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GAL (Guardian ad litem)

Tuesday, April 15, 2003
12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
10 Winter Place, Boston, MA

An Open Letter to GALs


An Open Letter to GALs

April 15, 2003

Dear GALs,

While you are learning techniques to better recognize batterers posing as loving fathers, and how to adjust the psychological evaluation test score of a violent mother because she has been "traumatized by domestic abuse," here are some things we'd like you to consider:

In the vast majority of divorces, there is no need to investigate the parenting abilities of one parent versus another. Children do not care if their parent is not as good as someone else's. What they want is their parents, even if that parent is manifestly unfit! If the parent is truly a danger to the child, there is no mystery to unravel. Evidence abounds. The offending parent should be accused of a crime and afforded due process of law like any other accused criminal. And penalties for making false allegations must be swift and sure.

Pitting one parent against the other to prove who is slightly better or worse than the other is not only unnecessary, it is fundamentally wrong, and is the very worst way to manage a family breakup, for all concerned – especially the children.

Lesson from Clara Harris trial

Not too long ago we saw a compelling moment from the Clara Harris murder trial replayed on the evening news: prosecutor Mia Magness arguing for a guilty verdict in her closing statement to the jury. Clara Harris was caught on videotape repeatedly hitting and running over her husband with her Mercedes.

"[If you catch your husband cheating] you do what every woman would do in this county: You take him to the cleaners. You take his house, his car, his kids. You make him wish that he was dead. But you don't kill him.," Magness argued.

There was no shock or outrage at this admission: that a woman has the power to make a man "wish he were dead" by going after him in divorce court. It's simply an accepted fact of life in this country. Because it's a universal truth. Magness didn't even need to mention the really heinous things women do in divorce, like accusing their husbands of sexually abusing their own children, or assaulting or raping their wives.

How is it that this potential for using the courts with deliberate malice exists, and there is no punishment or even disincentive? In answer, look no further than your training programs today. You are a part of this machine that is used to make men "wish they were dead."

Role of the GAL in making a father "Wish he were dead"

Your part in a divorce/custody case is to provide the legitimate, defensible grounds for the court to take away a father's children and ensure he becomes the financial provider for the "new" family that excludes him. Your GAL report, with its recommendation for primary physical custody to the mother, gives the judge the plausible deniability he/she needs if the judgment is questioned, criticized or appealed.

You provide the legal paperwork necessary for any woman to simply, "take his kids," and thus strike the deepest blow... making him wish he were dead.

When parents present conflicting accounts of events, you believe the woman and assume the man is lying, even when the woman changes her story and otherwise makes it abundantly clear to any impartial observer that she is lying.

Today, you are going to learn some refinements in your techniques. You are going to learn how to see through those wily batterers who appear to be loving fathers of their children, and see them for the evil brutes they really are. And you're also going to learn new techniques for tilting the scales back toward mom when she has some undisguisable deficits.

GALs training rooted in junk science

GALs all practice "psychiatry" in a loose sense if not explicitly. You have your beliefs about the human condition and human relations, developed from your own academic and intellectual inbreeding. Unfortunately, courts no longer recognize any tangible difference between psychiatric "evidence" given by an "expert" such as a GAL or a battered woman's advocate, and a true scientist providing, say, ballistic forensics in a murder trial.

In general, psychiatric evidence is bought. It is not real science, and it does not belong in the courtroom – especially in our family courts where the most precious resources we have, our children, are at stake.

We add our voice to an increasing number of critics who denounce the use of psychiatrists and psychiatric evidence in the courtroom.

Domestic violence training is junk science. The Wellesley "Speak Out" study, which discovered that the courts are violating the human rights of battered women by giving custody of their children to their batterer husbands, is an example of junk science in its purest form. One of its authors, Lundy Bancroft, is apparently an authoritative figure in the GAL circles. He contributed to Sen. Cheryl Jacques 2001 legislative report on GALs that led to this training. Bancroft is an example of everything that is wrong with the GAL system

Culture of GALs and Family Court

You exist in an environment that employs the most flagrant double standard since slavery. Your anti-male, pro-female bias is a virtual cartoon of profiling. Yet still... it's not enough. Still, you seek more ways to discriminate against and persecute the fathers that fall into your domain.

We hold you to be hopelessly corrupted by anti-male propaganda driven by junk science and "creative feminist sociology" that renders you incapable of ever having a balanced, healthy and nuanced understanding of male-female relations.

Many of you do not even have enough life experience to understand what it means to raise a child. Do you actually believe that what you learn in your psychology classes and professional development seminars and court training qualifies you to understand and pass judgment on our relationships with our children?

Quite frankly, many of you exist in a different moral universe than us.

Domestic violence training? You FAIL. And we are declaring no confidence in you, and the culture in which you exist. And we're calling on all fathers entering custody litigation everywhere to refuse to participate in GAL investigations.

- CPF/The Fatherhood Coalition

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