Ignoring mountains of empirical data that shows shared parenting to be in the best interest of families.

A System Out of Control

Florida is also one of several states to still have permanent alimony, meaning the payor makes payments for the rest of their, or their ex-spouse’s, life.541ef-flag-of-florida

Permanent alimony was necessary in the days when women rarely worked outside the home. But the growing employability of women and the rise of no-fault divorce has led most states to abandon permanent alimony.

SB 668 would have done away with permanent alimony and provided judges with more guidelines to determine both the length and the amount of the payments.

“It would have given the judges and court system a lot more guidance on what they can and can’t do,” Karges said.

Recently, a bill in Florida was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott that would have reformed the state’s alimony and child custody laws.

Scott’s decision to veto SB 668 is baffling considering it was receiving 3-to-1 support and the legislature passed it by a 2-to-1 margin. His choice is even more confounding after hearing the logic behind it.

“Current law directs a judge to consider the needs and interests of the children first when determining a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule,” Scott said in a letter to Secretary of State Ken Detzner. “This bill has the potential to upend that policy in favor of putting the wants of a parent before the child’s best interest by creating a premise of equal time sharing.”

In actuality, what the law would have done is require judges to start with the premise that children will be granted equal access to each parent. Contrary to what opponents claim, the law does not mandate a 50-50 custody split.cropped-235b5-50502brights.jpg

After beginning with the presumption of shared parenting, judges would then consider 20 factors regarding child custody that already exist in Florida law. If the judge decided a different allocation of parenting time was in a child’s best interest, then they would be required to explain why.

Once again, Scott and the bill’s opponents are ignoring mountains of empirical data that shows shared parenting to be in the best interest of families. And by bowing to special interest groups, Scott is providing another frustrating example of why it is so difficult to pass family law statutesthat would clearly benefit parents and children.rick-scott-24

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Equally Shared Parenting

Shared parenting refers to a collaborative arrangement in child custody or divorce determinations in which both parents have the right and responsibility of being actively involved in the raising of the child(ren).

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The term is often used as a synonym for joint physical custody, but the exact definitions vary, with different jurisdictions defining it in different ways, and different sources using the term in different ways.[1] A regime of shared parenting is based on the idea that parental responsibilities should be shared by both the parents.[2]

It is typically a legal mechanism applied in cases of divorce, separation or when parents do not live together; in contrast, a Shared Earning/Shared Parenting Marriage is a marriage where the partners choose at the outset of the marriage (and prior to conceiving children) to share the work of childraising, earning money, house chores and recreation time in nearly equal fashion across all four domains.

Stand Up For Zoraya

Shared Parenting.

Parents are presumed equal during the marriage. What changed in the equality equation once the marriage ends? Children need and want both parents in their lives, not as visitors, but as active and equal participants. That’s why shared parenting is best for children.

Read more HERE

Even when blood relationships are strained, parents retain vital interest in preventing irretrievable destruction of their family life; if anything, persons faced with forced dissolution of their parental rights have more critical need for procedural protections than do those resisting state intervention into ongoing family affairs. Santosky v. Kramer, 102 S Ct 1388; 455 US 745, (1982).
Parents have a fundamental constitutionally protected interest in continuity of legal bond with their children. Matter of Delaney, 617 P 2d 886, Oklahoma (1980). .
The liberty interest of the family encompasses an interest in retaining custody of one’s children and, thus, a state…

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Is The Fox Ruling The Henhouse?

 

Family Law Reform - 2016I then followed up with a post to that thread describing my disgust with National Organization for Women (NOW) and other anti-equal parenting lobbying groups; because it’s become apparent that this is one of the universal talking points that’s being injected into the public commentary – I’m simply seeing it all over.  Basically, here’s  what they’re saying:

**The only reason fathers want equal parenting is to avoid paying child support.**

Yet interestingly enough, when we recently ran a poll of our followers, we asked the following question:

“If you were given a magic wand and told you could change just ONE thing about Family Law, right now; what would that ONE thing be?

  1. A presumption of 50/50 custody.
  2. An elimination of shared income redistributions within the child support calculation
  3. Government enforcement of visitation orders
  4. Punishments/Remedies for fraudulent false allegations of abuse.

Enforce Visitation NOT Child Support - 2016

So according to the propaganda, it would be logical to expect that answer “B” would have dominated the responses, or at the very least, presented a significant presence.

Well, as it happens, option “B” did not receive a single vote – NOT ONE person who responded to our poll identified child support as the most important Family Law reform they wanted addressed.Parental Alienation AKA Child Abuse is a CRIME - 2016

None.

Nada.

Zip-o-la.

In fact here are the results:

Option “A” – the presumption of 50/50 custody received 35.20% of the votes.

Option “B” – the elimination of income sharing within the child support calculation, of course, received 0% of the votes.

Option “C” – Government enforcement of visitation orders received 5.88% of the votes.

Option “D” – Punishments/Remedies for fraudulent false allegations of abuse received the remaining, and largest percentage of votes at 58.82%.

Children in joint custody arrangements had less behavior and emotional problems, had higher self-esteem, better family relations and school performance than children in sole custody arrangements. And these children were as well-adjusted as intact family children on the same measures, said Bauserman, "probably because joint custody provides the child with an opportunity to have ongoing contact with both parents."  These findings indicate that children do not actually need to be in a joint physical custody to show better adjustment but just need to spend substantial time with both parents, especially with their fathers, said Bauserman. Also, joint custody couples reported less conflict, possibly because both parents could participate in their children's lives equally and not spend the time arguing over childcare decisions. Unfortunately a perception exists that joint custody is more harmful because it exposes children to ongoing parental conflict. In fact, the studies in this review found that sole-custody parents reported higher levels of conflict.  It is important to recognize that the results do not support joint custody in all situations. When one parent is abusive or neglectful or has a serious mental or physical health problem, sole-custody with the other parent would clearly be preferable,

Children in joint custody arrangements had less behavior and emotional problems, had higher self-esteem, better family relations and school performance than children in sole custody arrangements. And these children were as well-adjusted as intact family children on the same measures, said Bauserman, “probably because joint custody provides the child with an opportunity to have ongoing contact with both parents.”
These findings indicate that children do not actually need to be in a joint physical custody to show better adjustment but just need to spend substantial time with both parents, especially with their fathers, said Bauserman. Also, joint custody couples reported less conflict, possibly because both parents could participate in their children’s lives equally and not spend the time arguing over childcare decisions. Unfortunately a perception exists that joint custody is more harmful because it exposes children to ongoing parental conflict. In fact, the studies in this review found that sole-custody parents reported higher levels of conflict.
It is important to recognize that the results do not support joint custody in all situations. When one parent is abusive or neglectful or has a serious mental or physical health problem, sole-custody with the other parent would clearly be preferable,

Actually,  I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume we’re not the first organization to come up with these sorts of findings, and it would be hard for me to believe that those putting out the misinformation are ignorant of the facts.

Could it be that they’re simply lying to the Public in order to promote a political agenda?

NC Fathers then followed up my post with a response:

“We don’t worry so much about NOW anymore.

I see diehard members of that organization starting to speak out about how this system throws step-mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and other females under the bus.

It used to be framed as a male vs. female issue, but clearly women in paternal families are on their knees as much as fathers are.

The REAL opponent is one of the largest, single most powerful lobby organizations in the USA. That is the American Bar Association which pumps tremendous amounts of influence and money into stopping equally shared parenting.

It disturbs us to know that the lawyers we are spending $15,000 on per custody matter believe that we either win, or be marginalized.”

Ah, so we get to the heart of it.

True enough, it’s about money all right, but who is REALLY the party guilty of greed?

Well, that question is answered very well described by another follower posting on the conversation thread referenced here:

“This is sad but true.9b9ba-justice2bmoving2bpic

When my husband and I decided to divorce, we sat down and agreed to split everything 50/50 and to make an appointment with our marriage counselor to learn how to tell the kids, and to discuss how to share them. Because we were both in agreement, we decided to share a lawyer. Because he worked out of town, I agreed to find a lawyer to help us draw up paperwork.

At my initial meeting the attorney informed me she cannot represent both of us and my husband would have to get his own attorney.

She started asking questions about our jobs and lives and then let me know that because he made more money, I am due alimony to bring me up to his level of income. She also advised I fight for sole custody of the kids, or at the very least reduce his visitation down to no more than something like 60 nights per year, as that would give me the maximum child support.

I’m embarrassed to say, I had never even heard of child support before!

We were still living together at this point, so she advised I start a fight that would encourage HIM to be the one to move out so it would look like he abandoned us, as this would give me my best chance at my custody and child support wishes. She spent an hour telling me what a looser he was (she’d never met him!) and how much of his money I deserved.

When I told her that I couldn’t live with myself taking so much from him and taking the kids away from their dad, she started telling me that my kids deserve to live in one home with their mother, how studies proved that mothers are better care takers, and that his new role should be to provide financial support, if he really loved his children.

She even said, “Wouldn’t it be nice to only work part time or quit working, your kids need you more than you need your job!” I did not hire her, and we figured out how to file our paperwork without crooked attorneys, got co-parenting advise from a counselor, and today our kids enjoy a healthy relationship with both parents, and we share equally in all expenses (actually, he probably does pay a little more than half their expenses, but it is his choice to do so, he has more expensive tastes in stuff than I do).

I believe many attorneys are the root cause of their family court battles, and likely the reason family court moves so extremely slow!”

As of the latest published data by the US Census Bureau (2007), there were 175,825 Law firms generating just under $228 billion dollars in gross annual revenues operating within the United States.

88% of these entities were operating with 10 or fewer employees with an average of 6.3 employees per firm, which equates to approximately $205,627 per employee.

Furthermore, in the United States, politicians who described their profession as “lawyer” make up the single most influential voting block within Congress  (37.2% total; with 60% of the US Senate being lawyers).

Ah okay….

So now we see the game that’s being played here:

(1)    Lawyers make money from conflicts centering around significant threats to life, liberty, and money.  It doesn’t matter if they win or lose, as long as they stakes are high and important, and the legal process sufficiently confusing or unknown; they get paid.  Therefore, it’s in the best interests of the American Bar Association to create and/or preserve the conditions that enable conflict around children. Conflict around one’s children equals BIG money for lawyers.

(2)    The way to preserve or enhance these conditions is to use legal language that is nebulous and presumptive.  Nebulous means vague and open to interpretation, and within Law, presumption defines where the burden of proof resides.  And two of the most hotly contested laws affecting non-custodial parents (The Best Interests of the Children Rule, and The Violence Against Women Act) satisfy all these conditions: (1) Nebulous and open to interpretation by the Court, (2) Presumptive: the burden of proof is on the father to reach a high standard to show why he should have equal parenting rights, and in the Case of allegations of abuse; the accused party, which is the father 98% of the time, is presumed guilty and the burden of proof is on that person to show the allegations are unfounded, (3) High stakes (life, children, liberty, money),  and (4) public confusion and ignorance regarding the form, structure, and process of Family Law.  And it’s under these conditions that lawyers and friends of the Court parenting plan evaluators, supervisors, investigators, and social workers are making a pile of money.

(3)     As it sits currently, custodial parents, States, and many Courts enjoy lucrative financial incentives to maximize child support payments, which is likely to include minimizing or eliminating a non-custodial parents time with their children.  Why? Because the Federal Government has set it up this way by rationing Federal subsidies to States through child support enforcement vis-à-vis Title IVD Child Support Enforcement bonuses (Click here to learn more about Federal Money to States for child support enforcement). So, what we’ve got here is an environment where custodial parents, which are statistically mothers (84% of the time; the resulting 14% being mostly joint custody cases, and a very small percent having fathers as the primary custodian), lawyers, Court-appointed investigators, and Courts are colluding with each other to protect and enhance their financial interests.

But the big question remains, why are our elected officials within Federal Government not only enabling this behavior, not only empowering it, but deliberately misrepresenting the facts?

Well, Family Law reform is about money all right.

But when you’re doing something disgusting, it helps to create a noble excuse for it and manipulate public opinion about where the blame lies.family court insanity - 2016

Child support reform is NOT the primary concern of our followers  – it’s the primary concern of everyone who is making money by preserving the conditions of high-stakes conflict; those who are profiting from the abuse and exploitation of parents and children.

 

The Family Court Industry is not hiding the fact that ultimately, the argument is about money. They’re simply misrepresenting the facts so that it appears NCP’s, who are mostly fathers, are to blame.

 

So, why are our politicians supporting and spinning this for the Family Court industry?

Because the Family Court Industry is making out like bandits, and this means money for politicians, which of course means winning elections and power.

When you have power to over laws, you have power to attract political donations. And when you have power to give money to politicians, you have the power to affect the laws.

It’s a nice little cozy relationship, don’t ya think?

And this is why, the position of The Love And Iron Project is that the answer to our problems; the solution to the end of the exploitation and abuse of parents and children for money rests in our ability to come together in sufficient numbers to coerce change at the political level.

There is simply too much money being made by everyone involved. If we want change, we’re going to have to force it, because believe me, neither the Family Court Industry nor the Political Establishment is going to give up all this cash for moral reasons.

They don’t care about that. They don’t really care about your children. And they certainly don’t care about you – They are manufacturing suffering for you and your children so they can profit fromit. They are using you.

If we want change, we’re going to have to take it upon ourselves to make it happen.

We’re going to have to show these politicians that it’s in their best interests to change the laws or they’re going to lose their jobs – period.

ChangePolitics2 - - 2016Change the politicians, change the laws. Change the laws, change Court behavior. Change Court behavior, change the result.

Do this, and all the profiteers are stripped of their power and removed from the equation.

~ Michael

The Love and Iron Project

You might have noticed that the common theme of our most recent publicity messages center around “sharing the truth”.

And there’s a reason for this:  we’ve been seeing a rather active effort on the part of our opposition to blatantly lie to the Public in an attempt to thwart Family Law reform.

In reality, this is not new.  Because they’ve been doing this for the last forty years or so.

Never the less, you’re probably seeing a ridiculous talking point come up a lot lately.  I’ve seen it all over, and it’s probably best described by a Facebook post is saw in the Love and Iron newsfeed from NC Fathers.  Here is the opening post:

“In speaking w/ a NC Legislator yesterday, she exclaimed that in many cases the only reason a non-custodial parent would want shared parenting or joint custody is so that they could lower child support payments.”

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