DAVID PISARRA

Posts Tagged ‘child abuse’

“She’s cutting me out of their lives!” – PARENTAL ALIENATION IS CHILD ABUSE

In child custody, Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Domestic Violence, Gay, Parental Alienation, Paternity Issues, Perjury, Strategy Issues, Uncategorized on August 19, 2010 at 7:46 am

I frequently hear from dads, that mom is “cutting me out of their lives” and to varying degrees this is called Parental Alienation (“PA”). There is much debate about whether it’s a psychological syndrome or not. But to men who are fighting it, they don’t care. They just know it hurts and it’s a very difficult battle to wage.

Dad Defending Himself
What you need in a Parental Alienation Battle

Fathers have a difficult time staying involved in their children’s lives. The courts usually keep the kids with mom when dad moves out. Mom expects dad to continue working as much as he did, for two reasons, so that he has as much money as before, and to keep him so busy he doesn’t have time for the kids, which she then uses against him.

There are three main categories of PA, Mild, Moderate and Severe. All of them are abusive, to the father, but more so to the child. Harming or destroying one parent’s relationship with their child is, and should be treated as, CHILD ABUSE.

MILD PARENTAL ALIENATION

According to www.Keep

ingFamiliesConnected.org,

Mild Parental Alienation: Parents who lose control, make negative comments or exhibit negative behavior towards the other parent in front of the child, but feel bad about it later. Most parents going through a divorce engage in this level of Parental Alienation at some point. But they recognize they are wrong, worry about the effects on the child (or children), and take steps to stop inappropriate actions directed at the other parent. They understand that their child needs to have a healthy and loving relationship with both of their parents, to have the best chance of developing into a healthy adult someday. These parents rarely use the family court system to control or attack the other parent, and are rarely involved in starting a child custody battle.

My law firm has fought these battles for years, they are nasty and difficult. Many times it looks like Mom is just being a protective parent, and if you’re in this fight, you need to know that it’s a long war, not just a one day event.

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Fathers Should Not Leave Family Home

In child custody, Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Domestic Violence, Parental Alienation, Paternity Issues on August 2, 2010 at 10:35 pm

This week my column in the Santa Monica Daily Press deals with the issue of whether or not fathers should leave the family home. Doing so is a big mistake in child custody cases. It sets the mother up as the de facto Primary Custodian, which is why most men never get the custody that they so desperately want. Child Custody battles are largely fought and won, LONG before the court even looks at the case.

Here’s my column on the subject of Dads leaving home, as it originally was posted in my column, What’s The Point?

Sitting before me is a man, a father, a provider of love to his children. He has soothed scraped knees, taught bike riding, and changed wet bed sheets at 3 a.m. He is fighting back tears because we are not close enough yet for him to let me see the hurt. I know he needs to let the pain out, I know how to say just the right thing to make him feel comfortable, and his defenses crumble. For the first time in two months, he allows himself to feel the loss of his family.

I’m a divorce attorney. I’m one of those people that helps others through an incredibly difficult period of their life. I have to deliver bad news regularly. Some days it feels like that’s all I do. I specialize in helping men; fathers and husbands who are entering a minefield, financially and emotionally, through what is arguably one of the most difficult and treacherous periods of their life.

Frequently a man comes to my office having already left the family home and the first thing he says is, “I don’t care about the house, I just want to see my kids.” What he doesn’t know, and what I have to tell him, is that he has already lost the war for custody.

He and his wife were not getting along, they were bickering and fighting in front of the kids, she kept telling him to “get out, just leave!” He thought it was best for the kids — that if he moved out the fighting would stop.

Big mistake. Huge. Tremendously bad move.
The only time that I tell a man to leave the home is if there is physical violence, or she’s mean enough to lie about being abused to get a restraining order. Other than that, moving out is the single worst thing a man can do in a divorce, financially, emotionally, and if he moves out, he has to get an apartment, which takes money. It increases the financial strain on the couple, who are already low on money, and now he has to buy furnishings, dishes, pots and pans, etc. for his apartment, plus anything the kids need is duplicated. As the money gets tighter, they are going to fight more, and if he’s not living with the family, soon enough she’ll be after him for child support, which will only put more strain on him.

When he moves out, the little communication that was happening between him and her usually gets worse. Frequently it stops altogether, and the reasons for the breakup never get talked about, or worse, he now gets blamed for “leaving.” Which makes him feel guilty, trapped in a “Catch-22” situation and he just wants to give up and run away.

Lastly, and the worst part of this tragedy, is that moving out has created a “status quo” as far as the courts are concerned in regards to the children. Since dad left the kids with mom, the court thinks that they should be with her, and that’s what is most likely going to happen. He will see them every other weekend and a weeknight dinner. This is the bad news I have to deliver to the man who sits in front of me in tears.

He didn’t know that was going to happen. He didn’t think he’d lose seeing his kids all the time. He doesn’t care about the house, the furniture, the only thing he wants is to be a dad, and now he’s a weekend dad. All it took was for her to push him out of the house.

Simply because he left, he’s now a part-time parent. He did it to create peace, which didn’t happen. He did it to make his relationship with his kids better — that certainly wont happen. He did it because he thought he’d get a 50/50 custody deal, which is a pipe dream, while her child support is tied to how much time she has the kids versus him.

Men are hugely uneducated about what happens in a divorce or a child custody battle. We don’t talk about it with each other. We don’t share how to plot, strategize and set up the situation to our advantage, which is our own undoing.

Fathers shouldn’t leave until they have to. Fathers need to talk to each other to find out what to do. Men use coaches in sports, and mentors in business and they need to rely on each other to get through life’s challenges, and to keep what is theirs: their children.

“I spent a hundred grand, now I’m broke, and still not divorced!”

In child custody, Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Parental Alienation, Paternity Issues, Perjury, Property Issues, Spousal Support, Strategy Issues on June 3, 2010 at 9:17 pm

If I had a buck for every time I’ve heard this same sad line, I’d have a TON of money.

When people are going through a divorce they are in a hightened emotional state and there are many, many MANY lawyers out there who know it, and take gross advantage of their clients. These are the “Sharks” the “powerhouse law firms”, the people who advertise themselves as ‘The Firm to Beat!” I call BULLSHIT.

In eleven years of practicing, I have seen exactly ONE case I can point to where a client REALLY NEEDED TO SPEND six figures. She came to me and said her husband had hidden 12 million dollars in the Bahamas, and the truth was he had.

Most of the cases where people are spending such large amounts of money it has NOTHING TO DO with the case, but with the amount of money the lawyers can talk the clients in to spending. I’ve gone up against the biggest law firms in town and frankly, at the end of the day, the results are the same, only my clients still have the bulk of their money in tact.

A client needs to have clear, simple, direct advice from their lawyers. I can generally tell you in the first 15 minutes of an interview what the most likely result of a case is going to be, and what is the most practical course of action. If you don’t get a simple, direct answer from your lawyer, odds are, you’re going to get a really large bill, and when you’re out of money, and they’ve dropped you.

When that happens, you’ll end up in my office saying something like, “I spent a hundred grand, now I’m broke, and still not divorced! can you get this over with?” Yes, yes, we can.

Don’t Put Up with Domestic Abuse – Get a Restraining Order.

In child custody, Child Custody Issues, Parental Alienation, Property Issues, Strategy Issues on December 2, 2009 at 8:21 am

This holiday season is upon us, and with it comes the inevitable increase in fights among family members.

It’s the first day of December and already we’re seeing an uptick in the family squabbles that are resulting in emergency protective orders, which are issued by the police and must be followed up with a request for a temporary restraining order.

The first thing to know is that the police have a legal obligation to prevent violence. In a domestic dispute if there are sufficient grounds to believe that violence is about to occur, the police can and will issue an emergency protective order. And frequently when the police are called for domestic violence, they are forced to arrest one party, whether it be the husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend. If you are faced with a domestic violence situation depending on whether you are the man or the woman, you should be prepared to leave the home immediately taking with you any children.

There are 23 shelters in Los Angeles that are available from Artesia to Whittier. Though most of them will not take a man. Sexism is rife throughout the domestic violence protection community as men are vilified as the perpetrators.

Read the rest of this entry »

Child Support Help for Unemployed Dads Accused of Sexually Molesting

In child custody, Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Parental Alienation, Paternity Issues, Strategy Issues, Uncategorized on July 29, 2009 at 6:15 am

Parenting has become war for some people. It’s a shame that some people use their children as a means to help make ends meet. I know the custodial parent will say that raising a child costs more than they will ever receive in child support and they are right. But that doesn’t stop some custodial parents from trying to increase their support any way they can.

For others it’s a matter of control. They hate the father. There’s a variety of reasons, from “it was just a one night affair – why wont he go away” to “he’s a low-life scum and I KNOW he’s molesting my baby.”

When a father is accused of sexually molesting a  child, it triggers a whole host of problems. Depending on who did the reporting, when it gets investigated by Child Protective Services, the case will either be closed for lack of grounds (this frequently happens when the reporter is the Mom and she is doing it only to cause problems or lay the foundation for Parental Alienation) or investigated further. If a mandatory reporter (doctor, therapist, psychologist, school counselor etc ) does the reporting there is a much greater chance of a full blown investigation because usually the child has said something that has triggered the investigation.

An unemployed dad, who is accused of sexually molesting his child, and who has to pay child support, needs help, badly. The first thing any father who is unemployed should do, is file a Motion to Reduce the Child Support he owes. In California it is called an Order To Show Cause, basically it’s an application for the order, and a declaration under penalty of perjury that your income has dropped and the child support needs to be recalculated.

This is important to do as soon as possible, so that you can get a court date and reserve what is called Retroactivity. That means the court can modify the amount of child support you owe going back to the date you filed – that’s called Retroactive Child Support Modification. This is important because you may not be in front of a judge for 3 months.

You need to do this, because if you are unemployed and facing sexual molestation charges, you need an attorney who specializes in that area, and they will need to be paid up front. This is a VERY very VERY serious matter. I call it the Nuclear Option and more and more moms are using against dads.

Child Custody Battles – Parental Alienation Resource

In Child Custody Issues, Parental Alienation, Strategy Issues on September 18, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Here’s a Parental Alienation resource for telling your side of the story. The folks at www.keepingfamiliesconnected.org are not just building a website, they are living the horror of Parental Alienation. They built this site to help others deal with the pain of the loss, and to hopefully create a roadway back to their children and their lives. It’s a great idea, and they’ve done a wonderul job of setting up an example of what a parent who is fighting for the right to see their kids should do. The video is a great example of a father’s devotion.

If you’re a dad who is experiencing the loss of a child through Parental Alienation, creating a website here, might be the way that your kids can  reunite with you as they grow up.  Parental Alienation Resource

Changing Child Custody – The Uphill Battle

In Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Parental Alienation, Strategy Issues on September 18, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Here’s the deal – the Courts are lazy. Especially Family Law courts dealing with child custody and visitation matters. The Family Law courts here in Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange and Ventura counties are very slow to act unless there is a true emergency.

Not that they don’t want to work, but they don’t want to change things too much. They like the status quo, the situation as it stands, keep things calm and even. There’s a reason for this, and it almost makes sense. They know that kids need to have stability, and if you’re in the middle of a divorce or a bitter child custody battle, changing things all the time is not good for the children.

The court in general does not want to interfere in the lives of the people in front of it more than it has to. The more specific an order has to be, the harder it is on the judge, but also, it takes away from the realities of life. When an unexpected situation occurs, and it always will, the court wants the people involved to be able to cooperate and be flexible, to find a resolution that will work, without the court involved.

Sometimes that is possible, sometimes not.

This is why in some child custody cases, we have very short Parenting Plans, and other times, every possibility is covered, and it is still not enough.

So what does it take to change Child Custody? Generally it takes a “material change in circumstance.” That means something big has to have changed in either the child’s life, or the parent’s life. For example, Mom got a new boyfriend and they moved in together and he’s a violent alcoholic, or little Bobby is switching up to high school and it’s closer to Dad’s house.

Many times the child wants to live with dad, and depending on their age, that may be enough, if the situation is a healthy one and they are not simply rebelling at mom’s discipline.

But the bottom line is it is an uphill battle, because as mom’s custodial time goes down, so does her child support, and that is frequently her reason for fighting a change in custody. That, combined with the courts resistance to change, makes changing child custody an uphill battle.

This is also why some moms use Parental Alienation to increase their hold over their kids. It’s a brutal, emotionally traumatizing action, and it effects the child as much as it effects the dad.

Child custody battles are not right, fair or even intelligent, but they are the way they are. And men need to know the facts about changing custody and visitation, and to fight for their rights on those grounds.

Parental Alienation – What is it?

In Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Parental Alienation, Strategy Issues on September 9, 2008 at 11:26 pm

The topic of Parental Alienation syndrome is a hot button issue, and frankly what side you come down on, is very much determined by whether you are the parent who is trying to destroy any relationship between your kids and your ex, or whether you are the ex.

In a nutshell, it is when a parent, usually the mother, tries in subtle, and sometimes not so subtle ways, to create a wedge in the relationship betwen father and child. Professionals across the spectrum argue over what constitutes it, but a great resource for a parent who is concerned, is www.breakthroughparenting.com, Dr. Jayne Majors is an expert at spotting it, and giving men the tools they need to combat it.

Here’s an example of what a mom does  that is TEXTBOOK PARENTAL ALIENATION, “Susie, I want you call me as soon as you get to daddy’s house. You know you can ALWAYS call me if you need me.”  ON the surfact this looks like mom is just being a concerned mother. but the underlying message is that “Dad’s is not a safe environment for you and I’m concerned for your welfare.”

Many judges, lawyers, therpasts, counselors and evaluators will not see this as an example of PAS, but when comments like that pile up, it begins to create a wedge between child and parent. The goal of the alienating parent is to destroy the relationship between father and child, so that in a child custody case, full custody is given to mom in contravention of the father’s rights.

This is a big topic and it covers manys subject areas, many of my posts are tagged with PAS, as they all relate to it somehow.

BIG DADDY and the PSYCHO!

In Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Parental Alienation, Strategy Issues on September 6, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Big Daddy is a bear of a man, 6’2″ and 290 pounds. His ex-wife, after their marriage of 2 years, decided that even though he was good enough to sleep with, marry, father a child with, and take his money, he just wasn’t good enough to be a father to their 2 year old daughter.

Mind you, he had THREE other children, by two other wives. BOTH of whom he vacationed with, and stayed with, and whose new spouses even liked him.

Psycho, who was the one that wanted to divorce him currently, says that even though they both did drugs, and both drank too much, he was the alcoholic/drug addict and he should not be allowed near his daughter. She’d take the child support money though. Read the rest of this entry »

Tips to Prevent Sexual Abuse Charges

In Child Custody Issues, Strategy Issues on August 12, 2008 at 5:05 pm

I’ve written a piece at www.divorce360.com on the Nuclear Option that some Moms are using against Dad in a Custody Fight these days – CHARGING HIM WITH SEXUALLY ABUSING THE KIDS. The main article is about the effects of it, and how to defend yourself against the allegation.

From the Sidebar at

TIPS TO BUILD A NUCLEAR “MOMSHELTER”

1. Have a video record of your visitations that objectively shows how you and your child interact.
One of the common complaints from fathers is that mom is misinterpreting children’s “potty mouth” play. Fart jokes can befunny, but if a kid tells mom, “Dad and I were playing with our butts” it can send up the wrong red flags. Having playtime on video can show how harmless your actions really were.

2. Doctors are mandated reporters, meaning if they suspect abuse, they must report it.
Be vigilant about what happened and why. When a child is taken to the doctor, be aware of HOW a question is phrased. In one case, mom was asking about a daughter’s urinary tract infection this way, “Is it possible she was sexually molested?” The way in which the question is phrased makes it almost impossible for a doctor to say “No.” This can be misconstrued by a nervous mother as “proof” of dads molestation.

3. Photos are also important.
They are particularly important if a child comes homes withscrapes and bruises that mom hasn’t seen before. Children hurt themselves all the time, but you should document as much as you can, so that if you need to defend yourself, you can show that the child is prone to getting hurt.

4. Keep a written diary of what you do with the kids and who was there.
Having a long list of witnesses to your parenting abilities can be crucial to cutting off allegations of negligence on your part.

5. If your ex is starting to wage the abuse war, you have to go on the alert.
Be aware of the set up situation — This is where something crucial, like a medication, has been withheld by mom and then mom calls Child Protective Services on the pretext that the child is in mortal danger. This can happen.