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Archive for December, 2009

Father and sonDavid Goldman’s ordeal is finally over. It took negociations at the highest level for him to be reunited with Sean, his son. Upon arrival of Sean to the US,  Secretary Clinton congratulated all those who participated to this happy outcome.

The Goldman’s story is one of the restoration of parental rights thanks to Brazil respecting the international convention on abduction, which it is a signatory. Unfortunately this has been the omitted part of the story here. The media has been busy, again, waving flags, and  boring us with Sean’s first hamburger eaten in the US (they don’t have hamburger in Brazil?). Although I share David Goldman’s happiness, I think the dignity of the event was lending itself to a reflection on parental rights and abduction in a more general sense. For instance, parents deprived by the family court system of their parental rights just because of they have been accused without proof of domestic violence or child abuse; or illegal emigrant parents whose children are taken away from them, because a judge thinks that an adoptive, well-off  American family would be more suited for their offspring. Here, in the US, these folks have no international convention on abduction that protects their parental rights.

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Nebraska's landscape

Thanks to Senators Lieberman and Nelson, we might end up with a bill  lacking the public option and making abortion coverage even more difficult.  The deal: no expansion of medicare to people 55 years old (the Senate version of the public option), every state pays for Nebraska’s medicaid and the two fellows vote for a bill subsidizing the health care industry.

Nelson’s demeanor was perhaps not foreseeable. Lieberman’s  however, completely.  Joe the Spoiler has been the knight of every wrong causes. Everybody remembers his pointless, self-righteous sermon at Clinton after the breaking of the Lewinsky scandal that prompted the impeachment’s madness, his relentless support for the war in Iraq, and now his flip-flopping on heath care reforms.  There is only one way with such sanctimonious egos: a prestigious and innocuous position far, very far from the action: US ambassador to Switzerland or Luxembourg for instance.

I was forgetting: Lieberman brags about his efforts in favor of child support enforcement laws that led to the infamous 1996 Welfare Reform Act, whereby non-custodial parents picked up the tab  for “the end of welfare as we knew it.”  I fear that with no competition in the health insurance market and mandatory health insurance, as premiums go up, the bulk of the bill will ultimately be passed to parents and most of all, to non-custodial ones.

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Happy Birthday, Camille!

I might not be able to reach you today as I had hoped. In the meantime, I want to let you know that I think of you all the time, especially today that you turn 15.

Fifteen years ago you were a big baby and the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

I give you many kisses. I am also on Facebook if you want to say hi.

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You want to know why family courts are harassing you to pay child support (whether or not your job situation has changed) – or unreimbursed medical expenses (that your ex-wife asks family court to recover for her while she is not using your health insurance that covers your kids) and does not give the first dam of your visitation rights? Search not any more. That’s all in Carmen D. Solomon-Fears’s report 97-590 this report titled “Child Support Enforcement and Visitation: Should There Be a Federal Connection?” posted in Let’sGetHonestBlog. And this is to cry.

First, the report reiterates the plight of Congress to enforce child support payments, whether or not the non-custodial parent is denied visitation rights by the custodial parents. Why such a noble endeavour by the way ? It is not that an average amount to raise a child decently has ever been defined. In most states, child support is an arbitrary flat, regressive percentage of the non-custodial parent ‘s (dad) income. Totally unfair but tractable. If there is a problem, and there are many, there is only one sucker to blame: dad.

Now in her report, Solomon-Fears rubbed two flints together and got a spark. What if Congress were to enforce visitations rights? Is Solomon-Fear pleading for fathers rights, or is she aware of the increase in child welfare that will result from seeing both parents? Nope. I guess, that would be too abstract for the average Congressman. Solomon-Fears’ s cues is more trivial: studies have shown that child support payments are more regular when visits are. Confounding evidence, which justifies why Congress should venture to help this degenerate breed -men- to see its kids.

What kind of enforcement are we envisioning? A 10 million found for access and visitation programs is mentioned for the fiscal year 1998. Peanuts that might have vanished with the budget surplus; Also, a mandate to provide locator information on certain custodial parents. Ex-wife has disappeared with the kids? Providing that there is no evidence of abuse or violence – you never know with men- somebody (your lawyer?) might seek information regarding the whereabouts of your children. Can somebody tell me who is the Honorable Locator in New York State? The phone number of my girls has been disconnected and ex has forgotten to give me their new one.

Fellow noncustodial fathers, with such prophets in Congress, we are not about to cross the Red Sea…

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There is more to family movies than one might think,  at least to “Mrs Doubtfire” (Chris Columbus, 1993).  Everybody knows the story: Daniel Hilard (Robin Williams) goes trough a divorce with his wife (Sally Field). She does better than him, therefore the judge gives him the usual custody pittance that sensitive family courts grants fathers:  custodial visits every other week-end. Hilard cannot stand to see his kids that rarely. As his wife seeks a nanny, Hilard takes care of the competition (by falsifying the phone number posted in his wife’s ad) and applies for the job as “Mrs Doubtfire,” a strongly principled woman with supposedly tons of experience as a nanny in England. Prior to applying as Mrs Doubtfire, Hilard has incarnated so many  insane applicants for the job than his wife is relieved to see in Mrs Doubtfire somebody who she can foresee leaving her kids with. What struck my attention this time is the movie parental alienation awareness and a message against it. Indeed, during her interview, Mrs Doubtfire told Mrs Hilard who was badmouthing her husband something like : “Dear, send the kids to their room before you verbally bash their father.”  Not bad for Hollywood in 1993, while evidence of parental alienation syndrome was not what it is now.

Perhaps one day, when family courts will prescribe therapeutic rehab sessions for parental alienators, “Mrs Doubtfire” will be part of it…

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