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Posts Tagged ‘The Guardian’

lawyersIn the first week in his presidency, Trump has swiftly moved ahead with absurd infrastructure projects: The wall, the keystone and Dakota pipelines. He also stepped without any second thought on the Geneva convention when he barred entry to refugees from seven Muslim countries. Actually, this statement is incorrect: Trump did not have second thought about the Geneva convention, he did not even know what it was.  Chancelor Merkel had to explain it to the poor fellow, and the duties countries which signed the convention  -the U.S. among them- have with the  the prisoners of wars, the refugees  seeking asylum.

While people from these Muslim countries – among them green card holders- were stranded in US airports this weekend, immigration lawyers came to the airports, to help them remain in the U.S. and protect their rights.  I have not always been lenient with lawyers. These lawyers command my respect.

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Jason Hatch (NYT magazine, May 8 2005)

Jason Hatch (cover of NYT magazine, May 8 2005)

I started struggling with New York City family court justice in June 2002, as I was put on trial for physical abuse. In these early and sombre years when the fathers’ rights movement was in its infancy in the US, there was not much a sole custodial father on trial could hang on to, except for what was going on in the UK. Which I found out in the May 8 2005 issue of the New York Times Magazine, featuring Jason Hatch in its cover page. Headline:  ” Sure, Happy Mother’s Day. But…I Want to See My Kids. The rise of the fathers custody movement.  I kept it until this day.

That’s why I got nervous reading Ally Fog’s piece in the Guardian, “Fathers4 Justice: The Solution lies in our family, not in family courts.” Thesis: the F4J folks are entrenched in a pointless “all or nothing position.” The children and family bill is entering a second reading (thanks, by the way, to F4J for it) and it includes the statutory assumption of shared but not necessarily equal parenting. But according to Fog, F4J wants nothing to do with it. Then we are told that “family courts can solve all of our problems,”  shared parenting has to start from the moment of birth. Sweden’s example is pointed at, where fathers benefit from paid paternity leaves, and actually take them. These blessed Swedish fathers have harmonious relationship with their partners early on, and less litigious separations later.

Sure. That’s real sensitive strategy for divorced fathers. Let’s just wait for à- la Swede institutional changes to come and exert their pacifying influence on family relations, and problems will be solved. The political momentum in the UK is just ripe for that. Who is going to be take the lead in implement these changes? David Cameron?

I like the Scandinavian social model as much as the other guy, but it won’t spare us from asking the family court system for equal rights with women.

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Photo: Fathers- 4- Justice

That’s happening in the UK;  The government is to attempt to change the law so that both parents – mothers and fathers- will have the right to see their children. Family Courts will have the responsibility to give to fathers time with their children. This is not joint custody, but a step in the right direction.

Matt O’ Connor, the President of Fathers 4 Justice (UK) , is not happy about it. From what I understand of the debate in the UK, the law is not going to prevent women to invoke child abuse to deny fathers access to their children.  Point taken.  Yet, from New York State  (and most of the States), where family courts have one motto – bleed the turnip  (the non-custodial father who does not see his children)-, a law like this would be significant progress.

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Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?...' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.