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Showing posts with label PROTECTIVE MOTHERS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PROTECTIVE MOTHERS. Show all posts

Thursday, December 14, 2017


By Doreen Ludwig,
Author of "Motherless America: Confronting Welfare's Fatherhood Custody Program"

Does Family Court offer protection to mothers and children who are victims of domestic violence? Many believe that the answer is no because father's rights extremists have been able to establish government programs which keep women and children vulnerable to ongoing abuse from violent men.

One such program is the Fathering After Violence Initiative.

Based upon this Initiative, instead of protecting women and children who have been abused, the Family Court System has a government mandate to foster and encourage the violent father's relationship with the children he has abused, regardless of the damaging consequences. Thus, in cases of domestic violence, the primary Family Court service offered to women and children who have suffered from a father's physical violence is supervised visits with the primary end goal of reuniting the father and children, even when these fathers will very likely continue to be violent and abusive.

In other words, according to an assessment prepared by Dr. Jessica Pearson, the Co-Director of the Center For Policy Research, (a part of the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network - FRPN), and the California Access and Visitation report to legislators, violent dads are given “step” visitation, i.e. supervised visits leading to unsupervised custody in as little as ten visits.

Based upon an article on high-conflict parent education written by Peter Salem, Executive Director of the AFCC, we know that the overarching intent of Family Court Services is to change the behavior of violent fathers and promote shared parenting, not to protect mothers and children from abuse and negative behaviors. While doing so, Family Court Services do not assess the ability abusers have to change, i.e. whether they are indeed capable of it, and furthermore there is no vehicle for assessing whether such change has occurred. This leaves victims vulnerable to ongoing abuse.

Meanwhile, supervised visitation, which was originally intended to protect victims of domestic violence is being turned on its head and directed as a weapon against mothers rather than being used for its intended purpose, which is to protect victims. In 2007, Juan Carlos Arean wrote a pamphlet, “Fathering After Violence: Working With Abusive Fathers in Supervised Visitation” using a OVA Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) grant. Arean provides guidelines to supervised visitation centers on how to heal violent dads. What is interesting about this report is page 6 where it states “in some centers mothers make up almost half of the (supervised) visit caseload, yet this document was designed to target in particular visiting fathers who have been violent with their intimate partners.” 

What can explain this conundrum of supervised visitation centers intended to be used with violent fathers ending up providing services to mothers instead, and then being used as a means to deny them custody?

To informed mothers and advocates, this is not a mystery. The data Arean reports makes sense when you realize that any mothers who have merely attempted to protect their children are being ordered to supervised visits, often under claims of Parental Alienation. This seems like an incredible betrayal, to learn that OVW is funding help for violent dads while ignoring the plight of abused mothers for which they are partially responsible. In this regard, the bolded and blocked statement on that same page gives a clue to the policy all government agencies, including OVW, are being strong armed into endorsing, policies of supporting fathers regardless of the harmful consequences to abused mothers and children.

Thus, it seems safe to conclude that the Family Violence Prevention Fund and OVW are promoting patriarchy. They certainly are not helping battered mothers and children to leave abuse. Instead, they are using their resources to encourage and force victims into long-term shared parenting situations with abusers that ignore their unrelieved potential for violence, and the vast array of non-physical, psychologically coercive assaults of which they are capable. Mothers who resist will eventually find themselves court-ordered to supervised visits where their presence will be ignored by OVW grant funding. Their failure to cooperate with fathers will be documented and they will lose custody, if not all access to their children. 

The majority of battered mothers involved in contested custody cases have reached out to their local and national domestic violence group and been turned away. Why? After examining the literature from the Fathering After Violence programs, it appears that OVW and FVPN collude to get abusive men custody by using supervised visits to create a specious record of healing and changed behavior. Subsequently, when women refuse to go along with such farcical records, they are accused of parental alienation, or parental alienation syndrome, custody is switched to the abusive father, and such mothers are cut off from meaningful contact with their children.

“Fathering After Violence” is a national initiative whose stated aim is to help end violence against women by motivating men to renounce their abuse and become better fathers (or father figures) and more supportive parenting partners using fatherhood (custody) as a leading approach. Typical of the thinking behind such programs is the following statement from Juan Carlos Arean's document: “Men who use violence can be held accountable for their behavior and simultaneously be encouraged to change it; and women and children can benefit from this approach.” Once again, two recurring themes are highlighted. First, the unfounded claim that men will change and, second, that mothers and children benefit from contact with these abusive men. Such programs have been implemented without any adequate research to be sure that such policies will work or that they will be beneficial to mothers and children.

The philosophy behind "Fathering After Violence" programs is an unthinking endorsement of the patriarchy. The message it conveys is that fatherhood is the vehicle for creating behavior change and that women must sacrifice their safety in order to make it possible. According to this reasoning, the goal of having men be fathers is so vitally important, that it is more important than the safety and wellbeing of abused mothers and children. In the entire report, in the rush to endorse violent men as fathers, there is no acknowledgement that abusive men have a higher probability of abusing their children, including sexual abuse. Further, we can only assume these programs do not assess whether or not father uses multiple tactics to control, intimidate, isolate and subjugate because it is not held to be a priority. 

In assessing the history of supervised visit centers, Mr. Juan Carlos Arean notes that the amount of supervised visit centers grew in the 1990’s “due in large part to custody and visitation between separated parents.” On the other hand, the report does not acknowledge early father’s rights connections to creating supervised visit centers. Yet it does acknowledge that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA 2000) funded OVW to establish the Safe Havens grant program.

The report tells centers to treat the violent father in a manner that does not dehumanize him. It does not acknowledge that abusers dehumanize the targets of their abuse. 

The YWCA in Springfield, Massachusetts is listed as one contributing center. This is the center that Kathy Jones, mother of John, was ordered to supervised visits for “alienation” due to her refusal to ignore the father's sexual abuse of their very young son. During each visit, John would disclose dads’ repeated sexual abuse, including anal penetration, in front of center staff who never filed as a mandated reporter. John, now 14, still lives with his sexually abusive father and has no contact with his mother and grandmother. 

Fathering after violence programs and policies endorse the following slogans without any basis in the facts:

“Giving abusive fathers (and all men) more opportunities for change and healing is an essential component of ending violence against women and children.”

“Abuse is a learned behavior and deliberate choice and therefore can be unlearned.”

Policies based upon such flawed and unsubstantiated concepts are bound to cause harm and damage to women and children. For instance, we know that pedophiles do not change. Why are we to believe it is any more likely that batterers will change their engrained behaviors? Even if we grant such unverified ideas, at the very least, change is going a require a little more than ten supervised visits.

Fathering After Violence confirms that for some years FVPN has been exploring the concept of using fatherhood programs as the leading approach to engage abusive men in renouncing their violence. In other words, “Centers show fathers the effects of witnessing and experiencing violence on children, and therefore create an impact that might persuade them to renounce their violence. Fathers are more likely to develop empathy towards their children than their partners (mothers) and this pathway to empathy can help some men reflect upon and change abusive and violent conduct."

Nonetheless, this report lists key characteristics of abusers including intimidation, psychological abuse, an inflated sense of self-entitlement, physical abuse, control, selfishness, superiority, possessiveness, confusion of love and abuse, externalization of responsibility, denial, minimization and victim blaming, and serial battering, visitation staff are advised not to stereotype and over-generalize by assigning these characteristics to batterers under supervision. Typical traits identified by Bancroft and Silverman, experts in working with battering men, such as authoritarianism, under-involvement, neglect and irresponsibility, undermining of the mother’s parenting and authority, self-centeredness, manipulativeness and ability to perform under observation are also discounted in their importance to assessing an abuser’s potential for changed behavior. 

Meanwhile, we are supposed to believe claims such as that despite these damning characteristics, mothers still want such men to participate in the lives of their children. For instance, Fathering After Violence claims women want the abuse to end but not necessarily the relationship, i.e. “Some mothers who have experienced violence still want their ex-partners to change and become better fathers for their children.” Along these lines, Tubbs and Williams conducted a focus group with 43 African American women and concluded their work “indicated shared parenting was perceived as a necessary obligation of parenting even with safety concerns for self and child.” These conclusions appear so unlikely, I can't help but consider them a clear cut example of observer bias in research. It appears that this research team was going to wring out father positive conclusions from those focus groups no matter what the mothers said.

Advocates are well aware of the phenomenon of batterers going to diversionary programs where the staff is predisposed to exonerate them quickly. Such behavior is so widespread that even Mr. Arean's pamphlet mentions the possibility that staff could collude with male batterers, and, that male staff tended to collude more than women staff, both consciously and unconsciously. The thrust of such programs appears to be to reward staff who ignore and discount the wide array of batterer characteristics and traits, and who collude to “cure” the abuser and document him as fit for custody regardless of whether he is or not. In assessing his danger and risk, staff are coached to merely look at levels of violence, incident-specific abuse, and his behavior during supervised visits, not his attitudes, motivations and character traits that would predict potential for continued abuse and future attacks or the potential of his abusing his child(ren) once he graduates from the program.

As with Pearson, Mr. Arean's pamphlet states that poverty corresponds to higher levels of violence, yet it does not explain why poor men appear to have higher levels of violence. This author, Doreen Ludwig, proposes that women in relationships with higher incomes have more to lose: social status and income. Public shame is greater in higher income communities. Wealthy men receive greater amounts of political protection, including local police force; police are less likely to process charges against higher income males. Thus, while there appears to be lip service to the idea that domestic violence cuts across all racial and economic divides, the reality is that policy makers and experts in the field of Domestic Violence continue assume that only the underprivileged are affected or need to be provided with services. This leaves the needs of higher income victims unattended to.

Often, Visitation Centers act as conduits to assisting abusive fathers to obtain custody from their victims. For instance, many Visitation Centers are advised to establish a relationship with fatherhood programs (page 35). Some centers have fatherhood programs on-site. Curiously, the report states “these programs are different from so-called “father’s rights” groups and can offer expertise and materials on positive father engagement.” Yet the report goes on to state “most of these programs could also clearly benefit from receiving training to advance their understanding of domestic violence dynamics.” The Office of Violence Against Women is telling supervised visit centers to refer violent men to fatherhood programs whose chief partnership is with courts to get men custody, all the while acknowledging that fatherhood programs know nothing about abuse and claiming those programs are not agents of male supremacy! 

What the Juan Carlos Arean report highlights is the shameful fact that OVW and VAWA have not protected women and child victims of abuse and instead have bought into unfounded theories that abusers can change their behavior. When discussing conducting orientation sessions, even the report itself acknowledges the reality of these custody switching policies in favor of men stating, “in most centers some (if not many parents ordered to visits) are mothers, some of whom might be in fact victims, rather than perpetrators of domestic violence (page 45).”

Fathering After Violence advises staff to tell dads to show respect to their children’s mother regardless of his feelings about her. Not seeing lack of empathy as a precursor to future episodes of abuse, the report states men are “more empathetic as fathers than as intimate partners or ex-partners.” It is not assessed if Dad's empathy is an “act” meant to gain custody in order to direct his abuse toward his child, an unprotected person, since mother has chosen to end their intimate relationship. We also have no idea how the report measured father's empathy in connection to their children, and would suspect that is is merely a fabricated assessment created for the purpose of justifying a policy that has long caused harm and damage to numerous protective mothers and their children.

Mary Jane King’s son, Thomas was horribly sexually violated by his father. Mary Jane worked diligently to document the abuse and she attempted to get him treatment at the Yale Child Sex Abuse Clinic. All the while family court blocked Thomas from getting treatment, hid the abuse while calling mother an alienator, and eventually cut off her contact with Thomas. 

Mary Jane posted on facebook “In CT all DV funding is "partnered" with fatherhood initiative legislation, so increasing access of abusive males to victims is the controlling law of DV funding.” Thus, the most popular private program funded by the State of Connecticut is David Mandel's Safe & Together Institute which provides lip service to DV mandates while essentially advocating to have violent fathers in the lives of their children. This is done in conferences held in sought after vacation resorts all over the world--Florida, Australia etc. etc.

In CT and across the United States, as a victim of domestic violence, you have a great deal to fear as you approach the Family Court System. The father's rights movement has subverted approaches that were put into place to protect women, and they are now being used against victims. Domestic Violence Centers, from which you expect support, will not assist you in protecting your children from the abuser because they receive government fatherhood funding that motivates them to place the rights and the needs of fathers first. Even worse, the OVA and others in the Domestic Violence industry have abandoned battered mothers and accepted millions of dollars in fatherhood funding to pay their salaries and to increase their profiles which has meant they have had to buy into father friendly, perpetrator blind policies. As a result, the battered, protective mother of today is a mother betrayed.

For more information on this subject, please click on the link below:

Sunday, November 19, 2017


It has been interesting for me to read articles in "The Greenwich Times" about the horrific divorce cases which have taken place in Connecticut.  These are cases where mothers often lose everything that they have, not only their financial base, but also their children.  

Unfortunately, the focus in these articles has been on what litigants in family court have done rather than on the primary source of the problem, i.e. Family Court attorneys. So here for the uninitiated is a list of 25 things that Family Court attorneys do in order to generate conflict among family court litigants and profit from their distress. In no particular order, they are as follows. Such attorneys will:

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


It is with sadness that I have to report the death of Jonathan P. Wiegand who died suddenly on Friday August 11, 2017.  See link:

During the 1990s, as a child of 4, Jonathan was in the center of an extremely controversial custody case in which his mother, Linda Wiegand, accused the stepfather, Thomas Wilkinson, of sexually abusing his stepson, Jonathan, and their younger son, Ben (3).  At one point, Ms. Wiegand fled to Las Vegas and two years later was discovered and charged with custodial interference.  

Jonathan P. Wiegand
This case set the stage for future custody switching schemes in which protective mothers in the State of Connecticut have lost custody, and indeed, all access to their children who are then transferred into the sole custody of the fathers who abused them.  The players in her case subsequently went on to become involved in other cases where good parents lost custody of their children.  This includes Judge Herbert Barall, Dr. Kenneth Robson, Attorney Louis Kiefer, and Dr. James C. Black.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


Do some white men just not get it?

I think it is particularly typical of some self-centered, upper class, white men that they often think of their wives as spoiled and pampered because they have absolutely zero clue regarding what is involved in growing successful, well rounded, ethical human beings.

Doing so is an incredibly demanding task both spiritually, intellectually, and physically, and it is an occupation that does not merely cease once these young people hit 18. As any hands on Mom knows, we are continuing to support, bolster, craft, mold, engage, facilitate and enhance these young people as human beings and as contributing members of society well into their 20s if not 30s and on.

Monday, November 28, 2016


There are two things that happened to me recently which set off an important chain of thought.  The first is that I was contacted by a person I'd met in the course of writing my blog.  She told me that when her children are at their father's home he is often drunk and violent towards them.  Unfortunately, there is nothing she can do because, in her divorce, she was designated the bad parent and had to go through multiple hoops to retain custody.  

The testimony of the children, the documentary evidence of the father's abuse didn't matter.  What mattered was that the court had decided to favor the abuser who was again the father, and the mother was left in a position where she could do little to protect her children.  

The second situation is that a close friend of one of my children committed suicide.  This friend was in his or her early 20s, just graduated from College practically.  I don't want to provide identifying details regarding who this person is just for reasons of privacy and respect. However, what I did want to say is that doctors suspect that the reason why this person committed suicide had to do with sports related injuries which led to serious depression. I then asked my child if she had sustained similar type injuries and she said "yes", in fact she had.  

Her response completely shocked me because it never occurred to me that she'd gone through this without my knowing.  Apparently, because my child didn't want to trouble me with information about a situation she knew I couldn't protect her from given the ongoing indifference of family court, she decided not to tell me. The concussions my child was newly reporting to me were over and above the other injuries I knew about, i.e. two broken shoulders, two broken noses, and irreversible nerve damage.  

Some of these injuries occurred because my ex husband failed to provide my child with the kind of proper equipment that is essential when you play the kind of sports my child played.  I only found this out when other parents pulled me aside during games to ask me what was going on and why didn't my child have the proper gear.  Unfortunately, unlike my ex, who is highly sports oriented, I was unfamiliar with what was necessary. Thankfully, once these concerned parents had clued me in, I was able to stay on top of the problem.  But not before the damage had been done.

Another reason these injuries occurred is simply because my child was a very slight and fragile young person who should not have been engaged in these kinds of activities because he simply didn't have the necessary bulk to participate safely.  

However, when I brought these issues up with my own attorney and with the guardian ad litem in my case, they made light of my concerns and laughed them off.  The guardian ad litem sneered and made comments that led me to believe that he thought I was bringing up my safety concerns regarding my child's sports activities simply as a means to get an edge in the custody battle.  My own attorney went on about how team sports would toughen my kid up and prepare her properly for the cruel world she'd face in the years to come.

Even though I repeatedly brought to the attention of my attorney and the GAL medical reports indicating that my child was sustaining more injuries than was healthy at his age, they both dismissed and mocked my concerns.  What gets me even now is that it wasn't the opposing attorney who amused himself at my expense and that of my child, it was my own attorney. This tells you how difficult it can be for protective mothers.  

As mothers, we are well aware that our children are being injured in ways that will affect them for their entire lives and yet the family court system and its associated attorneys make light of the situation and act like mothers who express their worry must have Munchausen's by Proxy, or something similar.  

In fact, as a consequence of the fact that I expressed such concern regarding my child's well being related to her sports activities, the GAL and the attorneys in my case insisted upon including an additional provision in our parenting agreement specifically giving my ex husband sole authority when it came to signing my child up for sports. This gave my ex permanent free rein to expose my child to potentially life threatening conditions within the sports arena.  

I have already spoken about this problem in a previous blog on this website which I entitled "The Kids Are Not All Right." What I am writing about now is just a reaffirmation of the ongoing existence of this problem.  

I am also saying that little did I know that the problem was much more severe than I had earlier thought.  

As mothers, when we hand our children over to their fathers for parenting time, we simply have to trust that father's behavior will be responsible.  What can you do about what you don't know about because you aren't there? In my situation, my child was sustaining even more severe injuries than I knew about in his father's care.  As I said earlier, it is only now that my child feels free enough to tell me about the concussions and the nerve damage he endured. Those injuries are for life.  

The loss of a friend through suicide is also an injury for life.  This is a friend my child grew up with from Kindergarten.

That friend who died was also a child of divorce.  I can only hope that my child will not end up the same way, but there is no guarantee.  

Bottom line, however, is we have a family court system that is thoroughly irresponsible about the way in which they are handling the physical and psychological health of our children. In its rush to whitewash the behavior of fathers merely because they are fathers, particularly the abusive ones, they have put at risk thousands of children, placing them in situations that are completely unacceptable, and then demonizing their mothers who try to protect them.  

I continue to be appalled by the fact that the media doesn't report on this situation, that our representatives haven't addressed this issue about which they were well informed in 2014, and that our CT Judicial Branch continues to stonewall any attempt to hold them to account regarding how it treats vulnerable children.  This situation is and remains a disgrace.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


"If anyone suspects a child being molested in family court... the courts usually & often assume it is a lie and give abusers full custody. 

If you suspect your husband or wife is molesting your kids the best thing you can do is stay married and never ever let him or her alone with the kids. If you don't tell anyone you can protect your children in the home. 

If you tell authority's then the person reporting abuse will be removed from the children and the abuser will get full custody. Or if they find that the abuse is real your children can go into foster care and get molested and abused more and possibly killed in foster care as often children in foster care get abused and killed because they are only a paycheck. 

The reason the safe parent has child removed if it turned out true is failure to protect your children. 

If they think the abuser is not abusive you can be accused of coaching your children and the children get full time with abuser. 

You can be removed for reporting abuse. 

Reporting abuse will only make abuse worse in every scenerio. This goes for men or woman. 

This can happen with any type of child abuse that is reported. Not just sexual abuse."

By an Anonymous Contributor, A victim of family court abuse

Thursday, May 19, 2016


In an article on "The Huffington Post" Phyllis Chesler explains as follows:

Battered senseless, choked into unconsciousness over and over again, bones broken repeatedly, American mother, Holly Collins, received no justice, no protection, in Minnesota. She lost custody of the two children she was trying so hard to protect from their father’s rages and beatings. When Collins believed that her children might not survive another week — or another day — she fled and received political asylum in Holland. A powerful documentary exists about her case.

Collins was the first and only such American mother to do so. 

Other “protective” mothers, like Dr. Elizabeth Morgan, arranged for her parents to flee with her daughter to New Zealand, which had no jurisdictional reciprocity with the United States. Dr. Morgan sat in jail in Washington, D.C. for more than a year because she refused to disclose her daughter’s whereabouts. I personally talked to her daughter’s therapists who assured me that, in their view, her daughter was being sexually abused by her father.


Friday, October 23, 2015


When I first filed for divorce in 2007, I spoke to a few mental health counselors who listened to my story and then said they knew of other women who had gone through something similar. Those women eventually filed for divorce and lost everything they had, but at least they were free.  

I was lucky that I did not "lose everything I had" including my children, as so many abused women do, but clearly there is a large group of protective mothers out there who do.  This is the message of "Motherless America: Confronting Welfare's Fatherhood Custody Program by Doreen Ludwig, a well argued and cogently written book on the family court conspiracy to shift custody from fit mothers into the hands of abusive and often criminal fathers.  For an example of this kind of travesty occurring here in Connecticut, please review Anne Stevenson's article in "Communities Digital News" entitled "Connecticut Failure:  The Deadly Rebranding of Joshua Komisarjevsky" located at the following link:

The book "Motherless America" is divided into three sections, the first describing the author, Doreen Ludwig's personal experiences with the family court system, the second explaining how the massive influx of fatherhood initiative funding into the judicial systems through the country has led to a war on women where custody of children is transferred systematically from mothers to fathers.  This occurs particularly in cases of abuse where the children are used as weapons to extend the father's power and control beyond the divorce. The last section, Part 3, seeks solutions to this over two decade assault on the rights of women in family court. 

I was very familiar with Doreen Ludwig's description of the kinds of game playing that occurs in family court as a means to undermine the mother.  My own experiences in court and my experiences as a court watcher have confirmed that these scenarios occur repeatedly in family court.  Let me review just a few of the ones that Ms. Ludwig shares in her book.  

1. The custody evaluator in the case suppresses any information from witness testimony or written evidence that he or she doesn't like and simply writes it out of the evaluation.  The evaluator might even acknowledge that abuse occurred but understate it or indicate that it was an aberration not likely to happen again, and probably provoked by the mother's bad behavior.  

2.  The father's attorney will accuse the mother of a broad range of mental illnesses and demand a psychological evaluation.  Even though the mother was perfectly functional prior to filing for divorce, had no mental health diagnosis, and was widely respected as caretaker for her children, all of a sudden the expert appointed by the court will determine that the mother has a broad range of mental health illnesses.  Sometimes Judges will simply diagnose mental illness in a mother without bothering to obtain any kind of evaluation, particularly when it comes to parental alienation syndrome (PAS), a widely diagnosed condition that family court uses to deny mothers access to their children.  

3. In addition, attorneys representing mothers will frequently refuse to act in their clients' best interests and fail to defend them in court. They will urge them to agree to stipulations that are decidedly not in the mothers best interests and will, in the long run, cripple their ability to hold onto the custody of their children. 

4.  Fathers are usually given complete control of the marital assets and mothers only obtain support if these fathers agree to obey court orders requiring them to provide support to their ex wives and children.  If fathers refuse to provide that support, or randomize and withhold that support, Judges rarely hold them in contempt or order them to obey court orders.  

5.  Finally, there is simply a generalized atmosphere of lies and deceptions.  Father's attorneys regularly include a broad range of lies in their pleadings for which they are not held responsible.   Judges regularly refuse to admit into evidence documents and witness testimony that would support the mother's position and also refuse to allow mothers to cross examine witnesses or even see the evidence that is being used against them.  

6. One regular strategy father's attorneys use and judges allow is to submit a motion or level an accusation against a mother right at the beginning of a hearing without providing any advanced notice.  This is a fundamental violation of mothers' due process rights but it happens every day in courthouses across this country.  

I have listed a selection of these violations in my review of "Motherless America" because so many average folks are unaware of the incredible abuse that takes place in family court every day.  The advantage of Doreen Ludwig's book is that she goes into great detail regarding many of the fundamental violations of her rights which occurred during her divorce case in a clear cut and dispassionate matter.  Her book provides a very thorough and thought provoking clarification of exactly how a corrupt court system manipulates legal procedures and ignores the constitution in order to justify taking custody away from thousands of good mothers who have devoted their lives to their children and taken care of them since birth.  

In the course of undergoing these violations, Ms. Ludwig talks about how she approached the ACLU, the FBI, and her local Domestic Violence agency and yet none of these organizations which have been established to protect the rights of victims like her responded by reaching out to help her.  

As I have stated, Part II of the "Motherless America" explores the roots of the corruption of family court within the father's rights movement.  It begins with an analysis of how the family court system defines abuse.  

I can recall in my own case that when I mentioned that I was being abused, the Guardian Ad Litem in my case stated, "They all claim abuse."  In saying this, she was simply mirroring a family court system that has long maintained a policy of denying the existence of abuse.  

As Doreen Ludwig explains, they do this by narrowly limiting the definition of abuse to situations where a woman has been beaten or murdered.  As soon as a woman fights back, the legal system no longer considers that this woman has been abused any longer.  Further, the legal system doesn't include coercive control as part of abuse which opens the door to abusers continuing to pursue their victims using the court system as a means to do so and ultimately exacting revenge by taking custody from these mothers.  

Ms. Ludwig accuses those in the field of domestic violence of colluding to minimize and explain away the effects of domestic violence.  As she explains, the very organizations that are supposed to be defending women and assisting in protecting them from domestic violence are the ones that are making the situation worse.  In her words, "The DV community is well aware of this problem [custody switching from mother to father], yet for the most part, they have bowed to the fatherhood custody mandate. The DV community has not organized legislative awareness campaigns, they have not used their influence to generate a media spotlight, nor have they organized qualified legal opponents to represent battered mothers.  When battered mothers stuck in abusive litigation call for help, they are routinely shunned; the government-supported DV community tells them "We have no money to help."  

In addition, Doreen Ludwig points out that situations where there is Domestic Violence are often designated as "high conflict" which is a way of implying that the abuse is mutual.  This means that all sorts of mediators, custody evaluators, mental health professionals can become involved in these cases and they soon become quite profitable for the professionals involved.  This is where trade associations such as the AFCC become involved and maximize the profit that everyone makes by encouraging its members to recommend and hire one another for the various jobs that emerge as long as they continue to perpetuate the conflict and harass the mother.  

Doreen Ludwig provides even more detail on how these professionals carry out their custody switching schemes in Chapter 10 entitled "The Players and Their Methods."  This particular chapter is a must read.  

Ultimately, what all these professionals have in common is their commitment to the interests of the fathers and the belief that any woman who does not behave subserviently towards her ex husband ought to be punished.  

Doreen Ludwig locates the basis for this power imbalance in family court in the right wing religious backlash against women which fostered the belief that poverty arises not from a lack of economic opportunity but simply because there are too many single mothers.  Instead of seeing poverty as the central concern, this social movement has defined the problem as fatherlessness.  

As a result, starting in 1996, this led the government to shift its support from helping women get jobs, food, and shelter to marriage promotion programs and fatherhood support and access programs which provide economic support to fathers seeking to obtain custody from mothers.  

The end result, according to Doreen Ludwig, is that the only thing that matters to family court is how to keep fathers in the lives of their children no matter how abusive they are.  As she puts it "Judges are trained to put fatherhood above safety, security and stability.  If a father files for custody, he will almost certainly receive as much as he wants no matter what his character.  Alcoholics, drug addicts, abusers, criminals [who are fathers] are preferable parents to mothers."  

This is a world that seems to have been turned onto its head!  

Doreen Ludwig does an excellent job, particularly  in Chapter 9 of her book explaining the history of the war against women and digging up information on the sources of the fatherhood funding that the government is using to support the interests of men over women.  The amount of money being funneled into these fatherhood programs is phenomenal and rises to the the level of millions and millions of dollars, approximately $22 million per year going to Connecticut alone.  This money is distributed through block grants and matching funds and is often funneled through religious organizations.    

Part 3 of Doreen Ludwig's book is on the shorter side but touches upon the more recent developments in terms of seeking solutions to the brokenness of our family court system here in America.  One important point she does make is that it is the responsibility of government to address the problem of a judicial system that has massively gone astray.  The bottom line is the judicial system in this country must be held accountable and must obey the law that it is sworn to enforce.  

Doreen Ludwig has some thoughts on how this can be done and those are all worth reading and expanding upon.  

Ultimately, Doreen Ludwig's book is very timely.  The family court reform movement has spoken widely of the abuse of the massive amounts of federal funding but Ms. Ludwig is the first to codify where these funds are coming from and where they are going.  She is the first to encapsulate the extraordinary story of the multiple layers of corruption and deception that overlie our family court system and that undercut and destroy the lives of protective mothers and their children every day.  

Advocates who are working with their state legislators, investigative journalists, and ethical legal and mental health professionals to reform the system for the better and to expose its current abuses should all be fully informed of the contents of this book.  

Ms. Doreen Ludwig has founded Mothers Against Court Custody Abuse in order to fight back against family court corruption and educate people regarding the misuse of fatherhood funds.  For further information on her work in association with this organization, please go to the website at:

To order a copy of Doreen Ludwig's "Motherless America:  Confronting Welfare's Fatherhood Custody Program", please click on the link below:

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Barry Goldstein:

"Dr. Dianne Bartlow interviewed some of the best judges in the United States about the court response to the many murders of children by fathers involved in custody disputes. Some judges suggested a likely explanation for so many dangerous decisions that I believe influenced the original mistaken ruling in the Kelly Rutherford case. They said that because so many fathers abandon their children many judges unconsciously favor even bad fathers so that the children will have their father in their lives..."


Monday, January 12, 2015


Karin Wolf, a New Jersey resident and mother of two, has filed A federal lawsuit against Judges of the Bergen County Family Court, and N.J. Appellate Court,  Governor Chris Christie, the State of New Jersey, DYFS caseworkers, Court Vendors, and others requesting damages and declaratory and injunctive relief in connection to her custody case. 

Ms. Wolf, who is a victim of domestic violence, and who obtained a divorce decree based upon charges of extreme cruelty against her ex-husband, brings her case under U.S. Code Title 42 Secs. 1983 and 1985, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) 18  U.S. Code Secs.  1961-1968, and the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1951.  She is among many family court litigants throughout the country who have come to see the family court system as being in the center of a racket that conspires to take children away from fit mothers and transfer them over to the full custody of their abusers. 

As Karin Wolf explains in her Complaint, "Defendants are engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity and operating Rico Enterprises in the Family Court; through a calculated system of eugenics and social engineering; and dealing in obscene matters of human trafficking, child pornography and child prostitution, for motives both economic and non-economic." 

In her Complaint, Ms. Wolf talks about state government actors and court operatives acting in such a way as to "pre-determine the winner" in family court cases without due process as happened in her case.  She also complains that the family court conducts itself in such a way as to impose a "pay to play" policy on litigants and to promote "conflict for cash" while engaging in "emotional blackmail."  I am sure all these terms are very familiar to victims of family court here in Connecticut! 

Further, I think many Connecticut Family Court litigants can recognize as a common experience how badly Ms. Karin Wolf was treated as a self-represented party.  She states that when she acted on her own behalf Court Personnel behaved towards her with contempt and denied her due process rights because she is a self-represented party who "wasn't and isn't paying money into a corrupt system of racketeering, influence, and extortion in the Bergen County Family Court." 

Like many of the mothers in Connecticut who face family court judges who are ignorant of the reality of domestic violence, Karin Wolf reports that the defendants in her case "used retaliation, threats, and coercive control" against her and "deliberately acted obtuse to family violence, ignoring and minimizing it to subvert and circumvent established principles, codes and laws on child abuse and domestic violence."  She also talked about how the defendants provoked family violence so as to subject Ms. Wolf and her children to ongoing intervention from court vendors who then made considerable amounts of money from those interventions.  

In doing so, they invoked Richard Gardner's quack theories of parental alienation as a means to label Ms. Wolf, remove the children from her custody, and transfer them to the custody of their abuser. 

When she tried to defend herself, the Court denied her access to the child support, alimony and attorneys fees which were necessary for her to obtain legal representation.  This was also connected to a policy of refusing to allow Karin adequate discovery. 

Finally, Karin Wolf alleges that the actions of family court professionals are aligned with the nationwide father's rights agenda which is working to "resurrect Lord Hale's Law and the Rule of Thumb, to assist fathers in hiding income and assets, and avoid paying child support, without any concern for their children." 

Ms. Karin Wolf's case is not unique among protective mothers who have ended up losing custody after years of harassment and legal abuse.  Ms. Wolf's journey originally began when she fled her marital home on September 29, 2006 after several incidents of domestic violence and obtained a final judgment of divorce under NJ Rule 2A:34-2(c) having established in court a cause of action for divorce of extreme cruelty. 

Nonetheless, subsequent to the divorce, Ms. Wolf experienced ongoing legal and interpersonal harassment from her ex-husband for years afterwards and finally lost custody of her two children to her abuser on August 30, 2013. 

She lost custody in a flawed proceeding where the Court allowed  her attorney, Alexandra Stremler, Esq., to back out of the trial moments before the hearing without any advanced notice and forced Ms. Wolf to proceed as a self-represented party even though the attorney had failed to appear with copies of her exhibits which were essential to the conduct of a fair trial. Even more troubling the trial proceeded forward despite the fact that Attorney Stremler had failed to submit the trial summary indicating what evidence and witnesses she intended to present to the Court which left Ms. Wolf in disarray just as she was required to proceed to trial as a self-represented party without any opportunity to prepare. 

Karin Wolf describes the presiding judge in the matter,  Judge Gerald C. Escala, as being "rude, intimidating, and contemptuous" and further she describes him as "belittling her attempts to present her case."  Many of us who have represented ourselves in family court have had similar experiences when we have attempted to defend ourselves. 

I have to commend Ms. Karin Wolf for making this attempt to take her case to federal court when the state court and its associated vendors and state agencies have so grossly failed to accord her the fairness, due process, and justice to which she is entitled as a mother and as an American citizen.  Even though she is a single individual, she is speaking for the many thousands and thousands of mothers throughout this country who have been falsely accused, harassed, bullied, and legally abused by their perpetrator ex-husbands, and become victim of our corrupt family court and child protective systems. 

I am aware that in federal court Ms. Wolf's Complaint will face a daunting round of motions to dismiss and we can only hope that it survives to the point where she can present her evidence and obtain a fair hearing.  I admire Ms. Wolf for her strength, her courage, and her determination as well as her powerful dedication to her children.  As this case proceeds through federal court, I will continue to report back on her progress. 

For more news and information in regard to Ms. Karin Wolf, please click on the link below: