Thursday, February 24, 2005


This blog will be on a short hiatus while I am out of town for work. I should be back around March 7th.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Georgia House Bill 221 Opinion Articles

Here are links to two opinion articles on regarding HB221

House Bill 221 balances child support

In the worst interest of the children (Interestingly, in this article the custodial parent is a father - too bad this article is crap. They did no independent investigation as to what it actually costs to raise a child and made inference to this amount of support only being able to purchase brand names from Wal Mart or Target - since when did we determine child support on brand names!?)

Labels: , ,

Nebraska - Child Support From Dead Man?

Excerpts below, full article at TheOmahaChannel

Child Support From Dead Man?
State Tries To Collect Child Support From Dead Man's Wife

OMAHA, Neb. -- The state of Nebraska is trying to collect child support from a dead man.

This is not child support he owed when he was still alive, but instead, the debt accumulated after he died

Up until his death, Debra said Don never missed a child support payment.

But the letters kept coming and the debt was growing. Harriman sent letters back with her husband's death certificate attached, thinking that he surely couldn't be responsible for a debt incurred after his death.

"I thought everything was taken care of. Then early December, I got a letter saying they were going to take the tax refund," Harriman said.

The government had intercepted $1,867 of her tax refund to pay her husband's child support. Harriman protested some more, but got nowhere.

Much to Harriman's surprise, that is the law. Nebraska statute 43-513.01 states: "A judgment for child support shall not abate upon the death of the judgment debtor." In other words, a dead man can still owe child support.

The court could terminate the divorce decree, and make it retroactive to the time of Don Harriman's death, if the ex-wife agrees. Then his child support obligation would end the day he died.

Labels: ,

Friday, February 18, 2005

South Dakota - Shared parenting bill fails

How depressing

Anything in bold is my disgust, not the authors content...

Excerpts below full article at the

Shared parenting bill fails
JOE KAFKA Associated Press

PIERRE, S.D. - A bill seeking to foster shared physical custody of children in divorce cases was rejected 9-4 Friday by the House Judiciary Committee when opponents said such a law would cause needless court battles and harm children.

Supporters of SB123 argued that judges tend to favor women in custody cases and that many fathers in those instances find it difficult to stay connected with their children.

Both sides agreed children do best when estranged parents are civil to each other and actively involved in their children's lives.

Children of divorce are happier and better off when both parents help raise them, said John Grosz of Sioux Falls, president of the South Dakota Coalition for Shared Parenting.

"One parent should not be able to gain full custody of the children simply because they do not agree to a shared parenting arrangement because they know statistically they will gain full custody by disagreeing to joint physical custody," he said.

Speaking against the bill, Sioux Falls lawyer Cathy Piersol said judges already may award joint physical custody of children. She said part of the bill requiring judges to specify why they have denied joint custody would cause parents to pay increased costs for lawyers and home-study experts because custody hearings would have to be held in every case.

"This legislation is a tool for mischief," she said. "The person who suffers is the child. It's absolutely proven that every child of divorce ... has two great fears. One of them is that they have caused this divorce. The second one is the fear of abandonment." WTF does this even mean? What about the previous DAILY relationship the child had with the (now) noncustodial parent? Has that continuity not been forcibly "abandoned" by a court order?

Bouncing children from one parent's home to the next is not generally a good idea, she added. "Children need structure." Listen up everybody - Children need structure more than parents so lets just put them all in "highly structured" government institutions instead. C'mon - Cathy said so and she is an attorney so she must be right!!

The State Bar and Trial Lawyers Association also objected. Shocking

If both parents are fit, they are equally entitled to custody, said Rep. Joni Cutler, R-Sioux Falls, who voted against the bill. She said judges consider what is best for children before awarding physical custody.

Shuffling children between homes of parents with shared physical custody can confuse children, Cutler said.

"Children are put in a horrible situation that causes fear and anxiety and depression when they don't know who they're supposed to be with, and where they're grounded at. Where's headquarters?" Where is your support for this assertion, Joni?

One Sioux Falls parent who testified for the bill told of hardship when a judge allowed his wife to move to Utah with their child. He rarely has contact with the child anymore, the man said.

However, Cutler, a lawyer, said she was familiar with that case and that it involved a contentious breakup and hard feelings. She said the only way the man was allowed to see his daughter while she lived in Sioux Falls was when the family would meet at the police station. Again I am simply shocked to hear that Joni is also an attorney! Anyone else seeing a pattern? Could it have ANYTHING to with the fact that states that have presumptive joint custody have lower divorce rates, presumptive joint custody actually reduced litigation as there is much less of a question as to whether one parent can effectively "get" the children....

SB123, offered by Sen. Clarence Kooistra, R-Garretson, had earlier cleared the state Senate without a dissenting vote.

Kooistra, a former teacher and school counselor, said he sponsored the bill out of a firm conviction that children of divorce do much better if fully connected to both parents. He said Iowa passed a joint physical custody law last year, and it has worked well.

Labels: , ,

Georgia: Divorce bill amended

Excerpts below, full article at (which requires you to go through a RIDICULOUS registration process to see a current article)

Divorce bill amended Senate group gives a unanimous OK
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 02/18/05

A bill that would extend the waiting period for an uncontested divorce unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, but with a significant change intended to help protect victims of domestic violence.

Sen. Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg) filed a measure that would extend the waiting period for an uncontested divorce from 30 days to 120 days for a childless couple and 180 days for a couple with children. The bill also would require all divorcing couples with children in Georgia to take educational classes on the impact of separation or divorce on kids.

The bill contains a provision waiving the waiting period for victims of domestic abuse if they have obtained a protective order or alleged abuse in a formal statement.

Sen. Preston Smith (R-Rome), the committee chairman, amended the bill's language to allow domestic abuse victims to submit a confidential affidavit to the court alleging domestic violence in lieu of a public hearing.

Labels: , ,

Mass: Write-in campaign begins Del Gallo pursues ballot alternative

Excerpts below, full article at the Berkshire Eagle

Write-in campaign begins Del Gallo pursues ballot alternative
By D.R. Bahlman Berkshire Eagle Staff
Friday, February 18, 2005 -

PITTSFIELD -- Rinaldo Del Gallo III will run a write-in campaign for the Democratic nomination to run for the 3rd Berkshire District seat in the state Legislature.

Del Gallo, of Nancy Avenue, will compete in the March 15 primary against Democrats Pam Malumphy, Rhonda Serre and Christopher Speranzo. The winner of that contest will appear on the Democratic line of ballots in a special election scheduled for April 12.

Last year, Del Gallo, a fathers' rights advocate, was blocked from the ballot when he tried to run for Governor's Council -- the elected, statewide body that appoints judges -- because he changed from Democrat to Republican within the 90 days leading up the election.

Del Gallo has scheduled an organizational meeting for his campaign for Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. in Dining Room A at Berkshire Medical Center. The meeting is open to the public.

In a prepared statement, Del Gallo said he is "running on a platform of "universal health care, universal education and universal employment."

Del Gallo, 42, a Pittsfield native, has a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Northeastern University and a law degree from George Washington University. The father of a young son, he is divorced.

"I have experience in engineering, technical sales, patent and family law," he wrote. "I am spokesperson of the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition. Last fall, I put a [nonbinding] shared parenting question on the ballot that won 78 percent approval in Berkshire County."

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Useless Post of the Day

Why are people so interested in Annika Sorenstam' s divorce? I cannot tell you how many hits I have gotten today from people searching for information on this subject. Unfortunately, I posted this where Ms Sorenstam was mentioned (in Dec) - it has nothing to do with her divorce, marriage or anything of that nature - but Google sees fit to direct people here anyway.

Sorry to disappoint you gossip mongers out there. The best course of action to take would be to type your search into Google after hitting the NEWS link (above the search box). You should have much better luck.

Child Custody Policies and Divorce Rates in the US

I'm fairly certain I have linked to this before but I'm feeling too lazy to go back and check....

Child Custody Policies and Divorce Rates in the US
Richard Kuhn, John Guidubaldi, D.Ed.

Summary and Conclusions

The evidence reported in this paper indicates that widespread acceptance of joint physical custody will not increase the divorce rate, and may in fact reduce divorce. States whose family law policies - either by statute or through judicial practice - encourage joint custody have shown a much greater decline in their divorce rates than those that favor sole custody.

Both social and economic factors may explain the differences between divorce rates. Sole custody allows one spouse to relocate easily and to hurt the other by taking away the children. Potentially higher child support payments with sole custody may provide an economic motive for divorce as well. With joint physical custody, both social and economic motives for divorce are reduced, so parents considering divorce may simply decide it is easier to remain married. States whose policies result in more joint custody and less sole custody should thus see a reduction in divorce rates. The findings reported in this paper indicate that this is in fact happening.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Joint Custody: Bonding and Monitoring Theories

Joint Custody: Bonding and Monitoring Theories
Margaret F. Brinig & F.H. Buckley


This Article discusses two possible benefits of joint custody. Under bonding theories, fathers permit themselves to grow more attached to children when they do not fear a complete break with them on divorce. With the increased emotional ties, divorce becomes less likely. This greatly benefits children, as divorce is one of the greatest tragedies which can befall them.

Under monitoring theories, joint custody addresses an agency-cost problem that arises under sole custody. The noncustodial parent cannot easily see how his financial contributions are spent, and therefore assumes the risk that some moneys will be misspent. With joint custody, by contrast, the parent can monitor for such problems through his increased access and responsibility.(2)

Some feminists argue that joint custody ill-serves children. In the move from maternal custody, it is said, fathers who really did not want to raise their child have been awarded joint custody.(19) The move to joint custody has also been seen as unfair to women. In the stress on the child's well-being, the mother's contributions during marriage are devalued. The father's newfound interest in child rearing is heralded and welcomed, while the more faithful mother's longtime contributions are ignored.(20) More radical feminists see joint custody as a tool to control former wives.(21) The debate is often highly politicized, and joint custody is indeed strongly supported by a fathers' rights movement.(22)

These concerns suggest a useful empirical agenda.(26) However, it is wrong to conclude that screening problems occur only under joint custody. Courts may also err under sole custody, and award exclusive custody to an unfit parent. There is indeed little reason to think that these problems are more severe under joint than sole custody. We might fear a grant of joint custody to unfit fathers if male family-law judges, under the grip of a humanist ideology, systematically favored men. But can anyone seriously think that this describes family-law courts in America? Moreover, given the better monitoring available through shared custody, joint custody's self-correcting tendencies are plausibly stronger than those of sole custody.

We therefore hypothesize that a move to joint custody will decrease divorce rates. Fathers will react to the change in the law by permitting themselves, through a thousand quotidian acts, to grow more attached to their families. And as a consequence, they will find themselves less ready to leave them. (I have to interject here and say it is EXTREMELY unfortunate the authors choose to omit the fact that most divorces are initiated by women. Research has shown that joint custody states do have lower divorce rates - possibly because both parties take the marriage/divorce/custody more seriously. It is asinine to assert than men will be less likely to leave and completely neglect that women will ALSO be less likely to leave which is of paramount importance considering their recent *affinity* for divorce)

Reducing divorce rates would almost certainly be in the best interests of children. Thirty years ago, before the run-up in divorce rates, liberationist philosophers, both male and female, argued that divorce did not harm children. Indeed, they argued, children might be better off after divorce if the parents have been fighting. But very few people, ideologues apart, still believe that increased divorce levels are benign. Children are surprisingly resilient in getting over parental fights.(50) What children do not get over is divorce.

Children of divorced parents lose more than financial resources.(59) Most no longer have two parents who are actively involved in raising them.(60) The children (particularly if young) may blame themselves for the divorce.(61) If the parents continue to squabble over visitation and finances or who caused the marital dissolution, the children necessarily witness a pathological adult relationship. Even if the separation is peaceful, the custodial parent may be so overwhelmed by the heavy demands of full-time employment and single parenthood that there is simply little energy left for the children. Discipline may be neglected, and the children left largely to their own emotional and intellectual resources.(62) The picture becomes decidedly more complicated if either parent begins a new adult relationship: the children may feel (or even be) rejected for the new romance or a new half-sibling.

The costs of divorce for children have been studied in longitudinal comparisons between children of intact families and those of divorced parents. Short-term studies report that children are confused and depressed, sometimes clinically so.(63) They fare worse in school,(64) have problems in their peer relationships, and are more apt to "act out."(65) Over the longer term, researchers report that the children of divorce are more likely to drop out of school.(66) Girls, especially, are more likely to be promiscuous.(67) Boys are more likely to become delinquents or criminals.(68) Both sexes have a higher rate of marital failure when they grow up.(69)

If children spend more time with their fathers under joint custody, this may benefit them in other ways. In general, two parents are better than one.(71) Fathers will see their children as part of their normal life, and may dispense with the joyless search for "quality time" with them on weekends or vacations.(72) The parents will be better able to perform their complementary roles,(73) and to balance each other's power.(74) They may also more easily serve as exemplars whom the children may emulate as they mature.(75)

Joint custody also formalizes a more normal bond between ex-spouses. The rancor of a divorce may be less bitterly felt and remembered when one knows that a common tie will remain and cannot be ignored. The joint deliberation over the child's future might also reduce the level of acrimony, even from the start.(76) This also will ease the pain of divorce for children.

There is much, much more... Link to the article above to read it in its entirety.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Case Law & Other Constitutionally Related Stuff

This is a link to a site that highlights relevant case law:


Labels: , , , , , , , ,

New York - Get Married (to your child's Mother) and We'll Forgive Your Support Debt


Pataki is pushing a proposal that would reward deadbeat fathers by forgiving their child-support debts to the state -- if they marry the mothers of their children. He says the idea is to get those fathers involved with their children's lives and encourage them to support their families.

The governor also wants to create a tax credit for young, unmarried fathers who keep up with their child support payments.

Labels: , ,

Utah Bill to Eliminate No Fault Divorce Tabled

Excerpts below, full article at the Salt Lake Tribune

Divorce proposal heads to counseling Withdrawn: A lawmaker's plan to eliminate no-fault breakups is referred to a task force for study

A Utah lawmaker who wanted to eliminate most no-fault divorces has dropped her legislation. Instead, West Jordan Republican Rep. Peggy Wallace plans to send the contentious issue to a state task force for further study.

"Sometimes, when you get into a bill, you realize there are other issues that need to be looked at," Wallace said Tuesday.

As originally written, her House Bill 56 would have blocked couples who had been married for more than 10 years or who had minor children from divorcing for "irreconcilable differences" - the most common grounds for dissolving a union. They still could have divorced, but only for explicit reasons, such as spousal abuse or adultery.

Since the legislation was unveiled at an open house of the conservative think tank Sutherland Institute in December, Wallace has fielded dozens of calls and e-mails from Utahns. Some were outraged about her idea, while others suggested their own changes to state divorce statutes. A hefty fiscal note of nearly $1 million in estimated additional court costs also weighed the bill down.

Tuesday, the lawmaker, who never has been married, introduced a substitute bill establishing a "Divorce Task Force." The group would consider expanding grounds for divorce, including "pornography in the home with minors."

Task force members also would review divorce waiting periods and the fees charged for filing divorce papers. Wallace says state courts may be "subsidizing" the cost of divorce: Utah spends $2.7 million handling divorce cases, but collects just $690,000 in fees. Divorcing couples pay about $90 in court filing fees.

Labels: , , ,

Stop PAS Billboards in Houston


Billboards in area hope to raise awareness of parent alienation

ABC13 Eyewitness News
(02/15/05 - HOUSTON) New billboards in Houston are a reminder of the tragic death of a Katy surgeon allegedly shot and killed by his own 10-year-old son.

Some psychiatrists believe what's unofficially known as "Parental Alienation Syndrome" may have led to doctor Rick Lohstroh's murder last August. His 10-year-old son is still in juvenile custody.

Parental Alienation Syndrome, or PAS, is when a bitter parent poisons a child against the other parent, usually in cases of divorce. Now, several of Lohstroh's friends have placed billboards on Westheimer in west Houston and in Midtown.

The caption reads: "Don't turn your kids against their mommy or their daddy."

They are hoping to raise awareness about PAS. But it is still not recognized as a formal disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.

Labels: ,

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Pittsfield, MA Support Group

From the Berkshire Eagle Online:

The Fatherhood Coalition

Meetings will address issues of reconciliation, divorce and child custody, allegations of abuse, shared parenting and fairness in raising children, free legal advice, help people with intricacies of their case, 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month, at 7 p.m., Berkshire Medical Center, West Wing, Room A (adjacent to cafeteria); Some meetings will be in Dining Room B. Pittsfield. Information: Attorney Del Gallo, 443-3150.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 10, 2005

M.A.D. fights for men's rights

From The Parthenon Online

M.A.D. fights for men's rights
By Thomas S. Fouch

The newly formed West Virginia Chapter of Men Against Discrimination (M.A.D.) is organizing to change legislation concerning how parental custody is awarded.

John Buethe, national director of M.A.D., is currently visiting West Virginia to help coordinate efforts in the state.

"There is a definite gender bias in the way parental custody is currently handled in the court system," Buethe said. "It is awarded to men only 10 percent of the time.

"Fathers are being held financially responsible and are not being allowed to participate in the decisions concerning how their children are provided for or raised, Buethe said.

Federal class action lawsuits have been filed in over 40 states on behalf of an estimated 25 million non-custodial parents, according to a news release.

The non-custodial parents who filed the suits are demanding rights to equal custody of their children be restored by the federal courts.

Tim Fittro, coordinator of the West Virginia Chapter of M.A.D., said a status hearing took place in December 2004 at the Robert C. Byrd Courthouse in Charleston, to discuss pre-trial matters.

The progress of the lawsuit will be discussed at the next M.A.D. meeting Saturday, Feb. 19. The meeting will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the Wood County Public Library in Parkersburg, and is open to the public.

"The next step is for the court to make a recommendation on the case," Fittro said.

The West Virginia Chapter of M.A.D., formed three months ago, has over 100 members and is planning activities on all levels of legislation and media, Fittro said.

The organization will be conducting seminars, workshops and meetings all over the state.

"It is time to look at the underlying issues," Fittro said. "Our current system regarding parental custody is destroying the American family, which is the same family that served as the backbone and foundation of our country's rise to greatness during such a short time in the overall history of civilization.

"Buethe, who will speak at the next M.A.D. meeting in February, said the organization's main goal is to promote responsible parenting and inform parents of the problems surrounding custody battles.

"Society is in real trouble if the legal system does not change its policies," he said. "Strong family values are not top priority in the courts and this creates an increase in divorce and illegitimacy.

"Nila Cobb, who has a master's degree in social work, said as a mother of two children she agrees with the goals of the M.A.D. organization.

"Each case concerning custody matters should be considered individually," Cobb said. "There are oftentimes cases in which the father should be awarded custody.

"M.A.D. plans to conduct activities in the Huntington area.

Labels: , , ,

Should Divorce Be This Easy?

Excepts below, full article available at

Should Divorce Be This Easy?
Nathan Tabor

But frankly, the real threat to traditional marriage in America does not lie with the future social change agenda of the homosexuals. This column isn’t about gay marriage, or even about homosexuals. This is about the demise of traditional marriage — and that occurred more than three decades ago with the advent of “No-Fault Divorce.”

When the no-fault doctrine was established as law in the 1970s, the idea of marriage as a permanent bond became less important. “’Til death do us part” became passé, and divorce rates quickly doubled nationwide.

According to the National Center on Health Statistics, 43 percent of all first marriages now end in divorce within 15 years. Second and later marriages fall apart at an even higher rate. Overall, more than 50 percent of all marriages break up in divorce courts. No-fault divorce is a big problem because there is no longer anything to keep a spouse from simply walking out on a marriage.

Children suffer the most. “Only acts of war and the events of natural disasters are more harmful to a child's psyche than the divorce process,” states the Newsletter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Honest people know that no-fault divorce has been an unmitigated failure, as Dr. Diane Medved candidly admits in her book, The Case Against Divorce:

“I have to start with a confession: This isn't the book I set out to write .... For example, I started this project believing that people who suffer over an extended period in unhappy marriages ought to get out. . . . I thought that striking down taboos about divorce was another part of the ongoing enlightenment of the women's, civil- rights, and human potential movements of the last twenty-five years. . . . To my utter befuddlement, the extensive research I conducted for this book brought me to one inescapable and irrefutable conclusion: I had been wrong."

We can stop the soaring divorce rate in America by discarding the failed no-fault divorce model and toughening the laws on getting a divorce. Laws proposed in many states say that when a couple has children under 18, they can only get a no-fault divorce if they both consent to it. Specific information is available on the website of Americans for Divorce Reform (

Labels: , , , ,

Child Support Changes in Mass and NH?

I am copying this verbatim from an email list I am on:

The child support showdown is under way in Massachusetts.

Under federal law, Massachusetts must review and possibly revise its Child Support Guidelines this year. (As you probably know, the Guidelines are a formula that is used to compute your child support order. It is based on the number of children, his income, her income, and a few other factors.)

In Massachusetts, the responsibility for the Guidelines falls to the Chief Justice for Administration and Management, Robert A. Mulligan. Fathers & Families has begun its campaign for child support reform by writing Chief Justice Mulligan and requesting a meeting.

As some of you remember, Fathers & Families single-handedly won substantial reductions in the Guidelines in 2002. Whether we are able to win additional child-friendly changes will depend entirely on YOU: how many new members you recruit, how energetic you are in supporting this cause, and your financial support. There are powerful forces that would like to raise the Guidelines even higher than they have been in the past. Fathers & Families is the only force standing between them and success.

Meanwhile, there are revolutionary changes next door in New Hampshire. Due in part to the incessant efforts of Representative David Bickford, the New Hampshire Legislature created a commission to study child support. It issued its report on December 1, 2004, and it is quite amazing.

The New Hampshire Commission found "the current New Hampshire Child Support Guidelines to be unfair and inappropriate in many circumstances and in dire need of reform and revision."

New Hampshire, like Massachusetts, declares that the objective of its Guidelines is to maintain the same standard of living in the custodial parent's household that would have existed had the marriage remained intact. The Commission took particular aim at this principle. A majority of the Commission concluded that the objective of child support payments is to assure that a child's basic needs are met. The Commission quoted a 1986 Minnesota case, Moylan v. Moylan as follows, "The government's interest in family expenditures on children is limited to ensuring that the children's basic needs are met. Not extravagances, not luxuries, but needs. Once that occurs, government intrusion must cease." The report went on to say that the Commission "agrees 'standard of living' should not be a concern of government and government should not be collecting money on behalf of a 'lifestyle' that government has no interest in measuring or actually enforcing." Along the same lines, the Commission wrote, "The economic reality of maintaining multiple households may be inconsistent with maintaining the 'standard of living' of the children in the initial family."

The Commission also recognized that, "Child support is often in excess of the cost of raising children, which encourages litigation."

The Commission also recognized that it is not good for children to base a child support order on the income from overtime work or a second job (unless necessary to meet the child's basic needs), because the order will then be so high that the non-custodial parent will be forced to work endless hours, and will thus be unable to be a parent to his child.

The Commission also recognized that, like Massachusetts, the New Hampshire Guidelines almost guarantee that the second family of a non-custodial parent will be worse off than his first family.

The Commission also recognized that in New Hampshire, like Massachusetts, an increase in earnings by the recipient of child support has almost no effect on the child support award. They stated, "This result is contrary to professional studies on child costs. . ."

The New Hampshire Commission's central recommendation is quite revolutionary. It calls on the state to scrape efforts to base child support awards on something as elusive as the "standard of living" and instead to provide "basic costs" of raising a child. After reviewing four sources of data on the actual costs of raising a child, the Commission concluded that the basic cost in New Hampshire is somewhere on the order of $400 to $600 a month, probably excluding healthcare costs.

The New Hampshire Commission report is one of the first to take a cold hard look at the realities of child support. It discards the pieties, platitudes and slogans that form the basis of Child Support Guidelines in most states and substitutes critical analysis. It remains to be seen whether New Hampshire will implement the recommendations of its Commission.

You can contact Fathers & Families or Rep Bickford through the highlighted links above.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the actual NH Child Support Report. It is a PDF so make sure you have Adobe Reader

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Canada- Divorced dads face bigger support bills

Excerpts below, full article at Calgary Herald

Divorced dads face bigger support bills
Calgary father told higher salary means larger payment

Suzanne Wilton, with files from Cristin Schmitz, for CanWest News Service
Calgary Herald
February 8, 2005

A Calgary man has been ordered to pay more than $100,000 in back child support in what's being described as a landmark court ruling that could affect fathers across Canada.

"This is big-time law," said Calgary lawyer Lonny Balbi, past chairman of the Canadian Bar Association's National Family Law Section. "It could be a huge numbers issue."

A judgment handed down by the Alberta Court of Appeal last month upheld a lower court's ruling that Daryl Ross Henry should pay retroactive support for his two daughters.

The court ruled that Henry should have increased his payments as his income dramatically rose in the years after his divorce from Celeste Rosanne Henry. He earned $183,906 in 1995 and $231,900 in 2002.

In 1997, federal rules took effect tying the amount of child support directly to income. And though Henry had voluntarily increased his monthly support to $1,186 by 2002, he was still paying less than half of what his obligation would have been according to the formula set out by Ottawa.

"If you make more money -- significantly more -- then there is a duty to contribute," said the mother's lawyer, Daniel Colborne, who rejects the so-called "floodgate" argument.

The case was one of four in Alberta to reach the same conclusion in January.

Three of the judgments were handed down on the same day. The decisions could be used to argue similar cases in other provinces unless there is a definitive ruling on the issue from the Supreme Court of Canada.

Balbi argues the rulings run contrary to national child support guidelines set out by the federal government in 1997, which he said allow for retroactive payments -- but only back to the date when the child support recipient goes to court seeking a review.

In the Henry case, the courts ruled the ex-wife was entitled to back child support to 1997, when the national guidelines took effect, even though she didn't formally request her ex-husband to disclose his income, or take legal action to increase payments until much later.

According to the court ruling, the mother was struggling to provide the basic necessities for her children on an annual income of $38,400.

She claimed when she asked for additional financial help over the years, her ex-husband refused and threatened to fight her in court and seek custody of the girls.

The father -- who did help pay for braces and offered some other financial assistance -- argued in court that to pay more than $100,000 in back child support would be a hardship, as he's now remarried with twin boys.

The court, however, rejected that argument.

Balbi said the ruling means the onus is now on the payee, usually the father, to cough up extra cash every time his income goes up.

"What happens, as his income goes up, he has to voluntarily pay more. Now, he has to monitor his income situation and just pay it.

"The problem is what happens if his income goes down? Does he start paying less?

Danny Guspie, executive director of the Toronto-based Fathers Resources International, criticized the judgment, saying it's another strike against dads.


Monday, February 07, 2005

A Virginia Family Bill of Rights

An article from Stephen Baskerville published in the Washington Times.

Forum: A Virginia Family Bill of Rights

Bold legislation is being introduced that will put the Commonwealth of Virginia on the cutting edge of the worldwide campaign to reverse the family's seemingly inexorable decline.

Many states have now passed laws or constitutional amendments preserving marriage as one man and one woman, and more are set to follow. But Virginia is poised to go further.

Riding the momentum from the November election and the huge public opposition to same-sex "marriage," Delegate Kathy Byron and other legislators have introduced a "Family Bill of Rights." This ambitious bill will check not only the homosexual challenge to marriage, but also the huge erosion of parental rights. Stronger still, state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli has offered a bill to begin countering the "no-fault" divorce epidemic.

Together, these measures would give Virginia the strongest family-protection provisions in the nation. Moreover, they would do so by protecting rather than limiting citizens' rights.

Why is this necessary? Because same-sex "marriage" is not only a threat to the marriage and the family. It may not even be the most serious. As Michael McManus of Marriage Savers points out, "Divorce is a far more grievous blow to marriage than today's challenge by gays.

"Indeed, it is very likely same-sex "marriage" would not even be an issue were it not for the severe weakening of marriage that has already occurred due to divorce and out-of-wedlock births. "Commentators miss the point when they oppose homosexual marriage on the grounds that it would undermine traditional understandings of marriage," writes Bryce Christensen of Southern Utah University. "It is only because traditional understandings of marriage have already been severely undermined that homosexuals are now laying claim to it."

Virginia's initiative will for the first time address the underlying, long-term causes of marriage decline and family dissolution, of which same-sex "marriage" is only the latest symptom. While it cannot rectify cultural pressures, it does directly confront the legal mechanisms that allow
government officials to forcibly destroy families, often against the wishes of family members.

Many have commented on how many voters in this election cast their ballots on the basis of "moral values." Yet it isn't clear same-sex "marriage" was all the voters had in mind.

A 1999 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 78 percent of Americans regard the high divorce rate as a serious problem, and a Time/CNN poll found 61 percent believe it should be harder for married couples with young children to divorce.

Equally important to preserving the marital bond is protecting the bond between parents and their children, increasingly threatened by government:Home-schoolers are harassed. Parents are pressured to put their children on dangerous psychotropic drugs under threat of child-abuse charges. Others face obviously trumped-up charges of child abuse and risk losing their children for exercising ordinary parental discipline, for poverty or during divorce proceedings.

With all these mechanisms available for government to sink its talons into children, hardly a family in America is safe. And parents are becoming an active political force.

The gap between parents and childless voters was one of the widest in the election and was especially marked for fathers. According to Gary Andres in The Washington Times, "Men with children favored the president on the question of agreement on cultural direction by nearly 60 percentage points (Bush 77, Kerry 18, while men without kids slightly favored John Kerry.)

"Same-sex "marriage" is not the only area of family policy where upheavals occur. Bill Cosby's celebrated remarks last summer on parenthood and the family has placed a once-taboo subject at the top of the African-American agenda.

And another election result has not received the attention it deserves: In ultra-liberal Massachusetts, a whopping 85 percent of voters defied the strident opposition of feminists and lawyers to approve resolutions giving fathers equality in custody decisions. This measure could drastically reduce Massachusetts' divorce rate and curtail the power of the divorce industry, including judges like Supreme Judicial Court Justice Margaret Marshall. In Britain and Australia, fathers are literally marching in the streets over child custody.

We stand today on the brink of an upheaval of civilizational proportions. Same-sex "marriage" does not begin to describe the possible dimensions of disaster.

On the other hand, the determination of parents could develop into a worldwide revolt against the almost totalitarian power government now assumes over families.

STEPHEN BASKERVILLE President of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children. Mr. Baskerville is a professor of political science at Howard University.

Labels: , ,

Friday, February 04, 2005

Georgia Child Support Reform Bill

This is copied verbatim from an email I received:

House Bill 221 is a Child Support Reform bill based on the Income Shares Model. This bill is a much fairer and less punitive way of calculating child support than what Georgia currently has. It takes into consideration such things as the Custodial Parent's Income, credits for time spent with the children, insurance and tax benefits.

How can you help this bill pass?1) Contact Wendell Willard and encourage him to schedule House Bill 221 to be heard in committee. He has asked that we email him, so email is: Keep your comments brief, professional and polite. No diatribes.

2) Contact the members of the house judiciary committee and encourage them to support House Bill 221. Keep your comments brief, professional and polite. No diatribes. Those members are:
Barry Fleming: Edward Lindsey: Larry O'Neal: Mable Thomas: Mark Hatfield: Pam Stephenson: Rob Teilhet: Roger Lane: Steve Tumlin: Wendell Willard: Mary M. Oliver:
3) Contact your Representative and Senator and let them know that you are in support of House Bill 221. Keep your comments brief, professional and polite. No diatribes. The time has come for Non-Custodial Parents and those that love them to stand up for their children and for their rights. 2005 IS THE YEAR for this CHANGE! YOUR letters, YOUR phone calls and YOUR efforts are what let ourlegislators know that someone cares. If they don't hear from us -they believe it must not be important . So DO IT!

Don't know who your legislators are? Then go here and enter the required information. Make note of your house and senate district numbers. Click on the links for your Georgia senate and house representatives. You'll have to scroll down the list for the house and find your district. All Representatives can receive mail at: Legislative Office Building Atlanta, Ga. 30334

If you know the name of your Representatives or you know the district you are in, you can find the phone number for your Representatives by calling to following numbers: Clerk of the House (404) 656-5015 Secretary of the Senate (404) 656-5040.

Now what? CONTACT THEM! Read the full text of HB 221 here

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

New Zealand Men Sending Away to Australia for Paternity Tests

Full article at manawatustandard

Sly DNA tests show 1 in 3 dads duped

Hundreds of Kiwi men are paying out almost $900 for secret tests in Australia to determine whether they are really a dad.

And the company which runs the tests says that in one in three cases, the man finds he's been duped.

The men have been secretly sending samples of saliva or hair to Australian clinic DNA Solutions because they often find the test here is blocked when the mother won't give her consent.
The tests are used by men who suspect they are not the child's biological father, to disprove fatherhood of children they are paying for - and in some cases to get access to a child they believe is theirs.

Fathers' rights groups say the secret "motherless tests" provide vital protection for men and children in a system where women can abuse their position as "gatekeepers" and commit paternity fraud by concealing a child's true father.

"These tests are just giving people the right to know," says Bruce Tichbon, of Families Apart Require Equality (FARE). "Fathers have a right to know, but even more importantly, children have a right to know."

The 20-year-old technology is reliable and affordable but paternity tests in New Zealand are difficult to get. The only laboratory which does the tests here, DNA Diagnostics, insists on having the mother's consent. Obtaining a test through the courts can be cumbersome and laborious.

FARE advised fathers to get the test done overseas. Although it could not be presented as evidence by the courts, it would provide valuable peace of mind. "We tell people, don't get it done here. Bugger the system, it's bankrupt," said Tichbon. "Women used to get backstreet abortions, now men have to get backstreet paternity tests."


A show of support for new dads - Troy, NY

Full article at

A show of support for new dads
Fathers Inc. aims to teach young men to become better parents

By Rick Karlin

Kenneth Braswell is starting Fathers Inc., a nonprofit group aimed at teaching young men with children how to stay involved with their offspring and be better fathers.

"What I'm interested in is where is the father in the family equation, and how do we build the capacity of the father to become involved in the growth of the child?" said Braswell.

While plenty of support systems -- such as in-school programs and Women Infant and Children nutrition services -- exist for young moms, there is a void when it comes to helping those who become fathers, he said.

"What I found was that nobody was providing services, particularly to fathers," he said.
An estimated one-third of the nation's youth are growing up without their biological fathers present, according to Milton Scott of the National Fatherhood Initiative, a Gaithersburg, Md.-based group created 10 years ago to confront the problem of absent fathers.

Braswell said he plans to affiliate with the group. He noted that more people are paying attention to the importance fathers play in the lives of their kids. The 43-year-old Troy resident has seen a growing interest in fatherhood also.

Braswell stressed that he doesn't see his group as a "fathers rights" organization that goes to bat for men in child support and custody cases. Rather, he sees Fathers Inc. as an educational resource. His ideas include offering courses on personal finance to help fathers keep up child support payments and efforts to keep young fathers in school.

"The training component is going to be the biggest component of what we do," he said.

For more information, contact Kenneth Braswell at 221-5184 or The Web site is

Labels: , , , ,

Arkansas Bill to Allow for Drug Testing During Divorce or Custody Matters

Borrowed from the Arkansas News Bureau

Drug testing in divorce, custody cases proposed

The court presiding in a divorce, child custody, visitation or child welfare case would be allowed to order drug tests of any of the parties involved under a bill filed Tuesday. House Bill 1355 by Rep. David Johnson, D-Little Rock, would allow court-ordered testing for illegal drugs in such cases. The expense of the test would be borne by the party taking the test if the party asks to be tested. In the case of court-ordered testing, the cost would be borne by the party demanding the test of another person if the test proved negative, and to the party subjected to the test if it proved positive.

David Johnson can be reached at: 501-374-3368,, 1704 North Harrison Street, Little Rock, 72207 .

Labels: , , , ,

The Psychiatrist's Role in Divorce Custody Battles

Excerpts below, full article at Psychiatric Times

My comments are intermingled in italics...

The Psychiatrist's Role in Divorce Custody Battles
By William Bernet, M.D.

Even before parents anticipate their divorce, their child may already be seeing a psychiatrist or other clinician. Once the divorce is imminent, each parent's first impulse is to ask the therapist to take that parent's side in the ensuing custody dispute. The therapist may feel it is obvious that one of the parents should have custody of the child and may readily agree to send a report to the court or to testify. However, that path has many dangers and should be avoided.
Rather than try to influence the outcome of the custody dispute, it is better to simply continue as the child's therapist and help the child cope with the changes in the family. After the parents separate and divorce, it will be particularly important for the therapist to communicate with and have a good relationship with both parents. That is unlikely to occur if the therapist has sided with one of the parents in an angry custody dispute.

A psychiatric custody evaluation is not for everybody--the vast majority of parents who separate and divorce do not need an elaborate and costly evaluation. In most instances, thankfully, parents work these issues out between themselves or with the help of a mediator. Table 1 indicates the circumstances in which a forensic psychiatric custody evaluation may be indicated.

A forensic custody and visitation evaluation usually consists of psychiatric and/or psychological assessments of the child and both parents. There is no standard method for conducting custody and visitation evaluations. Many psychiatrists, psychologists and legal professionals have published on this topic (e.g., Bernet, 2002; Galatzer-Levy and Kraus, 1999). The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry published a practice parameter on child custody evaluations (Herman, 1997). Table 2 provides the usual components of a psychiatric custody evaluation.

It is almost always assumed that decisions regarding custody and visitation are guided by seeking the best interests of the child. However, parents and attorneys may disagree and argue about exactly what constitutes the best interests of the child in their particular set of circumstances. There is no standard list of factors that should be taken into consideration and what weight should be given to each factor. Not only does each state have its own laws and precedents, but it is likely that evaluators and judges are influenced by their personal values when they make recommendations and hand down decisions in these cases. The factors that many legislatures, courts and mental health care professionals consider important are listed in Table 3.

Assessing attachment. The psychiatrist should be able to assess the child's relative attachment to the two parents. This is important because the child's attachment is an issue that the average judge is not able to determine through ordinary testimony in court. The psychiatrist has access to many sources of data that relate to the child's attachment, including information collected from parents and stepparents and observing the child together with each parent. In interviewing the child, the psychiatrist may determine the child's perception of the parents through direct questions ("Who helps you best with your homework, your Mom or your Dad?"), indirect questions ("Tell me the things you like and the things you don't like about your Mom.") and projective questions ("Let's make up a story about a baby bird that lives in a nest with a mommy bird and a daddy bird."). I think these are terrible and leading questions - ones that assume there is a preferential parent, and go as far as to force the child to choose which parent is "better" at the described task. Just because a child doesn't like that his Mom is cranky about the child cleaning their room or that Dad is better at helping with homework - does not in any manner indicate that child should spend less or more time with that particular parent. Further, considering all of this is fair game to come out in court, the "evaluator" is just helping to breed tension between the parents by requiring the child to make salacious statements about them. The child's attachment to the parents can also be assessed through psychological tests such as the Family Relations Test (FRT), the Bricklin Perceptual Scales (BPS) and the Perception-of-Relationships Test (PORT) (Bricklin, 1995).

Indoctrination and alienation. Mental health care professionals have noticed that children of divorce may greatly favor one parent over the other and may greatly resist visiting the nonresidential parent. There are several possible explanations for the child's active rejection of visitation, including: abuse or neglect by one parent, so it is natural that the child would not want to visit that household; purposeful or accidental indoctrination of the child to favor one parent and reject the other parent; and/or the child is caught between battling parents and the tension in the child is resolved by believing that they love one parent and hate the other. Gardner (1998) used the term "parental alienation syndrome" for some of these cases, specifically, those in which one parent has consciously or unconsciously induced the child to reject the other parent.

Joint legal custody and parenting plans. In joint legal custody, both parents have equal rights and responsibilities regarding issues such as the child's education, medical care and religious upbringing. Joint legal custody works if the parents are able to communicate with each other and are willing to take each other's opinions into consideration. Joint LEGAL custody is almost always awarded unless there is some history of mental illness, abusive behavior or chemical dependence. Both parents have a right to have a say in the religious, medical and educational decisions made about their child. To act as though a fit parent could arbitrarily have their right to joint legal custody taken simply because they were not agreeable enough is a clear indication of this author's bias. The laws of some states strongly favor joint legal custody; the laws of a few states limit it by requiring consent of both parents before joint custody can be ordered. On the other hand, some states have laws that favor or require parenting plans. Both concepts--joint custody and parenting plans--envision that children of divorce should be nurtured and raised by both parents. Although the operational outcomes may look the same, these are different concepts. Joint legal custody emphasizes the legal end result (i.e., the judge orders the parents to share certain rights and responsibilities). The concept of parenting plans emphasizes the process by which divorcing parents sit down and work out an agreement regarding important aspects of their child's life. In some states that require parenting plans, the terms custody and visitation are no longer used, but the laws simply refer to each person's "parenting time." Although parenting time is discussed, this author makes absolutely NO reference to joint physical custody, when and how it should be awarded, the benefits, etc... Everybody take note and DO NOT have this man render your evaluation, other than brief lip service in the next paragraph, he has absolutely no interest in shared parenting, a child's right to maintain equal contact with both of those people responsible for their creation, a parents right to PARENT THEIR CHILD...

Divorce is common, so it is important to find ways to minimize the psychological trauma that is experienced by children of divorced parents. Ideally, divorcing parents would not fight so much over the children, in front of the children and through the children. When disputes do arise regarding custody and visitation, mental health care professionals can inform and assist judges by performing competent custody evaluations. These evaluations should be conducted in a systematic and unbiased manner, should consider the critical factors that are relevant to the court, and should result in recommendations that promote the best interests of the children. Almost always, the goal is for the children to have strong, healthy relationships with both parents. This is the aforementioned lip service. Note - strong, healthy relationship - fairly subjective, don't you think. Still no mention of possible true joint physical custody scenarios. It is usually possible to make recommendations regarding custody, parenting arrangements, and forms of counseling and therapy that will be helpful to the family members.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

More states stir against ease of 'no fault' divorce

Excerpts below, full article at the Christian Science Monitor

More states stir against ease of 'no fault' divorce
By Brad Knickerbocker

Georgia and several other states consider whether to lengthen the waiting period before marriages can be legally ended. Elsewhere, a growing movement is under way to promote "collaborative divorce," in which couples agree to settle such issues as child custody and finances without going to court - taking some of the civil war, in theory, out of marital breakups.

In addition, there are a growing number of laws that aren't directly related to the availability of divorce but could affect the instances and impact of failed marriages. Some provide "marriage skills" education in public schools as a way of avoiding divorce; others mandate "custody counseling" for divorce cases involving children.

A bill being considered by the Georgia Legislature would extend the waiting period for divorce from 30 days to four months for couples without children and to six months for couples with children. The waiting period could be waived in cases involving spouse abuse, but parents would have to attend special classes on how divorce affects children.

While several states are moving in the same direction, similar bills have been considered and rejected in some states, including New Hampshire and Colorado. Lawmakers in New York - one of the last states which still do not grant no-fault divorces - are debating the need to make divorce easier. Last month, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm vetoed bills that would encourage premarital counseling for couples and require counseling for couples with children who seek divorce.

In less complicated cases, advocates say nonadversarial collaborative divorce reduces the emotional and financial cost of legal separation. This involves a team approach - including financial advisers and mental-health professionals as well as lawyers - seeking resolution without a court fight.

This may take a bit longer than a quick no-fault divorce. But it can end up costing much less than a contested divorce, advocates say, and it is especially beneficial for the children in such cases. Some studies indicate that couples who initiate collaborative divorce proceedings are more likely to stay together in the end than those who go to court - perhaps lowering the rate of divorce.

Labels: , ,

The debate over joint physical custody

Excerpts below, full article available at St Paul Pioneer Press.

The debate over joint physical custody
Feb. 01, 2005

Joint physical custody is going to be a hot topic in the current legislative session. Most parents get "joint legal custody," which under Minnesota statute is defined as "both parents have equal rights and responsibilities, including the right to participate in major decisions determining the child's upbringing." "Joint physical custody" means "that the routine daily care and control and the residence of the child is structured between the parties."

Under Minnesota law, parents who file for divorce are required to come up with a parenting plan within 90 days. If they cannot agree to one, the court will devise one for them. In the vast majority of cases, the mother is awarded primary physical custody and the children see their father every other weekend and one night a week.

"Joint physical custody is based on the ability of the parties to cooperate," said Ron Sieloff, a family law attorney who spent 12 years in the Legislature. "If one of the parties refuses to cooperate, it reverts to the old system."

Tim Mahoney, the DFL representative for District 67A, hopes to change that.

"There are a lot of good dads out there who want nothing more than to be a part of their kids' lives," the twice-divorced union pipe fitter said in an interview. "The current system is really unfair in that it limits the amount of time the best of dads get to spend with their kids."

Under Mahoney's bill, joint physical custody would be the default remedy when parents can't agree on a parenting plan. Children would spend roughly half their time with mom and half with dad. The bill contains common-sense provisions in case of domestic violence, child abuse and the like.

"It's a small change," said Mahoney. "But I expect there will be deep opposition to it."

One reason that some will oppose Mahoney's bill is that physical custody and child support are tied at the hip.

"The label 'physical custody' determines child support," Sieloff said. "From it, all else flows."

There's concern that if mothers lose primary physical custody, they'll also lose their child support. The Center for Parental Rights, a Roseville-based group of mostly fathers and some step-moms, supports Mahoney's legislation and has a solution: Separate the two issues.

During their January meeting, members told Mahoney and DFL Sen. Don Betzold, who chairs the Judiciary Committee that will review Mahoney's bill if it passes the House, that they'd be more than willing to continue to pay their full child support in exchange for joint physical custody.

That's what Tom Rubey, a Minnesota Department of Health economist, proposed during his divorce proceedings.

"I didn't want it to be about money," said Rubey.

He proposed paying the full amount dictated by child-support guidelines. The judge denied the motion.

Betzold sees the argument about child support and custody as a canard.

"This is all about child support," Betzold said in an e-mail response. "A lot of the men who were there are angry and upset that they have to pay it. They somehow think that if they had joint physical custody, they won't have to pay child support."

He also believes that joint physical custody isn't in the best interest of the child.

"I'm sure any family law judge would be hard pressed to come up with cases where there was a true joint sharing of physical custody that actually worked," Betzold said. "We're talking about situations where the parents can't set aside their differences and yet the courts must presume that they can share physical custody?"

Mahoney is hoping to give them a chance to try.

Labels: , , , ,

Fatherhood faces stacked deck in family court


Fatherhood faces stacked deck in family court
Phyllis Schlafly

January 31, 2005

It's not just gay adoptions that threaten the right of children to be raised in traditional two-parent, mother-father homes. A threat also comes from father-phobic family courts that deprive children of their fathers.

Under no-fault divorce, equality is the rule: Either spouse can terminate a marriage without the other spouse's consent and without any fault committed by the cast-off spouse or even alleged by the spouse initiating the divorce.

When it comes to determining child custody, however, sexism is the rule. By making allegations of fault (true or false, major or petty) against the male, the female can usually get the family court to grant her their children and his money.

Despite an extended string of U.S. Supreme Court decisions upholding the fundamental right of parents to the care, custody and control of their children (reaffirmed in a 2000 case), and despite a very high standard that the government must meet in order to terminate parental legal rights, fathers are routinely denied due process when it comes to determining child custody after divorce.

Family courts use a highly subjective rule called the best interest of the child as recommended by court-appointed child-custody evaluators or psychotherapists. There is no requirement that they have first-hand experience with raising children, and they are allowed to use their own personal prejudices to overrule the parents.

But why aren't parents the ones best able to decide what is in the best interest of the child?

Family courts routinely rubber-stamp child-custody evaluators who recommend maternal custody with fathers getting so-called visitation only every other weekend. This despite the mountain of social science research presented in Warren Farrell's book, "Father and Child Reunion" (Tarcher; $24.95), which proves that the best interest of the child of divorced parents is usually to give the child equally shared parent time.

Two dozen different measures listed in Farrell's book indicate that equally shared custody is better for children than maternal custody alone. Farrell's book explains how most fathers provide benefits that mothers usually don't.

Yet, family courts typically rule as though fathers have no value except their money, and routinely banish fathers (who have not been proven to have committed any misdeed) from the lives of their children, except for every other weekend. Farrell describes how this typical custody pattern is a loser for the child, causing intense feelings of deprivation and depressive behavior.

In his new book "Twice Adopted" (Broadman & Holman: $24.99), Michael Reagan tells how, as the child of divorced parents, he only got to see his father, former President Ronald Reagan, on alternating Saturdays. He wrote, "To an adult two weeks is just two weeks. But to a child, having to wait two weeks to see your father is like waiting forever."

American courts are presumed to be based on an adversarial system with each side arguing its best case, subject to standards of due process, evidence and proof. Somehow, that doesn't function in family courts.

Some divorce lawyers advise wives to manipulate the process by using a three-step technique: (1) make domestic violence or child abuse allegations, (2) demand full custody, (3) collect large amounts of child support, alimony, and legal fees.

If the father objects to this process, the wife can make more accusations. The evaluators then call it a high-conflict divorce and give custody to the wife, declaring that shared parenting won't work.

If the husband doesn't acquiesce, he is reprimanded by the court for "not buying into the process." In trying to defend himself against accusations, the father is denied the basic rights of a criminal defendant such as presumption of innocence and the necessity that the accuser provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Family courts force fathers to submit to interrogations and evaluations by court-chosen child-custody evaluators. Fathers are forced to pay the high fees of these private practitioners whom they have not hired, whose services they do not want, and whose credentials and bias are suspect.

The children are also subjected to these evaluators who attempt to turn the children against their parents in unrecorded interviews.

One of the most un-American aspects of family court procedure is the sentencing of fathers to attend re-education classes and psychotherapy sessions to induce them to admit fault and to indoctrinate them in government-approved parenting behavior. The court-approved psychotherapists report back to the court on the father's supposed progress, and his attendance at these Soviet-style re-education sessions must continue until he conforms.

A cozy relationship exists among local lawyers and court-approved psychotherapists who recommend each other for this highly paid work of making evaluations, counseling, and conducting re-education classes. The psychotherapists decline to challenge each other's recommendations or question their competence, and lawyers decline to cross-examine them, because they all want to continue the profitable practice of referring business to each other and collecting fees from fathers who are desperate to see their own children.

Labels: , , ,

Judge: Divorce cases skewed toward women

This article is from the New York Daily News and could be accessed here but I believe they only leave articles available for a short time.

Judge: Divorce cases skewed toward women

One of New York's top judges started tongues wagging after suggesting divorce leaves men with the short end of the stick when it's time to divvy up the dough.

In a speech last week, Court of Appeals Judge Robert Smith suggested courts aren't always gender-neutral - and the marriage contract is often skewed in favor of the woman, according to the New York Law Journal.

In divorce cases involving working women and stay-at-home husbands, Smith said he suspects men still don't get their fair share.

"I read a case where the wife was a dental hygienist and the husband said, 'That's marital property.' The court said, 'You're right, it is marital property. You are getting 7%,'" the Law Journal quoted Smith saying Thursday in a speech to the Family Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.

A spokesman for the Court of Appeals said Smith had no additional comments about the controversial speech.

"It's not something he wants to comment on further," spokesman Gary Spencer said.

Claims of a pro-female tilt ignore the harsh financial realities of divorce, said Marcia Pappas, head of the New York State chapter of the National Organization for Women.

"Judge Smith is out of touch with real families," Pappas said. "How he thinks the system favors women is really surprising to me. I'm not sure what he's basing his personal opinions on."

But prominent New York divorce lawyer Eleanor Alter, whose clients have included Christie Brinkley and Mia Farrow, hailed Smith for adding some spice to the "discussion and disagreement" over matrimonial law.

"It's great that he said it," Alter said. "If we get to the point where we can only say what's politically correct, then we're in pretty bad shape."

Labels: , , , , ,

Listed on Blogwise Blogarama - The Blog Directory Blog Directory