Letter Template To Your State and Federal Elected Officials Asking Where They Stand On Family Law Reform

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: michael.loveandiron@gmail.com.

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:

*************************************************************************************

Dear:

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Sincerely,

You Want Family Law Reforms? Okay, Here’s One Thing That Needs To Happen…

Earlier in the week, I had an experience with a recently added member to one of our closed Facebook groups where he offered some criticism about our strategy of publicizing the need for Family Law Reform with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and within the blogosphere.

Basically, I get the sense he’s an old school guy who has spent years busting his tail to actively and publically protest against the corruption within our Family Court system, and I more or less got the feeling that he thinks what we’re doing isn’t bold or dangerous enough to attract any significant attention.

And then this morning, I was having another conversation with a friend of mine about signing a petition. Here’s how it went: 

KP:

 “I don’t know if any of you have experienced this, but for every petition I’ve signed or letter written to members of our government, I get back a generic email stating this is not an issue for that specific branch to deal with. I am then resending the petitions and asking “why not?” As long as they keep saying “not me or my problem” they continue to push our children aside. Our children should be cared for at a local, state, and federal level. If gov’t officials aren’t worried about it, they should be. After all, who’s going to be making the laws and caring for them when they’re retired and need care? I don’t want my kids being that callous. We take care of them now, they learn to care for others later.”

Michael:

“I’m not a big fan of these petitions; at least not yet. I probably get asked to sign 10 of these a day, from groups splintered all over the place, and I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even bother, because they can’t generate enough political weight to be taken seriously – The conditions and the timing aren’t right.”

KP:

“I agree to a point. Right now, everyone’s wondering about the upcoming election and they’re treading lightly. I also agree these petitions don’t carry much weight. We are inundated with so much every day, we’re blocking a great deal of it out. But, I also know there will never be a “right time” in someone’s eyes. So, I keep bugging until someone listens. Someone, somewhere will say “now it’s time” if we keep asking.”

Michael:

“Well, in my opinion here’s the deal.  And I say this, because professionally, I deal with this a lot.

Politicians aren’t going to start taking us seriously until the Media starts taking us seriously.

And one of the first things the Media does when it wants to assess the newsworthiness of a cause is check FB, Twitter, etc. to see what kind of following the cause has. Hey, Media people are busy, and that’s a quick and dirty way for them to evaluate the potential public interest in a story, and these protests, petitions, etc. don’t have the physical weight to work well yet.

Sure, they do generate publicity, but not a significant amount, because the reality is the Media simply sees 20 or 30 people jumping up and down outside the Court house, who they perceive are merely pissed-off about having to pay child support, and they just don’t think this is newsworthy.  Of course we know this perception is wrong, but, this is the majority one today- rightly or wrongly, it is what it is.

Now, the reason why that Bank of America petition earlier this year worked so damn well is because nearly everyone LOATHES banks, especially big banks. They nickel and dime us, they hide fees, the charge interest, they sue us, foreclose on us – whatever; they tend to frequently piss EVERYONE off.  So, a petition like that already has the base and the energy, and that’s why, especially in today’s economy, it flew off the radar.

We’re not there yet.

Truthfully, there are millions of us who’re angry about that injuries that have been done to us and our children, but most aren’t seriously activated, and many are simply too afraid to speak out for fear of reprisal from a justice system relies heavily on secrecy and draconian measures to enforce its will.

But even more important, there are also one hell of a lot of folks who have a LOT to lose if reforms are actually made, and they ARE activated.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) has just under 40,000 Facebook followers.  Our two primary Lobby/Activist groups: Fathers and Families (just under 4,000 followers) and The American Coalition for Fathers and Children  (just under 1,500) are not even close in terms of political capital.  And nothing significant is going to happen to accomplish our goals until these numbers come up.

So first, we have to continue to work on coming together.  And as we do this, we have to realize that it’s unrealistic to believe we will ever persuade those who don’t agree with us.  But we can influence the middle, and they too, will begin to listen once we can show social proof in the form of numbers.”

Do I think petitions and protests are valuable tactics in affecting strategies for Family Law Reform?

Yup.

However, times change, and what worked yesterday, may not work as well today.

Petitions and protests certainly have their place, and as I mentioned above, they do generate publicity.  However, we must ADAPT to the conditions of today. 

So, let me try putting it this way: If NOW started sponsoring rallies against Family Law Reform, and The American Coalition For Fathers and Children started sponsoring rallies for Family Law Reform; which group do you think will be awarded greater credibility by the Media and the Public at large?

Effective strategy means adapting and exploiting current conditions to your advantage.  Petitions and protests appear to offer that quick fix we so desperately want, but the problem is, the conditions aren’t optimal for those tactics to work well yet.

Social networking platforms like Facebook give each one of us the power and the ability to publicize the truth without having to depend on the Media to do it.  And interestingly enough, it’s that very power that, these days, will actually work to attract the attention of the Media in the first place.

Statistically, each one of us knows at least two or three people within our group of Facebook friends who’ve been screwed over by the Family Court. 

Have you reached out to them?  Have you pointed them toward a group, page, or cause that can offer them love, support, and an opportunity to get involved?

The lesson here is a simple one: work on setting up and building the right conditions, then any number of tactics will have great power.

~ Michael

Feminist Arguing About Parenting Rights 101: How To Look Credible While Being Dishonest

So, I’m happy to report that one of our posts (the one pinned to the top of our page) got trolled again. I love this, because it means we’re being effective.

So, in order to make the point, I presume, that the position of this page and its followers is invalid, she cites an opinion piece (linked below) by Huffington Post Feminist “Divorce Coach”, Cathy W. Meyer; “Do Dads Really Get Dissed In Divorce Court?”

Please note the following quote taken directly from the website of Ms. Myers:

“I think the female spirit is the most beautiful, complex thing God has ever created. I believe that we can do anything we put our minds too. If you don’t believe me, watch Man on Wire.”

Ok, I think helps lend some perspective on where this piece is starting from.

So, let’s look at the arguments:

Now in her piece, the author cites statistics from a Pew Center Research study from June 2011 in which data is pulled from The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s ongoing study “National Study for Family Growth.”

Her first argument, as taken from both reports, is that working mother’s spend twice as much time participating in daily care activities as working fathers.

However, in neither report, can I find any statistical definition of how this variable is defined.

Never the less, let’s assume, even accept, that the premise that different roles within the family structure lend themselves to the working mothers being more involved in child caring activities than the father.

The article then goes into alarmist mode.

“More startling are the stats on absent fathers or the amount of time fathers spend with children once the divorce is final. According to the above study, when fathers and children live separately, 22 percent of fathers see their children more than once a week. Twenty-nine percent of fathers see their children one to four times a month. The most disturbing fact though is that 27 percent of fathers have no contact with their children at all.”

You’ll note here, that the author is implying that fathers are choosing to be absent. She makes a weak acknowledgement for the counter argument noting that “some” fathers assert that the Family Court system, the body of Family Court Law, parental alienation, or child support laws are creating absent fathers.

She then goes on to refute this by citing another study by Divorcepeers.com claiming that 91% of all custody disputes are settled without intervention by the Court.

And in those cases, cites these statistics:

In 51% of the cases, both parties agreed that Mom become the custodial parent.

In 29% of the cases, the decision was made without 3rd party involvement.

11% of decisions for custody to Mom were made during mediation. Translation: Dad is now educated about the realities of Family Law and Court Tendencies.

5% of custody decisions required a court appointed parenting plan evaluator.

Of the 4% for the cases went to trial, of that 4%, only 1.5% complete custody litigation. Translation: if it goes to trial 98.5% of trial cases are decided by the Court.

Then the big close, in 91% of custody cases are decided with no interference from the Court system

Ahh, now can see the beauty of Feminist argument framing tactics.

So, lets approach this in an honest way.

In 51% of the cases, both parties agreed Mom should be the custodial parent – Cool, if both parties agree, that’s awesome – to each their own.

What does the other 49% mean – that they agreed Dad should be the custodial parent? That there was a dispute over custody? Was any custody disputed centered around equal or shared custody?

She doesn’t say. Interesting.

71% of the cases were resolved with mediation or Court Intervention.  What were the financial controls and budget constraints affecting these outcomes? Is the ability to use child support to pay legal fees a factor? How about informative educations from legal professionals about the reality of family law and how things are likely to turn out?

She doesn’t address this. Interesting.

5% of custody decisions required a court appointed parenting plan evaluator. Translation: I have no idea, because she didn’t define this variable – 5% of what?

I suspect this was mindfully left undefined. Interesting.

And lastly 98.5% of custody cases that go to trial are decided by the Court.

And she uses these statistics to support her argument that Family Law is not biased?

It’s pretty clear to me, that the statistics she is throwing out support our argument that the body of Family Court Law has been engineered to achieve a predetermined outcome. 

So she closes with the following assertions:

Fathers are far less involved with children during marriage.  However, no statistical definition is provided.

Fathers are less involved after divorce. Controls for financial or court restraints are not accounted for.

Mothers gain custody because the vast majority of fathers choose to. Roughly half of Dads do this before Court intervention. The other half give in before going to trial – why is this?

Her last assertion is garbage. She’s saying the same thing she said in he previous three points.

I love the circular logic here. Current outcomes prove that the current outcomes are correct.

I wonder what would happen to current outcomes under the presumption of equal parenting?

And interestingly enough, if in fact Cathy Meyer’s argument is correct, then she and other feminists would have absolutely nothing to fear from Family Court reforms that presume 50/50 custody and parenting rights, because men would voluntarily grant primary custody to the mother as she claims they are doing now. Yet, she’s using her argument as a reason to prevent these reforms.

Why?  

Nice try – Very Dishonest. 

Fail.

Love and Iron Update 5/6/12

The Graceful Influence Progression has been added to the menu.

This series is designed to give you helpful insights into human nature so that you and your children can accomplish more with less effort.

Regards,

Michael

Task List Of Current Projects

Please stay tuned as we release details for these and other publicity projects we’ve got in the pipeline 🙂

I.       Project: Cooperative Outreach 

II.     Graceful Influence

III.   Family law Refrom

IV.    Community Project: Jiggles McBouncy!

V.      Community Project: Mission and Position Statement

VI.    Loving With Letters Campaign

V.      The Greate Facebook Wall Crawl

VII.   Media Outreach

VIII. Digital Journal