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The Lasting Effects Of Talking Bad About Your Ex

Talking negatively about your ex has lasting effects on your children. How do I know? I have been collecting stories from children and adult children of divorce for three years now. I am writing a book to end bitter divorce battles. My hope is if I show the lasting damage from a child's perspective, it might somehow sink in and stop the nasty behavior. This isn't psycho babble: here are four real life stories.

Mike, a 43-year-old man, still remembers his mother referring to his father as a loser after the divorce. Mike still can't shake the word "loser" from his head. Anytime he hears someone called a loser, he cringes. It has taken him to years to view his dad differently than the story told to him by his mother.

To date, Mike finds himself constantly trying to achieve so that his mother won't think he's a loser. I bet she never expected that by calling her ex-husband a loser, it would have such a lasting impact on her son.

Jack, a 13-year-old freshman in high school, lives out his parent's divorce far too often. His biggest pet peeve? He isn't allowed to take anything from his father's house over to his mother's house -- like his basketball shorts. Jack assures his father that his mother will not be wearing the basketball shorts, just him. His father doesn't care. His father, who is quite wealthy by the way, would not give Jack $20 to take to school for an event that was actually on the day his mother had him. "She has to pay for it!" insisted Jack's father. Even at 13, Jack has had enough of this pettiness from his father. He dreads going to see his father because it's always a battle about something related to his time with his mother.

I bet Jack's father doesn't even realize he is missing out on quality time with his son. Instead, he is too busy keeping score and trying to control what goes on with his ex wife.

Heidi, a 38-year-old stylist, still listens to her mother complain about her father. Her parents divorced 30 years ago. Her mother clearly hasn't gotten over it. Heidi gets embarrassed every time she has friends over at her mom's house. The first thing out of her mother's mouth is, "Do you notice this small apartment I live in? It's because Heidi's dad didn't give me any money when we divorced." It doesn't matter that Heidi's mother has had a great job over the past 30 years yet refuses to change her living circumstances. Heidi actually thinks that her mother is addicted to playing the victim card.

What Heidi's mother doesn't realize is that she has missed out on 30 years of her life. Instead, she is bitterly stuck in the '70's.

Kate no longer talks to the father that bad-mouthed her mother. Her parents divorced when she was nine and Kate remembers nothing but her father's name-calling and fighting for years on end. When her father had custody of her, all he would do was talk about what a horrible woman her mother was. "Your mother is a cheater. She broke up this family," he would say. "All she wants to do is take my money." "She's crazy." Any time Kate would try to defend her mother, her father would yell to her, "you don't know anything!" In reality, Kate knew quite a bit. Kate was aware that her mother cheated on her father. Her mother sat down with her and apologized for doing so. She apologized to Kate for breaking up the family. She was always kind to Kate's father and never uttered a bad word about him. As she got older, Kate understood that her father was hurt, but she couldn't understand why he wouldn't let it go. Her father was always angry. This made Kate dread being with her father. After years of going through the motions, Kate decided she didn't want to spend time with her father. She told him she was tired of hearing about how awful her mother was. Do you know what Kate's father said to her? "You are just like your mother -- Crazy." At 17, that wasn't what Kate needed or wanted to hear.

Kate is now 23 years old and hasn't spoken to her father in six years. Do you think this is how Kate's father imagined his relationship with his daughter would turn out?

The point of outlining all these scenarios is to illustrate that things don't have to end up nasty.
It takes a real grown-up adult to realize that you can't be bitter about the past. It takes a mature adult to see the bigger picture. It takes loving your children more than you hate your ex to stop the nastiness. I urge you to look at the bigger picture. You are not harming your ex. You are harming your children.


In spite of sex abuse allegations against father, Monsey mother loses custody battle after leaving Hasidic community

A Monsey woman who left her Satmar Hasidic Jewish community was dealt a blow Wednesday of last week, when the New York Appellate Division ruled in favor of her husband in a legal battle over custody of their three children.

The court ruled in favor of father Guillermo “Moshe” Gribeluk over mother Kelly Myzner, in spite of Myzner’s accusations that Gribeluk had sexually abused the children and the children’s stated desire to be with their mother.

According to the Appellate ruling, religion was not the deciding factor in the decision. Myzner had contested to the court that Judge Sherri Eisenpress of Rockland Family Court had based her initial custody decision on a preference to maintain the children’s religious identity, for stability sake.

“Here, contrary to the mother’s contentions, the Family Court did not rely solely on religion and the mother’s decision to leave the Hasidic Jewish community in making the determination to award the father custody of the parties’ children,” The decision read.

The ruling in the Appellate Divison effectively affirmed a 2012 decision made by Judge Eisenpress, who concluded that though both the mother and her children wanted to stay together, taking the children from the community in which they were raised would be detrimental to their well-being. “The Family Court expressly stated that it passed no judgment on either parent’s religious beliefs and practices,” The Appellate Divison ruling said. “The children’s need for stability and the potential impact of uprooting them from the only lifestyle which they have known are important factors in making a custody determination.”

Myzner divorced her husband in 2011 after arguing Gribeluk had subjected the family to fits of rage, beat the children, and left then with marks and welts as a result of inappropriate touching. Though Eisenpress was presented with photo evidence of injuries inflicted upon the children and conceded that Gribeluk did appear prone to intense anger, she dismissed testimony from Myzner’s eyewitnesses and the children themselves and concluded the children had been coached to lie about the abuse.

Instead, Eisenpress concluded the decision by Myzner-who wished to leave the community to continue a relationship with Gribeluk’s nephew-would confuse the children by leaving them torn between two radically different value systems. Eisenpress also insisted the decision was based not on religion but on who would provide the children with the most stable home environment.

“If the mother were to ignore the rules and requirements that the children are forced to follow to remain in their current community and school while with the children, it could lead to catastrophic consequences for children who are already clearly struggling with a multitude of issues,” Eisenpress said in her initial Family Court decision.



The Appellate Court placed faith in the determinations, affirming Eisenpress’ decision that Gribeluk’s home was a better environment for the children and referring to allegations of sexual abuse as “unfounded.”

According to Save Penina’s Children’s Charity President Pearl Reich, who worked with Myzner early on in her case and on other similar custody cases, the accusation of fabricating sexual allegations against Gribeluk were used as further cause to demonstrate that Myzner was unfit to take care of her children. “Right now what they’re doing is refocusing and saying, ‘No, this is not because of religion. It is because she pressed wrong allegations against her husband,’” Reich said. “They’re very, very strict with parents whose allegations are proven unfounded.”

Reich also opined that though a parent leaving a religious community will often be characterized as unfit, the characterization is meant as a political smokescreen. She pointed out that Eisenpress had been financed for office by the very religious sect who benefitted from her custody decision.

“[Rockland County is] right now being exposed and they are very scared, so they are trying every avenue possible to cover up the real reasoning, which is religion,” Reich continued.

Eisenpress is no stranger to allegations of favoring the Hasidic community in exchange for electoral support. In April 2013 it was revealed that her firm, formerly known as Reiss Enterprises, was owed about $500,000 by Moses “Mark” Stern, a convicted fraudster and key informant in a statewide corruption probe which netted former Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin, among others.

Eisenpress was aided politically by Stern as well. During Eisenpress’ 2011 campaign for the Family Court bench from which she handed down the Myzner ruling, Stern campaigned within the Orthodox community to raise $125,000 for the judge, with contributors often donating thousands of dollars at a time


Written by Pearl Reich — August 24, 2014

Catholic couple ordered to live Hasidic lifestyle in order to be able to see husband's son, who was born to ultra-Orthodox Jewish mother

It has been centuries since the divide between church and state has been in place but recently it seems that religion has been taking center stage in divorce courts across the United States. This time, the state has ruled that ultra-Orthodox Judaism must be followed by a pair of Catholics.

Laura Derbigney, a Hispanic Catholic woman, has been placed under court order to keep Shabbat, keep kosher and live as a Hasidic Jew. This court order was carried out in Chicago and the woman is now being told she must live an Orthodox Jewish lifestyle due to her new husband’s ex-wife who is a Hasidic Jew. 

Derbigney’s husband Nelson, also a Catholic, has a son by his first wife, a seven-year old who must carry out ultra-Orthodox restrictions with his Catholic father as he has with his biological mother, and this is the reasoning behind the court’s order to have the boy’s father and new step-mother live in the ways of a Hasidic Jew.

These restrictions include dietary restrictions. Despite Derbigney reportedly liking to cook Hispanic foods from her childhood, she will not be able to feed the child pork. Furthermore, the court has ordered that she is not allowed to shop at her regular supermarket and must shop from a kosher supermarket, henceforth – a supermarket, according to her interview with NBC, that is located in a different neighborhood far from her home.

Along with this, she will definitely not be able to take the boy from her new husband’s first marriage in a car on Saturdays, and for the same reason no sports will be played, no electronics will be used, as she has to follow all the laws of Shabbat.

The court order was enacted under the demands of the Hasidic Jewish ex-wife who complained to court that the last time her son visited his father he was fed non-kosher hot dogs.

Attorney Joel Brodsky, who is defending the Derbigneys and has won a similar case where religion proved to be the main concern in a custody battle, told NBC that the court’s ruling ignores the First Amendment which describes a citizen’s right to live by their own religious beliefs. Brodsky said, “Just because you're divorced, the court can't say how to live your lives or what grocery store you can go to." 

Brodsky’s similar case that he won in mid February of this year coincidentally involves a Jewish ex-wife and a Hispanic Catholic father. The father, by the name of Joseph Reyes, converted to Judaism when he married his ex-wife Rebecca Reyes and returned to Catholicism when they divorced. Later, he brought their daughter Ela to a church and was afterwards sued, facing prison and fines for the church visit due to allegations that the pair decided to raise the daughter Jewish; though the father denies this.





Custody battles can be very bitter and have a significant negative impact on children. While kids are often quite resilient, they don’t have the emotional maturity to handle an ugly divorce, and many things can arise that cause lasting damage.

In this articles, we take a look at how custody battles affect children and how the damage can be reduced or avoided.

How Custody Battles Affect Children

Alienation from One or both parents: The child might already be angry with the parents for divorcing. When the battle gets bitter, and the child hears the parents say unpleasant things about one another, the anger can become more intense toward one or both of them.

Emotional pain: Any divorce is painful to a child. Parents in an acrimonious fight often do things to make the pain worse. These include hurling accusations at one another, causing the child to fear that one parent might harm the other or making it difficult for the child to get sufficient time with a parent who has moved out.

Guilt: The worse the divorce gets, the more a child might feel guilty for their perceived role in it or for somehow not doing more to prevent it – even though children’s behavior is rarely a significant factor in parents deciding to divorce.

Having to give testimony: When children are questioned by the court about their parents’ marriage and circumstances in their home, the traumatic experience can be devastating to them emotionally.

How to Make Custody Battles Easier for Children

Here are proven things you can do to make the divorce process easier on children.

Do what is in the best interest of the children: This is a general principle that thoughtful parents can follow to diminish the pain the process causes their kids.

Don’t speak poorly of the other parent to the child: Don’t make accusations, belittle, call names,put down your ex, etc. If you feel the court needs to hear certain things, confine your comments to court and not while children are present.

Create as much stability as possible: Don’t threaten or make plans to move away. Don’t pull the children out of their current school and keep them in their extra-curricular activities. Maintain as much normalcy for them as you can.

Choose to settle the divorce with as little fighting as possible: When the parents are less angry and emotional, it is far easier to consider what is in the best interest of the child or children. If this can be done through the court, that’s fine. If not, consider using a divorce mediator who can help calm hostilities and encourage parents to focus on the needs of the child or children they share.

Continue to provide love and security to the children: This is the best thing you can do to reassure children that things will get better for them, and that regardless of the current pain they are experiencing, they are still loved and cared for.

A bitter divorce battle has the most impact on kids because they are not equipped for it emotionally. Following the tips here will help you to be the best parent you can be as you work through even a messy divorce.








Divorce: Child Custody and Religion

How do courts decide which religion a child should follow when parents of different religions separate?

Deciding whose religion a child should follow after a divorce or separation can often be a difficult and contentious question to answer. Increasingly parents of different faiths marry and have children. When these parents get divorced, it is often up to the courts to decide which religion a child should follow. These types of questions are answered by many courts all across the country with the result that there is not a uniform standard that courts follow when answering this hard question.

Best Interests of the Child or the Rights of Parents?

When courts are asked to answer the question of what religion a child should follow after a separation or divorce, they often balance two competing interests, the best interests of the child, and the rights of the parents. On one side, courts routinely answer questions about what is in the best interests of a child and have become quite proficient with these types of issues. On the other hand, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the parents' freedom of religion as well as their right to raise their child under the religion of their choosing.

Often, in a case where a court must make a decision about the child's religious upbringing, one parent will argue that raising the child under the other parent's religion will put the child's welfare in danger. When faced with this question, the court must weigh the benefits and costs of one parent's First Amendment rights versus the best interests of the child.

Child Custody and Religion Law in Custody Cases

In general, there is not a national standard for cases involving the religious upbringing of a child after a divorce. Because of this, the law varies from state to state. However, most state courts will generally apply one of the following standards when ruling in a child custody and religion case:

  • Actual or substantial harm standard. When a court follows this standard, the court will restrict a parent's First Amendment right to raise their child under the religion of their choosing only if that parent's religious practice causes actual or substantial harm to the child.
  • Risk of harm standard. When a court follows this standard, the court will only restrict a parent's First Amendment right to raise their child under the religion of their choosing if a parent's religious practice may cause harm to the child.
  • No harm standard. When a court follows this standard, the court does not consider any actual or potential harm to the child. Instead, the parent that has been granted custody of the child gets to choose which religion the child will follow. If the custodial parent objects to the non-custodial parent's wishes for the religion of the child, the court will side with the custodial parent.

Actual or Substantial Harm

Under this standard, a court will only restrict a parent's First Amendment right to raise their child under a religion of their choosing when the other parent can prove that those religious activities cause actual or substantial harm to the child. There are many states that follow this standard including California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.

What follows are a list of cases that show how the actual or substantial harm standard was applied to a variety of situations. You should keep in mind that even if you find a case that you think may apply to your situation, if the case did not take place in your state, your state's courts may not apply the law in the same way. Indeed, courts in the same states do not always apply the same law in a uniform manner.

Munoz v. Munoz -- This case ruled that exposing children to two different religions does not, in itself, cause harm to the children.

In Munoz v. Munoz, Washington State's highest court had to decide whether exposing a child to two different religions in itself caused harm to the child. In this case, the divorce court awarded sole custody of the children to the mother, who was Mormon. After the custody award, the mother asked the court to prevent the father, who was Catholic, from exposing the children to his own faith. However, the mother did not provide any evidence or likely arguments that exposing the children to both the Mormon and Catholic faiths would harm the children, either physically or mentally. Because of this, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that exposing children to two different religions does not automatically harm the children and decided not to curtail the father's First Amendment rights to raise his children under his faith.

Pater v. Pater -- This case ruled that religious customs are not harmful unless proven otherwise.

In Pater v. Pater, the Ohio Supreme Court overruled a lower court decision that had switched the custody award from the mother to the father. The lower court had decided that way because the mother, who originally had sole custody, was a Jehovah's Witness and had the children practicing her faith. Under the mother's faith, the children could not celebrate any holidays, be friends with anyone outside of the religion, salute the American flag or sign the national anthem. The lower court decided that this was harmful to the children.

However, the Ohio Supreme Court reversed this decision and took sole custody away from the Catholic father. In doing so, the court ruled that religious customs that diminish a child's social activities are not harmful (even if the customs separate the child from his or her peers or preach against standards of the community), unless it can be proven that the customs directly cause physical or mental harm to the child. Here, the Ohio Supreme Court did not see any evidence of direct physical or mental harm.

Kendall v. Kendall -- This cased ruled that physical acts and verbal threats were enough to justify an intervention of a parent's First Amendment rights.

In Kendall v. Kendall, the Massachusetts Supreme Court was dealing with a case that involved an Orthodox Jewish mother and a Catholic father. When the couple was first married, they agreed to raise their children under the Jewish faith. After the mother filed for divorce, the father made threats to his son. These threats included the threat to cut off his son's religions clothing unless he tucked them into his pants as well as a threat to cut off his sons "payes" (the curls in the hair that are normally worn by Orthodox Jewish men). In addition, the father told his children that anyone outside of his Catholic faith was damned to go to hell.

The mother challenged the father's First Amendment rights based on testimony from a doctor that the father's threats caused mental and emotional harm to the children. Because of the evidence that was presented, the court prohibited the father from talking to his children about his faith and also banned him from shaving off his son's payes. In addition, the church barred him from studying the Bible with his children and praying with them if those activities would tend to get the children to reject the Orthodox Jewish faith or cause emotional distress.

Risk of Harm

There are a few states, including Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, which follow the risk of harm standard instead of applying the actual or substantial harm standard. Courts that follow the risk of harm standard only require that the parent challenging the other parent's First Amendment right show that there is a risk of harm instead of showing actual or substantial harm.

MacLagan v. Klein-- This case ruled on the risk of harm standard.

In MacLagan v. Klein¸ a North Carolina state court was faced with a case where the father of a child wanted to stop the mother from changing their daughter's faith. When the couple was first married, they agreed to raise their children under the father's Jewish faith. When the couple divorce, the mother began bringing their daughter to a Methodist church. The father did not agree with this decision and asked the court to allow him to have full control of his daughter's religious upbringing. Applying the risk of harm standard, the court found that the daughter had identified herself with the Jewish faith since the age of three and that exposing her to the Methodist faith may cause her emotional harm. Because of this, the court agreed with the father and granted him sole control over his daughter's religious education.

You may have noticed the big difference between the MacLagan case and the Munoz case. The two cases had very similar facts that the courts looked at, but came out with two very different outcomes. The difference in outcomes is based on the fact that the two courts applied very different standards to their decision making process.

No Harm

There are a few states, including Arkasas and Wisconsin, which do not look at any harms, whether real or a risk, to children and instead defer to the parent with custody of the child. In general, in states that follow the no harm standard, the parent that has sole legal custody over the child has the sole right to decide on the religious education of the child. If a dispute arises between the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent, the court will generally decide to side with the custodial parent. In general, the courts that decide this way that the decision is in the best interests of the child and that any restrictions on the non-custodial parent's First Amendment rights is small because the only time the rights are curtailed is when the parent is with the child.

If both parents have been granted legal custody of the child, both parents are generally allowed to give the child their own religious education.

Johns v. Johns-- The court ruled that the parent with legal custody gets to decide.

In Johns v. Johns, an Arkansas state court agreed with the mother who had both legal and physical custody of the children. In this case, the court was faced with a problem where the mother of the children refused to allow the father his visitation time because he did not take the kids to church or Sunday school when he was supposed to. The father challenged this action, but the mother prevailed in court because she was the custodial parent and the court agreed with her and ordered that the father must take the children to church and Sunday school.

Zummo v. Zummo -- The court ruled that joint legal custody can mean two religions.

In Zummo v. Zummo, the court was faced with problem where both parents shared legal custody of the children but disagreed on which religious upbringing their children should take part in. To put a stop to the problem, the court ordered that the father needs to take his children to Jewish services (the mother's religion), but was also allowed to bring his children to Catholic services as well (his religion). The court rationalized that because both parents shared legal custody, they both had the right to provide their children with their own religions education.

Some States Can Use More than one Standard

You should be aware that in some states, like Montana and Pennsylvania, courts often use different standards. For instance, one court in Montana could use the actual or substantial harm standard while another court in the same building may decide to apply the risk of harm or no harm standard.

Child Custody and Religion -- Parenting Agreements

Courts will often take parenting agreements into account in their decisions if parents have made some sort of written or oral parenting agreement where they decide how to hand a child's religions upbringing. However, you should keep in mind that if you and your spouse have not followed the agreement, you should not expect the court to give it too much weight. As well, many courts will not give weight to any agreements that take into account which religion a child will follow in the event that the parents separate or divorce. Here are some of the reasons that courts give:

The agreement is not detailed enough. Generally speaking, many parents do not think a parenting agreement regarding children and religion is very important and because of this they are often informal and vague. As an example, most agreements do not take into account the degree of religious education that a child will receive (such as whether or not the child will attend Sunday school or how often the child will attend religious services) and merely specify which faith a child will follow.

The agreement was oral. Like oral contracts for almost anything else, parties to an oral parenting agreement will often have different accounts of just what exactly the agreement was. As well, just like almost all other oral contacts, a court will not enforce an oral parenting agreement if the court cannot determine exactly what was agreed.

The agreement is very old. Many young couples that get married often wait a while before having children. If the couple made a parenting agreement a long time before they had their first child, or the agreement is old for any other reasons, a court may not lend that much weight to it.

Courts do not like to diminish First Amendment or parenting rights. Because of their importance, courts do not generally like to stomp down on the parenting or First Amendment rights of parents. In addition, courts do not generally like to issue orders that enforce prior-made parenting agreements as this can lead to excessive governmental involvement in the private lives of parents.

It is important to realize that not all courts dislike parenting agreements that discuss the religious upbringing of children. For example, in Wilson v. Wilson, an Indiana court ruled that a divorce agreement that contained terms regarding the religious education of the children was binding on the parents.

To sum up, if you think that you would like to have a parenting agreement that involves the religious education of your children, you should make sure that the agreement is very detailed, in writing and not more than a few years old.

General Advice

If you've learned anything from this article, it should be that the outcome of your case will depend greatly on the state that you are in. In addition, you should also realize that because there is no uniform national law that deals with this situation, the laws of your state could change at any time. Because of this, it is almost always better for you and the other parent to try to resolve any issues regarding child custody and religion outside of court.

If you fear that your child may be harmed, or is already being harmed by the religious activities of the other parent, you should try to take your child to a mental health professional. By bringing in experts, you may quiet your own fears by finding out that there are no risks of harm, or if there is harm, you will have evidence to support your case should you decide to go to court.

If you do end up going to court to resolve a situation involving child custody and religion, you should keep in mind that you have the best chance of success if you have sole or joint legal custody.

"save peninas children" once again helping a mom(Rivky Stein, 24) attain her freedom while securing a mom for her kids

An Orthodox Jewish woman who has been unsuccessful in her attempts to secure a religious divorce from her husband has brought her case to social media, hoping to convince him to finally grant her a “get.”

With the help of family and friends, Rivky Stein, 24, created a Facebook page detailing her purportedly nightmarish relationship with hubby Yoel Weiss, 31, whom she married in a religious ceremony shortly after she turned 18 years old, in 2008.

“I want my get very badly,” she told the News. “But this is not just about me. It’s about fixing the problem so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

They had two children together, but Stein left Weiss after a series of alleged abuses, which she says included raping her and punching her in the stomach while she was pregnant. She says she never sought to have him criminally charged, but is now speaking to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.

Weiss, who runs an Internet search engine optimization firm, denies abusing his estranged wife.

The couple never formally obtained a civil marriage license, both partners said.





I love ur website , honey, so much! Just wow -amazingly awesome ..!:0) . U were right - I absolutely love ur shades !;0). Thanks a lot. Enjoy ur day and the week. hope to see u pretty soon and meet ur family as well.;0) {inna ziskyna)

Thank u Pearl Reich for designing the hottest sunglasses I just love them and the crystals are perfect for everything! I have already gotten so many compliments even the case is so chic! (rebecca lieberman)


Babe! You are so fucking awesome! I must say I am super impressed with your packaging and products! I got this adorable bag filled with ribbons and the beautiful earrings! In both colors no less! I am obsessed! Thank you for being the great friend that you are. You are such an inspiration to me! Xoxo
Happiness is found when we can appreciate the little things. Finally received the piece that I got just for me. Thank you Pearl Reich I love it. (tahiya chin)





Religion will play a role when a child has been raised as one religion and the parents are of different religions, but religion alone will not determine custody. Aldous v. Aldous 99 A.D. 2d 197 (3rd Dept. 1984). The court will favor the parent who is better able to continue with the child's religious upbringing. Needless to say, trying to change a child's religion, or interfering with a child's religious instructions will not be looked upon favorably by the court.

However, it is defendant's contention that, in making the award of custody to plaintiff, Family Court conducted an inquiry into the religious doctrines and activities of a possible custodial parent, and then based its determination of custody upon its evaluation of those particular religious activities in deciding what would be in the best interest of the children. Thus, it is alleged, Family Court so entangled matters of church and State as to violate the establishment clause and the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States ( Lemon v Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602).

In any custody dispute, the court's primary concern is that the final determination of a custodial parent is in the best interest of the child ( Domestic Relations Law, § 240; Friederwitzer v Friederwitzer, 55 NY2d 89). Many factors enter into that determination, and there are no absolutes. When presented as an issue, religion may be considered as one of the factors in determining the best interest of a child, although it alone may not be the determinative factor (see Matter of Kananack, 272 App Div 783). In this State, cases which consider religion as a factor in resolving custody disputes generally fall into three separate categories. New York courts will consider religion in a custody dispute when a child has developed actual religious ties to a specific religion and those needs can be served better by one parent than the other (see Spring v Glawon, 89 AD2d 980); when a religious belief violates a State statute (see Matter of Weberman, 198 Misc 1055, affd 278 App Div 656, affd 302 NY 855, app dsmd 342 U.S. 884); and when a religious belief poses a threat to a child's well-being (see Spring v Glawon, supra; Matter of Battaglia v Battaglia, 9 Misc 2d 1067).

Fathers and Daughters: An Essential Bond After Divorce By Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW

The relationship a daughter has with her father is one that has a profound impact on her life. The breakup of a family often changes the dynamic of the father-daughter relationship and it can be a challenge to stay connected. Research has shown that fathers play an important role in the lives of their daughters but that this relationship is the one that changes the most after divorce.

There’s no denying that a woman’s relationship with her father is one of the most crucial in her life. The quality of that connection – good, damaged, or otherwise – powerfully impacts dads and daughters in a multiple of ways.  A father’s effect on his daughter’s psychological well-being and identity is far-reaching. A daughter’s sense of self, for instance, is often connected to how her father views her. A girl stands a better chance of becoming a self-confident woman if she has a close bond with her father.

While divorce can be problematic for all children, it poses unique challenges for girls, in part due to a tendency they have to crave emotional closeness more than boys do. She may feel that if her family is broken, she is broken. Due to a delayed reaction to divorce or a “Sleeper Effect,” a girl might go undercover, and develop an increased sensitivity to loss that may go unnoticed.

Why is the father-daughter relationship so vulnerable to disruption after a parents’ divorce?  Dr. Linda Nielson, a nationally recognized expert on father-daughter relationships, posits that that while most daughters of divorce are well adjusted several years after their parents’ divorce, many have damaged relationships with their fathers. Unfortunately, if the wound is severe, a girl may grow into adulthood with low self-esteem and trust issues.

Dr. Nielson found that girls tend to spend more time with their mothers (and less time with their dad) after their parents’ divorce. In her extensive research, Dr. Nielson found that only 10 to 15 percent of fathers get to enjoy the benefits of joint custody after the family splits.

My research for Daughters of Divorce spanned over three years and was comprised of 326 interviews of young women who reflected upon their parents’ divorce. The most common themes that emerged from these interviews were trust issues and a wound in the father-daughter relationship. My previous study published in the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage concluded that lack of access to both parents and high conflict between them contributed to low self-esteem in young women raised in divorced homes. Most of the young women that I interviewed expressed a strong desire to improve their communication with their fathers yet lacked the tools to be able to pull this off.

Certainly a strong father-daughter connection is a challenge when it comes to post-divorce relationships. In a recent episode of Oprah’s Lifeclass Bishop T.D. Jakes concludes “It’s not a lack of love that stops an estranged father from reconnecting with his child – it’s the fear of rejection.” Bishop Jakes recommends that every father needs to “court” his child and discover his or her world in order to reconnect.

In his recent book Always Dad, Paul Mandelstein, advises divorced dads to find ways to play a crucial role in their daughter’s life. He suggests that divorced parents call a truce with their ex-spouse – to put an end to active fighting and to collaborate. The father-daughter connection, even several years after a family dissolves, is heavily influenced by consistency in contact and the quality of the relationship.

Daughters who have a strong relationship with their father are more likely to be self-confident and mature – possessing a purpose in their lives. A daughter’s relationship with her father is the first one that teaches her how she should be treated by a manBut Dads often lose touch with their daughters after a family splits up and they don’t always know how to reconnect. I know firsthand about this loss because I experienced it with my own father and fortunately was able to heal the rupture in our relationship.


Little ZC deserves a father too" IndieGoGo Campaign Kickoff


My daughter was 4 years old when she saw me the last time.

Her mother was afraid I will take off her thick black stockings or teach her about barney the purple dinosaur, and my daughter would rather cry that I don't love her because I haven't come to visit than smile at barney the purple dinosaur; and so, I haven’t seen my daughter in 2 years.

 She deserves a father in her life, even if her father is not as strictly Hassidic as her mother is.

I really tried giving her a Chassidic father, even though I wasn't one personally. I put on a white shirt, the bigger yarmulke I had in the glove compartment, made sure all the screens were off at home, and read Feldhiem books together.

But my 4 year old daughter who smiled back to anyone who smiled to her, my 4 year old daughter who didn't understand anything about politics, know anything about sports, physics, different cultures, ancient history, mathematical theorems, or philosophical ideas, was at risk of being exposed to… Me. So our precious visitation hour we so loved together, the precious father-daughter time we had twice every week where I made her supper and we giggled, hiked, and read together, was terminated.

Please help my daughter ZC. Help her find her own father. 


Children deserve both of their parents regardless of the parents’ differences in lifestyle or worldview. The children are not to be punished for being in this situation they didn't create. It is not protecting them from the situation if you take away one of their parents’ involvement in their lives; its merely our own fears, agenda's, and opinions, that adults project on children who don't deserve to be used as pawns.

Help us. Help her and help me restore the healthy relationship we had. Help stop the cycle of abuse. Help me build a better future for us all.



This fundraising campaign is for a legal fund to assist with hiring attorneys, paying for trial hours, and for other legal expenses as necessary. You may rest assured that all funds donated here will go directly towards helping ZC get her rightful relationship with her daddy established again, or -- in the unlikely event that we will raise more funds than are necessary for my case -- to assist other parents with legal expenses related to leaving an ultra-Orthodox lifestyle, through the 'Save Penina's Children Fund' established for such causes. 

We are aiming for the 18K needed for the lawyers retainer fee and first batch of days put in to research and challenge the binding arbitration, so that we can actually change this abuse in a legal manner. Please donate whatever you can, every dollar will make a difference, and i personally Thank You from the bottem of my heart for helping my innocent daughter get back what was always hers - A Dad.


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