Coalition of Parents Unite in Nationwide Class Action Challenges for Their Children

Auburn, AL, September 2, 2004 -- Representatives from across the
country are announcing that on September 17, 2004, they will
simultaneously file federal class action lawsuits, on behalf of an
estimated 25 million noncustodial parents, demanding that rights to
equal custody of their children be restored by the federal courts.

In what some are calling "the mother of all lawsuits", the parents
will challenge widespread practices by the states in determining
care, custody, and support of children. "Parents are tired of being
mistreated as second class citizens by state courts," according to
Torm L. Howse, President of the Indiana Civil Rights Council. "Most
parents say they care about their children, their families, and the
related unnecessary waste of their hard-earned tax dollars, more
than all other political issues combined."

Plaintiffs are seeking damages in all 50 states, bringing widespread
attention to what they allege as years of disparate taxation and
willful financial mismanagement. The coalition is comprised of
various leaders from family rights, fathers rights, mothers rights,
and shared parenting groups, as well as political candidates,
doctors, and other activists committed to dramatic social, taxation,
and government reform in the area of family law. The effort is also
backed by several prominent family rights organizations.

"We're trying to protect the right of all fit parents to share
equally in the custody and care of their children," says Howse. "The
time has come for a drastic reform of government practices that harm
children and parents. "Kids need both parents," adds Rachel Forrest,
a leader with the Children's Rights Council and the National
Congress for Fathers and Children. "We hope that this landmark
action will wake up the government and make it aware of the
inequities in family courts and social services that prevent our
children from having equal access to both of their parents."

According to attorney Garrett C. Dailey, who successfully obtained a
recent landmark California Supreme Court decision, "children of
divorced parents who have two primary parents in their lives do
better in school, are better adjusted and happier than children
raised by only one primary parent." Likewise, the American
Psychological Association, the world's largest such group, confirmed
through an exhaustive study that children in joint custody
arrangements have less behavior and emotional problems, higher self-
esteem, better family relations, and better school performance than
children who are subjected to sole custody arrangements. Agreeing in
a decision long-touted by parental rights advocates, Judge Dorothy
T. Beasley of the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled: "Inherent in the
express public policy is a recognition of the child's right to equal
access and opportunity with both parents, the right to be guided and
nurtured by both parents, the right to have major decisions made by
the application of both parents' wisdom, judgement and experience.
The child does not forfeit these rights when the parents divorce."

In addition to challenging standard practices pertaining to family
law, the coalition also alleges that while nearly every state has
recognized catastrophic budgetary failures, the states still
recklessly refuse to consider the financial devastation involved
with encouraging routine awards of sole custody, reminding that such
patterns dramatically increase crime, poverty, drug use, suicides,
dropouts, teenage pregnancies, and other forms of direct harm and
costs against children, families, taxpayers, and society in general.
Professor Stephen Baskerville, distinguished master of political
science at Howard University, and one of the world's foremost
experts on various custody and child support issues,
explains: "Politicians often spend money to avoid confronting
problems. Yet marshaling the government to strengthen families seems
especially pointless when it is government that weakened the family
in the first place."

The plaintiffs further allege that the relocation of children away
from one parent radically increases the incidence of parental
kidnappings, which dwarf all other types of kidnappings, and wastes
additional tax dollars in the ensuing processes. An in-depth
analysis, conducted in 1990 by the U.S. Department of Justice,
confirmed that over 350,000 children were abducted that year by a
family member - typically a parent involved in a custody dispute -
while the number of stereotypical kidnappings of children for ransom
amounted only to a few hundred nationwide.

The parents say that common inequities in state family courts are
also directly and indirectly responsible for murders and suicides
amongst the most estranged families. Every week, they note,
approximately 300 fathers and 75 mothers commit suicide in this
country, with the majority of these senseless deaths directly
attributable to victimization by family courts. These suicides are
often committed by passive parents, due to hopelessness in a system
fraught with injustice, but the more aggressive parents occasionally
snap at the weight of suffering such anguish, and violently take out
their desperation on estranged partners, sometimes even murdering
them, and possibly the children, before also killing themselves

They also allege that the states are recklessly responsible for much
of the abuse and neglect experienced by children in this country.
The National Clearinghouse for Child Abuse and Neglect Information,
a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
consistently reports that, year after year, single parents are
responsible for almost two-thirds of all substantiated cases of
abuse and neglect committed against children - more than all other
classes of perpetrators combined. The national costs of these child
abuse and neglect incidents surpassed $94 billion in 2001, according
to Prevent Child Abuse America. "It's painfully obvious that the
majority of child abuse can be easily prevented, by simply ensuring
the regular presence of both parents in the daily lives of
children," notes Howse. "Involving the eyes and ears of both parents
creates a naturally self-balancing situation, wherein a child's
health and safety is automatically monitored by opposing sides who
stand to gain if the other side fails.

The Plaintiffs further charge that because parents are generally
treated unfairly in family courts, the results are also directly or
indirectly responsible for very large, and otherwise unnecessary,
additional tax burdens upon every citizen, through increased welfare
spending and self-serving enlargement of state family agencies and
entities, and that such inequities are also indirectly responsible
for vast numbers of personal and corporate bankruptcies, which are
absorbed into even more future taxation. Additionally, they note a
pattern of fraud and abuse being progressively reported about
various state family bureaucracies, which they say are very costly
in terms of tax dollars, and which violate the rights of American
citizens on an unprecedented scale.

"It is high time for costly government to get out of the lives of
most parents and children," says Howse. "American taxpayers should
no longer be forced to fund systematic violations against parents
and children, and the needless progressive destruction of our

While the current class actions deal exclusively with conventional
aspects of child custody, leaders of related parents groups report
they have already begun the processes for raising similar legal
challenges in the near future, on behalf of alleged victims of CPS,
paternity fraud, and the progressive drugging of children in this

For more information, contact:

Torm L. Howse

President, Indiana Civil Rights Council