In the long term, the only reliable way to keep children safe is to bring about a revolutionary change in how child custody lawyers and family law courts across the continent respond to child custody and visitation disputes, especially those containing reports of domestic violence or severe psychological abuse, child physical abuse, and child sexual abuse. These reforms need to require the courts to follow rules of evidence and operate in an unbiased way, and need to involve better oversight of courts by administrators and by appeals courts. We probably also need to move away from the single-judge system, which gives an unreasonable amount of power to one individual over decisions that can harm children (and parents) for the rest of their lives. These reforms also need to specifically address gender bias in the child custody system, because mothers are being targeted for especially horrible treatment in the courts. Finally, the system by which attorneys, custody evaluators, guardians, and psychological evaluators are paid need dramatic reformation, so that a family’s resources go primarily to the children’s future, not into the pockets of professionals.
The key to building a successful movement for family justice is to have protective mothers themselves occupying the key positions of leadership within the movement. Allies also have an important role to play. For example, there are many men who are interested in being active in building this movement, especially the brothers, fathers, and new partners (new husbands and boyfriends) of protective mothers, who have witnessed up close what happens when a woman attempts to protect her children from a violent father post-separation. There are also players such as DYFS lawyer in New Jersey, and across the country, that could help with these saddening situations.
There are many organizations nationally working for custody justice for protective mothers, and for protective parents of both sexes. A national organization that I am part of, the Protective Mothers Alliance, is committed to promoting the leadership of protective mothers themselves and to helping build a coordinated national movement of mothers and their allies.