Tuesday, May 20, 2008

GOOD DADS...BAD CUSTODY DECISIONS...

GOOD DADS GOOD KIDS BAD COURT DECISIONS
Robert Pedersen was devastated three years ago when a divorce judge said he could see his two children only a few days a month. [d]

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GOOD MORNING FLINT!
BY Terry Bankert 5/20/08
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REFLECTIONS; Most custody decisions ,the most important decision of the case, are made in the first two weeks of the divorce with little testimony.The female presumption is real and activley entered as a custody order. These early hearings often involve a referee not a judge or a mediation specialaist. The temporary order becomes a final order more often than not.

GOOD MEN MUST STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR JOINT CUSTODY WHILE WOMEN HAVE IT HANDED TO THEM.[trb] The Michigan Child Custody Act 1970 MCL 722.21 et seq establishes the criteria and procedures for resolving child custody disputes. The Family Division of the circuit court has exclusive jurisdiction over this act. MCL 600.1021 (1)(g).[trb]

95% OF ALL CASES ARE NOT TRIED, BLAME THE LAWYERS ALSO... Pedersen's divorce agreement now includes long weekends, a Wednesday overnight visit and half of summers, holidays and spring breaks with his children. It's almost enough time to make him feel that he can provide an equal amount of parenting to his kids. [d]

CHILD CUSTODY ACT; Under the Child Custody Act, the court may award custody to one or more of the parties involved or to third parties and provide for a childs support, provide for reasonable parenting or grand parenting time , modify or amend its judgements or orders until a child attains the age of 18 (19.5 if still in school)[trb]

PRIMARY CARE IS A STATE OF MIND AND THE REALITY OF A NORMAL FAMILIES DIVISION OF DUTIES WHILE TO TOGETHER BUT THAT ALL CHANGES AT DIVORCE. WHY ARE GOOD DADS PUNISHED FOR JUST DOING THE RIGHT THING. Michigan law recommends that custody decisions be based on which parent has been the primary care giver unless it can be shown that another arrangement is more appropriate, but Pedersen and other noncustodial parents are fighting to modify the law so joint physical custody becomes the norm. They view equal parenting access as a civil rights issue, but opponents say equal time isn't always best for children [d]

NEW DIVORCE ACTIONS In new divorce actions the parents have been jointly responsible for the children in the family is often characterized as “ no custodial environment” which is simply not true. A court cannot enter a new custody order or amend a n new one without first determining if there is a custodial environment.MCL 722.21. Why is this important? Because if the custodial environment is joint mom will have a great burden to take that away from dad. If the there is not a recognized environment mom has a lower burden and dad is punished for having been a good provider leaving the affairs of the home to mom.[trb]

STUPID DECISIONS; "With the pain of a divorce, a lot of stupid decisions are made initially as far as the kids go," said Pedersen, who plans to ride his bike from Lansing to Washington, D.C., this summer to raise awareness of the issue. "There are different contributions that Mom and Dad make to a child, and kids need both of them." [d]

GENDER BIAS Noncustodial fathers think gender bias plays a role in these decisions and reduces them to visitors who pay child support. Children need both parents equally, they say. [d]

LIFE IS FULL OF GOOD PEOPLE WITH THE BEST OF INTENTIONS DOING EVIL But many custodial parents, family law attorneys and domestic violence activists oppose making joint custody mandatory. [d] They say every family is different, and 50-50 custody doesn't work in every situation. [d] It becomes especially difficult when parents live in different school districts or one of them doesn't want joint custody. Another factor is that mandating joint custody can sometimes disrupt a child's stability. [D]

JOINT CUSTODY; The Child Custody Act provides for joint custody MCL 722.27. Joint custody means (a) That the child shall reside alternatively for specific periods with each of the parents.(b) That the parents shall share decision-making authority as to the important decisions affecting the welfare of the child.[trb]

YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BE TOLD; In a custody the parents must be advised of joint custody.MCL 722.26a. At the request of either party, the court must consider joint custody and it must state on the reasons for granting or denying the request. MCL 722.26a. However, the fact the court must consider an award of joint custody does not mean there is a presumption in favor of it. Wellman v Wellman, 203 Mich App 277, 512 NW2d 68 (1994)

A PARROT SPEAKS "When a child's whole world is changing, we want to keep as much stable in their lives as we can," said Karen Sendelbach, chair of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan. [d]

TRADITIONAL ARGUMENT DREAMED UP BY ATTORNEYS AND BOUGHT INTO BY DECISION MAKERS Other opponents say noncustodial parents sometimes want joint custody simply to even the score with their ex-partner or to reduce their child support obligation. A noncustodial parent's support payments can drop by as much as 40 percent if the child stays overnight 128 times or more each year. [d]

JUST ABOUT ANYBODY CAN BECOME A LEADER NOW DAYS "The 50-50 custody split is more about people not wanting to feel the other parent has won," said Kent Weichmann, chair of the Legislative Committee of the Family Law Section. [d] "It has nothing to do with the relationship with the child. It's more about who's winning. It also has to do with paying less child support." [d]MORON More dads join movement

RICH HOLLYWOOD SPACE CADETS TO THE RESCUE.... But supporters say this issue is not ever going to go away, especially as more fathers join the movement, including movie stars Alec Baldwin and Denzel Washington. [d] oh boy two actors to the rescue...[trb]

FATHERS CIVIL RIGHTS "It's a civil rights movement that is coming into its own," said David L. Levy, CEO of the Children's Rights Council, based outside Washington, D.C. [d] As the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, argued in a speech to the House of Lords: "Is it not self-evident that the welfare and needs of a child are enhanced and met when there is a father present?" [G] 1.

FATHERS RIGHT TO BE A PARENT "It goes to the core of the right of a human being: the right to be a parent to your child, and of the children to be part of your life." [d]

FATHERS UNFAIRLY TARGETED BY BUREAUCRATS, POLICE AND MEDIA The "Ohio Council for Fathers Rights" says it wants to sue for libel and character defamation. Local 12's Angela Ingram spoke with the group that says some parents are unfairly targeted. [12] 1. The group says this list doesn't make a distinction between people who really don't make any effort to pay a dime of child support and parents who have fallen on hard times. The list seems to go on... and on. They are names of men and women who owe back child support, and now, they're on the sheriff's website. But, it's the label "deadbeat" that a parental rights group says amounts to libel.[12]

CHILD CUSTODY, A BATTLEGROUND Next to child support, child custody is perhaps the most heated issue between parents when they split up and try to restructure their lives with their children. [d]

MOST CASES ARE NOT BASED UPON FRIEND OF THE COURT RECOMMENDATIONS Michigan hasn't kept reports on custody arrangements for several years, but the latest information, in 2003, shows that the Friend of the Court recommended physical custody of the children for mothers in 68 percent of the 14,470 cases that year, while fathers were recommended 12 percent of the time. Joint custody was recommended in 2,717 cases -- about 18 percent. [d] According to the Federal Statistics Office, joint parental responsibility was pursued in 15 per cent of divorce cases in 2000 - when it was first introduced, and in 30 per cent of settlements in 2006. 1. For the co-parenting association, this figure is far too low, as "a child needs both parents".[S] The organization wants joint parenthood and forced mediation to become normal practice so that children's rights are properly respected.[S]

NATIONAL JOINT CUSTODY MOVEMENT While noncustodial mothers are also part of the joint custody movement, it is spearheaded primarily by fathers and appears to be gaining momentum nationally. [d]

INTERNATIONAL JOINT CUSTODY MOVEMENT Joint parental responsibility for children should become the norm for couples that divorce or separate, say Swiss campaigners.[S] Members of the newly formed Swiss Co-parenting Association held a demonstration in the capital, Bern, on Saturday to highlight the current situation, which they claim causes "undue suffering to children".[S]

MICHIGAN IN THE BOTTOM HALF OF STATES THAT PROTECT FATHERS More than 25 states have laws regarding joint custody that are much stronger than Michigan's, Levy said. [d]

JOINT CUSTODY SHOULD BE PRESUMED Since the 1990s, Michigan fathers have been trying to get the laws changed to force the courts to immediately presume equal joint custody. [d]

NEW LAW UNDER CONSIDERATION IN MICHIGAN A hearing was recently held on the fourth bill introduced in the Michigan Legislature, but it was not voted out of the House Judiciary Committee. It includes an exception for unfit parents. [d]

PETITION, CLASS ACTION AND ACTIVE FATHERS In between the four pieces of legislation, the fathers launched a failed petition drive to put the ballot before voters and also were unsuccessful in a class action lawsuit in federal court.[d] Moms' groups eclipsed [d]

DADS ACTIVE IN MICHIGAN Michigan dads say their effort is growing -- four new state organizations support the issue, and their ranks have grown from 5,000 to 20,000 people, said Lake Orion resident Jim Semerad, one of the leaders in Michigan's movement. [d]

GRASS ROOTS The growth appears to be eclipsing grass-roots groups headed by custodial mothers. The Association for the Enforcement of Child Support, a national group, was founded in Toledo in 1984 by activist Geraldine Jensen. She had a base in Ann Arbor for two years, before her 2004 retirement, which galvanized a number of Metro Detroit activists. [d] The organization is now headquartered in Cleveland, has become more virtual and is less visible in Michigan. [d

MOM’S LEADER DISRESPECTS DADS ACES executive director Debbie Klein is not concerned about Michigan fathers' activism. [d] They have always had more time and money to lobby lawmakers, while mothers tend to devote their time to raising the children, she said. [d]

MOM ENCOURAGED TO START FIGHTS SO THERE IS NO JOINT CUSTODY? Joint custody simply cannot work for everyone, Klein said, because some couples are never going to be able to get along. [d] And it's the conflict between the parents in broken families that is most devastating to children, not the actual divorce. [d] "It puts the children in a horrible situation," Klein said. "That's what custody should always be about; it should always be about what's best for the children." [d] 'It's the right thing to do'[d] Many fathers say it's best for children to be with both parents and that they will keep fighting until the law changes in Michigan.[d] "It's the right thing to do," Semerad said.[d] It's also why Pedersen, 36, is training every morning for his 758-mile bike trek in August with five other fathers to spread the word about what they think should be the law of the land. [d] "Kids do best with shared parenting, as long as it doesn't disrupt the school schedule and the parents are fit and willing," Pedersen said. [d] Mediation 1. Fifty per cent of cases of separation or divorce are conflictive and 25 per cent of cases are very conflictive, said Robinson.[S] "Through mediation, instead of working on a loser-winner basis, the mediation would aim to address each parent's positive elements which they can build on," he added.[S] Under the current regime, courts in French-speaking Switzerland seem more supportive of joint parental responsibility than their German-speaking counterparts.[S] In cantons Geneva, Neuch√Ętel and Vaud, this solution has been pursued in around 40-50 per cent of cases, while it ranges from zero to 15 per cent in majority German-speaking regions.[S] "Judges are slow to take up the new laws," said Robinson to partly explain the differences.[S] He also pointed the finger at the legal profession: "There are powerful lobbies working on behalf of lawyers in national and cantonal parliaments that don't want mediation to take off as it would take away their business."[S]

Posted here by Terry Bankert ...
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[d] Detroit News http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080519/METRO/805190370/1005/LIFESTYLE
[G] GUARDIAN http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/may/20/health.stemcells
[12] Local 12 http://www.local12.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=fc66ba0f-8c81-405c-85b3-64efbec00f9a
[trb] Comments of Terry Bankert to include CAP headlines http://attorneybankert.com/
[S] SWISS INFO http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/front/A_child_needs_both_parents.html?siteSect=108&sid=9100600&cKey=1211183859000&ty=st

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