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Archive for April, 2009

 

Carlos Bail Romero (photo New York Times)

Carlos Bail Romero (photo New York Times)

Just two weeks ago, Madonna was barred from adopting a 3 year-old girl called Chifundo “Mercy” by a Malawian court. This ruling, which was contrary to the position of the Malawian government, was founded on the fact that the orphan is not exactly one – she has family. Hence Malawi should take care of its kids, otherwise charitable souls would soon market Malawian children to clients in developed countries. Madonna reported to South African newspapers that denying “Chifundo James the opportunity to be adopted by me could expose her to hardship and emotional trauma.” Madonna is off. Madonna, L.A. paradise on Earth with its sunset, Disneyworld and else do not exist for Chifundo; her extended family in Malawi do. Depriving her from them could be traumatic.

Be it as it may, some Madonna’s fans should procure her the phone number of Jasper county (Missouri (US)) circuit court judge, David C. Dally.  This fellow plays God in court. And he has views on due process that would suit Madonna’s needs, provided that she be willing to adopt a kid of Central American origins. Dally indeed granted adoption of Carlos, the son of Encarnación Bail Romero, her mother to a family of strangers. Why did sinister Dally deprive Carlos’ mum of her custody rights? Ms Bail Romero is in jail, after the Immigration and Naturalization Services raided a poultry plant where she was working illegally. While her mother was in jail, Carlos (now 2) ‘s fate was sealed. He was adopted by a local couple. Demiurge Dally decided that compared to this well-off – local- couple, Ms Bail, who faced deportation, had nothing to offer. Next!

From jail, Ms Bail is trying to appeal. I hope she will be successful. But please, Mr Missouri Attorney General, in the meantime, protect the welfare of Missouri residents. Move Dally to a job where he cannot do harm. Or offer him a retraining trip to Malawi.

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Father fashion statement

Non custodial father fashion statement

In many states, child support payments are a fix percentage of the non-custodial parent income  with no bearing whatsoever with the cost of raising a child. If you are a well-off father, you make it, if you are not, too bad. Some states, such as Massachusetts, take into account the income of both parents, custodial and non-custodial but this does not necessarily improve the financial situation of the latter, quite the contrary: Massachusetts  has recently revamped his child support guidelines in a sense that is not favorable to non-custodial fathers, who saw their mandatory child support payments triple in some cases.

To make the picture bleaker for fathers, family courts have latitude to do whatever they please with the guidelines. They are machines to produce new “miserables.” Massachusetts family courts follow the mold: non-custodial fathers are dragged into financial despair. What is new in Massachusetts, is that non-custodial fathers do not even have the option – which befalls on them- of being miserable. You are a Massachusetts resident, get the misfortune of being laid off and cannot meet your child support payments, you end up in jail. In a April 13 article from the Boston Globe, Joseph Kahn mentions a fellow non custodial father, working in real estate, whose income  recently plummeted. His child support arrears amounted to $23,000. Family court being family court, the $23,000 included the ex-wife lawyer fees, that sensitive support magistrate had added to the bill; to make things worse, the court did not rush to examine his petition to decrease child support. During his next court date, our poor fellow was send to jail for a month. He was in good company: 25% of his inmates were probate cases,  incarcerated  non-custodial fathers like him.

What the next step in Massachusetts? A jail for fathers in one unprivileged part of the state?

Some folks said that Massachusetts is the “Sweden of the United States.”  They ‘ ve got to be kidding. For once, in Sweden, government is supportive, not oppressive. And in social democrat regimes, work tend to be considered as a right, not  an obligation punishable by jail if you do not have one.

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Some companies and advertising agencies are not always that subtle when it comes to family issues. For instance, remember the dead-stupid DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit)  campaign with a little boy announcing “When I grow up, I will beat my wife,” that Glenn Sacks helped denounce. For once, one recent ad made me happy: the T-Mobile myFaves “Oversharing”. Check it out.

First, the situation is sweet. We have nosy pre-teens girls asking their dad about his internet dating, and dad does not know exactly how to handle it. More importantly, what I find rather exhilarating is that dad is free to chat with his girls. He might  have custody. In this T mobile dream world, there is no alienating ex-wife with her lawyer, the support magistrate, the law guardian and the family court judge on her Favefives making the life of her ex and his children impossible. If these T-Mobile marketers are pitching their wireless services to single dads with custody of their teens, this market may exist.

Gosh, I wish I was part of it. The last phone call from my little one is six month old; sicko ex-wife is not encouraging.

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Bridget Marks

Bridget Marks

If there is something which is not needed in Manhattan, this is more protection for alienating parents.  It usually just takes an accusation of child abuse -which will lead to an order of protection- and  Manhattan family court delivers: sole custody for the alienator – typically mummy- and all the pain in the world for the non-custodial parent – the father- to have a normal and regular relation with his children. 

For former Playboy model Bridget Marks, it was a bit more complicated. She first lost custody of her daughters to her former husband for having made up false accusations of sexual abuse (very innovative); the judge was certainly  a roocky unfamiliar  with Manhattan family court mores. Appelate court Judge Friedman though brought things back to order: Marks got her kids back, thanks partly to an intense media campaign.

  After a career rather oblivious to feminist causes, Bridget Marks was touched by grace. In her case, never would have been better than later. Marks is not giving into the most sophisticated brand of feminism but rather the “tribal” one, that which uses child abuse as a tool against men. The problem is that in Manhattan, there are also many boneless politicians, who shamelessly would glean anything in the wind to secure their seat. Hence Marks got assemblyman Jonathan Bing and State senator Tom Duane to craft “Bridget’s law” that was signed into law by Governor Paterson last year.

What is in this jewel piece of legislation? Protecting parents in custody case who “made good faith efforts” to protect their kids from child abuse. Sicko ex-wife destroyed my relationship with my girls in a phony child abuse trial, but everything is fine: she was acting in good faith. Who does not? Nazis were “protecting” the aryan race in good faith; apartheid law makers and politicians believed hundred 100% that segregation was the best solution for both races. The only “good faith” that can be questioned is that of New York legislators, who are trying to sell us that “Bridget’s laws” are protecting children…

The irony is that Carolyn Maloney, New York Congresswoman, wants now to carry the torch of the “Bridget’s laws” across

Carolyn Maloney

Carolyn Maloney

 the country. She supposedly talked to women everywhere, even from Australia. Perhaps they did not tell her that parental alienation was taken seriously there.  Let’s hope that the rest of the country will reject the Bridget’s laws and be wiser than Manhattan. 

 


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Photo "Save the Children" Australia

Photo "Save the Children" Australia

Just read Caroline Overington’s article in the Australian and I can hardly believe it. Family Court Judge Benjamin (Melbourne,  Australia) granted custody of two children to their father. The mother originally had custody of the children after the couple divorced in 2005. The children were clearly harmed by the separation of their parents and were reported saying that they did not want to visit their father. Hold on folks: Judge Benjamin found that the mother did not discourage the children from expressing these statements and did not encourage them to see their father. Judge Benjamin’s ruling was based on the assessment that the girl was “estranged from her father” and was “at risk of psychological damage, if not psychiatric damage” if she was not allowed to have a relationship with her father. Judge Benjamin’s decision was made under new laws introduced by the Howard government that require the family court to adopt the presumption of “shared parenting” when dealing with children of divorce.

Roughly at the same time, in Manhattan, New York City: as evidence of alienation of my girls by my ex-wife was mounting, documented by both social workers and even by forensic evaluator, law-guardian Octobre and  judge Sturm did not even think of taking measures to keep the girls’ mother from discouraging them to see me. Psychological damage to my girls from continuous exposure to father’s demonizing? It has not even crossed Garline Octobre’s mind. Two weeks ago, as I was trying to find out what was happening with my motion to decrease child support, I met Garline Octobre in Manhattan family court. After civil greetings, I expressed to her my deep disappointment to Judge Sturm’s ruling about the child abuse trial: six more months of supervised visitation, which translate into six more month of a hopeless translation toward the resumption of a normal relationship between my girls and myself. Octobre’s answer: she agrees with me. My ex-wife is not helping. But what can she do ? My girls say they don’t want to see me. I have  a “practical” problem. Sorry, my problem is not practical. It lays with her total inability to understand parental alienation and do something about it.

I am an optimist. Nobody is hopeless, if  training is there. What law-guardians and family court judges in this country -or at least in Manhattan-  need, is a solid study trip to Australia to figure out what shared parenting laws are and how they work.

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A week ago, like many other New York State employees, I received a letter from the Department of Civil Service stating that it has

Bureaucracy (josephbau.org)

Bureaucracy (josephbau.org)

 contracted BUDCO Health Service Solutions to administer the Dependent Eligibility Verification Project. Translation: there is going to be blood. BUDCO – whose clients includes Fortune 500 companies- will come up with sophisticated technicalities to slash a bunch of dependents of New York State employees from the list of eligible New York State Health Insurance Program beneficiaries.Of course, the Department of Civil Service letter does not tell the reader what BUDCO’s fee is. One can surmise from all of this is that in New York State, the much-needed reforms in health care system will not head in the expected directions.

I have one tip for BUDCO: take inspiration on biased family courts rulings. For instance, my daughters are eligible dependent, who are denied coverage because sicko ex-wife makes a point of not using my insurance. Manhattan family court affixes the stamp of the”law” on this denial of coverage by having me pay for these  “un-reimbursed medical expenses”. That’s one way for NYSHIP to explore: eligible dependents shall be custodial parent dependents only.

Seriously, there are better solutions for health care coverage in general,  which I presume, Budco is not promoting.  Single-payer systems for instance. In a single-payer system, what matters is care, not the caretaker: a waco like my ex-wife could not “choose” not to use my insurance because she has one (with less coverage): there is only one payer and hence  one insurance for everybody. Cost of care: down, because the government put ceilings on physicians fees and medication prices. Management costs: down. A big bureaucracy is more efficient that many small ones, public or private. Customer service: better. Employees of private health insurance companies have one thing at heart: maximize the profits of  the company they work for and deny your claim. Employees in big public agencies are not necessary caring and nice. But at least, they don’t care whether you are reimbursed or not.

As President Obama said, as far as health care is concerned, change cannot wait. Let’s hope it does not wait too long.

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