Mothers on Trial: The Battle for Children and Custody

Overview

Completely updated and revised for the twenty-first century, Mothers on Trial remains the bible for all women facing a custody battle, as well as the lawyers, psychologists, and others who support them. This landmark book was the first to break the false stereotype about mothers getting preferential treatment over fathers when it comes to custody. In this new edition, Chesler shows that, with few exceptions, the news has only gotten worse: when both the father and the mother want custody, the father usually gets ...

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Overview

Completely updated and revised for the twenty-first century, Mothers on Trial remains the bible for all women facing a custody battle, as well as the lawyers, psychologists, and others who support them. This landmark book was the first to break the false stereotype about mothers getting preferential treatment over fathers when it comes to custody. In this new edition, Chesler shows that, with few exceptions, the news has only gotten worse: when both the father and the mother want custody, the father usually gets it. The highly praised Mothers on Trial is essential reading for anyone concerned personally or professionally with custody rights and the well-being of our children.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Heavily documenting her book with legal precedent, expert input, and studies, Chesler makes her case with all of her zeal intact. Fresh, [and] timely content” —Library Journal in its STARRED review of the revised, 2nd edition of Mothers on Trial

“An unblinking look at gender bias in child-custody battles.”—Kirkus Reviews on the revised, 2nd edition of Mothers on Trial

“Sure to inspire anger, understanding and action.” —Gloria Steinem on the 1st edition of Mothers on Trial

 

“Extremely subversive. . . . It should and will enrage, entice, incite and liberate.” —Kate Millett on the 1st edition of Mothers on Trial
 

“A stunning and exhaustive indictment of the treatment of mothers by the modern justice system. Highly recommended.” —Library Journal on the 1st edition of Mothers on Trial

“No brief review can do justice to the scope or style of her current book, a rich fabric of woven of compelling data from her interviews with warring parents, evocations of myth and poetry, and the transcribed voices of mothers on trial.”
Psychology Today on the 1st edition of Mothers on Trial

“An essential work.” —Erica Jong on the 1st edition of Mothers on Trial

Library Journal
In this new edition of her 1986 groundbreaking book, Chesler, a psychotherapist and women's studies scholar, retires dated material and adds eight new chapters. By supporting her original contentions with new cases, the author demonstrates again that despite commonly held notions, courtroom custody battles continue to victimize mothers and their children, too often favoring fathers who are abusive, neglectful, or otherwise unfit. Chesler presents a good review of present-day legal trends, including the current darling of family courts, the joint-custody agreement. She relies on studies and experts to call into question the effectiveness of joint custody in all but the most mature and cordial of splits. Also new is a well-presented discussion of the challenges and biases lesbians face in custody fights with former husbands and the sometimes onerous conditions under which these mothers are allowed to retain custody. VERDICT Heavily documenting her book with legal precedent, expert input, and studies, Chesler makes her case with all of her zeal intact. Fresh, timely content, extensive annotations, and a helpful listing of resources on women's and children's issues recommend this book for legal and women's studies collections.—Joan Pedzich, Harris Beach PLLC, Rochester, NY
Kirkus Reviews

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.) storms the gates with a compelling and well-researched update of her 1986 landmark title. With eight new chapters, the author continues her investigation into how patriarchal attitudes and laws are prejudiced against mothers during custody battles. By analyzing hundreds of legal documents and interviewing custody experts as well as mothers, fathers and children from diverse backgrounds, the author outlines the decline in legal justice many mothers have experienced since 1986. Breaking up the parade of bleak statistics, the Chesler weaves heart-rending (and enraging) stories of the "good enough" mother, a sole caregiver often slandered as morally questionable if she has a relationship during her divorce or as mentally unbalanced if she is emotional about the loss of her children. Yet the "good enough" father, Chesler writes, performs a few household chores and is applauded as an exceptional parent, regardless of his personal lifestyle. While other sources could likely produce as many horror stories about judicial bias against fathers, Chesler's facts cannot be denied: 37 percent of the men in her study kidnapped and brainwashed their children against the mother but were never punished; 70 percent of all the battles resulted in court-ordered paternalcustody; 90 percent of all the fathers paid no alimony. The author also includes straightforward advice for readers from mothers and a divorce lawyer, along with several resources for additional help.

Chesler sheds light in corners that must be explored.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Psychologist Chesler (Women and Madness, etc.) argues that there is a double standard in our patriarchal society that governs the rights of women, children and child custody. PW called this ``a deeply felt book that is sure to be controversial.'' (March)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556529993
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/1/2011
  • Edition description: Second edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 1,479,838
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

The author of thirteen books and thousands of articles and speeches, feminist icon Phyllis Chesler is 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, a founder and board member of the International Committee for the Women of the Wall, and an affiliated professor with Haifa and Bar Ilan Universities. Her pioneering work, Women and Madness, is a long-standing classic. She lives in Manhattan.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 25, 2011

    An excellent, well-researched--and must read for those who care for human rights and children.

    Not since slavery in the USA were mothers punished by having their children taken away from them. Yet, in family courts all across America, judges and quasi-judicial officers of the court do just that: children who are abused or molested by their fathers are removed from their primary-care good mothers and are placed in the hands of their molesting fathers.
    How this scandal can go on for decades with hardly any change, without any public outcry, and without any protest from human rights' activists is due to the fact that outsiders to the gutter of our family courts' justice simply refuse to believe it.
    In her revised and updated milestone fact-filled book, "Mothers on Trial," Phyllis Chesler fights to save thousands of children from becoming yet another generation of victims of a court system that betrays them time and again. She points out that while adult women often recount childhood sexual molestation at home by close relatives-and these women's stories are believed-people tend to disbelieve when actually facing such cases as they happen in real time, right in front of them.
    It is a documented fact that when fathers fight for custody, 70% of the time they obtain full or partial custody. People often assume that the reason these men who, in most part, have not been fully involved in their children's lives-sometimes have been absent for months or even years-now gain custody is because the mothers are unfit. The naked truth is that in most of these cases, the father is emotionally and verbally abusive or outright violent. The mother, often the product of an abusive home, often abused for years in her marriage to the father of her children, now faces battle for which she is woefully unequipped to wage. Distraught, terrified, isolated, alienated in a system that scrutinizes her with the same critical and belittling attitude she's encountered in her private lives, panicked over the fate of her sexually molested children, she seems "emotional" "unreasonable" and "difficult." Her refusal to share parenting or give access to a man who sexually molest her children is viewed as her being "rigid" and "uncooperative."
    Furthermore, with limited or no financial resources, she comes to court either unrepresented by an attorney, or by an incompetent lawyer with little interest in the complexity of such a case. Or, as is often the case, she does not have the funds to keep the protracted legal battle a high-conflict custody case requires. Filing fees, transcripts, payments to evaluators and her lawyer's hourly rate quickly rise to thousands of dollars.
    Dr. Chesler has been at it a lot longer. Twenty-five years ago she published "Mothers on Trial," a book that starts with the history of men's ownership of their families and the lingering feudal notion of male supremacy as the head of the household. She pointed then-and continues to do so now in this excellent revised edition-that society and court hold men to much

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  • Posted June 22, 2011

    brave, compelling book -- a must-read!

    Phyllis Chesler's work was brave and groundbreaking when the first edition of this book appeared many years ago and is equally brave and poignantly still much-needed, because things are no better and in some ways are worse for mothers than they used to be. Every parent going through a custody battle, every lawyer, and every judge should have to read this book. In fact, _everyone_ should read it, because I am astonished by how many people think, upon hearing a fragment of what Chesler reports in the book, want to believe it cannot be true. That it is true, no one reading her book can ever doubt.

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