Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tennessee moves to have shared custody in divorces

Today I came across a newspaper article in USAToday that talked about a Tennessee bill that would evenly split custody in contentious divorce cases. My initial thoughts were this is great! Perhaps one state is listening to parents who are being wrongfully withheld parenting time with their children. I thought perhaps that parental alienation had been broached with these legislators and they were doing something positive in custody cases. As I read the article and took a look at the bill myself, I saw many obstacles and wording that, I thought, left a lot to be misunderstood or open to differing opinions by the judges. The more I read it, the more I could see a severe alienating parent using this bill to their advantage.

This is how HB 2916 reads:

By Bell
AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 36,
Chapter 6, Part 1, relative to equal parenting.
SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 36-6-101, is amended by deleting
subdivision (a)(2)(A)(i) in its entirety and substituting instead the following:
(i) Except as provided in this subdivision (a)(2)(A), the court shall have the widest
discretion to order a custody arrangement that is in the best interest of the child. At any
hearing to determine custody of a minor child, the court shall order that the child get
equal time with each of the child's parents unless the court finds by clear and convincing
evidence that one (1) or both of the parents are unfit to care for the child. This section
shall not be construed to prohibit both fit parents from voluntarily entering into a
parenting plan that does not give the child equal time with each parent. This section
shall not be construed to prohibit the court from giving the child less than equal time with
a parent that does not seek equal time with the child. For the purpose of assisting the
court in making a custody determination when a parent has been proven to be unfit, the
court may direct that an investigation be conducted.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010, the public welfare requiring it.

Of course I noticed the words "best interests of the children" mentioned in this bill and most states have a "best interests of the children" doctrine, but fail to follow it.

I think shared custody, in it's theory, is the best possible solution for children, but unfortunately the model is flawed. I believe in only a handful of cases, that shared custody would actually work and could have a positive affect on the children. These cases would be the ones were the two parents part ways, but place the well being of their children above their own and get on with their own lives without involving the children in games. Unfortunately this does not happen often enough. Children become a bargaining chip in divorce, along with material possessions to divide.

In an ideal model, children would be allowed to live in the same home they have been raised in and attend the school they have attended for years. The friendships they have made would not be broken because they have to move or change schools. The parents would live in the same town, so they could attend school functions, help with homework or take the child for a special treat after school, such as the park or the movies. Perhaps one parent works later into the evening and the other parent does not. The child could spend time with both parents on a daily basis, by always having a parent available after school. What could result from that is that parents would make the most of their time with their children and the children may actually get more and better quality time with both parents.

In this bill it states: "the court shall order that the child get
equal time with each of the child's parents unless the court finds by clear and convincing
evidence that one (1) or both of the parents are unfit to care for the child." and "For the purpose of assisting the
court in making a custody determination when a parent has been proven to be unfit, the
court may direct that an investigation be conducted."
In cases of parental alienation, false allegations of abuse are made more often than not. Allegations of drug and alcohol abuse are also made. These are the things that can deem a parent unfit and to lose their parenting rights. The second statement is very backwards though. For the purpose of assisting the court in making a custody determination when a parent has been proven to be unfit, the court may direct an investigation be conducted. Let me ask you....how did the court determine that a parent was unfit without an investigation? If a parent is deemed unfit based on false allegations, then this bill only fails the children that it claims it wants to protect.

I found this quote about false accusations and find that it is so true. When one person makes an accusation, check to be sure he himself is not the guilty one. Sometimes it is those whose case is weak who make the most clamor.

Shared custody would be in the best interests of the children. The children did not divorce their parents, but they are the ones that loses a parent who loves them. Shared custody could work, if the two divorcing parents could be adults and actually place their children first.

What are your thoughts?

Parental Alienation is ABUSE! STOP THE ABUSE!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Facebook is the rage

I am not sure I did this correct, but I think I set up a facebook page?


My case

As I stated in my previous post, I have had some obligations. My first obligation is to myself to make sure I am healthy. I have to be able to deal physically, emotionally, mentality and spiritually with coming to my own terms about parental alienation. I do not do well in all avenues, but I have never given up hope and faith that maybe one day things will change. I do not care if you do not believe in God, but I think you have faith in a higher power than you. This blog was never meant to spread a religious belief, but I will write of faith and hope. I will also post links, videos and sayings of what one can call religious beliefs. This is not about my own beliefs pertaining to religion or lack of, but my own thoughts, ideas and experiences in dealing with parental alienation. I find things that mean something to me and I post it.

I am a bit hesitant to write my next lines, because I did nothing out of the ordinary and I have no magic or iron clad answer to your situation. I am also sad to write my next lines because I know, many wish they could have this as well.

So here it goes......

I have been able to reconnect with my son. We talk on the phone, I go to see him for about an hour, he has come here a few times to see me. OK, He comes here to see a friend and stays at my house, but I get the benefit of seeing him. Maybe reconnect is a bit much to say, but I have been able to see him because he and I want that.

It has not been easy nor a sigh of relief. I still contend with his dad's control.

What I have realized, or so I think, is that my son so much wanted a relationship with his dad that he was willing to do anything to have that. That is where parental alienation came into play. I did not deny him his dad, but his dad said I did. Gosh, sounding like my prior post, but sad to say his dad did not do what he had to, to have the relationship with his son and I payed the price. Not sure how to post because I sound bad. His dad had every other weekend, had a day through the week, had two weeks in the summer. His dad took every other weekend, never was there, did not do the through the week, and I gave him the summers and asked for two weeks with my son. You know what? Water under the bridge.

I became a target when my son turned 14 years old, because the "law" states here that a child has a say at that age. Come to realize, all my son had to say was he wanted to live with the other parent. Instead it became I was the bitch from hell. The "law" also states a change in circumstances, but little did I know that change was the desire of my son wanting to live elsewhere. Instead that change became allegations of abuse and more.

Yes, I sounded bitter in the last bit. Yes I am. That is what I am working through.

Bottom line: I get to talk with my son, I get to see him. I am working on this. Cost: Priceless!

My thoughts for the day

First of all, I need to apologize for my absence in keeping this blog up to date. It is not for lack of ideas and thoughts to write about, but my poor time management into organizing constructive posts. I also have had other obligations that have taken precedence. I will touch on those later, hopefully today.

Through my own experiences with parental alienation and with listening with other people's experiences, I seem to have become either very hypersensitive to many things that people say and do. Am I just angry that I am a target parent, or am I on to something? I would suspect a bit of both. We have interactions with people on a daily basis. Some of those interactions are pleasant and others not. Some people have a bad day and complain about what is bothering them and others complain about every little thing. Then there are those that explain in detail about their bad marriage and custody fight that took place 20 or more years ago. Quite frankly, I am sick and tired of hearing how he beat her up and was mean. I got the message the first 10 times you told that story. That is the type of person I am talking about. The one that can not let go, has to keep telling you the "story" over and over. The one that "knows" that the new person someone is dating is just like her ex, she knows the type and more. Then the next thing you know, everyone is convinced that the new friend is a stalker, a possible kidnapper and obviously up to no good. What I am trying to illustrate is that one person can convince others that something sinister is taking place. Their concern and own ideas convince others of something that is not even taking place.

When one hears the term parental alienation or custodial interference, many do not understand or if they think they do, just pass it off as a phase. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me "it's just a phase" that my son was going through, I could be rich. Well, I am not rich and it was not a phase, but no one seemed to care, except those very close to me and others that actually understood and experienced parental alienation first hand.

Parental alienation is abuse....it is made up stories to make the other parent look good to the courts, to their friends and to hopefully win them custody. Unfortunately, the courts do not take this seriously, or if they do, many times their hands are tied. If there are laws regarding parenting time, the laws are not enforced. If they are enforced, the punishment is lax. Therefore the cycle continues and the courts and judges fail to recognize this as abuse.

Until parental alienation, custodial interference and parenting time interference are recognized as abuse, then nothing will change.

Parental Alienation is ABUSE! STOP THE ABUSE!