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I have this problem and I want to know if you guys can refer me to someone that can help. Just last week my sister, Paula, got tired of her husbands verbal and physical abuse. She left the house with my nephew, Joseph who is only 6 months old. Now her husband is accusing my sister of being involved in violent gang activity, domestic violence, abuse against her child and is saying that our family is well known for drug dealing.

Because of all these lies he has custody of the child now. We have had two court hearings for custody of my nephew and no matter what we do he still has custody! We have tried everything in our power, we don't have a lot of money and we don't know what to do anymore. can you help?



Dear Stephanie,

Sadly your sisters experience is not unique. As documented in Phyllis Chesler's groundbreaking book, Mothers on Trial, as well as by many others since, judges too often side with the fathers who ask for custody. In fact, according to Chesler's research when fathers ask for custody, they receive it 80% of the time, it's just that they don't ask that often.

You might reference Divorced from Justice, a group that networks those in similar situations and at times connects individuals with attorneys. Also, judges operate under an assumption of what is best for the child, so your sister should work on getting documentation under this premise.

I hope that helps and good luck to her. I know from working with others in a similar situation, it can be crazy -- especially when you know that you are right.

Take care,

- Amy

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