Archive for July, 2008

Any good lawyer will tell you: to win, vilify your opponent. The criminalization of fathers in Family Court is the tip of the iceberg; It is the proceed of the idealization of powered single mothers and the trivialization of the role of men, which Kathleen Parker describes in her book “Save the Males. Why Men Matter, Why Women Should Care.”

What is the book about? Thanks to Maureen Dowd, we all know that men are not necessary. A driven woman can do as well as a man in the workplace. Noble goal: go as high and be as good assholes as men before. When the biological clock is ticking, pick a progenitor, preferably not too dumb (difficult task). Disposing of the bastard if he is trouble? No problem. This is what family courts are for: dealing with disposable men.

What Parker seems to have omitted (I have not read the book) is that the blossoming of the liberated woman is for a chosen few. Rather, it hinges on legions of nannies, cleaning ladies and cooks from all over the world. For them, liberation will wait. They have no nannies to take care of their little ones, no cooks to fix their dinner, no cleaning ladies to clean up the mess after their kids. Who cares anyway? They are retarded (sorry, liberation unfriendly or insensitive), like the Ukrainian cleaning lady in Sex and the City, who takes Miranda’s condoms out of her nightstand table and puts a crucifix there instead.

According to Liesl Schilinger of the New York Times, Parker ‘s book is “a scorching jeremiad against the forces that have demoralized the American Males over the last 20 years.” What demoralizes me, a French male living in America, are delusional conservatives such as Liesl Schilinger, who see themselves at the avant-garde of the left and staunchly defend the conquests of the feminist revolution. Its social conquests in the U.S.? Name one.

Please, Kathleen Parker; Include family courts in your book tours. They don’t get it there.

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Clark Rockefeller seems like a desperate man. Yet, as a partner at McKinsey and Company, he is clearly not on welfare. Divorced since 2007, he sees his daughter Reigh during supervised visits and he can obviously afford them. According to Cara Buckley from the New York Times, Clark kidnapped his seven-year old daughter Reigh at the beginning of a supervised visit yesterday. The police thought the fugitive wanted to ferry Reigh to Bermuda. He is now suspected to hide in New York City with his daughter.

Clark Rockefeller is being charged with “custodial kidnapping.” In addition to all the alerts for terrorism, there is an Amber Alert for “custodial kidnapping.” The illegal one. However there is no alert for legal custodial kidnappings, the ones supported by the family justice system, that deprive fathers from their rights to be part of their children’s life. For these ones, the alert should be bright red all over this country.

It might be pure speculation on my part but in Clark’s case, I tend to think that the illegal kidnapping is the desperate answer to the legal one. Why? Sandra Boss, Clark’s ex-wife, successfully petitioned Probate and Family Court to change the name of their daughter from Reigh Storrow Rockefeller to Reigh Storrow Mills Boss. Radical way to boss Clark out of his daughter’s life, isn’t it? Even sicko ex-wife has not pulled – yet?- that one on me. And contrary to Register Ianella declared to the Boston Herald, supervised visits do not necessarily mean that “there is an implication of serious issues.” Ianella should know better: restraining orders and supervised visits are part of the panoply of tools used against fathers in family courts, evidence or not of a threat to the safety of the child.

Photo: Boston Police Department

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I am sick about the media frenzy around the presumptive first families. We got it. Barack and John are lucky, happy fellows. Michelle is a knockout and they have two adorable daughters. Arctic Cindy is not exactly my type, but John has nothing to complain about either, as family goes. He has many children and his first wife clearly did not give him much grief to see those they had together.

As much as I do not care about how many times Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni do it or whether it is at the Elysée Palace or in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, I do not care either about the 2008 version of the rosy family model given by the two candidates for the oval office. I must be a dinosaur. What starts getting under my skin tough is that these two blessed fellows do not seem to care much about the rest of us, the normal broken families, the interrupted fathers who do not see their kids and sometimes rot in jail for arrears in child support. Am I deaf or are they rather mute about fixing the biases of the family justice system?

Instead, Barack and John were busy talking about the surge in Iraq last week. Very important subject, the surge. As a divorced father on trial for child abuse for more than six years and financially strained by sicko ex-wife supported by Manhattan family court, I want to give these two gentlemen an unsolicited, free-of-charge foreign policy advice. DO NOT EXPORT, under any circumstances, American family laws and family justice system anywhere, and in Iraq for that matter. Al Qaeda would not even dare to dream about it. This would be the end of any hope of peace in Iraq and in the Middle East.

Photo dss.sd.gov

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What everybody expects to see in a forensic psychological evaluation is an appraisal of the damages to the children (if any) by competent people. In my case, that meant that the forensic psychologist, Berrill, should have interviewed the surgeon who placed Camille’s second implant, perhaps Camille’s speech therapists. Interviews? None.

Now for the “scientific content” of the forensic evaluation: the “diagnostic impression” from the MCMI-III test, which takes almost a visit to complete, tells that “Axis II” (there are three of these axes) is messed up. I have “prominent narcissistic personality features”, and sicko ex-wife “histrionic, narcissistic and obsessive- compulsive personality features.” What is the link between these lovely features and my relationship with my daughters? Go figure; see Dr. Phil or the psychic at the corner of the street.

Then, the clever interview trick, that you learn about later on. Berrill told the girls that if they were to feel uncomfortable during their interview with me, they just had to make a sign -touch their nose- and Berrill would stop their ordeal. My little one, Chloé, six year old then, had to test if Superman Berrill would indeed rescue them from their evil father. She touched her nose twenty minutes after the interview started. Investigating this discomfort with another visit? Duh.

Finally, the bouquet of the report: the customized recommendations. The relationship between father and children is damaged and more supervised visitations will do the trick to repair it. The opposite is exactly true: more supervised visitations with me, and unsupervised mother brainwashing of the girls will end up killing my relationship with them. Father should receive medical reports and children’s report card, and email communication between father and the girls should be encouraged. If there is a Berrill’s patient who got different recommendations from him, raise your hand!

Thank you, Dr Berrill!

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Forensic psychological evaluation…It sounds like the last refinements in the field of psychology will be applied to unmasking the most devious child abuser. The poor bastard can try any tricks, he will be overwhelmed by the power of science.

Sometimes in 2003, when the judge told us that we had to go through this forensic evaluation, my ex-wife, the girls and myself, I was already on trial for more than a year. At this point, I was keen on passing on science. I didn’t see the point. A.C.S. had long concluded that the accusations of child abuse were unfounded (see previous posting). I had countless supervised visitations and they have turned to a routine with no end in sight. Yet my beloved shrink (she is the best, even the Argentines cannot compete), whom I was then seeing, told me to play the game. She researched her shrink network and recommended some Steiner, in the Upper East Side.

Menial problem: $10,000 for the forensic evaluation, and the same amount to have Dr. Steiner testify in Family Court. Go get evaluated elsewhere, you common people!

Elsewhere would be Dr. Berrill. Well below Steiner’s price range but not painless either: $1,500 for the evaluation, $750 a piece. One month of child support at the time or twelve pathetic supervised visitations. Let me save you the suspense: with Berrill, science is not moving forward and fathers are better off sticking with A.C.S ! (To be continued)

Photo: Hercule Poirot

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According to a Glenn Sacks’s article recently published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, marriage is at a low point in America because men drag their feet. Is it the Peter Pan syndrome that strikes immature men reluctant to commit? Wrong answer. Men tend to stay out of marriage because biased family laws lead them to. Indeed, marriage better be good; if not, divorced fathers stand little chance to be granted joint custody of the children. They are rather likely to be stripped off their rights to see their children without any protection from the justice system, be treated like criminals, be forced into poverty and debt by unreasonable child support payments and even end up in jail for falling behind, like this poor fellow in California who was not not even in court when the judge sentenced him to one year in debtor’s prison.

I may like feminist economics, but I don’t make much of feminist-inspired politics that secured this great victory – the criminalization of divorced fathers. While this happened, no gains were made in any issues that count for women, children and family, as if these issues had been put under the rack. Universal health insurance? Zip. Instead, Clinton got rid of welfare as we knew it. Subsidized child care? Sorry. But single mothers previously on welfare have the opportunity to put their children in the Mac Donald’s play area, if they now work for this company. Public school for children under five? Where? in Cuba? The rising costs of education? We will take care of it when Sallie Mae will be bailed out. Abortion rights (you mean, “reproductive” rights)? Thirty five years after Roe versus Wade, they are still threatened by the decisive change in the composition of the Supreme court. Who pays the bill for this complete desert in family policy? Divorced fathers.

Feminist-inspired politics have sold that men are pigs and when divorced, deadbeat. No wonder women cannot find any.

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A.C.S (Administration of Child Services) is the government agency responsible for investigating a child abuse charge. It is to the family justice system what the Security Council is to the international community. Like the Security Council, it is not bad at identifying the presence of weapons of mass destruction (child abuse), and it is terrible at preventing genocide: remember the glorious 1994 French intervention in Rwanda mandated by the Security Council, right after the genocide had already taken place. A.C.S.’s problem is that its conclusions are followed when it pleases the justice system.

From the point of view of fathers, A.C.S.’s intervention is perhaps the least troublesome part of a child abuse investigation. In my case, they were fast and unbiased, contrary to the family justice system. June 13 2002: sicko ex-wife filed a child abuse charge against me. July 2002: the A.C.S. case worker came to the place I had in Harlem, saw the girls’ room, asked me questions, asked me to do what I had done to the girls (I squeezed Camille’s jaw with one hand in a taxicab). The same month, I received A.C.S.’s letter, stating that the accusations of child abuse were unfounded.

In this situation, A.C.S.’s procedure of child abuse investigation is crystal clear: CASE CLOSED. Therefore I should have had my weekends with my girls back.

But why listen to A.C.S. when the Family Court can have people hire phony family experts, waste years in trial and destroy a relationship between a father and his children? One answer, the sadly usual one: Fathers, you are suspect!

(Photo: Duchamp, the Bicycle Wheel)

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They are the dark executioners of New York State ‘s family justice court orders about child support. Official name: the New York City Office of Child Support Enforcement. If you fall behind in your child support payments, or in your due unreimbursed health expenses because sicko ex-wife does not let you use your insurance, support magistrates might issue an income order. Then you will have to deal with them. Fathers who have this misfortune know them better as the Support Collection Unit.

Apparently, they are human. These self-called “Partners to Children” seek to educate non-custodial parents with a one-hour cheesy movie for retarded on their website. The slow-learner non-custodial parent can even check his progress in assimilating his obligations with yes-no questions which season the movie. At the end of the year, non-custodial parents like me, whose child support payments are directly withdrawn from their paycheck, receive a thank-you letter from Frances Pardus-Abbadessa, Deputy Commissioner, for their “commitment and dedication;” After the educative dimension, this is the participative dimension of the Support Collection Unit’s relation with its victims: the hangman tries to make them feel good and involved in their execution.

Now try to understand why you are left with $900 a month to live with or why an insane 31 percent of your gross income has been sucked up from your paycheck, and go to the Office of Child Support Enforcement Customer Service Office located on 151 West Broadway. You get the kick-in-the-ass version of “customer service”. When the nasty fellow that answers you understands that you will trash him on the evaluation form, you get to talk to the director. She might apologize and hint that they are only the sorry executioners of insensitive support magistrate decisions.

Are they that sorry tough? Sometimes in February 2008, I heard on PBS some New York State official bragging about dramatic improvements in child support collection compared to last year in New York. Thanks to these improvements, what fathers need in this state is a serious economic stimulus payment!

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Remember this fella? 1996 Republican Presidential Primaries. Mr 17% flat tax across the board, the only idea of Forbes’s platform. With Forbes’s flat tax, we would have gotten rid of the IRS, loopholes in the tax code and… all these socialist oddities originated in the New Deal, such as Social Security. Simple and perfectly unfair. The rich pay the same percentage as the poor in taxes. In other terms, the poor bear the burden of the tax effort.

If Forbes’s campaign did not go very far, his ideas seemed to have percolated New York State Child Support Standards, which every divorced non-custodial parent is bitterly acquainted with. From $10,000 to $80,000 of annual income, the law prescribes the same senseless, flat, child support payments: 17% of your gross annual income for one child, 25% for two children, for more than two children, your better become a waiter or a cook in some fiscal paradises such as Barbados or Liechtenstein… It would not come to the mind of the legislator that 25% of your gross income in child support for instance, is not equally bearable whether you earn $20,000 or $80,000 a year. And let’s not mention that child support payments could vary with custodial parent’s income, that would be splitting hair.

I was told that New York has traditionally been a liberal state. When?

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Carlos Alvorado and Son (Photo L.A. Times)Carlos Alvarado is a Mexican illegal immigrant. He arrived in the US in 1991, met a women, Marla Campo, whith whom he had a son, Michael. Things turned bad. Marla Campo ran away with the boy. With the help of the police, Carlos tracked down his boy. He got joint custody in Los Angeles Family Court – yes you heard me, joint custody – and two weekends a month with his son. In fact, Carlos spends all the weekends with his son Michael and pays child support.

Unfortunately Carlos had to land in immigration Court after driving under influence. The judge granted him the right to stay in the US, for deporting Carlos would impede him from seeing his son. So far, Los Angeles seems like wonderland, with two smart courts in the same city. Yet the dream might end here. According to Glenn Sacks from the American Chronicle, the government attorney has appealed the case and wants Carlos to be deported, arguing that visitations would be no different as if Carlos were to relocate in another state. He will just need a cross-border visitation order. Did this brilliant government attorney ask the INS to pay for the traveling expenses related to visitations?

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