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Posts Tagged ‘supervised visitations’

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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I live  at a 40 minute-subway ride from my girls and I have not seen them for almost six years. That ‘s why, I guess, I pay special attention to teenagers when I see them, in public means of transportation for instance.  There are strange creatures busy with smart phones. Every time I see them, I think that my girls don’t have one. Or rather that’s what ex answered my lawyer when I asked for their personal cell numbers. Phone communication with my girls has to go through mum’s landline phone number. Therefore mum has total control over it and there is just no free communication.

How ironical! As I was deep into my phony trial for child abuse a few years ago, the girls were still little. Yet  the  law guardian appointed by the court was giving credence to the idea that my girls were  able to make independent decisions like adults. They said  they were not  comfortable seeing dad at his home, that’s all there was to it. At some point though, when mum’s interference in supervised visitations became fully documented, the judge decided to make a step. I was ranting that I wanted my unsupervised visitations back. I got one shot at it.

May 26, 2007. I have gotten rid of sloppy Spitzer and Comprehensive Family Services. “Family Matters” director is supposed to pick up the girls at their place and bring them to “Le Monde” on Broadway and 112 street. On Friday evening, you cannot go more public and safe. The place was indeed packed. The supervisor was to leave us alone an hour.

I had waited fourty five minutes at Le Monde when I finally received a call from Family matters. Same old story: she has tried to convince the girls to come to see me, at no avail. Why? No reason. Mum must have trumpeted her encouragement to the girls. One full year after that last try, no question asked to mum by the law guardian came the verdict: therapeutic visitations. The Court believes that the girls have to have a relationship with their dad, bla, bla, bla…but after having left mum derailed my relationship wit the girls and alienate them from me, the Court has no choice but to repeat the recipes that have consistently failed. Manhattan Family Court does not apologize for miscarriage of justice.

Girls, in case you were wondering, I am on Facebook.

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On the first days of this new year, the New York State Justice system is crawling under problems. New York State Judges are

Dog the Bounty Hunter

asking for the first pay raise in twelve years; they are even considering forming a union-like group (these folks are so nineteenth century!); The justiciables of the State of New York too are having problems of their own. Theoretically, they are presumed innocent.  Yet, they will rot in jail while waiting for a trail unless they can buy a bond to remain free. The problem is that the New York bail system is as well regulated as the US financial system. Bondsmen surrenders defendants when they feel like it and then seize part or all of the the collateral of the bond’s buyer. This is not helping already overcrowded State prisons.

As usual, the family court system has eluded the attention of the press. However it stinks as much as the rest. It takes one flimsy accusation of abuse and your right to see your kids is gone. And there is no buying of a bond that would allow you to see them. You are now under the regime of supervised visitations. Your trial will take years and during all this time, your only option to see your kids is through the private sector, with one of these totally unregulated businesses called Family Something, that will pretend to assess your parenting abilities and whose activity is not even checked out by the law guardian -the lawyer of your kids- and the  family court judge.  The outcome of the mix of biased law, private sector involvement and lack of regulation is that non-custodial parents on trial loose their rights to see their kids.

What is the solution? Certainly not more market in the justice system. Let us start by regulating all these loose cannons that the justice system is working with.

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