NOW Action Alert
WHEREAS organizations advocating "fathers' rights," whose members consist of non-custodial parents, their attorneys and their allies, are a growing force in our country; and
WHEREAS the objectives of these groups are to increase restrictions and limits on custodial parents' rights and to decrease child support obligations of non-custodial parents by using the abuse of power in order to control in the same fashion as do batterers; and
WHEREAS these groups are fulfilling their objectives by forming political alliances with conservative Republican legislators and others and by working for the adoption of legislation such as presumption of joint custody, penalties for "false reporting" of domestic and child abuse and mediation instead of court hearings; and
WHEREAS the success of these groups will be harmful to all women but especially harmful to battered and abused women and children; and
WHEREAS the efforts of well-financed "fathers' rights" groups are expanding from a few states into many more, sharing research and tactics state by state; and
WHEREAS many judges and attorneys are still biased against women and fathers are awarded custody 70% of the time when they seek it per the Association of Child Enforcement Support(ACES);
NOTE from a commentator: This is absolutely untrue. "Contested" custody results in an award of father-custody in less than 10% of the cases. See Dividing the Child, Harvard Press.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Organization for Women (NOW) begin a national alert to inform members about these "fathers' rights" groups and their objectives through articles in the National Now Times (NNT); and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, as a part of this alert, NOW establish a clearinghouse for related information by sharing with NOW state and local Chapters the available means to challenge such groups, including the current research on custody and support, sample legislation, expert witnesses, and work done by NOW and other groups in states where "fathers' rights" groups have been active; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW encourage state and local Chapters to conduct and coordinate divorce/custody court watch projects to facilitate removal of biased judges; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW report to the 1997 National Conference on the status and result of this national alert whereupon its continuation or expansion will be considered.
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