This morning, FathersandFamilies.org put out an excellent call to action on its Facebook page.
Here it is:
“Have you ever wondered where your local State Representative or Senator stands on the presumption for equally shared parenting, or what they think about Judges using discretion to bypass equal parentage and access to children by Non-Custodial families? Well, let’s find out. Fathers and Families is asking today that you go to Google and search your State’s Legislative or General Assembly website to find your State level Representative and Senator (pick one Rep and one Senator) and email both asking where they stand on you being allowed to have equal access to your children and financially supporting them directly, as well as how to deal with Judges who prevent that.
Once both have responded, come back to this post and type the name of the State you are in, the Rep/Senators name, and copy and paste their response.”
So, I wrote my own letter this morning and sent it off.
It’s important that each and every one of us let our officials know where we stand on Family Law reform, and what the consequences will be should they continue to ignore us. Therefore, everyone should send this letter or a letter of their own making to their elected officials!
So, with this in mind, you are free to copy the letter I wrote and send it off yourself.
To copy it, just hi-light it with your mouse and hit “control c”. You can then paste it (“control v”) directly into your email or word document to edit and send it as you see fit.
If you’d like me to send you the word document, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Please do NOT send me a Facebook message asking for this document. I will NOT respond to those. If you want the word file, you must email me at the gmail account.
Here it is:
I believe the gift of parenting children is the single greatest blessing and experience an individual can enjoy in life. Therefore to me, parenting rights are not a “special rights” concern; they are a “human rights” concern.
So, I want to ask where you stand on an important political issue: Family Law Reform.
As you may or may not be aware, our current system of Family Law has devolved into one in which a whole host of Family Court Industry players are profiteering from the minimization or elimination of parenting time and rights for non-custodial parents.
Many custodial parents, lawyers, parenting plan evaluators, supervised parenting services, States, friends of the Court social workers, many Courts, and others; are making money by using children as an excuse to exploit non-custodial parents, causing irreparable harm to both children and their parents in the process.
I, and a rapidly growing base of many others, would like this to stop. More specifically, we are asking for five primary reforms to Family Law:
- The presumption of 50/50 custody and parenting rights during and after divorce. We are NOT asking for a REQUIREMENT of 50/50, because we still want parents to be able to decide for themselves what works best for them. However, in the event that case goes to trial, instead of having the NCP being forced to rise to a high standard to show why they should have time with their children, I believe it’s far healthier for both parents and children for the parent contesting this time to be required to rise to a high standard to show why the NCP should NOT have equal time with their children. And while this may dramatically hit the financial accounts of those who are profiting from creating or aggravating conditions of conflict, this reform will affect far healthier outcomes for families.
- I would like reforms to child support calculations. More specifically, an elimination of financial incentives for minimizing or eliminating a non-custodial parent’s time with their little ones. As it sits now, there are basically two pieces to the child support calculation: (1) An actual physical needs worksheet, and (2) A tax-free income redistribution; with the Court establishing the higher of the two as the child support order. I recognize that custodial parents may need some time to adjust after divorce, and I have no problems with alimony/maintenance. However, I would like the alimony portion of child support to be eliminated. If a CP wants to better their lifestyle, they can put the work into bettering themselves just like NCP’S are often admonished to do when seeking modifications to lower child support orders. Children are NOT tax-free, income producing assets, and NCP’s are NOT indentured servants.
- Reforms to child support enforcement: If one wants to accomplish a goal, it helps establish good or helpful conditions to achieve that goal. Unfortunately, the Family Court has become accustomed to pathological and often draconian measures for enforcement in which the civil rights of NCP’s are systematically ignored or eliminated through administrative court procedures. If a person loses their job, or becomes ill or disabled, it makes no sense what so ever, to take away their driver’s license, vocational license, destroy their credit, throw them in jail, or force them into homelessness. How does this help to ensure the support gets caught-up? It doesn’t. It simply makes the problem worse and sets the non-custodial parent up for future, life-destroying failures. Truthfully, current regimes for enforcement measures that treat “deadbroke” parents as common criminals are completely inappropriate.
- Social Security Act, Title IV, Part D, Section 458 “Incentive Payments To States”: I have no problem, in theory, with states being rewarded for child support enforcement. However, I have a big problem with States profiting from it, and I have a REALLY big problem with the lack of resources available to NCP’s for visitation enforcement. For little or no cost, a CP can have the state pursue civil or criminal remedies for delinquent child support. However, an NCP in reality, must hire an attorney if his or her visitation orders are being ignored, and often, these orders are not enforced with anywhere near the same severity by the Court as they are with child support orders. And I’m confident this is happening in large part, due to the financial interests of those parties noted in paragraph four. Therefore, if there is going to be Federal incentives for the enforcement of Family Court orders, I want equal weighting and importance put the enforcement of visitation orders. Honestly, the message that money is more important than a parent’s relationship and the emotional well-being of children is remarkably disgusting. I simply can’t tolerate that kind of worldview.
- VAWA reform. I agree that victims of abuse and violence need the ability to feel safe in swiftly seeking the protection of the Justice system. However, fraudulent allegations of abuse made during Family Court are getting out of control. This is a gender-neutral problem, and it seems it now boils down to which party can launch this nuclear attack first. There are no remedies available to the victims of fraudulent allegations – none, and the damage these allegations cause to both children and parents is catastrophic. The American Bar Association loves to fall back on VAWA as its reasoning for opposing any kind of Family Law reform. However, I can’t help but wonder how much money attorneys and investigators are making from a law that allows someone to be accused of such a serious crime and presumed guilty of it, with no credible evidence what-so-ever. Something needs to be done about this, right now.
In short, much of the current political and judicial rationalizing for the current structure of Family Law centers on the concept of what’s “in the best interests of the children”. However, what is becoming increasingly clear is that children are simply being used as an excuse to hide a greedier underlying motive that is causing significant and irreparable harm to parents and children alike.
I understand you can expect to receive significant resistance to my ideas for reform because those parties noted earlier have a great deal to lose when they take place.
However, I’m not concerned about them. I’m concerned about the health and well-being children and parents, and your position on this matter will affect my voting behavior going forward.
Therefore, I will be grateful if you will tell me, in plain and simple words, where you stand on Family Law Reform.
Thank you so much for your time.