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Archive for August, 2009

Shared Parenting Ireland

Shared Parenting Ireland

The wind of progress is so desperately rare in the gloomy world of family courts that when you feel it, it looks like it’s the one which is going to bring the most waited rain on the desert. After years of  the regime “mummy gets full custody, daddy pays what the Court says and sees the kids if mummy feels like it”, science found evidence that kids needed both parents for their development. Family courts recently heard about this unsuspected breakthrough. Outcome: mandatory parenting classes for divorced parents in 27 states (I have not heard of such classes in retarded Manhattan family court).

According to Ann Wallace Allen, these parenting classes give pretty good results. They curb down animosity and the incentives to alienate that are spurred by the current biased family laws. Parents discover that if they are not friends, they can yet manage to communicate, meet at parents-teacher conferences and be both part of the social lives of their children.  And kids happen not to be traumatized by the divorce of their parents for it is not the divorce per se that have a negative impact on them, but the inability of parents to deal with one another within the course of a divorce.

Parenting classes are nice , but the decisive step for father rights is the passing of shared-parenting bills. As the revamping of the health care system is doomed to be dwarfed without a serious public option , there will not be real improvements to the current desastrous family laws without the acknowledgment of equal parenting rights for fathers.

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Assurancetourix (Asterix' comics)

Assurancetourix (Asterix's comics)

A few weeks ago, I received a letter from Mark E. Brossman, from Schulte Roth& Zabel LLP, counsel of the Brearley School. Check it out:

Schulte Roth&Zabel

Although I have a Judge Sturm’s court order allowing me to attend parent-teacher conferences, the Brearley School, where my girls are students, has denied me access to the parent-teacher conferences. In the three postings of this blog about my “quest” to be part of the scholarly life of my girls, I relate the steps of my dialogue with the direction of the School.  Contrary to what Mark E. Brossman says, there is nothing defamatory vis-a-vis the school, Dr. Hull or Ms Elsbach, Head of the School and Head of the Middle School, respectively. I believe I have respected one of the basic blogging rules of conduct: don’t say anything online that you would not say in person.

People start being aware that family courts are biased against fathers and don’t even enforce their own ruling when custodial mothers violate them.  Adding to the aggravation, there are institutions, such as the Brearley School in my case, that choose to side with alienating mothers and then close the already-limited windows that fathers might have into the lives of their children. Donald Tenn, president of Fathers for Justice, in 2008, climbed a crane to protest the unfair treatment he received from the Sacramento county family court. I will not climb a crane: I have vertigo. Instead, I have this blog, and I intend to write what I please, without being disrespectful or defamatory. If the Brearley School wants to reply, I will gladly publish their comments.

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It is amazing the number of victims one can make on the name of choice. President Obama is trying to revamp the health care system, and the usual suspects – insurance companies, pharmaceutical industry, the American medial association- are trying to sell us the same scary threats: with the creation of a public health insurance, the quality of care will go down, you will not be able to choose your doctor anymore..bla.bla.bla. For sure, these champions of choice do not care about the 47 millions of uninsured Americans, who have given up choosing altogether, nor do they seem to care about the choice of the currently insured. Those are frequently denied care – a medical loss in insurance terminology, or they often face catch 22  choices: I had a colleague at the French Institute who was covered by Aetna. The company was covering for her operation of her hips, but was giving her the choice to pay or not to pay for the anesthesiologist and anesthetics, that Aetna plan was not covering…

In New York State, even if I have one of the best insurance of the country, I have a pre-existing condition: being a non-custodial father, with no-decision making power as to using my insurance for my girls.  Ex-wife does not send me the insurance forms, the periodontist Leifert refuses to do it too even if I pay the bills and for some three years now, I have been ordered by Manhattan Family court to pay for now close to $10,000 in unreimbursed periodontic expenses that my plan covers. Am I too hopeful to think that with a mandatory universal health insurance system, public or not, insurance premiums will finally cover children, even if the policy holder is a non-custodial father?

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