Friday, January 6, 2012

The Father's Emergency Guide to Divorce-Custody Battle

"A powerful new book whose title says it all." -- Speak Out for Children, Newsletter of the Children's Rights Council, Winter '98
This is a dynamic book that lays bare the corruption of the multi-billion dollar "child-custody racket." It is a system of extortion and terror that reduces men to tears and leaves millions of children fatherless and at extreme risk--all the while enriching the coffers of lawyers, psychologists, and other family-destruction profiteers. Seidenberg shows how the system really works and what a father must do to protect himself and his children, without being totally devoured. If you are a father, or have ever considered the possibility of being one, read this book immediately! Your "right to the pursuit of happiness" may depend on it. -- Stuart A. Miller, Senior Legislative Analyst, American Fathers Coalition - Washington, DC
This is a startling book, and not altogether what one might expect. It is, as its title indicates, a self-help guide; but it is also a political manifesto that opens a window to a world of political struggle most people are unaware even exists.

Everyone has heard the story of a father devastated in divorce-custody litigation-losing his home and children, and driven to bankruptcy as a result of child support, alimony, and legal fees. Until now though, one might have thought these were isolated instances. In The Father's Emergency Guide to Divorce-Custody Battle, fathers'-rights activist Robert Seidenberg, writing with the legal insights of divorce-attorney William Dawes, starts with the assertion that an abusive legal culture is the norm, and that the brutalization of fathers in court is an everyday occurrence.

From the outset, The Father's Emergency Guide to Divorce-Custody Battle differentiates itself from other books on this subject by focusing, not on the written law, but on what actually happens in a divorce-custody conflict. It describes the typical patterns of behavior of the main actors in the drama -- fathers, mothers, judges, lawyers, psychologists, and social workers; and the typical patterns of events. Drawing on his own observations and those of attorney Dawes, and combining these with the results of formal studies, Seidenberg sets forth a series of disturbing revelations:

- Custody litigation begins with a brief "temporary" hearing at which custody, child support, alimony, and possession of the marital home are "temporarily" decided until a full trial can be held. But in truth, what happens at this hearing is unlikely to change even if you spend $100,000 on a full trial.

- Women initiate the great majority of divorces. What's more, they start interviewing lawyers and planning their move months before they initiate action. A father typically doesn't have a clue of what's going on until the day he is served with a summons.

- A custody dispute typically begins with a legalized kidnapping. Since the goal is to establish oneself as the primary caretaker, lawyers advise women to take the children and leave; or to get a protective order evicting the husband from the house; or to talk him into moving out "for a trial separation." Thus the mother can establish herself as the sole caretaker, and secure sole custody at the temporary hearing. Most lawyers will not give this advice to men. But some do, and this strategy can work for men as well.

- The great majority of domestic violence all egations and child sex abuse allegations made in custody litigation are false. They are made to gain advantage in custody, support, and property determinations.

- Most lawyers have never won custody for a father. This is especially true of expensive lawyers reputed to be the best in the business.

- Perjury is standard in domestic relations court. Lawyers know that perjury is never prosecuted and many will advise their clients accordingly. They tend to do this with women far more than with men.

- Many so-called custody disputes are not custody disputes at all. To avoid a costly court battle, many fathers concede custody right from the beginning, but then find they have to spend tens of thousands of dollars just to get "standard" visitation.

- "Child Support" is often exorbitant to the point of being financially crippling. It bears no relationship to the needs of the child, and for the average father it has the feeling of extortion. So-called "Deadbeat Dads" are really "Refugee Dads" who have been driven out of their children's lives by the courts and bureaucracies.

In explaining how all this scandal could occur on a national basis without coming to public attention, Seidenberg enters the political realm. In brief well-documented essays, he shows how feminist ideology dominates public discourse to such a degree that few people even realize there is another side to these issues.

The Father's Emergency Guide to Divorce-Custody Battle is a curious mix of practical advice and political commentary. It works because fathers in custody battle have "arrived at a turn in life where the personal and political coincide." This book is a valuable resource for litigants and lawyers; it is also a worthy contribution to discussion in the areas of judicial culture and gender studies. -- (The Liberator, Newsletter of the Men's Defense Association. December, 1997)

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