Sunday, October 31, 2004

Non-Custodial Parental Rights Petition

This petition explains the gripes of non-custodial parents. It says:
I could give you countless examples of fathers who have been victimized. I’m not referring to the “deadbeat dad” types who leave their ex-wives and children living in the streets. I am talking about hard working, tax paying, child-loving fathers who live for their children. The ones who had their children stripped from them for the simple reason of their ex-wife deciding that she just no longer wanted to be married. The ones who are allowed to see their children for 4 days a month. The ones who are allowed to see their children for a few weeks over the summer. The ones who are required to pay astronomical amounts of child support, often putting themselves in a situation where they barely can afford to live. These are the fathers that are relying on the judges, lawyers, and Legislators to help reform the system. This system has created a society of fatherless children and childless fathers. This system has created its own life through a judicial system that exists on misery to feed itself.

This system violates their Constitutional Rights to Due process, Equal Protection under the Laws, and Privacy.
Almost 7000 people have signed it.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Federal courts may have jurisdiction over some custody issues

I am looking into the possibility of federal court jurisdiction over custody issues.

A helpful reader writes:
I forwarded to you a news item about a federal lawsuit challenging the way child custody decisions are made by state family courts.

The lawsuit alleges that the practice of awarding sole custody to one parent violates the federal constitutional rights of the non-custodial parent (NCP).

The lawsuit is sponsored by a group of NCPs whose website is here.

The sponsors have prepared a model lawsuit which they hope to file in each state, led by a named plaintiff resident in that state (I think they have 41 so far). Then they hope to merge the separate suits into a single national class action. ...

The lawsuit was written by non-lawyers, and it shows. It's hard to see how even the most sympathetic judge could find a valid cause of action buried in there. Even if the lawsuit lacks any legal merit, however, it could still help focus public attention on the injustices being done in custody courts.

The lawsuit assumes that the U.S. Constitution recognizes and protects the right of parents to the custody of their children, and to direct their upbringing. Such a right has been mentioned in a handful of Supreme Court decisions but it is not well defined, to say the least. Robert Bork criticized the creation of this right, saying it was analogous to Dred Scott and Roe v. Wade.

The most recent case asserting this right is Troxel v. Granville (2000). (Also here.)

This was an oddball case with a fractured court: Scalia and Thomas were on opposite sides, and O'Connor and Kennedy were on opposite sides.

Troxel v. Granville holds that state courts cannot award custody or visitation to a non-parent against the wishes of a child's only parent (absent a finding that the parent is unfit). In that case, the child had only one surviving parent.

What the NCPs seek is a holding that parents, assuming both are fit, have an equal right to custody and state courts cannot deprive either parent of his or her equal right to custody.

It seems to me that the only hope of establishing that principle would be to invoke and extend the decision in Troxel v. Granville. I have not read the Troxel case closely enough to see if that is feasible. ...

I forwarded to you from LEXIS the federal class action, Nicholson v. Williams, 203 F.Supp.2d 153 (March 18, 2002). The decision was by Jack Weinstein, a notorious judicial supremacist and lover of class actions who once tried to hold the entire gun industry liable for gun injuries.

What is useful about this opinion is several pages of discussion about the source of federal law over family custody and the basis for federal court jurisdiction over state court decisions.

The decision is now on appeal to the 2nd Circuit which "certified" a question of state law to NY state courts. With the recent response from NY, the 2nd Circuit will now proceed to its decision.

None of these cases involve splitting custody between two fit parents but it would seem to be a short step from the relevant principles.
Judge Weinstein summarized the Troxel case:
"It cannot now be doubted that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their [**218] children." Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 120 S. Ct. 2054, 147 L. Ed. 2d 49 (2000).

In Troxel, the Court struck down aWashington statute which allowed state courts to rule on petitions by nonparental persons for visitation rights by reference to a court determination of the "best interests of the child" without necessarily considering the parent's position. Id. at 67. A plurality of the Court held that " [HN30] the Due Process Clause does not permit a State to infringe on the fundamental right of the parents to make child rearing decisions simply because a state judge believes a 'better' decision could be made." Id. at 72--73. Because the "sweeping breadth" of the statute furnished sufficient grounds to find it unconstitutional, the Troxel Court explicitly left undecided the question of whether the state was required to show harm or potential harm to a child before overcoming a parental decision on what was in the best interest of the child. Id. at 73.
I am not an NCP. Not yet, anyway. If I become one, then I may want to join this federal lawsuit.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Paternity: Innocence Is Now a Defense

A California appellate court ruled that Manuel Navarro could stop paying child support because a DNA test proved that he was not the father.

This Wash Times story says:
Fathers' rights groups cheered a state appeals court ruling for Manuel Navarro as a victory for "paternity fraud" victims, but their celebrations may be short-lived. The Los Angeles County child-support agency has asked for the appellate court ruling to be "depublished," or omitted from official records, so no other man can use it to overturn his child-support order. ...

Mr. Navarro said he was never properly served child-support papers and was assigned child support in absentia. He recently underwent a DNA test that proved he was not the father of the boys.

When he went to court with his proof, however, the trial court ruled that Mr. Navarro still had to pay the child support because he did not protest it in time.

Mr. Navarro appealed and, on June 30, the appellate court handed him a victory, reversing the trial court decision and declaring that Los Angeles County "should not enforce child-support judgments it knows to be unfounded."
So the Los Angeles County child-support agency wants to continue fraudulently gouging non-fathers for child support, and hide the court decision that would get the innocent men off the hook! (In spite of the agency's request, the decision was published.)

There is currently a proposed California law (AB 252) that is intended to supercede the Navarro decision. The law would authorize a court to set aside a voluntary declaration of paternity under certain circumstances, unless it determines that denial of such action is in the best interest of the child.

Apparently there is case law that says that there is no way to take any action, criminal or civil, against the mom who deliverately lies about who the father is for the purpose of false collecting child support.

Basinger wins custody over Baldwin's daughter

Movie stars Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger had a widely publicized divorce and custody fight earlier this year. They both seem like nut cases to me, but the outcome was very unfavorable to Baldwin. This says:
Baldwin has agreed to see an anger-management therapist and take a series of at least eight classes "which emphasizes the development of children between the ages of 6 and 8."

Baldwin also agreed to put a phone line in his daughter's room at his expense, and then to only call the little girl between 7 and 8 a.m. and between 6 and 6:30 p.m. Basinger has agreed to teach the child how to use the phone and get her messages from a voice mail system. Baldwin also agreed to only call Basinger in case of an emergency.

When he visits his daughter, who lives with her mother in L.A., Baldwin has agreed to limit his visits to the third weekend of each month, during which he can see her for dinner on Friday and the period of noon to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

If he wants to pay a visit to Ireland's school, he must notify Basinger by email at least one week in advance.
It sounds like a vindictive Basinger found a man-hating evaluator.

NY court limits removing children

The NY Times reports:
New York State's highest court ruled yesterday that child welfare authorities cannot take children from parents and place them in foster care merely because they have been exposed to domestic abuse at home.

The court formalized specific standards for removing children from homes where domestic abuse occurs, requiring that authorities exhaust alternatives and insisting that the possible threat to the child's health or welfare be imminent.

... the Court of Appeals ruled that a parent's inability to prevent a child from witnessing domestic abuse did not amount to formal neglect, a standard used for taking a child into foster care. To conclude that a mother had been neglectful, the court held, the authorities would have to prove that the mother had failed to exercise a basic level of care in shielding the child as best she could from the scenes of abuse.

The court ruled that there could be no "blanket presumption" favoring removing a child who had merely witnessed a parent being abused.
The case resulted from a federal class action lawsuit on constitutional grounds. I am surprised that such an approach would do any good. Apparently NY city was routinely removing children from homes with spousal abuse, even tho the children were not abused and the parents objected. Furthermore, it was usually done by govt social workers who claimed to have emergency powers, and removed the kids without any court order.

The NY court says that the city has to clean up its act. The city says that its practices are already "nuanced", and that they could just ignore the court ruling.

I guess that the court's theory is if the dad is beating the mom, then it is unfair to the mom to seize the kids. But why would anyone think that spousal abuse has anything to do with child abuse or neglect anyway?

The spousal abuse should be none of anyone's business, unless some victim wants to file a criminal complaint. The the perp should get his due process, including a jury trial and appeal, if necessary. But why punishing the kids?

What's going on here? Is the city trying to go around busting up marriages?

Maybe some busybody neighbor anonymously calls in a domestic violence complaint. City social workers visit, but no one makes a complaint. So the city social workers threaten the mom to take her kids away, unless she makes a complaint. She thinks that she be able to tell the judge what a good mom she is, but the social workers takes the kids away anyway without anyone seeing a judge. To get her kids back, she has to either kick her husband out, or have him prosecuted for spousal abuse.

Is that what is going on here? Social workers trying to correct marital relationships by seizing kids?

I'll have to do some more research on this. It is hard to believe that NY city social workers could be so evil. But it is also hard to see how anyone could justify so many emergency child removals when there isn't even any abuse or neglect of the child.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Tommy Lee arrested in 1998

I just saw rock drummer Tommy Lee on TV. I didn't know that he served 4 months in jail for beating his ex-Baywatch beauty wife, Pamela Anderson Lee. She had a broken fingernail and some redness on her back.

I am not condoning wife-beating, but the punishment seems to be far in excess of the crime. Pamela Anderson was a millionare with thriving career, and she could have left him at any time. A broken nail is trivial compared to the sacrifices that husbands and wives routinely make to support a marriage.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The ugly facts of father absence

This pro-fathers site supports the Mass. advisory referendum on encouraging shared custody in the courts. It also says:
The ugly facts of father absence

Fatherless homes account for 63% of youth suicides, 90% of homeless/runaway children, 85% of all children with behavioral problems, 71% of high school drop outs, 85% of youths in prison, and well over 50% of teen mothers.

Fatherless boys are 63% more likely to run away and 37% more likely to abuse drugs. Fatherless girls are 2 ½ times as likely to get pregnant and 53% more likely to commit suicide. Both fatherless boys and girls are twice as likely to drop out of high school, twice as likely to end up in jail and nearly 4 times as likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems. (March 1999 Health and Human Services report)
Some of this fatherlessness is caused by evil policies of the family court that devalue fatherhood and alienate children from their fathers.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Paternity Disestablishment

I looked at some cases on paternity disestablishment and I am astounded at what I found. There are apparently lots of men paying child support for kids even when a DNA test proves them not to be the father.

Here is a case from the Illinois supreme court within the last month. It turns out that Congress forced the states to make it difficult to men to prove non-paternity:
In 1996, changes in Title IV-D of the Social Security Act restricted challenges to voluntary paternity to within 60 days of the time a child support order is established, and required that "a voluntary acknowledgment may be challenged in court only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact, with the burden of proof on the challenger." (42 U.S.C. §666(a)(5)(D)(ii-iii) (2000))
Illinois passed laws to conform to the feds, and then in 1998 passed a law that:
"allows a man who has been adjudicated the father of a child pursuant to the presumption that he is the father due to the marriage, if there is a DNA test discovers that the man is not the natural father, then the orders involving custody, visitation and child support can be declared null and void." (Emphasis added.) 90th Ill. Gen. Assem., Senate Proceedings, April 1, 1998, at 10.
Nevertheless, the Illinois supreme court ignored the 1998 law, and forced the man to continue to pay child support for the kid that a DNA test proved that he did not father.

Up until now, I had assumed that the evil of state paternity laws was based on states being slow to adapt to DNA technology. But apparently there are much more insidious forces at work. States are making non-fathers pay up just because they don't want to jeopardize some federal funding. The feds have no business messing with paternity laws.

The laws are fundamentally biased and unfair. They are biased because there are no constraints on women challenging parentage decisions. A woman can use a DNA test at any time to eliminate any support obligations that she might have. But a man cannot.

Some of these paternity decisions include in their reasoning a statement that a false paternity should be maintained because it is in the best interests of the child. Recognizing a DNA test might bastardize the child, and the child might benefit from child support payments to the mother. But it is also grotesquely unfair to make a husband pay for his wife's adultery.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Lawyer Who Fought Pledge Assails Courts on Custody

This NY Times story says:
In a passionate, rapid-fire speech that lasted more than an hour, Dr. Newdow described problems with the family-law system, which makes custody decisions based on the "best interests of the child."

But that is "a meaningless standard which you can't fight," Dr. Newdow said. Which is best for children, he asked, to teach them to be generous or to teach them to be stingy? To spend time on Shakespeare or on baseball?

"Which is better? We don't know," he said. And there are no valid studies that answer the question of what is best for children, he said. Instead, judges simply impose their own biases about what they think is best, with no checks or balances. ...

Dr. Newdow stressed that he believes the government has the obligation to protect children from harm. But absent abuse or harm, he argued, the government should not impose conditions on parents who are before the court that it would not impose on intact families, like telling parents where to live or how to behave.

The solution Dr. Newdow proposes for many of these problems is a presumption that parents should share custody evenly.
Newdow is exactly correct. The article goes on:
That proposal is popular with fathers' rights groups, which are trying to have it adopted by courts and legislatures around the country, arguing in part that it is better for children to have both parents involved in their lives.

Psychologists generally agree in cases where the parents can cooperate, but raise concerns about joint custody's effect on children where the parents are engaged in constant strife. And some experts warn that parents who insist on a strict division of custodial time are less interested in what is good for children and more interested in lowering child support payments or in controlling their former spouses.

In New York, court decisions have held that joint custody is inappropriate in so-called high-conflict cases.

But Dr. Newdow argued that the fundamental unfairness of current custody law increased the conflict.
Again, Newdow is correct. My wife and I are actually quite civil to each other, and agree on most child-rearing issues. But you'd never know it from her 50 pages of gripes that she submitted to the court. Apparently her lawyer has advised her that in order to destroy joint custody and get primary custody, she has to portray our situation as a high-conflict case. Then psychologists and judges mistakenly think that it is better to give custody to the mom.

Shared Custody on the Ballot in Massachusetts

Family law issues affect millions of people, and a lot of them are very unhappy about it, but it doesn't become an election issue very often. Here is an exception:
A ballot question, sponsored by The Fatherhood Coalition will ask voters in many state legislative districts if their representatives should support joint custody as a standard in divorce proceedings.
The Libertarian Party candidate for President has taken a stand for parents' rights:
The default presumption in any divorce proceeding must be for joint custody of minor children.
Badnarik has some goofy ideas about getting the courts to recognize fathers rights as a matter of constitutional rights. I doubt it, but I'm glad that someone is addressing this major issue.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Deadbeat dads given chance to prove their innocence

In California, a man can be sued for child support without ever being served papers, and ordered to pay child support without ever appearing in court. It gets worse:
Mr. Riddick said he was assigned a child support payment by default after a woman he knew named him the father of her child. The 1994 payment grew over time to $1,400 per month for the past four years.
Mr. Riddick said he found out he wasn't the father in 1996 after he was arrested as "a deadbeat dad." The criminal-court judge ordered DNA testing for Mr. Riddick, the mother and the child. "It showed I had a 0 percent chance of being the father of this child," he said.
The criminal-court judge threw out the charge, but when Mr. Riddick tried to get his child- support order overturned in civil court, state officials refused.
"They said the criminal court case had nothing to do with the civil case and I would still have to pay child support for 18 years," Mr. Riddick said. "And I've never even seen this kid."
The consequences have been severe.
"Lost my home, ruined my marriage," he said, adding that the "real victims" are his biological children, whom he has been hard-pressed to support.
The Wash Times article says that:
Last week, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill to allow men to challenge the paternity of children for whom they owe support.
All of the above horrors can still happen, but at least the deadbeat dads will have a window of opportunity to prove that they are not even dads.

The family court is still a Mickey Mouse court. If it were a real court, then the alleged deadbeat dad would be entitled to its day in court, and the plaintiff would have to prove its case. He should be innocent until proven guilty.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Evaluation delayed

I just got this message from my wife's lawyer:
I received a message from Dr. [name omitted] yesterday that he will need additional time to prepare his evaluation in this matter and asked that the court date be set some time after November 10th. Will you be available on November 16th for court?
So I guess I'll have to wait another week or two. I'd like to believe that the shrink is using the time in order to do an extra-careful job. I'll reserve judgment until I get his report.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Waiting for the evaluation

The court-appointed psychologist promised the judge a written evaluation "on or before October 19", so as to be ready for the Oct. 26 hearing. So maybe it is already in the mail to me. I don't know.

I've never seen one of these evaluations, so I don't know what to expect. Since it cost me $1600, I am guessing that the shrink will write 10 pages or so to justify the money. Whatever he says, it will likely be taken as dispositive by the judge. There are just too many minor allegations for the judge to cope with, so he'll just take the supposed expert opinion as the best action. I can contest his recommendation, but I am told that it is nearly impossible to convince a judge to go against what the shrink recommends.

The scary part is that the shrink only talked to me for an hour. He also talked to my wife for an hour, and to the kids for about 20 minutes apiece. Maybe he liked me; maybe he didn't. It seems like such a crap-shoot. I don't know accusations she might have made against me in her interview, and she doesn't know what I said about her. In a real court, I'd have the constitutional right to face my accusers.

The shrink seemed like an honest and sincere fellow, but he has an impossible task. He cannot know what is best for the kids. He should not be judge and jury for domestic violence allegations. He cannot possibly have the proper context to properly interpret a few stray comments from a 5-year-old or a 7-year-old. All I can do is to sit back, and hope I get lucky. And prepare to hire a lawyer, if I am unlucky.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Lawyers act in their interests

I got some suggestions about hiring a lawyer. I will almost certainly need one if we get to a trial.

One thing to keep in mind when hearing a lawyer, or when hiring any professional, that the lawyer's interests do not always match the client's interests. First and foremost, the lawyer wants to make money for himself. He needs to have satisfied clients, but the clients are rarely in a good position to evaluate how good a job that the lawyer really did. I will probably be unhappy with the court, but I won't know whether it was my lawyer's fault, or if he got the best deal under the circumstances.

Some lawyers like to very aggressively attack the other side. Other lawyers like to build a reputation of being reasonable and conciliatory. I don't know which strategy would be more effective in my case. If I hire the wrong kind of lawyer, then it will be bad for me even if he is the best lawyer in the world at what he does.

Thus I cannot hire a lawyer just because he comes highly recommended. And even if I somehow manage to find the best lawyer available for me, I cannot trust him totally. Only a fool would.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Interrogatories and subpoenas

My wife's lawyer just bombarded me with 20 interrogatories, and 8 pages of subpoenas. I don't know why she is going down this route. A year ago we signed a marital settlement agreement with the following clause:
XIV. DISCLOSURES: Each party has made a full and honest disclosure to the other of all current finances and assets, and each enters into this agreement in reliance thereon. Each warrants to the other and declares under penalty of perjury that the assets and liabilities divided in this agreement constitute all of their community assets and liabilities.
Some of the requests are a little wacky. Eg, here is one request:
22. Membership cards or documents identifying participation rights in any country clubs, key clubs, private clubs, associations, or fraternal group organizations during the last year of the marriage, together with all monthly statements.
I don't know what this is about. Does she want to join my health club? I don't even belong to any clubs.

She is opening a can of worms with this one:
15. Claims of Reimbursement. Do you claim the legal right to be reimbursed for any expenditures of your separate or community property? If your answer is yes, state all supporting facts.
I wasn't going to make an issue out of it, but I paid her $80,000 debt from her law school student loans. I paid it with my separate (pre-marital) property. I was just going to write it off as a loss. But now, this interrogatory pretty much forces me to make an issue out of it.

Now I know what you are thinking -- how could I be so foolish? If I paid for her to become a slimy shark lawyer, then why should I be so surprised when she turns on me after becoming a slimy shark lawyer? I don't know what to say. Yes, I thought that she was different. I am trying to learn from my mistakes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Bill O'Reilly is sued

Here is the sexual harassment lawsuit against FoxNews's Bill O'Reilly. O'Reilly says that it is extortion.

Whether or not the claims against O'Reilly have merit, it does sound like extortion to me. The claims are titillating, but not substantial. For example, the former employee threatens to reveal that O'Reilly wife has a vibrator.) The main purpose was an exorbitant confidential settlement. Conventional wisdom says that extortion is legal if it is done by a lawyer, but the law doesn't actually read that way.

People think that Bill O'Reilly is a conservative, and he is on some issues, but he also suffers from the liberal delusion that courts, lawyers, government social workers, teachers, and other do-gooders can be relied upon to look out for the interests of children. On Oct. 3, 2002, he said:
That's one thing that Hillary Clinton got right -- everybody's gotta be looking out for the kids because sometimes the parents are not.
It will be interesting to see how this lawsuit changes his worldview.

At one point in my wife's divorce lawsuit, her lawyer offered to keep the charges against me confidential. She was very careful not to make the offer in writing. She hinted about how I could be embarrassed by publicity from the case, and from the accusations that my wife was going to be making. She promised to file a motion to ask the court to seal the court records, but then refused to do so.

In retrospect, I was foolish to take her position at face value. She was using standard code words for an extortion attempt. Had I been represented by a lawyer, he would have advised me to respond with a confidential settlement offer. Her lawyer figured that I would be willing to pay a lot of money in order to keep her accusations secret.

But lawyers are almost never punished for extortion. (An isolated exception is cited on Volokh's legal blog.) The lawyers who were trying to extort Bill O'Reilly will just say that they were just trying to get a remedy for their client's grievances, and that they were even ethically bound to advance their client's interests in any way possible. My wife's lawyer would say something similar.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Corrupt judge and no one cares

A New York family court judge is on trial for taking bribes to fix cases. But this NY Times story says that nearly all of the victims cannot get their cases reopened. The article explains this by saying:
It is a truism among those who deal professionally with divorce courts that litigants are seldom satisfied with the outcome of their cases.
People are unhappy with family court because the system is fundamentally unfair and broken.

Medical paranoia

My wife just called and complained that we don't have enough emergency epinephrine injectors, in case our kid has a life-threatening allergic reaction to something. I told her that I've bought 4 at her request, but she thought that we should have 6. I explained to her that they cost about $40 apiece, and are labeled to expire in 1 year. She left 1 of our 4 injectors with a preschool 4 months ago, and she hasn't bothered to pick it up.

The child has had a couple of nasty allergic reactions, but they have all been caused by my wife's neglect. I simply avoid exposure to the 2 things for which she has an allergy, and carry an epinephrine injector just in case. I don't expect to ever have to use the injector.

My wife then threw a tantrum when she found out that 2 of our 4 injectors are 6 months beyond the labeled expiration. I told her that they would probably still be good in case of an emergency, and that we have 2 fresh injectors anyway. She wasn't happy with that. She is probably writing up a complaint for the Court about it now.

Here are her previous complaints to the Court about my medical care:
19. Even though our schedules alternate daily, if the children require medical attention, I am responsible for their care. Recently, our younger daughter was ill and required medication. I instructed Father about the administration of the medication, especially because our ill daughter was experiencing difficulty sleeping due to the symptoms from the illness. Father refused to give her the medication. I later learned that our elder daughter gave the younger one her medication, without Father's knowledge. Thankfully, she gave her the right dose.

20. Father has extremely strong opinions about medical attention for our daughters. Every time I am concerned about their health and want to take them in for a check up, he argues vehemently against medical attention. An example of this occurred when our elder daughter became quite ill with a sore throat, fever and difficulty breathing. I had to take the younger daughter to a skating competition and asked Father's assistance in taking the elder daughter to see a doctor. We argued at length. I elected to take our younger daughter to the competition and intended to take the elder daughter to the doctor upon my return two hours later. Upon my return, I eventually tracked Father and our elder daughter down at the [local]Medical Clinic. He stated the tester "allegedly" indicated she had strep throat, as I suspected. The doctor also expressed concern about her tonsils and future ability to breathe if not treated. Father did not believe the diagnosis was accurate. I insured that our daughter took the necessary medication.
Note that in both cases, the child got exactly the medical treatment that my wife wanted her to get. In the latter case, our daughter got penicillin for the (alleged) strep throat, but also got an allergic reaction to the penicillin.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Bogus domestic violence programs

A California paper has this domestic violence story:
I´m ushered in to see Rose, the director of domestic violence services for this $1.6 million budgeted savior of sorts organization. She, founder Dee O´Brien and a team of 40 people, operate the center by offering a wealth of resources to about 700 women a year in the domestic violence program ...

“The statistics are that one in two women will be abused at some point in her life,” Rose says. “So it´s really you and me. And you got a taste of that today. It could be any of us at any time.”
The way this organization defines domestic violence, I am surprised that they don't find that 100% of women are abused. Their definition includes me asking my wife to leave the car keys in the car when she parks the car in the garage, so I won't have to hunt for them when I need the car.

A similar organization has provided my wife with a domestic violence advocate who accompanies her every time she goes to court. Until now, I assumed that such organizations were genuinely helping women in need. They are using tax money to sabotage marriages and judicial processes. They make a mockery of the term "domestic violence". They have convinced my wife that she is a victim of domestic violence because I once stood in a doorway talking to her and "refusing to budge".

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Class action lawsuit for more equitable custody

This CNN story tells of a class action lawsuit in behalf of noncustodial parents. It says:
Generally, children's advocates and family lawyers say, courts find it is in the child's best interest to give physical custody to the primary caregiver. Living with one parent minimizes shuttling a child -- especially a younger one -- between homes. The "noncustodial" parent is ordinarily the breadwinner, still frequently the man, who spends more time away from the child.

The lawsuits seek $1 million in damages for any plaintiffs who may sign on to each class action, meaning the potential damages run into the trillions nationwide. But what the groups really want are changes in the laws, such as a bill being proposed for Pennsylvania by state Rep. Thomas Stevenson.

Stevenson's bill would set a "presumptive standard" that physical custody should be split 50-50 unless one parent can prove that there's a good reason for a different arrangement. Legal custody, which gives both parents a say in issues such as religion, health and education, can be shared equally even when physical custody is not.
A family court lawyer is quoted as being against it, saying:
"And why do they want 50-50 (custody)? Some people want it because they know they can reduce the support they pay to their wives" as a result.
Yes, let's look at financial incentives. Courts pretend to ignore financial incentives, because they say the best interests of the child are more important. But that's hogwash, and everybody knows it.

The family court lawyers and experts have a very strong financial incentive to encourage contested custody disputes. Presumptive 50-50 custody would wipe out most of their income, because most of the family court expenses go into the determination of factors that influence custody, and those factors are impossible to determine.

Custodial parents (usually the mothers) also have very strong incentives to fight 50-50 custody, because they get more money that way. I believe that my wife's attempt to break our 50-50 custody arrangement is driven mostly by greed. She could get a lot more child support that way.

Presumptive 50-50 custody would reduce custody court actions that are motivated by greed.

The CNN article also says:
And they say the deck is stacked because the time a wage-earner spends making money to feed, clothe and shelter children isn't given equal weight to time spent with the child, even though it's just as necessary as nurturing.
This is indeed a peculiar anti-father bias in the law. If a father works like a dog to earn money to support his family, he is blamed instead of credited. The court says that he is spending less time with his kids, so the mother is entitled to custody, increased child support, and possibly the right to move away and permanently estrange the kids.

That is backwards. The time he spends working to support the family is just as important as reading nursery rhymes or changing diapers. In some cases, the mom is not even spending that time with the kids, but using the dad's money to put the kids in day care. The whole family court system is evil and destructive.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Having 2 daughters

I have one thing in common with G.W. Bush and John Kerry; we each have 2 daughters. But I figured that I'd be the only one to be quizzed by some goofy shrink about spanking my daughters because I am the one who is in the midst of a contested divorce.

Wrong. I didn't even get asked about spanking because the court-appointed shrinks quizzed the kids directly and were satisfied by the answers. I am not sure exactly what was said, but the court-appointed mediator said my daughter gave an acceptable answer.

But both Kerry and Bush have subjected themselves to silly interviews by that goofball Dr. Phil, and he asked them if they spanked their daughters!

Kerry and Bush sounded as if they had been coached. Yes, they admitted to spanking, and also recited some politically correct nonsense to placate the anti-spanking crowd. Too bad they didn't just tell off Dr. Phil for asking such a silly question.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Moral turpitude ignored

I just watched a 1946 movie called Shadow of a Woman. The main character is an unscrupulous quack who mistreats everyone and is probably a murderer. He refuses to let his 5-year-old boy eat solid food, and only gives him orange juice. He has a custody fight with his ex-wife, and her lawyer can only think of one winning argument: moral turpitude! The lawyer has evidence that the man spent the night with a woman without benefit of marriage. When a marriage license is produced, the case evaporates. Starvation was apparently not as important as potential immoral influences.

How times have changed. Now, the most flagrant adultery would have no bearing on a custody dispute. Even if my wife is bringing the kids along to her boyfriend's house while she commits adultery, the court ignores it. On the other hand, if I fail to floss the kids' teeth or I let them out of my sight in the grocery store, then I'll be sent to a parenting class or lose custody.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Losing weight without home-cooked meals

I ran into a friend of my wife's in a shopping center parking lot.

I know that my wife has badmouthed me to his wife with things that I haven't even heard, so there is no telling what he thinks of me. He was cheerful, and he said, "you look like you've lost weight."

I said, "Yes. Since my wife moved out, I haven't had those home-cooked meals, and I am wasting away."

He laughed, and said, "Now I know that you are being a smart-ass."

I guess he knows that I could never have gained weight on those home-cooked meals, but why is it so ridiculous? My wife is actually a good cook. As a full-time housewife, she certainly could have cooked meals for me if she wanted to.

This man's wife submitted an affidavit against me, saying the following:
One of these incidences involves a convertible that George drives frequently. As my daughters and I were leaving [George's] home after a playdate, George placed Mary on the back end of the car and started driving in reverse out of the driveway. The child was clinging to the passenger's seatback as a means to secure herself in the car. There was no buckling of seatbelt involved, since she was not even in a seat. As he was backing out of the driveway, [George's wife] apparently saw what was going on and ran out of the house screaming "George STOP!" and pulled Mary out of the car. Mary was 4 at the time.
The phrase "on the back end of the car" is a little misleading. The child was in the car. I was going about 3 mph in the driveway. The kids enjoy riding in the convertible, unbuckled, from one end of the driveway to the other. It is quite safe. And it is many times safer that some of the things that couple does with kids.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Being blamed for teaching our children

My wife called last night to tell me how impressed she is that our 5-year-old girl could add up 99 cents worth of change. Usually she only calls me if she wants me to do something.

The girl can actually do a lot better, as I have taught her all of First Grade math. I used the Singapore math workbooks, which are a lot better than the math textbooks that the California schools use.

But I get no credit for teaching the kids. My wife submitted this complaint to the court psychologist:
W. Since separating from George, George has had the children, while they are at his home, do an extreme amount of workbook pages. He assigns the workbook pages as a method of baby sitting while he works in his office. He sometimes uses workbook work as a condition to being fed.
Now here is some seriously delusional thinking. I have taught our 5-year-old all of First Grade reading and math. It is just not possible to teach a child First Grade by just giving her some workbooks and ignoring her. Kids that age need a lot of attention, and teaching phonics requires one-on-one instruction.

If I were able to magically persuade the child to teach herself First Grade by herself, then why would anyone have a problem with that?

It does sometimes happen that one of the kids will want a between-meals snack, and I say something like, "Dinner will be ready in 20 minutes. Just finish 2 pages, and we'll all eat dinner." Again, I am baffled as to why she thinks that there is anything wrong with that. Surely she realizes that I cannot always give into the demands of a 5-year-old.

Another complaint is:
U. George allows Jenny to do Mary's school homework.
Jenny is in Kindergarten. Mary is in Third Grade. If a Kindergarten kid can really do Third Grade homework, then something is seriously wrong. Either the Third Grade homework is much too easy, or the Kindergarten is not sufficiently challenging. Probably both.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Trying to accuse without rebuttal

My wife just found out that my interview with the court psychologist did not take place on the originally scheduled date. She seemed to think that she should have been notified. Her lawyer sent in a complaint letter. It was the psychologist who rescheduled, because of a court obligation.

I think that the reason that she was annoyed was because of a stunt that she was trying to pull. Right after the date that she thought I had my interview, she got 5 affidavits with accusations against. I guess that she didn't want me to be able to answer the accusations during the interview.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Domestic violence industry

People have sent me some outrageous materials about trends in domestic violence law enforcement. Eg, check out

There are stories about husbands being sent to jail based solely on a call from a busybody neighbor who heard an argument. This can apparently happen with no complaint or corroboration from the wife, and no physical evidence. The police, DAs, and judges treat men as guilty until proven innocent.

I guess I should be happy that my wife's domestic violence accusations are so lame. Yesterday, she showed up in court with her lawyer and her domestic violence support counselor. I guess that she wants the judge to think that she is afraid of me. Her lawyer acts like communications to my wife must go thru her lawyer. In reality, I see my wife on a daily basis. She showed up at 8:00 this morning to see the kids. She sometimes shows up unannounced and lets herself in.

My wife thinks that it is domestic violence for me to know when she is coming. In her domestic violence complaint to the court, she said:
29. George has an instrument which sends a laser beam across the driveway. When something crosses the laser beams pathway, it beeps. This way, George is alerted to visitors.
No, it is not a laser beam, it is just a cheap motion detector. I also have a doorbell which she refuses to use. Would it be domestic violence if I asked her to use the doorbell?