November 4, 2016


BY Robert G Leclair

Brace yourself for political opposition to all your efforts to reform the law to make shared custody the norm, to minimize the adversarial process
even through mandated mediation, to extricate the couple from poverty, and to protect the children after divorce. The well-funded opposition will
try to dupe us into thinking their opposition is all based on protecting women and children and that, if you are opposed to their ideology and
approach, you are against the goal of eradicating domestic violence and abuse to women and children.

Don’t be fooled. One can easily believe in the goal but disagree as to the approach to accomplish it. In fact, I and many others sincerely support
the goal and can and do provide proof to that effect. This is not a war on women as some would have you believe. This is a war against a radical
feminist ideology that, ironically, actually exacerbates the problem of domestic violence and is supported by your tax dollars.

You will likely be shocked by one salient aspect of many, if not most, laws relating to divorce. Practically every law being proposed on custody
issues - whether it is intended to make shared custody a presumption, simply encourages shared custody, or merely retains the status quo in that
decisions will continue to be based on the “best interest of the children” - all custody laws will be subject to the laws on domestic violence as
recently introduced in most states. That factor in and of itself is a good thing. However, the process becomes corrosive and corrupted whenever
judges and/or lawyers attempt to resolve allegations of domestic violence.

This is the great deception and hypocrisy of the war waged by OVW on domestic violence to protect women from violence and abuse. OVW has
known for years that the restraining order courts have awarded the orders indiscriminately to 80% of women based only on allegations, bypassing
all due process avenues. To make it worse OVW assumed that in the divorce process domestic violence was also rampant and the major reason
for the divorce. For decades OVW anticipated this outcome and promoted through its thousands of affiliated non-profit organizations the assumed
fact that a domestic violence law should be part of the divorce law. It worked…most states have incorporated and merged the two laws.

Now divorce judges must consider the domestic violence factor which is part of the allegations in every restraining order previously granted. This is
nothing but hypocrisy and deceit by the government agency…OVW. Consequently, the divorce process will get ugly and more adversarial, no-fault
divorce will be a thing of the past, the fatherless society will be even more rampant and more and more children of divorce will suffer the pain of
separation. OVW will have achieved its goal of “opposing shared custody”.

The courts and lawyers rely on arbitrary, highly subjective, biased interpretations which, at best, have a very low probability of finding the truth and
are even less likely to provide a just outcome for the parties involved. To cite but one example of why this is so, consider that annually about
1,500,000 cases of domestic violence allegations are processed by our courts … without the basic protections of due process, standard rules of
evidence, or the presumption of innocence. This injustice is further compounded by the many attorneys who routinely advise their clients that, by
obtaining a restraining order, they have more leverage in the divorce process.

That is just a glimpse into why attempts to reform divorce laws without first addressing the underlying injustice of our current approach to domestic
violence is only going to make both situation even worse. Facing up to this situation and correcting it is our only hope. If social reforms addressing
how we handle domestic violence and divorce in America are not implemented, the current processes will continue to undermine family values and
traditional families will become extinct. A mom or dad’s loss or alienation of the children in a system fraught with flaws and deceptions can be
excruciating and the emotional pain can last forever. It doesn’t have to continue - and when reform of divorce and domestic violence laws protect
the basic rights of all parties …it won’t.

My friends, often lovingly and respectfully, call me an “old curmudgeon”! My son and daughter call me “dad” and my grandchildren call me
“grandpa”.  I am not a judge, a lawyer or even a prominent professional. My conclusions and beliefs are based on many years of practical
research and painfully acquired personal and vicarious experiences. I’m simply hoping that my explanations are clear and convincing because all
the rhetoric in many articles and opinions on the internet can be confusing and overwhelming.

I genuinely fear that if the judicial process and/or the government’s approach to the war on domestic violence are not seriously reformed, the
atrocities of ISIS in America will pale in comparison. ISIS may kill us but it will never destroy the American spirit and values.

Maintaining the status quo in the Restraining Order courts and sustaining the failed approach and policies implemented by the Office of Violence
Against Women for the past decades is a far greater threat to the destruction of families and family values. If reform is not imminent, a gender war
capable of undermining everything that America stands for may be the future for our children.


The political hypocrisy and deceit of OVW to commit its efforts and tax dollars towards the goal of opposing shared custody in divorce courts and
attempting to incorporate a domestic violence law into the custody laws have resulted in a serious dichotomy for all judges and corruption of the
divorce process. Why is this true and factual when protecting children from domestic violence should be the goal in all divorces? If it were not for
the fact that the restraining order process has become flawed and void of any due process to determine the truth, I would agree.

Whether or not lawyers tell their female clients to obtain a restraining order as leverage in the divorce court is not a factor that will influence a
judge’s decision. The real problem and a serious dilemma for divorce judges is the common knowledge that restraining orders are granted
arbitrarily or on a “better safe than sorry” basis. Since his decision will determine the fate of the children, does he rely on believing the allegations
made to obtain the restraining order, knowing full well the realities of the process, or does he try to determine whether or not the allegations of
domestic violence are true? All divorce judges will be confronted with the same conditions that restraining order judges faced…no due process or
rules of evidence!

Part 3 of my article shows why OVW’s flawed approach to the war on domestic violence has created a serious conundrum not only for retraining
order courts but for divorce courts as well. If reform is not imminent, more families will be destroyed and more children will suffer.

OVW’s orchestrated maneuver to link restraining orders to custody laws in divorce was a self-serving well conceived strategy. It was a preemptive
strike to kill shared custody…a concept it opposed.

VAWA...Violence Against Women Act
(authorized by Congress
in 1994 and reauthorized in 2013)

OVW.....Office on Violence Against Women
funded by VAWA
(Agency in US Department of Justice)