For Immediate Release

No Happy Fathers Day for State's Non-Custodial Fathers

DOR "Responsible Fatherhood" event at State House mocks fatherhood—Fatherhood Coalition to hold counter-demonstration

BOSTON, June 18-While the DOR celebrates "responsible fatherhood" at the State House grounds this Friday, the Fatherhood Coalition will hold a counter-demonstration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to draw attention to the abuse and frustration our state government heaps upon non-custodial fathers.

Federal suit charges courts with corruption-
Judge Arline Rotman implicated

Besides the unwritten rules of the court that routinely impoverish and criminalize fathers, family courts are under fire from accusations of corruption. Judge Arline Rotman of Worcester Probate & Family Court was awarded the Coalition's kangaroo-trophy "Joey" award as the nation's worst judge at the Coalition's third Fathers Day rally in 1997.

On June 12, the Boston Globe reported on a federal lawsuit filed against attorney Joan Arnold. Plaintiff William Hamilton, a divorced father, claims in the suit that Arnold, who represented his ex-wife, colluded with Rotman to produce a punitive divorce settlement that disregarded his rights to "fair and impartial justice." Hamilton's former wife got custody of the children and the family home, while he was ordered to pay $1,200 per month in child support and $10,000 towards his wife's attorney's fees. According to the Globe, "Once, Rotman warned a litigant, 'I happen to know that attorney Arnold comes from a small firm and that carrying $10,000 in fees would be a great burden to her.'" Rotman and Arnold have a long-standing friendship. In 1991, Arnold gave a speech in her honor at Mechanics Hall when Rotman first won appointment. Hamilton's suit seeks $900,000 in damages from Arnold; judges cannot be sued.

The Hamilton lawsuit contains a deposition by another Worcester P&F Court judge, Ronald King. In his sworn statement, King states "Would I want my wife represented by Joan Arnold in front of Judge Rotman? No, I wouldn't that to happen."

The DOR will be giving out awards to what they call "good" fathers—and the definition is all about cash: paying extortionary child support on time to the state agency, and perhaps dutifully exercising their every-other-weekend "visitation privileges" with their children.

Massachusetts child support guidelines are the highest in the nation, topping off at a whopping 40.25% of the non-custodial parent's (NCP) gross income. According to Arizona State University professor Sanford Braver, a specialist in post-divorce research and author of "Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths," in Massachusetts an average divorced mother's standard of living rises 25% while the average father's falls 20%, according to the guidelines.

According to Fatherhood Coalition co-chairman John Flaherty, "There is something very wrong when government bean-counters define fatherhood. How can a government agency that puts fathers in jail be an authority on fatherhood? Responsible fathers fight for equal parenting rights and their children's rights, and resist government extortion that undermines their ability to parent their children."

Coalition spokesman Mark Charalambous adds: "With its sole emphasis on money and sickening deadbeat dad propaganda, the DOR defiles fatherhood. It runs a Fatherhood Commission that excludes divorced fathers from participation. No honorable pro-fatherhood organization or individual should endorse or otherwise validate this cruel hoax."

Court denies custody wishes of father and son entering High School

Flaherty, a non-custodial father of two, knows what he is talking about. Representing himself in court, he has won two appeals and reversed four judgments from three different judges based on intentional misrepresentations by his ex-wife, an all too common occurrence fostered by abusive judicial prejudices and practices in family court. On June 11 in Middlesex Probate & Family Court in Cambridge, his motion for a change of custody of his fourteen year-old son was denied. Flaherty's son was hoping to begin living with his father after he finishes middle school, and wrote an affidavit to that effect. Judge Edward Donnelly, Jr. denied Flaherty's motion.

According to Flaherty, the usual misrepresentations with no substantial arguments were made by the opposing side. The long-time opposing attorney, who is aware of judicial prejudices, accused him of being an active member in a fathers rights group.

The courts consistently maintain there is no bias against men, and operate solely on "the best interests of the child." Yet the best designed published research on divorce, by Sanford Braver, shows that both men and women agree, after a divorce, that the courts were slanted towards the woman. The truth is obvious to any unbiased observer spending a day in any of the state's courts. One sees a steady stream of women requesting money and domestic abuse prevention (209A) orders. With rare exceptions, the plaintiffs are all women, and the men either leave in handcuffs or with a court order punishing them further. Every day devastated fathers can be observed pleading for a court order allowing them to see or contact their children. It is heartbreaking to watch a father plead for the right to telephone his own children, while the wife's attorney is asking for a contempt of court sentence because he is two weeks in arrears of a $500 per week child support order. To a foreign observer, the family court resembles a war crimes tribunal rather than a real court of justice.

Fatherhood Coalition Rally

Earl Henry Sholley, director of the Metro Southwest chapter of the Fatherhood Coalition, is leading the counter-demonstration on the State House steps. This is the fifth consecutive year that the Fatherhood Coalition has held a Fathers Day protest. Last year, the Coalition rallied at Quincy District Court. Sholley, a former State Rep. Candidate, defiantly asserts:

"Our natural, God-given rights must supercede the state's intrusive social engineering of our families. Those who profit from this conflict, those who truly abuse our children, must be discharged from the temples of justice."

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For further information, contact:

Mark Charalambous

John Flaherty

John Maguire

Earl Sholley

CPF Spokesman CPF Co-Chairman Massachusetts
Fatherhood News
CPF Metro Southwest chapter





CPF - The Fatherhood Coalition

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A non-profit, all volunteer organization of men and women advocating for fatherhood since 1994

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