Saturday, December 28, 2013

Schlesinger Twins: Debate in House of Commons?

Jewish Telegraph   Graham Stringer MP is to ask Foreign Office minister David Liddington to make representations to Austria about the case of Manchester tug-of-love mother Beth Alexander.

He will also seek a debate in parliament when the Commons returns in January. Mother of four-year-old twins, Beth, who is estranged from her Viennese husband, has access to the children for only six hours a week and on alternate Sundays.

Now, a leading Australian educationist has joined in the calls to right the injustice many feel she has suffered at the hands of the Austrian courts. Rabbi James Kennard, who was head of Manchester's King David High School Yavneh, has hit out at Vienna Chabad which forbids Beth to see her children at their kindergarten, or even to be kept abreast of their progress - or lack of it, as she insists.[...]

21 comments :

  1. "Mother of four-year-old twins, Beth, who is estranged from her Viennese husband, has access to the children for only six hours a week and on alternate Sundays."

    That's fair and reasonable. It is in line with about what any non-custodial parent receives in visitation hours and times. In fact the non-custodial parent in this case is getting above the typical amount of time the average non-custodial parent receives in visitation schedules.



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  2. A child needs two involved caring parentsDecember 29, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    Dvar Torah -- your view of what is reasonable or normal visitation for a non- custodial parent is so sick and twisted that it exposes not only your blatant bias but a vindictive, cruel nature as well. Someone with as heartless a character as youself would benefit from reflecting on the concept of mida kneged mida. In doing so, you should justifiably be awoken to the great danger you are putting yourself in by the application of this principal in light of such incredibly cruel public expression as your wbove stated position.

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    1. Dear "A child",

      Are you at all familiar with custody and visitation arrangements as currently set by courts? Six hours a week plus alternative weekends is above average for a non-custodial parent to receive.

      Now, you may believe -- and I would agree with you -- that non-custodial parents ought to receive more hours and days of visitation with their children. I 100% agree. But looking at this case from a broad perspective it must be said that this non-custodial parent received above average visitation times.

      Once we note that fact we can both go on to petition legislatures everywhere to enact new laws that shall grant non-custodial parents greater visitation and custodial rights. This is a point we both very much agree upon. And once we are successful in this very noble endeavor, this will improve the parental rights of divorcees everywhere plus enhance the parent-child relationships of children of divorce.

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    2. Dvar Torah -- Please can you tell me where you got the statistic from that the current visiting arrangements in the Schlesinger case is "above average"?

      I am pleased that you agree that this pitiful amount of visiting time is draconian regardless of which way round it is (mother/father).

      I must stress that there appears to be nothing wrong with the law or policy. It is clear that the law encourages non-custodial parents to be informed about their child's educational progress, medical development and so on. What appears to be at fault here is that the courts are not following the law. They fail to enforce the few visitations awarded to the mother, and they twist their interpretation of the law to suit a predefined agenda. It looks like this judge is basing her decisions on some other drivers and no amount of evidence or legal arguments will sway the rulings.

      To make matters worse, the Chabad kindergarten appear to be complicit in restricting the mother out of the children's lives without any legal basis. This is totally against all Jewish values, yet we don't hear other Chabad Rabbis criticizing this action by their colleagues in Vienna, despite the reputational damage to the Chabad brand.

      Is it any wonder there is outrage?

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    3. How many divorced fathers get more than six hours a week and on alternate Sundays? Most would be happy to get that much.

      I do agree ALL divorced parents should get more visitation. Work on the Klal rather than insist an individual, here, has been wronged more than other non-custodial parents.

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  3. Please explain WHY the Chabad frum school would work to hurt the mother. It makes no sense. And it is not believable or trustworthy as an unverified claim. It makes little sense.

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  4. "How many divorced fathers get more than six hours a week and on alternate Sundays?" I don't know, you tell me. Please can you provide a source for your statistics.

    I disagree with your statement about needing to work on the Klal instead of individuals. People can say all kinds of rhetoric and make very bold general statements that have zero value until it is put into practice in the individual cases. By solving a few individual cases, this encourages other cases to follow suit and then that goes towards fixing the Klal.

    I don't know WHY the Chabad kindergarten would work to hurt the mother. This is a question for Rabbi Biderman and his school.

    I would be very wary of not investigating claims made by a respected Rabbi and then reported in a newspaper. I think you are making a very dangerous statement. I doubt your view is supported by the rational-thinking public.

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    1. Okay, I'll agree work on the individual. But work on it correctly. To make public relation campaigns accusing the custodial parent of denying the non-custodial parent sufficient time with the children is wrong if the visitation schedule is in line with general custody arrangements on or above average. Don't blame the custodial parent for this, blame the system. In this case here we constantly here her PR machine chewing out what a horrible horrible terrible ugly man he is when it is the system not the father they should be going after. Don't besmirch the other parent even if you're in a bitter custody battle.

      And I would never take any newspaper claims seriously. News media are not know for the truth. Au contraire. They are known to spew falsehoods. Speaking generally of course.

      And I'm sure this view is supported by the vast majority of the public.

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    2. Dvar Torah -- you make some interesting points. Whilst it is not healthy to talk about blame, we can talk about areas that need addressing so that this terrible situation can be fixed:

      1) The Austrian judiciary has clearly messed this case up beyond all reasonable doubt, probably deliberately as a result of some pressure being applied somewhere that has distorted justice. Both the judiciary and government in Austria need to acknowledge that something untoward has happened and they need to correct it RIGHT NOW. Cover-ups simply prolong the inevitable as we have seen time and again throughout history.

      2) Where are the Rabbis in Austria? This father is clearly creating a Chillul Hashem on a global scale by his behavior towards his children and his ability to distort the courts. Are the Rabbis happy to have a situation like this on their doorstep? Shouldn't they be putting sanctions on this guy until he agrees to an amicable solution for everyone's sake? Do we want to be seen as a nation who corrupt courts and judicial systems for their own ends under the endorsement of Rabbis?

      3) What is wrong with Chabad? If it is true that they are providing support to the father (at some level) why are other Chabad Rabbis standing by this Rabbi Biderman? Shouldn't they be critisizing him for tarnishing the name of Chabad so publicly?

      Ironically, the person who is to be blamed the least is the father himself as he probably has some illness or psychological condition that is driving him to such extremes. It is the people who assist him that carry most of the responsibility in my view.


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    3. Avi,

      Is the issue here that the mother wants more visitation time? If so, I am in full and complete agreement. Give her a lot more visitation time. But it seems that the Austrian court gave her the same amount of visitation time that is in line with other cases. So I don't see how the court messed up on that point.

      But again, I'm all in favor of giving much more visitation time. To her and to all other non-custodial parents in all other cases.

      If she is demanding custody be transferred from the father to the mother, that I cannot support and would support the father maintaining primary residential custody. A father is no less entitled to primary residential custody than the mother is.

      As far as all the litany of allegations churned out against the father by the mother's PR machine, I cannot believe a word of it. The fact is obvious they are in a bitter custody dispute. And as such I would not believe EITHER SIDE's claims about how bad the others is. Even if they spew out that the opposing parent is the world's biggest monster and a bad bad terrible ugly unfathomable bla bla bla.

      I wouldn't believe the father in this case, either, if he made allegations how bad the mother is. Thankfully he is (apparently) not doing that.

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    4. I think the issue here is that the mother wants justice which has so far been denied to her (which is a violation of nearly every human rights convention in the world). It is undeniable that the courts have not acted fairly in this case as discussed above. One of the symptoms of this bias is the pitiful few hours of visiting time awarded to the mother.

      Why do you say you "support the father maintaining primary residential custody. A father is no less entitled to primary residential custody than the mother is."? Why has the mother been denied this right then? You would be more credible if you suggested some kind of 50/50 custody split, but why should the father be awarded 100% custody at the expense of the mother's rights? On what grounds? Doesn't the mother have some rights to her own children too?

      "I wouldn't believe the father in this case, either, if he made allegations how bad the mother is. Thankfully he is (apparently) not doing that." - Are you kidding??? He accused her of being mentally ill and even got some private psychiatrist to try to illegally commit her to a mental institution? The latest court rulings (despite the massive bias against the mother) finally prove that the mother has never suffered any mental illness and neither has she suffered from any mental illness in the past. Those allegations and actions by the father are pretty disgusting, yet for some reason you support him. Perhaps you should also ask the father why he has had the children's teeth removed.

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    5. Avi,

      Lets get to the bottom line. What does the mother want at the end of the day? Does she want more visitation time? By all means she should get it. Does she want to take full custody away from the father for herself? No can do.

      One parent, as in virtually all divorce cases -- Jewish and non-Jewish --, obviously has residential custody. The children can't sleep one day in one parents home and the next day in the other, and keep switching between them every Monday and Thursday. One parent, obviously, needs to retain residential custody with whom the children live. The father has residential custody. There is no reason that fathers should by default not be granted residential custody. Fathers are no less entitled to it than mothers. Obviously only one can have it.

      In almost all divorce cases one parent has residential custody and the other has visitation rights. You almost never have a case where 50% of nights the child sleeps in one house and 50% of the nights in another. In this case it is the father who has residential custody and he is no less entitled to that than the mother.

      I believe both should have custody. But the father has residential custody with where the children live and sleep. The mother should have very liberal visitation rights.

      Like I said, if the father made accusations against his ex-wife I do not believe a word of it any more than I believe her allegations against him.

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    6. Dvar Torah,

      Lets get to the bottom line. We both agree:

      1) An injustice has taken place in the courts handling this case. We will not speculate here as to how/why this happened.

      2) The courts have illegally failed to enforce the visitation allowance awarded to the mother as can be seen by the regular cancellations of the father without any apparent recourse.

      3) Any custody and visitation ruling by the courts should be IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILDREN.

      Now that we have agreed on the above, let me go through your other points. Firstly, I am in no position to speak on behalf of the mother as to what she wants. However, what I would like to see, and what I believe everyone following this case wants to see, is a custody/visitation decision made by a fair court, based on rational and legal arguments, that has as its basis, the best interests of the children at heart. This has clearly not happened so far and that is what MUST happen, given Austria claims to be a democratic country and proud member of the EU.

      Finally, just to respond to some of your other comments:

      "Does she want to take full custody away from the father for herself? No can do." - I didn't realise you were the judge in this case! Have you heard all the evidence from both sides in order to make an informed decision?

      "There is no reason that fathers should by default not be granted residential custody. Fathers are no less entitled to it than mothers. Obviously only one can have it." - I don't believe in 'default rulings' as you call them. Each case should be judged on its own merit, and some cases will rule in favor of the father and some in favor of the mother. To suggest there should be a "default" implies that there is no need for a court or judge at all. All I am asking for is a fair court in which to decide the outcome.

      We both accept that the status-quo in this case is very very wrong and the Austrian judiciary/government need to fix this case once and for all in a non-biased manner in the best interests of the children.

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    7. Avi,

      Do we agree that if all things being equal, if the best interests of the children are equally served by residentially living with either parent; in other words if both parents are equally capable; that the father having residential custody -- with the mother having liberal visitation rights that are enforceable -- would be a fair outcome?

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    8. I don't know the answer to your question. It is something I have never thought about before and is probably not a relevant question for this discussion. If a fair neutral court decides that the interests of the twins can be met equally by either the mother of the father, then we would be able to discuss this further, given details of the "liberal visiting rights".

      Unfortunately, this looks to be very far from the case here due to the damage the father is doing to the children like removing their teeth.

      Why were the courts corrupted? Will there be any recourse to those who have organised this "injustice"?

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    9. You mean you think the children are better off living with a mentally ill mother??!? Oh, you claim that is a false claim by the father. So is the mother's false claim that the father wrongfully took out the children's teeth. If we believe that we also believe the mother is mentally ill.

      It takes two to tango.

      As far as the courts, from what I read it seems the mother has exhausted all her appeals. At a certain point a court decision is final.

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    10. Our pediatric dentist also took out our children's baby teeth when it decayed. It isn't that bad.

      http://www.gosh.nhs.uk/medical-conditions/procedures-and-treatments/after-your-child-has-had-a-tooth-taken-out/

      http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/oral-care/kids/how-to-remove-kids-loose-tooth.htm

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    11. You sound irrational and hysterical! All of the points you just raised have been discussed above in depth.

      "The latest court rulings (despite the massive bias against the mother) finally prove that the mother has never suffered any mental illness and neither has she suffered from any mental illness in the past."

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  5. Six hours a week and alternate weekends is close to the 50% you want. How much more time do you think would be fair for the mother to have visitation for?

    She has 50% of the weekends. And she has close to 50% of the non-school non-eating waking hours during the week.

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  6. Your opinions change more frequently than a politician up for re-election!

    Just to correct some of your "facts". The visiting hours awarded to the mother is:

    Tuesdays (11am-5pm) and every second Sunday (9am-5pm). No overnights and no weekends. The mother has to pay 44 Euros per visit.

    http://helpbeth.org/appeal-court-judgement/

    I am concerned about:

    1) Your distortion of the "facts" you post
    2) Your apparent continual mind-changing
    3) Your lack of concern over an accepted humanitarian miscarriage of justice
    4) Your repetition of points that you make over and over again which have previously been fully addressed in detail

    To put matters to rest, why don't you ask Daas Torah if you can have a guest post to discuss the views of the father, for whom you feel so passionately for. To simply make anonymous comments in this manner is cowardly and pathetic.

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    1. I responded here:

      http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2014/01/schlesinger-twins-yellow-in-vienna-isnt.html

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