Monday, May 30, 2005

Kids spend Memorial Day with boyfriend

My kids spent a nice weekend with me, and my wife's babysitter picked them up last night without incident. They are spending Memorial Day with Bruce Travers. He is the one who talked my wife into hiring the lawyer Jennifer J. Gray and suing me for sole legal custody of the kids. He was having a secret affair with my wife at the time. Gray advised my wife to lie to the court, and claim that she did not have a boyfriend.

Friday, May 27, 2005

The evidence against me

After 11 months of character assassination against me, including about 80 pages of affidavits, 1 court mediation, 1 custody evaluation, and several court hearings, I checked the record for the strongest finding against me.

On March 25, my wife had a parade of her friends testifying against me. I testified for several hours, with no lawyer, while her lawyer grilled me on every possible unsafe practice.

Here is what Judge Thomas E. Kelly said towards the end of the hearing.
THE COURT: Let me just this is my turn, okay. I can understand, in your position, how you might feel think the world is safer than it is, but I will tell you sitting in this chair it's my 20th year now it's chilling what comes through these courts and it's from parents that have a certain naivety that the world is a better place than it truly is and it's fraught with danger. And I can say these risks, these folks that are the predators come to where the kids are. But that's only part of the issue is the people out there that can do harm to your children. Also, kids themselves have very limited life experience.

This freeway incident is pretty chilling and some of the other behaviors here is really not having an appropriate appreciation of how children may be perceiving the event or how other people may be perceiving the event. The kids run up and down the aisle of an airplane, that's not really a safety issue perhaps, but it is a parenting issue. Again, it's focussed on for you it's great. You got them out of your next to you and they can be playing and relieving energy and give you some peace, but for the other people out there they don't want to see these kids going up and down the aisle of an airplane. They want to sit, listen to music, relax, not have this traffic back and forth. Again and it's a matter of focus where you're coming from. And this is a parenting issue. It's not really always a safety issue but it's a parenting issue and this is what these classes will help you with.

You both are very bright. You have a lot you can bring to these kids and I think I want to see it go in a positive direction and not spend the next decade or so in court, which a lot of folks do. If you were to sit here and watch what comes through these courts it's frightening the way that people are at war.
The "freeway incident" was when my car once broke down on the highway, and I pulled over to the shoulder to use the emergency phone. The judge seemed concerned that another car might have recklessly gone off the highway and hit me, the kids, or my parked car.

It was really bizarre for the judge to complain about the kids being in the aisle of the airplane. The hearing was supposed to be about safety and risk. I merely explained that I kept the kids buckled in whenever the seat belt light was on. Nobody said anything about whether other passengers were annoyed. That was all in the judge's head. He probably figured that if he was on an airplane and he was trying to sit, relax, and listen to music, then he might be annoyed by a kid who is out of his seat.

The judge's job was to determine "the best interest of the child". It is not his job to determine the best interest of the passengers on an airplane. Even if I happen to be a very obnoxious person who alienates and annoys people whereever I go, it is not the concern of the judge unless there is some demonstration that the kids are somehow harmed by it. No harm to the kids has ever even been alleged in my case, and certainly not proven.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

P. Diddy to pay record amounts

P. Diddy pays more than I do.
NEW YORK -- P. Diddy likes to brag about having the biggest yacht, the most expensive parties, the grandest houses and more. Now he's been ordered to pay what could be the biggest child support order in New York state history, and he's not happy.

Last month, the New York State Supreme Court's Appellate Division approved an increase from about $5,000 to $21,782 per month to P. Diddy's ex-girlfriend, Misa Hylton-Brim. Representatives of both P. Diddy and Hylton-Brim say it's the highest child support payment in state history. ...

He vowed to take the case to the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. He
said the courts should not have negated the previous, years-old agreement between
the pair, which stipulated the $5,000 monthly figure.
One of the problems with the current system is that it is impossible to settle differences out of court. P. Diddy had a settlement, but the judge decided that no such settlements are enforceable if someone complains about it later.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Delivering the kids

My wife just called and threw a tantrum because I asked her babysitter to come pick up the kids. She told me to never do that again.

I don't know why my wife thinks that it is my responsibility to transport the kids. I also don't know why she would think that it is important that I deliver them to a babysitter in a timely manner. Isn't it better for the kids to be with a parent, instead of a babysitter? She doesn't need to even hire a babysitter. She could merely get the kids when she has time to actually care for them. I am glad to take care of them.

Finally, my wife knows that I have a broken leg. I would think that she would have some willingness to accommodate me. In this case, my actions did not involve my wife at all. It only affected what the babysitter did.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Radio program with worst-case scenario

Here is a sad story about divorce on the radio program This American Life. It started by saying that it was a worst-case scenario, and that "It is hard to see how anybody could have prevented things from going bad."

The mom gets a divorce, and decides that it would be good to move 1000 miles away. The daughters' lives degenerates as they disrespect their mom, get on drugs, drop out of school, run away from home, etc.

No, it is easy to what went wrong. All of these problems are associated with single motherhood. The girls missed their father, and didn't understand why he was removed from their lives.

Somehow, the mom must have gotten court permission to terminate the dad's visitation rights, and move away. The court would have told her that she could collect more child support by doing so. She might have even been advised by counselors that the leading divorce expert, Judith Wallerstein, has done research to show that the kids are better off when the mom moves away and the kids never see their dad again. (The research actually shows the opposite.)

I have no idea what led to the divorce, or what the mom's parenting abilities are. But I do know that we have a truly evil family court system that gives incentives for mothers to do the absolutely worst things to their kids.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

NY Times magazine letters

NY Times Magazine has some letters about fathers' rights. I'll comment on a few.
Why would it be in the best interests of a child to turn over custody to a man who is driven to spend his nights on the ledges of tall buildings ...
Men sometimes do extraordinary things for the sake of their families. Those men should be rewarded, not punished.
Why isn't the fathers' rights movement turning away en masse from the adversarial system and toward mediation?
It is doing that. The movement wants a presumption of 50-50 custody, rather than an adversarial determination of the child's best interests. Once there is 50-50 custody, mediation is the easy part.
A 50-50 arrangement may seem fair by adult standards, but it can be physically taxing and emotionally draining for a child. Think of the ordeal of shifting homes every three to four days, ...
Nothing would make my kids happier than shifting homes every 3 to 4 days. They spent a year shifting every day, and they begged the court not to change the schedule. They hate the court-imposed schedule.
A 16-year-old wants to spend his weekends with his friends, maybe have a part-time job. He does not want to be caught up in an endless tug of war between his parents.
50-50 custody ends the tug-of-war. It is the divorce lawyer lobby (and various other special interests) that promote the endless tug of war.
Dominus's insightful article highlights how current family law rewards custodial parents who maximize conflict. One thing on which all the social scientists agree is that parental conflict is bad for children in divorced families. If, instead, family-court judges created financial or other incentives linked to each parent's willingness to work together, high-conflict divorce might largely disappear — to the benefit of the children, the parents and the courts.
Finally, a good letter!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Lawyer with a conscience

I just watched the movie The Gingerbread Man on TV. It had this exchange:
Does your father have an attorney or someone who handles his affairs?

No, daddy hates attorneys. He had one a few years back, but he
went nuts and he jumped out a window.

Well there's one with a conscience!
Lawyers like Jennifer J. Gray must have no conscience. She promised my wife that she could get sole legal custody of our children, and I'd have to pay all the legal bills. She advised my wife that she could lie to the court about committing adultery. She advised my wife to stop cooperating with me on child-rearing matters. She encouraged my wife to make false domestic violence charges. The kids hate her for what she has done to try to alienate them from me. She has run up a $40,000 bill. If she had a conscience, then she wouldn't be able to sleep at night.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Father pays big attorney fees

Chuck sends this story:
On March 4, 2005, Michael Newdow - the plaintiff in the Pledge of Allegiance lawsuit - was forced to pay $320,000 to the attorneys who the mother of his child used to deprive him of sharing equally in raising their child.
Newdow only spent $8,000 on legal fees himself.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

My wife is in Las Vegas

I was about to take my kids back to my wife's apartment, when my kids told me that she had gone to Las Vegas with her boyfriend for the weekend, and would not come back until Monday evening. A teenaged babysitter named Michaela is going to put them to bed tonight, and take them to and from school tomorrow.

I called Michaela and asked her to come pick up the kids. I guess she can make the easy trip to my house if she can drive the kids on the highway during rush hour. Besides, it is tough to drive with a broken leg.

I still don't see why the kids are left with a teenaged babysitter that they don't even like, when they could just stay with me.

The kids said that the boyfriend was waiting for my wife to get out of court on Friday, because they wanted to immediately leave for Las Vegas. I trust that they weren't actually planning to get married in Las Vegas, as no one has given me the proof-of-service to sign to make the divorce official.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Another day in court

My marriage was dissolved today. Almost. My wife's lawyer said that the Clerk was unlikely to record the divorce because I had failed to submit a "proof of service" on some document a year and a half ago. Nevertheless, the Judge had my wife sworn in, and asked her whether she lived in the county and whether there were irreconcilable differences. I expected him to do the same with me, but he didn't. I guess that is the meaning of no-fault divorce. Only one party has to ask for it.

So I asked the Judge, "Are we divorced now?" No, he said that we won't be officially divorced until I fill out the proof-of-service and I get an order in the mail. He said that my wife's lawyer would give me the form to sign. It seems strange that the only compliance needed from me is some absurd formality.

At the start of the hearing, I hobbled up across the bar on my crutches, and the Judge raised his eyebrows. I said, "If you'll recall, the last time I was here I was being accused of risky behavior. This time I am on crutches." The Judge grinned and asked what happened. "I broke my leg playing ice hockey."

At the end of the hearing, the judge said that he was on crutches from a motorcycle accident. I said, "A-ha! So you do risk things also!". He laughed and said (as he exited), "Yes, I talk a good game and then do something else."

Most of the hearing was a tedious discussion about money. My wife wanted a whole lot more money, but her lawyer really didn't have her paperwork together to justify it. She wanted $40k in attorneys fees; the Judge ended up ordering me to pay $20k.

The Judge tried to rationalize it by saying that I could hire my own attorney. He said that maybe disputes could be more simply and efficiently resolved if I had a lawyer.

I explained that our dispute has been almost entirely about custody, and the Court doesn't seem to pay any attention to legalist lawyer arguments about custody anyway. It seems to be just the Judge's opinion about the best interest of the child. He agreed that an attorney would not have made much difference so far. I guess his point was that he hates financial disputes in family court, and he was hoping that I'll hire a lawyer just to negotiate a financial settlement out of court.

Afterwards, I hobbled over to the jury commissioner office. I had been called for jury duty today. I was supposed to call last night, but they failed to update the message. The clerk admitted that they goofed up with the message, and said that they don't need any jurors today.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Vomitous waste of time

Captain SQL writes:
Hang in there George! I’ve been to the vomitous waste of time of parenting class also.
Thanks. It is worse than a waste of time. In my case, the classes teach bad parenting practices, and support extremely destructive court practices.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

This is a broken fibula.

Demanding $40,000

With a hearing on Friday, I just got this evening a stack of legal papers in support of their demands. I really don't see how she can get away with presenting these papers a day and a half before the hearing. How can I possibly respond?

The gist is this:

My wife is a licensed lawyer who refuses to get a paying job.

She wants $40,000 to pay for her motion for sole legal custody of the kids, and undetermined future amounts for further litigation.

She is unhappy with taking my entire income, and wants more. She even wants day care and babysitting expenses for when she has the kids and refuses to let me see them.

I am paying her apartment rent of $1800 per month, even though she is living elsewhere with her boyfriend. (She lied to the court and said that she didn't even have a boyfriend.)

Until now, her lawyer has not cited a single statute or case in support of her legal actions. Now she has cited one:
Family Code Section 2030 states: (a) In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, nullity of marriage or legal separation of the parties, and in any proceeding subsequent to entry of a related judgment, the court shall ensure that each party has access to legal representation to preserve each party's right ...
I'll have to check the case law, but it seems to me that if she is a lawyer herself, then she has access to legal representation. And if she brings a losing motion, then that is not preserving her rights.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mother complains about custody evaluation

The NY Times had another article today about a custody dispute, this time from the mom's point of view. A lawyer called her an unfit mother, and she had to take humiliating and useless parenting, and a stupid custody evaluation:
MY husband insisted that we undergo an independent custody evaluation, which would involve interviews and testing of me, him and the children. Fearing this would further traumatize the children, I fought and lost that battle, and I had to cough up $1,500 - my half of the evaluation retainer - to allow a stranger to evaluate my parental skills.

Just about anyone can call himself a custody evaluator. Most are psychologists or social workers, but many are simply professional custody evaluators with some background in one of the helping professions.

As the date of my first evaluation neared, I pondered how I could prove I was a good mother. I don't spank my children, but one divorced friend told me that her failure to use corporal punishment was noted in her evaluation, incredibly, as a "failure to assume an appropriate parental role."
I can sympathize with her. The court procedures are idiotic, demeaning, and harmful to everyone involved.

The solution is also painfully obvious. In a situation like this where both parents appears to be good parents, a simple 50-50 custody order would solve all the problems.

Mothers Day article on fathers rights

The NY Times Magazine has a good article about Fathers 4 Justice and other advocates of fathers' rights. The British group has gotten a lot of publicity from doing stunts like climbing buildings in Batman costumes.
Hatch's sense of despair about his estrangement from Charlie and Olivia has apparently swept away any concern he might have had about the most basic requirement of parenthood: his continuing good health. When he scaled the ladder at Buckingham Palace, the guards cocked their rifles, a sound captured chillingly on a videotape of the event. ''I'm not afraid to die, but I don't want to,'' Hatch, who now has a 14-month-old daughter with his current girlfriend, Gemma Polson, told me. ''I feel sorry for Amelia, obviously -- Amelia being me little daughter. If anything happens, she's going to lose out, but I still have to do it. I still have to go out there and get the law changed, and when the law's changed, you won't see me again.''
Millions of men will have to show this sort of determination in order for the law to be changed. The article also discusses Michael Newdow, famous as the Pledge of Allegiance atheist:
In short, forget for a moment about tending to a child's optimal well-being: what about what's fair? If a child's parents are still married, courts don't worry about whether it's in the best interest of the child to go frogging late at night -- so why should they have the power to weigh that issue the instant two parents separate? Split the custody 50-50, Newdow proposes, and let each parent make independent decisions during his or her time with that child.

Newdow replied that the judges' rulings are, in fact, arbitrary, often depending on the expert opinion of psychologists to whom he grants zero scientific credibility. He cited textbook cases of judges making absurd decisions based on their own value judgments about what kind of parent would be the better custodian.
He is right. I had a know-nothing gay shrink take my kids away because he thought that there was something unusual about feeding kids oatmeal for breakfast and broccoli as part of dinner. No one would ever pay any attention to any of the complaints against me if it were part of an intact marriage.
Robert Mnookin, director of the Harvard Negotiation Research Project and a professor at Harvard Law School, is the rare expert who concedes that each side has legitimate concerns. A presumption of joint physical custody would have ''some nice symbolic attributes,'' he told me; but he worries about how it would play out in practice. He notes that the parents whose custody negotiations end up going all the way to court tend to be the parents who fight the most. In those cases, he argues, forcing judges to implement joint physical custody is a bad idea for the kids, since it only perpetuates their exposure to the conflict. He contends, however, that if divorced parents know that a judge is disinclined to award joint physical custody in circumstances with a high degree of conflict, it creates an incentive for a parent who wants sole custody to create conflict.
Mnookin is an idiot. The greater the conflict in court, the more reason there is for 50-50 custody. Parents typically have just as many opportunities for conflict in an 80-20 custody deal as with a 50-50 custody deal. The 80-20 custody deal is worse for a high-conflict family because it allows the 80% parent to abuse the situation and use the kids against the other parent.

There is also a online magazine forum with almost 2000 message. This article hit a nerve. There are a lot of angry noncustodial parents out there.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Florida may change alimony law

John sends this AP story:
When the ex moves in with someone else, alimony could end

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- For every person who has wondered why he - or she - still has to send an alimony check to a former spouse who is living with someone else, the Florida Legislature is here to help.

Judges could reduce or cut off that alimony under a bill the House passed Wednesday after debate that touched on the heartache of love gone bad, people who shack up for convenience, and an assertion that "some people do still believe in love."
It sounds like me favored the law, and women opposed it. I feminists have become the advocates for a woman living in sin with one man, while being dependent on another.

My wife sleeps over with her boyfriend about twice a week, according to the kids. I'm not sure if the kids sleep on the couch or the floor or what. I really don't think I should be paying her alimony in order to support her adultery. Her main argument for the alimony was the high rent for her apartment, but it appears that she doesn't even want to live there anyway.

Like a soldier

Chris writes from Australia:
I have read your blog and I want you to know that my thoughts are with you. I was a soldier a long time ago. And an Officer. Soldiers do their duty and are prepared to give their lives if necessary for a (hopefully) just cause. It can be a shit job and few thank you.

Fathers are the modern foot soldier. The grunt. Engaged in a war not of their making. But dads like you have spirit and do their duty –to their kids and themselves and to society – despite the hardships and the snipers and the heavy guns of the law and so called family experts. It is a cause for deep despair that the enemy is our own women who once promised to love us for all their life.

I used to tell my troops that their job was to defeat, even kill the enemy but no one was paying them to hate them. That way they could keep true to their soul.

Keep faith George, old son. That your enemy has discarded love and truth and honour is no example for you to follow. I appreciate your sharing of your daily trial. Perhaps a woman might see it and weep for what her sisters do.

Your Friend who understands.
Thanks. I appreciate it. As long as my kids are begging to see me, I will not give up.

AB 1307 defeated

Mike wrote yesterday:
The California Assembly reviewed bill AB 1307 yesterday which have awarded equal parenting time in most divorce situations. This morning, I was anxious to find the status of the Assembly review. Unfortanately, the bill was defeated. When I read this news, I wanted to throw up. Opponents of the bill seem to think that any man who would like to have equal time with his child must be a child abuser. I do not see the logic in denying Father's equal parenting time. What possible good can come of this? For two and a half years, I have been tracking this issue. As a result of the defeat of Ab 1307, I will now become involved more deeply in the issue. I'm not really sure how I will do that. Men need to realize that there Rights are being trampled on. Men for the most part of no awareness of this issue until it slaps them in the face. We need to change that.
Sad. The empirical social science evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of equal parenting time. This issue will not go away. Kids just do not get used to their fathers being just visitors.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

My kids spend yesterday afternoon making some Mother's day. Pictures, plants, art, cards, etc. They are going to surprise her on Sunday.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

My wife's legal bills

I just got a financial statement from Jennifer J. Gray, my wife's lawyer. She wants payment of $37,994.53 in legal fees. So far, Gray has been paid $15,115.05. $6,500 came directly from me, and thousands more came indirectly from me. The case has also been financed by $12,500 in loans from Tony Eberwein.

It is baffling how she has the nerve to ask for so much money. My wife is a lawyer herself, and had no need for a lawyer. Her lawyer has not written any legal briefs, done any legal research, or done any significant amount of legal work. She appears to be a lesbian who knows nothing about marriage or children.

Gray has engaged in various dishonest tactics to take advantage of the court's biases. She has also sabotaged all settlement efforts and pushed for actions causing maximum harm to the kids in order to put pressure on me. There is nothing good about anything that she has done. Even the kids understand that she is an evil person.

Gray did not handle the initial divorce filing, or our marital settlement agreement. All she did was to file one motion for "sole legal custody" of our 2 kids. That motion is still pending. The judge has said that there is no chance that my wife will get sole legal custody, but other issues remain. It seems to me that a lawyer should actually have to win a motion before having a chance to collect legal fees. And a lawyer should not run up a $38,000 bill for one lousy motion.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Trying to take a parenting class

I called some place called Parents Center because they offered parenting classes. The woman on the phone said that they expected to start a class in a couple of months. Then she asked, "Were you referred to us?"

Based on past experience, I knew to say No. If I say Yes, then they are apt to demand court papers and try to play judge. These places tend to be run by people who get some sort of sick pleasure out of running other people's lives. Then she says:
When you complete the 10-week class, you get a certificate. If you do not need the certificate, then this may not be the best choice for you. Most of people attending this class are referred from the court or from Child Protective Services. You might find a more appropriate class elsewhere.
Translation: This class is punishment. It has no educational value. They prefer students who are ordered to attend, because can be forced to pay up and not complain.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Daughter wants a POV gun

Yesterday I took the kids to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I thought that this was a movie that we would all enjoy. It was okay, but boring.

Last night, my 5-year-old girl asked me, "Do you think that I will be divorced some day?" Sigh. I try to explain. Then she says, "I wish it were Friday. ... Then I would still have the whole weekend with you."

She also said, "We need a gun like the one in the movie. We need to shoot Mama with it."

This requires explanation. The gun in the movie was a "point of view" gun. Shooting someone doesn't harm him; it only forces the victim to understand the shooter's point of view. (In the movie it is effective on insensitive men, and unnecessary on women.) My daughter was trying to say that she just wanted to make her mama understand how the kids need to see their daddy. I was surprised that she understood the movie that well.