Deadbeat Moms." Given at the present time
case in which the father met all of the criteria for Divorce-Related
Malicious Mother Syndrome has yet to be documented, it appears
advisable to await scientific evidence to guide issues of nosologic
How prevalent is the Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome? The
answer is unknown. Gardner (1989) reports that approximately 90
percent of all custody battles involve some aspects of parental
alienation. Further, Kressel (1985) reviewed data indicating that
to 40 percent of maternal custodians denied visitation to the
ex-husband in order to punish him. Relatedly, Arditti (1992)
reported that 50 percent of a sample of divorce fathers (N=125)
indicated that visitation was interfered with by the mother. While
aspects of parental alienation may be common, it is highly unlikely
that such a percentage of maternal custodians would meet all of the
criteria for Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.
In regard to incidence, it would appear through the title of this
syndrome that the malicious behavior is precipitated by the divorce
process. However, this is clearly an empirical question. While
malicious actions may first be noted during a divorce process, it is
possible that maliciousness may have been present earlier but
undetected. Research on pre-divorce parental conflict (Enos and
Handal, 986) supports this speculation. Relatedly, it may also be
that there are some cases of pre-existing mental disorder that have
not been discovered until the stress of the divorce itself unfolds.
Finally, it should be noted that research on the nature of
post-divorce family functioning is beginning to emerge. Some data
exist on the role of parental conflict in children's post divorce
functioning (e.g. Frost and Pakiz, 1990; Furstenberg et al., 1987;
Healy, Malley and Steward, 1990; Kudek, 1988), but studies have yet to
appear on the more extreme cases of Parental Alienation Syndrome and
Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.
The Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome represents an important
societal phenomenon. The disorder affects children, parents,
attorneys, judges, guardians, mental health professionals and others.
Until this phenomenon is explored more thoroughly in the scientific
and clinical literature, the problems imposed by individuals suffering
from Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome will continue to plague
us. Hopefully, the present manuscript will stimulate research so that
clinical and legal management guidelines can be developed.
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Analysis. Ivor Catt 28may02
I quote; "(FNF would
not join the protests as it could endanger it's charity status!, so that
statement alone proves they have lost all focus or what they are meant to be for
too)" - Mark Harris, who was a speaker at the ManKind 2001 Conference.
Three things I need to say.
1. Last week I attended a
CAFCASS Consultancy meeting (one of seven across the country.)
2. In private discussion, I
emphasised to Jonathan Tross, the CAFCASS No. 2 in command, that we (ManKind)
would continue to go after Sloss. I have now sent him our June02 Editorial
saying that we will continue to pursue her after her retirement, following
the precedent set by the Nuremberg Trials. (Sloss continues to refuse to
communicate with the half of the adult population who are suffering so
grievously in her secret courts.)
Note that, like FNF, ManKind
is a charity. The most heavy handed treatment of Sloss in "Ill
Eagle", aug01, was around the time that ManKind became a
charity. CAFCASS was set up in order to reorganise the family court
3. Parton caused FNF to distance
itself as much as possible from Mark Harris when he was jailed. In stark
contrast, the next issue of ManKind's "Ill Eagle" gave the first
page and a half to Mark, for which he thanked us.
This contrast in approach
needs to be pointed out from time to time.
Ivor Catt. Editor,
"Ill Eagle". 27may02
Ivor Catt 28may02. I am
glad to find that I have not yet sent the above email off. Certain
further thoughts occur to me.
My whole position is based
on the premise that the situation will deteriorate for a further 15 to 20
years. The present generation of youth cannot be saved. (Radfems, in a very
similar way to Communist infiltration of the Electrical Trades Union
(ETU) in something like 1965, have gained a stranglehold on all our
institutions, and now subvert them to their own ends.) The marker of the
deepening crisis will be the increasing suicide rate among young men.
However, what will force reform 15 to 20 years from now will be the
increasing civil disorder, reaching a peak at 20 times the disorder of the
Poll Tax riots. Three years ago I had already written on my website about the
coming of Fascism. http://www.electromagnetism.demon.co.uk/zb038.htm and
My belief that the crisis
has to deepen greatly is based on my studies, the frequent times when I have
read the writings of Radfems and listened to them, and on
those infrequent times when I have "talked with the enemy".
The latter is an important factor in helping me to master the subject. It was
extremely valuable that ManKind paid the heavy fee (£50) for me to go to a
Radfem coference on DV two weeks ago, and this meant funding the enemy. Our
visit to a CAFCASS Consultative Meeting was also very instructive for me.
These last two events reinforce my conviction that the crisis will get much
deeper. These women are clearly implacable, and heavily entrenched in all our
institutions. Along with them, we have to deal with fellow-travellers, some
of them unpaid, who are building a rapidly growing dovirce/child protection
industry. A startling sight was the well-meaning men at the CAFCASS meeting
who apparently staff "Child Contact Centres", possibly unpaid; the
part of the nationalisation of the family people who fail to profit
financially from the nationalisation of the fmaily. The ignorance
displayed by the 50 people at the CAFCASS meeting, both guests and CAFCASS
staff, was astounding.
This heavy control of our
institutions by radfems gives us plenty of time to master the subject. A
great number of subtle but crucial insights might still evade us. For
instance, at the CAFCASS meeting there was a clapped-out Lady Barbara Lowry
Q.C. a Recorder. Along with all those who act as judge in our family courts
to dismember our families, she was ignorant. She trotted out the
refrain "Every case is different." (similar to the
refrain "The interests of the children come first").
Wherther I had already
seen the insidious nature of that mantra before, its enormity only came to me
as I watched her say it across a small table in a little room. This mantra
meant that she did not need to study the subject. She did not need to learn
about outcome; the increased suicide rate etc. among children whom she cut off
from their fathers. Since every case was different, statistics were of no
value. Ignorance was the way to operate. I think she even said that
".... one got a feeling for the case....". Since I had been urged
to study Lord Denning 15 years before, I could see the malign hand of Denning
in this; his contempt for precedent etc. (See my book "The Hook and the
Sting" http://www.electromagnetism.demon.co.uk/xk1hs1.htm ).
Watching in horror Lowry across
the table, and ruminating during the next week, I saw the insidious nature of
Parton's anecdotal approach; his failure to study the subject. Parton's
anecdote maps onto Lowry's "Every case is different." It follows
that there is no accountability for our judges. It also maps onto their
last-ditch determination to keep their courts totally secret. Since every
case is different, they will not see the point in journalists and
researchers looking for patterns in a series of cases, and then looking into
the outcome for the judges' victim children five or ten years later. They
will also not see the point in talking with victim fathers, since there will
be no pattern for them to discern which might guide their future actions.
"Every case is different." maps directly onto the "Good
Fairy" court case, carefully instituted by Denning to replace a court of
law. Denning's Good Fairy epitomises the nationalisation of the family.
(Denning emphasised that his Good Fairy judge had to be watched carefully in
open court, even where children were involved, or "all kinds of
thing will go wrong" in a secret court.)
I write this lengthy
exposion and use "Every case is different" to illustrate a general
point. It is that we are dealing with a very subtle, complex cancer here. Although
I have studied it a great deal for 20 years, I am still gaining in
understanding in important ways, for instance in grasping the full
significance of "Every case is different."
Another subtle point only recently
advanced by me (in the last few days) is the concept of the malicious
court. Baskerville, who flew over to speak at the ManKind 2000 Conference, (and
who got Cools to speak at his university, see Cools below,) has done
extremely good work on the financial pressures fuelling the rapidly growing
divorce industry. The high point of Baskerville’s work is his
"Liberty" article at www.ivorcatt.com/2909.htm
, where he maps out the financial mechanisms which force the growth of the
divorce/child protection industry. Thus, why had I totally failed to pick up
the work of Turket, www.ivorcatt.com/2066.htm,
which presents a different scene which I already knew. (I could not propose
the concept of the malicious court on my own, because that would have been
paranoia.) Turket leads us to the concept of the malicious court, rather
than the court driven into anti-child corruption by financial imperatives. I
mention this second example to show how subtle this subject is, and how the "one
more shove at the barricades" man will, at best, end up like the
1960s Paris demonstrators; controlling the streets for a while, but nothing
more. (I am sure Baskerville, a true academic, will
welcome this mild rocking of his "financial corruption" boat.)
I appreciate that the
"One more heave at the barricades" approach (short termist) would
see me as a dead weight, preventing reform. Also of course, male airheads
(and Adrienne Burgess) will see me as merely making a bid for intellectual
over-sophistication to take over and slow down a reform movement. There can
also be an honest view that the problem is quite simple and straightforward,
and such as I are just trying to show off, and getting in the way. There are
also fathers who do not believe that there is no hope for their own children,
and that reformist activity has no relevance to their particular case, and
only address future children. Here, of course, we see a split in what I
regard as two important functions; advice and support for victim fathers on the
one hand, and long term study on the other.
Both a short termist and
my own approach can be seen to be betrayal. The short termist thinks that he
can get in bed with Sloss and sort the whole thing out sharpish; that
militants are poisoning his relationship with her. A long-termist can be seen
to betray, by talking with the enemy in order to understand them and to
educate them. I think it is extremely important that, although surely doomed,
senior members of CAFCASS be educated in the subject by us as much as
possible. Anyone who understands becomes our ally.
My attacks on Sloss, and
the demonstrations outside her home, might appear to be short termist, but I
am conviced that they are not. My belief that reform cannot begin for 15
years means that Sloss is doomed - I have written to her to tell her that she
cannot be part of any reform process, because she cannot learn enough fast
enough. I am in full support of Mark Harris in and out of jail and
of the demonstrations, because they help to polarise the situation and are
beginning to force the media and the judges to recognise that here we face a
major crisis which warrants study and discussion. My personal position, which
is the same as 20 years ago when I wrote to that effect to the Quisling then
head of FNF, is that until we have got two judges fired and two family
courts shut down, we have not begun. Unfortunately, I did not think of
hounding the key anti-social judges. That happened in the West Country only
20 years later. My 1996 book http://www.electromagnetism.demon.co.uk/xk1hs1.htm
asserts that our courts are beyond reform. The idea that no courts at all
would be better than our present courts is beyond the thinking of most
Ivor Catt 28may02
next section may be here only temporarily. I Catt 28may02
Senator Anne C Cools
Senator Anne C. Cools addressed a Washington audience of 2,000 public policy
and community activists today, calling for shared parenting
and criticizing family courts and radical feminist extremism for
destroying fatherhood. In the keynote speech to the International
Fatherhood Conference, Sen. Cools stressed the importance of both parents
following divorce in the lives of children and criticized gender bias in
custody decisions. The conference is organized by the National Center
Strategic Nonprofit Planning and Community Leadership (NPCL), with
sponsorship from the governments of the District of Columbia and the states
of Virginia and Maryland, and other groups. Roger Gallaway, a popular
Liberal Party member of the Canadian House of Commons and leading critic of
the Liberal government on custody issues, was also a guest at the
What is so stunning and historical about this speech is that this was not a
fathers rights conference, and NPCL is not a fathers rights organization.
Their stress is on responsible fatherhood, and they are more often
associated with fatherhood promotion groups like the National Fatherhood
Initiative (NFI), formerly run by Wade Horn and Don Eberly, and the National
Center for Fathering (NCF), operated by Ken Canfield. (NPCL tends to
address the problems of younger, unwed, and minority fathers more than do
NFI and NCF.) These groups receive government and foundation funding,
so they generally steer clear any discussion of the corruption in the family
courts or the outrageously unjust treatment of parents generally and fathers
particularly in courts. Yet Sen. Cools did not pull her punches today,
the leadership of NPCL and their audience stood behind her.
Past NPCL conferences have been attended largely by community groups, both
faith-based and secular, and fatherhood activists. But there is also a
significant contingent of government officials, social workers,
child-support enforcement officials, and even feminists from groups like NOW
. (For a list of panel workshops this year, go to
Yet if there was any
dissent or disagreement from the audience, it was not visible or audible.
Sen. Cools received standing ovations when she was introduced and again when
she concluded her remarks.
The audience sat spellbound as the Senator recounted stories like that of
Darrin White, ordered by a British Columbia judge to pay more than twice his
disability pay in child and spousal support for a divorce for which he gave
neither grounds nor consent and who hanged himself from a tree. Sen.
told horror stories, not of allegedly evil fathers who abandon their
children the standard staple of some fatherhood conferences but
appalling human rights violations against fathers by family courts.
NPCL is to be commended for their courageous sponsorship of this dynamic and
outspoken leader, almost certainly the greatest leader on family issues of
any nationally-elected official in the English-speaking world. I urge
readers to write NPCL by going to
Thank them for their
courage, leadership, and foresight in inviting this important figure to
address their conference and to highlight these neglected issues.
You may also which to write to NFI (http://www.fatherhood.org/feedback.asp)
and NCF (email@example.com)
and urge that they too begin to show leadership and stop averting their eyes
from this, the true cause of the fatherhood crisis.
I have requested a transcript of Sen. Cools remarks and will post it.
The conference continues Tuesday and Wednesday, May 28 and 29. On
Wednesday, May 29, at 3:45, I will host a panel workshop on Fathers, the
Legal System, and the Constitution. The description: How do
non-custodial fathers interact with the legal system? What is the larger
nature of fathers' interaction with the state? What is the role of
particular government institutions - courts, child support enforcement,
child protection, etc.- with respect to fathers' relationships with their
children? What issues of due process of law, constitutional protections, the
separation of powers, federalism, and so forth arise in government
fatherhood programs? These questions and others will be discussed by legal
experts and constitutional scholars knowledgeable in family issues.
Don Bieniewicz, Policy Analyst, Childrens Rights Council
Ronald Henry, President, Mens Health Network
Richard Crouch, Crouch & Crouch, Arlington Virginia.