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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

‘No Way Out But One’

Holly Collins and three of her children. (Courtesy No Way Out But One)

California Judge Michael Nash this year ruled to open child welfare hearings in Los Angeles County unless there’s proof that doing so will harm the child.

Advocates in favor of more transparency in family courts applauded the decision, because they believe the secrecy can lead to decisions that hurt children.

Gail Helms was behind the push for more transparency in California. In 1995, her 2-year-old grandson was beaten to death by his father, who had been awarded custody despite a history of drug abuse.

Around that same time, Holly Collins of Minnesota was on her way to the Netherlands with her children, 11-year-old Zachary and 9-year-old Jennifer. They had been placed in their father’s custody, and she says she fled to protect them from abuse and a court system that ignored her pleas for help.

Holly became a fugitive, accused of kidnapping her children, and she was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. But her children said she was protecting them.

“As a kid, I thought it was quite ridiculous that they were charging my mom with kidnapping her own children… taking them away from an abusive father. It seemed completely ludicrous to me,” Zachary Collins, now in his 20s, said in the documentary, “No Way Out But One.”

Holly Collins and her children lived in a Dutch refugee camp for three years, before she was granted asylum.

After 17 years in the Netherlands, Holly Collins returned to the United States, and was ultimately cleared of kidnapping charges.

And now her case has become a rallying point for advocates who want to reform the family court system in the United States.


  • Holly Collins
  • Garland Walland, co-producer of “No Way Out But One”
  • Lundy Bancroft, domestic violence and family court expert

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • guest

    Good thing her children were older and able to speak for themselves.
    Because if the children were younger, no one would listen to them or the mother.

    Oftentimes, the child court appointed advocates do not even talk to the parents.
    And sometimes, they listen too much and are not that objective.

    There are horrible child advocates, and visitation supervisors and custody evaluators, just like in any profession. 

    • Yatalk

      Another problem is when the court’s representatives interview the child only in front of the custodial parent. If coaxing, coaching, and manipulation have gone one at home, no way are they going to get a true statement from the child. After enough time away from the other parent the child can even begin to remember the past as it’s been told to them, not as it was, and firmly believe it. Parental Alienation is real.

      • guest

        oh I believe you. I know it is.
        And it is both women and men that do it. and both custodial and visitation only parents do it.

        It’s heart-wrenching and it is hard.

        I can understand the abused person speaking ill of their abuser, and oftentimes in front of or to the child(ren).

        But I also know of people who bad mouth their exes, psychologically brainwashing their kids during their time together, manipulating, using the kids to get back at their exes, etc.

        Both sexes do this.

        But I also know couples who were able to divorce and agree on custody and alimony and child support and visitation via lawyers/mediators and act in the best interest of the child. Both parents are present in the child’s life. Both parents talk to each other, discuss the child, help each other when needed, flex their arrangement without running to court and lawyers and police.
        There are people like that.

        Granted, the guy got less visitation and less custody, but he was able to put HIS wishes and desires aside and move on to what was better for their child, himself, and his ex – and the situation.
        Compromise and cooperation is possible, when BOTH parents are FIT parents and agree one one fundamental thing – what is the best for the child.

        Rationality is not a given. Those that do not possess it, cannot be conquered by it.

  • guest

    Yes, yes yes!! Everything Lundy Bancroft spoke about.

    And I have been through the Family Court visitation/custody case and got full custody of my child. I welcome more transparency and more accountability and the panel of judges sounds like a great idea.

    But, considering that Family Courts are overwhelmed with cases, it is unlikely to happen.

    I would like to hear about the ways that we can get involved in order to support and promote these changes.

    The most important thing is the welfare and safety of children, and all abusive men do not think about that, or have the same thought.

    Those that do, never get in front of the judge. They settle out of court and agree on reasonable visitation/custody schedule!!!

    Thank you

  • Bmsantir

    The family court system needs to be revamped. Judges, child advocates, and family court mediators have far too much power to make decisions about families. And from my perspective they make decisions based upon personal preference instead of facts.

  • Usmcmommyusn

    I divorced my husband because of domestic violence. I got sole custody of the 4 children. He moved to california. 2 yrs ago my youngest (age 12 at that time) went out for visitation. My ex refused to return him. I flew out and was unable to bring him back. I then got served papers on grounds of abandonment (lies). Appeared in court..ex perjured himself and was awarded custody. I was told by mediator that “former” domestic violence and abuse had no relevance to the case. I was told i could have supervised visitation in calif only and was expected to fly out once a wk. I do not have a criminal record..my ex husband does.

    • hope

       Marin County, CA?

  • Guest

    The family court system is horrible!!  it’s all based on one judge and their opinion and not necessarily facts.  if the judge decides he/she doesn’t like you, then you are screwed, no matter what the facts in the case may say.  They can go against existing precendent if they don’t believe it and there are lawyers who won’t take cases because of the judge they may get. It costs both parties extraordinary amounts of money and is totally unfair.  The most important thing is the children and they don’t always get taken into account.  Personally, I think the family courts are totally biased against men.  I know there are some lousy ex-husbands in the world, but that doesn’t mean all men should be thrown into the “lousy” bucket, but judges seem to use their own opinions and biases to make decisions, not the facts in front of them.  There should be more oversight. I would welcome more transparency!

  • C Price

    My gut is wrenched as I listen to this story.  I am living a very similar nightmare right now in Carteret County, NC - an abusive ex with primary custody and an unethical lawyer, coupled with a failed, flawed family court.  I too was incorrectly “diagnosed” by a social worker with Munchhausen.  It has been 3 years since I filed the papers to have the case re-evaluated.  Even with an attorney, it has been an everyday struggle to stay strong for myself and my beautiful son so that I can one day get the situation fixed.  Without the support of friends and family I would be lost.  There is no help, there is no justice, and most days it seems like no one cares.  Thanks so much for bringing attention to this in a nationwide public forum.  It is unbelievably validating just to hear that I am not alone, and that there is hope.  My heart goes out to all the parents and children that are the victims of family court in the US.  Lundy Bancroft has been extremely helpful to me in understanding the psychological dynamics involved – his work was inspirational  and instrumental in helping me to have faith in myself and my ability to get me and my son through this hopeless, confusing, frustreating and baffling ordeal. 

    Again, thanks for the show…… C Price 

  • guest2

    Family Court is overloaded. Family court cases get too little substantive attention. Formula (in a sense a form of profiling is used to move cases through) is used to move cases through. Protective orders are pathetically issued far too often lacking evidence. Individuals are rendered homeless, parents separated from their children and tortured with fear of arrest for trying to connect with their children. Possessions are held hostage. Counselors and lawyers profit from the legal system’s insistence that every domestic issue be addressed within the courts. 

  • guest

    As a dad currently seeking custody of my daughter, this program really strikes a nerve with me. My ex-wife lives out of state with my daughter, and has denied proper visitation. After trying with no results in the past 3 years to resolve this out of court, I feel my only option is to take my ex to court. Listening to comments of how unfair the courts can be, it worries me to wits end that my daughter’s situation won’t improve. She is in poor health, missed over 10% of classes in school last year failed multiple classes. I could go on about how upsetting her home situation is. Her mother has been completely irrational in discussions regarding our daughter’s overall well being. To think that the courts won’t help improve the situation is frightening to say the least. Where can a father turn to for help?

    • Dt03044

      Check this out.   http://www.crckids.org/

    • Been there

      All you can do is document, document, document everything. Get help and validation (in writing!!!) from objective people involved in your daughter’s life – teachers, doctors, church members, neighbors.  Move to the same town (I had to leave my job and house and move) as your child.  Flip burgers if you have to.  Get involved with you child however you can – school activities, sports practice, send her cards or gifts in the mail – anything to keep the connection strong.  This will also demonstrate to the court that you are serious about wanting to be in your child’s life.  If you can, get a lawyer to help.  But make sure you find one that is about kids, not just about money.  They are out there.  Many states offer mediation services that are free to hel parents without getting lawyers invovled.  There are also private groups that do this. 

    • Yatalk

      Consider yourself lucky in at least one aspect, if you have the financial resources to go back to court. Some fathers are forced to give up the struggle if they cannot afford legal representatation. This in turn enables the mother to perpetuate the myth to her children that “dad doesn’t care”, and encourage them to say they want no contact to the point that the kids believe the lies themselves.

  • Guest3

    You can just as easily get out of this country as the illegals can get in. Most people don’t have the strength to that. 

  • Dt03044

    Wow, what a one-sided conversation.  Mr. Bancroft had no research or numbers to back up his anecdotal claims.  Why not include other guests, perhaps someone from the family court, or a researcher, somebody to balance out the claims.   There’s no question that problems exist, but to suggest that courts are more likely to award custody to fathers strikes me as suspect, and goes against my own experience.   It’s an important topic.  Please follow up with more about it in the near future.

    • guest

      Lundy Bancroft has written several well-researched books with data to back up what he says.  I think many of the response on this post also reflect how common this “suspect” problem is.  It is way more common than most people would think

  • Lnash

    On Sept. 4, 2003, my son’s father fired 14 rounds into our 14-year-old son who was running down the street with his cross-country team.  We had been in Family Court for over twelve years and had one of the largest files in San Diego.  Not once in all that time did the court hear any testimony.  None of the judges, and there were several different ones, read anything but the current declarations.  None of them acquainted themselves with the history of the case.  When I went to Traffic Court I got more of a hearing than I ever got in Family Court.  That’s ludicrous.  The Family Courts are so busy trying to move cases along that they try to appease the parents at the cost of the child.  Solomon knew your couldn’t split a child in two but the Family Courts still do.

    • guest

      I don’t believe this happened! Who are you… to make this incredulous claim – 14 “rounds” into his own son??

      • Lnash

        Yes, 14 times.  I have the medical examiner’s report.  My son’s father emptied the clip of his Glock into our child and put in another clip and kept firing.  Go to the San Diego Union Tribune for September 4, 2003.  The murder was followed by an eight hour SWAT standoff before my son’s father committed suicide.  How dare you impugn my credibility!!!  My son was Evan Nash and his father was Bill Hoffine.  Do some fact checking before you imply I am a liar.  I got a piece of legislation passed in California to try to prevent such tragedies from happening to others.
        Shame on you.

        • Desiree08211975

          Would you contact me. I would like to know what i can do to help. I have gotten serveral order of protextion and this man does nit stop. He meated his daughter and know he is pbysically and emotional hurting my boys

      • GUEST


      • NFA Lawyer

        I suggest that you take the time to conduct some research before questioning Ms. Nash. The specifics of this incident are well-documented and considered a classic case study for those of us who work in the threat assessment and law enforcement community. Regrettably, this sort of murder/suicide is not as uncommon as some would like to believe.

    • guest

      I’m so sorry for my last post. I should have tried to check if such an event had occured. I did find that it had happened http://articles.latimes.com/2003/sep/06/local/me-track06

      The father did have his guns. He could have used them to find his own peace entering God’s Kingdom (as so many fathers have done and will continue to do so). 
      I am sorry.

      • Lnash

        Because the law in California at the time allowed recipients of Restraining Orders 48 hours to surrender any firearms, I lobbied to have the law changed so that weapons could be seized at the time the RO was served.  Had the law been in place on 9/4/03 my son might still be alive.

        I hope no one else ever has to suffer as Evan did.

  • Kate

    Lundy is absolutely correct. We need reform in the court systems. And problems can be worse based on the county within the state that you live in.  I have my own experience and I have supported many other women with their troubles within and without the court system.
    I left an abusive marriage and my children were not being sexually or physically abused.  There are other types of abuse as listed on the “Wheel of Abuse  and they are(http://www.domesticviolence.org/violence-wheel) are even harder to prove to a court than Phy. and Sex. abuse.  
    My children continue to be emotionally abused three weekends a month.  I read Lundy Bancrofts book and I am diligent at finding supports for them including positive role-models and counseling.  It was really important to know how the abuser would try to turn my kids against me and my family. It isn’t working.  My family and I work hard at being kind to him and wishing him the best in life. Hate hurts us more than it hurts him. It also is bad for my children.  
    Not everyone in the court systems are clueless to the problems of abuse.  I have had  a good lawyer who refused my husbands request for me to be present at meetings that I was not required to attend,  I have had officers in the support office escort me to a separate exit, etc.. These were not requested, but my husband will quickly show his true colors if there is no judge. 
    My children are now preteens. They are gifted, talented, kind, funny, and wonderful  individuals.  I Hope to see them grow into amazing and happy and healthy grownups. They understand more about their father and his character than my complaining about him could ever reveal to them.  I make hopeful statements about their dad at times and I am greeted by odd looks because my comments don’t match their experience. Kids are smart.
    Everything is not peachy they are preteens. My youngest sometimes makes borderline abusive statements to me. I work at nipping these in the bud and demanding an apology. At this point it is hard to tell what are hormones and what is a history of abuse.  We all have symptoms of PTSD. It just manifests differently in all of us.  

    • guest

       Hi Kate,
      You sound like a strong and compassionate woman. I am very glad to hear that you are out of that relationship and healing and moving in the right direction with your kids and your life.

      Seek a DV support group in your area. Check out local YWCA. The local one I attend has a program for children who survived and witnessed abuse and wonderful and caring counselors work with the kids on their skills and sometimes you can even get one on one counceling  for yourself and/or your children.

      And if there isn’t such group in your area – start one.
      A church or again YWCA should be able to support you in your efforts.
      Best of luck.

  • Tallenough2reachground

    My sister lost her first child 10 years ago do to neglect and her drug use. She now has another child, my niece, who is five. She has had her daughter taken away many times because she is not able to stay off of drugs, pay her court fines, keep/get a job, or keep a roof over thier heads. They have been in many different types of house.
    Though the same situations still arises the state keeps giving my sister back her daughter. I am left wondering who the child services is protecting……………

  • Laura in Portland

    I wonder how much of the possible father bias (not removing their custody despite abuse) is partly affected by the notion that children are better off in a 2-parent (read: one man, one woman) family? I suppose, like most things, this comes down to money (lack of adequate resources for these courts), but I do wonder whether the leaning in favor of fathers, despite abuse, is due to this cultural idea that a traditional family is always better.

  • DCummins23

    You are a brave woman Holly!

  • greg

    Yes! More transparency please! Sunshine IS the best disinfectant. I’m a father of four children in Oregon. Two different generations of two kids. The first two the system gave me no credit for my parenting. This time around the system better supports me staying in my kids’ lives, however the system also supports their mother abusing processes to cause us all heartache. It appears to me that ‘family law’ is not the most appealing to lawyers and/or psychologists. It seems to be the least capable folks involved in this process. It also seems that an adversarial legal system is the absolute wrong place to resolve these issues. New thinking is the key to resolving this in my issue. We have to evolve beyond courts to something that serves the children. 

  • Paul

    I am a father currently in the divorce process with two children that were 1 and 4 1/2 when this started.  My wife is making multiple allegations and is interferring with my relationship with my sons.  I understand that there are cases where evidence is either not examined nor the right questions asked to determine if a parent is dangerous to their children.  I was distressed by your story, partly, because in my experience, it is currently all to easy for a parent to throw out any allegation that damages a parent’s ability to see and develop a relationship with their children.  My wife verbally and emotionally abused me for years and I stayed with her because she threatened that if I filed for a divorce, she would take everything I own and make sure I never saw my children unsupervised again.  There has been a Guardian Ad Litem assigned and a social worker is conducting a custody study.  The GAL has said to me I sould have expected my wife to call child protective services to make allegations (which she did)  because she has shown she is willing to do anything to get her way. I still get phone calls from her claiming my children are too sick to leave the house when it is my placement time.  She was allowed to go on a vacation out of state with our children and because she requested the trip the night before a court hearing.  The judge never saw the police report of my wife’s sucide treat voice mail including her having our children say, “Good bye, I love you daddy” on her last trip out of state.  I believe there needs to be reforms so all information gets out accurately and no one has to be put through what I have experinced.

  • guest

    where are the comments from the other side.  what about women who lie and claim abuse when they themselves have been abusers.  You state during the program that we will hear from father’s rights groups and then close the segment without doing so??

  • guestaswell

    YES and panel of judges not just one. YES for help in paying fees.
    After filing for a divorce from a very abusive ex husband I was awarded full custody. It took over $40,000 in legal fees and 2 1/2 years to protect my children. It wiped me out financially but there is no cost too high to protect chidlren.
    After 4 1/2 of my children not seeing their father he took me back to court. I could not afford an attorney. I did bring to court a therapist that treated my children for 3 1/2 years and a psychologist from our local CAC testified in court on my childrens behalf. Also a state Child Protective Serv. officer testified that their investigation resulted in “indicating” their father for the charges of molestation against all three children.  My ex had his parents testify. that was it. His parents seemed to lack understanding of the word “TRUTH” as they attacked me and my family during my childhood years. His mother a former teacher and his dad a former minister.  I have never been in any sort of trouble while my ex has been arrested and hid from me that he was an alcoholic from his teens. In the end, this single judge stated that “a methodist minister would not lie”. In short, this single judge decided to trust what a father of an abusive man said in court rather than listening to 2 trained therapists and a CPS/DCS worker.  My ex was awarded supervised time with the children with HIS PARENTS supervising. The judge also ordered that my children see a therapist of my exs selection to see if I had somehow been behind my children making these charges. I am still speechless about what happened in court and stunned that my children go to a therapist now that when they tried to tell her what their dad did to them she, according to my children, stated she thought that my children said that because one of their therapists told them that rather than it really happening. I have no faith in our legal system and my children no longer trust therapist and think that I stopped protecting them. I have no idea what to do. As the guest stated she did, I feel like sending the details of my childrens case to anyone that will listen. But it seems my case is a dime a dozen. Our court system comes down to who has the most money for the most creative attorney and who doesnt mind being dishonest. How do you possibly fight that?

    • hope

      Been there.  Done that.  Pray for guidance.  God will bring justice.  He promised.  I am having faith for that and starting to see results, but it has been difficult.  Keep praying.  The worst thing I did for myself and my children was to let the government judicial system shake my faith in God.  Thankfully it was shaken but not destroyed.  The court system is of man, so yes it is not perfect.  It seems like that is not a possibility for Mr. Holstein to consider.  Much greed has entered our court system.  Look at history–it happens all the time.  Make a historical timeline, write your story, as heart wrenching as it is to do.  People are speaking out.  Record names, dates, actions.    Keep loving God, your children and yourself.  You seem like a good writer.   Publicize your story. Keep assuring yourself that God is a God of Justice and he is not deceitful or abusive.  He will come through for the righteous.  

  • Huntbridge

    This segment was ridiculuously one sided. As a MALE victim of domestic abuse (where are the statistics that show that females initiate physical abuse and contact in arguments more than males) I thought the comments by the so called expert were outrageous. Although men can cause far more damage in domestic disputes due to their size, there are studies that show women instigate and initiate physical abuse in a higher percentage than men do…they know the  likelihood of a man being arrested and the consequences of the conflict result in decisions much more in their favor. I have lived it first hand. How about a story now about a father that was kept from his kids by a lying, vindictive and abusive mother and who’s sole purpose was to collect a check and never act in the child’s best interest? And how the father eventually triumped even through false allegations of abuse and all the manipulation of the system? That story doesn’t EXIST because the courts are one-sided and overwhelmed in women’s favor, not men’s. The second half of this story was the WORST EVER on a program I had grown to love. What a shame.

    • guest

      now you know how the women victims of the system feel.   instead of being angry with us for highlighting the prblems with family court, it sounds like we have a lot in common.  it sounds like you won – why not use that knowledge and experience to suport other parents, regardless of gender to get kids into the home where they should be? 

      • Paul

        Yes, abuse victims both male and female have a lot in common.  There is one glaring difference.  Men are seldom believed when they allege abuse.  My wife filed for divorce on a thursday, ivited me to spend a weekend at a hotel, got intoxicated, verbally, physically, and sexually assaulted me, stole my cell phone, then called 911 on her phone and smiled and winked at me when she did.  She told two police officers a different stories.  I had bite marks on my body, my shirt was shredded, and the zipper was broken on my jeans from her tearing them off of me when I was attempting to leave.  I kept saying to myself “oh God how did I get here”.  I was arrested for domestic violence and haven’t been to the house I owned for 6 years prior to getting married.  The police report noted that even though she claimed she was choked and struck repeatedly in the face there were no marks on her body.  I wasn’t charged but the incident has been used in court.  I wish everyone that suffers abuse at anothers hands could feel safe enough to tell the truth. 

  • drjonez

    As a child of divorced parents, I got to say divorce brought out the worst in both my parents. They say the worst things about each other, most of them petty and untrue. They’ve been doing it 18 years, I’m 31 years old now. Even my Nana, who got divorced, would tell the grand kids horrible things about our Grandpa. My own experience tell me not to trust what a divorced parent says about their ex.

    Anybody that actually watched the documentary, does it offer any evidence that the father physically or sexually abused the his wife and children? Are there any eyewitnesses besides the wife or young children?

    • Barrynolan

      Dear Dr. Jonez,
      Yes – there is in fact quite a bit of documentary evidence to support the accounts of Holly and the Children included in the film. Medical reports showing Holly suffered a broken nose, black eyes, and separated shoulder. Medical Reports showing Zack suffered a fractured skull. Eye witness testimony from friends and interviews with members of the medical team that treated the children at the time this was all occurring and who believed the accounts told to them by the children when the mother was not present. The court appointed evaluator said in sworn testimony that she believed that the husband has abused Holly – and probably the children. The Judge acknowledged as much in his ruling. 

      Barry Nolan
      No Way Out But One

      • http://www.fathersandfamilies.org/ Ned Holstein, MD, MS

        Unfortunately, the “documentary evidence” Mr. Nolan refers to all points to the conclusion that Holly Collins’ accusations are without merit. You can see for yourself by going to 

        If all these authorities found in her favor, then why did she feel she had to grab the kids and leave the country? Answer: because numerous courts, evaluators, psychologists, experts, reporters, teachers and others saw through her lies. The award of custody to her ex-husband was not just one judge in one court. It was LOTS of evaluators and courts, independently. This is the key fact that is not brought out in the Here and Now segment. 

        • Barrynolan

          Dear Mr. Holstein,
          You simply do not know what you are talking about in regard to this case. As you see above – most people agree – fathers and mothers – that the family court system – as it is now set up in most jurisdictions – does a rather bad job of sorting out the facts and finding the truth. This is what happened in the case of Holly Collins. In the handful of documents you have referenced – yes – there are certainly accusations against her. Just like in most cases in family court that are hotly contested. But in the literally  thousands of pages of court documents – the depositions – the sworn affidavits – the FBI files – the eye witness accounts – including the family priest – the experts at Boston Children’s Hospital – and most importantly – the unwavering accounts of all the  children – there is no question – none – that the alleged abuse occurred. Sadly, since this does not fit with your preferred narrative of what happens in family courts – you and your colleagues have hectored the Collins family for years – making claims again and again that are shown to be false by  voluminous evidence. You should be deeply ashamed of yourself. There is much good work you could do on behalf of the fathers in your organization – but pursuing Ms. Collins and these children as you have done over the years  - like some modern mindless version of Javier – is simply beneath contempt.Barry Nolan 

          • http://www.fathersandfamilies.org/ Ned Holstein, MD, MS

            Once again, let the documents and facts speak for themselves. They have been assembled with precise care by Fathers and Families. Anyone who truly wants to get to the bottom of this case can go to 
            http://www.fathersandfamilies.org/2009/01/27/the-controversial-holly-collins-custody-case-what-really-happened/     and see for themselves.

            Now Barry is doing exactly what Holly has done for years  – attacking anyone who disagrees. He says that I have “pursued” Collins, that I have “hectored” her, and that I have “pursued” her children as well. I  have never “pursued” or “hectored” anyone  – there have been no personal communications directed to Holly or her children, except to request that she stop hinting that Glenn Sacks, our former never-divorced Executive Director, is a child and wife abuser after he compiled and published the public court documents in the case. So Barry, just like Holly, replies to factual documents by trying to smear the people he disagrees with.

            This is now a clear pattern engaged in by Holly and supporters like Barry.  They are aided and abetted by a naive media who accept their claims at face value. (Barry, of course, WAS part of the media, and when he had his own television show, he used it  from time to time for just this purpose.) 

            For further example:

            Those whom Holly has accused of varying degrees of abuse include:1) Holly’s mother Eleanor Gallagher, who she accused of beating her
            2) Holly’s stepfather Tom Gallagher, who she accused of molesting her
            3) Robert Connors, Holly’s former landlord in Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1992.  Holly had a dispute with Connors over rent, a dispute which Connors won, and Holly accused Connors of abuse.
            4) Holly’s neighbors in Holland. Accusing Jaap Hogewoning and others, Collins claims that she and her children were “physically assaulted by this neighbor, his family and his friends.”
            5) Mark Collins, Holly’s ex-husband and father of Zachary and Jennifer
            6) Rena Peters (aka “Rena Collins”), Mark Collins’ wife, who Holly accused of physically abusing Holly’s children and of “deliberately driving into [Holly], who had been standing in front of vehicle.” Holly calls Rena a “stepmomster.”
            7) Jeff Imm, father of Holly’s third child, Christopher. Holly claims that Jeff emotionally abused their child.
            8) Beth Imm, Jeff’s wife. Holly claims that Beth emotionally abused their child.
            9) Her former brother-in law, her sister Michelle’s ex-husband.Once again, see the link above for further FACTUAL information.Now that divorce and marriage out of wedlock affect over half of our kids, what happens in family courts, and how well they do their business, is critically important to our society as a whole. The main thing I agree with Barry on is that “most people agree – fathers and mothers – that the family court system – as it is now set up in most jurisdictions – does a rather bad job of sorting out the facts and finding the truth.” But we  are diametrically opposed on just what the family courts’  most common mistakes are. Any reasonable person who examines the facts, such as the indisputable fact that primary physical custody is awarded to fathers in only about 15% of cases, will know that mistakenly giving custody to abusive fathers has got to be a very unusual occurrence. If good fathers cannot win custody, why should we accept the claim that bad fathers routinely win?This critical discussion is not helped by 1) zealously promoting a woman whose  sensational claims have been denied over and over again by a multitude of courts, judges, psychologists and others; and 2) engaging in personal attacks against those who disagree.

        • Jennifer Collins

          Oh Mr. Holstein you are being very dishonest! 
          You claim that “numerous courts, evaluators, psychologists, experts, reporters, teachers and others saw through her lies.” That is a lie right there!
          NOT ONE of these people you quoted thought my mother was lying at all! NONE OF THEM! 
          How do you get away with making up this stuff? 
          You claim that the custody reversal was by lots of independent evaluators in different courts. That is blatantly false! There was one court! The Hennepin County Court! One Judge who made the custody reversal! And the custody evaluators worked in the same office and signed the very same custody evaluation. 
          It’s not independent at all! You need to look at the real facts.
          The bottom line is that I am telling you and the world that my father beat me!
          The court was wrong in our case! My mom is a hero!

          • Real Justice

             Same going on in Australia, right now….

            High Court of Australia rejects 4 sisters bid

            The High Court rejected a bid by four sisters seeking their own legal
            representation in respect of family law parenting proceedings involving
            their Australian mother and Italian father.

            The matter became highly publicised in the media. The children went
            into hiding after the Family Court of Australia made an order that they
            return to Italy to enable the parenting dispute to be decided in Italy.

            Lawyers for the children argued that they should be allowed their own
            independent legal representation, and that under the existing laws they
            would be denied natural justice by not having a say in their removal
            from Australia.

            “The court is of the opinion that the challenge fails”, Chief Justice
            Robert French said after the hearing concluded in Canberra.

            The matter has been remitted to the Family Court of Australia.

          • Real Justice


  • Lee

    Excellent, excellent segment, on a topic so important and so overlooked. Can’t wait to see the film. Holly Collins, your courage and conviction is absolutely inspiring…brought me to tears.

  • EllenS

    I lost custody of my children after the divorce.  Three of them were a bit older and there was not much problem there.  Yet with my daughter who was 4 at the time I spent 10 years trying to get a bit more visitation.  I was awarded 2 weeks twice during the summer months.  And that would be the longest time I ever spent with my daughter at one time for 15 years.  It took one week just for us to get to know each other again.  I never did get better visitation and from the time she was 13 to 18 she chose not to see me for reasons still not given.  Courts would not intercede.  It was crazy times.  I finally had to give up the fight, just to save my daughter.  She started cutting, due to the stress. 
    I firmly believe there needs to be access to attorneys to those that have no funds.  My ex had money and I did not.  His attorney stopped at nothing.  At the last hearing, I actually represented myself.  From day one the female judge was biased.  I would like to send this documentary to the judge and the forensic psychologist originally involved with the case.  As Lnash states below these judges do not inform themselves fully and make decisions changing lives forever.
    It’s the children who are hurt in the end.  And Judges believe they are thinking of what’s best for the children!  Well then they need to read and listen to this thread here.

  • http://www.fathersandfamilies.org/ Ned Holstein, MD, MS

    This segment is an example of terrible journalism. Holly Collins’ innumerable accusations against a wide variety of people have been discredited over and over again. Yet she and her defenders are treated as if completely credible. And even though Robin Young states on the show that a contrary point of view will be aired, this never happens.

    The central claim of the advocates for Holly Collins is that large numbers of fathers are secret abusers who are so clever in fooling the courts that they are awarded custody of the children. This is a loony claim to anyone who is familiar with how the family courts operate. They are extremely sensitive to claims of domestic violence, so much so that, for instance, a few years ago a woman in New Mexico was granted a restraining order against David Letterman in New York based on the claim that he was broadcasting coded abusive messages to her during his television shows. If this claim can be taken seriously, is there any claim of domestic abuse that will not be?

    It seems likely that there must be OCCASIONAL cases in which abusive men do win custody. After all, judges can be fooled like anyone else. But the idea that there are thousands of  “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” fathers who batter their wives or children but who fool the courts by appearing as loving, competent fathers cannot be taken seriously.  Overall, fathers win sole physical custody of children in less than 10% of cases, and joint physical custody in an additional small percentage of cases. It defies all sense to assert that by being a batterer, a man can magically increase his chance of winning sole physical custody fivefold or more compared to an average father.Anyone who wishes to know the truth in the Holly Collins matter need only go to 
    http://www.fathersandfamilies.org/2009/01/27/the-controversial-holly-collins-custody-case-what-really-happened/   In this and other articles on the website of Fathers and Families, Glenn Sacks, then the Executive Director of Fathers and Families, painstakingly collected dozens of court rulings, psychologists’ reports, doctors’ reports, and other documents in this case and demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that her claims are fraudulent.Ms. Young makes reference to Glenn Sacks near the beginning of the show, stating that activists such as he are outraged by Collin’s claims. It is disturbing that although Ms. Young is aware of Sacks’ painstaking investigation into this case and balanced presentation of all the facts, she made no time on this segment for his point of view. 

    I am the Chair of the Board of Fathers and Families. We are the leading family court reform organization in America. We are NOT a so-called “fathers rights organization,” in that we seek no special rights for fathers. Our central principle is that children should have ample access to both parents after separation or divorce, if both parents are fit.

    The main reason we care about the ancient Holly Collins case, aside from the small matter of truth,  is that the eagerness of the media to credit her extravagant claims indirectly harms children. Such sensationalism helps to create an environment in which any accusation of violence or abuse against a father is likely to be treated as fact even in the total absence of evidence. Thus children are deprived of the care and nurturance of many fit and loving fathers who have done no wrong.

    There has been a series of celebrity cases in which mothers have made extravagant claims of abuse that have been repeatedly evaluated and repeatedly discredited. And yet the media have promoted these cases and their advocates, ignoring the findings by courts and others, lionizing the accusers, and lending credence to their discredited claims. These cases include Sadia Loeliger, Genia Shockome, Tynia Canada, Amy Neustein, Bridget Marks and April Coffin.

    These cases and others have helped to create an atmosphere in which restraining orders against fathers are granted virtually on request, no matter how absurd the charges, as in the Letterman case. Most of these fathers go on to lose custody and often to lose all contact with the children. If just 10% of these fathers are good, loving, fit and innocent fathers, then millions of kids are being deprived of good fathers based on fraudulent claims. This is the real problem of family court.

    When a reporter credits sensational charges like those of Collins even though the reporter knows that multiple courts, multiple psychologists, and multiple investigators have assessed the charges and found them without merit, she only hurts children who love and need their fit fathers.
    Let’s be clear that the vast majority of mothers are good mothers and do not lie in court or in the media. The same is true of fathers. But it is mostly fathers who are the targets of a misinformation campaign such as the nonsense promoted in “No Way Out But One.”

    • DMoore in Texas

      Please. Sure celebrity cases get justice through the justice system. But, that’s it. The everyday person gets no protection. Police are unable to enforce civil cases, so if there’s a violation to child visitation all they can do is write a report. The laws change so often that Judges can’t keep pace. I had the Attorney General’s office tell me point blank “Judges don’t always know the current law when it comes to enforcement of child support.” If a private attorney is involved, the attorney general’s office in Texas will not cannot enforce past due child support or medical payments. Goofy huh?

  • Sad parent

    It is so unfortunate that this discussion is divided between the rights of fathers verses mothers.  As I see it, we, parents, are all in this together – some good moms and dads and some less good moms and dads.  The battle we all should be fighting, as with our education system, is a better system that truly understands the experience, perspective and needs of each individual child.  My experience, which has been pretty awful, is mostly about the probate professionals – judges, who are more judgmental than objective, evaluators/parent coordinators, who seem to bring their own lens to their work based on the latest and hottest “theories”, GAL’s who are completely ill equipped to influence a child’s development and who react to the most recent event rather than having the intellect (or maybe the support) to look at the ENTIRE picture of a child’s environment and lawyers who are allowed to systematically waste the time of the court and finances of their clients.

    In 2012 that we are still dividing the world up by gender is archaic, disappointing and does nothing to serve the children.  The professionals who work in the messy probate court have become apathetic, overworked, under appreciated, under educated, probably (except for judges) under paid in the same way our teachers are – these “professionals” are shaping our country’s future and all we can do is shout about father’s rights or mother’s rights?  Isn’t there more we can do to come together and expose this broken system that every day changes the lives of our most precious resource?  Shouldn’t the battle be between parents and the probate court?

    On a closing note, I have an 8 year old who was sexually abused by his father, it was supported through a court appointed forensic psychologist, father was on supervised visits for about a year, then visits were resumed as the idea was father spent a year away from son so that was like a prison sentence.  Now son is in counseling, traumatized, hearing voices and father, or perpetrator, has shared legal custody so is in control of son’s treatment.  In an effort to prove son was not telling the truth, father puts him through multiple evaluations and the court allows this, depsite a therapist who says symptoms are due to PTSD caused by sexual abuse – these are no longer allegations, they are fact. I have no doubt that there are fathers out there who are experiencing the same frustration I am with the system taking care of their children – this post is NOT about gender.

    • Victimized Twice

      Similar situation here…my sons had an abusive father, but when I went to court for protection, the court was hell-bent on protecting HIS parental rights.  I had lots of evidence, but no “smoking gun.”  The father was ordered to take several evaluations, but never complied.  My sons were FORCED to endure SEVEN YEARS of supervised visits with this sick man, which traumatized them even more.  It had nothing to do with gender; had the father been safe, I would have been happy to share custody.  Instead, I was not allowed to protect my own children.  

  • AlexandMikeg

    Who do you go to when laws have been repeatedly disregarded in a custody case? The FBI? Do they take a parent seriously?

  • Jennifer Collins

    WOW! Now Glenn Sacks and Ned Holstein are tag teaming against a battered woman. The problem is that they keep inventing stories and repeating wild accusations trying to distract readers from the real issue. A battered woman lost custody of her children to the man who beat her. The family court service evaluator Susan DeVries, Judge Michael Davis and the Minnesota Appellate Court ALL found that Mark Collins ABUSED Holly Collins!

    Ned Holstein claims that Holly Collins has been discredited over and over again. By whom? – HIM? / Glenn Sacks?The biggest problem for Father’s & Families is that children grow up. We are adults now and we are telling the world what happened to us! 

    My brother and I told our mother that our father was hurting us during visitation. For some reason the guardian ad litem Michael London covered it up. We still don’t know what his motives were but we are trying to figure that out. Thank God our mother believed us and did everything she could to protect us. Holly Collins is a hero!

    Why is Fathers & Families so intimidated by this quite, shy battered woman? Mr. Holstien claims that “Glenn Sacks, then the Executive Director of Fathers and Families, painstakingly collected dozens of court rulings, psychologists’ reports, doctors’ reports, and other documents in this case”Really? “Dozens”? That is the problem right there! There are HUNDREDS/THOUSANDS of pages of documents. Fathers & Families handpicked a few to support their own personal agenda.

    The Minneapolis City Pages broke this story in 2008. They actually went down to the court house and researched ALL of the court documents. The producers of the documentary No Way Out But One also had access to ALL of the court documents. The Dutch Ministries of Justice investigated our case. They all realized the injustice that happened in our case. Two children were being abused and the American Family Court System did not protect them!

    We are the first American citizens to receive asylum in another country. This speaks volumes for the severity of our case. So does the fact that we, Holly Collins’ children are adults now. We can tell you exactly what happened to us. Father’s & Families just do not want to listen. Shame on them for supporting a Wife Beater & Child Abuser!

    • Desiree08211975

      Im glad to here your mom was strong. Here in new york im going through a simualr situation. I was punched in the stomick y my ex and gave birth. Then he molested his daughter. Ten he stsrted hitting my boys and the court do nothing. My one son said his privates where hurting and that was after he came back from his fathers. My son ended up with a three inch scare on the inside of his leg from his father. Enough is enough. How dis you find help. I dont knkw where to start? Id rather.go to jail and protect my children then to let them live life being hurt.

    • Nfaile

      I just saw the documentary. Your Mom is indeed a hero and you and your brother as well for living life well now. Kudos to the Netherlands for providing your family shelter.

  • Andy

    To Huntbridge and other listeners who are skeptical of this problem, I would say, if you are truly open-minded, find some way to see this documentary, “No Way Out But One.” I did and it found it a complete revelation.  I can promise you that whatever preconceptions or doubts you have will be disappear. This work is a remarkable accomplishment and a game-changer.

  • Eileen King

    There is a gender aspect in domestic violence and custody cases, as the many state-sponsored Gender Bias Studies confirmed.

    In 1882, my state of Maryland was the first state to make beating a wife against the law. 
    Every state passed similar laws in the years following.

    So batterers and wife-beaters changed their excuses from “It’s my God-given and legal 
    right to beat my wife” to:

    She needs a strong hand to control her and she knows it.

    It wasn’t that bad; I was a little rough and she’s just exaggerating.

    She asked for it – she provoked me, so she deserved what she got.  

    She’s lying, it never happened.

    She’s crazy!  

    These are the best legal and public relations defenses because they work to re-frame 
    the case, turning attention away from the victim of battering and control towards the 
    accused, who now becomes the “real” victim.  Public Relations 101.

    Lundy Bancroft’s (and Jay Silverman’s) book The Batterer As Parent is an essential tool 
    to understand what motivates batterers and how they strategize to win at any cost. 

    It’s tragic that so many people can’t see through this strategy – especially judges.  Too  
    many women and children have been harmeds, sexuallly/physically abused or murdered because judges bought into these lies and excuses.
    See Cara Tabachnick’s articles:



    or this article by Peter Jamison:


    Ned Holstein, Glenn Sacks and their followers use this PR strategy skillfully — they’ve had a 
    lot of practice.  Documented evidence that Holly Collins was battered doesn’t bother them 
    one bit. After all, if they say it loudly, repeatedly, and with conviction, it must be true. 

    Imagine what it’s like to try to protect your self and your children in court with people like 
    this on the other side.

    Justice for Children – DC is looking forward to holding a private screening of No Way Out 
    But One in June.  Kudos to Barry Nolan and Garland Waller for their ground-breaking work on this award-winning film.  

    And huge kudos to Jennifer for continuing to speak the truth.

    Eileen King
    Justice for Children – DC

  • Joan Dawson

    I see the Fathers Rights groups (or abusers’ lobby, as they’re often called) have shown up right on cue.

    Ned Holstein claims Collins’ story has been discredited. By whom? When? Show us, don’t tell us. Certainly, we know that the officials in the Netherlands believed them and that a BU professor believed them (and they have the entire Battered Mothers Custody Movement behind them). Where is your evidence?

    FR guys refute that “fathers are secret abusers.” We have enough credible statistics to verify how bad domestic violence is in this country. Credible organizations like the CDC put DV at 85-15. Nobody denies women can be violent and abusive – they can be. But DV is a serious problem that STILL results in 3 women being killed a day. FR guys would like to sweep it back under the rug and redirect the spot light to women who are “gold diggers” and “liars” and “false accusers” and “child abusers” and how single women (“father absence”) are the cause of societal ills. Check out their forums and read their vile against women.

    The single claim that David Letterman had a restraining order against him from a deranged fan belies your credentials. It’s like saying since Adolf Hitler was a man, we shouldn’t let men lead. It’s absolutely ridiculous and nobody’s buying it. 

    If restraining orders were granted on “virtually” any request, they Wyatt Tagle (and all the other children killed by custodial parents) would be alive today. Amy Castillo’s 3 young kids would be alive today. For more cases like these, see the Dastardly Dads blog post – the only source keeping track of custody-related killings.

    And for further reading, check out the Leadership Council’s (leadershipcouncil.org) research citations on battered women losing custody, problems with restraining orders, the use of pseudo-science to take kids away from parents, etc. 

    Anyways – great story, great video. I commend all these women and allies who are standing up against an often unjust family court system and defending themselves against the misogynist fathers rights groups. 

  • Tealcanoe

    It’s so importatnt to make the general population aware of cases like this. 

  • Shorty_ballard

    why is there nothing out there for abused/battered men/fathers that truly love there kids and want to protect them , a woman can go to hundreds of different shelters and organisations and all she has to say is im scared or he beats us and there is instant help , for a man to seek help there is realty nothing , there is no investigation , no questions  , no proof , noting , all the stories on this are about abusive fathers but when its a woman they are swept under the rug/ very few actually get published or even discoused   ,  im a father going through this stuff right now , she is emotionaly and mentaly abusive , and unstable but shes not dumb , she wanted to split up but instead ov telling me she went to a battered womans place here in th QC and told them she was abused and that i hurt our doughtier , and here i am , she got a an order of protection and coustedy of the kids in one day with out me even knowing what was going on , had no idea that she even wanted to split up , now with all that said where is the help for men [ that dosnt cost 10,000 dollars and take months and months to even get infront of a court  ]   , if a man is in the same situation he has no rights or support , nothing , i know i was the one getting screamed at , and told how everything in our lives was shit and how she hated the house , the dog , the kids where fucking slobs , shit was always fucking retarded , thats what i dealt with and stayed with to protect my kids  , so again i ask where can a man turn for help ?

  • nan

    Holly says she has always wanted a family, but maybe she went about it wrong. 
     Battering and all that aside, how was she able to have four additional children with a “Dutch citizen”, unmarried and support the family?  Did the “Dutch citizen” pay child support?  Did the government support the children?  Is that what she means about going about it wrong, not marrying and providing a father for thoses children?
      I understand her not wanting to have a man in her life since her only experience with one was so bad, but, was having five children out of wedlock the only way to get the family she wanted?  Who supported those children in Holland and who supports them now?

  • http://www.facebook.com/gorge.mencer Gorge Mencer

    My girlfriend recently ended a 2 year relationship a few weeks ago. She said she wanted more time to do her own thing and not have to worry about being with someone. To me that meant she was looking for other people. But now shes saying shed rather not hook up with random guys, but i want to thanks to prophetharry@ymail.com from the bottom of my heart. after i received a love spell form prophet after some days my girlfriend realize that it was a mistake for living me for another guy. I happy now that things are better since prophet harry cast the spell to my girlfriend back.


  • Jmh2009

    I watched no way out but one and all I could think ab about how hard it is to try to protect your children.It touch me more than anything because I have been abusive marriage .I’m trying to get my children back I have try everything I can.My attorney has cost pretty much a lot and my parents a lot too.My ex-husband has cause me so much problems and my parent.The state has taken my children under false reports.I need help my children are having a hard time and my younger children are being told to not have much to do with me.I could tell someone more .

  • Kimberly Paisley Brooks

    What’s needed here (re: article cited below) is mostly a matter of educating the public. There is a big difference between difficult people and batterers or bullies (who tend to grow up to become batterers), but that difference is hard to see for those who haven’t experienced it personally – causing them to think (myself included before my experience) that batterers/bullies would somehow disclose their real intentions – like they’d wear a sign around their neck saying “I am a batterer behind closed doors!” Many of them appear believable and most of the time, they surround themselves with a group of others whom they use to give themselves creditability. Once the definition of Domestic Abuse is truly understood and defined by what are nothing less than obvious patterns of behavior (which reveal the intent behind the behaviors), we will see the same dramatic reduction in death (bankruptcy, addiction, homelessness, suicide, incarceration, repeat generational effect) that occurred following the public’s acceptance of the 10 warning signs of heart attack or cancer, for example. Presently, when Family Court believes “high conflict custodial cases” carries equal responsibility for two parent’s inability to co-parent (cooperate) – victim parents and their children basically are forced to “die of cancer before anyone will believe they have cancer!” and by then, of course, it is too late. The article referenced cites that the percentage of fathers using the Family Court system to continue Domestic Abuse post-divorce is small, but what needs to be understood is that these small percentages of people make up 100% of the High Conflict cases clogging up Family Courts! More important, the abuse is legitimized since hearings and changes to the original divorce decree are assumed to be valid. Thus, most hope of escaping the abuse by removing the children from the environment (divorce) is tragically destroyed. However, there is hope and support available. Thank God for Minnesota organizations such as DAP, BWLAP, Connecting Visions and all the amazing advocates available to those families actively striving for healing! The statistics are accessible for creating new responses in Family Court (and schools!) and they are due.* Once the definition of Domestic Abuse is courageously embraced and recognized (a form of cancer diagnosed and needing treatment, for example) by a documented account of a perpetrator’s patterns of behavior over time (http://www.theduluthmodel.org/) PLUS the effects such behavior has upon its victims, it may then become possible to direct all the time and money wasted by pretending it doesn’t exist into creating avenues for bullies/batterers to seek the help they most definitely need in order to have a healthy relationship, which is certainly in the best interests of children. The batterer/bully will be motivated only after they experience difficulty using the Family Court to carry out their intent to use power and control over a former spouse and children. This difficulty will be experienced as a lack of interest, disdain and even humiliation in attempting to involve others to endorse their misuse of the system, instead of the support they are permitted to receive (and/or pay an attorney/evaluator/mediator to get) from those who, presently, might prefer, even unconsciously, to believe the victim must have deserved it. * Lundy Bancroft, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, The Department of Justice (OJP, NIJ)

  • Pamie

    Yes wow, my husband and I caught most of this story this afternoon. Thumbs up to her for the courage she had to take the steps to protect her children, that the systems fails to do. In most cases, it’s all about who has the most money, and who loses? The children. I’m behind anyone whom would risk everything to protect their Loved ones. 

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