Posts belonging to Category Best Interest



Push to change custody laws: What’s best for kids? | 89.3 KPCC

The problem is that it is often the offending parent… the one who really wants to hurt the other, who can change everything by just a few carefully worded statements that invoke the domestic violence statutes.  Once you have run afoul of that, you are screwed.  It is an unholy situation brought about by some really man hating people over the last 25 years.

Fathers today spend more time than ever with their kids, experiencing just as much stress as women in balancing work and family, if not more. But when couples divorce and a custody dispute hits the courts, too many judges award custody to mom, according fathers’ rights groups.

Ned Holstein, head of the National Parents Organization, formerly called Fathers and Families, says research shows that children do better academically and emotionally when they see a lot of each parent.

“We believe family courts are actively hurting kids,” by not awarding joint custody more often, says Holstein. The best legislation, he says, favors joint custody, so long as both parents are fit and there’s been no domestic violence.

via Push to change custody laws: What’s best for kids? | 89.3 KPCC.

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Virginia is proposing increases in child support

Everyone seems to ignore an obvious way to solve all these debates:  simply award custody of a child to the parent who will be able to stay off welfare, and not come to the state for support of any kind.  We could then eliminate completely all child support offices and laws.  Most people, I imagine, would consider this an insane idea, but what could be more insane than to set up the system we have now?

Here is a quote from the guy who heads up child support enforcement in VA:

Virginia’s public policy and law dictate that both parents have a duty to support their children. Although the guidelines must be based on the current research and data, every day in Virginia child support obligations are calculated using outdated economics. The cost of raising children has increased dramatically since the guidelines’ enactment. We owe it to Virginia’s parents and children to ensure that child support obligations are economically accurate and current.

Craig M. Burshem is deputy commissioner and director of the Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement for the Virginia Department of Social Services. Contact him at Craig.burshem@dss.virginia.gov.

(more…)

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Editorial: Veronica’s Law? Making fathers’ rights ‘crystal clear’ – Tulsa World: Editorials

In Oklahoma, the wounds are still fresh following the losing battle last year of Dusten Brown for custody of his biological daughter, known as Baby Veronica.

Veronica was adopted at birth by a South Carolina couple who’d arranged the adoption with Veronica’s mother, estranged from Brown. But a court there later awarded custody to Brown. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. Ultimately, Brown lost his daughter to Matt and Melanie Capobianco.

Now Oklahoma Rep. Wade Rousselot has written a bill dubbed Veronica’s Law and known officially as the Oklahoma Truth in Adoption Act, which would require biological fathers to appear in front of a judge to relinquish rights before an adoption could proceed. (more…)

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Bill could let men sever child support with DNA test results | Legislature | The News Tribune

A female lawmaker from Port Orchard says men in Washington are being unfairly forced to pay child support for children who aren’t theirs, and the state should let them escape that burden.

A measure introduced by state Sen. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, would allow a man to challenge his status as a child’s legal parent in court if genetic tests prove he is not the father.

Current law in Washington generally only gives fathers four years to challenge a child’s parentage, and assumes a man is the father if he was married to the child’s mother close to the child’s birth date.

Angel’s bill would let a man try to sever his legal ties to a child at any time within two years of learning he is not the child’s biological father — whether the child’s age is 5 or 15.

If a man’s request to sever paternity were granted by a judge, he would no longer have to pay child support for the child, even if he previously acknowledged himself to be the parent or was married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth. (more…)

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Sperm donor or deadbeat dad? Donor owes child support, says judge. – CSMonitor.com

Good argument to never get involved with any kind of activity that includes the words “Craigslist” and “sperm”.

TOPEKA, Kan. — A man who provided sperm to a lesbian couple in response to an online ad is the father of a child born to one of the women and must pay child support, a Kansas judge ruled Wednesday.

Topeka resident William Marotta had argued that he had waived his parental rights and didn’t intend to be a father. Shawnee County District Court Judge Mary Mattivi rejected that claim, saying the parties didn’t involve a licensed physician in the artificial insemination process and thus Marotta didn’t qualify as a sperm donor, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

“In this case, quite simply, the parties failed to perform to statutory requirement of the Kansas Parentage Act in not enlisting a licensed physician at some point in the artificial insemination process, and the parties’ self-designation of (Marotta) as a sperm donor is insufficient to relieve (Marotta) of parental right and responsibilities to the child,” Mattivi wrote.

via Sperm donor or deadbeat dad? Donor owes child support, says judge. – CSMonitor.com.

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Legal battle over Native American girl comes to a poignant end – latimes.com

The courts won on this one, as to their power to dictate law as an ideology.  This case really highlights just about everything that can go wrong when bureaucrats and judges lose site of wisdom.

Was justice served Monday when a little girl called Veronica was taken from her biological father, a Cherokee, and returned to the white South Carolina couple who had begun to adopt her at birth four years ago?

This is one of those heartbreaking stories that periodically makes headlines, sending a shiver down the spines of adoptive parents and enraging Native Americans whose children had been ripped away from them so often that a federal law was passed in 1978 to put safeguards in place.

The facts of this case seem so unfair to the biological father that it’s hard to understand why the adoptive parents have ended up with custody.

Legal battle over Native American girl comes to a poignant end – latimes.com.

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‘Baby Veronica’ dad arrested, won’t turn over daughter | HLNtv.com

Here is more on that case where the biological father is being excluded from his daughter’s life:

'Baby Veronica' dad arrested, won't turn over daughter

Dusten Brown, the birth father embroiled in a heated custody battle over “Baby Veronica,” surrendered to Oklahoma authorities Monday on a charge of custodial interference.

The case of Veronica Capobianco has reached a boiling point, despite rulings from a South Carolina court and the U.S. Supreme Court stating that the 3-year-old Cherokee Indian girl was to be turned over to her adoptive parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco.

Court orders ‘Baby Veronica’ back to adoptive parents

Brown failed to appear for a mandated transfer of custody August 4 and a felony warrant was issued Friday for his arrest. According to Charleston County, South Carolina, Sheriff J. Al Cannon, Jr., the charge carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Brown was granted leave from his National Guard training duties in Iowa in order to turn himself in. He was released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond Monday after turning himself into authorities in Oklahoma, where he lives, and has refused extradition to South Carolina.

In a press conference Monday, Sheriff Cannon stated that everything Brown has done, including surrendering to authorities in Oklahoma and using his National Guard duties as an excuse to not appear for the transfer of custody, has been “a continuing felony, a continuing crime.” Cannon also said he did not know Veronica’s or Brown’s current whereabouts.

See how it all began: Supreme Court rules on little girl’s fate

The case first reached the high court over the issue of whether the adoption was valid based on the fact that Brown – and Veronica – are Native American. Brown stated that the pending adoption violated the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a federal law which lays out specific rules for the adoption of Native American children. In a split decision, the Supreme Court justices ruled ICWA did not apply in this instance and sent the case back to a South Carolina state court, which ruled in the Capobiancos’ favor.

An emergency custody hearing was held Monday morning in Cherokee Nation Tribal Court in Oklahoma. Brown did not attend, but his attorney, John Nichols, said his legal team “intends to do everything within the law to make sure Mr. Brown’s rights are protected.” Further, the Cherokee Nation has said Veronica has rights under tribal law that have not yet been exhausted.

Lori Alvino-McGill, attorney for Veronica’s birth mother Christinna Maldonado, said Monday’s hearing was held without notifying her client or the Capobiancos. The Capobiancos have an open adoption arrangement with Maldonado and was actively engaged in her daughter’s life, prior to her removal and placement with Brown.

The Capobiancos have called on federal law enforcement to resolve the matter. In a press conference outside their South Carolina home Monday morning, Matt Capobianco said, “Our daughter has been kidnapped, and I expect the situation to be treated as such.”  He went on to say, “If this doesn’t happen, I will be boarding a flight to Oklahoma today and I am coming to get my daughter.”

Doug Mayer, a spokesman for the South Carolina governor said, “Gov. Haley is working closely with law enforcement, the solicitor’s office, the state of Oklahoma, and the family on this case. Our goal is to do all we can to get Veronica back home safely.”

‘Baby Veronica’ dad arrested, won’t turn over daughter | HLNtv.com.

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Supreme Court Rules Against Indian Father in Daughter’s Custody Case – Andrew Cohen – The Atlantic

This case illustrates what an unfriendly place the courts are to fathers.  The guy wasn’t perfect, but who, really, is?  Additionally everyone seems to have completely ignored the fact that the mother concealed the adoption from the father.  The plain and simple fact is that the mother wanted to give up the child, and apparently vindictively wanted to eliminate the father from this little girl’s life.  In my opinion, there should have been no question.  The child should have gone to the father, and the mother as well as all involved in the adoption, should be reprimanded for systematically trying to deprive the little girl of her own father.

Virtually overlooked Tuesday in the wake of the United States Supreme Court’s vital decision to strike down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act case was a gut-wrenching ruling from the justices that ultimately could separate a father from his daughter. In the case styled Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, the Court ruled that a Native American man named Dusten Brown could not rely upon the language of a federal statute, the Indian Child Welfare Act, to protect himself against the termination of his parental rights over his daughter, Veronica, after another couple sought to adopt her. 

The back story, to say the least, is complicated but you can identify the contours of the ruling, and at the same time understand what happened to this little girl, simply by reading the many descriptions of the case offered by the various justices as they sorted through the debris. For example, to start, there is Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority decision. He barely concealed his contempt for Brown and his cause by framing the story this way:

This case is about a little girl (Baby Girl) who is classified as an Indian because she is 1.2% (3/256) Cherokee. Because Baby Girl is classified in this way, the South Carolina Supreme Court held that certain provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 required her to be taken, at the age of 27 months, from the only parents she had ever known and handed over to her biological father, who had attempted to relinquish his parental rights and who had no prior contact with the child. The provisions of the federal statute at issue here do not demand this result.

I agree with this:

And, finally, came Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She wrote about the ways in which the federal statute was designed to try to help troubled Native American families, like Brown’s family:

Moreover, the majority’s focus on “intact” families begs the question of what Congress set out to ac­complish with ICWA. In an ideal world, perhaps all parents would be perfect. They would live up to their parental responsibilities by providing the fullest possible financial and emotional support to their children.

They would never suffer mental health problems, lose their jobs, struggle with substance dependency, or encounter any of the other multitudinous personal crises that can make it difficult to meet these responsibilities. In an ideal world parents would never become estranged and leave their children caught in the middle.

But we do not live in such a world. Even happy families do not always fit the custodial-parent mold for which the majority would reserve IWCA’s substantive protections; unhappy families all too often do not. They are families nonetheless. Congress understood as much.

In the end, we have a decision here that says, contrary to both the text and the spirit of the law, that the Native American father of this little girl cannot rely upon a federal law designed to aid the parents of Native American children because he did not initially have custody of the child. The ruling makes mention of Browns’ failure to initially support his child but makes little mention of the ways in which the mother of the little girl sought to hide the adoption from him. This was always a case of Solomon-like ramifications–with a group of judges literally having to choose where a baby should life. For such a weighty decision it’s a terribly airy ruling.

Supreme Court Rules Against Indian Father in Daughter’s Custody Case – Andrew Cohen – The Atlantic.

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Documentary project on single father households

Just received this notice:

My name is Khaaliq Thomas and I’m a professional photographer and custodial dad of 3 (recently divorced).
For the past year I’ve been working on a photo documentary concentrating on single / custodial fathers households.
I’m hoping to get your help in spreading the word about the project.

Purpose of The Project
The project will challenge the belief of fathers being incapable, unwilling, and or inadequate in performing responsibly,
productively and lovingly as a single / custodial parent. I currently have 3 participants and need another 3 to 4 for a
truly diverse look into these unconventional family structures. Attention will be given to the dedicated ability of these
dads and their commitment to raising productive children and supplying a stable home on their own. The finished project
will consist of a 110 page full color photo book. I’m using Kickstarter to raise the funds to search for more dads through
advertising, print and design of the book and setting up exhibitions of the final project.

How You Can Help
I need your help in spreading the word about the Kickstarter fundraiser in order to get the project to the public and
share in the experience of a single father household through this project. I’m asking for your help in support of the project
by spreading the word on your website, (or anyway you can), and allowing me to add you as a supporter on Kickstarter.
I plan on launching the Kickstarter fundraiser early March or whenever I have enough support, whichever comes first.
A link to a video introduction of the project is included.

Thx for your time –

http://vimeo.com/36229020

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Father’s Rights Debate Taken Up By The Nebraska State Legislature

These types of bills have always foundered when the lawyers and special interest lawyers start weighing in.  Also, courts are loathe to give up any discretion, especially in cases of disputed custody.

 More than a quarter of our kids are being raised by just one parent. Some Heartland fathers feel like they don’t have the parenting rights they deserve. Two Nebraska state lawmakers are trying to change that.

Joe Trader thought he had all the evidence he needed in the custody hearing for his daughter Gracie; but the judge decided otherwise. “I wasn’t going to let a decision that has been given to fathers for years determine what kind of father i was going to be able to be to my child.”

Up before the unicameral this year are two bills focusing on father’s rights.

State Senator Galen Hadley’s bill wants to bring laws made years ago up to today’s times. “I think this bill is looking more at modern society and trying to come up with a parenting plan that tries to deal with the kind of conditions we find in modern divorce.”

Senator Russ Karpisek wants to go one step further; holding judges accountable for the decisions they make.

Trader says both bills show progress. “Any benefit, any increase in time or really any acknowledgment of the equal parenting an how important it is a huge stride,” he said.

Trader’s main goal is for more time with his little girl, Gracie. “Let Nebraska know we’re tired of being just child support, we want to be parents.”

One of the bill would also make it so each parent is entitled to at least 45% of the year spent with their child. That could be over-turned, but a judge would have to cite a reason why.

Father’s Rights Debate Taken Up By The State Legislature.

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