The Genocide of Battered Mothers and their Children

Posts Tagged ‘divorce’

Oregon woman killed with her children had wanted divorce

In domestic law on July 24, 2011 at 12:18 pm

An Oregon woman killed with her four children in a rampage of arson and stabbings linked to her husband was long aware he was a convicted child molester but never expressed any fear of him, her brother said on Thursday.

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Tabasha Paige-Criado, 30, was pulled from the family’s burning home in Medford, Oregon, last Monday along with her three sons, aged 5, 6 and 7, and a 2-year-old daughter. All five were pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Her 51-year-old spouse, Jordan Criado, was found injured and unconscious in the house from smoke inhalation. Hospitalized in custody, he is the only individual police have named as a “person of interest” in the killings, though he remains in a medically induced coma.

His brother-in-law, Jesse Adams, told reporters during a tearful news conference on Thursday that his sister was unhappy in her marriage.

“We knew she wanted a divorce,” he said, adding that “she obviously didn’t see anything coming or feel threatened.”

Medford police recently confirmed that Criado at one point had served prison time in California for child molestation.

Adams said that his sister knew of Criado’s past when she married him. “He served his debt to society, and it has no bearing on what happened now,” he said.

Preliminary autopsy results released on Thursday indicate that the mother died of multiple stab wounds to the neck and abdomen. Carbon monoxide poisoning contributed to the deaths of all four children, officials said, but two of the boys also were stabbed in the neck.

Investigators combing through the charred home discovered the fire had been deliberately set in multiple locations.

In another bizarre twist to the case, police said the husband had reported his wife missing four hours before the fire, but police found her safe nearby and brought her back home. Officials said she did not seem fearful or agitated at the time.

The killings unnerved many residents in Medford, a western Oregon city of 75,000 people about 275 miles south of Portland, they said.



(MO) Missing mother of triplets who vanished six weeks ago was in divorce dispute with husband Who is a PERSON of Interest

In domestic law on July 15, 2011 at 12:21 pm

A missing mother of triplets who vanished six weeks ago was finalising her divorce AND CHILD CUSTODY on the day she disappeared. FATHER is a person of interest in her disappearance.

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The family of Jacque Waller today claimed the 39-year-old Missouri mother of five-year-old triplets was the victim of domestic abuse and that her estranged husband, a former police officer, knows where she is.

Mrs Waller’s husband, Clay Waller, has been labelled by police as person of interest, but not a suspect in his wife’s disappearance.

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Missing: Mother of triplets Jacque Waller disappeared six weeks ago

‘He tore my family to pieces,’ Mrs Waller’s father, Stan Rawson, this morning told Good Morning America. ‘I have no doubt in my mind. I stand by anything I’ve said.’

Mr Rawson yesterday posted a message to Mr Waller on the family’s ‘Find Jacque S Waller’ Facebook page.

‘I just wanted to mention that you’re not fooling anybody at all,’ he wrote. ‘I under the sheriff has a [sic] orange jumpsuit picked out for you, and a fine room at the Cross Bar Hotel.

‘You will regret hurting my girl and the Tripps—I promise you will!’
Mr Waller was the last person to see his wife alive on June 1.

The couple separated in March and had met earlier in the day to finalise paperwork for their divorce.

Mrs Waller was last seen when she went to her estranged husband’s home to pick up her son.

Separated: Mr and Mrs Waller were in the process of getting divorced
Separated: Mr and Mrs Waller were in the process of getting divorced
Mother of triplets: Jacque Waller was reported missing on June 1

Mother of triplets: Jacque Waller was reported missing on June 1

Search: Police are appealing for help finding Jacque Waller

Search: Police are appealing for help finding Jacque Waller

Mr Waller told police in an interview following his wife’s disappearance that the couple had fought and that she had left his home at around 4pm by foot.

He said that he then left his home and returned around two hours later to find her car gone. It was later found abandoned with a flat tyre on the interstate.

Police yesterday said that business
cards belonging to Mrs Waller, who works for Blue Cross Blue Shield, had
been found on a stretch of road ten miles from where her car was

James Humphreys, Jackson chief of police, told ABC News: ‘We are now well over 250 leads into it [the investigation].

‘We still have not found Jacque, but we’re still continuing to search every day and each week.’

Mr Rawson said: ‘The police are operating on the assumption that something must have happened, that’s for sure.
Claims: Mrs Waller's parents, Stan and Ruby Rawson, told Good Morning America that their daughter had been the victim of domestic violence

Claims: Mrs Waller’s parents, Stan and Ruby Rawson, told Good Morning America that their daughter had been the victim of domestic violence

‘I am operating on the assumption that something did happen, and have no doubt in my mind about what happened.’

His wife, Ruby Rawson, told Good Morning America that she confronted her son-in-law on the night her daughter disappeared.

‘I asked him what he’d done to her and he said ‘I didn’t do anything,’ Mrs Rawson told Good Morning America.

‘I said, “Yeah, you did and you know you did, because of all the threats you’ve been saying to her over the last year”.’

‘He said, “I have never threatened her”, and I said, “Yes, you did, and we knew it all along”.’

In a statement, Mr Waller’s attorney said: ‘Mr. Waller misses his wife and hopes she is found okay.

Family: Mrs Waller with her two daughters and an unknown baby

Family: Mrs Waller with her two daughters and an unknown baby in a photograph courtesy of the Southeast Missourian

Disappearance: Mrs Waller had been finalising her divorce on the day she went missing

Disappearance: Mrs Waller had been finalising her divorce on the day she went missing

Found: Mrs Waller's car was found with a punctured tyre on the interstate

Found: Mrs Waller’s car was found with a punctured tyre on the interstate

‘He had nothing to do with her
disappearance and sympathises with her family. We will not try this case
in the media while there is an ongoing investigation.’

The couple’s three children, five-year-old triplets Maddox, Avery and Addison, are being cared for by Mrs Waller’s sister.

A court on Tuesday again denied any visitation rights to Mr Waller who has not been allowed to see his children since the week his wife disappeared..

Mrs Waller’s family have organised searches and put up a $3,500 reward for information leading to her return.



MOTHERS: What to Expect When You Are Expecting a Divorce

In domestic law on July 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Expect Hell—and your every expectation will be met.

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Although divorce is epidemic, parents do not know what to expect when they expect a divorce. Mothers expect their lawyers to function as emotional confidantes and feel betrayed when that is not the case. Fathers are more business-like in their approach. If custody is at issue, mothers tend to be blinded by anxiety and outrage so that they do not think clearly, strategically, or flexibly. They feel their back is to the wall and that compromise is not possible.

One cannot compromise with a violent husband, an abusive father, or with a man who is intentionally impoverishing his family. And yet one must also understand the rules of the legal system and abide by them.

As a service to mothers, I interviewed Susan L. Bender, a leading Manhattan matrimonial lawyer. Here is what a mother needs to know before she engages a lawyer.

Even if the mother is in emotional free fall, she must become a hard-headed pragmatist. A women expects her husband to be her protector not her most dangerous enemy. But when war erupts, many women do not know how to fight to win. 

For example, Bender said:

“I have a case where my client discovered her husband removed her jewelry, her memorabilia, the children’s baby pictures and her grandmother’s wedding band. Without her knowledge he cancelled her credit cards so when she went to the gas station to fill up her car her credit card was declined. He even cancelled her credit at the local grocery store without telling her. Of course, the computer was wiped clean and there was not a single bill in the house. She didn’t even have the cab money to come to my office.”

A mother must learn everything about her family’s finances. According to Bender:

“Many women do not have an understanding of what the family expenses are, don’t know where the checkbook is, whether the bills are paid online, etc. They do not understand their health insurance coverage, tax returns, or investments. They are often shocked when their husbands block access to credit cards and bank accounts.”

Bender is talking about young, educated, and professional women, not just about older, traditional mothers. Bender describes a client who, even though she herself has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business:

“Naively depended on her husband to manage the family expenses. She never questioned him. She never looked at a credit card or bank statement, never questioned the expenses and was shocked to learn that her husband was a gambler and the family was living on credit. When she came to me, the co-op apartment was in foreclosure and the IRS had liens on their accounts. “

Next, according to Bender, a woman must educate herself about the law so that her expectations are realistic. She needs to know that her case “could take years; there is no instant justice” and that “her attorney cannot right any of the wrongs she suffered during her marriage.” For example, a woman may have fulfilled her maternal and wifely obligations full-time and for decades, after which her wealthy husband may leave and impoverish her. She may not be able to continue living at the same level. As Bender says: “What she wants and what she needs will be very different from what the law is going to provide to her. So she has to pay an attorney to get the best that the law can provide, knowing in advance that it won’t be enough.”

Third, a woman must make her peace with the fact that lawyers expect to be paid. This is often hard for a woman whose life has just been unjustly and dangerously upended. More, a woman must accept that she will have to pay top dollar for a time-consuming and torturous process that will, at best, deliver “imperfect justice.” She must downscale her expectations both of the law and of her lawyer. According to Bender: “Her attorney can only help her resolve the dissolution of her marriage and resolve the financial and custodial issues in her case.”

Finally, mothers who have been traumatized and betrayed, must understand that lawyers and judges are not necessarily conspiring against her. While lawyers and judges belong to the same professional associations and attend or co-present at the same educational seminars, this does not mean that they are corrupt. While they—and courtroom experts– may be biased, they do not usually cut “dirty deals.” Bender, who is valued as both honest and ethical states:

“Most of us know the boundaries of our relationships and very few of us violate those boundaries.”

Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D. is a psychologist and writes frequently for Fox This is based on an excerpt from an interview which appears in the 25th anniversary edition of her book “Mothers on Trial: The Battle for Children and Custody,” which features eight new chapters and a new resources section.



Ex-wives rail about phony Facebook dads All those shots of him and the kids make him look like a dutiful father. Meanwhile…

In domestic law on July 10, 2011 at 2:32 pm

The article completely misses why these dads do this. They want to make themselves look good so they can get more custody and not pay child support.

Another propaganda piece online. Mothers should work their asses off to support their kids while their ex gets to play.
Who gives a shit what they pretend to be? They all pretend to be good dads in court.
Children belong with their mothers period.

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Ex-wives rail about phony Facebook dads

Phony Facebook dads are the newest irritant for fractured families. “It’s very grating for the custodial parent, which is often the mother,” noted Deborah Brakeley, a clinical counsellor and collaborative divorce coach in Vancouver. “It’s well known that exes, particularly moms, become resentful when their partner suddenly becomes a more dutiful parent, or at least appears so. They ask, ‘Where were you?’ They feel deceived and angry.”

“Suck it up” would be the advice from Sue Johnson. “What are you going to do? You can’t counter-post photos of him looking like a creep and you can’t ask him to take the photos down,” says Johnson, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Ottawa. “Spouses are always ticked off when their ex’s image or behaviour doesn’t fit what they experienced inside the marriage. Later on, when the grieving is over, you won’t feel the same way.”

But in the early stages of divorce, especially, Facebook salts the wound. “It’s one thing to hear about your ex suddenly being Super Dad. It’s another to see it,” commiserates Leah Klungness, co-founder of the blog Single Mommyhood. “These fatherhood photo ops are a great way to convince himself he’s a great dad, or to troll for dates and aggravate his ex with the flavour-of-the-month girlfriend.”



Mommy Hates Daddy, and You Should Too

In domestic law on May 20, 2011 at 1:43 am

The extraordinary fight over “parental alienation syndrome” and what it means for divorce cases.

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Illustration by Robert Neubecker. Click image to expand.The competition to get your favorite disease recognized in the bible of mental health, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, can be as fierce as the talent contest in the Little Miss St. Paul Contest. The American Psychiatric Association is contemplating adding something called “parental alienation syndrome” (PAS) to the new edition of the DSM, scheduled to be published in May 2013, and the question has launched a national lobbying and letter-writing campaign on both sides. That angry letters and editorials might play any part in a debate about mental health and custody disputes probably tells you most of what you need to know about the validity of PAS.

What is parental alienation syndrome? William Bernet, a professor of psychiatry at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and an advocate for its inclusion in the DSM-5, describes it as “a mental condition in which a child, usually one whose parents are engaged in a high conflict divorce, allies himself or herself strongly with one parent, and rejects a relationship with the other parent, without legitimate justification.”* There is no doubt that an ugly divorce can affect kids’ relationship with their parents or cause children to choose sides, often in anger. In fact, that probably happens more often than not. But Bernet and others who argue for adding PAS to the Sears, Roebuck catalogue of mental health want to see it recognized as a legitimate mental health disorder in order to “spur insurance coverage, stimulate more systematic research, lend credence to [the] charge of parental alienation in court, and raise the odds that children would get timely treatment.”

They want, in other words, to affix a name, some blame, and also a price tag on a broad range of child responses to a custody fight—some perfectly justified and some not—in the hopes of expanding its use in court.

And what’s the downside to including PAS in the DSM? Well, for one thing, with a minimum of three participants needed to diagnose it, PAS starts to look less like a mental health disorder than an epidemic. It assumes that one crazy person (the mother) brainwashes a second crazy person (the child) into telling lies about a third person (the father). Just because a lot of parents have experienced blocked visitation and unreturned phone calls doesn’t make every instance of that conduct the result of a medical “syndrome.” Joan S. Meier, a professor of clinical law at George Washington University School of Law, has explained it this way: “PAS is a label that offers a particular explanation for a breach in relationship between a child and parent, but insofar as that breach could be explained in other ways, it is not in itself a medical or psychological diagnosis so much as a particular legal hypothesis.”

The most worrisome aspect of the legal fight over parental alienation syndrome may be that it divides supporters and opponents along strict gender lines: As a rule, this is classed as a women’s sickness alleged by men. Fathers’ rights groups are not solely to blame for the fact that an entire “disease” is predicated on the notion that women are lying liars; the inventor of the syndrome can take responsibility for that. But no hypothesis so rooted in gender bias should be credited by medical science. And because evidence of PAS is so frequently offered to counter maternal allegations of abuse, the experts testifying about PAS can be aiding and abetting a system that takes children from abused mothers and hands them right back to abusive fathers. Once again, this doesn’t mean that some parents don’t alienate their children in a divorce. It means that PAS is now used to discredit women whenever they claim abuse.

Much of the blame for the biased history of PAS can be laid at the feet of its originator, Dr. Richard Gardner, who developed the theory—from his own practice and without clinical studies—of mothers who foster hatred for their children’s father as a ”powerful weapon” to grab custody for themselves. This wasn’t a theory born of objective empirical observation. It was a campaign against mothers rooted in the idea that they regularly lie and then “brainwash” their children into lying about paternal abuse. Because of Gardner’s gender-freighted conclusions, it was probably inevitable that men, in the form of fathers’ rights groups, would seize upon the battle to legitimize PAS. One of its most famous spokesmen became Alec Baldwin, who wrote practically a whole book on the subject in 2008, arguing paradoxically that corrupt judges and the courts have too much power over custody disputes and that by recognizing PAS, the courts could make the whole child-custody process more fair. (Here is Baldwin describing PAS as something women mainly do to men.)

Supporters of PAS argue largely from personal experience, and their stories are often compelling. But the theory of PAS is not recognized as valid by the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, or the American Medical Association. And the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges has published guidelines for custody courts clarifying that “the theory positing the existence of ‘PAS’ has been discredited by the scientific community. Any testimony that a party to a custody case suffers from the syndrome or ‘parental alienation’ should therefore be ruled inadmissible and/or stricken from the evaluation report.”

Gardner’s long-term scientific credibility was not helped by some of his kookier pronouncements about incest (“intrafamilial pedophilia … is widespread and … is probably an ancient tradition”), or pedophilia (“It is of interest that of all the ancient peoples it may very well be that the Jews were the only ones who were punitive toward pedophiles.”). But he still managed to become the David Barton of child-custody law, having written more than 250 books and articles, cassettes, and videotapes (often self-published) and testified as an expert in approximately 400 cases in more than 25 states.

There are a lot of websites, experts, and emotion invested in this debate. But there aren’t two empirical sides. There is science, and then there is passionate non-science. As Paul Fink, a professor of psychiatry at Temple University School of Medicine and a past president of the American Psychiatric Association in Arlington, Va., once said of Gardner, “He invented a concept and talked as if it were proven science. It’s not.”

That’s what makes the current debate over inserting PAS into the DSM-5, which has been going on for years, something of a red herring. It almost doesn’t matter. Nobody really believes it’s a scientific theory anymore, and Gardner has been all but discredited where it counts. That’s what worries Meier most of all: “Courts and experts have stopped talking about parental alienation syndrome and started talking about parental alienation,” she says. “By dropping the word ‘syndrome’ they purport to just be describing a behavior; and that’s harder to challenge as inadmissible, even though Parental Alienation is used virtually identically to PAS, with virtually identical quasi-scientific claims and prescriptions.” Back when it was a matter of science, opponents of PAS could advance arguments about admissibility and scientific legitimacy. Now it’s a conclusory legal term that can barely be refuted.

Even without a scientific basis, parental alienation, like climate denialism, has its own language, passions, and saliency. Right or wrong, recognized or not, most family courts now take PAS extremely seriously. Experts testify, court-appointed advocates offer diagnoses, and family-court judges regularly adopt alienation explanations as a way of rejecting abuse allegations. As Meier wrote in a 2009 article: “Despite the palpably extreme and unbalanced quality of both the PAS theory and the thinking of its author, as well as the lack of scientific basis, the theory has for over a decade become virtually ubiquitous in family courts.”

The science just doesn’t matter now. Even though no appellate court has found evidence of PAS to meet the scientific standards for legal admissibility, courts admit evidence of precisely the same phenomenon all the time, and by calling it “parental alienation,” they achieve the same effect: overlooking allegations of abuse by one parent in order to blame the other for “alienating” the child. In other words, whether science supports them or the DSM-5 ultimately validates them, the supporters of Richard Gardner and parental alienation may have already won. While nobody was looking, a mythical legal argument known as parental alienation may have already taken over family courts.



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