By Trish Wilson, © 1998
All rights reserved by author


Rich Kuhn/John Guidubaldi

Child Custody Policies and Divorce Rates in the United States:
Shared Parenting "The Best Parent Is Both Parents"
Children's Rights Council


Richard Kuhn
Children's Rights Council
Washington, D.C,

John Guidubaldi, D.Ed.
John Carroll University (Cleveland, OH)
Kent State University (Kent, OH)

Excerpt from original

Regarding reasons" why women have filed more than half of all divorces."

If women can anticipate a clear gender bias in the courts regarding custody, they can expect to be the primary residential parent for the children. If they can anticipate enforcement of financial child support by the courts, they can expect a high probability of support monies without the need to account for their expenditures. Clearly they can also anticipate maintaining the marital residence, receiving half of all marital property, and gaining total freedom to establish new social relationships. Weighing these gains against the alternative of remaining in an unhappy marriage may result in a seductive enticement to obtain a divorce, rather than to resolve problems and remain married.

States that favor sole custody in divorce may thus expect to see more divorce than states that encourage joint custody. On a practical level, joint physical custody makes it less likely that a parent can move to another city to eliminate interaction with the other parent. Because both parents provide for the child directly, child support payments may be somewhat lower with joint custody, reducing financial motives for divorce. Perhaps most significant, joint custody also removes the capacity for one spouse to hurt the other by denying participation in raising the children. The correlation between joint custody and reduced divorce may have a simple explanation. If a parent considering a divorce is told by an attorney that a judge will probably not permit him or her to relocate with the children, and that the other parent will continue to be involved, he or she may decide that it is easier to work out problems and remain married.

WARREN FARRELL, Member, Board of Directors, National Congress of Fathers and Children.

Also: Advisor to Fathers' Rights and Equality Exchange
Member, Board of Directors, Children's Rights Council.
Highly supportive of the American Fathers' Coalition (AFC often cites Farrell as an "expert")
For detail on Farrell, please go to the F.R.E.E. write-up.
STILL MORE on Warren Farrell.

CRC supports Dr. Richard Gardner, author of "Parental Alienation Syndrome."

Dr. Richard Gardner had written in "Parental Alienation Syndrome" that typically, "... the child viciously vilifies one of the parents and idealizes the other. This is not caused simply by parental brainwashing of the child. Rather the children themselves contribute their own scenarios in support of the favored parent." His experience has been that "... in about 80 to 90 percent of cases the mother is the favored parent and the father the vilified one." (The Parental Alienation Syndrome, 1989, p. 2)

According to "Violence In The Family," a 1996 report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence And the Family, "[B]ehavior that would seem reasonable as a protection from abuse may be misinterpreted as a sign of instability. Psychological evaluators not trained in domestic violence may contribute to this process by ignoring or minimizing the violence and by giving inappropriate pathological labels to women's responses to chronic victimization. Terms such as "parental alienation" may be used to blame the woman for the children's reasonable fear of or anger towards their violent father."

What Is Parental Alienation Syndrome and Why Is It So Often Used Against Mothers?

John E. B. Myers, Professor of Law

University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, Sacramento, California
"In his 1991 book titled Sex Abuse Hysteria: Salem Witch Trials Revisited, Gardner is harshly critical of an unspecified portion of the mental health professionals, investigators, and prosecutors trying to protect children. For example, Gardner accuses some prosecutors of gratifying their own sexual urges and sadistic tendencies through involvement in sexual abuse cases. Gardner goes so far as to say that "there is a bit of pedophilia in every one of us. (p. 118) It seems clear that Richard Gardner cannot claim to be balanced or objective when it comes to allegations of child sexual abuse."

"Gardner's Parental Alienation Syndrome has not, to my knowledge, been subjected to empirical study, research, or testing. Nor to my knowledge, has the syndrome been published in peer reviewed medical or scientific journals. Rather, the syndrome is simply Richard Gardner's opinion, based on his clinical experience. Of course, the fact that Parental Alienation Syndrome is based on one man's experience does not imply there is something wrong with the syndrome. Nevertheless, it is clear that the syndrome is not accepted as a scientifically reliable way of telling whether an allegation of sexual abuse is true or false. Moreover, in my opinion, much of Gardner's writing, including his Parental Alienation Syndrome, is biased against women. This gender bias infects the syndrome, and makes it a powerful tool to undermine the credibility of women who allege child sexual abuse. Because parental alienation perpetuates and exacerbates gender bias against women, I believe the syndrome sheds much more darkness than light on this difficult issue."

Abuse Scale: Point System for Abuse Claims

Journal of the American Bar Association (1988)
D. C. Moss

[Reference to Jon R. Conte, of the School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, WA]
"[Jon Conte wrote that Gardner's Sex Abuse Legitimacy Scale is] [p]robably the most unscientific piece of garbage I've seen in the field in all my time. To base social policy on something as flimsy as this is exceedingly dangerous."

From: "American Fatherhood: The Voice of Responsible and Dedicated Fatherhood" (The newsletter for F.A.I.R., The National Father's Organization, which is a father's rights group from Delaware)

"Central to the paranoid mechanism is projection. These mothers see in their husbands many noxious qualities that actually exist within themselves. By projecting these unacceptable qualities onto their husbands they can consider themselves innocent victims. When a sex-abuse allegation becomes part of the package, they may be projecting their own sexual inclinations onto him. In the service of this goal they exaggerate and distort any comment the child makes that might justify the accusation. And this is not difficult to do because children normally will entertain sexual fantasies, often of the most bizarre form. I am in agreement with Freud that children are 'polymorphous perverse" and they thereby provide these mothers with an ample supply of material to serve as nuclei for their projections and accusations."

"... [T]raditional therapy for the mother is most often not possible. She is totally unreceptive to treatment and will consider a therapist who believes that her delusions are not warranted to be joining in with her husband. He thereby becomes incorporated into the paranoid system. A court order that she enter into treatment is futile. Judges are often naive with regard to their belief that one can order a person into treatment. This is an extension of their general view of the world that ordering people around is the best way to accomplish something. Most judges are aware that they cannot order an impotent husband to have an erection or a frigid wife to have an orgasm. Yet, they somehow believe that one can order someone to have conviction and commitment to therapy."

"Therapy for the children, as well, is most often not possible while the children are still living in the mother's home. ... There is a sick psychological bond here between the mother and children that is not going to be changed by therapy as long as the children remain living with the mother."

"Accordingly, the first step towards treatment is removal of the children from the mother's home and placement in the home of the father, the allegedly hated parent. This may not be accomplished easily and the court might have to threaten sanctions and even jail if the mother does not comply. Following this transfer there must be a period of decompression and debriefing in which the mother has no opportunity at all for input to the children. The hope here is to give the children the opportunity to reestablish the relationship with the alienated father, without significant contamination of the process by the brainwashing mother."

"...[I]f she continues to alienate the children it may be necessary to assign primary custody to the father and allow a frequency of visitation that will be limited enough to protect them from significant reprogramming."

"... [I]t is also important that the therapist be court ordered and have direct input to the judge. This can often be facilitated by the utilization of a guardian ad litem or a child advocate, who has the opportunity for direct communication with the court. The mother must know that any obstructionism on her part will be immediately reported to the judge, either by the therapist or though the guardian ad litem or child advocate. The court must be willing to impose sanctions such as fines or jail. The threat of loss of primary custody can also help such mothers "remember to cooperate."

"...The court's therapist must have a thick skin and be able to tolerate the shrieks and claims of maltreatment that these children will provide. Doing what children profess they want is not always the same as doing what is best for them. Therapists of the persuasion that they must "respect" their child patients and accede to their wishes will be doing these children a terrible disservice...."

"Typically, over time such false allegations become elaborate and new allegations arise when the earlier ones do not work. It is antitherapeutic to listen to these. Rather, it is therapeutic to say,"That didn't happen! So let's go on and talk about real things like your next visit with your father."

Collaborative Lawyers Southeast Florida


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