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Archive for November, 2008

A few days ago, I received a letter from the New York State Child Support Processing Center (Albany) telling

Smoking Machine

Smoking Machine

me that as of November 18,  my arrears were: zero. It meant that I had paid in full the obscene an biased income execution order of $5,522.23 for unreimbursed medical expenses for my girls. I will be able to live again  with less than 31% of my gross income taken away from my paycheck. Christmas in Thanksgiving!

Unfortunately, things are not that simple with SSS (Surrealistically Slow and  Stupid) New York State Child Support System. On my last paycheck, no trace of relief. Garnishments of $202.5 are still deducted bi weekly from my gross wage, in addition to child support.

Why? After a conversation with a nasty female employee of the Support Enforcement Unit – these  folks screw up your life and dare not to be polite- I learned the sad truth: the State of New York (my employer) located in Albany (NY) has TWO WEEKS to process an information from the New York State child Support Processing Center located in… Albany. While the State of New York processes the information, the non-custodial can just die. To make things even more beautiful, all this information has to come back to the New York Child Support Enforcement Unit, in New York City.

What if the collection agency takes from you more than what you owe, as it is my case now? Worry not, non-custodial father.  Just write to Child Support Enforcement’s Office of Revenues and Investigation for…speedy service.

Clinton (Bill) said once that it wanted to build a (technological) bridge to the twenty first century. What an adventure that would be for the New York State Child Support System which is solidly anchored in the eighteenth century!

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Boudu Saved from Drowning (Renoir)Economic times are getting chilly. Foreclosures and unemployment are up, and there are no rescue plans in sight for non-custodial fathers. Some states have revamped their child support guidelines for 2009. In Massachusetts, thanks to the father rights movement, there are clear improvements going on. The State of Massachusetts will now take into consideration the income of the custodial parent in the computation of child support, including the first $20,000 that the custodial parent makes,  which were not considered in previous child support guidelines.  A decrease in income is also viewed as a legitimate reason for a reduction in child support. What is quite amazing to me, is that fathers had to wait for 2009 to see such legislative changes. It takes a lot of suffering for family laws to evolve.

Now, go to Missouri and you will bitterly regret not to have divorced in Massachusetts. In the 2009 Missouri child support guideline, you find the surrealist concept of “earning capacity” based on which child support payments can be imputed to the non-custodial parent.  I bet that folks who found a job at Walmart because they were fired from a better one have an “earning capacity” far above their current wage. Let us pray that the Missouri family courts understand it. Other pearl: domestic debt, (child support too) is not dischargeable even in case of bankruptcy. If sicko ex-wife wants you bankrupt, the Missouri family law will make sure that you will.

The Supreme Court of Georgia, through its Commission on Children, Marriage and Family Laws, has put billboards urging people to “get married, and stay married.” In Georgia, maybe. In Missouri, avoid. Don’t get married there and more importantly, don’t divorce there.

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Law guardians are lawyers and “officers of the court,” appointed by the court to represent the child interestshammock1 without being bound by the child expressed preferences. I guess this is where the line separating efficient and inefficient law guardians lies. Good law guardians look beyond “child expressed preferences,” which might not be his or her but those of an alienating custodial parent. My girls, Camille and Chloé, and myself got the bad type.

In September 2002, after the trial of child abuse initiated by my ex-wife had started, the law guardian Garline Octobre was unequivocal. According to her, my girls were not “comfortable “with unsupervised visitations, period. I argued that before the trial and the restraining order requested by sicko ex-wife, my girls were perfectly comfortable with unsupervised visitations. This discomfort was not the girls’, it was sicko’s. It was like talking to a wall. Verdict: relation in jail. Supervised visitations for an indefinite period of time, without any consideration for the harm it might cause to the relation between me and my children.

Garline Octobre’s monitoring over the first twenty- three supervised visitations ran by “Comprehensive Family Services” revealed  totally inexistent. The relationship between a non-custodial father and his children was in the hands of a private business, and Octobre was nowhere to be found. I suppose her policy was the “let’s just pray for the best” type.

Garline October’s interest for the welfare of my children did not increase a bit when sicko-ex wife turned therapeutic supervised visitations into a  fiasco, in the Spring of 2004.  After five therapeutic supervised visitations, unsupervised visitations were next. Yet, the nocuous influence of the mother had to be kept in check, said the social worker Traci Shinabarger in a letter to law guardian Octobre. Garline Octobre’s reaction when Traci Shinabarger is taken off the case by Spitzer and the plan of resuming unsupervised visitations is off: resounding silence. Octobre did not step in; not a call, a reprimand to the mother, who was free to alienate at will.

In my case, and perhaps more generally for the sinking family court system, the law guardian is the weakest link:  biased, unwilling to monitor the work of an incompetent agency and the influence of an alienating mother, and therefore detrimental to the children’s interests she was supposed to serve. The great State of New York should dispose of them or train them.

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In Memoriam Jordi Seriola

 

Jordi and Marc (his son)

Jordi and Marc (his son)

I cannot get over it. Nothing to do with father rights but a lot with fatherhood.

On Saturday, November 8, Jordi Seriola (naked on the picture with his son, Marc) gave his wife Siret a good-bye kiss at four in the morning. He is a heavy, frantic biker. He is going for a morning bike ride in the country side of Sabadel, a little town not far from Barcelona (Spain). He promises his wife Siret to be back for Marc’s lunch, which he cannot miss. He will ride back to the bike store which he owns.

Two hours later, Siret is waken up by the police, who tells her that Jordi is dead. Killed by a twenty- three old driver who had three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood.

Jordi was thirty three years old, happy with three things in mind: his family-Siret and Marc- biking and nature. I don’t know how to say that in Catalan: I think of you, man.

 

Siret, Marc and Jordi

Siret, Marc and Jordi

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Shining (Kubrick)

The Shining (Kubrick)

By the end of 2008, the State of New Jersey will consider an “anti-stalking law”. When you read the blog created to promote the swift passing of this great piece of legislation, you get it immediately. As the brilliant creators of the infamous Dallas Area  Rapid Transit’s ad, the promoters of the New Jersey legislative project seem to have dipped their inspiration at the same fecund source: simplistic, retarded and prejudiced anti-men propaganda.

To start with, the prose of the “anti-stalking law” knights tells you that “the batterer sees his partner and his children as a personal possession.” Don’t even think of suggesting to these folks that the alienating custodial mother might practice a more dangerous  mental stalking of her children on a permanent basis. They will reply that you, father right activists,  are just nostalgic of a patriarchal order,  or  hidden defenders of the Taliban agenda. Just move to the Northern tribal regions of Pakistan where Bin Laden is and where you belong!

Let us not even mention what purpose such a law would serve: add more bias to an already biased against fathers body of laws? Many women already abuse of orders of protection, which they get no questions asked to get full custody and deprive fathers of their right to see their children. Why aren’t feminist groups  devoting half of the energy they spent promoting these biased pieces of legislation to push for public preschools and universal health care instead?

The State of New Jersey has so far the least stupid family laws in the country. Let us hope that it will stay that way.

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Chloe, Camille and Laura sometimes in 2001

Chloé, Camille and Laura sometime in 2001

In the beginning of 2004, I was on a cloud. I thought that my ordeal was over, even if the ridiculous trial of child abuse initiated by sicko ex-wife was not. In February 2004, the court had ordered therapeutic supervised visitations and Spitzer, the director of Comprehensive Family Services, was positive: after eight of these, normal, unsupervised visitations would resume, at my place in West Harlem (NY), after two long years of interruption.

During the five therapeutic supervised visitations that I had with my girls, I never had any clear idea as to what therapy exactly consisted of. Perhaps because to me,  my relationship did not need any in the first place. All that it needed was just not to be interrupted and let it be without any mingling from family court. Whatever therapy really was, it “worked” to a point. The social worker, Traci Shinabarger, was good and I played the game. I did not see why the visitations could not take place in my apartment but I accepted that temporarily, the choice of the location was to be left to the girls. We went to the library, and various public parks. Visitations went very well. Traci confided that the girls were okay for visitations to be at my place.

This is indeed what she recommended in a letter to the law guardian dated April 29, 2004. The next four visits were to have increasing unsupervised time, and only exchanges were to be supervised for the fourth visits. I was ecstatic. Too ecstatic.

Indeed, the same letter also displayed various features of  mother’s alienation of the children. The letter documented several instances in which the mother talked about her issues with me in front of the children and the social worker. Traci stated that “due to the content of the conversations Ms Brodsky has tried to hold with me in front of the children, I am led to believe that unsupportive and disruptive conversations are taking place outside supervision. This type of behavior can single-handedly thwart efforts of therapeutic visits.”

You bet. The next thing I knew was that Traci Shinabarger was no longer the social worker in charge of my case. Spitzer had caved in to Brodsky’s pressure. “Therapy” was over.

In spite of parental alienation syndrome (PAS)’s strident denial by some Neanderthal feminist groups, the PAS symptoms displayed by the alienated children are well-documented. What remains to be explored by psychology tough are the features of the “alienator”, sicko ex-wife, who, like the second women whom Solomon confronts, would rather have her children cut in half than let them exist with somebody else.

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According to Elisabeth Bumiller from the New York Times, John McCain was desperately looking for Joe the Plumber in a  recent meeting in Defiance, Ohio. Unable to find him, McCain told the crowd: “Well, you’re all Joe the Plumbers.”

Sorry John, we ain’t.  You are not very sensitive to the lot of the  commoners and Joe the Plumber is not one of them.  I and I believe most fathers,  have nothing to do with Joe the Plumber, who once made close to one quarter of a million bucks, decided not to acquire his business and then wondered if Obama’s tax plan would hurt his business project if – oh my God!- Bush tax cut were to be repealed and he were to pay 39%  in income tax instead of 35%.

Unlike Joe the Plumber, I am not scarred by the unlikely rebirth of communism, here in America. However,

Regino Romero

Regino Romero

most fathers struggle and fear more  continuing  rising inflation and wage squeeze for low- wage workers than the so-called Obama’s socialism. They feel closer to Regino Romero, the Salvadorian American father of three children whose story was narrated in the Washington Post a week ago, than to Joe the Plumber. Regino Romero is not the typical father in the sense that he got the custody of his three children.  Like most divorced fathers, he has issues with family court. He cannot make it, and he has not figured out yet how he can get family court to order his former wife to pay him child support for the three kids he is raising. Regino is a cook and he is looking for a second job, like delivering pizzas, so that he will earn more money and be able to be at night with the kids. What is he thinking about anxiously when he is not with the kid? Money, mony again and how to make it;  Not a tax increase for the folks earning more than $250 000 a year, that will affect them in a million years.

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