March 9

Political Change

I haven’t seen that there is much that can be done in my case, or any number of cases like mine. I have talked to men and women who fall into similar situations. The fact is there shouldn’t have to be losers when we talk about custody, but if it goes to trial, there will be losers. That is what courts do, they decide who wins. When a case goes before the court, there are generally 4 parties represented. One is you and of course another is your spouse or ex-spouse. The third is an idea called “The best interest of the child,” often mistaken as being the children. Who is this fourth party involved? The state. Who represents the state? The court. That’s right, by entering the court room to argue your custody case, you have invited the state into the upbringing of your children. Once they are there, they will stay there. The state’s interests are protected by the court. The attorneys on both sides will appeal to the state’s interests at times to try to shift the state’s/court’s thinking towards their client’s interests. The third party may or may not be represented. Sometimes this idea that the arguments revolve around is argued by the the parents attorneys. Sometimes this idea has its own representative. Four party negotiations are not a simple matter, but once you are in court, the advantage goes to the state’s interests. Each jurisdiction may have different interests, and each judge may have different opinions about those interests, so there isn’t a singular list of things to address here. What needs to be addressed is that the state has an interest in most custody cases.

In my recent reading, I am very much of the opinion that to change things, I have to seek political change. I may not be able to affect any changes in favor of my relationships with my children, but I can affect change for them. I have talked about the costs of the state being in the middle of our families in other posts. I am not going to go into them at length here. I am simply going to say that the state taking an interest in my family’s dynamics without their being some form of criminal misconduct on one parent’s part is dangerous to our freedoms. This does not simply endanger our parental rights, but it endangers our rights in general. The state using children as an argument to get involved in private matters during custody cases is simply just the state gaining a foothold into other areas of our lives. What is even worse, is the state is being represented by a court system that is making decisions outside of their authority. Our elected officials are invading our homes, but our courts acting as an oligarchy.

Much of this has been caused by our elected officials not wanting to get their hands dirty, so they give the court authority to make decisions they shouldn’t be making. Child support is a great example. The legislators in most states have delegated the authority they have to set a child support schedule to the courts. In most states the state supreme court will in one way or another set the child support schedule. This is advantageous to the elected officials, because they won’t be blamed for taking the money from the payers or shorting the payees. Without the oversight of the other branches of government, the courts can choose to do what they see as the best interest of themselves and the state. They understand that there are Federal matching funds for collecting child support, and the legislators can ensure that some of that money makes it way to the courts. There are government jobs tied to having to maintain processing centers for child support payments.

The question is how do we affect change. Where do we attack first. One of the first things I see needing to be struck down is the Bradley Amendment. It gives no means for paternity fraud to be fixed. It doesn’t deal with the realities of life for the person paying child support. It is a key ingredient to the dehumanizing of the payer, usually the father in the public eye. Along with the Bradley Amendment, the criminal penalties for non-payment of child support need to go away. Traditional civil penalties are enough for dealing with court orders that fall under the civil courts. A family court doesn’t even hold the same evidentiary standards as normal civil court, so it has no place in applying criminal penalties for anything.

Two things need to go hand in hand for the next step of change. One is the idea that the children have a right to a portion of the parents income. Its a silly notion that really exists to justify child support at very high levels, and to justify the transfer of income without a tax consequence. It is the equivalent of a theological debate over the law. No one listens to it, until they see the utility of it in their lives. The other is to get the legislators to accept responsibility for child support rules or calculations. The two go hand in hand because it is this accountability that will get them to listen. Now it returns to an issue that has political capital. The state representatives now have a reason to come up with calculations and rules that benefit their constituents. This becomes a campaign issue. Our Federal representatives can be pressured to change the nature of child support. The matching funds need to go away. States should not be rewarded for their role in destroying the family. The tax consequences of child support need to be changed. This is an income transfer from one adult to another for the purpose of raising their children. There is no requirements for how the money is spent, so without any accountability, its just income.

Pressure then needs to be placed on the states to make child support something that is not required or even the norm in cases. Both parents have a right to support their children as they see fit. There is no fairness in this. If one parent has more money available to provide nice things to the children, then they should be allowed to use it as such if they choose to. In reality this isn’t different than it is now, except the court has decided that one parent will have this money by their ruling. Hard work and financial planning are not the deciders. Most parents will take good care of their children. The parents can work out expenses as they see fit. Any required expenses should simply be split in half legally. Each parent being responsible for 50% of the expense according to the law. I can tell you, I would rarely hold my ex-wife to that standard, and would simply pay most of my kids bills. The image of the deadbeat dad needs to be eradicated from the political discourse. Our elected officials who choose to use such language need to be punished at the ballet box. The culture that men are bad, and lazy needs to be attacked at every place it is seen. Men cannot afford to ignore these things anymore.

Child support orders should be a total amount, divided into monthly amounts due. It cannot be raised or lowered. It should be treated as most other debts. If a parent paying child support is filing for bankruptcy, the child support due should be treated as one of the highest priority debts, and receive some of the largest funding through the process. When the bankruptcy is over, the child support should be considered paid in full. By this model child support is simply an award like any other civil case. The law needs to stop looking at every father as a potential dead beat who does not want to care for his children. Most men who filed for bankruptcy would emerge better able to pay directly for the child’s needs.

I know what needs to change. I have some ideas about the specifics. I know that these ideas will be flushed out over time, and working with others. Right now I need to find some political allies to fight the fight with. I need to find some elected officials who are already fighting the fight. Its time to to change things. Its time for fathers to make it clear that they matter, and they care, and they will destroy your career if you are betting against them.

This was somewhat of brainstorming session. I would love for some comments and ideas to sharpen my thoughts on this. I am actively looking for groups that are taking real political action, and politicians that are ready to stand with fathers.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

December 22

Time Is Love

where is the love?

This is something I learned while working in ministry. That’s far in my past, but the lessons learned about relationships still ring true. Time is love. I talk a lot about child support, and the harm it does. This is the flip side of the argument. This is where things hurt worse. Losing authority in my kids life through child support is something I can’t stand, but it is how the system works. A system that needs to change. This is the less tangible side of the problem.

If you have ever been involved with youth ministry, there is the idea that is passed on to the leaders that “Time = Love.” I used to think it was just a phrase to motivate you, but as I saw it at work, its true. People feel loved by you being available to them with your time, and choosing to spend time with them, when there isn’t anything in particular to do together. Just hanging out. Young men do this naturally with each other. As we grow into adults we don’t continue to do this as well. We get busy, and doing “important” things becomes more pressing than just spending time with people. Friendships become less important than colleagues, we even pretend that our colleagues are our friends to try and fill the gap, but it doesn’t work. In the end we all become a little lonelier.

Our kids need time. That is the only thing that matters. They will remember hanging out while you work on the car or fixing a bike or even cleaning the kitchen. These are the times that you talk about life. These are the times that you transfer your knowledge not just about the thing you are doing, but you get to talk about your experiences from the past that can help train them, and they get to tell you their stories that explain how they are being shaped for life. This can’t be replaced by the car rides to practice or games. The conversations just aren’t as organic as they are when you are just doing life. I think this is especially true for men and their children.

The same attitude gives mothers the advantage in custody. The tasks are more important than anything. Mothers tend to be more attentive to the tasks of child raising, especially when there are two parents involved. All custody cases really seem to focus on the kids in such a way that if you read the documents involved, you would think that that all children function at the same level as toddlers. The basic care and feeding of the children is the focus. The end result of mother centered custody is the kids don’t get the benefit of a father who forces them to care for themselves while being the safety net. A father who draws them alongside them instead of just ordering them around or just taking care of them. Children deserve a mother and father because they balance out each other. Yes a man has usually acted as provider, but he should be allowed to do that on his terms. The current system reduced him to a wage slave, and that isn’t the role of father. He is a provider, and in that role he also gets to train his kids about providing for themselves.

I have yet to see a man who is an active father who doesn’t provide for the needs of his kids. These are things that when raised to the challenge of being a single or divorced dad that most men just do. All of the things that the court make all important about the kids are taken care of. I have also seen very few mothers who are very good at teaching kids to leave the nest. I don’t know how many kids from single mothers who don’t learn to ride a bike until they are much older than the kids raised with an active dad. This might sound stupid, but allowing the kids to crash is part of teaching them to ride a bike, and mom’s aren’t very good at that. The pictures you see of men tossing babies in the air that so many people like to make fun of, but the truth is this is part of men teaching their kids to fly. In healthy families kids look to their mom for comfort, and their dad for security. Even as a baby they learn that their dad isn’t going to let bad things happen to them, even when something scary is happening.

Kids are being robbed of their security through divorce and the courts. Men have to figure out how to put the wrongs away, and do their best to still be fathers with only 1/3 or less the time they had before. Any justification for this falls on deaf ears with me, because divorce changes everything. The idea of keeping this normal for the kids is lost in divorce. Pretending that you can come close is absolute bullshit. Women are being rewarded with money and power for keeping the fathers at arms length and limiting their time. Kids suffer for this. The become unsure of themselves. The person who was their security is struggling to care for himself now. He no longer can pay for the things he used to, and their mother can, but she can only because she receives money that the father cannot talk about. None of this makes the children feel secure.

Relationships are not about quality time. They are about time. The children deserve the most time they can get with both parents. They need the comfort from mom, but just as much they need the security of dad. This is something the court doesn’t recognize. The long term ramifications of kids who fail to launch don’t seem to matter. All that matters is that the kids succeed in school, and don’t go to jail. The system is broken. It doesn’t account for all the intangibles that ultimately matter. The court can’t account for them, but it can take a more neutral stance. One that says that parents are required to take care certain aspects of the kids needs, and each should have to do it.

Kids need time with each parent, and lots of it. When the parents are thinking of the kids, then they will do this naturally, and ultimately when the parents are left on equal footing with equal time and responsibility for the kids, then this is much more likely to happen. The parents are more likely to work together. It doesn’t matter how many words are used to say that should occur, it wont’ occur so long as the parents aren’t operating from equal footing. The courts do a huge diservice to the kids by not working for the parents to have equal footing in most cases, especially cases where the parents are both able, willing, and in close proximity to each other. This is something to fight for. This is the case to make to our legal overlords.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

May 9

Done fighting, sorta

FINISH HER!

I can’t win my case. The GAL carries too much weight. I have been threatened if I don’t agree to a standard schedule, which in my state is every other weekend and one night a week that the following may happen. His report will recommend that I have less than every other weekend., and that the judge may, and has decided that in similar cases to only allow supervised visitation. What have I done that is so horrible. Well, I have abandoned my oldest son. That’s awful, right. Well if you read my last and other posts, you know my oldest son has sexually molested a 7 now 8 year old boy in my house, and this is not the first time he has been sexually inappropriate. Lets get real here. He held a 7 year old autistic boy hostage in his room and forced him to give him oral sex and attempted(maybe succeeded) in having anal sex with this boy. He did this over a period of a couple of months, and he did so while threatening that I would go away if he told me or his mom the truth. To add to this. My son had done this before. Once where I knew and it was written off as something less serious. Another period happened, and I did not know about it. The GAL has stated because of the time over seven years before the most recent, I should have expected this. I am at part if not mostly at fault for a 13 now 14 year olds actions. Now I must say that if I expected this, I would never have allowed anyone to get to know me. I would have continued down a track of fucking women who drank hard liquor at the bar on my every other weekend.

Now when I say I am done fighting sorta, I mean that I have lost. I don’t know how far reaching his report is, but it kills me in my case. Sadly I have 3 children who are going to be devastated by the report. The did participate in the process and did not tell the truth out of fear of what their mother might do. I don’t blame them now, but I will have to tell them as they get older. I know how a BP can keep you in the FOG. I hope there is a way to gentle her spirit towards me and get more time, but I doubt it comes soon. I don’t know how this report will affect things like having another child or adopting another child. I have thought of it. My new SO is very different, and I like to believe that she would handle things different if we were to split. At the same time, I am afraid that she wouldn’t be. I within the next year I truly believe she is different, then I may get my vasectomy reversed for her, and then have another one. This sounds horrible, but I would truly love to raise a child from birth through high school, and I won’t get that anymore.

I also say sorta, because I plan on doing something to change this madness. I may write a book. I plan on finding media outlets to hear my story, and I plan on starting a charity to help men in need during custody disputes. This charity will help pay legal bills, have lawyers to refer, and have lots and lots of successful and not successful cases documented in a library. I may not be able to get this going for another decade, unless someone wants to step in and help me get it started, but I will do it. I am also going to aggressively pursue shared-parenting legislation with teeth. I am going to try and abolish the standard of “Best Interest of the Child”, title IV, and the Bradley amendment. All of these are killing men.

I further want to take things to the next level. I think fathers are important. I want to get to a point where fathers are guaranteed equal time, unless they are dangerous. In my case the only fault I have is with my oldest son. I don’t have contact with him. He is also not actually involved in the custody dispute. He is in state custody. The GAL believes he could be reformed and return. Then it would be unfair because he is not allowed back at my house. The truth is everyone expects that he will get in trouble and be moved to the detention center. The GAL has based his decision partly on the fact he might come “home”. He also has stated that he has seen far worse cases, and that I am unreasonable. I don’t know that I would react any different to the worst cases. My son crossed a line, and once crossed, I don’t feel safe with him. Sadly I had no control of my ex, so my kids are at risk with him through her, and since the GAL wants to limit access because of this, I have less time, thus leaving them at more risk. If I get less than the standard visitation, then I will likely move away. I am not a baby sitter for my kids. If i have no authority in their life, then I don’t want to be around for the problems that will come.

I am a firm believer that 50/50 is the best scenario for all parents. I believe that if you chose to have the child with someone, then they can’t be that bad to raise them together, even if you don’t like each other. Only if there is child abuse do I not support these ideas. The law should reflect that. Right now if the woman says they won’t work with the man, in most states, one way or another they will give her the dominant amount of time. This is not right, period.

The other piece of this is child support. To limit the incentive for custody battles. Child support should be eliminated. It should be replaced with a standard requirement for split expenses and rulings if one doesn’t pay. Any case that requires child support, should be a single judgement for half the amount of direct expenses ot raise a child in that community. This judgement should be outside title IV, and allow for it to be bankrupt-able, but also the first priority for payments in bankruptcy.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

January 15

Charitable Organization for Men

Charity Tuesday banner, Tintagel

I am contemplating what it would take to set up a foundation or organization that’s purpose is to help men recover from the economic desolation from divorce. I am not sure how to go about it yet, but I am doing my research. My hope would be to be reimburse legal expenses and other expenses related to protecting their rights in court. Paying off debt and tax bills that accumulate because of divorce. I would also like to start to put together an army of lawyers that will take on these cases and understand the sensitivity of the cases. There are men’s divorce law firms, and some of them actually get what’s going on. Others just pay lip service to men’s issues to increase client contacts. My own case is inspiration for this, and I am still going through it. I know that I will be broke for a long time, because of my divorce. There isn’t much I can do about it, but I do want to help change things for other men. The long term goal would be to change the laws in the USA to favor a system of divorce that doesn’t include court room combat, or the threat thereof, but establishes fair baselines for couples to agree to and firm defaults when the couple cannot agree on things. The system is out of control, and encourages fighting that just isn’t necessary. Most of us have had bad breakups before we were married, and somehow we managed to figure things out mostly on our own. The needs of a divorcing couple aren’t that much higher, except in system where winner can take all.

I am going to continue to blog on my life, but I am going to start talking through how to start this thing. I hope that I can get some sound advice from others about not only how to start this thing, but also in setting the direction as I move forward. It may take me years to get this off the ground, but I feel like it is important, and needed by too many men. Its time to start making some changes. Time to stop complaining, and start taking action. The status quot sucks. This is for men. This is for the children. And this is for our society. Everyone suffers when there is an underclass in society. It was true with slavery, indentured servitude, and its true in the modern cultural shift of indenturing men by proxy through their children.

I am hopeful that there are actually men out there that care, and will start to support this cause and get it off the ground. I am especially hopeful that there are some lawyers out there that see past the profits and care about what is right and wrong. I know there are lawyers that went into law to help find justice. This is a call to these men and women. Right now, I am planning. When my own mess is somewhat behind me, I will be wanting to take action, and I hope that there are some lawyers who are willing to help create the legal entity that will be required to do this work.

Comments and opinions please.

Ten-Foured,

JeD