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Washington Times - Letter to the Editor

Mark B. Rosenthal
Washington Times
July 13, 2005

Dear Editor,

In the article "Custody's high stakes" (Family Times, Sunday), I was dismayed to see George Washington University law professor Naomi Cahn cite the misleading figure that fathers are granted sole or joint physical custody 70 percent of the time when they request it.

This figure stems from the 1989 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Gender Bias Commission. In support of its claim, the commission cited a report by the Middlesex Divorce Research Group. When I attempted to verify the data on which this claim was based, the author of the MDRG study told me that the data do not demonstrate the court's preference for one parent over the other in custody requests and that the research was not designed to address the question of how frequently a parent's request was honored.

The very same data the commission cited in support of its assertion that fathers win custody more than 70 percent of the time when they request it also support the statement, "Mothers' requests for sole custody were honored 65 percent more often than fathers' requests."

Quite simply, the Massachusetts commission manipulated the data to yield the desired result..

Mark B. Rosenthal
Arlington, Mass.

 
 
Note: Those interested in further details are welcome to download Mr. Rosenthal's analysis from http://www.breakingthescience.org/SJC_GBC_analysis_intro.php.