The Fathers’ Rights Movement: A Good Thing Gone Wrong

A movement that was intended to protect fathers’ rights to be with their children has become a financially powerful system in which “fathers’ rights” include the right to abuse their children.


The “tender years doctrine” taught that in cases of child custody, young children would automatically go to their mothers. Sometimes this meant good fathers would be locked out of their children’s lives altogether.

But as time passed, studies increasingly showed the importance of children having their healthy male parent in their lives.

The father’s rights movement sought to bring balance

In the early 1990s, the fathers’ rights movement campaigned for equal rights, which at that point meant equal parenting time.

Fathers’ rights advocates asserted that family courts were biased toward women. They argued that these courts gave mothers automatic custody and child support, even if the fathers were better parents.

The new plan was to develop a one-size-fits-all “shared parenting” plan. But of course even this plan could not guarantee completely shared responsibility or support.

The new standard: The psychological evaluation

Eventually family courts adopted what they called a “fair standard” of decision making, even a “best interest of the child” standard.

This new standard was ostensibly objective, guided by a psychological evaluation of both parents. Psychological evaluations, with their supposed character diagnoses and “family pathology scale,” provided the illusion of objectivity.

But the truth is that they are actually highly subjective. Notoriously the system has been without oversight of any validity, credibility, reliability, accuracy, or truth standard guided by professionals.

Then came a new extreme

The pendulum that was trying to swing to a balance continued to swing, all the way to another extreme.

As the father’s rights movement arose, the anti-science concepts of “parental alienation” and “coaching” were also introduced.

In this scenario, the psychological evaluation, subjective as it was, became a useful tool for the courts, with their theories of “Parental Alienation” and “Coaching.”

In this scenario, even severe psychopathologies and even outright lying are dismissed and ignored under the all-consuming threats of “parental alienation” and “coaching” on the part of the parent who has made an accusation of child abuse, most often the mother.

Mothers who made accusations of child abuse against the fathers were labelled as monsters, while the accused stood as victims.

The tables are turned as the accuser becomes the accused

Commonly in the family courts, the judge will make a sua sponte order regarding the psychological evaluations (that is, an order made by the judge without any prompting from anyone else). The judge will command that the results of the psychological evaluation be sealed from the targeted parent—the parent who is about to lose custody.

This parent will almost invariably be the one who has made the allegation of child abuse.

The targeted parent has no idea as to the content of the report for themselves, their partner or their children.

As a result, they are left shadowboxing, trying to figure out what has been written about them and rushing to try to refute what they have come to realize are false allegations . . . against themselves.

A monster has been created

Over years of growing power, the political, legal, and social organizations trumpeting “fathers’ rights” have managed to produce family courts that have become units of organized crime.

Not only through what they learn in school, but also through whim and through malevolent cruelty, family court judges are arranging for protective parents to lose their children. Instead of truly examining the evidence, instead of truly listening to the children, family courts across the country are systematically punishing the wrong person and turning children over to their abusers.

A movement that was intended to protect fathers’ rights to be with their children has become a financially powerful system in which “fathers’ rights” include the right to abuse their children.

What the FCVFC is seeing

We are seeing reports from children of very serious neglect, abuse, and even sadistic acts, while these acts are dismissed by the courts as untrue. Then the children are placed with abusers who are clearly using them for sex and “sharing” the child with others.

We are seeing mostly men who had years of no contact with children, even those who only recently learned of the existence of these children, who decided they wanted custody, perhaps to get child support, perhaps for darker reasons.

We are seeing children from one part of the country suddenly escorted onto a plane to be sent off to a parent that the child had not seen for years, if ever.

We are seeing closeted homosexual men become involved with women, sometimes marrying them, impregnating them, and then leaving those women and taking possession of the children—even if they had little to no relationship with the subject children.

We are seeing documented cases of deplorable cruelty against children, with a protective parent who has fought for those children. We are seeing law enforcement, lawyers and court actors who with depraved indifference have left these children to the most extraordinary misery, dooming them to life experiences that will leave deep scars.

Further, we are seeing judges, GALs ,  and so-called therapists suggesting that even if such acts occurred, the child must learn to “regulate their feelings.” There appears to be no situation of abuse, no heinous crime, that allows for protection.

We are seeing the theme continued that children are wildly imaginative liars, with court orders being enforced to the horror or denial of onlookers and the desolation of the oppressed.

We are seeing children ripped from the bonds of true love and loyalty, having to survive in the clutch of trauma incest bonds. In the words and writing of one young teen who lived for years in terror, “I was once such a good kid and I am no longer.”

We are seeing some children becoming like their abusers, and like their abusers passing on a legacy of predatory behavior. These children become the serial killers, violent abusers feared by all who live among them. For those who identify with their mesmerizing psychopathic manipulators, rewarded for compliance with betrayal and amoral behavior, they may become the lawyers, politicians, and judges who now contribute to the erosion of a democratic society.

Other children, we hope, will one day become the journalists, prosecutors, advocates, and historians who will help fight with us to set things right.

What the FCVFC is doing to change the system

The FCVFC views family law as a conversation over time, guided by case law and federal rules of evidence that may be explained, argued, and ruled upon by a sitting judge.

Through documentation, tireless persistence, validation, filing complaints, publishing, prosecution, and litigation, the FCVFC confronts autocratic judicial proceedings; collusion among court actors, fraudulent psychological documentation; trafficking through the juvenile, dependency, and family courts;  incest;  domestic violence;  witness intimidation; tax/financial reporting fraud; constraint of investigation by government agencies; mandated reporters who are prohibited from reporting; and much more.

The autocratic rule of the so-called Judicial Review Council must be broken. Instead, the court system must become one of openness, fairness, and legitimacy. This is why in family courts across the country, the FCVFC advocates for open courts, cameras in the courtrooms, and true oversight of judges.

All of these are vital ways we are confronting and will continue to confront the fraud and corruption that permeate juvenile, dependency and family courts across the United States.

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