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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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

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Father's rights group propaganda has flooded mainstream media and changed the view of the American Public about women in Family Court and even lying about statistics about what the outcomes are in court. I thought that when I went to the Family Court to decide my divorce things would be fair. I did not expect what I found there. Allegations from the Father were treated as proven statements without any tangible proof just his testimony. Father's right groups have so lied and corrupted the system through their media attack against women they have changed the view of women when it comes to court. Women do not win in court, this book tells how it is and Is a must read for any women going into court for a custody battle.  


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 is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Womens Studies at City University of New York. A best-selling author, legendary feminist leader, retired psychotherapist, and expert courtroom witness, she is the author of fifteen books, including the landmark classic Women and Madness and An American Bride in Kabul, which won a National Jewish Book Award. Dr. Chesler lives in Manhattan and is a very proud mother and grandmother. She invites readers to visit her website,

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