By Richard Luthmann
The Center for Judicial Excellence (CJE), a California-based nonprofit organization known for its advocacy work in protecting child abuse and domestic violence survivors, is set to brief Congress on its contentious “Child Safety First” report. However, the report has been under scrutiny by two groups advocating for shared parenting and accurate findings of Parental Alienation (PA) in custody disputes.
The Parental Alienation Study Group (PASG) and the Global Action for Research Integrity in Parental Alienation (GARI-PA) have criticized CJE for allegedly overlooking significant research on PA, a recognized mental condition that affects families amidst contentious divorces.
Parental alienation is a term used in child custody disputes. It refers to the act of one parent manipulating a child to reject the other parent without legitimate justification. Unfortunately, this term and the concept it represents are often misused, particularly in family court settings.
The groups have issued an 80-page report titled “Exposing Misinformation and Public Policy Deception Contained in Child Safety First,” challenging CJE’s methodologies and assertions. They argue that CJE’s report, which suggests children are at risk due to court decisions favoring shared parenting, contains over 50 questionable references.
Financial implications have further fueled the controversy. The federal government incentivizes states to incorporate “Kayden’s Law” from the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA). Critics argue this could lead courts to falsely make findings of “coercive control,” potentially influencing the outcomes of custody disputes.
As CJE prepares for its Congressional briefing, PASG and GARI-PA are urging policymakers, media, and the public to scrutinize the “Child Safety First” report.
Family courts worldwide are accused of misuse of PA, particularly in high-stakes cases involving affluent litigants..
Constitutional and Civil Rights activist Peter Szymonik argues that the current system benefits attorneys and the state’s treasury at the expense of families.
“The system’s current functioning aligns with its design – benefiting attorneys and the state’s treasury. The skyrocketing growth of the Divorce Industry, from $20 billion to $60 billion annually, despite decreasing divorce rates, is telling. Moreover, the federal Title IV-D funding to states keeps climbing each year,” Szymonik says.
Szymonik says addressing the “crisis” requires reevaluating our legal approach.
The Divorce Industry Benefits at the Expense of Families, Says Constitutional and Civil Rights Activist Peter Szymonik””Make shared and equal parenting the law, absent a finding of abuse or neglect in a court of evidence and law, which ‘family’ courts are not. Remove the reason for the conflict and state-sponsored destruction of children and their parents and families,” he says.
Meanwhile, concerns about the potential misuse of “coercive control” in custody battles are being raised.
Retired attorney Maureen Martowska, a member of the Connecticut Shared Parenting Council and the Connecticut chapter of the National Parents Organization, points to the incentivized funding for states that incorporate “Kayden’s Law” from the VAWA as a potential issue.
“Right now, there is a nationwide push by Attorney Danielle Pollack and Dr. Joan Meier of the National Family Violence Law Center at George Washington University,” says Martowska. Their objective is to channel federal funds to educate judiciary members, court staff, and court vendors about domestic violence with a “gender-bent” toward women, and refuting Parental Alienation as ‘junk science,’” she says.
Read the Center for Judicial Excellence “Child Safety First” report.
Read the Parental Alienation Study Group (PASG), and the Global Action for Research Integrity in Parental Alienation report “Exposing Misinformation and Public Policy Deception Contained in Child Safety First.”
Richard Luthmann is a writer, editor, and investigative journalist.