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Archive for the ‘Fat and Mean Family Industry’ Category

Ms Tambor (Photo New York Times)

Ms Tambor (Photo New York Times)

Two weeks ago, I sent ex an email asking her to inform me where my oldest one was going to college. I was told that my “request” will be passed on to my daughter – who is now an adult- and who will reply “if she wishes.” I insisted:” Please give me her email address,” I wrote, I will ask her myself.  I did not receive any reply.

This last episode pulled me back some thirty years ago, when one of my best friends and myself were seeking news from a common friend who had been, little by little, pulled into a sect, and who had disappeared from our radar. We dragged ourselves to some pointless conferences organized by the sect to catch new followers in Paris, to no avail: We had to be introduced by a member of the sect to see our friend.

That’s what I have to go through with my daughters; even as they become adults, I have to be introduced to them. That’s what alienating parents do: Stand between you and your children and bare you from having a relationship with them.

And you may even die in the process: That’s exactly what happened to Deb Tamber, a Skver Hasidic jew from Rockland county (NY) who happened to leave her sect. After her divorce, Tamber was granted a once-a-month supervised visitation with her children whom she became always more estranged from, until she could not stand it any more and committed suicide.

I am, however, the type whose pain is clamoring; so I picked up the phone and called the Head of The Brearley Upper School, Evelyn Segal.  A day later, she called me back.  I asked her where my oldest one had gone to school. I was told that Brearley cannot give information about students who have left the school. Brearley abides by the privacy laws, blah, blah, blah,… that protect Brearley alums who, by the reason of the alienating parent, need to be protected from their fathers.

I have to be honest: I was not expecting much from Brearley anyway. I was however not expecting the line Mrs. Segal chose to end our cold but courteous phone conversation: “That’s the way things are done in this country,” which translates to: ” If you are not happy with the way things are done here, go back to your country.”   That’s the line of a foreman to illegal foreign workers.  More sectarian (and  inexcusable whatever the situation) it cannot be.

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Gosh, I wish the New York Times had sneaked in Manhattan Family Court when I was a regular customer there, from 2001 to

Guantánamo

2009. But later is better than never. William Glaberson’s article from yesterday, Friday November 18, describes the making of  people’s family justice in New York City. Readers can learn what divorced fathers have come to know as they tasted family courts. It is Guantánamo right here in the city.

I guess many people don’t know the most important piece of news one learns from this article: Family courts in New York City are not supposed to be the secretive places they are. On the contrary, they have been ordered to be opened to the public since 1997. Yet it looks that for fourteen years now, the media has not been welcome there. Glaberson mentions arrogant cops denying reporters entry to court rooms, judges asking reporters to show their credentials to court clerks, who ask them to get the approval of the state’s chief administrative judge. As a result, accountability is nil. The little world of family court does as it pleases and prospers. Trials last what they last – mine lasted more than six years, law guardians sleep on the children’s  interests which they are to represent; unsupervised social-agency workers that supervise the visitations with your children have the leeway to bully you while you are trying to keep your relationship with your kids from deleting.

The media should not stop halfway in this most welcome attempt to lift the veil on the nauseating secrets of family justice in New York State. There is a lot of investigating to do about the work of  support magistrates, these gracious people who behind close doors decide about child support payments that too often put non-custodial parents in the red and sometimes in jail. And please, pay a visit to the nasty fellows of the Support Collection Unit on 151 West Broadway, in the City.

When is the reform of family justice be on the agenda of New York State Attorney General, Eric T. Schneiderman?

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On May 6 of this year, The American Coalition for Fathers and Children launched a Facebook Save the Turnips Campaign toSave the Turnip “confront Child Support Agencies and their inhumane practices towards child support payers.” The point? Protesting against the re-creation of debt prison for failure of child support payment in this country. Why the title? Child Support Agencies commonly refer to child support payers as “turnips,” as their goal is to trump the popular say that “you can’t squeeze blood from a turnip.” A.C.F.C. mentions the Child Support Enforcement Association (I did not know that such fellows existed; As Brecht would say, the belly where from the filthy beast came out is still fecund) which cynically titled a training session “Getting Blood From a Turnip. New Farming Techniques for Increasing Your Yield.” Right after the first day of the campaign, the Child Support Enforcement Association deleted the word turnip on its website.

For some time now I have denounced on this blog the thoughtless and merciless New York State Child Support Laws and their enforcement by the New York State Child Support Collection Unit. I  totally support A.C.F.C. Save the Turnips Campaign. To join the campaign, please just go to  www.facebook.com/savetheturnips and ‘like’ the page.

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One never touches the bottom of family laws’ insanity.

The Four Hundred Blows (Truffaut)

I just came across a website titled “Child Custody and Termination of Parental Rights.” I thought termination of parental rights was the predicament of folks like me, who don’t see their kids after a lengthy trial in family court that deprived them of their parental rights. Wrong. Termination of parental rights is part of Adoption and Safe Families Act, passed by Congress in 1997. It is supposed to be about facilitating adoption and providing children with the fundamental right of a safe home. The natural parents  loosing their parental rights (the civil dead)  have their ties with their kids severed for ever.  They do not pay child support any more.

What are the benefits of this law?  To make custody battles even more litigious, if it was possible, and hit particularly poor and handicapped parents. Also to open new business opportunities for the booming family industry, which like Elaine (in Seinfeld) “will be  there… for you.”

I am a non-custodial parent from New York State that lost his parental rights in family court. Yet I pay child support, ergo I am not a civil dead. That does not cheer me up.

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Picture CYBR3RCRIM3Fathers deprived of their parenting rights like myself know that Massachusetts Shared Parenting Bill HB1400 is being considered by the Joint Judiciary Committee and might become law. If this were to happen, equal parenting rights would be the basis of custody rulings in divorce cases. I happened today to come across a posting of the Simeon Law Firm, titled “Would Proposed Mass. Fathers’ Rights Rule Help Dads or Hurt Kids? One more time, this title frames the conventional, misleading trade-off between fathers rights and “the best interest of the child” that would result from the passing of the bill into law.

What do we have in this posting? Not much, in all honesty. First, the Simeon Law Firm states that evidence of biased rulings – mothers granted sole physical custody of children 84% of the time- is based on 1999 doctoral dissertation. Old stuff indeed, yet that has the merit to exist. Does Simeon Law Firm have better, more recent data?  Of course not, but the firm seems to suggest that between 1999 and 2010, Massachusetts probate courts might have – magic- produced more balanced rulings. The punch line? The law would hamper judge discretion, and judges work really hard on each individual family cases (Here Simeon Law firm quotes Scannel -director of the policy and planning for the Massachusetts Society- and Barbar, co-chairman of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s family laws).

The new law would hamper judge discretion, really? We can’t wait for that to happen. Divorced fathers that have spent time in family courts know that judges rarely, if ever, exert their discretion in their favor. On the contrary,  judge discretion often aggravates the bias of the law. An equal parenting law would force judges to get off the rails of biased thinking and take into account of fathers’ parenting right. Why would an unbiased family court judge mind? Moreover, where does Simeon Law firm get that justice is the proceed of judge discretion? There might have been a few good judges in the South during segregation times, did that invalidate the need of civil rights?

Ultimately, Simeon law firm’s case rests on the flimsy “best interest of the child” doctrine: a child is better off with mum when parents divorce.  Evidence in favor of this doctrine? zero. In half of the world, family laws are not predicated upon it. Can anybody prove that children of divorced parents are worse off there?

A last word. I can’t help but ask myself why would a law firm would vindicate judicial discretion against reform. I guess, from the point of view of law firms, grey areas are good for business. Judge discretion leaves more room for pleas and lawsuits… and the perpetration of things as they are.

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“Tea partiers” have it all wrong.  They are after the government for being where it is not (health insurance ) and they are nowhere to be found when the government abuses its prerogatives.  For instance, when New York State strip searches non-custodial fathers for child support payments.

New York State has recently introduced a new rule for the payment of child support: the time when non-custodial parent was sending child support checks to the custodial one, or to the Support Collection Unit, is over.  Now, unless the non-custodial is self-employed, child support is to be deducted from the non-custodial paycheck. What’s the difference? First,  New York State family laws could  care less that you see  your children. Second, what New York States cares about though is that you pay child support. And It does not trust you to do it yourself.

What if, by any chance, too much is garnished from your paycheck? If, like myself, you have a  “credit”  as a result of a change in a  money order that did  not take effect at the right time? Too bad for you, fellah.  Child Support Information Line (1 800 846 0773) or Child Support Collection Unit on 151 West Broadway will tell you that this  “credit” is not really a “credit”. If this amount is less than your monthly child support, you ain’t gonna get your money back. You know, in case; these non-custodial fathers cannot really be trusted. And you are not gonna pay less in child support either the next month either. Free money for the custodial mother parent. Justice, the New York State way.

And it comes without saying that if you are late,  what you owe bears a whooping 9% interest rate on any arrears that you have, on whatever family court has decided you have to pay.

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Monstrosities are always done with the best intentions in the world,  for the superior interests of somebody else. Take slavery for instance: the slave master was convinced it was the best opportunity he could grant a negroe. Nowadays, divorced mothers may severe the links of the children with their fathers on  basically any ground, and the court system delivers;  in the name of the best interest of the child.

At least in England they have Bob Geldof to slay this sloppy justification of the violations of fathers rights.  Four out of ten fathers lose touch with their children forever, thanks to family courts.  In the recent “Fathers Rights” (part 2), Margaret Hodge, Minister of Children, gives Geldolf the cheap explanation for this sad state of affairs that “mothers are there to pick up kids in schools.” It does not cross her mind that the courts could give fathers a shot at picking children at school.

I guess if the Labor Party loses the elections on May 6, British fathers will not miss Margaret Hodge. And British children either.

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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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On Monday October 19, I watched Cristina’s show on Univision. A bunch of stories of illegal immigrants whose families have been separated and broken by the “Migra”. I have blogged on Bally, Missouri’s  circuit court judge spoiling an illegal mother from her child Carlos, but Cristina’s cases defies any understanding. There is not even the varnish of the “court order”.  Immigration officers Rambos forced the doors of an illegal mother, handcuffed her, tell her that she is going to be deported. The mother  does not even have a chance to say bye to her baby who happens to be asthmatic. All she has to do is to tell the Rambos the name of a neighbor who could take care of her kid while adopting parents are found for him. After all, the baby has the sad privilege of being born American. Hence he will stay in this country, away from his mother (Click on the photo below to see a video of the show).

Cristina 2

Cristina ‘s show highlights the decrepitude of family laws in this country and the indifference thereof for children and parents rights. Obviously, the INS has not heard the floods of platitudes that major channels – CNN included, with its informative but unequal broadcast Latinos in America- serve us, such as “latino culture builds on strong families” (which culture does not?) and latinos can succeed, too. Yet, if it has drawn buckets of tears form its audience, Cristina’s show is short of having raised up to the gravity of the problem. Nothing about the INS officers’ behavior and the latitude they take with human rights.

Not surprisingly, the absence of  feminist outrage after Cristina’s show was deafening. Feminist lawmakers must be too busy, during this child abuse- awareness month, to celebrate the glorious family laws’ enforcement in family court. While awaiting for immigration reforms, let me venture a suggestion: enforce mandatory, medical intakes of marijuana by INS officers. These folks need to cool off.

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Undocumented immigrants and non-custodial fathers have something in common: Their kids are arbitrarily abducted by the family court

The town of Chatino

The town of Chatino

system.. or the lack of it.

Actually, in the case of Cirila Balthazar Cruz, unlike Bail Romero‘s,  it was not even a family court judge who played God with parent rights, it was originally  a social worker. Cirila Balthazar Cruz is a Mexican immigrant from Oaxaca and lives in Pascagoula (Mississipi). She has the bad fortune to give birth to a baby girl in the local hospital. However, Cirila Balthazar Cruz does not speak Spanish, but Chatino, a Zacapotec language spoken in the State of Oaxaca. Hence the Puerto Rican social worker entendi nada and…  got pretty resentful about it. Verdict: unfit to be a mother. That’s enough for the very sensitive and open-minded hospital authorities: the baby girl is placed for adoption with an affluent local family, while the mother faced deportation. Cindy Von Quednow, the Colorlinesblog reporter, does not peep about the role of Pascagoula family court in the story. Obviously, its absence was deafening…

Again, I hope David Goldman will soon be reunited with his son.  David Goldman’s case should teach lawmakers and politicians, especially those screaming at Brazil’s non respect of an international convention on abduction: There are blatant cases of abductions going on in the US, by family courts or while family courts looked the other way.

Hat tip: Laura Martinez

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