Posts Tagged ‘New York State Family Laws’

Father'DayIt has been a long time that Father’s Day has not had any meaning to me. My girls don’t phone me, and I guess the very thought of it would make them feel disloyal to their mom. I rejoice with some of my relatives or friends who post pictures of them with their dads on Facebook, but for me, Father’s Day is like National Doughnut Day.

I happened to have caught Jasmine Hernandez’s opinion piece in the New York Post, on June 18, titled “Stop Stacking the Legal Deck Against Dads.” A timely, well-intended call inviting moms to be nice with their ex, because, you know, there are men who really want to play a role in the life of their children, let us not lose sight of that on Father’s Day.  Since Jasmine Hernandez is a family court lawyer, the reader is given a short digest of New York State family laws.

That’s where her piece gets questionable, as it ultimately justifies one of the most unfair family laws in the country. Take her distinction between “physical custody” and “legal custody” for instance. Hernandez want us to believe that when “a dad has relinquished physical custody,” he nonetheless has plenty of room to exert a meaningful role in the life of his children, because he is not deprived of legal custody. Truly, legal custody is a legal fiction if mom wants ex out the life of the children; Of course, dad can resort to the services of good lawyers like Hernandez to prevent it…

Obviously, non-custodial dads would be much better off without the flimsy legal custody they have now, and if joint custody were to be the default option in divorce in New York State.

Have you ever heard about a lawyer who wants to change the law, not just walk you through it?

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A year ago, I was once again stuck in family court. Ex was dragging me there one more time for unreimbursed medical expenses, mostly orthodontic, for my girls.  Ex did not want to use my dental insurance, did not ask health providers to fill insurance claims and was instructing health providers not to speak to me. Our case was assigned to a new  Support Magistrate, let us call her Kukuk. Not the overtly biased type like S.M. Grey but the whimsical, lunatic one. Kukuk first found me in violation and gave me the whole enchilada: the claimed unreimbursed orthodontic expenses and ex-wife lawyers fees. Four months later, she waved the Court order but finally reinstated it for the only reason that I could not be in Court the day she wanted me to. In Manhattan family court, facts and the search for justice are rarely the guide of magistrates’ decisions.

Kukuk’s ruling was proving one more time that in Manhattan Family Court, non-sense would never end. I decided to have my divorce agreement amended in Supreme Court. Some thousands of dollar later, I have a Supreme Court order stating that I can speak to the health providers of my daughters, use my dental and vision insurance for them (which by New York State law, I have to have), and that my ex and I will go over medical expenses at the end of the year: a definite breakthrough for family justice in New York State.

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I recently  heard on the radio that the definition of the poverty level is to be reviewed. The federal  poverty level is indeed based on an

Prisoners of War

old concept and even after adjustment for inflation, the poverty levels do not reflect what it means to be poor today.

But the New York State Child Support Enforcement Unit knows. It has its own, officious concept of poverty or rather a level of income beyond which it will not strip you off of everything you have. Let us introduce to the world  the  S.S.R. : Self Support Reserve. If you ask the Child Support Enforcement Unit why it takes more out of your income than the imbecile percentages defined by law, they will send you a form whereby you have to prove that the amount withheld on your income bring the latter below the SSR.  Everybody will immediately acknowledge the typical bias of New York State family laws: In family courts, you need to prove that you are not guilty. To the Child Support Enforcement unit, that you are not totally dying.

What is the SSR, the magical level that might trigger New York State’ s compassion? $14,620 a year. $1,218 a month. I guess this is the self support level if you live in the Adirondacks in a subsidized housing project and supplement your diet with a lot of apples that you pick on trees.

Why don’t New York State take the next step consistent with its perfect contempt for parental rights and his bureaucratic, Soviet like oppressive child support policy? Built State Non custodial State father camps, half way between New York and Albany.  Non custodial fathers would be transported to their work places and brought back every day to the camp by public transportation. Of course, the fare will be deducted from their SSR, as well as State determined rental fee for their bed in the camp. The bastards would spend what’s left from their SSR into State owned grocery stores.

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