Child Custody and Visitation

Father arrested for kicking, punching 7-year-old son

Posted on January 13, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

Police in Ryugasaki, Ibaraki Prefecture, have arrested an unemployed 40-year-old man on suspicion of abusing his 7-year-old son.

According to police, Toshio Namekawa punched his son in the face and kicked him at their home in mid-June, local media reported. He took the boy to hospital which notified a child welfare center of possible abuse.

Police said Namekawa, who lives alone with his son, has denied abusing his boy whose injuries took about two weeks to heal.

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22-year-old man arrested for fatal abuse of 6-month-old son

Posted on January 13, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

Police in Osaka on Thursday arrested a 22-year-old man on suspicion of fatally abusing his six-month-old son at their apartment last December.

According to police, Daichi Matsuzaki, a part-time worker, abused his son at their apartment in Yodogawa Ward between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Dec 17, Fuji TV reported. At the time, Matsuzaki was at home alone with the child and his older son, 2. His then wife, 22, was away at work.

When his wife returned home, she noticed something wrong with their six-month-old son and called 119. The child was taken to hospital where doctors said he was suffering from a blood clot on the brain caused by a severe head injury. The child died three weeks later.

The hospital notified police about a case of possible child abuse.

Matsuzaki, who has denied the charge, was quoted by police as saying he did nothing to hurt his son. He said the child fell off the sofa while sleeping and started crying, and that he tried to soothe him.

© Japan Today

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Parents arrested for abusing 1-month-old son

Posted on January 13, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

Police in Kyoto have arrested a 31-year-old man and his 28-year-old wife on suspicion of abusing their one-month-old son in June 2017.

According to police, Kazushi Higashie, a nutritionist, and his wife Marina abused their then one-month-old son between June 12 and June 21 last year at their house in Nishikyo Ward, fracturing his right thigh and breaking his right leg, Fuji TV reported.

After they took the boy to hospital, a doctor contacted the local child welfare center about a case of possible abuse. The center then notified police.

Police said Higashie has admitted to abusing the boy but his wife has denied the charge.

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25-year-old woman arrested for abandoning corpses of 3 infants in Sendai apartment

Posted on January 13, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

Police in Osaka have arrested a 25-year-old woman on suspicion of abandoning the bodies of three infants in an apartment where she used to live in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture.

According to police, Reika Yoshimaru, an adult entertainment shop employee in Osaka’s Ikuno Ward, was arrested on suspicion of corpse abandonment after the remains of the infants were found in the apartment, Fuji TV reported.

Police said that on Wednesday night, Yoshimaru went to a koban (police box) in Osaka and said she had left the remains of a newborn child in her apartment in Sendai in December 2016. When Sendai police searched the vacant apartment in Aoba Ward on Thursday, they found the remains of three newborn infants in plastic bags inside a suitcase in a closet.

Police said Yoshimaru lived in the Sendai apartment, which she still rents, from November 2014 until January 2017. They said Yoshimaru has admitted to giving birth to all three infants — two boys and one girl — but gave no further information on when they were born or who the father or fathers were.

© Japan Today

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Woman arrested for abusing 18-month-old daughter

Posted on January 13, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

Police in Yokohama have arrested an unemployed 24-year-old Chinese woman on suspicion of abusing her 18-month-old daughter in June.

According to police, Guo Yian beat the child about the head until she lost consciousness at their apartment in Isogo Ward at around 11:30 p.m. on June 19, Fuji TV reported.

Guo lives with her 28-year-old Chinese husband, 4-year-old son and daughter. The husband was out at the time of of the alleged abuse. When he returned home and noticed his daughter unconscious, his wife said she had fallen off a bench.

The couple then took the girl to a hospital. Doctors diagnosed her as suffering from a blood clot on the brain. They also noticed bruises on her body and notified police about a possible case of child abuse.

Guo went to China in July after becoming ill and was arrested this week upon her return to Japan. Police said she has admitted hitting her daughter’s legs and hands to discipline her but denied hitting her on the head, police said.

The baby remains in a coma in hospital.

© Japan Today

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36-year-old father arrested for beating 8-year-old son to death

Posted on January 13, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

Police in Ikoma, Nara Prefecture, on Thursday arrested a 36-year-old man on suspicion of killing his 8-year-old son at their home.

According to police, Tsuyoshi Okada, a dental technician, physically assaulted his son Yushin at their home on Sept 17. Police said Okada beat Yushin about the head and called 119 the next day at 6:50 a.m. and said his son wasn’t breathing, Fuji TV reported. The boy was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. Doctors said he had likely died around 4 a.m.

An autopsy showed that Yushin had suffered a fractured skull. Police said Okada has admitted to beating his son.

At the time of the incident, Yushin’s mother was also home and police are questing her about her knowledge of what went on.

© Japan Today

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Woman arrested for leaving body of newborn baby in coin lockers for 4-5 years

Posted on January 13, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

Police in Tokyo said Tuesday they have arrested a 49-year-old woman on suspicion of abandoning a body after she left the corpse of her newborn baby in coin lockers for 4-5 years.

According to police, the woman, Emiri Suzaki, turned herself in at a police station in Arakawa Ward at around 11 a.m. on Monday and said she had left her baby’s remains in a locker near JR Uguisudani Station in Taito Ward on Sept 13, Fuji TV reported. Police went to the locker and found the infant’s remains in a plastic bag inside a tote bag.

Suzaki, who has no fixed address or employment, told police she had given birth to the baby in a hotel room four or five years ago. She said the baby was stillborn, and she panicked because she didn’t know what to do with it, so she placed the infant’s body in various lockers at the station for the past few years. She would go back to the lockers every few days and put coins in.

Police said the gender of the baby is unknown.

Suzaki told police she was evicted from the place where she had been staying and forgot to take the locker key with her, so she decided to tell police what she had done before someone else found the key.

© Japan Today

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Parents arrested for child abuse after beating 1-year-old daughter unconscious

Posted on January 13, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

Police in Sakaide City, Kagawa Prefecture, have arrested a 25-year-old man and his 20-year-old wife on suspicion of abusing their one-year-old daughter.

According to police, Yuki Nishimura, a demolition worker, and his wife Saori allegedly beat and slapped their 17-month-old daughter at their home at around 11 p.m. on Sept 29, Fuji TV reported. The girl lost consciousness and her parents took her to hospital where doctors said she had suffered an acute subdural hematoma.

Police said the girl remains unconscious and in a critical condition.

The couple have three children — a two-year-old son, their injured daughter and a four-month-old son.

Police said they have admitted to hitting their daughter because she often wouldn’t listen to them.

© Japan Today

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Mother accused of killing 2-month-old daughter by lacing her milk with drugs pleads not guilty

Posted on January 13, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

A 24-year-old woman accused of killing her 2-month-old daughter by lacing her milk with hypertension drugs and other medicine in December 2016 pleaded not guilty at the opening session of her trial Monday at the Tokyo District Court.

According to the indictment, Sachika Tabata, who was arrested in July 2017, allegedly added high blood pressure medicine to her daughter Shion’s milk on Dec 29, 2016, at the family’s house in Meguro Ward, Fuji TV reported. Shion died of complications soon after.

The baby was born underweight and was treated at a hospital after her birth until about a week before being taken back to her mother’s house.

The case came to light after an autopsy on Shion’s body showed traces of medicine which matched pills found at Tabata’s home.

At the time of Shion’s death, Tabata was living with her disabled mother who was taking prescribed medication for high blood pressure and diabetes. According to police, Tabata was in control of her mother’s medicines and had access to them.

Prosecutors believe that Tabata was aware of the harm that the medicines could do to her daughter. Tabata has denied putting any medicine in Shion’s milk bottle.

In their opening statement on Monday, prosecutors said the baby’s father was a customer at the hostess club where Tabata worked. The man had no further contact with Tabata and she never wanted to have the baby, prosecutors claimed.

Tabata’s lawyer said there was no direct evidence showing that she put any medicine in the milk and that she had no motive to kill her child, whom she had vaccinated against the flu on the day of the alleged crime.

© Japan Today

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Man arrested for abusing 3-month-old daughter because she wouldn’t stop crying

Posted on January 13, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

Police in Kamagaya, Chiba Prefecture, on Saturday arrested an unemployed 30-year-old man on suspicion of beating his three-month-old daughter at their home.

According to police, Hiroki Jinda has admitted to the charge and said he beat his daughter at around 12:10 a.m. on Thursday because she wouldn’t stop crying and it got on his nerves, Fuji TV reported. Jinda told police he held his daughter by her toes and hit her stomach and left thigh.

Jinda’s wife, who was working part-time, noticed her daughter’s condition when she returned home and they took her to the hospital. Doctors noticed several bruises on her body. The child also had cracked ribs. The hospital then contacted police about a case of possible child abuse.

© Japan Today

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Remains of 2 babies found in Saitama house

Posted on January 13, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

The remains of two babies have been found in a house in Namegawa, Saitama Prefecture, police said Sunday.

According to police, the skeletonized remains of one baby was found wrapped in a towel inside a plastic bag in a room on the second floor by a 76-year-old woman who lives there are at around 11:15 a.m. on Friday, Fuji TV reported. The second corpse was found hidden in the room on Saturday.

The woman and her 75-year-old husband were cleaning up, getting ready to move out of the house. Police said their daughter, who died in hospital in June at the age of 42, had lived in the house with them until 15 years ago, and believe she was the mother of the two babies who may died soon after birth.

© Japan Today

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33-year-old man arrested for abusing girlfriend’s 2-year-old son

Posted on January 8, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

Police in Yokohama said Tuesday they have arrested a 33-year-old man on suspicion of abusing the two-year-old son of his 25-year-old girlfriend with whom he lived.

The suspect, Masamune Miyoshi, an engineering worker, was arrested on Oct 15 for beating his girlfriend. Police rearrested him on Monday on the child abuse charge.

According to police, Miyoshi and his girlfriend and her son started living together at the end of August. He has admitted beating the child regularly from early September until Oct 3 at their apartment in Hodogaya Ward, police said. Fuji TV reported that the boy suffered injures that will take about six months to heal.

On Oct 3, Miyoshi and his girlfriend took the boy to a hospital and said he had injured himself after falling off a playground slide. Doctors suspected child abuse and notified the local child welfare center, which contacted the police.

Police quoted Miyoshi’s girlfriend as saying that he started beating her son about a week after they began living together because he wouldn’t go to sleep when told to. She said that when she tried to intervene, Miyoshi hit her, too.

© Japan Today

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Mother fatally stabs sons, aged 3 and 5

Posted on January 8, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

A 31-year-old woman in Higashi-Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture, has been arrested on suspicion of fatally stabbing her two sons, aged 3 and 5, with a kitchen knife.

According to police, Ryoko Iwanaga called 110 at around 5:45 p.m. Monday and said she had killed her children. When police arrived at her residence, they found her sons, Hayato, 5, and Sota, 3, collapsed, with multiple stab wounds in their back, Fuji TV reported.

They were taken to hospital where they were confirmed dead.

Police said Iwanaga has admitted to the charge and quoted her as saying she felt sad about the children’s future and didn’t want them to grow up and be as miserable as she is.

Iwanaga lived with her husband, who was out at the time, and her two sons.

© Japan Today

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Mother who left dead baby in train station locker gets suspended sentence

Posted on January 8, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

A 35-year-old woman who left the corpse of her newborn daughter in a coin locker in August has been given a suspended sentence by the Saitama District Court.

Kaori Horiguchi was found guilty of abandoning the stillborn body of her daughter in a coin locker at Kita-Sakado Station on the Tobu Tojo Line in Sakado, Saitama Prefecture, Fuji TV reported Wednesday. She was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for three years.

The court heard that a security guard reported to police at around 3 p.m. on Aug 29 that a foul smell was emanating from one of the coin lockers at the station. Police opened the locker and found the naked body of the infant inside a shoulder bag. An autopsy showed that a few days had passed since she died. No visible injuries were present on the body.

In handing down his sentence, Judge Toshikazu Ishii ruled that Horiguchi was “selfish and irresponsible” to abandon her deceased infant inside a coin locker. On the other hand, he pointed out, “It is obvious that [the mother] carried out her crime after being driven to an unstable psychological state.” Because she showed remorse during her trial, the judge deemed the suspended sentence as reasonable.

© Japan Today

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Father arrested over death of 2-year-old stepdaughter

Posted on January 8, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

A 29-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of killing his two-year-old stepdaughter by beating her about the head at their home in Osaka’s Higashiyodogawa Ward last year.

According to police, Takahiro Imanishi, an electrician currently residing in Osaka’s Neyagawa City, is accused of fatally beating his stepdaughter Noa last December at their apartment, Fuji TV reported. The child subsequently died of an acute subdural hematoma due to head injuries, doctor said.

At the time, Noa was living with her mother and Imanishi. Police said Noa’s mother was not at home when Imanishi beat the girl.

Noa was taken to hospital but never regained consciousness. After hospital officials alerted police to a case of possible abuse, Imanishi said Noa had been crying and he tried to stop her by rolling her on top of a futon.

However, doctors that the two-year-old appeared to have been strongly shaken and beaten about the head.

© Japan Today

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Parents plead guilty to starving 1-year-old son to death

Posted on January 8, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

A husband and wife pleaded guilty on Monday to starving to death their 1-year-old son.

During the opening session of their trial at the Saitama District Court, Kenshiro Yamabe and his wife Hitomi, both 25, pleaded guilty to starving their son Haruto in October last year at their apartment in Okegawa in Saitama Prefecture, Sankei Shimbun reported. They gave their son only milk when he cried, according to the indictment.

The court heard that the couple called 119 on Oct 9, 2017, after Haruto fell unconscious. He died later that night in hospital. He weighed just 3.8 kilograms, less than half the average weight for a child of his age, at the time of his death.

As there were no signs of physical abuse on the boy’s body, doctors determined Haruto died as a result of being deprived of food over an extended period of time.

The couple have admitted that they frequently ignored Haruto while they played video games.

Haruto had two older brothers, then aged 4 and 3, but they had no health problems.

© Kyodo/Japan Today

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Mother gets 2 years in prison for abusing 8-month-old daughter who suffered frostbite

Posted on January 8, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

A 25-year-old woman has been sentenced to two years in prison by the Saitama District Court for parental neglect after abandoning her 8-month-old daughter in a bathroom in midwinter. The infant subsequently lost parts of two toes due to frostbite.

According to the ruling, Asuka Kamikubo left her daughter, wearing only a diaper, inside the bathroom at their home in Soka from 5 p.m. on Jan 13 until 1 p.m. the next day, Fuji TV reported Thursday. Overnight, the temperature dropped below zero. There was no heating in the bathroom and the child suffered frostbite in her toes.

Prosecutors said Kamikubo had also beaten her daughter between November 2017 and Jan 15 this year.

In handing down the court’s ruling, the presiding judge said the defendant put her daughter’s life at risk and dismissed Kamikubo’s claim that she couldn’t hear her daughter’s cries from the bathroom.

Kamikubo lived with her daughter and son, 2. On Jan 15, she took her children to visit her parents and her mother noticed something wrong with the little girl. She was taken to hospital which contacted a child welfare center about a possible case of child abuse.

Kamikubo admitted to abusing her daughter. However, her son was not harmed.

© Japan Today

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Body of newborn infant found floating in river

Posted on January 8, 2019. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

The body of a newborn baby of undetermined gender was found floating in a river in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, police said Friday.

According to police, the infant, with its umbilical cord still attached, was found floating face down in the shallows of the Kaname River by a man jogging at around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Fuji TV reported.

The infant was naked and there were no visible signs of injury.

Police said they are examining nearby surveillance camera footage to try and identify who abandoned the child.

© Japan Today

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Woman arrested for strangling 11-year-old son to death

Posted on April 5, 2016. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation |

YAMANASHI — April 5th, 2016

Police in Nirasaki, Yamanashi Prefecture, said Tuesday they have arrested a 39-year-old woman on suspicion of killing her 11-year-old son.

According to police, Chinatsu Ikeda is suspected of strangling her son Yusei to death with a rope at their residence on Monday evening, Fuji TV reported.

Ikeda called police at 7 p.m. and told them she had killed her son. When paramedics arrived at the scene, they confirmed Yusei’s death.

Ikeda, who works part-time, was quoted by police as saying that her son had suffered from a developmental disorder and she was distressed about how to raise him.

Ikeda’s mother and her 13-year-old daughter live in the same house; however, Ikeda was alone with Yusei when the incident occurred.

Japan Today

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Father, son dead; another son in coma after murder-suicide attempt

Posted on December 30, 2015. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death, Child Custody and Visitation | Tags: , , , |


A 60-year-old man and his son, in his 40s, were found dead in their apartment in Ayase, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Friday, police said. The man’s younger son, in his 30s, was also found in a coma. All three had suffered knife wounds to the stomach.

Fuji TV reported that police received a call at around 12:15 a.m. Friday, in which the male caller said, “I’ve killed my father and older brother and I’m going to kill myself, too.”

When police arrived at the scene, they found the apartment locked. After gaining entry into the apartment, they found the older man and his oldest son already dead. The second son was still alive and taken to hospital where he remains in a coma.

Police believe the younger son may have stabbed his father and older brother and then himself. A bloodied knife was found beside the younger brother, police said.


Japan Today

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22-year-old woman arrested for attempted murder of 6-month-old son

Posted on December 30, 2015. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death, Child Custody and Visitation | Tags: , , , |


Police in Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture, said Sunday they have arrested a 22-year-old woman on suspicion of attempted murder after strangled her 6-month-old son with a kotatsu electric cord.

According to police, the woman, Naomi Misu, strangled the child at around 12:30 p.m. Saturday while her husband was out. Fuji TV reported that she then called 119.

The boy was taken to hospital where he remained in a coma on Sunday.

Police said Misu, who was on maternity leave from her job at a bank, had consulted with Tanabe city welfare authorities on Dec 3, saying the child wouldn’t stop crying and she found child-rearing stressful.

Japan Today

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Man arrested over deaths of two daughters

Posted on December 30, 2015. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death, Child Custody and Visitation | Tags: , , |


Police in Sodegaura, Chiba Prefecture, have arrested a 46-year-old man on suspicion of killing his two daughters by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Nobuya Amaha, an office worker, is suspected of burning coal briquettes in the bathroom at his residence in Sodegaura City and killing his daughters, Sae, 23, and Nami, 22, with carbon monoxide poisoning on Monday morning, Fuji TV reported.

On Monday, Amaha sent an email to his relatives which suggested he was suicidal. Police said the email read: “Thank you for everything you have done. We cannot hold out any longer.”

After the relative notified police about the email, officers went to Amaha’s residence where he and his two daughters were found unconscious in the bathroom. They were taken to hospital where Sae and Nami were pronounced dead.

Police said Amaha has admitted to the charge and said that his wife died of illness last May and the family was depressed about their future. He said he wanted to die with his daughters.

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42-year-old man arrested for attempting to strangle 6-year-old son to death

Posted on December 30, 2015. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death, Child Custody and Visitation | Tags: , , , |


Police in Yokohama said Monday they have arrested a 42-year-old man on suspicion of attempting to murder his 6-year-old son.

Shunsuke Okudera, an office employee, is suspected of attempting to strangle his son to death at their home at around 11 p.m. on Sunday, Fuji TV reported.

Okudera’s mother, who lives with them, called 110 reporting her grandson had been strangled by her son. When police arrived at the residence, the son was lying on the floor in the living room. Okudera admitted to the charge and was arrested at the scene.

Police said the boy is in a coma.

So far, Okudera has not said anything to police about why he attacked his son.

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The system drives noncustodial parents out of their kids’ lives

Posted on December 15, 2014. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Divorce | Tags: , , |

The Boston Globe – Dec. 13th, 2014

RUTH GRAHAM discusses one part of a much larger problem: a broken family law system (“Broke, but not deadbeat”). Graham’s focus on fathers who are poor is commendable. However, it misses the larger problem of one parent — usually the father — being driven out of the lives of his children because the laws, the courts, the lawyers, and the government all have a financial stake in extracting as much money as possible from the noncustodial parent, the best interests of the children be damned.

If both parents continued to be involved in their children’s lives, as numerous studies over several decades have shown to be best, it wouldn’t be nearly as lucrative for those other so-called stakeholders. The better solution, for parents who are rich, poor, or in between, is shared parenting, which should be a presumption, not a mandate, in every child custody action, even so-called preliminary rulings.

In 2004, 86 percent of Massachusetts voters supported a presumption of shared parenting in a nonbinding referendum, and yet the Legislature has ignored or blocked the issue year after year.

The solution: Take the profit out of the system, and stop urging parents to fight over sole custody. Even poor fathers are more likely to financially support their children if they are fully involved in their lives.

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Mother Loses Custody After Preventing Father From From Seeing Child

Posted on December 15, 2014. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Divorce | Tags: , , |

Family Law Express December 1st, 2014 | Written By: Kay Dibben

Selfish separated parents who try to stop their children having a relationship with their former partners are having the kids taken off them by courts.

A judge recently took the “drastic step” of ordering that a girl, eight, who had lived with her mother since her parents separated when she was 13 months, instead live with her father.

Changing the child’s primary carer from the mother to the father was the only way the girl could have a meaningful relationship with both parents, Judge Evelyn Bender decided.

The mother had for years interfered with her daughter’s court-ordered time with her father, who did not see his child for months at a time.

“The mother tells (the child) that her father is going to take her away and not allow her to ever see her mother again,” Judge Bender said.

The anxious little girl had told a Court family consultant it was her dream to be able to “love Mummy and Daddy at the same time”.

Brisbane family law specialist Deborah Awyzio said it was only in extreme cases that a child was taken away from one parent and put in the care of the other.

“This is a warning that parents need to be child-focused in every parenting decision they make and not self-focused,” Ms Awyzio said.

“People think it is extreme when a child is removed from the carer they have been with, but the focus is on the child’s right to have a meaningful relationship with both parents.”

In the recent case the court heard the couple, who separated in 2007 after five years together, had been in ongoing litigation over their daughter’s living arrangements.

The court heard the mother’s unremitting campaign to undermine her child’s relationship with her father distressed the child, who loved both parents.

Judge Bender said if the girl lived with her father she would be “allowed to be a child”.

She gave the father sole responsibility for the child’s health and education and allowed the mother to spend time with the girl on alternate weeks and during holidays.

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Pope Francis: Children have right to a mother and father

Posted on December 15, 2014. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Divorce | Tags: , , |

Ann Schneible Nov 17, 2014

Children have the right to be raised by a mother and a father, Pope Francis said, emphasizing that “the family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation.”

The Pope made these remarks on Nov. 17 at the opening of the three-day international, interfaith colloquium entitled The Complementarity of Man and Woman, currently underway in the Vatican.Also referred to as the “Humanum” conference, the gathering is being sponsored by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

“To reflect upon ‘complementarity’ is nothing less than to ponder the dynamic harmonies at the heart of all creation,” he said. “All complementarities were made by our creator, so the author of harmony achieves this harmony.”

Complementarity, which is at the core of this gathering, “is a root of marriage and family,” the Pope said. “For the family grounded in marriage is the first school where we learn to appreciate our own and others’ gifts, and where we begin to acquire the arts of cooperative living.”

Although the family often leads to tensions – “egoism and altruism, reason and passion, immediate desires and long-range goals” – it also provides “frameworks for resolving such tensions.”

Pope Francis warned against confusing complementarity with the notion that “all the roles and relations of the two sexes are fixed in a single, static pattern.” Rather, he said, “complementarity will take many forms as each man and woman brings his or her distinctive contributions to their marriage and to the formation of their children – his or her personal richness, personal charisma.”

“Marriage and family are in crisis,” he said, with the “culture of the temporary” dissuading people from making the “public commitment” of marriage.

“This revolution in manners and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.”

Pope Francis noted the evidence pointing to the correlation between “the decline of marriage culture” and the increase of poverty and other “social ills”. It is women, children, and elderly persons who suffer the most from this crisis, he said.

The Pope likened the crisis in the family to threats against the environment. Although there has been a growing awareness of ecological concerns, mankind has “been slower to recognize that our fragile social environments are under threat as well, slower in our culture, and also in our Catholic Church.”

“We must foster a new human ecology,” he said.

“The family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation,” the Holy Father continued, stressing the importance of marriage in the raising of children.

“Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity,” he said.

Pope Francis encouraged the participants in the Colloquium to especially take account of young people. “Commit yourselves, so that our youth do not give themselves over to the poisonous environment of the temporary, but rather be revolutionaries with the courage to seek true and lasting love, going against the common pattern.”

He also warned against being moved by political agendas. “Family is an anthropological fact, he said, which cannot be qualified “based on ideological notions or concepts important only at one time in history.”

Pope Francis concluded his address by confirming his participation in the World Meeting of Families to take place in Philadelphia, USA, in 2015.

Following the Holy Father’s remarks, CDF Prefect and moderator of the colloquium’s opening sessions, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, spoke at length on the central themes of the gathering.

At the core of the Colloquium which has gathered representatives from diverse religious traditions, is the question of the import of man and woman’s complementarity “for the relationship between the human person and God”.

Recounting the Genesis account of the earth’s creation, followed by that of man and woman, Cardinal Mueller said in his intervention the “difference between man and woman, both in the union of love and the generation of life, concerns God’s presence in the world.” It is man’s calling “to discover [this] in order to find a solid and lasting foundation and destiny for our life.”

“In sexual difference,” the cardinal went on, the man and the woman “can only understand him or herself in light of the other: the male needs the female to be understood, and the same is true for the female.”

It is therefore the the aim of the colloquium, Mueller concluded, “to explore the richness of sexual difference, its goodness, its character as gift, its openness to life, the path that opens up to God.”

Later that morning, keynote speaker Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks opened his intervention by telling “the story of the most beautiful idea in the history of civilization: the idea of the love that brings new life into the world. There are of course many ways of telling the story, and this is just one.”

The Rabbi explored the evolutionary development leading to the human family, from which emerged “the union of the biological mother and father to care for their child.” Then, with the development of cultures came the normalization of polygamy: “the ultimate expression of inequality because it means that
many males never get the chance to have a wife and child.”

“That is what makes the first chapter of Genesis so revolutionary,” he said, “with its statement that every human being, regardless of class, colour, culture or creed, is in the image and likeness of God himself.”

Rabbi Sacks spoke at length about the development of family within the Jewish tradition, noting how the Jews were “became an intensely family oriented people, and it was this that saved us from tragedy.”

From the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D through centuries of persecution, he said, “Jews survived because they never lost three things: their sense of family, their sense of community and their faith.”

“Marriage and the family are where faith finds its home and where the Divine Presence lives in the love between husband and wife, parent and child,” he said.

In an interview with CNA, President for the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch, reflected on the fundamentals of complementarity, beginning with the first chapter of Genesis.

“We have this very beautiful idea, an image that the relationship between man and woman is an image of God,” he said. “In this sense, in the Catholic Church, the marriage between husband and wife is a Sacrament. This Sacramental issue is very important for us.”

Citing the interfaith character of the Colloquium, Cardinal Koch, who served as moderator for the afternoon sessions he stressed the need to give witness about complementarity “first of all in an ecumenical way.”

The chance to “give witness about family and marriage in an inter-religious dimension is a very beautiful opportunity,” he said.

David Quinn, director of the IONA institute and newspaper columnist, was among the participants in the colloquium. “The conference is obviously an extremely major international gathering about the importance of marriage between a man and a woman,” he told CNA.

“It’s probably the most significant gathering of its kind to date that’s been organized by the Church, and specifically by the CDF.”

“The loud and clear message for me,” Quinn said, “is the importance of the complementarity of men and women, and particularly the right of a child to be raised by their own mother and father whenever that is possible.”

Citing Ireland’s upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage, set to occur in 2015, Quinn said “this is obviously a loud and clear message that people need to hear. That the sexes are complimentary.”

“This is imbedded in the very nature of marriage itself. You deny the nature of marriage if you deny the importance of the complementarity of the sexes, and above all if you deny that mothers and fathers should raise children together.”

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The Rise of Daddy Daycare

Posted on December 7, 2014. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Divorce | Tags: , |

Even though the burden of cultural expectation still generally falls on mothers, fathers now spend almost five more hours on childcare each week than they did in 1965.

What scene comes to mind when you envision a dad left in charge of his kids for the day? Is it a room with fresh crayon marks all over the walls, kids with food-smeared faces—nothing short of general chaos? While those tropes might be funny, they probably aren’t all that accurate, especially nowadays, when more and more men are pitching in at home.

In fact, fathers now perform 4.6 more hours of childcare and 4.4 more hours of housework each week than they did in in 1965, according to a report from the White House Council of Economic Advisors. And dads say that involvement with responsibilities on the home front, particularly involving children, is increasingly important, as is finding a career and employer that will allow them to devote a significant portion of time to their family. In a study from the Boston College Center for Work and Family, 60 percent of the 1,029 fathers polled said that employer-provided, paid paternity or parental leave was important to them. This figure was significantly higher among younger men, with 93 percent of Millennial dads indicating that paid paternal leave was important to them.
Still, while opinions and priorities may have seen some cultural shifts, the balance between work and home is still a difficult one to strike. The vast majority of fathers surveyed for the Boston College study took only two weeks off for the arrival of a new baby, a period of time that correlated strongly with the amount of paid paternity or parental leave provided. When asked how much paternal leave they thought was appropriate, the majority of men said somewhere between two and four weeks, with younger dads erring towards longer leave. And some men choose not to take the maximum amount of time off from their jobs, fearing that they’ll fall too far behind, or be seen as less dedicated employees.

“I would be working just for someone else to watch my kids and it just didn’t make sense.”
While some fathers find themselves trying to create work schedules with additional flexibility, more fathers are assuming the role of primary caregiver. The number of stay-at-home dads has risen from 1.1 million in 1989 to 2.0 million in 2012, according to Pew. Why? For some fathers, they found themselves in the role due to circumstance: Temporary unemployment or disability can make dads the most logical option for childcare. But some fathers are home by choice, and because of a shift in labor dynamics as women reach higher educational and career attainment.
For Chris Tecala of Centerville, Virginia, who worked full-time in the audio visual field for a hospitality company, the question of who should stay home with the kids was an easy one to answer. “My salary equaled the cost of the yearly daycare of two, non potty-trained infants, which was about $40,000 a year,” he said. “I would be working just for someone else to watch my kids and it just didn’t make sense.”

According to Pew, 24 percent of married women earn more than their husbands. The study also found that for married couples with children, women were the primary breadwinners in 37 percent of households. As women earn more and seek higher positions in more competitive fields, the decision of who should leave work to care for a sick child, or stay home altogether, has become less clear.

Now Tecala, who stays home during the week to watch his twin two-year-old boys, strikes a balance by working part-time for the same company during the weekends. Even once his boys are old enough to attend school, Tecala says he plans on continuing with a part-time schedule so he can “be there for them every step of the way.”

The decision to remain active in the professional world, albeit in a scaled-back fashion, is fairly common, says Will Culp of the National At Home Dad Network, especially for those who plan to reenter the workforce after the kids get older.

Dan Baldwin, a stay-at-home dad from Baltimore says that his family’s decision to rely on him as the primary caregiver was driven partially by finances, but also because of the lack of schedule flexibility at his former job. Baldwin used about seven weeks of paid leave thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act, but afterward, when he tried to discuss creating a more family-friendly schedule for his urban planning job, he said his employer offered up the equivalent of two days off per month. For his family, it simply wasn’t enough, he said.

So Baldwin stays home to care for his son, David. He says he plans on returning to the working world, once any children he and his wife may have are old enough to attend school, but even then, there will still be a focus on flexibility so he can do things like attend field trips and soccer matches. “I think that going into a new job, that would be one of the things I would look for—that would weigh heavily on my decision about where to end up,” he said.

“I think the bias against pro-paternity policies in the workplace starts with the notion that mothers are genetically better-suited for childcare,”
Though they are the primary caregivers in their families, both Tecala and Baldwin make sure to note how involved their wives, both employed full-time, are in child rearing. “By the end of the day when she gets home, I like to have that break,” Baldwin says. “She’ll feed him dinner, give him a bath, and put him to bed. And that’s when I’ll get some cleaning done.” Tecala describes a similar scene in his home.

But despite this scene of domestic bliss and cooperation, it still seems as if a large portion of Americans don’t see stay-at-home dads and stay-at-home moms in the same light. Another to Pew poll reported that, 51 percent of respondents felt that kids were better off with a mother who stayed home, and only 34 percent said that kids were just as well off if their mom worked. Those numbers change dramatically when you switch to the idea of a stay-at-home father. Only 8 percent of respondents said that children would be better off if their dad stayed home, while 76 percent said they’d be just as well off if their dad worked.

Culp says that these views, that deem that mothers are better suited to take care of the kids, contribute to flimsy pro-paternity leave policies at many organizations. “I think the bias against pro-paternity policies in the workplace starts with the notion that mothers are genetically better-suited for childcare,” he said. “As long as employers see involved fathers as an impediment to productivity, any change toward more progressive paternity leave policies will be met with resistance.”

While Baldwin and Tecala said that most people were positive about their decision to act as their child’s primary caregiver, both had stories of odd looks or curious reactions that they had gotten from strangers, mostly women. Tecala described a look of confusion that he gets occasionally when he carts his twin boys around the supermarket. I asked him if that type of reaction upset him. “At first it bothered me, but now I just kind of shrug it off and laugh,” he said. “I like to think that they’re just jealous that they don’t have a guy who’s willing to look after the kids like I am.”

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Donald Hubin commentary: Shared parenting needs to be the goal

Posted on December 7, 2014. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Divorce | Tags: , , |

 Dec. 5th, 2014           The Columbus Dispatch by Donald Hubin

Most people have a common-sense understanding that children are better off when both parents are fully involved in a child’s upbringing and care, but Ohio’s child-custody laws and court practices fail to recognize this obvious truth.

While Ohio isn’t the worst state in this regard, a recent study gives the state’s child-custody laws a C- when it comes to ensuring that both parents remain engaged with their children following divorce.

In a groundbreaking report published within the past month, National Parents Organization released its inaugural Shared Parenting Report Card, the nation’s first study to grade the states based on child-custody statutes. The report found that most states are performing poorly in terms of encouraging shared parenting and parental equality. The nation as a whole scored a 1.63 grade-point average, and Ohio is in the middle of the pack, receiving a C-.

These findings make it clear that Ohio legislators must act to raise the state’s grade for the benefit of our children, and legislators can get to work by addressing the fact that Ohio statutes:

• Contain no preference for or presumption of shared parenting.

• Do not explicitly provide for shared parenting during temporary orders.

• Do not mandate that a court award shared parenting even in a case where the court finds that the submitted shared parenting plan is in the best interest of the children.

• Have not been significantly revised in light of the 2001 recommendations of the task force set up by the Ohio legislature and the Ohio Supreme Court to recommend reforms to family law in Ohio.

The report’s examination of statutes in Ohio and elsewhere show it’s typical for one parent to be marginalized when parents separate. This happens routinely, even when both parents are fit and loving and want to be fully involved in their children’s lives. It happens because of obsolete laws and outdated assumptions about parents.

Is diminishing the role of one parent the unfortunate price we pay to promote the best interest of children? Some have thought so, but the evidence is against them. And the evidence is now overwhelming. Over the past three decades, there has been a growing consensus among social scientists that in the vast majority of cases, when parents separate, children are best off when their parents are equally involved.

Just this year, three different groups of child-development researchers and practitioners endorsed shared parenting in most circumstances. In one instance, a report by prominent psychologist Richard Warshak, titled “Social Science and Parenting Plans for Young Children: A Consensus Report” and published by the American Psychological Association, concluded that shared parenting should be the norm. The conclusions of this research were endorsed by 110 researchers and practitioners who added their names to the published paper — an extraordinary event in the social sciences.

Despite the weight of scientific evidence, shared parenting is in place just 17 percent of the time, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

There are many reasons why this harmful practice continues. Some judges seem not to have noticed that we are no longer living in theMad Men era, when mothers stayed at home with the children and fathers were relatively uninvolved in child rearing. Some parents see the decisions about raising their children after divorce as a contest where one parent wins and the other loses — losing sight of the fact that, in such a contest, children are the real losers. And our adversarial approach to divorce and custody disputes encourages this winner-take-all attitude. Some judges favor shared parenting in principle but will not order it unless both parents agree to it, thinking that if the parents cannot agree to shared parenting, they can’t cooperate under a shared parenting plan. However, the research proves this false.

While the causes of what some have described as ‘parent-ectomy’ are many, there is no doubt that legislatures share some of the responsibility. Across the country, and certainly in Ohio, legislators have a responsibility to make common-sense statutory changes that will better ensure that our children, regardless of whether their parents live together, experience a childhood filled with the love of both parents.

Donald Hubin, a professor emeritus at Ohio State University, is chairman of the Ohio Executive Committee and a member of the National Board of National Parents Organization and is one of the principal authors of the National Parents Organization 2014 Shared Parenting Report Card.

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I cut my ex out of our daughter’s life: Now I’m glad he fought tooth and nail to see her

Posted on November 23, 2014. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , |

Last night I cuddled up on the sofa with my five-year-old daughter Ruby as we enjoyed one of her favourite TV shows.

It was The Story Of Tracy Beaker — who, I should explain to any non- parents, is a wonderful character created by the children’s author Jacqueline Wilson.

Tracy is a young girl growing up in a children’s home — she’s feisty and funny, but constantly fantastises about a better life. One with parents.

Whenever she goes into one of her reveries, claiming to have ‘hay fever’ when she wants to shed a tear, Ruby gets sad.

So last night, when hay fever struck Tracy, Ruby, too, became misty-eyed.

‘I’m so lucky to have a mummy and daddy,’ she said, hugging me. As I cuddled her back, I felt a terrible stab of guilt in my stomach.

For Ruby nearly didn’t have a daddy. For the first two-and-a-half years of her life, I did everything I could to scupper her relationship with her father.

In a fit of selfish pique, I attempted to come between them and deny them the right to love each other.

It was the most spiteful thing I’ve ever done.

Thank God her father, James, fought me all the way and dragged us through the hell of solicitors, legal bills and finally to the Family Court, where he won access to his little girl — access that was his by right.

He never gave up. Such is the testament of his love for Ruby. And for that, I will never be able to thank him enough.

I remember all too well that wretched day in the Family Court in March 2009 as we sat in front of the judge, with a solicitor between us. James, whom I’d once loved so dearly, looked grey and hollow.

I listened with a growing sense of shame as my legal team reeled off the acidic statement I’d made, littered with stupid accusations I’d dramatised to hurt him.

Even then I knew it was unfair, but I wanted to punish him. I blamed him for the break-up of our relationship and what better way to hurt him, I reasoned, than to take his daughter away?

The terrible struggle some fathers have to maintain contact with their children was highlighted last week when the Daily Mail told the story of an exemplary father who’d battled for 12 years to see his daughter after his former wife falsely accused him of sexually abusing her.

‘It’s like a bereavement,’ he said. ‘My anguish never stops. I wake up every morning with a knot of anxiety in my stomach. I don’t know where my daughter is. I don’t know how she is. I don’t even know if she is with her mother.’

To my eternal regret, it’s a torment I tried to inflict on the father of my child.

How could I do such a terrible thing? In my defence, I should explain I didn’t know any better.

My mother, Brenda, 73, and father, Bob, 78, though married, have never lived in the same house — they split up before I was born.

Throughout my childhood, I only ever saw my father at sporadic intervals. I still harbour resentments at all the years I spent as the ‘mediator’ in their fractured relationship.

Somehow, I thought misguidedly I would be doing my daughter a favour in sparing her this disruption if I severed all ties with her father. Ruby, I concluded, didn’t need James. She had me: I was all she needed.

How terribly wrong I was.

I’d met James, a 42-year-old newspaper reporter, when we worked together in Bristol in 2003. We were just friends until a Christmas fling in 2006 changed everything. We weren’t even a proper couple when I discovered I was pregnant in April 2007.

James was shocked, but nevertheless said he would support me no matter what. So we decided to give parenthood, and our relationship, our best shot.

We moved to the South Coast, rented a family home and determined to make it work. But our path was not to be a smooth one.

After a traumatic birth, in which Ruby and I almost died due to pre-eclampsia — a condition caused by high blood pressure, which affects 5 per cent of women in later pregnancy — I spent two weeks in hospital.

I was hardly able to pick up my newborn baby, let alone breastfeed her, and struggled to bond with her.

I don’t use this as an excuse for the bad behaviour that was to come, but the tranquil birth I’d dreamt of had been smashed to pieces. I sank into depression.

I pushed away James because I felt so sad, when all I really wanted was his love and help.

It was hardly a big surprise, then, that after a few months of sleepless nights with a newborn, tension and arguments, our relationship was in tatters.

Ruby was ten months old when I announced I was leaving. James was utterly taken aback.

I think he thought we’d somehow muddle through, but my mind was made up.

I convinced myself I could just sweep the matter of my baby’s father under the carpet. The scars of my parents’ acrimonious break-up ran deep.

I moved into a flat in Hove, East Sussex, in October 2008 and set about making it as difficult as possible for James to see his daughter.

I ignored his calls, refused to answer the door and slandered him to anyone who would listen.

I told everyone he was a dreadful father: he didn’t give her enough to drink; didn’t change her nappy often enough; and his flat was a tip.

Today I can admit my unhappiness was to blame, not James’s ability as a father.

I thought that if I just ignored him for long enough then he’d disappear. He’d give up and find someone else to pester. Ruby and I would be happy on our own.

But, thank God, James never gave up. When all negotiation failed, he sought legal advice and decided to fight me to gain access to his child.

He didn’t even go for shared custody, just the right to form some sort of relationship with her.

Despite this, I still convinced myself that James was trying to take my baby away from me and set out to fight him like a lioness.

The irony of Ruby’s first word was not lost on me: it was ‘Daddy’. But still I fought to wipe him from her life.

We spent thousands of pounds and the best part of a year in court and at each other’s throats.

James could have given up at any stage and, looking at his broken figure at the other end of the bench in court, I realised just how far I’d pushed him.

Finally, an agreement was reached. The judge ruled that Ruby would stay overnight with James every other Saturday. Begrudgingly, I capitulated.

As Ruby and James set about rebuilding their relationship, I began to see just what a precious bond they shared.

They looked so much alike and, as Ruby’s personality developed, I realised how alike they were in so many other ways.

They had the same quirky sense of humour and deep concentration at something that caught their interest.

I saw all of the qualities I’d loved and admired in James develop in our little girl. I even felt joy when she came home and chirped happily about their time together.

Having gone from barely mentioning or seeing her father, I saw their relationship blossom and it brought about a thaw in our relationship, too.

“Without a father in her life, she would be bereft of so much love. What child, whatever the situation, deserves to be deprived of that?”

James and I began to trust each other again and to exchange pleasantries when we met until, finally, we became good friends.

He says he has forgiven me. I thank him for that and admire his maturity.

Today, Ruby and James see each other most weekends, but the arrangement is informal.

He sees her whenever he likes. If he’s ten minutes away, he’ll pop in for a cup of tea and help Ruby with her spellings. Often she has a painting she just has to show her Daddy right now and, of course, that isn’t a problem.

They chat on the phone most days. And the three of us spent Christmas Day together.

I know in an ideal world that Ruby would have a mummy and daddy who live together, but this is the next best thing.

Without a father in her life, she would be bereft of so much love. What child, whatever the situation, deserves to be deprived of that?

She brings endless joy when she draws pictures of the three of us, and my dog Ralph, standing together and smiling.

Thankfully, all she remembers is a mummy and daddy who are friends and prioritise her before any emotion we might be feeling.

If James hadn’t fought me in court, Ruby wouldn’t be the delightful, clever, kind and happy child she is today.

I’m just glad I eventually saw through my own resentment and hurt — and put my child first.

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Parenting Together ….Living Apart

Posted on November 4, 2014. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, North Dakota Shared Parenting Initiative | Tags: , , , |

It’s Time To Stand Up Against Unfair Treatment: No Indians Or Dogs Allowed

From D.J., a grandmother:

I would like to share with you a story. One that was told to me by my mother, one that I have never forgotten. My dad was white and my mother was Native American. Before they were married, when they would go on a date, my mother would tell of times that she was not allowed in certain businesses.

Why you might ask. Some businesses back then had signs on their doors that would read…NO INDIANS OR DOGS ALLOWED. Therefore, my Dad would go in alone, while my Mom was forced to stay outside. Hurtful and sad to my Mom? Yes. But that’s not the reason I share this story with you. I share this story because I find strength in knowing that somewhere along the line; someone must have stood up as a group, like the Shared Parenting Supporters, and were successful in changing the laws, so that those signs could no longer exist. As times change, so must the laws.

For the last several years I have watched while my grandchildren are pulled away from their Daddy every two weeks and watch them cry as they hold out their arms to him as they leave. And I have watched my son sit at my kitchen table and cry like a baby after they have gone. Those of you that have children know that your children are your children, no matter how old they are. And when your children hurt, you hurt. Despite the thousands of dollars he has spent in attorney fees, he still has limited time with his children and they with him. He is denied phone calls and is only allowed to talk to them for a few minutes twice a week within a one hour time frame. The children are sent to their rooms if they ask to call their Dad and are punished if they cry when he takes them back to the custodial parent. My granddaughter tells me she wishes she could see her guidance counselor everyday because she says every day she is sad. The same granddaughter shares with me that she has nightmares about her Mom (the custodial parent) chasing her and her friend with a knife! How many five year old girls dream such dreams about their Mom? The court says they are doing what is in the best interest of the children. I beg to disagree. I write this to you today as a proud Native American Mother, Aunt and most importantly Grandmother… because my children and my grandchildren need me to. I stand proud with my son as he struggles to change the custody laws and because the children of North Dakota need me to tell my story.

There are families in your State, North Dakotan’s, father’s mothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and yes, children, that have had something that belongs to them taken away…a parent and an entire side of their family, and are hurting because of our outdated custody laws.

It is time for change. I am here today to ask the voters of North Dakota to Please support Measure 6…for the children!

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