You Want Family Law Reforms? Okay, Here’s One Thing That Needs To Happen…

Earlier in the week, I had an experience with a recently added member to one of our closed Facebook groups where he offered some criticism about our strategy of publicizing the need for Family Law Reform with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and within the blogosphere.

Basically, I get the sense he’s an old school guy who has spent years busting his tail to actively and publically protest against the corruption within our Family Court system, and I more or less got the feeling that he thinks what we’re doing isn’t bold or dangerous enough to attract any significant attention.

And then this morning, I was having another conversation with a friend of mine about signing a petition. Here’s how it went: 

KP:

 “I don’t know if any of you have experienced this, but for every petition I’ve signed or letter written to members of our government, I get back a generic email stating this is not an issue for that specific branch to deal with. I am then resending the petitions and asking “why not?” As long as they keep saying “not me or my problem” they continue to push our children aside. Our children should be cared for at a local, state, and federal level. If gov’t officials aren’t worried about it, they should be. After all, who’s going to be making the laws and caring for them when they’re retired and need care? I don’t want my kids being that callous. We take care of them now, they learn to care for others later.”

Michael:

“I’m not a big fan of these petitions; at least not yet. I probably get asked to sign 10 of these a day, from groups splintered all over the place, and I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even bother, because they can’t generate enough political weight to be taken seriously – The conditions and the timing aren’t right.”

KP:

“I agree to a point. Right now, everyone’s wondering about the upcoming election and they’re treading lightly. I also agree these petitions don’t carry much weight. We are inundated with so much every day, we’re blocking a great deal of it out. But, I also know there will never be a “right time” in someone’s eyes. So, I keep bugging until someone listens. Someone, somewhere will say “now it’s time” if we keep asking.”

Michael:

“Well, in my opinion here’s the deal.  And I say this, because professionally, I deal with this a lot.

Politicians aren’t going to start taking us seriously until the Media starts taking us seriously.

And one of the first things the Media does when it wants to assess the newsworthiness of a cause is check FB, Twitter, etc. to see what kind of following the cause has. Hey, Media people are busy, and that’s a quick and dirty way for them to evaluate the potential public interest in a story, and these protests, petitions, etc. don’t have the physical weight to work well yet.

Sure, they do generate publicity, but not a significant amount, because the reality is the Media simply sees 20 or 30 people jumping up and down outside the Court house, who they perceive are merely pissed-off about having to pay child support, and they just don’t think this is newsworthy.  Of course we know this perception is wrong, but, this is the majority one today- rightly or wrongly, it is what it is.

Now, the reason why that Bank of America petition earlier this year worked so damn well is because nearly everyone LOATHES banks, especially big banks. They nickel and dime us, they hide fees, the charge interest, they sue us, foreclose on us – whatever; they tend to frequently piss EVERYONE off.  So, a petition like that already has the base and the energy, and that’s why, especially in today’s economy, it flew off the radar.

We’re not there yet.

Truthfully, there are millions of us who’re angry about that injuries that have been done to us and our children, but most aren’t seriously activated, and many are simply too afraid to speak out for fear of reprisal from a justice system relies heavily on secrecy and draconian measures to enforce its will.

But even more important, there are also one hell of a lot of folks who have a LOT to lose if reforms are actually made, and they ARE activated.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) has just under 40,000 Facebook followers.  Our two primary Lobby/Activist groups: Fathers and Families (just under 4,000 followers) and The American Coalition for Fathers and Children  (just under 1,500) are not even close in terms of political capital.  And nothing significant is going to happen to accomplish our goals until these numbers come up.

So first, we have to continue to work on coming together.  And as we do this, we have to realize that it’s unrealistic to believe we will ever persuade those who don’t agree with us.  But we can influence the middle, and they too, will begin to listen once we can show social proof in the form of numbers.”

Do I think petitions and protests are valuable tactics in affecting strategies for Family Law Reform?

Yup.

However, times change, and what worked yesterday, may not work as well today.

Petitions and protests certainly have their place, and as I mentioned above, they do generate publicity.  However, we must ADAPT to the conditions of today. 

So, let me try putting it this way: If NOW started sponsoring rallies against Family Law Reform, and The American Coalition For Fathers and Children started sponsoring rallies for Family Law Reform; which group do you think will be awarded greater credibility by the Media and the Public at large?

Effective strategy means adapting and exploiting current conditions to your advantage.  Petitions and protests appear to offer that quick fix we so desperately want, but the problem is, the conditions aren’t optimal for those tactics to work well yet.

Social networking platforms like Facebook give each one of us the power and the ability to publicize the truth without having to depend on the Media to do it.  And interestingly enough, it’s that very power that, these days, will actually work to attract the attention of the Media in the first place.

Statistically, each one of us knows at least two or three people within our group of Facebook friends who’ve been screwed over by the Family Court. 

Have you reached out to them?  Have you pointed them toward a group, page, or cause that can offer them love, support, and an opportunity to get involved?

The lesson here is a simple one: work on setting up and building the right conditions, then any number of tactics will have great power.

~ Michael

Loving With Letters: Danny Draw Sawyer

I wish I could say I’m surprised, but I’m not.

This is a horrible story from one of our followers:

“As I sit here trying to find myself not even knowing just how lost I am, I look back over the last year of my 37 year life and realize just how much I have lost.

I was retired from the US Army in February of 2012 due to injuries I received while serving in Iraq. Last October, my wife of 9 ½ years, and the mother of our two children, comes to me and explains just how unhappy she is and that we both deserve to be happy.

She said that after a lot of thought she has decided that she wants a divorce.

I ask her if she was absolutely sure to which she replied yes. She asked me to move out of the very house that I built; one that was built around my disabilities.

The following week I packed a couple of bags and started renting a room from someone I found on Craigslist. I told her when I moved out that she could stay in the house for one year and I would pay all the bills and still give her money on top of that so she could find a job (she never worked during our marriage even though I asked her all the time to get a job) and get on her feet, and I did just that.

I paid all the bills and on top of that gave her between $1000 – $1200 a month. I guess she wanted more. Now almost a year later she has taken me to court once for child support and alimony. I thought for sure that our judicial system would take care of me during this process. I am not a drunk, I have never hit her, and I was always at home and feel that I am a great father to our children.

She never worked, she always stayed home. Now after going to court, I have been ordered to give her 73% of my disability income.

I cannot work now due to my disabilities so making more money is not an option. I have lost everything due to this. I have nothing of value left to sell.

I am not writing this to get pity from anyone. I am simply writing this to voice that this is the world that we live in. I did everything right. But yet the court still feels the need to punish me simply because I am the father and not the mother. How is this fair?

How have we, as a society, let it come to this? Not every man going through a divorce has done something wrong. Why should we be punished for the decisions of the woman?

Car – Repossessed, Furniture – Repossessed, 2800 sq. ft. house – In Foreclosure, every gun I owned sold for near nothing.

I make too much money for government assistance and now live day-to-day on bread and bologna, and have run out of bread. With the amount of money that the court is leaving me every month I can pay my rent or my car payment or buy food, but only one of those.

My power is about to be disconnected as well as my phone. Out of all the things I have lost, the thing that hurts me the most is losing the respect of my children.

Please repost this, I would like the world to know how good men are being treated in our courts.

Sincerely,

Danny Draw Sawyer”

 

Memo To Followers: Is The Fox Ruling The Henhouse?

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.”

I 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.

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.

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%.

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.

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.

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.

Change 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

Memo To Followers: The Ugly Truth About Why States Don’t Want Shared/Equal Parenting (Continued):

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You may recall that I recently posted a memo describing how States are profiting from the creation of absent parents (see the link below for the original post).

Well, in that post, I only described part of the money picture the States are getting.

And while I’m still working on it, below is copy from an email I recently sent to FatherandFamilies.org that provides a bit more clarity and detail about how The Feds providing financial incentives to States who create absent parents and/or maximize child support payements.

Again, if you feel lost, the original post is linked below.

In any case, here is my understanding of it:

There are three revenue sources for States associated with the collection and administration of child support payments defined under the broad cover of the Social Security Act:

(1) 66% reimbursement for allowable expenditures, which are:

a. Costs for locating parents
b. Costs for establishing orders
c. Costs for collecting child support payments
d. Costs for establishing paternity
e. Any other misc. costs approved by the Secretary for reimbursement.
f.  And exception of 90% matching for the following two expenditures
i.  Improving management information systems
ii. Blood testing

(2) Welfare recovery and matching:

a. Recovered TANF payments are split between the Federal Government and States consistent with Federal reimbursement of medical benefits (I’m still not clear about exactly how this part works in practice.)

(3) Incentive pool (Public Law 105-200, the Child Support Performance and Incentive Act of 1988 ( enacted July 16, 1998 ))
:

With the incentive pool, states must compete for their share of the funds, which I believe currently, is around $530MM to $535MM.

A. The incentive amount = State Incentive Pool (x) State Incentive Share

B. State Incentive Share = Incentive Base Amount For The State (/) Sum of Incentive Base Amounts For All States

C. Incentive Base Amount = Sum Of Applicable Percentages {defined by paragraph 6 of the Act} (x) Corresponding Maximum Incentive Base Amounts for each bonus category:
Bonus Categories Are:
A. Paternity Establishment Performance Level
B. Support Order Performance Level
C. Current Payment Performance Level
D. Arrearage Performance Level
E. Cost Effectiveness Performance Level

D. Maximum Incentive Base Amount = State Collections Base (as measured in performance categories A,B,C) + 75% state collections base ( performance categories D, E).

E. State Collections Base = Sum ( 2 (x) amount collected in which support is assigned to the State (bonus categories A or E), amount of support collected that was at the time of collection, not required to be assigned), total amount of support collected)

Summary of Observations:

If the incentive structure gives you headache, take heart. I’m an econometrician by training, and it gives me one as well. And this is why I wanted to actual figures that I could use to test this stuff out.

In any case, here is how I’m visualizing the incentive program:

Think of it is a pie; we know this is a closed mathematical domain. So, the objective for each state is to maximize their share of the pie (incentive base amounts relative to other states). And in this regard, you’ll note that the Fed’s apply a 25% penalty to the maximum incentive base amounts for two categories: (1) Support collected in arrears, and (2) Support Costs. Number two kind of puzzles me. The only thing that makes sense to me here, is that this deflation is intended to hit those states with particularly high costs per amount collected harder than those who perform better.

Secondly, you’ll note that the Fed’s place double the weight of state administered child support payments assigned to the State for collection; either by order or agreement.

So, with respect to incentive pools, I’m deducing:

(1) An incentive to maximize the amount of child support ordered.
(2) An incentive to maximize the amount of child support collected.
(3) An incentive to avoid high collection costs.
(4) An incentive to assign collections to the State for Administration.
(5) A penalty to incentive base amounts for child support amounts in arrears.

In other words, the name of the game here for States, is to generate the biggest number possible (incentive base amount) constrained by the maximum incentive base amount. Once these numbers are in for the year, shares are created and the pie is split up.

Now, as it relates observation (3), this is why I really wanted the budget data. States already get reimbursed for 66% of their hard costs, and get a little bit of extra in there for a couple of other things. The part that’s concerning, is the allowable expanse for “other” expenses approved by the Secretary. Because as I see it, it would not be all that difficult shore up the remaining 34% with all kinds little creative accounting tactics if the political sentiment supported the behavior – this is a political black box in the accounting (as I see it).

Summary:

(1) States get reimbursed for 66% of the hard costs of collecting and administering child support.

(2) States bonus funds for welfare programs using a formula consistent with Federal medical program reimbursements.

(3) States get bonus funds from a shared incentive pool, in which those incentives are driven by the nominal amount of child support collected and the performance in collecting it. And nowhere in the Act, do I see language that mandates how this incentive money is to be spent by states (as opposed to (1) and (2). In my mind, this makes it a Federal subsidy landing in the discretionary (general) budget of the States. ”

****

A fine group of elected officials we have here.

It really does seem to be all about the “Best interests of the children.”

Not.

~ Michael

Original Memo:

http://loveandiron.com/2012/08/28/the-ugly-truth-why-states-and-courts-dont-want-shared-parenting/

Feminist Arguing About Parenting Rights 101: How To Look Credible While Being Dishonest

So, I’m happy to report that one of our posts (the one pinned to the top of our page) got trolled again. I love this, because it means we’re being effective.

So, in order to make the point, I presume, that the position of this page and its followers is invalid, she cites an opinion piece (linked below) by Huffington Post Feminist “Divorce Coach”, Cathy W. Meyer; “Do Dads Really Get Dissed In Divorce Court?”

Please note the following quote taken directly from the website of Ms. Myers:

“I think the female spirit is the most beautiful, complex thing God has ever created. I believe that we can do anything we put our minds too. If you don’t believe me, watch Man on Wire.”

Ok, I think helps lend some perspective on where this piece is starting from.

So, let’s look at the arguments:

Now in her piece, the author cites statistics from a Pew Center Research study from June 2011 in which data is pulled from The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s ongoing study “National Study for Family Growth.”

Her first argument, as taken from both reports, is that working mother’s spend twice as much time participating in daily care activities as working fathers.

However, in neither report, can I find any statistical definition of how this variable is defined.

Never the less, let’s assume, even accept, that the premise that different roles within the family structure lend themselves to the working mothers being more involved in child caring activities than the father.

The article then goes into alarmist mode.

“More startling are the stats on absent fathers or the amount of time fathers spend with children once the divorce is final. According to the above study, when fathers and children live separately, 22 percent of fathers see their children more than once a week. Twenty-nine percent of fathers see their children one to four times a month. The most disturbing fact though is that 27 percent of fathers have no contact with their children at all.”

You’ll note here, that the author is implying that fathers are choosing to be absent. She makes a weak acknowledgement for the counter argument noting that “some” fathers assert that the Family Court system, the body of Family Court Law, parental alienation, or child support laws are creating absent fathers.

She then goes on to refute this by citing another study by Divorcepeers.com claiming that 91% of all custody disputes are settled without intervention by the Court.

And in those cases, cites these statistics:

In 51% of the cases, both parties agreed that Mom become the custodial parent.

In 29% of the cases, the decision was made without 3rd party involvement.

11% of decisions for custody to Mom were made during mediation. Translation: Dad is now educated about the realities of Family Law and Court Tendencies.

5% of custody decisions required a court appointed parenting plan evaluator.

Of the 4% for the cases went to trial, of that 4%, only 1.5% complete custody litigation. Translation: if it goes to trial 98.5% of trial cases are decided by the Court.

Then the big close, in 91% of custody cases are decided with no interference from the Court system

Ahh, now can see the beauty of Feminist argument framing tactics.

So, lets approach this in an honest way.

In 51% of the cases, both parties agreed Mom should be the custodial parent – Cool, if both parties agree, that’s awesome – to each their own.

What does the other 49% mean – that they agreed Dad should be the custodial parent? That there was a dispute over custody? Was any custody disputed centered around equal or shared custody?

She doesn’t say. Interesting.

71% of the cases were resolved with mediation or Court Intervention.  What were the financial controls and budget constraints affecting these outcomes? Is the ability to use child support to pay legal fees a factor? How about informative educations from legal professionals about the reality of family law and how things are likely to turn out?

She doesn’t address this. Interesting.

5% of custody decisions required a court appointed parenting plan evaluator. Translation: I have no idea, because she didn’t define this variable – 5% of what?

I suspect this was mindfully left undefined. Interesting.

And lastly 98.5% of custody cases that go to trial are decided by the Court.

And she uses these statistics to support her argument that Family Law is not biased?

It’s pretty clear to me, that the statistics she is throwing out support our argument that the body of Family Court Law has been engineered to achieve a predetermined outcome. 

So she closes with the following assertions:

Fathers are far less involved with children during marriage.  However, no statistical definition is provided.

Fathers are less involved after divorce. Controls for financial or court restraints are not accounted for.

Mothers gain custody because the vast majority of fathers choose to. Roughly half of Dads do this before Court intervention. The other half give in before going to trial – why is this?

Her last assertion is garbage. She’s saying the same thing she said in he previous three points.

I love the circular logic here. Current outcomes prove that the current outcomes are correct.

I wonder what would happen to current outcomes under the presumption of equal parenting?

And interestingly enough, if in fact Cathy Meyer’s argument is correct, then she and other feminists would have absolutely nothing to fear from Family Court reforms that presume 50/50 custody and parenting rights, because men would voluntarily grant primary custody to the mother as she claims they are doing now. Yet, she’s using her argument as a reason to prevent these reforms.

Why?  

Nice try – Very Dishonest. 

Fail.

The Ugly Truth: Why States and Courts Don’t Want Shared Parenting

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Recently, I’ve been getting some queries about why I’ve been hammering so much on the issue of child support payments. And, I suspect, we’ve lost a follower or two because I’ve sort of ratcheted up the rhetoric on this topic a bit lately.

In fact, a couple of weeks a ago, we were having a discussion on this page in which I was asserting that States can receive anywhere from $1 to $2 in Federal subsidy payments for every dollar they collect and administer in child support payments.  And it was during one of this discussion that one of our followers asked the simple question, “Do you have any documentation on this?”.

Well, at the time, the only information I had available was budget information from the Office of Child Support Enforcement from 2009. So I contacted Michael McKormick at the American Coalition for Fathers and Children and he confirmed that my information was also the most recent published data he had as well (He also noted that Obama administration has been highly resistant to publishing any current budget data on this matter….).

In any case, enter my new best friend, Rita Fuerst Adams from Fathers and Families (Fathersandfamilies.org).

Because Rita was able to track down for me the actual act that describes exactly how these payments and bonuses are calculated.

I’ve Attached The Link For You Below. But Here Is The Short Story Version:

_

*The program is administered by the Office of Child Support Enforcement within the Administration of Children and Families; which is governed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

* The Act governing the program is known as the `Child Support Performance and Incentive Act of 1998′.

* There are bonus and penalty measures that determine the funding.

* Incentive Payments to States –

(1) IN GENERAL- The incentive payment for a State for a fiscal year is equal to the incentive payment pool for the fiscal year, multiplied by the State incentive payment share for the fiscal year.

(2) INCENTIVE PAYMENT POOL-

(A) IN GENERAL- In paragraph (1), the term `incentive payment pool’ means–

(i) $422,000,000 for fiscal year 2000;

(ii) $429,000,000 for fiscal year 2001;

(iii) $450,000,000 for fiscal year 2002;

(iv) $461,000,000 for fiscal year 2003;

(v) $454,000,000 for fiscal year 2004;

(vi) $446,000,000 for fiscal year 2005;

(vii) $458,000,000 for fiscal year 2006;

(viii) $471,000,000 for fiscal year 2007;

(ix) $483,000,000 for fiscal year 2008; and

(x) for any succeeding fiscal year, the amount of the incentive payment pool for the fiscal year that precedes such succeeding fiscal year, multiplied by the percentage (if any) by which the CPI for such preceding fiscal year exceeds the CPI for the second preceding fiscal year.

(B) CPI- For purposes of subparagraph (A), the CPI for a fiscal year is the average of the Consumer Price Index for the 12-month period ending on September 30 of the fiscal year. As used in the preceding sentence, the term `Consumer Price Index’ means the last Consumer Price Index for all-urban consumers published by the Department of Labor.

*** So essentially, the pool value increases every year at growth rate equal to the consumer price index. Which for 2012, would put the incentive pool at a little over 530,000,000****

(3) STATE INCENTIVE PAYMENT SHARE- In paragraph (1), the term `State incentive payment share’ means, with respect to a fiscal year–

(A) the incentive base amount for the State for the fiscal year; divided by

(B) the sum of the incentive base amounts for all of the States for the fiscal year.

Now, here’s where it gets important, because this is where the base value figures are established:

(4) INCENTIVE BASE AMOUNT- In paragraph (3), the term incentive base amount’ means, with respect to a State and a fiscal year, the sum of the applicable percentages (determined in accordance with paragraph (6)) multiplied by the corresponding maximum incentive base amounts for the State for the fiscal year, with respect to each of the following measures of State performance for the fiscal year:

(5) MAXIMUM INCENTIVE BASE AMOUNT-

(A) IN GENERAL- For purposes of paragraph (4), the maximum incentive base amount for a State for a fiscal year is–

(i) with respect to the performance measures described in subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) of paragraph (4), the State collections base for the fiscal year; and

(ii) with respect to the performance measures described in subparagraphs (D) and (E) of paragraph (4), 75 percent of the State collections base for the fiscal year.

Skipping some stuff here…

(C) STATE COLLECTIONS BASE- For purposes of subparagraph (A), the State collections base for a fiscal year is equal to the sum of–

(i) 2 times the sum of–

(I) the total amount of support collected during the fiscal year under the State plan approved under this part in cases in which the support obligation involved is required to be assigned to the State pursuant to part A or E of this title or title XIX; and

(II) the total amount of support collected during the fiscal year under the State plan approved under this part in cases in which the support obligation involved was so assigned but, at the time of collection, is not required to be so assigned; and

(ii) the total amount of support collected during the fiscal year under the State plan approved under this part in all other cases.

(A) The paternity establishment performance level.

(B) The support order performance level.

(C) The current payment performance level.

(D) The arrearage payment performance level.

(E) The cost-effectiveness performance level.

**So, you can see two important things here.

First, the reimbursements, payments, and bonuses are NOT determined by a reimbursement of State expenses incurred. In fact, the minimization of State Collection Costs is a bonus item.

Secondly, and this is really important, the figures used are the child support funds that States have under administration.

*** See the link for the actual tables for calculating bonuses, etc****

And here is something I found interesting. Check this out:

(c) TREATMENT OF INTERSTATE COLLECTIONS- In computing incentive payments under this section, support which is collected by a State at the request of another State shall be treated as having been collected in full by both States, and any amounts expended by a State in carrying out a special project assisted under section 455(e) shall be excluded.

***i.e. If two States are working together to collect funds, they both get credit for the purposes of establishing bonuses – this is pure gravy.

Note a couple of things here.

First, the bonus values are doubled for the categories of paternity test performance and cost performance.

So why would the Feds care about State costs? Because this is the bonus and incentive program, and States already receive a 66% dollar for dollar reimbursement for administrative costs (and I’m not sure, I’ll have to check, but i think there is a way they can finagle the remaining 34% to get even dollar for dollar match) under a different section of the Social Security Act.

So, there you have it.

States can get up to 100% reimbursement for administrative costs plus up to two times the bonus pool share for two categories along with the rest of it.

Now add to this, the fact that Courts often charge fees for posting these certified payments, and may assess additional fees and fines for enforcement, and you’ve got a very lucrative incentive for States and Courts to maximize child support payments.

In Other Words, It Should Be No Surprise That:

_

(1) Child Support payments are maximized, regardless of whether the NCP can afford them. States and Courts don’t care; the debt can’t go way or be retroactively reduced.

(2) Equal and Shared parenting is disincented – this will reduce revenue to the States and Courts.

(3) More and more States are requiring mandatory garnishments and payment administration. People who are already paying on time will improve their performance ratings for bonus calculations.

(4) States like TX make it difficult for non-paternal parents relieve themselves of child support burdens.

And lastly,

(5) Why States and Courts are not persuaded by reasonable and humane arguments for shared parenting reforms.

The system has been corrupted by money and the Feds are driving this corruption.

It’s time to fire politicians.

~ Michael

Source: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/pol/related/3130.htm

Loving With Lettters – Glenn

Corrupt Family Courts.
Bradenton Herald Published my Story, Praise GOD
10 years 4500 pages 735 docket entries.
Case 2002DR3254 12 Circuit Court of Manatee County, Florida.
My reward for 10 years of effort NO CONTACT.
This is a death sentence for Parents in Family Court.
PLEASE, PLEASE post a comment for the record on the newspaper link.
I will never give up on my daughter and your comments will help her understand that Daddy never gave up on her.

Father’s Day tough on dads without visitation rights

As we all look forward to this Father’s Day, the best gift any woman could give to a father is the acknowledgment of the irreplaceable value men and fathers bring to a relationship, to children and what they afford the greater society. What an abject tragedy, what a horrific loss it is for any child to endure a life apart from their father.
The last 30-plus years have unfortunately not been kind to fathers and more importantly their children. It is today an unfortunate fact that of the approximate 70 million fathers in the U.S., 35 million are divorced. Of those 35 million fathers, as a result of a corrupt anti-family court system, approximately 84.4 percent have been relegated to the status of non-custodial parent.
Family courts are wrong;
I have not seen my child in over two years.
It is not fathers “abandoning” their children, it’s feminism, mothers and a biased family court system conspiring for financial gain and legal leverage to secure court orders denying fathers their rights to their children and children their rights to their father.
If you want fathers to act more like fathers, get government out of the way, stop policies that encourage extended court litigation, bogus restraining orders and willful violations of visitations by the custodial parent with no consequences by the courts.
As Always….FOLLOW THE MONEY
Glen Gibellina
Bradenton

Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/2012/06/11/4069957/fathers-day-tough-on-dads-without.html#storylink=cpy

Loving With Letters – Matthew

I want to call attention to Matthew Landry’s post in recent post’s by other’s (see Dakota’s Page).

Matthew is Dakota’s daddy and my son. He and Dakota are the reason I became involved in the Parental Equal Rights cause.

Matthew is a very young father (19). He has been so hurt by the alienation of his baby as well as totally lost in how to even begin to deal with the legality of this complex issue.

He has been determined to fight for his child from the beginning and I am so proud to watch that determination as he painfully struggles to make some sense of it all.

We need to give more credit to our young men these days.

We as a society are so very quick to put them in the dead beat, irresponsible dad category.

However, our laws are setting them up for failure and pushing them to run and abandon out of fear and shame.

Matthew is one of the fortunate ones, he has a loving supportive family to encourage him to continue on and help him up when he falls.

There are countless others like Matt who don’t have that. They are counting on us for love, support and guidance in the minefield of family court.

May we all stand together in support of them and their children. After all, we are in truth one family, with God as our father!

Love To All,

Cathy Landry

*****

Hello my name is Matthew Jonathan Landry, and my son’s name is Dakota James.

This page is for him and every other father that is standing up for the rights to see their child.

First off, I want to give a special thanks to everyone that likes and supports this page (Dakota’s Page)  and all the other fathers that just wanna be with their child.

Next, I would like to take some time to talk to my little man because i haven’t had a chance:

“Hey little man I’m your daddy and I havent been able to see you yet, but I want you to know that even though you haven’t had the chance to be with me, I love you so very much and you’re the most important thing in my life and im going to do whatever it may take to be with you.

See one day me and mommy met and I thought it was the greatest thing that had ever happened to me.n I loved her and couldn’t wait to start a family with her.

So we started and we got you, and even though I loved your mother very much and wanted to be with her the rest of my life, it didn’t happen.

We had rough patches in our relationship, we let things fall us apart, and I hurt so much from it.

But I’m so happy that I made that choice because if I hadn’t, we
wouldn’t have had YOU,the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

Even though I thought your mother was the greatest thing; it wasnt. It was you baby boy. I’m so so so very happy that we had you

I love you so very much Dakota.

I will never be able to give up. I’m going to stand up for you, Dakota. I’m standing here fighting with ever thing I have to be with you and be apart of your life.

Because the way I feel is I need you and you need me. We need each other to bein each others’ lives.

I love you Dakota James. You just have to be patient. I will be with you!

Love your Daddy – See you soon!”

Now I would like to take some time to say some things.

I have hurt so much through this situation.

It hurts me so much to know that I’m not with him and I ask myself things like, “Have I done something wrong?”

And the answer is NO.

I haven’t done anything to deserve it, and YES, I can be there for my son and take care of him.

Fathers keep fighting! You deserve to be a part of your child’s life .

STAND UP!!!!

Keep standing and saying, “I won’t let it break me and give up hope on being apart of your childs’ life.

Maybe it’s not for you but I will not, won’t, nor ever be able to
give up.

Don’t lose hope.  It’s there and always has been.

So, we stand together!!!!

We fight!!!!

And together, we will prevail!!!!

Matthew

Tennessee

What Does It Actually Mean To Be A Champion For Parents And Children?

Well, here’s what we think it means:

  • It means standing up for what’s right by speaking with deeds; not lip service.
  • It means leading by example.
  • It means being a role model for your kids and those around you.
  • It means standing up for those who are too weak or too afraid to stand-up for themselves.

The Truth Is…

Most of your friends, colleagues, and maybe even your family probably won’t help you out with Family Law reform.

Because let’s be fair.

Some have their own problems to worry about, and our cause simply isn’t relevant to them so it’s not on their radar as important.

Others, (probably more than you think) are against equal parenting because they have a lot to lose if reforms are effected.

So they’re not going to help you, even if they won’t admit this and be honest with you about it.

And some folks may empathize with you and really want reforms; but they’re too afraid to take public stand for fear of antagonizing an Ex and finding themselves underneath the punishing heel of the Family Court.

Seriously, there are a lot of nice people who are simply too scared to come forward.

But, Check This Out…

Did you know that statistically, 8.15% of your Facebook friends WILL be happy to help – and that all you need to do is ask them to do it?

If we’re going to get the changes we want, the very first thing to do is gather us all together so we can speak with one voice – loud and clear.

And thankfully, this way easier to do than our opposition wants you to think it is – Seriously, don’t listen to them, because this is not hard.

Because We’re Not Asking You To Make A Career Out Of This Cause.

We’re just asking you to show your kids and everyone else what it means to have the integrity to stand up for others and do what’s right; regardless of your personal circumstances.

We’re asking you to make a powerful point by speaking with what you do; not with what you say you’ll do.

Are you with us?

I hope so 🙂

Warmest Regards,

Michael

P.S. If you want a way you can help right now, and do so in 5 minutes or less, then PLEASE CLICK HERE!.