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Fathers Protest Training Session for Family Court 'Guardians'

By Ed Oliver, Massachusetts News, April 17, 2003

The Fatherhood Coalition Tuesday protested a training session for social workers and lawyers who are appointed by judges to investigate families in contested child custody cases.

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Members of the CPF/Fatherhood Coalition demonstrate on Winter Place near Downtown Crossing on April 15th

The investigators, called guardians ad litem (GAL's), were undergoing mandatory training in "domestic violence," which is often a factor in child custody cases.

The GAL's make recommendations to the judge on who should get custody of the children in family breakups.

The fathers say they reject the GAL investigation process in divorce and child custody cases because it is corrupted by gender politics and blatantly unfair, especially to the children who are routinely ripped away from their dads by Family Courts.

The Fatherhood Coalition urges all fathers entering child custody litigation to formally refuse to cooperate in GAL investigations.

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CPF/Fatherhood Coalition spokesman Mark Charalambous explains the issues to a reporter during Tuesday's protest in Boston.

According to the fathers, the GAL's routinely:

—Minimize, deny and excuse female domestic violence in their investigations and reports.


—Deliberately leave out positive facts about fathers and minimize or ignore negative things about mothers.

—Deliberately produce evaluations and recommendations for maternal physical custody, as this is what is expected of them by the P&F Court that seeks to deny fathers physical custody of their children.


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A woman psychiatrist and GAL, who was on her way inside to the training session, stopped to gather literature and speak to a father.

Although fathers obtain custody only in a fraction of family breakups statewide, feminists are apparently unhappy to see even those few cases slip through the cracks. A 2001 Legislative Oversight Committee on GAL's headed by lesbian Sen. Cheryl Jacques recommended uniform domestic violence training for all GAL's as a remedy.

Fathers say false domestic violence accusations are a staple of the family breakup industry and "indoctrination" would be a more fitting description of the training sessions.

A woman psychiatrist and GAL who was on her way inside to the training session stopped to gather literature and speak to a father. The GAL said she is recommending that the father get custody in a case she is investigating and said she is going to insist on it. It is people like her that the GAL training sessions are attempting to "correct" say the fathers.

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George Vazquez hands out literature to a passerby.

Fatherhood Coalition spokesman Mark Charalambous tells MassNews there is an unacceptable paradigm that the mother will get the children and the father will go away somewhere and occasionally visit with the kids.

There was talk of a "custody revolution" a couple decades ago, he says, but that was trumped by something called a "domestic violence allegation" that became a weapon for any woman in any custody battle to insure she gets custody of the children.

"This is typically used not in cases where the father is a real louse, but in the cases where both parents may be good parents and the mother knows there can be a real legal fight if they don't agree. So that's when you are more likely to see allegations of domestic abuse, spouse abuse and domestic violence lodged against the man.

"So that is a huge part of the problem and it can't be avoided and has to be confronted."

The training session and protest took place at the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) building in downtown Boston.

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