I'd like to thank the Divorce and Child Custody: Free Information for Fathers blog for this story from the Concord Monitor. In Men Need Some Help, Allison Steele reports that New Hampshire's Commission on the Status of Men, established in 2002, recommends in their first report that the state "devote more resources to correcting the gender biases men face in divorce and domestic violence cases, as well as promoting the role of fathers in families." An excerpt from Allison's piece:
Much of the report is concerned with what commission members describe as the biases leveled against men in divorces, child support arrangements and custody disputes. In research and in meetings held over the last year, the commission found that many fathers feel they are treated unfairly in family court disputes. Many complained of judges who automatically side with mothers, child support guidelines that leave the father with little income, and a general lack of understanding of the benefits of a father-child relationship.
"As women have had difficulty establishing their role as important contributors to the workplace, men have had difficulty establishing themselves as important nurturers for their families and children," the report states.
The report also discusses domestic violence. Men told the commission that some women accuse men of assault so that the judge will award the woman custody of the couple's children. Judges tend to take the woman's side, the report states, which can make it difficult for the man to dispute the charges later.
The commission also studied the traditional assumption that all domestic violence is caused by men, and it found studies suggesting that women assault men just as often. Domestic violence education and advocate training programs tend to compound the bias by referring to perpetrators of violence in male terms.
"Efforts to get relief from the domestic violence problem have been unduly influenced by special interests who have successfully sold the problem as solely a responsibility of males over the years," the report states. "The whole truth on this emotionally charged dichotomy isn't being fully revealed."
As a first step, the commission wants the state legislature to renew the Violence Against Women Act - but only if the language in the law is made gender-neutral.
Now isn't that what we've all been saying all along? Geez...
According to the Stand Up Today blog "The Kent County Circuit Court and Kent County Friend of the Court (FOC) are monitoring internet activities of individuals involved in family court cases within their jurisdiction or that are speaking out against them." Lary Holland, father of two who is involved in a domestic relations case involving his two children and who has been outspoken about the operating procedures of the Kent County Circuit Court Family Division since 2003, including the Friend of the Court operations states, "The conduct of these officials has led me to believe they act unethically in discharging their duties."