Restraining Orders: Saviors of Abused Women or Child Custody Tactic?

Everyone has heard the story–a father is hit with a restraining order, booted out of his house, and pushed to the edge of his children’s lives. Boston criminal defense attorney Jeffrey Denner believes that restraining orders and spurious domestic abuse allegations are frequently used as weapons in custody battles against decent fathers.

Feminist family law attorney Lynne Gold-Bikin, former chair of the American Bar Association’s Family Law Section, believes that domestic violence is at epidemic levels, that the vast majority of restraining orders are legitimate, and that we must “protect the abused–even if a few innocent guys get nailed.” Gold-Bikin, the founder of the American Bar Association’s Domestic Violence Committee, says:

“It took 100 years of struggle to get these [domestic violence] policies in place–let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

Denner and Gold-Bikin debated the issue on His Side with Glenn Sacks on February 27, 2005.

To learn more about the restraining order issue and the domestic violence system, see:

Spike Gillespie’s Life of restraint: I have a restraining order on my ex. But he has a grip on my life. (Salon.com, 10/25/99)

  • Cathy Young’s Hitting below the belt: Easy to get, hellish to deal with,
    restraining orders have become the ultimate weapon in domestic disputes (Salon.com, 10/25/99)
  • Stephen Baskerville’s No Restraint on Restraining Orders (Human Events, 8/5/02)
  • Glenn’s column Baseball Player’s Domestic Violence Arrest Demonstrates How Men are Presumed Guilty in Domestic Disputes (Los Angeles Daily Journal, San Francisco Daily Journal, 8/8/02)
  • Glenn’s column Convicted Murderess Can Get Custody but Decent Fathers Can’t (Houston Chronicle, 9/19/03)
  • His Side: Father Spends 3 Months in Jail for Returning Phone Call (9/7/03)
  • His Side: Liz Taylor’s Son-in-Law Says Taylor, Daughter Kidnapped His Two Year-Old Son (4/11/04)
  • A comprehensive discussion of the both the politics and practical aspects of dealing with false allegations can be found in The Father’s Emergency Guide to Divorce-Custody Battle by Robert Seidenberg and William Dawes, Esq.