September 19

Busting Myths: Abuse Is Common

Abandoned doll, edit I

Busting Myths

There are a lot of myths surrounding parenting, divorce, and parenting after divorce. These myths are propagated by our culture and carried into our court rooms. These myths need to be removed from our judgement as a society. They often encourage bad behaviour that is contrary to the the stated goals of creating new family units that everyone can thrive in. They encourage decisions that just might not be right if it weren’t for these myths. I am not using statistics for this discussion. We all have had enough people in our lives experience divorce or raising kids in separate households to know what the outliers are. Stop assuming that there is some society so different from the one you live in that exists in the USA that is so divergent that these behaviors are allowed to thrive. There really isn’t one, and the few places that might turn a blind eye are not representative of the norm. I originally planned on this being a single post, but it became way too long. I have made it a series. One that I will likely be adding to over time. I will try and remember to update the links below for all parts of the series.

Abuse Is Common
Conflict Is Unhealthy
The Best Interest Of The Child
Child Support Is Necessary

Abuse Is Common

The Myth

This myth comes up whenever you talk about divorce. Abuse is cited as a reason for so many of the laws that affect divorce. The myth is that most divorces involve a cowering woman who has survived vast amounts of abuse over the years, and has finally found the courage to leave her husband, and needs the protection of the court and police to keep her alive. According to the myth nearly half the men who get married will beat their wife at least a little bit, and half of them will do so to the point of risking her life. This myth is so strong that when you hear about a divorcing woman, it is a first inclination to worry about her safety by many people. This myth feeds the “White Knight” or “Prince Charming” characters in all of us, who want to protect the weak from evil.

The myth encompasses physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, and marital rape. There are other things that have been cited in more extreme cases, but these are enough. The laws are written to protect women from all of these. They are written with the assumption that a woman wouldn’t be leaving a perfectly good relationship and the security it provides unless something horrible has happened. We have the entire history of man to show that women rely on pair bonding relationships to protect themselves, so they wouldn’t abandon this protection, unless the protector is worse than the other possible risks they face without the protector. It is hard for a happily married or idealistic young man to stomach the kind of horrors that some women might face, and they desire to do their part to protect these women in ways their own husbands have not.

This myth is so strong that the standard forms in most states for filing for divorce are mostly related to protection from abuse. There is often a checkbox and a couple lines to fill out to get an order of protection and an emergency hearing right away. To blow up your family and to put children through this trauma is unthinkable by most people, unless there is a monster lurking in the shadows. The story of a violently abusive husband behind closed doors, and a stable businessman and community member in public has been sold to our culture for a very long time. Behind closed doors all men are possibly a closet sociopath.

The Truth

The truth is that in most relationships there has been some physical aspect to altercations. It might be pushing, slapping, grabbing, or simply pounding on a wall or table. It isn’t the norm for most people to fight like this regularly, and for most the type of contact doesn’t present any more risk than playing frisbee. The couples where this is the norm, it is also generally not just one partner doing these things or even initiating them all of the time. When physical altercation is the cause of divorce, it is usually the first one. Most people in abusive relationships stay there. They are sympathetic to the abuser. No one should live like this, but there is a more complicated psychological reaction to what is happening in these relationships than just the abuse. I won’t claim to understand it, but I will claim that those who stay after abuse generally believe in some way that the abuse is justified or not their partners fault. This is broken thinking, but it is also thinking that keeps them from leaving. The domestic violence laws, well intentioned or not, are misguided. They take away the core principle of American justice, that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. It allows the family court to dispense justice without proving fault. It has become a tool for ensuring that women can get what they want in divorce without having to negotiate. This isn’t only a problem for those who have been accused, but for all men going through divorce. There is a concept of “negotiating in the shadow of the law.” This means that in the shadow of how the court is likely to view things based on prior cases, men are not negotiating from a position of equal footing. They are negotiating for something better than they hope for in court, but not for their equitable share of things. This is especially true when it comes to things regarding the children. Lawyers like this system. It allows them to control the amount of conflict and maximize their income. The law saying one thing, and the reality of the process being another thing will allow both the husband’s and the wife’s lawyers to utilize the system to pad their pockets.

My Take

Domestic violence is horrible, but the kind of ongoing domestic violence that these laws are written to handle is not the norm. It is the bar that all men going through divorce are faced with proving they are not one of those guys. The domestic violence laws really just need to be repealed. In a no fault divorce world, domestic violence should have nothing to do with the results of the case. I say this with an understanding that partner abuse has not been a demonstrator of child abuse or future child abuse, so it shouldn’t play a role in deciding what happens with the children. I do think there should be an emergency process for women and men of abuse to use to protect themselves as they head out for divorce. I think there should be a simple process for someone lower than a judge to hear the initial part of a case. The person leaving needs to vacate the house, unless they agree otherwise, and an equal time share with the kids needs to be established right away, unless there is agreement otherwise or a significant compelling reason not to do so. If the person leaving was unable to retrieve their personal items, then police can assist in ensuring there isn’t conflict while retrieving these things. Any other items should be protected with an order not allowing either of them to dispose of, destroy, or sell them. There should be directions to the courts not to take initial possession of the house as a precedent as to who should be allowed to keep the house. I don’t want the advantage to shift to the alleged abuser, but neither should they automatically lose everything based on allegations that haven’t passed any legal test at this point. As I have said in previous posts, the assets of a marriage should be divided by agreement, or the court should force the sale of the items and then the proceeds divided equally by the parties. The court should not decide who gets a home, car, heirloom, or other items. If you rember the story of King Solomon and the women who argued over the baby. His solution was to cut the baby in half. He then gave the baby to the mother who wouldn’t let the child be cut in half. There are two lessons in that story for us in these situations. One, is that it is clearly not the courts role to judge on things of family. The court has no insight no matter how hard they try to find it. Two, that the person who is most aggressive in wanting the child is most likely to allow harm to come to the child for the sake of winning. Our courts routinely ignore this second lesson I also think that fault divorce should be a viable option for the victims of domestic violence. Criminal charges should be filed, and some form of guilty finding or plea would imply fault in the divorce case. This should be the only way to divide the property in an inequitable way.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

June 30

Lets Make It Criminal

"Canadian Criminal Law, Review" vols. 2-10

I know that the child support system has effectively made it criminal to not pay support, but lets dial things back. Child support is currently a right of a child, that the custodial parent is the legal custodian of the money. This system says that the non-custodial parent will spend at a minimum a certain amount of money in the name of the children, but has no say in how that money is spent. This is where we lie right now. A not small amount of the theory that lies under these laws is that men, the primary payers of child support, will not let their children go without things they can afford. So the system feels justified in taking as much as they can from the man and give it to the woman, knowing that the man will go to great lengths to be able to continue to care for their children.

As an example of this attitude in my case, I just had my CS more than doubled. I lost one day out of 14. I went from 7/14 days to 6/14. This put me back into the regular CS guidelines, and not the equal parenting time guidelines. With four kids that I expected to raise inside of my miserable marriage, this is a lot of money. If I were paying what I should be in taxes out of my paycheck, I would be paying more to my ex, than I receive in every pay check. As it is, it is a barely mentionable the difference in these numbers right now. Yes some of this is because of a loan on my retirement to pay off marital debt, but it still leaves me with very little every month. I told her I wouldn’t be able to afford to pay for half the extra-curricular activities. She keeps trying to find ways to get me to revisit this decision. she has the spending power of someone who earns more than I earn, and I less than she earns. With my income alone, even with the loan, I can easily afford all the kids expenses including extra-curricular activities without any money coming from her.

Lets put aside all the arguments of how the child deserves the support of both parents. Lets stop pretending the system isn’t built on the principles of a man is required to be married to the mother of his children until his children are grown, even though she is not required to be married to him. The whole system needs to go. What is important is not the lifestyle of the children. It is not the money. It is, very simply are the children being cared for to a minimum standard. Let the parents figure it out on their own. Guarantee the simple rights that each parent and child deserve each other, and lets make sure that they are given time together. If a child isn’t being taken care of, then lets take it a criminal court. Charge the parents with neglect. Figure out if one parent or the other is at fault, or if both are at fault, and then divvy out consequences. We need to get rid of a system that says that one or both parents will fail to care for their children as the default stance. Most parents will do what it takes to take care of their children. CS says that one parent won’t do what it takes, so we are going to make them. The USA is not built on assumed failures of people. If parents don’t care for their children, then by all means punish them. To determine that because I make more money than the other guy, I am more obligated than him to my kids legally is not right. My kids rights are not to live the life I am capable of providing for them, but to live the life I do provide for them. There is no obligation of the other parent to spend every dollar given to her, so she retains economic autonomy.

With these high child support orders, the non-custodial parent loses all authority in their kids lives. They don’t have the means to supply directly for the kids, the things that their kids need. They are required to pay the other parent ot do these things. My children should be the beneficiaries of the lifestyle I lead, by they are not, because I have to pay the other parent, and she gets to improve her lifestyle, while I struggle. To all the mothers who want to chastise me for not wanting to pay for my kids, FUCK YOU. I have no problem paying for my kids. I don’t want to pay for my ex to pay for my kids. Fathers are being removed from their kids lives, so that mothers can live an easier life. I would happily clean the scraped knee and do the homework with them daily, but instead I get to pay someone who benefits from despising me to do those things in my stead.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

June 17

Beating A Dead Horse

beating a dead horse

I harp on this idea. Its fundamental to what is wrong with child custody in America, and probably throughout a large portion of the world. One parent is rewarded with for limiting access to the children by the other parent. Here are a few ways to that this could be fixed, and could be done quickly. For things to get better, these are cases where parents should be allowed to go back to court and get it fixed quickly once changes have been voted on. Yes the courts would be overwhelmed, but this kind of change could save a lot of kids from living their life estranged from their fathers.

To truly simplify things, child support should be clearly defined to cover certain things, and only those things. I should preface that I am talking about situations where the mother and father live in a reasonable proximity to split the duties of raising the kids. So in other words, your typical divorce. Not an abandonment case or other complexities that people like to talk so much about. Lets define child support to pay for education expenses, health and dental fixed cost, and basic needs. The basic needs might need to be spelled out, because some people think a cell phone, X-Box, and car are basic needs. It is not one parents job to support the other parent while they raise the kids. If it were, then they would be married, so in divorce or cases where the parents were never married, it is the responsibility of both parents to have enough income to support their household. Now this child support could go to either parent. Lets just say that it is divided proportionally, and that the lower earning parent pays the higher earning parent. I know this is backwards from what we do now, but it makes sense. The parent with more money coming in is more likely to be able to pay these required fees, even if they exceed the estimates. The parents should be required to keep track of the real costs, and pay the other parent the difference one way or the other every quarter. This is a business relationship after all, or that is what I keep being told at least. Actual medical and dental expenses should be split by the parents, and for fairness sake, I guess it should be done by proportions of income. All other expenses for the kids are negotiable. If you don’t agree, then the parent who wants to spend money on them should pay for them.

If in divorce it is determined that choices that were made by the parents for one to sacrifice career to be the caretaker of the kids, then alimony should be used. It should be time limited, and then it is a transfer of wealth that has tax consequences as it should. So if the ex is required to support the other persons household, it is done in a way that he/she can support it with lower taxes. This is the real world that the rest of us live under when we pay someone or get paid by someone. Again, this should be time limited. It should not go on infinitum. You are divorced, and thus you should be required to find a way to support yourself adequately. I would put a cap of 5 years from the date of the alimony order on this. This gives you time to get a bachelors degree if you think that is the way to go, and you don’t have one.

Now lets talk time. Since both parents are responsible for their own households now, then time share should be negotiable with a lot less spite. There is not money to be had by having more time with the kids. I truly believe that most parents can have this discussion with a lot less friction and animosity than when money is also on the table. Its cute to talk about these issues like money shouldn’t matter and will be worked out based on the time after its figured out, but no one separates the issues. I earn just shy of $100K/yr and after child support, I am expected to maintain a home for me and my 3 or 4 kids on less than $30K/yr. I cannot provide near the lifestyle that I should be able to, and constantly have to choose whether I do something with them or I enjoy a little of the lifestyle I should be able to provide them without them, knowing their mother has the means because of child support to provide what I should be able to provide directly. If child support were more limited, then I could do these things with my kids. I could appear to be the provider that I am for them. Fundamentally it there is going to be an imbalance in the households. That is the nature of comparing two different people. This isn’t a bad thing. The bad thing is the government, not hard work is determining which way the imbalance goes. I would have to nearly double my income to have the same spending power that she has. This is because my CS goes up as my income goes up. Even in the current system, CS orders should not be something that can be adjusted upward. People should be allowed to work to improve their lives. If I earn an additional $1000/month, I should see close to $700 after taxes, but I won’t. CS will take a good chunk of that, and I will be lucky to see $350. I work too hard to see so little. It is assumed that I would spend a certain percentage on my kids. I wouldn’t, or if I did it would be to do something with me.

I have heard stories from people that their mothers saved all the child support, and gave it to the kids when they were grown. This sounds noble, but the truth is that this is still taking money from one person against their will and giving it to another. Should the father support their children? Yes, they should. Should the father be compelled with the same force that the IRS has to collect taxes to support their children at a level that government has decided is proper? No, this is immoral, and goes against what the USA stands for. This is a clear reminder that we are no longer operating under the constitution. That the constitution of our country is simply a historical document that people talk about, but has no real power anymore.

The problem is everyone wants to talk about fair solutions. There aren’t any. Someone always has the advantage. The problem is the government is deciding who the winners and losers are. They aren’t the referees though, making sure that the rules are followed. They are effectively making marriage till the kids are grown financially. You can marry again, but the kids make it so the government can force you to work at a certain level until your kids are grown. As bad as simple divorce is, this makes it evil. No one should be enslaved to another. Slavery is antithetical to the US way of life. We fought multiple wars including our own civil war on this premise, but here we are imposing slavery on men just for having children. The majority of children would be well taken care of by one or both parents without this. The very few who would not should not create a rule that affects everyone. Fairness is a pipedream. It will never be found. It is better to allow the natural progression happen.

The other point I want to drive home, is this. Custody should be 50/50, unless the parents agree to something else, or there is some criminal finding that prevents that. The criminal finding should require that charges are pressed, and the the parent is found guilty. If measures are taken during the trial process to protect the kids, they should be reversed if the the parent isn’t found guilty. The family court is essentially labeling fathers as potential abusers and stripping them of their rights. The courts need to be pressed into accepting that all parties have rights, and no ones trumps the others. As it sits right now the kids’ rights trump all other rights. One parent is made the keeper or steward of those rights, and thus gets all the goodies that go along with that. Divorce creates an imperfect family. Pretending we can make it better with the right court orders is sick. Both parents should be given equal opportunity to raise the kids. Disney Land Dads are a side effect of fathers not having authority in their kids lives. CS transfers most authority to one parent, usually the mother. Ultimately she gets to make the decision by paying or not paying for certain things. For most of us dads in the middle class and lower, we don’t have the funds left after CS to fund what we think is important on our own, so the mother gets to decide. This means that mom is in charge, literally. This is the message that the kids get. This is profoundly unhealthy.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

June 9

To Fight the Fight, or Not

Clint Hester Finishes his Opponent at Wild Bills Fight Night

This question is one that I have struggled with. I have a real problem with the fairness of things, or more the unfairness. The system ultimately stands on these three principles. One, the children’s best interest is the underlying right that trumps all other rights. I have seen this through the process, and its is the giant hammer to smash all problems. Two, the mother is generally considered a better arbiter of the children’s best interest than anyone else involved, and the experts will back this up. Three, it is all actually about child support.

My first point is this. The children’t best interest is strong enough to strip everyone else of their rights. You may not know it, because it only becomes an issue in divorce and a few other more obscure child welfare type cases, but the children have a right to a portion of your income. That’s right, they don’t just have a right to the benefits that you bestow upon them as a parent, but a right to the actual income. This of course is child support. The child’s best interest determines whether a father or mother are allowed to be involved in the child’s life. Some might say this is right and correct. With what I have seen in the system, and I have seen a lot. I have adopted kids through foster care. The bar needs to be raised. The bar should require criminal negligence of some sort to remove kids from a parent. I am sorry, but children are raised in imperfect circumstances all the time all over the world, and guess what. Many of them grow up through those circumstances to be great leaders. You might even argue that they grow up to be great leaders because of those circumstances. Another right your children are bestowed, but you may not about is lifestyle. The kids have a right to maintain a certain lifestyle. Without divorce, you wouldn’t know this, because most kids don’t know how to advocate for themselves through the system, but the principle comes into play during divorce. One parent is deemed the keeper of the kids lifestyle, and thus they get all the benefits after divorce of maintaining that lifestyle, while the other parent is required to continue to fund a lifestyle they are not able to maintain for themselves. I read comments on blogs a lot, and the underlying argument used by many, is that we, NCPs (generally fathers), should be happy our children our being taken care of. The truth is, I expect no less. My children deserve to be taken care of. I am also fully capable of doing so. I am not only capable of doing so, but capable of doing so with my own income and resources all by myself. The system generally punishes the parent who can say that. The other parent will receive control of the kids, and get the benefits of the children’s lifestyle. In the name of the children’s best interest, one parent is chosen to outrank the other, and the other parent is quite literally indentured to the other parent until such time the children are considered legally emancipated from their parents. The court does so very pragmatically. They seem to be looking out for the children on the surface. The truth is the court is actually trying to limit whether or how often the parties return. When one parent is so substantially limited in their spending abilities and power over the children as an authority in their life, then it less likely that disputes will return to court. This is at least the theory that they operate on. The truth is that a few years after divorce the parenting time and arguments have usually subsided when both parents are granted equal access and control or authority in the children’s lives. This does not mean that each parent takes equal responsibility, but that things work themselves out in a way both parents are happy with the resolution. This leads to better outcomes for the kids. When the court chooses sides, the parents are more likely to spend more time in court, and ultimately this is money in the bank for lawyers and court systems, so they aren’t really motivated to limit conflict.

The second point is that the mother is generally considered better at determining what is best for the children. I will agree on the principle, but not on the importance of the idea. Mother’s most definitely look out for the children’s needs as children. Father’s on the other hand take on the task of raising adults. It is the combination of the two ideals that benefit the children. Ours society is full of overgrown children. They are healthy and unproductive. They spend their time doing thing of no value. Our society has also neutered fathers in every family law case I know of. It is a father who divvies out the harsh punishments. It is a father who demands that a child participate in taking care of the business of the house. It is the father that children run to when they have made a major mistake and need the hard, and sometimes cold, solutions that a father provides. When the father is shutout, or limited in his authority in his kids lives, they lose this. I will talk about how this is true in my family later. The mother is the nurturer. She provides an important factor to raising kids, even older ones, but without the God designed balance in the kids lives, then they will be well nurtured and cared for, and totally incapable of taking on the world on their own. Like I said before, I struggle with the unfairness of it all. I also have to face the realities presented to me. I am not going to get a fair deal. I am still my kids father. I am going to live my life without a significant portion of my income. I will have to tell my kids no, when I should be able to say yes, but finances won’t allow it. I know plenty of people with less money, but it is terribly frustrating to have less income at my disposal than my ex earns, while she has more income at her disposal than I earn. The courts have more than reversed our incomes and granted her control. She will, even with her limited capacity, nurture my children. She won’t raise them into adults. That will probably happen when the kids are legally adults, and she becomes tired of them. They will run to me, and I will have to give them a serious dose of reality. I will care for them, but with heavy hand. I will be more the mentor than the father at that time. I will have to teach them how to be adults in a very short period of time. For some of them, this will be an easy challenge, and for others this will be miserably difficult.

The third point is the most true. All the rationalizing in the other two are really for the purpose of this one. Child support is king. The states earn money by collecting child support. They get money from the payors and payees for handling the transaction. In some states this is a pretty hefty percentage. In others, it is a flat fee. They get this for imposing themselves into the middle of the case. On top of that, they are being paid by the Federal government for collecting support. Child support falls in the category of welfare. Part of the legal underpinnings of child support is that the mother has been abandoned and the father is not taking responsibility for the children. The courts artificially create an abandonment scenario in most cases, just so long as one of the parents wants to push it. This allows them to impose child support. Child support is in part punitive for abandoning your children and wife. Modern divorce of course is driven by women. Women don’t want to be in the confines of their marriage, and thus step out. The courts allow them to do so, and yet maintain their lifestyle, so long as their are children involved to justify it. The actual and marginal expenses of my children do not equal what I pay in child support. This includes their lifestyle expenses. She is never called upon to use her income to fund the children. Yes the calculators make it appear that she does, but if you look at how the formulas work, then you will see that it has very little effect on the numbers how much she earns. The payor’s income is the primary determining factor of child support. I have my children nearly equal time, but not equal enough any more. I have to maintain a home and feed them, and all the other things that a parent does for their children. None of this matters. I have to figure out how to do that on what I have left. I am amazed at how many men figure this out. It is a testament to how men operate, that they figure this out. Statistics show time and time again that years out from divorce, men are winning, and women are not. How can this be. There is only one way that this can be. Men are stronger emotionally and intellectually. I am not making a judgement based on sex, but more on the fact that society does not save men from failing. This forces them to be stronger. In the same way that father’s make their children stronger. When people look at divorce reform, and how to make things better for everyone, they need to look at child support and alimony. These transfers of wealth are the single biggest drivers in frivolous divorce. They are also the primary drivers in most litigation in divorce. If child support is more clearly defined as to what it is supposed to fund, and then the calculations are based on funding those things, they numbers will go down. Men will be able to be active providers in their children’s lives, and they will tend to disappear less from their children’s lives.

As to the question posed in the title. To fight or not. Well that one is harder to address. I have lost a lot of money fighting. I have lost my time fighting. I have lost my authority fighting. I am not sure any of it was worth it. I was a bit delusional in believing that the the rules and legislation from the state government would give me a leg to stand on. The courts are still pretty autonomous, and they make their decisions as they see fit. Understanding that no one in the higher courts wants to deal with domestic issues helps to put in perspective that the family courts are given a tremendous amount of freedom in these cases. The other thing that rules the day, and allows for the courts to do as they please is the concept of “The Best Interest of the Child”. This is a concept that is self contained in your case,so it can’t include all children that are connected to the case. It can only involve the children of the parties that are sharing parenting. So a man with 3 kids by 3 mothers can end up in 3 different courts, with 3 different and possibly contradicting definitions being applied to the case under the guise of the “Best Interest of the Child.” In my case the best interest of one child is being held up above the best interests of the other children. He rules the day. This would be my oldest son, who without remorse sexually abused a kid half his age. My lack of warmth towards him is what matters most to the court. My desire to protect the other kids from his is deemed harmful by the court, because it hurts him. This is the standard that we are abiding by in family court. If we were married, we could petition the state to take him back into their care. He is demonstrating psychological disorders that we were not prepared to deal with. I might sound cold in saying this, and it doesn’t demonstrate the entirety of my feelings, but the state gave us a problem to deal with so they didn’t have to, and we are not well equipped to deal with that problem, so they should shoulder the responsibility of that problem. I love my son. A day doesn’t go by, where I don’t think about him, and grieve the loss of seeing him grow into the man who could be. I hope that he turns his life around, but all I see is patterns of him never taking responsibility for his actions. Life happens to him. I know how easy it is to fall into that trap. I have done it through the divorce process. I am now looking to take control of what I have control over, and move on. It pains me that so much control has been stripped from me, but these are the cards that I am dealt. Much of it is un-American, but that doesn’t change reality. I do my best. I am working at not taking pleasure in the idea that she will fail in the long run, because its not good for me. It will be even worse for me, if she doesn’t fail, and figures it out. The one thing, I will take from this is, I will not be friends with my ex when this is all done. I do not relish major events where I get pushed to the side, so the kids can please their mother. I know that their life is not as good as I could provide in my own home. I will not thank her for raising my kids, regardless of the responsibility she takes. I won’t because, I did not choose this. I would gladly raise my kids in my home. I would provide for them from my checkbook. Instead my kids don’t know or understand that I am still their provider. That I pay enough in child support to pay their mothers rent and utilities with money left over for the car payment. That all they have in their mothers home is in part paid for by me. This makes me sad, but there is nothing I can do about it.

I am done fighting. I will take what I can with my kids. I am not allowed to give them responsibilities in my house. I am relegated to a hotel to provide babysitting services, so their mom gets a break. A privilege I get to pay for. They won’t understand this for years, if ever. I can’t let them watch the step-sibling, even for a brief amount of time. I can’t leave them home alone, even though they are old enough to care for themselves for a few hours, and the autonomy teaches them responsibility. I cannot ask them to do chores, because they feel like servants in my home. The fight has cost me additional freedom beyond what divorce cost me to begin with. My only words of advice to men is they should go nuclear from the start. Don’t worry about your parenting relationship with the your ex. You can try and mend that later. She is unlikely to hold back, and you are likely to end up right where I am at. Women have the advantage, so don’t be afraid to paint the picture of her as a monster. Win the war, then be fair in your treatise. That is the only way to engage family court. I also want to scream at the top of my lungs for men to start fighting the fight before they are facing divorce. Get your representatives to change the standards for family court, and to put teeth in the laws they are writing. Get them to require that criminal actions that affect the children be involved to limit the time a dad has with his kids. With the most recent ruling. I have only seen my kids a few days in the last month and a half. This is not right, but it there is nothing I can do to change it. My only recourse is the courts, and they are not likely to defend my or my children, for they have taken the stand already on behalf of my children in favor of their mother. I will not fight. It hurts too much. I am working on creating ways to connect with my kids, so that they still come to me on their own. I will write about some of those next.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

May 27

I didn’t really get time

pocket watches

I thought that I had at least won some time with my kids. I haven’t had a weekend with my kids in the month of May. My first weekend is the weekend of 6/6-8. My middle schoolers will be leaving for a missions trip on 6/7. I won’t get them back until the Friday for Father’s Day. The following weekend is mine, but their mother is leaving for vacation with them for 9 or 10 days, and then she has the 4th of July Holiday. I lose a day off of that weekend. I don’t get a full weekend with my kids until July 18th. Thankfully I get 3 in a row then, but I haven’t figure out how their mother will take some of that away from me. My youngest will get at least one more full weekend with me in that time, but that is it. I suspect the alienation will be in full swing when I get them back for any period of time. I already see differences in how they react to me. I am not sure what I will do if this continues. I will not leave them in a protracted battle for custody. When people ask how fathers can check out, they haven’t been through this. They haven’t seen their children tormented. They haven’t had the thoughts that it is better for their kids to believe they are a loser who left them, than for them to be continually subjected to the active hate of their father from their mother. I am not finished, but there has to come a time when I am done. The lesson learned is that the parent who is most aggressive, and the most likely abusive is going to win custody. They have no boundaries to stop them from doing whatever it takes to win. Winning wasn’t even what I wanted. I just wanted to spend time with my kids, and have money when I have them to enjoy things with them. If I can’t have that, then I may be best served by moving away and petitioning the court for extended visitations over the summer. Of course that won’t be easy to win while she has the school job, and has summers off herself.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

May 16

I Got Time

Time

I went to court, and learned that basically the GAL is a hired gun. The opposing counsel proposed a schedule that takes one half of a day away a week. I have had my kids 7/14 days, and now will have them 6/14 days. Not so bad, right. I can’t call this a full on victory, or even a victory at all. You see, it was opposing counsel who told my ex to accept this. I don’t know why. I like to think its because she really knows what she is doing is evil, and doesn’t want to make it worse. I do believe that people answer after death for what they didn’t suffer/pay for in life. I feel sorry for divorce attorneys. I am pretty sure the evils they have participated in will make for some rather horrible answering in the afterlife. The GAL had no objection, even though there was so many problems with me as a father, and he was ready to strip me of most of my rights. This ultimately came down to child support.

The child support system in my state requires that we have near equal time, like 49% and 51% or totally equal to use the equal parenting time numbers. Taking one half a day a week away puts me back into the standard child support calculations. It nearly doubles my child support. There is nothing I can do about it. We will have to tighten our budget. Its sad that nothing matters, but the child support in the grand scheme of things, but its the truth. I am ultimately a paycheck. What’s even worse is its okay to berate me for not wanting to pay as much child support as possible, but its not okay for me to argue that keeping the money makes me a better father. If it were about the kids, the court would punish the parent unwilling to work with the other parent on the issues that matter.

I keep seeing how things are changing. How the laws are becoming friendlier. I don’t benefit from these. The system still hasn’t taken those views. The system has ways to ensure that you get back in line. I make a good living. I am for lack of a better term, middle aged. In a few years, I will be half way to retirement from when I entered the work force. I will be taking home less money than I did in my first full time job. A time when I lived in a cheap midtown apartment, and still cooked most of my meals at home. I had just enough money to eat my lunches out, but on a budget. I am required to maintain a home for me and my three or four kids on what I earned when I didn’t know anything. I earn a little more than triple what I earned then, but will be taking home the same amount of money. None of this accounts for the differences in cost of living that has happened in the last 20 years.

So here is the challenge. To win my kids hearts and minds while their mother tries to buy them using the money I earned. To find activities that will excite them, entertain them, and teach them without spending much dough. I have to do so with all the extra restrictions they are putting on me to. I am being chastised that I shouldn’t leave the kids home alone, ever. Mom does this more than I do, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Remember the kids are 13.12. and 10. We aren’t talking about little ones, but ones that are soon going to be in the 5th, 7th, and 8th grade. They aren’t allowed to babysit the stepkids at all either, even though my daughter is going to start babysitting for other people, but won’t be allowed to sit at my house for a run to the store. My ex is going to run a sabotaging campaign against me, but there isn’t much I can do about that. My kids need to find their own voices, and stop parroting what their mother says about me.

There will come a time that if I haven’t won my kids time, and I am not allowed to parent freely, that I will just have to quit. I hate the idea. I have thrown up at the thought of it, but there are limits to what I can do. Any fathers with words of encouragement, please share them. I see the end being closer than I had hoped. Its a terrible thing to wish for your kids to grow up quickly, but that is where I am. It is where I can have a relationship with them without constant interference by their mother. I played nice. I didn’t want to make her out to be a bad person, because that would be telling my kids the same thing. I should have know that none of that would matter to her. She wants them to believe that I am a bad person.

I will be telling my son that marriage can be a wonderful thing. I will also tell him to never have a child with a woman. To go get a vasectomy, and adopt a child if he wants one, and do so without a partner. By no means let a wife adopt them as well. This way, you will actually get to raise your child. You won’t be faced with someone stopping you from being able to love your child everyday. Trust me I understand how my ex feels when the kids are gone. I understand that she doesn’t want them to go. I also understand that my kids deserve a mother and a father, even if we aren’t very good at it. Time and time again studies show that the relationship matters more than the quality of the person. What my ex is doing to the kids is evil, and she has made them a party to it unwittingly.

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

May 8

Losing my kids

My life is losing its color :: mi vida pierde color

I don’t understand how we got here, but here we are. A GAL was appointed in my case. My oldest is in state department of corrections custody. I go to what is likely the final hearing in my custody aspect of my case next week. I have maintained equal parenting time with my kids for 3 years. It doesn’t matter. I am now going to be like every other father put through the grinder. I will be told that I am on standard schedule, and should feel lucky.

The GAL only wanted to talk about my son who is not living at either of our homes. He is only concerned with my lack of contact with him. My son has showed no remorse for his actions. I held hostage and sexually assaulted my soon to be stepson who is autistic and half his age. He didn’t do this once, but multiple times over the course of a few months. I have made sure that he has received treatment and care, and followed the criminal trial closely from both the victims side and the perpetrators side. The GAL spent less than 4 hours interviewing myself, my four kids, and their mom. In a status conference he proclaimed that I had committed a “cardinal sin”, that what I have done is “unfathomable”, and perhaps “unforgivable”. What might be so bad, you might ask. What did this man do, you say. I refuse to kick out the victim and his mother. I cannot have my son in my life on a regular basis if they are here. My son cannot have contact with them for as long as they are minors. My son threatened this little boy, 7 years old at the time, with the idea that if he told us what he was doing, then I would leave them. This little boy with autism was first diagnosed when he had a full breakdown after his father returned after not seeing him for a year, and then left again two weeks later. To lose a father figure in his life, and yes he calls me dad now, is the worst thing that could happen to him. I will not abandon the victim in favor of the aggressor. I do not believe my son should be allowed around his siblings. He has physically or sexually attacked each and every one of them. So this is my sin.

He has sprinkled in that my other son is afraid I might abandon him, and that they all feel some jealousy of the two kids who live here all the time. So of course the correct course of action is to further limit their time with me. That will make them feel more secure in their attachment to me. They have also said that they feel like slaves in my house. I honestly think that one came from my oldest who isn’t even here, but does it matter. There are 5 kids in my house. One helps prepare dinner, one cleans up the kitchen after dinner, one clears and wipes the table after dinner, and then there is taking out the trash and cleaning their rooms. None of which am I very particular about, which you could tell by the condition these things are in when they finish. I usually have to come in after them to finish.

I predict that if I can’t figure out with the increased child support, how to keep my house and have to move, then she will file motions saying my home is inadequate to house all the kids, and that I should be denied overnights. She will limit their time with me more and more over time, and step up her alienation efforts over time. I also predict her contact with my oldest will either diminish quickly after the ruling, or she will hit one of his triggers and get him to react and be thrown into the juvenile detention center. All of this will be my fault. She will ensure that with a distortion campaign.

I don’t know when this nightmare ends. The results of my case can cause my fiance'(new wife) to lose her kids to her ex who lives out of state. He is suddenly interested in taking them for the first time in 4 years. This all defies logic. I have never done anything but try to protect my kids and love them. At the end of the day the court is finding a way to put me in my place as the father. Fathers only role in the family is to give mom a break and pay the bills. I will be paying nearly $27,000 a year in child support. This amounts to having to earn $35,0000 just to pay my child support. I will have just over $2,000 a month to pay for my life. To live near my kids schools and activities, rent is nearly that everywhere I look. I am now being sentenced to poverty by indeturehood to my ex through my children. Until the last is 18, I won’t have money to save. I will be 50 y/o in massive debt and no savings. This process has made the mere idea of retirement probably impossible. Someone please tell me how men are the economic winners When it is all said and done, my ex will receive nearly $35,0000 dollars annually in tax free money for the kids. I will be living off of $24,0000 and be required to pay the larger portion of the medical expenses and if she can figure it out, also pay half of all activities. I have lost all ability to dream. I see no good futures right now. I will live on destitute and only a footnote of my kids teen years.

My only hope is she absolutely self destructs, and soon.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

March 19

Another Way to Execute Child Support

Into the Rabbit Hole

I have been thinking about this idea. It isn’t completely flushed out as of yet. It stems from trying to find the middle ground on child support. Getting rid of the heavy handed approach that indentures one parent to the other through the children, but still allows for legally demanded funding for the children’s well being. I am not throwing away the core principle that I don’t believe that there is a way to administer child support that doesn’t limit the freedom of one of the parents involved.

So first lets get this out of the way. Women who aren’t married and having children should not be entitled to any support of any kind. I don’t say this with malice, just as a point in fact that they know what the behavior is to get pregnant, and they are the party with the most to lose financially by that decision. If they don’t know, I don’t care, the law should presume that someone old enough to have sex is also old enough to be informed. Our schools already do a pretty good job of making sure kids know this at a young age, whether you agree with that part of education or not, it is reasonable to assume that there is a basic core knowledge imparted to kids of a capable age that they are informed. The woman by having the child has assumed responsibility for the child. The man would have automatic shared legal custody, and shared parenting time available to him. He would have the choice to exercise this right, but there should be some way for her to be legally indemnify herself if he chooses not to, so she can make decisions as the sole legal guardian. The parent caring for the child is responsible for the normal costs while caring for the child. Now I don’t let the man off the hook, because I think he bears no responsibility, but because he has no power up until the time he is allowed to participate in the child’s life. I also don’t accept that most men would just walk out on their kids. Most men are going to make sure their kids are taken care of without the threat of jack booted thugs and prison. Mom would be responsible for education and medical expenses, but I assure you that most men of character will be taking up a good part of the slack, if for no other reason that with the money goes the power. They want a say in their kids life, and not paying for things takes away that say. This is a concept lost in most discussions on child support. Child support as it functions today takes away the father’s say in most things, because he pays mom to make those decisions. This part of the idea is that women will need to be responsible for their actions. Right now they are not. Its a fact that women are the gatekeepers of sex, so they have the final choice of whether sex is going to happen. I wager under these terms, there are far fewer unwed births, and women will be more concerned with the character of the man with his penis in her, than his abs and penis length or even his checking ballence. I don’t want to hear anything about rape. Rape is a violent crime, and it should be treated as such, and it is such a small percentage of these cases that writing law to account for rape as if its the norm treats every man as a rapist. That’s un-American.

The next part of this is for married couples going through divorce. Now we will presume that they have through the contract of marriage agreed to raise the children together. One parent will get designated the responsible parent for what is often referred to as direct expenses. That parent by default should be the higher wage earner, because they are best equipped to pay the expenses if for some reason the other parent isn’t keeping up with the judgement against them. The lesser wage earner will then through the marital settlement provide for their portion of direct expenses. It could be through an unequal division of assets or a judgement against them based simply on the current costs of school and medical check ups for the remaining years the kids haven’t reached the age of majority. The assumption being that its up to the parent paying to set aside the money and let it grow with interest to cover inflation, and that in a judgement there would be interest penalties for the amount of time it takes to pay off the judgement to cover those costs. An agreement to split additional medical costs for the kids will be included in the divorce settlement. Presumed shared residency, unless the parties agree differently. Time doesn’t change the financial arrangements in this. If there is a judgement, and the lesser wage earner is unable or unwilling to pay, then seeking civil court remedies for payment would be the course. It would provide a significant incentive to have the issue fully settled during the divorce, and not have the judgement. What the parents earn doesn’t matter. Just where they live to determine the expenses for the kids.

This all of course means that Title IV provisions for child support would have to be thrown out. If you didn’t have a previous contract a.k.a. marriage contract to raise a family together, then you have no legal recourse for any support of the kids. This has two side effects; less promiscuity and out of wedlock births; no more enslaving a man for a bad choice for 18 years or more. It encourages women to seek a secure relationship before having sex with a man, and it encourages the ones who don’t to form a good parenting relationship with the father of their child. He now has a choice to be involved or not. A woman who isn’t holding him hostage through the courts is much more likely to have an agreeable co-parent. The second part just means that when the divorce is over, its over. Its all decided. There is no going back to get more from the cookie jar. The parent most able to pay has been put in the position to pay. They are jointly responsible for raising the kids, and for middle class and better families it will be mean there is no more money changing hands. The poorer will have to deal with the judgement, but it will work much like a credit debt. Which yes, means that it will be bankrupt-able. I might propose that bankruptcy laws put child support judgement at the top of the list for repayment through bankruptcy, but nothing further than that. It would pretty much eliminate the woman who has children with multiple men and then lives off child support. These women are almost always the lower earner in the couple(regardless of the income bracket), and thus will need to maintain a job to pay the judgement. Now if the parent responsible for paying expenses is not doing so, then a civil case should be opened, and the remaining judgement should be reversed and put on the higher earning parent, and the lower earning parent would now have the responsibility to pay for the so called direct expenses.

As for the time the parents have with the kids, well this should be presumed as being equal and up to the parents to figure out. The court should not maintain an open case to deal with this. If there is a problem that the parents can’t manage, it should be a new case each time, and the court should be very careful about limiting time. There would be no need to file anything with the court regarding the time parents have, because there is no money issues to go along with it. The court should only manage cases where the parents cannot.

Ten-Foured,

JeD