Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fatherhood & Martyrdom

Through history, taking away someone’s children has been always an extremely humiliating act of war. Through history, empires have taken the children of the invaded countries, killed them, sold them as slaves or just removed them from their parents (one of the latest versions of the last one, occurred in Argentina during the Dirty War, during which the Military Junta used to “disappear” members of the opposition and give their children in adoption to pro-government families).

The struggle for the cause of joint custody resembles a war. Like a war, it is the sum of many battles, small and big, that will add up in the end to the final victory. Like a war, it requires a grand strategy viewpoint to focus and organize every action in such a way that those actions could achieve victory. Like a war, it constantly creates traumas in the people involved, traumas that should be addressed and healed, if such thing is possible.

And like a war has its share of dead people. This is not a bloodless struggle. The violence that the current state of family laws generates is immense, and many ways, uncontrollable (and I am not talking now about the suicides that result from these endless and unfair legal processes).

Separating parents from their children is an unspeakable act of violence. And as many have said before, violence engenders violence.

The extremely long, painful and humiliating process to which our family courts submit parents who fight for the custody of their children, many times explodes in the worst form possible. Allow me to give two examples of the terrible violence that the present state of things generates.

Caroline M. Kotoski has been accused in Cape Cod of soliciting an undercover police officer to murder her estranged husband. On September 9 of 2004, she met with an undercover state trooper posing as a hit man and paid the trooper $7,500 to kill William Kotoski and agreed to hand over another $7,500 once her estranged husband was dead. The accused was motivated by her desire to gain custody of her two children and possibly inherit a “huge amount of money” (

Mazoltuv Borukhova, estranged wife of orthodontist Daniel Malakov, was charged with murder and conspiracy three and a half months after Malakov was gunned down at a Queens’s playground in front of his young daughter. Malakov and Borukhova had been embroiled in a bitter custody dispute over their daughter Michelle after Malakov had been granted temporary custody. The man arrested in the shooting is a Borukhova's relative by marriage. (

Let us stop this. Let us have clear family laws that set things straight from the start, that set joint custody by default, stopping this way these endless arguments that create only frustration, anger, and violence.

Let us stop this now. Our children are waiting.

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