Despite warnings that I am poking a hornet’s nest by fostering further discussion regarding yesterday’s show on custody battles . . . why should a warning stop me now?

Yesterday evening I was joined by criminal profiler Pat Brown and The Cop Doc himself Richard Weinblatt to talk about the challenges the courts face in adjudicating custody battles.  You can tune in to the entire broadcast on-demand through the following link; The Tender Years Doctrine: A Free Pass For Unfit Mothers To Manipulate The Courts?

The title of course reflects a case that was sent my way by a fellow Blog Talk Radio host who expressed the opinion that I was better equipped to tackle what she felt was a very difficult subject in which a respected dentist was denied access to his five children by an ex-wife who it appeared had been playing the system.

As is always the case, my approach was to assume nothing (hence the question mark at the end of the segment title), and try to look at the matter through a unique and balanced lens that moved the debate away from being a man-woman or, mother-father discussion to one of better understanding the shortfalls and pitfalls of what I believe is an overtaxed legal system.

I will, after you have had a chance to listen, let you judge if as a host along with a top notch guest panel this objective was accomplished.

However, what was extremely interesting was the undercurrent of discussion taking place in the chat room in which it appears that a greater emphasis was placed on forwarding an “us versus them” or “woman versus man” position.  Once again, and as you will note by the following comment exchange with one listener, I would agree that some fathers should not have visitation let alone custody of their children however . . . I would hold out the same belief regarding some women as well.

That being said, here is just one small example of the passions that were inflamed as a result of last evening’s broadcast:

Claudine Dombrowski

Claudine Dombrowski

12/20/2010 10:00 AM

And who are you (directed at one of our guest panelists)??? to be talking on this subject? You have no idea the danger you keep putting women and children into. MOTHERS are the natural Guardians of THEIR children PERIOD.

Claudine Dombrowski

Claudine Dombrowski

12/20/2010 10:03 AM The Fraud of self profiters and the Rape of American Justice

Jon Hansen

Jon Hansen

12/20/2010 10:35 AM

Claudine, while I appreciate your passion (and the corresponding links you have provided which I will be certain to check out), the show was not oriented toward supporting either the mother or the father but instead providing a point of view that looks at the issues associated with custody adjudication. While there are to be certain scenarios in which the father should not be allowed custody this is not a male v female question but one of parenting. For example, I am certain that you are not s. . .

Jon Hansen

Jon Hansen

12/20/2010 10:39 AM

. . . not saying that a mother should be awarded custody 100% of the time? I mean, and this is where Pat’s expertise comes into play – how do you view the Debra Jeter story (which Pat discussed on Nancy Grace), or Elizabeth Smart? Under what (if any) circumstances do you believe that a father should be awarded custody?

Jon Hansen

Jon Hansen

12/20/2010 10:41 AM

You see Claudine, the problem with any doctrine or attempt to establish an absolute is what puts people at risk. The real challenge – and this is why I asked the question, is how to better equip the courts with the ability to do a true case-by-case assessment.

Claudine Dombrowski

Claudine Dombrowski

12/20/2010 10:49 AM

Oh, but Jon it was– by your own link you set this up as such– “”the-tender-years-doctrine-a-free-pass-for-unfit-mothers-to-manipulate-the-courts”” You began to ‘slam’ mothers with your title alone. I would like to see you do a show–with passion, on the realities of what is happening as a result of such distorted and inaccurate and right down wrong thinking and discussion. – THE TENDER AGED DOCTRINE WAS OVERTURNED in 1995 — Battered Women and their Children are being kil

Claudine Dombrowski

Claudine Dombrowski

12/20/2010 10:57 AM

As long as you have a true case by case assessment you set it up for Court profiters to hurt any one in the name of the “The Best Interest of the Child” too many ppl stand to make to much money. Typically abusers have that power and control and ‘that money’ to continue to harm via the courts. I only wish that ‘common sense’ still played out in courts.. it does not and only ‘controllers/abusers’ and the court reps profit from such litigation. I implore you to further research and up to

Claudine Dombrowski

Claudine Dombrowski

12/20/2010 11:07 AM

I implore you to further research and up to date research as well. Again —THE TENDER AGE DOCTRINE WAS OVERTURNED in 1995.— See this 48 min Family Law Documentary–

Jon Hansen

Jon Hansen

12/20/2010 1:09 PM

Again Claudine thank you . . . but you still did not answer my question re the Debra Jeters and Elizabeth Smarts and, if a father should never be awarded custody.

To this point in time I have not yet received a response to my question(s).

Now I was of coursed cautioned to stay clear of Claudine as well as another person who’s name came up on more than one occasion in the chat room, Susan Murphy-Milano as both men and women indicated that these individuals were not committed to open dialogue but, acquiescence to a pervasive sentiment that all men are bad.  Certainly through watching the following video of Ms. Murphy-Milano I can understand her motives for being such a strong advocate of protecting women and womens rights especially when domestic violence is a factor.

But this is a pendulum that appears to swing both ways.  For example, and besides Claudine ignoring the simple questions I had posed to her not once but twice, there is data from a 2006 study which showed that “women in the United States commit domestic violence against men 33% more often than men do against women, and women commit severe domestic violence twice as often as men.”  The study through the Journal of Family Psychology is titled “Estimating the Number of American Children Living in Partner-Violent Families.”

Now I am certain that some may say that the violence perpetrated against men by women originates as a defensive reaction to the man abusing the woman re battered woman syndrome or battered person syndrome.  This of course will be a factor in some cases.  That being said, and this is why Claudine’s avoidance in terms of answering my question is disconcerting, is that there is an inherent danger in the broad application of any doctrine or theory whether it be the Tender Years Doctrine or an anti-domestic violence platform which seeks to Villanize one gender or parent.

As a means of creating context for my views, I do believe it is important to to emphasize the fact that I grew up in a home with 3 older brothers and never once witnessed domestic violence of any kind.  In fact with our present family which includes a 5 and 3 year-old, as well as a 5 month old, besides the edict that tells the world when you take on one Hansen you take on all Hansens, is the creed that there are only three things we can do to one another . . . hug, kiss and tickle – no hitting.  My thinking in this regard was shaped by my parents, especially my mother.

However, and as I discovered in later life, my mother did experience domestic violence during her first marriage in the 1940s.  A story that I shared with my readers in a July 1st, 2010 post titled “Does the issue of human trafficking and the sex trade hit too close to home in our attitudes and perceptions?.

Besides her courage, which I deeply admire and respect, to take action during an era when domestic violence was rarely if ever spoken about openly, I am thankful that her first experience as a young woman with an abusive alcoholic didn’t skew her view of men in general, thereby opening the door for her to meet a good man (my father) and experience love in a more truer form.

My mother’s story is why I strongly believe today that the indiscriminate application of any doctrine, platform or ideal (even if based on a bad past experience), is potentially dangerous and ultimately of little use in achieving a balanced, productive view of any issue or challenge.  In essence, reaching a broad conclusion, and then expending your energy in proving that said conclusion is right is both counter productive and myopic.

That’s my two cents . . . let the hornets come at will.


8 Responses to “Despite warnings that I am poking a hornet’s nest by fostering further discussion regarding yesterday’s show on custody battles . . . why should a warning stop me now?”
  1. fielding dent says:

    Personally, i do not trust “studies”. This is a difficult topic…as i would wager men commit violence against women far more often. That being said.. One would assume that i favor legislation … that would be “biased”. One may assume that i think men are violent persons. Neither is the case. It’s very difficult to discuss. I Apologize for what your mother went through. Even in this modern era it’s difficult to break intricate ties in these relationships.

    • As always Fielding a appreciatively thoughtful response that drives home the point that studies can and sometimes are suspect when they are conducted with a pre-ordained outcome in mind.

      Assigning numbers or percentages to domestic violence, regardless whether perpetrated by men or women is woefully inadequate in that even one instance of abuse whether physical or mental is one too many.

      • fielding dent says:

        Here are some things persons can look for in a relationship. Jealousy, controlling behavior, quick involvement, unrealistic expectations, blames others for problems, blames others for feelings, hypersensitivity, verbal abuse, ridged sex roles, Dr. Jekyll/Mr.Ms Hyde personality, past battering, threats of violence,breaking or striking objects, any force used during an argument, isolation and economic abuse.

  2. fielding dent says:

    Abusers, rather than circumstances are responsible for abusive choices. Thus, an accurate explanation of abuse would account for the reasons abusers make the choice to abuse rather that an outside force that causes them to batter. In short, abusers batter in order to obtain power and control over their victims. This explanation is profound in that it frames individual acts of violence within a pattern of behavior. The explanation of power and control has become, however, something of a cliche’, and it’s larger implications are overlooked. One often overlooked implication is that battering is purposeful. Abusers choose behavior in a systematic way in order to gain power and control. There is a function to abuser’s battering, that is- abusers batter in short term to get their victim to do what they want or to stop them from doing something. Thank you for letting me comment.

  3. diana prince says:

    I am impressed at how the general public and family court have come to view mothers as the only ones who will try to manipulate a situation. I do realize that in today’s society, having a child means that a man now has a new sexual partner. After all, these so called “good father’s” are having sex with children as young as 7 weeks old. I believe that is the youngest case reported so far. But I understand that this poor man was misunderstood and only trying to express his love to his 7 week old daughter…

    When men and women stop fighting for their individual rights and fight for the rights of the children,m then children will win. However, as long as Father’s Rights groups continue to skew the facts and shift focus off of the child molesters and to the mother’s who stupidly believe it is still illegal or wrong to have sex with children, our children will continue to lose. All I can assume is that, you sir, have an agenda that’s purpose is to allow child molester’s to continue to gain custody… everyone needs to take a good look into your family life….

    • Innuendo and veiled threats notwithstanding Ms. Prince (if that is your real name), if you had actually taken the time to both listen to and read the related post pertaining to the December 19th broadcast you would have noted that we share the same belief that the interests of the child should trump those of either the father or the mother.

      And while I had made the statement that some fathers should not have visitation let alone custody, I had also made reference to mother’s such as Debra Jeter and Elizabeth Smart and asked the question of one listener as to the circumstances under which a father should be granted custody?

      To this point I have not received an answer. So I will pose the same question to you . . . under what circumstances do you believe that a father should be granted custody (if at all)?

      • Jennifer says:

        @ Claudine. How about the mothers that drink or take drugs while pregnant, should a father not have a say. As far as a woman carrying them, I guess you’ll have to take that up with our creator when you hit the pearly gates.

        How about the mother in my town that sells drug out of her home, permits her teen to take drugs with friends in front of her 3 year old while she watches cartoons. Is your position that there are no good fathers walking this earth, that no woman exists that has poor judgment when it comes to mothering and just maybe the child is better of with the father or an outside home.

        How dare you avoid the questions posed by Pat and Jon to only go after him because as it appears to me he is a man and a father. It appears you hear or read no further than that of your on scope of opinions.

        I am glad Jon brings these issues to surface instead of them being a dirty little secret. Why is your answer to everything posed to you is to attack him personally? Is this how you address all media?

        Why not ban together and have mature dialogue that benefits these children instead of choosing to act like one.

        I didn’t grow up in a “Leave it to Beaver” family but I sure am not so hung up.

        Maybe before some of these women choose to carry these children, they should use better judgment as to who is going to father their children and what their intentions are for becoming pregnant in the first place. How is this fair to any child, they aren’t given the option of who their parents are.

        Stop being such a hater and be part of the solution. When you see progress maybe you won’t be so angry.

      • Jennifer says:

        @ Pat Brown

        A checklist should be available to women thinking about having a child with a male. The list will then determine if he has violent or child molesting tendencies. If he doesn’t pass move on.

        Are you telling me that there are 0 signs of this? Maybe Pat Brown could shed some light on this.When family and friends say don’t have kids with him, its for a reason. Don’t then turn around and blame him or the justice system, you picked him. How many jump into a relationship and are pregnant before even knowing the guy.

        Men do the same and then complain later of what a horrible mother she is. People should put more thought into what it takes to be a parent.

        Is the woman not placing their child in this justice loop in the first place, setting up to fail? For example, how can a women have a baby with a man who she knew is an alcoholic and then after take him to court and use this against him. She knew what he was, why have a child?

        If women want a child so bad, they can save their future court fees and have in vitro, then they have no one to blame but themselves

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