The following is a copy of the letter I sent to Fatherhood.org. It sickens me when government officials preach responsibility to fathers while they do nothing to combat the system that strips children of their dads.
The website www.fatherhood.gov is a slap in the face to US fathers who have lost contact with their children due to abuses in the family court systems. I had my parenting time with my 3 and 5 year old daughters terminated on August 18, 2009. There were no allegations of abuse or neglect. No allegations of drug or alcohol abuse. No adultery. No domestic violence. No restraining orders. No contempt citations or arrests. There was no intervention from law enforcement or CPS. There was only a custody evaluator who attacked me when I requested a copy of his evaluation case file per his contract and Indiana law. When the custody evaluator made conflicting and false statements as to why he would not release his case file, I began writing about it on the internet. The custody evaluator said he would not release the file to me because I was not an attorney. The first judge in my case recused himself after conducting ex parte communications with the custody evaluator, Dr. Edward J. Connor. Despite there being no testimony or suggestions that my parenting time be terminated, without warning, Judge James D Humphrey terminated my parenting time with my little girls.
I had always played an equal role in raising my daughters. I cared for my children nearly half of the time during the course of a two and a half year divorce. Nowhere in the record are there any examples where I attacked the children’s mother or tried to limit her parenting time. I continued to question why I was not given access to the case file from the child custody evaluation that, by the reporting psychologist’s own admission, contained “numerous errors and oversights.” When I took my situation public, I was punished for it. The Judge wrote, “The Court is most concerned about Husband’s irrational behavior and attacks on Dr. Connor.” I find it horrifying that the Court was more concerned about the Court’s expert than the welfare of my children.
Please visit www.danhelpskids.com and www.danbrewington.blogspot.com to get a better understanding of my situation. I find it insensitive and insulting for government officials like President Obama to shake their fingers at the fathers in the United States and preach responsibility while they do nothing to preserve our ability to be treated as equals in the family court system. We continue to lose contact with our sons and daughters because people allege that we may be capable of causing harm to our children and their mothers based solely on our physical stature. We lose our children because people speculate that we may tell our children the truth as to why we cannot spend the same amount of time with them. During the final hearing of my divorce, Dr. Connor stated that he believed I may begin to coach the children if I did not get my way, despite there being no record of me doing so in the past. When a father stands up to the system, they are labeled narcissists. A father can lose the ability to see his children for months or even years due to false accusations of abuse and/or rape by the mother. After spending tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and psychological examinations to prove his innocence, the father is unable to explain to his own children why he was unable to see them because the courts believe that it can be detrimental to the children if they found out that their mother falsely accused their father of a heinous crime. The mother retains custody of the children and the father has to be slowly worked back into the children’s lives, usually under supervised visitation. The rule of thumb seems to be that abruptly reintroducing the father into the children’s lives is somehow more damaging to the children than abruptly removing him in the first place. The father’s every move and word is scrutinized. If there is any mention to the children that he was removed from their lives because of their mother’s false accusations, he can lose visitation again.
The government’s push for involving fathers seems to revolve around the age old riddle, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Very few men are born to be fathers. They have to learn to be fathers. Being a father shouldn’t entail having to battle false charges, bankruptcy, career loss, and the constant fear of losing his children. How does a young boy learn from a dad who isn’t around? What kind of respect can he have for a father who is forbidden to explain false imprisonment? Why would a young boy aspire to become a good father after seeing the problems that a good dad can face? How do little girls learn to respect men when it appears that the most important male figure in their lives “abandons” them from time to time? A good father will fight for their children’s right to have a father. A smart father won’t because it can be an emotional and financial disaster. Which came first, the father or the child? Unfortunately it’s becoming another age old question because fathers continue to be ripped of the ability to teach their children how to be good parents.
I am aware that there are many women who are victims of similar circumstances but fathers lack a national voice in protecting their rights as male parents. As long as parents are not held responsible for making false allegations against the other parent, there will always be incentives to do it; especially as the payoff is often sole and exclusive custody of the children. As long as the government ignores the importance of a father’s ability to be treated as an equal in the family court system, organizations like Fatherhood.gov are nothing more than shallow political facades, giving the illusion that the government cares about the roles that fathers play in today’s world. I’m sure there are many dedicated people in your organization that work hard to provide resources to fathers, but rather than treating the symptoms, more attention should be given to the problem. Many of us do not need organizations to be good fathers; we need help to combat the people who alienate us from our children.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.