Mothers on Trial: The Battle for Children and Custody

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Chicago Review Press, Jul 1, 2011 - Family & Relationships - 512 pages
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Updated and revised with seven new chapters, a new introduction, and a new resources section, this landmark book is invaluable for women facing a custody battle. It was the first to break the myth that mothers receive preferential treatment over fathers in custody disputes. Although mothers generally retain custody when fathers choose not to fight for it, fathers who seek custody often win—not because the mother is unfit or the father has been the primary caregiver but because, as Phyllis Chesler argues, women are held to a much higher standard of parenting. Incorporating findings from years of research, hundreds of interviews, and international surveys about child-custody arrangements, Chesler argues for new guidelines to resolve custody disputes and to prevent the continued oppression of mothers in custody situations. This book provides a philosophical and psychological perspective as well as practical advice from one of the country’s leading matrimonial lawyers. Both an indictment of a discriminatory system and a call to action over motherhood under siege, Mothers on Trial is essential reading for anyone concerned either personally or professionally with custody rights and the well-being of the children involved.

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MOTHERS ON TRIAL: The Battle for Children and Custody

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An unblinking look at gender bias in child-custody battles. Fathers'-rights advocates have picketed her lectures, but Chesler (Psychology, Women's Studies/CUNY; Woman's Inhumanity to Woman, 2009, etc ... Read full review

Mothers on trial: the battle for children and custody

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

What qualities make a woman a good mother, "fit'' to be awarded custody of her children? Are these qualities different from those that make a father fit to have custody of his children, if he wants it ... Read full review


1 A Historical Overview
2 A Contemporary Overview
3 What Is a Fit Mother or Father? An Unfit Mother or Father? Who Decides?
4 Do Good Enough Mothers Still Lose Custody of Their Children in North America Today? The Results of an Original Study
Anna Karenina Today
6 The Uppity Mother
7 The Lesbian Mother
8 The Mother Married to a Violent Man
15 CourtEnabled Incest in the TwentyFirst Century
16 Legal Torture from 1986 to 2010
17 The International Custody Situation
18 The Fathers Supremacist Movement from the 1980s to 2010
Joint Custody Mediation Incest and Parental Alienation
Mental Illness Gay and Lesbian Custody Surrogacy and the Primary Caretaker
Philosophical Perspectives on Having and Losing Children
What Is a Custody Battle Really About?

9 Paternal Brainwashing
10 The Voluntarily Noncustodial Mother
Mothers Encounter the Psychological and Economic Law
12 The MotherLawyer Relationship
13 The MotherJudge and FatherJudge Relationships
14 CourtEnabled Incest in the 1980s and 1990s
An Interview with Divorce Lawyer Susan L Bender
Index 477

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About the author (2011)

Phyllis Chesler, author of eighteen books and thousands of articles and speeches, is also an emerita professor of psychology and women's studies at City University of New York, a psychotherapist, and an expert courtroom witness. She is cofounder of the Association for Women in Psychology and the National Women's Health Network, a charter member of the Women's Forum and the Veteran Feminists of America, and a founder and board member of the International Committee for the Women of the Wall. She lives in Manhattan.

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