Archive for March, 2009

F.I.T. (Fatherhood Initiative Training program) in Shelby county (Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana?) seems to  have found superheroes_2the miracle to turn this horrible specie -men- into fathers. According to Justin Averette, Shelby County Reporter, the goal of the program is to keep fathers who are behind in child support payments out of jail. You are falling behind in child support payment, out of work? Just take a 13- week class in Inverness Vineyard Church. You will graduate and feel a better, more responsible father. Shelby county family court refers deviant non-custodial fathers to the program.

What is the key for  fathers to be fit to fatherhood already ? First, be compliant with child support orders. Justin Averette does not tell us if FIT or Shelby County family court picks up the tab of child support if you loose your job, as Hyundai lets you keep your new car if you become unemployed. Second of all, have regular visitations with your child and have civil relation with their mother. I guess, unlike Manhattan Family Court, Shelby County Family court does not give custodial mother a free pass to alienate children.

I guess fatherhood fitness defined by family courts is really not my thing. Father 4 Justice is right: to comply with farcical family laws, which buries fathers with duties and denies them any right,  you have to beat the crisis. Be some kind of superhero; or one of these happy fellows of AIG, who got subsidized bonuses.

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Mazoltuv Borukhova

Mazoltuv Borukhova

Non-custodial parents victim of parental alienation have in common one problem: they cannot easily tell their story. It is difficult for the target parent (Baldwin uses this quite telling term in “A Promise to Ourselves” ) to explain why he is a target. When the nice folks of my building in Harlem asked me “how are the girls? (my daughters, who used to visit me at my place and were known by everybody), I felt that I could not inflict on them the phony child abuse trial, the ruling peppering more supervised visitations for six more months, etc… I go for the unsatisfactory shortcut: “My ex and I have horrendous relationship.”  But  people who are closer to me and whom I told my family court routine cannot but ask:”what did you do to her (my ex-wife)?” When I give them “nothing. I did not abuse her or beat her. I am no worst than the average asshole in the street,” I feel that this answer à la Jack Nicholson in Forman’s One Flew Over a Cuckoo’s Nest is met with incredulity. To be swamped in the same mess for that long, to be the object of such resilient  hate, you must have done something wrong.

Mazoltuv Borukhova’s murder of her ex-husband, Daniel Malatov, tragically proves that target parents are not these nut cases wandering loose in the streets. Malatov could only see his daughter, Michelle, during supervised visitations but the law guardian was pushing for unsupervised visitations. That was perhaps too much for Borukhova, but for Borukhova, it looks that anything between her daughter and her ex would be too much. Borukhova hired a hit man among her relatives to kill her husband and the job was expeditiously done in front of Michelle, the four-year old daughter in a playground in Forest Hills (Queens, New York). Borukhova’s way is perhaps extreme. It has the merit of being totally explicit about alienation.  Alienation is not about love or about over protection of the kid.  The kid is an excuse.  The “target” parent is to be E-LI-MI-NA-TED. From the life of the kid, for sure; financially if possible; from the face of the earth, even better.

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If you live in New York, you cannot not have seen the childhelp.org spots urging people to be aware, and do something against child abuse. This spot is clearly inspired by the “if you see something, say something” ad supposed to rise people’s awareness against terrorism, that still -sadly- covers the walls of the New York City subway. One cannot wonder if the add itself, and the fear it prompts, was not in itself a victory for terrorism.  

Nobody would deny that child abuse needs to be prevented. Yet, fathers who like myself, have been victim of bogus trial of child abuse cannot not be alarmed by the damages of an unnecessary and excessive publicity on the topic. Perhaps childhelp does not know that there have been abuses of accusations of child abuse:  with one, founded or not, women have gotten an order of protection, which is the ticket for sole custody of the children in family court. Then the sole custodial parent can alienate in peace, and steps on the right of children and fathers to have contacts with one another. The alienating parent too, does not wear a t-shirt with the word “alienator,” and she/he too is a child abuser.  The difference is that family courts don’t give a damn about them: don’t trust your instinct, take my word for it.

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David and Goliath

David and Goliath

By the end of 2008, fed-up with not being able to make ends meet with the drag of 31% of my gross income withdrawn from  each paycheck, I filed a motion to decrease child support and have my ex-wife use my health insurance for the dental and vision expenses of my girls. I was last in court in January 23, 2009.

Until today, I have not heard about Support Magistrate Grey’s decision. That’s very strange. Support Magistrate Grey is a fast shooter at non-custodial fathers. Usually, every time sicko ex-wife thas taken me to court -at least twice a year- for unreimbursed medical expenses, I have gotten a money judgment order within two weeks. Today, I learnt by a clerk of the court that Grey is on leave and that her decision is “reserved.” “Facts” of  my case are being faxed to her.

What are these intricate facts? On one side, sicko ex-wife, Goliath: $4,660 and change in net monthly salary from Princeton University; $6,800 of alleged monthly rental income  for a 2,200 square-feet loft, paid in full,  in Soho  (New York City). Total alleged (sicko ex-wife had not brought her  last tax return to court, but why bother, since Grey does not) net monthly income: $11, 500. To which is added every month $1,000 in child support, coming from me. Grand total net income: $12, 500 net a month. On January 23, sicko ex-wife wined about the heavy property tax in New York City  and the high maintenance on her loft.  I guess this is what the $1,000 in child support covers.

On the other side, myself. Net monthly income with $1,000 in child support payments deducted: $2,100. With Grey’s absurd money judgment for unreimbursed medical expenses, I am left with $1,600 and change a month, and my ex-wife with now $12,900. Any second grader would immediately grasp the difference in net monthly income by a factor of 6, and make the inevitable conclusions: something is wrong with transferring such resources from the relatively poor to the relatively rich. Even in New York City, there are many, many single parents who raise two kids with less than $11,500 net a month. 

It clearly takes more time than a second grader for  Support Magistrate Grey to get the “facts.” It must have to do with bias against men and a ill-conceived sense of the Support Magistrate mission: be Robin Hood squeezing the last penny from irresponsible deadbeat dads. Support magistrate Grey is no Robin Hood. She is the Sheriff of Nottingham.

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Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family --and "Conciliation" -- Courts' Operations, Practices, and History


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