Posts belonging to Category Courts and Legislatures



Bill Forces People Going Through Divorce To Get A Judge’s Permission Before Having Sex In Own Home | ThinkProgress

As ludicrous as this sounds, there are many fathers who would probably support such a law.  The reason is that there are millions of fathers who have been forced by the courts to make house payments, car payments and other debt payments, on top of having joint accounts frozen or closed, their paycheck garnished, such that they are impoverished, living in mom’s basement, or sometimes even in their car – and then, on top of that, these same fathers must attend anger management classes, parenting classes, under go drug testing, etc., just to get supervised visitation with their own children.  Then to top it all off, the mother moves her boyfriend into the house.  A complete stranger who is having sex with the mother in the house that the father continues to pay for, etc…..

Yes, this proposed law is ludicrous.  However, it is no more ludicrous than is the scenario outlined above, which, unfortunately, is not uncommon.

There’s nothing that sets the mood for a romantic evening like petitioning a judge for permission to have sex at the end of the night.

If Massachusetts State Sen. Richard J. Ross (R) gets his way, that’s exactly what many women (and men) would have to do if they have children and are going through a divorce. In fact, not only would permission-less coitus be banned, but so too would the romantic evening and many dating activities.

Ross’ bill seeks to amend Massachusetts divorce law with the following provision (emphasis added):

In divorce, separation, or 209A proceedings involving children and a marital home, the party remaining in the home shall not conduct a dating or sexual relationship within the home until a divorce is final and all financial and custody issues are resolved, unless the express permission is granted by the courts.

The legislation, S787, was first filed in early 2013. On Thursday, it received an extension for consideration in the State House until June 30. In its current state, the bill does not specify what the penalty is for pre-divorce copulation.

Massachusetts law currently mandates a waiting period of at least 120 days for divorces to become finalized, and that’s only after a judge has approved the separation agreement. In other words, it could take at least four months, if not longer, before a person getting a divorce is legally allowed to fornicate.

Ross, who serves as Minority Whip, took over former Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-MA) state Senate seat in 2010.

UPDATE

Ross’ staff told ThinkProgress that the senator is “not in support” of the bill. It was filed on behalf of a constituent, Robert LeClair, as a courtesy to him. Massachusetts law allows legislators to put forth a citizen’s piece of legislation, as Ross did in this case, though there is no requirement that they do so.

via Bill Forces People Going Through Divorce To Get A Judge’s Permission Before Having Sex In Own Home | ThinkProgress.

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Repeat child support offenders face more jail time | WISHTV.com

More draconian measures will only increase the police state. This amounts to a state imposed religion – the religion of conformity to the current power structure.  “Do as we say, or else…”

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Repeat offenders who don’t pay child support will face greater penalties in Indiana.

Gov. Mike Pence signed legislation this week to make repeated criminal nonsupport of a child punishable by two to eight years in prison.

Previous law only allowed such sentences for those owing more than $15,000 in back child support.

Other changes give judges more flexibility in lowering sentences if offenders pay their overdue support and serve probation. A lesser sentence also means judges have the option to clear offenders’ records.

Attorneys who specialize in family law say keeping a felony charge off someone’s record could help offenders find jobs and ultimately provide reliable support for their children.

via Repeat child support offenders face more jail time | WISHTV.com.

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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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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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Clerical Error In Child Support Payments Leads To Six-Month Jail Sentence For Clifford Hall (VIDEO)

Due to a clerical error, Texas father Clifford Hall received a bill charging him nearly $3,000 in overdue child support last year. Hall quickly repaid the amount, even paying an additional $1,000 to balance his debt. But despite his repayment, Hall was sentenced to six months in jail. He and his attorney Tyesha Elam joined host Nancy Redd to share his story on HuffPost Live.

Errors in the automated child support withdrawal amounts from Hall’s paycheck caused a payment shortage, but when Hall discovered this imbalance, he worked to pay it immediately.

Elam explained, “I assumed as soon as he brought me the receipt catching him up as well as the letter advising him of the overpayment, I thought, ‘oh this one will be easy.’ I’m thinking, ‘let me let the opposing counsel know and we’ll be done with this matter.’”

“But the opposing counsel informed me that she wasn’t willing to settle the case. She wanted $3,500 in attorney’s fees and she was confident from this judge that she could get it. So she refused to settle. So we had to move forward.”

The situation escalated due to a law in Texas, which stipulates that overdue child support could lead to jail time, Elam explained. “As of June 14, 2013, in the state of Texas, a person can get behind on their child support, show up to court, paid up, and still go to jail. The maximum sentence is 6 months in jail, and that is exactly what Mr. Hall was sentenced to.”

When he heard the verdict, Hall was shocked. “My mouth just dropped. I’m looking around–I looked at my attorney like, ‘she’s joking, she can’t be serious,’” he explained. “We’re just sitting there like, ‘wow, I’m going to jail for six months. I’m going to jail for six months. I’m going to jail. This is so unfair, this is not right, this isn’t justice. This is not right.’ How is this in my son’s best interest? That doesn’t even make sense.”

Elam was unable to appeal the judge’s decision, so Hall was left with no choice but to turn himself in. His sentence began on Jan. 21, 2014.

via Clerical Error In Child Support Payments Leads To Six-Month Jail Sentence For Clifford Hall (VIDEO).

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Child Support: Increasing obligations likely to backfire – Richmond Times-Dispatch: Guest-columnists

Virginia is on the verge of substantially increasing child-support obligations for the first time since 1988. But the proposed increase, which recently passed a legislative committee as a bill called HB 933, would result in excessive obligations for many parents, more unpaid child support and more jailings for nonpayment at taxpayer expense. Some noncustodial parents already pay more than 50 percent of their income in child support.

Order people to pay more than they can afford, and they may simply give up and not pay at all. Even the drafter of the increased child-support schedule, Dr. Jane Venohr, admitted in 2012 that “Research shows that noncustodial parents whose child support obligations are more than 20 percent of their income are less likely to pay.”

But such high obligations are commonplace even under Virginia’s existing child-support guidelines. In Herring v. Herring (2000), Virginia’s existing child-support guidelines set the obligation of John Herring, a father of two, at $673 per month, more than half his monthly salary of $1,300. He was so poor that he lived in his sister’s basement. When a trial judge reduced his obligation to a more reasonable $484 per month — 37 percent of his income — the Virginia Court of Appeals reversed that reduction, because it was contrary to Virginia’s existing child-support guidelines. Under the increased child-support schedule drafted by Venohr, this poor man’s child-support obligation would go up even further.

Her increased child-support schedule inflates the obligations of many poor and working-class parents: It makes noncustodial parents pay for costs that custodial parents have already effectively been reimbursed for by the federal tax code. That includes payments like the $1,000 per-child refundable tax credit, the earned-income tax credit and the personal exemption of $3,900 in income from tax per child. For many lower-income households, these tax benefits amount to most of the cost of raising a child.

via Child Support: Increasing obligations likely to backfire – Richmond Times-Dispatch: Guest-columnists.

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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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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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