In a recent column by Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition spokesperson Rinaldo Del Gallo, "Several things that men need to know," Attorney Del Gallo wrote, "Courts almost never give joint physical custody in contested cases . . . physical custody is almost always given to the mother unless there is something profoundly wrong with her, and even then there are no guarantees." He also wrote, "As to restraining orders, they are seldom denied unless the woman absolutely fails to allege real physical abuse . . . If it is he-said-she-said with no corroborating evidence, the restraining order is usually issued."
In response, three attorneys from the law firm of Donovan & O’Connor in (letter, Feb. 4) question the accuracy of Attorney Del Gallo’s premises. Based upon their "extensive experience," they claim "there is no ‘standard’ order issued by the Berkshire County Probate and Family Court relative to custody, visitation or child support."
While Attorney Del Gallo was speaking about trends in the law throughout the United States, we at the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition issue the following challenge to Donovan & O’Connor. If it can come up with 25 docket numbers in Berkshire Family and Probate Court where (1) the case went to trial, (2) the mother opposed joint physical custody, (3) the mother was fit and never had serious issues about fitness, yet (4) joint physical custody (so that both parents had roughly equal parenting time) was granted as the father requested, we will donate $25 to the United Way.
Likewise, if they can show us 25 docket numbers in Berkshire County where (1) a mother applied for a restraining order, (2) there was no demonstrable proof that mother was lying and it was a he-said-she-said scenario, (3) the mother properly claimed she was the victim of abuse as defined in Chapter 209A, (4) the claim was not stale, wherein (5) the restraining order did not issue for insufficient proof because "he-said-she-said" was ruled not enough evidence, we will also donate $25 to the Berkshire United Way.
We set a deadline of three months from publication of this letter, with the final arbiter being the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition as to whether the conditions have been met.
We believe that they probably will not even be able to come up with five such cases in each category, and thus buttress the accuracy of Del Gallo’s statements. We will keep you posted of the results.
The writer is an officer, The Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition.