What of men’s EQUAL right to reproductive choice?

Before we jump into the morality and start to discuss the “right” of a woman to get an abortion let’s accept the fact that it is now the law of the land. Let’s add the other “reproductive rights” of women to the discussion also.  She has the right of abstinence, to use birth control of her choosing prior to sex,  the “morning after” pill the next day, the right to carry a pregnancy to  term, the right to abandon the baby in a “safe” location without question, the right to place it for adoption, and no obligation to inform the father of any of her decisions.

And of men’s reproductive rights?  Abstinence, condoms, and trust in your partner to be telling the truth about her reproductive status.  As the NYS Court of Appeals has ruled, “a man has no right to reproduction post ejaculation”.  This unequal application of rights and responsibilities of many is codified in judicial opinion.   This is evidenced in multiple court decisions which held men FINANCIALLY responsible for children even where the female sabotaged the condom by putting pin holes in it, “stole” his sperm from a discarded condom or other means, and even when it is taken by means of rape such as a recent case shows us, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/09/02/statutory-rape-victim-child-support/14953965/.   Men who claim they do not want the child of an unintended pregnancy are held responsible anyway, indeed, are even labelled ‘deadbeats” for not “standing up” and accepting paternity.

Recently a bill in the OK legislature has brought the issue of equal rights in reproductive choices to the forefront as the bill would require the approval of the father before a woman is allowed an abortion.  There was an immediate backlash from the left leaning women’s groups, the shout of “my body, my choice” resonating with posts spread all over social media to awake “women” to fight this “injustice”(http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2017/0214/Oklahoma-lawmakers-debate-bill-requiring-men-s-permission-for-abortion-video?cmpid=FB.).

I felt compelled to post on the CSM Article an opposing view in the form of a question: Do men have no reproductive rights?  We seem to be able to find a father when she wants child support.  So if a man says he doesn’t want to pay for a child of an unwanted pregnancy he is a “deadbeat” but if a women wants to abort that child she is exercising her rights?  A woman who has a child against a mans wishes is again exercising her rights, but a man who would ask that the pregnancy give him the child he wants he is then “forcing” her?  So we’ll just give all reproductive rights to women and disregard that their choices affect the father, the child, and society at large?  And can we say anything about responsibility for these “unwanted” pregnancies when women have so many means of birth control at their disposal?

In addition to the “my body, my choice” and the “women carry the baby” what also followed was a host of “men be responsible” comments, the “HE got HER pregnant” perspective which, ironically, failed to see the irresponsibility of women who find themselves in need of an abortion.   The argument was framed around “her rights” and “his responsibilities” and when pressed both sides of the argument dismissed a man’s reproductive rights as ending at ejaculation, where his responsibility begins for her choice.

Not a single person seems to want to address the issue of how can we say men and women have equal rights when we deny men rights which woman have.  Lost also in the discussion is RESPONSIBILITY for the decisions.  For we see a woman can give away her financial responsibility by giving the child up for adoption or even dropping it off anonymously.  A man suffering an unintended pregnancy is forced to pay for her decision.  Her choice is his being forced to 21 years of income execution, the sacrificing of his body at work without compensation.  A poor woman witt a child gets welfare, a poor man with a child gets a garnished.

Perhaps the worst part of the denial of men’s reproductive rights is the fact that most men don’t walk away from the responsibility of her choice.  Most are like Nick Olivas, our rape victim.  At 14 he was statutorily raped by a 20 year old.  Fast forward 6 years and Olivas learns he has a 6 year old child as he is served with child support papers demanding payments from the time of the child’s birth, even though he was not old enough to consent and was never informed of the existence of the child and allowed to decide to be a part of the child’s life.

Now, at 24 Olivas is trying to be a part of his child’s life stating, “I can’t leave her out there.  She deserves a Dad”.  Here he’s finding out that the state isn’t concerned with a fathers emotional support and raising his children for they consider the financial support as separate from access.  And as he is sure to find out, there are a multitude of means to collect, even incarceration into a debtor prison if he can’t pay.  But there are no avenues to help him with, much less guarantee, his time and emotional support for his child.

And what of a child’s rights?  Is there no right to both parents?  In going after Olivas for financial support the state says they are “doing it for the child”.  Really?  So why didn’t the state demand to know the father up front?  Isn’t a child the product of both parents and doesn’t a child have a right to know both sides of their family tree and both heritages?  Can someone from the state explain how it was in the child’s interest to be denied her father, his love and support, for 6 years, and then to collect retro dollars on her behalf?  I’m waiting for that response?  Why is a fathers dollars more important than his love and nurture?

In arguing for his legislation, Rep. Justin Humphrey stated he believes excluding the man out of these decisions is adding to the break down of society.  Once again a man’s rights and a child’s rights are lost in the discussion and the requirement for the mother to notify the doctor of the child’s father was more to make him responsible than to protect his rights.  His bill did do one thing, it exempted rape from the notification requirement, something we do not do for boys who are raped.

The bill was described as being opposed by “reproductive rights advocates” on unconstitutional grounds.  The regional director of planned parenthood stated that “Oklahoma should trust women to make the choices that are best for them”.  I suspect the choices are made easier when others bear the responsibility for your choices but have no choice themselves.   The article should clarify that the advocates are for a woman’s reproductive choices without regard for the father, child, or society.

But as I read the U.S. Constitution I see it guarantees God given rights to every individual equally.  And so I close with the question, What of men’s EQUAL right to reproductive choice?


Men in the middle

The bulk of us in the middle of the bell curve of male perspectives and issues regarding family are being shouted down by the din from the echo chambers on the right and left.  A polarized media spin which ignores the voices and opinions of men.  Regardless of liberal or conservative it is a cacophony of moral busybodies advocating for the “rights” of women while holding men responsible to pay for the choices made by others.  And unfortunately our perceptions and policies on men, father, boys, and families, are derived from the loud extreme ends and not from the needs, wants, and desires of men and boys in middle America as expressed by them.

Years back (2004) we at the Coalition of Fathers and Families NY, Inc. (FaFNY.org) complained to the Albany (NY) Times Union about sexual bias in reporting with them having more woman’s perspectives than men’s.  Of course they denied it.  So we did a content analysis over a 30 day period where we cut over 60 articles about women’s issues with none of them negative and 5 articles about men, 3 negative.  We met with the editorial board, they again denied being biased and we then plunked the paper articles on the table in front of them in 2 piles.  The long pregnant pause set over the room.  This, we said, shows great sexual bias in reporting against men, a regurgitation of the NY Times bias against men.

“We don’t see it that way” said the mostly male editorial board, flat-out denial of the evidence before them.  Perhaps our response to their continued head in the sand denial of bias was a little extreme when we gave them the “Pretty Pig Award” for 2004 as “You can put as much lipstick on a pig as you want but at the end of the day it’s still a … pig”.  We even offered to provide little votive boxes with pink ribbons to the male editors so they could carry their testicles around with them and put them safely away while at work.  It doesn’t hurt to burn a bridge that they won’t let you cross anyway.

One would have hoped over the next 10 plus years that social media and competing news outlets would have made things better, but it hasn’t.  At best it is the same, perhaps even worse with truth second to belief.  This past year I found the same NY Times regurgitation of anti male bias in the Schenectady (NY) Gazette online edition.  I complained to the editorial board that they had more NY Times content than local news, mostly anti-male.  I posted this opinion on their web-based comments section for each anti male article but when I didn’t even receive a form response to any of my inquiries I cancelled my subscription.

Over the past few days Fox News (http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/02/07/better-sex-better-health-more-money-what-men-really-get-out-marriage.html#)          Science Daily (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170207135943.htm#.WJ9qHLLgizs.facebook),                                                                                  and National Review (http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444746/marriage-benefits-men-financial-health-sex-divorce-caveat?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_content=wolfinger) have had pieces advising men to get married for their own good.  This on the heels of a podcast by Prager University which resulted in an outpouring of negative “what planet are you on” responses by men.  All the articles are based on one recent study by a pro marriage sociologist that marriage is good for men resulting in “more sex, better health, and more money”.   Don’t be a selfish oaf going your own way they advise as there is obviously something wrong with men.  We see the echo regurgitation in multiple outlets of the “marriage” party line, even in the face of push back from men who point out the 50% divorce rate, the vast majority filed by women, which results in the destruction of many men.

This on top of a January NY Post hit piece on men, “How to make deadbeat dads do more to help out” (http://nypost.com/2016/12/21/how-to-make-deadbeat-dads-do-more-to-help-out/).   Even though the myth of the deadbeat dad was busted back in 1995 finding that the majority of men were beat dead, dead broke, and disenfranchised, they hold to the “deadbeat” label.  Recent studies have shown that the bulk of unpaid child support is due to poverty on the part of men.   Ironically the focus of the article is NOT how to get poor men out of poverty for their health and well-being, it is to try to get them to pay into federal coffers to reimburse for welfare and entitlement payments given to women.  In this day and age of “gender” equality one does wonder why we don’t hold mothers accountable for financially providing for their children and have developed a social safety net for women and children only.

In 1975 we had a divorce rate in single digits as was the rate of homes with children absent a father.  The echo chambers of right and left have pushed policies which caused a divorce rate of 50% and 40% of children living in homes absent a father.  Contrary to the din which would lay the blame on men and fathers as “abusive deadbeats who forego marriage” the result is from the negative consequences for men.  Over two-thirds of divorces are unilaterally filed by women against men, men lose custody of their children over 85% of the time, and they are then forced to pay for the children they aren’t allowed to raise.  There are no family violence programs for male victims of family violence nor are there any financial social safety nets for men.

I have been a men, boy, father, and family activist now for over 20 years with organizations like FaFNY (http://www.fafny.org/), the National Coalition For Men (http://ncfm.org/), NY Men’s Action Network (http://www.nymensactionnetwork.org/), and Friends for the Protection of Men (https://www.facebook.com/groups/protectionformen/).  Maybe it’s time you stopped telling us how to be men, fathers and families.  Maybe it’s time you stopped turning a blind eye to our problems. And maybe it’s time you stopped turning a deaf ear to our issues.  You could learn more with your mouth closed and your ears open.  That is my “Dad” advice, direct to you from my father.

A nightmare story of Mrs. Hays’s, and an ode of warning, alas take heed

I was sitting in my favorite recliner, the game on before me, and in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “what day is today?” as I drift off to sleep before the 7th inning stretch.  Time passes uncounted by me in slumber and I awake to darkness and an infomercial on the box advertising unhealthy pre processed one pot meals for lazy ones to feed their entire family with.  I’m thinking to get up and go to bed.  But isn’t this all Hallows’ eve?

Then in an instant I feel myself falling backwards, down, down, into a cauldron in a burning ring of fire.  Am I to be a one pot meal, for what or whom??  Vertigo and fear engulf me at the same time!  I land in the tepid water and it tastes sweet and I think, “well not so bad”, but then the flames grow higher, alarmingly higher.  I hear a screech, a high pitched shrill voice – then two of them!  They seem familiar, until they stop, no noise save for the sound of the fiery ring and the bubble, bubble, boil and trouble I’m in in the hot soup of the cauldron.

The silence sits eerie upon me and then slowly I hear a siren song from two obviously fair maidens.  Would I hear the third siren song?  I felt just like a child, warm in the cauldron.  I feel our hearts meet and I am thinking to get out of the cauldron but here am now bound by desire.  But which one?  Who’s love, one or both? Love, love which is a burning thing that holds me in it’s spell?  I think the taste of love is so sweet, but then the fire went wild!

I come to my senses, but is it too late?  I am the proverbial boiling frog, content in ever warming water only soon to be boiled of all flesh.  The voices go shrill again and I see it is two witches, flying in a circle, opposite each other but unaware of each I believe as both stare at me intently to the exclusion of all else.   Yet they both narrate the same ditty:

I stripped you bare of kith and kin,
I drove you mad with a constant din,
I plundered all assets that you had,
Although you were good I labelled you bad.

I promised forever, till death do us part,
And I did my best to make you depart,
Alas you’re still here for me to see,
And you shall soon learn, you are never free.

I took all you had and left you alone,
And now I am back for the meat on your bone,
I’m entitled to you, though you thought it was over,
Give it to me, or I’ll ever flyover.

Alas it was bad, I envisioned the worst.  Then I see each in rhyme, casting a curse and behind them marches an army of zombie bureaucrats, judges, and well meaning omnipotent moral busybodies to do the bidding of witches for their cut of the soup which is me in the cauldron.  I am thinking all is done for, how can one man overcome such evil in the world?

But then a stroke of luck befalls me, fate I am sure.  For each witch had not seen the other and was acting alone in her narcissistic greed.  When each saw the other and realized they weren’t getting a full cut of me, and bound by the desire of their greed and not wanting to share the meat from my bones, they turned on each other.  Flying right at each other with a evil eye look to kill, and shouting curses and chants, they both in turn neglected to see the telephone pole placed before them by fate I am sure.  The splat was a horrendous sound heard throughout the valley, but to me it was a song of freedom.


I now had no trouble in turning the cauldron on its side and the soup I was in put out the mighty ring of fire allowing me to escape.  I did a Scottish victory dance and zombies, being the leeches they are, would not take on a man with muscle still attached to his bones, and here they retreated.

I was marching away from the madness, happy to escape with my skin and was thinking to myself that I had succumbed to the siren song of two, alas I am now smart enough to never hear the song of the third!  I then heard a thump and my chair hit the floor and awoke me for I had apparently leaned to far back in the recliner and weight distribution slowly let my head fall down.  I sat in wonder, was it a dream or was I in another nightmarish world?

I get up to go to bed but think to myself to pass along my misadventures as an example to others.  And this advice I give to young men everywhere;  beware the siren song of the first that you see, and the second in marriage will not set you free, and heed the words of the man in black, for once in the cauldron you can’t go back, and knowing the fate of those who went before you, beware the fiery ring.

I close with the immortal wisdom of the man in black https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhWJF35Q81k

Remove the Stench from the Bench!


The New York Men’s Action Network (NY MAN) and the Coalition of Fathers and Families NY, Inc. has for many years asked the parents the question, “are you happy with the system as it currently exists?”  If the answer was no we would encourage people to get involved in the political process and to make sure they registered in a party, vote in the primary and again in the general election. (find general advice on party affiliation, the NYS political process, and grass roots lobbying here http://nymensactionnetwork.org/advocacy-get-active.shtml)

The question would come up on who to vote for if both candidates were equally bad and we would advise to vote out the incumbent.  Or another option would be to write in a name, any name, as a protest vote.  This was especially important when you had only one candidate running and they were bad for men, fathers and families.

In the worst of the worst of political cronyism is when the two major parties would get together and cross endorse one candidate with a Democrat in one district and a Republican in the other, thus each party ensuring their hold on a position.  And in many districts the voter advantage for one party is so high that the other party doesn’t run a candidate and so the primary is the real election.  But here, party loyalty takes hold and most candidates won’t buck their own parties leadership.

Other than for Town Justice in New York State the “rules” limit the judicial positions to a member of the Bar Association.  So we not only have a one party monopoly, it is further limited to just attorneys who are forced to work not only in the party system but also in the court system, both of which would frown on a “maverick” stepping up to buck the system and tell the truth.

But this is family court, a court of equity and one dealing with people.  How is it that attorneys are more qualified to pass judgement on individuals?  Actually one would think that those in the medical or social science fields would be equally if not more so qualified.  And why would we rule out an everyday citizen?  We use a “jury of our peers” to ensure fairness in our criminal courts so why do we exclude these protections in our most important court, the one deciding the fate of our family and of ourselves?

So what’s a person to do?


Yes, one Doug Smith is running to remove the stench from the bench and we here at NY MAN are encouraging everyone who finds themselves with a one person “race” for Judge, or a two bad person race to write in Doug’s name.  Especially those in Saratoga County in NYS.

No more standing idly by and not voting because you don’t have a good choice or any choice at all.  If you are tired of the stench that the parties keep sending to the bench, let them know you want an open, honest election of qualified persons.

The New York Men’s Action Network has found NO race with an impartial qualified judge not beholden to the system.  As such we endorse DOUG SMITH to REMOVE THE STENCH FROM THE BENCH and ask that you write in his name for judicial positions this coming election day.  By writing in your vote for DOUG SMITH you are letting the NYS Court system that you are NOT happy with their biased and inefficient system which ;lunders family assets all the while tearing them apart.


If you wish to talk to Doug or to comment on the “REMOVE THE STENCH FROM THE BENCH” You can reach him, FaFNY, and NY MAN online at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Fathers4Kids/.


Memo in OPPOSITION to S4489/A6587 No Fault Divorce Bias towards “Victims of DV”

Many years back in the days before no fault divorce was the law of the land, yet being pushed by the NYS Bar Association, The Coalition of Fathers and Families NY, Inc. (FaFNY) and the New York Men’s Action Network (NY MAN) opposed no fault divorce unless the issues of sexual bias towards mother custody, arbitrarily high arbitrary and capricious child support awards, and the problems with false allegations of abuse (child and domestic violence) were addressed.

Eventually, no fault divorce passed, but as we know none of the issues we raised have been addressed.  Indeed, one Betty Little, Republican Senator from the Adirondack Region of NYS was in part responsible for the parliamentary maneuvers in the NYS Senate which derailed shared parenting legislation in committee.

Now, none other than Betty Little would put in a no fault divorce “repealer” for one class of people, that is “victims of domestic violence”, who would be able to declare no fault divorce null and void.  Knowing that both men and women are the victims of domestic violence in equal numbers, I can’t imagine a scenario where a victim would want to stop the process which would help free them from their abuser.   But, NYS Courts or the DV system don’t address male victims, so it is obviously pandering to “the women’s vote”, an action that will be beneficial to women only in a sexually baised system which serves females only.

And if passed I can only imagine that each and every recipient of a unilateral no fault divorce action will claim to be the victim of domestic violence as leverage in that action.  Indeed, every filer will need to file allegations of DV to protect themselves from a counter allegation.

It’s not hard to see who will benefit from this legislation, lawyers who need to address “these issues” will rack up billable hours.  And of course the politicians here would be able to point to this legislation in their pandering for the “women’s vote”.

Just another example of the NYS Legislature, the most corrupt and dysfunctional in the nation, doing unnecessary business as usual.

NY MAN has issued a memo in opposition to this legislation and is asking it be placed upon the official record in the bill jacket.  Feel free to cut, copy and paste this to these, and more importantly YOUR, legislators.   And in the process, ask them why shared parenting, which has the support of 80% of NYS population, has been stalled (and why are they in the pockets of the NYS Bar Association?).


NY MAN-The New York Mens Action Network
jh@nymensactionnetwork.org      http://www.nymensactionnetwork.org

Memo in OPPOSITION to S4489/A6587

Senator Betty Little
310 LOB Albany, NY 12247

Assemblywoman Sandra Galef
641 LOB Albany NY 12248

Dear Senator and Assemblyman;
The NY Mens Action Network, a statewide political action and grass roots lobby group is opposed to this legislation  S4489/A6587.
This is in effect a repealer of no fault divorce which flies in the face of the intent of that legislation, which was to not force a party into into a marriage which was broken down and place the parties in a situation of continuing conflict, which is what this legislation would do.  It creates a class of protected person such that any and all non filers of a divorce action will be able to claim victim status, and at a minimum delay proceedings for adjudication of the allegations.  Perjury and false allegations of abuse already run rampant in family and supreme courts in matrimonial, custody and support matters, and are used to gain leverage.  This legislation is only bound to add to that existing problem and one can envision filers making allegations of abuse to negate the non filers possible claim. (see http://www.saveservices.org/camp/faam-2011/research-on-false-allegations-of-abuse/ and also http://www.saveservices.org/key-facts/).
The NYS Courts already have great oversight authority over individuals when a divorce action is filed, including the issuance of protective and restraining orders, and orders over the dissipation of assets.  This legislation is unnecessary, would not protect victims of domestic violence, would endanger victims of domestic violence, would contribute to an already overworked system, and foster more false allegations to gain leverage.  As such we oppose this legislation and further request that this official opposition be placed upon the record (in the bill jacket).

I Do ………. agree to government control of myself and my family

I am a co-founder of the Coalition of Fathers and Families NY, Inc. and was its primary lobbyist for many years.  I have been following these issues now for 20 years, advocating for families.  While we initially focused only on shared parenting and court reform we also developed positions on issues such as unilateral divorce and and gay marriage.  As an organization our membership was made up of a broad base of the political spectrum, liberals, conservatives, and libertarians, men, women, parents, grand parents and extended family members who had one unifying experience, they had their rights violated in New York (anti) family and supreme courts.

FaFNY did oppose unilateral divorce and for many years were able to stop this legislation pushed forward by the NYS Bar Association.  Our 2004 memo in opposition (following at the end of this piece) to no fault divorce cited the negative consequences of single parent households on children, at the time standing at 24.7 million children growing up without one of their parents (usually the father).  We did note that our opposition, child focused and in the interest of the children, could be lifted with “ a corresponding overhaul of family and matrimonial law and statutory protections for children, spouses and/or parents wishing to preserve their marriages and maintain their families intact, and for those parties most likely to become non-custodial parents.”

Regarding the issue of gay marriage we took a neutral stance.  FaFNY, at that time, supported marriage as being as being beneficial to children but given the diverse membership who supported everything to all marriages to only traditional marriages, so we didn’t come to a consensus on the issue.  The one response that was universal within the organization was, why would you want to get married and subject yourself to these courts?  To that end the VP at the time, Randall L. Dickinson, wrote an op ed piece, “Be careful what you ask for…” (which I include at the end of this piece for your enjoyment).

Ultimately no fault divorce passed in New York.  But none of the measures put forth that would strengthen parental rights; shared parenting, terminology change from “visitation” to “parenting time”, court restructure and reform, mediation, collaborative law, grand parents rights, alimony reform (called maintenance in NY), nothing, nada, none, not a single piece of reform in New York’s Courts has been enacted.

Even on gay marriage the NYS Legislature kicked the can down the road, following Vermont passing “civil union” reforms first, then recognizing marriages of other states.  But on the issue of gay marriage, as in the reform of family and matrimonial law, the most dysfunctional legislature in the nation did nothing.  But now SCOTUS has changed all that, marriage between any two consenting adults is the law of the land.

My response to gays, or any other person for that matter, is why would you want to?  Why get a state sanctioned marriage license?  What are the benefits?  And the down side?  By saying “I DO” with license from the state you agree to a contract that holds no one responsible.  Worse, the contract and case law protects the defaulting party.  Even prenuptial agreements are no protection for the parties for they are routinely thrown out by the courts.

And one would expect that gay marriages will lead to children with adoptions, surrogate parenting, artificial insemination and new age techniques bringing children to married gay couples.  I can only imagine the field day the mostly incompetent judges will have deciding “custody” under these circumstances.  With two married biological parents the best the courts could do was to strip one of their parental rights, relegate them to visitor status with the “standard NY Order” of visiting every other weekend and one mid week 4 hour visit.  One can only imagine the violation of individual rights of a parent with no biological connection to their child.

Gays thought they were fighting for a right that other people had and which was denied to them.  In their ignorant bliss and fight for individual equality they, as most of us did before we suffered under the injustices of these courts, have entered a system which does not grant nor guarantee an individuals rights but works to plunder their assets, destroy their civil liberties, individually abuse them, and all the while being accountable to no one.

We tried to warn you.  But now I say, WELCOME to the family!  Perhaps when we have enough individuals and organizations which watch and suffer the abuses of these courts we’ll get large enough to change things.

Mr. James Hays


February 2004

Be Careful What You Ask For …

By Randall L. Dickinson

The recent Massachusetts Superior Court decision granting gays the right to marry and the highly publicized same-sex marriage ceremonies performed in San Francisco, are only the latest examples of what some are suggesting may become the most important social issue of the upcoming presidential election. As the debate intensifies, those on both sides of the social and political spectrum continue to define their positions on gay marriage, indeed, on the very definition of the institution of marriage itself. While those on the political left, backed by the Democratic Party and aided by the liberal press/media attempt to frame the issue as one of civil rights, conservatives on the right, backed by the Republican Party, promote a more traditional definition of marriage. Indeed, most recently, President Bush, himself, has called for a Constitutional Amendment that would clearly define marriage as being between one man and one woman.

Largely overlooked in all of the sound and the fury, however, is one aspect of the broader issue itself that gays and lesbians might want to ponder before proceeding much further on their quest for the Holy Grail of connubial bliss. Beyond the ideals of “marriage” and “family”, what are the realities associated with each in the late 20th and early 21st centuries; how have they evolved, what are the implications for those wishing to enter into the bonds of matrimony, and what happens when it all ends, and couples no longer wish to remain married.

Changes in state laws beginning in the early 1970’s have given a legal preference to any spouse wishing to leave a marriage, even if the other spouse wants to preserve the marriage and has done nothing to give the deserting spouse “grounds” for a divorce. Such laws have essentially acted to empower whichever party wants out, leaving the spouse who wants to preserve the marriage powerless to prevent its dissolution and with no recourse but acquiescence.

The marriage contract has, thus, been described as having been reduced to little more than a contractual economic partnership devoid of any legal protection. Maggie Gallagher states, in her book The Abolition of Marriage, that it has become “less binding than the average business deal. Marriage is one of the few contracts in which the law explicitly protects the defaulting party at the expense of his or her partner”. If all of our business transactions were conducted in a similar fashion, our national economy would collapse. With the marital contract now worth less than the paper it’s written on, why should we deceive ourselves into thinking that it is not having the same devastating impact on our marriages and our families.

Adding to laws that help facilitate the divorce process are others that drive the decision to initiate it. Research has shown that the single greatest factor in determining

which party is most likely to file for a divorce is the expectation of being awarded custody of the kids. Along with the kids usually comes a whole range of other financial benefits, as well, including child support, alimony, the marital residence, and one half of the remaining marital assets. With most states still adhering to the standard sole custody model, wherein one party receives the kids, while the other is left to pay, it’s not difficult to understand how at least one of them may perceive little or no downside.

The elimination of any need to establish grounds for a divorce was based on the presumption that both parties are equally motivated to end a marriage, and was supposed to make the process less adversarial and more amicable. Today, 50 percent of all first time marriages and 60 percent of all second marriages will end in divorce, 80 percent of them initiated against the wishes and the will of one of the parties. Ooops!

Such public policies as these have been supported by both liberals and conservatives alike. Ironically, many elected representatives, jurists, legal “experts”, and social services “professionals” who advocate for the right of gays to marry, at the same time continue to resist any reasoned consideration of the impact these same policies may be having on the dual institutions of “marriage” and “family” and the trap that may await those who sail blindly into these uncharted waters.

Nor has the institution of the Church been any great help. While continuing to pay lip service to the ideals of strong marriages and healthy families, most churches today appear reluctant to address the issue of divorce for fear of offending their congregations, large portions of which having experienced the phenomenon of divorce either directly or indirectly in some manner. Preferring to go along in order to get along, many churches that haven’t chosen to ignore the elephant in the room altogether, have simply adopted a policy of acceptance. Rather than providing assistance for couples struggling to save their marriages, and admonishing them that the Church will not condone divorce as an option, some churches have, in essence, begun to legitimize divorce by performing so called “New Beginnings” ceremonies designed to help divorcing couples “move on” with their lives. Today the divorce rate among those professing to be Christians and who claim to attend church on a regular basis is higher than it is for the general population overall. Coincidence? Maybe, but it’s difficult not to draw certain inferences.

Before the gay and lesbian community becomes myopic in its passion for the equal right to marry, it might be wise to consider, as well, the need to lobby for the equal right to certain protections under the law following divorce. Matrimonial and Family Law, including those dealing with the custody of children, the “equitable” distribution of marital property, and child support standards are in desperate need of a major overhaul. Without such reforms, rather than embarking on a journey toward nuptial bliss, many gays and lesbians may find that they have unwittingly entered into a Faustian bargain, ending in the inferno of Divorce Hell. The message for gays and lesbians is crystal clear: be careful what you ask for; you might just get it.

Randall L. Dickinson resides and works in the Albany, New York, area and is Vice President of the Coalition of Fathers and Families New York, Inc. The Coalition of Fathers and Families New York, Inc. is a not-for-profit public information, education, and lobbying organization dedicated to the advocacy of family related issues and to preserving the relationship between fathers and their children. Its national affiliate is the American Coalition of Fathers and Children.



The Coalition of Fathers and Families NY, Inc.,

an affiliate of the American Coalition of Fathers and Children,

Date:            November 11, 2004


To:            Members of the New York State Assembly/Senate and Executive Branch.


From:            The Coalition of Fathers and Families New York, Inc.


Re.:            Memo in Opposition to No-Fault Divorce




The Coalition of Fathers and Families NY, Inc. is opposed to No-Fault Divorce without a corresponding overhaul of family and matrimonial law and statutory protections for children, spouses and/or parents wishing to preserve their marriages and maintain their families intact, and for those parties most likely to become non-custodial parents.


No-fault divorce is ill advised because:


  • No-fault divorce laws have produced a failure rate among all first time marriages of 50 percent, and 60 percent for all second marriages.


  • Eighty percent of these divorces are initiated against the will and without the control of one or the other of the parties.


  • This rate of family dissolution is responsible, in part, for producing 24.7 million children growing up in the U.S. without at least one of their parents (usually their fathers).


  • The devastating impact this is having on children has been extensively documented, is well known, and is widely recognized. Virtually every social and/or behavioral dysfunction and psychological pathology experienced by children and young people today can be directly traced to the absence of at least one of their parents, and 80 percent of all child abuse occurring in single parent households.


However well intentioned the proposal to reduce the cost and stress associated with the divorce process, it is difficult to rationalize how any demographic, except the initiator of divorce, can be said to have benefited from making divorces easier to obtain. More fundamental then is the question of whether or not it is really in the best interest of the State or the Nation to promote divorce in such a manner.


After almost thirty years of experience with no-fault divorce laws it is widely recognized that, in effect, it has given a legal preference to any spouse wishing to leave a marriage, even if the other spouse wants to preserve the marriage and has done nothing to give the deserting spouse “grounds” for a divorce. These laws have essentially acted to empower whichever party wants out, leaving the spouse who wants to preserve the marriage powerless to prevent its dissolution and with no recourse but acquiescence.


Marriage is one of the few contracts in which the law explicitly protects the defaulting party at the expense of his or her partner. The marriage contract has, thus, been described as having been reduced to little more than a contractual economic partnership devoid of any legal protection.


If all of our business transactions were conducted in a similar fashion, our national economy would collapse. With the marital contract now worth less than the paper it’s written on, why should anyone deceive him or her self into thinking that it is not having the same devastating impact on our marriages and our families.


Adding to laws that help facilitate the divorce process are others that drive the decision to initiate it. Research has shown that the single greatest factor in determining which party is most likely to initiate a divorce is the expectation of being awarded custody of the kids. Along with the kids usually comes a whole range of other financial benefits, as well, including child support, alimony, the marital residence, and one half of the remaining marital assets, to name but a few. With many states – most notably New York – still adhering to the standard sole custody model, wherein one party receives the kids, while the other is left to pay, it’s not difficult to understand how at least one of them may perceive little or no downside.


Without a corresponding overhaul of the entire body of family and matrimonial law and statutory protections for those most likely to become non-custodial parents, no-fault divorce will only produce more of the same devastation in the lives of countless innocent people. The Coalition of Fathers and Families New York, Inc., vigorously opposes and will not consider supporting any such proposal, otherwise.




Guest essay: Omission of certain facts is misinformation


March 07, 2015 8:25 pm

By Jim Hays

In the story, “Warren County District Attorney says violence toward children has worsened recently” (03-01-2015 online edition), District Attorney Kate Hogan states, “Often, the most serious cases occur at the hands of men who have no biological and emotional connection to a child, many times the child’s mother’s boyfriend.”

Unfortunately, this quote is taken out of context, for it fails to identify who abuses and neglects children most, the family makeup and relationship to the child, and how these children end up under the hand of the single mother and mother’s boyfriend. So let’s look at the whole story.

The 2010 Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4) once again shows the greatest incidence of child abuse and neglect is perpetrated by “single” mothers” (not living with the biological father), followed by abuse and neglect caused by live-in boyfriends.

The NIS-4 executive summary states “Children living with their married biological parents universally had the lowest rate, whereas those living with a single parent who had a cohabiting partner in the household had the highest rate in all maltreatment categories.”

While the study speaks of single parents, we have a default mother custody rate of more than 85 percent in our family courts in this nation, including here in New York state. So it is single-mother homes with a live-in boyfriend where we have the highest threat of abuse and neglect for children.

Before we can blame the sex of the parent in these single-parent homes, we need to look at how we got so many single mothers with boyfriend homes in the first place. And here, the fact of the matter is that it is the biases of Family Court judges to award sole custody to the mother in more than 85 percent of cases, which removes the parental rights of the father without cause, limits the fathers access to minimal times, and provides no enforcement for interference with the father’s access to his children by the mother or others.

The No. 1 reason a father doesn’t spend more time with his children is the limitations of a court order. No. 2 two is prevention of access by the mother, 50 percent of whom admit to interfering with the father’s access with impunity. This is combined with a system that ignores and dismisses the complaints of a father about abuse or neglect of his child as vindictive before a proper investigation of the facts.

If we look at the best situation for children, we see that not only do children having married biological parents in the home have the lowest abuse and neglect rates, this is followed by unmarried biological parents and then children with biological parents living apart but involved (caparisoning or shared parenting).

Inversely, single mother with mother’s boyfriends and then single-parent homes have the most abuse and neglect of children.

So it is easy to see that in speaking about healthy outcomes of children, DA Hogan is off the mark.

If she wants to do something to protect children, she and her fellow DAs could enforce violations of custody orders just like protection orders and child support orders, with criminal charges for blatant violators.

Then, I suggest she get the book written by the late David Levy of the Children’s Rights Council which summed up the solution to negative child outcomes in the title: “The Best Parent is BOTH Parents.”

James Hays is the treasurer, past president and co-founder of the Coalition of Fathers and Families NY Inc. (www.FaFNY.org), a 501c3 not-for-profit working to keep fathers and families together.