Constitutionalizing Family Law

| Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice |

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The Federalization of Family Law

Vol. 36 No. 3

Historically, family law has been a matter of state law. State legislatures define what constitutes a family and enact the laws that regulate marriage, parentage, adoption, child welfare, divorce, family support obligations, and property rights. State courts generally decide family law cases. But since the 1930s, Congress has enacted numerous federal statutes to address serious problems regarding family law matters that states have been either unwilling or unable to resolve, especially when the welfare of children is involved. Today, congressional legislation, decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the participation of the United States in more international treaties have “federalized” more and more areas of family law traditionally left to the states.DivorceCorp - Consulted a minister and psychiatrist NOT Lawyer - AFLA Blog 2016

A multitude of federal laws now regulate and impact families; some specifically confer jurisdiction on federal courts. As a result, federal courts now hear a growing number of family law cases, especially those that involve complex interjurisdictional or full faith and credit issues. The Supreme Court has contributed to this federalization by “constitutionalizing” family law. It has repeatedly used the U.S. Constitution, in particular the Fourteenth Amendment, to extend constitutional privacy protections to increasing numbers of persons and to invalidate state laws in areas of law previously thought to be the exclusive province of state legislatures.

Internationalization of the law likewise contributes to federalization. As people and goods move freely across country borders, so do their family law issues and problems. The U.S. State Department now actively participates in the drafting of international treaties, working with the Hague Conference on Private International Law and the United Nations (UN) to address family law issues on a global scale. iinguanzo-v-rose-causes-20151The United States has ratified and implemented many international law conventions. The Supreme Court has noted the judicial opinions of the European Court of Human Rights in cases involving privacy rights of same-sex partners and the juvenile death penalty.

Congressional Action since the 1930s

For almost two hundred years, the fifty states regulated family law because the federal government did not. The Tenth Amendment left states with “[t]he powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it.” Beginning with the New Deal legislation of the 1930s, Congress has used its powers under the Commerce Clause, the Full Faith and Credit Clause, and the spending power to set policy. A brief look at the areas of child support and child protection illustrate how Congress has set the national social welfare agenda by passing laws, allocating money for programs, and requiring states to comply with federal regulations to receive funding.

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Letter To Mothers With Daughter

https://youtu.be/5ZVmo_AxXkM?list=PL8JCdJuX7R3uMNAnu9Z-8d-6vvu1MyiCh

An Open Letter To Mothers With Daughter9cb2b-pledge2

The Tallahassee Thousand ~ Mark Your Calendars

We will be standing up and speaking up for our children.the-people-who-think-they-are-crazy-enought-to-change-the-world-are-the-ones-who-do

Children need both parents! Stronger Families & Stronger Children Build Stronger Communities

Bring your parents, grandparents, children, friends and family.

We will be 1,000 strong in Tally!!!

About the Venue — Saturday, November 5 at 9 AM – 6 PM

Stronger Families & Stronger Children Build Stronger Communities 

We are Fathers helping Fathers. We are parents helping parents. We are advocates dedicated to bringing a change to end fatherlessness in Florida.

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The Dysfunctional Family Court System Organizational Chart:dysfunctional-family-courts-2015

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Abusive and manipulative mother informed of son’s rights and choice to live with his father.

Denied Access Disgust - 201614 year old stands up to his abusive mother for his rights and informed choice to live with his Dad – YouTube

This video shows how a 14-year-old boy stands up to his abusive and manipulative mother to demand that she respect his informed choice to live with his father.

Many children find themselves in situations where family courts have given custody to the parent (mostly mothers) who in many cases are not the better parent. Many children are abused by their sole custodial parent as was the child in this video by his mother.

To see another teen’s similar experience with abuse by her mother view this page on YouTube:

Often custody of children is sought by one parent, not because they are the better parent but in order to obtain child support and to exercise control over the non custodial parent. During this video, the boy describes how his mother and her boyfriend assaulted him just because he wanted to wear his boots from his mother’s home to his father’s home.

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Outraged by the Injustices of the Family Court

A million sports fans are descending on San Francisco to celebrate the Super Bowl and so are Family Rights and Father’s Rights activist, homeless advocates, Black Lives Matter protesters and dozens of other activist groups.

If the issue has ever made headlines, expect to see a protest about it in the Bay Area next week.

The protesters hope to use the national spotlight from the Super Bowl to draw attention to everything from immigration and urban farming to police brutality and the rights of African Americans.

Lisa Marie Alatorre, from the Coalition on Homelessness, told the San Francisco Chronicle her group is hoping to capitalize on the Super Bowl to get the word out about their message.

“A lot of people are upset, and having millions of eyes on San Francisco is an opportunity to get national and international solidarity with the people and causes here.”

Earlier this month, Black Lives Matter protestors shut down the San Francisco Bay Bridge during rush hour by chaining themselves and their cars to the freeway to protest the city’s handling of the Mario Woods police shooting.

Now, in the lead up to the Super Bowl, some law enforcement officials are worried about copycat rallies that could disrupt traffic and hamper week-long festivities.

Cat Brooks, co-founder of the Anti-Police Terror Project, told the Mercury News she would be shocked if there were no protests during Super Bowl weekend.

“It would behoove organizers who want to get the message out about the atrocities happening to black and brown people to utilize that weekend when there will be so many people here from around the world.”

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Source: Activists Flock To Super Bowl 50 For Massive Protests

SB50-SanFran-1-800x400Fathers Encouraged to Join Protest at Super Bowl | Leon Koziol.Com

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Requesting Public Records

Ten practical tips for the Public Records Act requester

Florida has a well-deserved reputation for allowing the public access to most government records. But that reputation does not mean the right of access is always easy to assert. Here are ten practical tips that can help open up public records:

1. Put the request in writing.

Although the Public Records Act does not require that requests be submitted in writing, doing so provides real practical benefits to the requester (as long as he or she doesn’t mind that the request itself then becomes a public record). The benefits include eliminating uncertainty about what was sought and when. In fact, to make doubly sure a request is received, submit the same request two ways – for example, by U.S. Mail and facsimile. It’s unlikely an agency will lose both copies of the same request. Plus, a fax confirmation sheet proves the request was actually delivered at a particular time and date and to a particular fax number.

2. Ask to inspect unfamiliar or voluminous records.

The Public Records Act provides a statutory right to inspect records, not just to obtain copies. Don’t be too quick to reject the inspection option, particularly if the responsive records are voluminous or unfamiliar. It may be that you can save money, obtain a quick response, and understand the information you’re seeking better by inspecting originals before requesting copies.

3. Agree in advance to pay 15 cents per page for copies of records that are only a few pages.

Agencies have a statutory right to charge 15 cents per page for copies of most records. So, if you know the records being sought are only a couple of pages long – for example, a police report on a minor traffic accident – offer in your request letter to pay 15 cents per page for any copies. That agreement might make the agency more likely to respond by simply sending you the records instead of taking the time to contact you to see if you’ll pay for the copies.

4. Ask for a citation to any exemption.

The Public Records Act requires agencies to state the basis for any claim that requested records are exempt and to provide a statutory citation to the claimed exemption. Reminding the agency of that obligation will help to educate new employees who might not be familiar with the law and will show the agency that you’re familiar with your rights and the agency’s obligations.

5. Ask for a written explanation of a denial.

A requester has the right to a written statement explaining with particularity the reasons for a conclusion by the agency that the records are exempt. So every request letter ought to include language asking for such a written explanation.

6. Ask for a prompt acknowledgement and response.

The Public Records Act requires the agency to acknowledge requests promptly and to respond in good faith. It’s worth reminding the agency of that obligation.

7. Be willing to take one bite at a time.

If you expect the agency will have a lot of responsive records, consider starting with a narrow request and then making follow-up requests. For example, if you want to know how much a veteran politician uses a city-issued cell phone, you could start by asking for just last month’s bill, which is probably more easily accessible than every bill for the last twelve years. Then, if last month’s bill doesn’t answer your question, you can make a follow-up request.

8. Be willing to negotiate.

If an agency calls or writes in response to your request, pay careful attention to any explanation that’s given. It might be that the request was phrased in a way that didn’t describe the records the way the agency does. If so, it might help to rephrase your request. The law contains no limit on the number of requests that a person can make. So, if rephrasing a request will help the agency respond more quickly with the needed information, be willing to negotiate and, if necessary, to revise your request.

9. Make practice requests.

If you expect to deal with the same agency regularly and will sometimes need records in a hurry, consider making a practice request. For example, if you are a reporter covering a particular sheriff’s office, you might ask for reports concerning incidents at your home address. If you make the request politely and treat the agency’s employees courteously, the experience could smooth the way for the next request, when you might need another incident report more quickly.

10. Don’t give up!

Keep asking for the records even if the agency delays or doesn’t respond. Particularly if you deal with that agency often, a reputation for giving up easily might lead the agency to be even less helpful next time. Also, if agencies learn that requester take their access rights seriously, officials will be encouraged to be more open and accessible. And if that happens, we’re all better off.

Jim Lake is a media lawyer with the firm of Thomas & LoCicero in Tampa . He is also an adjunct professor at the Stetson University College of Law and a former journalist.First Amendment Foundation

Sample Public Records Request
Please note that a public records request does not have to be made in writing. However, should you want to make a written request, the following letters can be used as a model. Simply fill in the appropriate date, address, and salutation, and describe the records you are requesting.

Student Press Law Center Public Records Request Generator
This form is designed to help you create a simple letter. It asks you for all pertinent information and guides you through the options available. You can use this letter generator to request access to records held by a state or local government agency or body (e.g., public school district, city or campus police, state board of health, etc.). If you want to obtain records held by the federal government, we recommend using the letter generator offered by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Chapter 119: State Agencies and Local Governments

Rule 2.420: Court Records

Section 11.0431: Legislative Records

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