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November 2011

FLORIDA  

Judge returns missing woman's twins to father

From John Couwels, CNN

11-30-11 -- A Florida judge ruled Wednesday that a missing woman's 3-year-old twins must be returned to their father, saying there is not enough evidence for state child welfare officials to keep them. . . . The state Department of Children and Families placed the twins in protective custody Tuesday night. Authorities say their father, Dale Smith, is the primary focus of a police investigation into the disappearance of their mother, Michelle Parker. . . . Smith and Parker, who were engaged at one time, had joint custody of the twins. . . . The child welfare agency argued in a hearing Wednesday that the children were taken from their father because there was a risk of harm, alleging Smith was abusive to the children and Parker.


NEW YORK  

Ex-girlfriend hid sperm and used for in-vitro pregnancy: suit

By Kieran Crowley, NY Post  

11-26-11 -- A Long Island man was stunned to find out that his 4-year-old twins weren’t an accidental pregnancy at all — his desperate girlfriend secretly stashed away his sperm and used it for an in-vitro procedure, he charges in a lawsuit. . . . Elmont resident Joseph Pressil, 36, wasn’t planning on having children with Anetria Burnett, with whom he was in a relationship for six months in 2007, he said. . . . So she took matters into her own hands, he told The Post, in order to remain in his Texas house and make a legal bid for half of his possessions. . . . “A gold digger is an understatement. She was trying to get community property and alimony. She’s ruthless,” he said.


MICHIGAN  

Dad Accused of Letting Kid, 9, Drive to Face Trial

By Jeff Karoub, Associated Press / ABC News  

11-15-11 -- A judge on Tuesday ordered a Detroit-area man to stand trial on a felony child abuse charge for allegedly having his 9-year-old daughter drive him around during a night of drinking. . . . District Judge Michael McNally told 39-year-old Shawn Weimer that even though Weimer's daughter wasn't injured or killed while driving him around in his company van in the early morning hours of Oct. 8, she could have been. . . . "Actual harm need not result. ... Fortunately, she was not involved in an accident," McNally said in his Woodhaven courtroom. He said there was enough evidence to warrant the felony charge of second-degree child abuse, the most serious charge he faces and one that could land him in prison for up to four years if he’s convicted.


MICHIGAN  

33rd District judge hears underage driver case

By Robin Erb, Detroit Free Press Staff Writer 

11-09-11 -- The defense for a metro Detroit dad accused of using his 9-year-old daughter as a designated driver could hinge on her driving abilities and the fact that there's little traffic at 3 a.m., his attorney said. . . . Detroit attorney David Steingold questioned witnesses Tuesday, including the girl herself, about her driving skills early Oct. 8. That's when she drove a van for her father, Shawn Weimer, 39, who was her passenger. . . . The case is bolstered by a surveillance video from a Brownstown Township gas station near Weimer's home. Cameras captured the girl exiting from the driver's side of the van after she parked it beside a pump. Police say a booster seat was in the driver's seat. Cameras in the station and audio reveal Weimer bragging to a clerk and another customer that he had been drinking and the child was driving.


October 2011

NEW YORK  

Wealthy lawyer accused of refusing to pay for daughter's hearing aids... while buying $215,000 ring for his Playboy bunny fiancee

By Daniel Bates , Daily Mail

10-24-11 -- A wealthy lawyer who bought his Playboy bunny fiancee a $215,000 ring is accused of refusing to pay for his daughter’s hearing aids. . . . Ira Schacter apparently said he would not give estranged wife Janice the money for the devices after telling her: 'I'm not an ATM; I'm a father.' . . . The pair are locked in a bitter 'War of the Roses' style divorce battle during which Janice, 49, has claimed that Schacter, 51, was happy to lavish gifts on his new fiancee Lace Rose Allenius. . . . The presents are said to include a $215,000, 8.5 carat diamond engagement ring for the 26-year-old, who was a Playboy 'co-ed of the week' in 2004. . . . The hearing aids were needed for his 17-year-old daughter Arielle, who suffers from hearing loss and needs them to live a normal life.


UTAH  

Ex-husband owes alimony to former wife who cohabited with teen, court says

High court takes up definition of cohabitation in controversial case

By Melinda Rogers, The Salt Lake Tribune 

10-21-11 -- When Tracy Lynn Myers suspected his ex-wife of shacking up with a teenager following the couple’s divorce in 2006, he asked the courts if he could stop paying her $1,200 a month in alimony. . . . Myers won his case when a 4th District judge ruled that his former wife, Becky Sue, had a sexual relationship and was cohabiting with her parents’ teenage foster son in Provo. That relationship, the judge ruled, freed Myers from financial obligations to support her under Utah law, which allows a spouse to terminate alimony if a former spouse is in a “marriage-like” cohabitation with another person. . . . Becky Sue Myers, 46, denied any sexual relationship and appealed that ruling all the way to the Utah Supreme Court, which on Friday ruled in her favor. In a unanimous opinion, the justices agreed that even if Becky Sue Myers did have a relationship with the teen, identified as “M.H.” in court documents, the relationship fell short of meeting the statutory definition of cohabitation that would alleviate Tracy Myers from his obligations.


September 2011

ILLINOIS  

Judge scolds Rep. Joe Walsh in child-support case with ex-wife

By Abdon M. Pallasch, Chicago Sun-Times Political Reporter 

09-15-11 -- A Chicago judge issued a preliminary ruling Wednesday against U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) in his child-support dispute with his ex-wife, ordering the Tea Party favorite to explain why he appears to be $100,000 behind in child-support payments. . . . Cook County Circuit Judge Raul Vega also wanted to know why Walsh wasn’t in court Wednesday — the McHenry Republican’s ex-wife, Laura Walsh, was there — and initially said he expected him to show up for the next hearing. . . . In court, Walsh’s attorney, Janet Boyle, asked Vega “for what purpose” he wanted the congressman in court. . . . Vega gave her a puzzled look — to which Boyle responded: “Mr. Walsh is a U.S. congressman.” . . . “Well, he’s no different than anyone else,” the judge replied.


MASSACHUSETTS   

SJC rejects challenge to child support rules filed by fathers group

By Travis Andersen, Boston Globe Staff

09-02-11 -- The Supreme Judicial Court yesterday unanimously upheld state child support guidelines adopted in 2009, rejecting a legal challenge from a fathers’ rights group that asserted the rules were enacted unlawfully and may cause undue harm to parents making payments. . . . The fathers’ group was arguing against the guidelines being enacted by a member of the judiciary, Robert A. Mulligan, chief justice for judicial administration and management. . . . In court papers, the Boston-based Fathers and Families Inc. asked the SJC to address the policy question its lawsuit raised: that the Legislature, not the judiciary, should set guidelines for child support, which one parent pays to another after a divorce to help defray the costs of raising their children.


August 2011

TEXAS  

Houston judge limits rights of gay father

Posted by Geoff Berg, Houston Chronicle

08-22-11 -- A Houston judge entered an order on June 24 which prohibits a father from leaving his children alone with any man they aren’t related to “by blood or adoption.” Because there was no allegation of abuse in the case, family law practitioners say the order is an unheard of infringement on the rights of parents and a judicial condemnation of the fact that the man, William Flowers, is not only gay but married to his partner, Jim Evans. . . . William and Jim were married on March 19 of last year in Connecticut, one of seven states which recognize same-sex unions. It was a second marriage for both. . . . When William and his ex-wife divorced in 2004, they agreed that their three children would live with her. Wanting to change the arrangement, William recently filed for custody in Harris County. A jury found that she should keep the kids, though his regular visitations would continue. Neither William nor his ex-wife alleged that the children had been abused or were in any danger of being abused. . . . Following the trial, Harris County Associate Judge Charley E. Prine, Jr. issued a ruling which included an injunction applicable only to William. It prohibits him from leaving his children alone with any male to whom the kids are not related by “blood or adoption.” So if, for example, William wants to visit his mother in the hospital (where she’s been for several weeks), he can’t leave his kids at home with his husband. As written, the injunction also prohibits male doctors, teachers and pastors from being alone with the children.


ALABAMA  

Is Trickery a Legitimate Way to Apprehend Alleged Deadbeat Dads?

Posted by Bruce Carton, Law.com Legal Blog Watch

08-09-11 -- Question for LBW readers: Is it OK or not OK for law enforcement to use trickery to track down fathers with outstanding warrants alleging unpaid child support? . . . You hear about this type of "deadbeat dad sting" operation every few years, but the most recent one carried out in Alabama used some almost irresistible bait to lure fathers into the police's trap: the promise of two free tickets to the 2011 Alabama-Auburn football game. . . . According to Fox Sports South, the Lee County, Ala., sheriff's department launched Operation Iron Snare in an effort to address some very large child-support warrants that were outstanding. The sting involved phony "You Have Won!" letters mailed to local residents who had such outstanding warrants, which announced that the recipients had been selected to receive free tickets to the Alabama-Auburn "Iron Bowl" game. Fox Sports reports that "to the astonishment of just about everyone, a dozen suspects showed up to collect their prize."


NEW YORK  

Horrible Dad Gets Light Sentence For Beating, Burning, Stuffing His Son In Oven

By Garth Johnston, Gothamist

08-05-11 -- A horrible father who beat and burned his son before stuffing him in an oven over a missing $20 bill has been shown compassion by a Staten Island judge after that same son begged for leniency. Despite pleading guilty to all seven charges against him, 53-year-old James Moss has been sentenced to a mere four months in jail. Served on weekends. . . . "Everybody in my family is giving him a second chance," James' sobbing son Christopher Moss, 12, said in front of Supreme Court Justice Robert J. Collini this morning. "I just cannot see my dad taken away from me. If he's not with me, I'm nothing. God will solve everything if you make the right choice." . . . And so, despite the prosecution pushing for the maximum sentence allowed by law, Judge Collini decided to do as the man's son asked. "This court feels compelled to temper justice with compassion," the judge said, pointing out that Moss had shown "uninhibited remorse." The Staten Island Advance reports that the judge asked Christopher Moss if he meant what he said and the child said yes. Moss' wife of 24 years also spoke in his defense.


MASSACHUSETTS   

Father advocates move for repeal of restraining order law

By Kyle Cheney / Boston Herald State House News Service     

08-01-11 -- Advocates for fathers are mounting a ballot effort to repeal the state’s restraining order law, arguing that it has been overused and misapplied in a way that discriminates against men and breaks up families. . . . “The real world effect is that fathers, in particular, are instantly removed from their families. If they have children they are instantly removed from the lives of their children,” said Joseph Ureneck, chairman of the Fatherhood Coalition, which advocates to “end the discrimination and persecution faced by divorced and unwed fathers.” . . . In advance of a Wednesday deadline, Ureneck and 17 supporters filed a 2012 ballot petition with Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office this week that would repeal the restraining order law, also called Chapter 209A, which has been cited by anti-domestic violence advocates as an important tool for victims of abuse. The repeal would take effect Jan. 1, 2013. Ureneck suggested that backers are considering filing a second ballot proposal to amend the law, in case the repeal effort is rejected by Coakley as too broad.


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July 2011

Single-Dad Courtroom Wins Show Greater Embrace of New Families

By Joel Stonington and Frank Bass, Bloomberg

07-25-11 -- Joe Cioffi, a physician from Fairfield, Connecticut, settled for visitation rights to his son after he and the boy’s mother split up. Soon, he decided that wasn’t enough, so he spent four years struggling to win primary custody. . . . “Why should I be the underdog here?” Cioffi, 59, said of his clash with his former girlfriend. “I’m a professional. I pay my bills. I’m not a criminal. I’m home at night. So we played hardball.” . . . Cioffi’s custody victory and living arrangement encapsulate two distinct changes driving a 27.3 percent jump in U.S. families led by single fathers in the past decade, according to figures released from the 2010 census. While the number of single dads remains small, greater acceptance of shared custody and more unmarried couples have altered traditional ideas of child rearing, demographic experts said. . . . “It’s time for us to stop assuming that single parents are always women,” said Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. “There is a visible presence now of single men caring for their kids. We didn’t see that a few decades ago.”


FLORIDA

Dad Denied Custody After Boy Allegedly Found Drinking Beer

WFTV.com

07-11-11 -- A judge denied a father custody of his 18-month-old son on Monday after deputies said the boy was found drinking from beer bottles alone in the front yard. . . . Elvin Garcia was brought into court cuffed and shackled to find out what would happen to his son. . . . The child was ordered into foster care at the hearing on Monday after he was found drinking from beer bottles over the weekend outside of his house, located off Atlantis Drive in Apopka. . . . Garcia was arrested on child neglect charges on Saturday night, after a neighbor called 911 to report seeing the toddler wandering in the yard, and drinking from beer bottles. . . . “There were bottles around the front porch and he was just picking them up, drinking out of them,” said eyewitness Debbie Robinson. . . . Garcia was allegedly passed out inside. . . . “They could see him in the trailer there with his legs hanging out the door... just passed out I guess,” said Robinson. . . . Deputies said they arrived to find an unlivable home. The Department of Children and Families described Garcia's home as "deplorable." Investigators said the boy was living in such bad conditions they were only able to salvage one shirt, a pair of shoes and some diapers from the belongings at the home.


June 2011

TEXAS  

Houston man forced to pay child support for child that DNA proves isn’t his

Jeff McShan / KHOU 11 News

06-24-11 -- A new state law says men no longer have to make child support payments if they discover the child is not theirs, but a Houston man says he still has to pay. . . Ray Thomas contacted KHOU 11 News saying he is frustrated because he owes more than $50,000, even though he is not the child’s father. . . . “They've been taking money out of my income tax -- taking my money and I haven't been able to pay my bills,” Thomas said. . . . Thomas claims he's a victim of mistaken paternity. . . . He said, in 1986 a woman he was dating had a baby and told Thomas it was his. In fact, he thought so too until the little girl's hair started to turn red. Thomas said he went to court numerous times trying to clear things up, but said the judge wouldn't hear it. . . . That's because up until this month, reversing a mistaken paternity case had been nearly impossible. . . . “It had been an issue because it's not fair,” said Cheryl Alsandor, a family law attorney. “On one hand, a DNA can clear a defendant of a crime years later, but it didn’t seem to be fair that it couldn't clear a man of paternity.” . . . But times are changing.


NEW HAMPSHIRE

UPDATE: Man Who Set Himself on Fire at NH Courthouse Did So In Name of Father’s Rights

HVnews

06-20-11 -- Just before the weekend started, a man from Holden, Mass., walked up to the main door of the Keene, N.H. County Courthouse, doused himself with gasoline and lit a match. . . . He was pronounced dead on the scene. Authorities tried to wash away the fresh scorch marks, and for the next few days, journalist and authorities in New Hampshire have been attempted to piece together the story of how Thomas Ball, 58, went from being the father of three children to being the latest person to engage in self-immolation for a political cause.


My take on the Thomas Ball case

By Helen Smith, Mens News Daily

06-25-11 -- If you don’t know the story by now, Thomas Ball is the New Hampshire man who set himself on fire on the courthouse steps and left a 15-page note outlining the abusive family court system and his reasons for killing himself. Many of you have emailed or commented about this case (thanks very much) here and I think his story is an important one in understanding the psychological and physical damage that the law is inflicting on men in this country.


Last Statement by Tom Ball before he set himself on fire at Courthouse

Sentinel Source

06-15-11 -- A man walks up to the main door of the Keene N.H. County Courthouse, douses himself with gasoline and lights a match. And everyone wants to know why. . . . Apparently the old general was right. Death is not the worst of evil. . . . I am due in court the end of the month. The ex-wife lawyer wants me jailed for back child support. The amount ranges from $2,200. to $3,000. depending on who you ask. Not big money after being separated over ten years and unemployed for the last two. But I do owe it. If I show up for court without the money and the lawyer say jail, then the judge will have the bailiff take me into custody. There really are no surprises on how the system works once you know how it actually works. And it does not work anything like they taught you in high school history or civics class. . . . I could have made a phone call or two and borrowed the money. But I am done being bullied for being a man. I cannot believe these people in Washington are so stupid to think they can govern Americans with an iron fist. Twenty-five years ago, the federal government declared war on men. It is time now to see how committed they are to their cause. It is time, boys, to give them a taste of war. . . . Here’s the entire statement from Tom Ball before he set himself on fire: http://www.sentinelsource.com/news/local/last-statement-sent-to-sentinel-from-self-immolation-victim/article_cd181c8e-983b-11e0-a559-001cc4c03286.html


May 2011

KENTUCKY  

Kentucky court says fathers of children conceived during affairs have parental rights

Written by Andrew Wolfson , Courier Journal

05-24-11 -- Men who father a child during an affair with a married woman have the right to seek a role in the child's life, the Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled. . . . In an emotionally charged decision that critics say will undermine marriage, the court reversed centuries of common law and its own 2008 ruling that held such children are presumed to be the offspring of the woman and her husband. . . . Bowing to the realities of DNA testing, which makes proving fatherhood a virtual certainty, the high court said in a 4-3 opinion late last week that Christopher H. Egan has the right to assert paternity — and ultimately visitation and shared custody — to a baby girl he said he fathered in September 2008 during an extramarital affair with Julie Ann Stephens. Both live in Northern Kentucky.


NEW JERSEY  

Nearly $1M Awarded to Dad Who Sued Ex-Wife’s Law Firm for Role in Child Abduction

By Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal

05-18-11 -- A father whose child was spirited to Spain by his former spouse has won a nearly $1 million verdict against the New Jersey law firm that represented the woman. . . . A jury in Bergen County, N.J., awarded $950,000 to Roy Innes and his daughter in their suit against Lesnevich & Marzano-Lesnevich and name partner Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, the New Jersey Law Journal reports. The suit faulted the law firm for releasing the child’s passport to the mother, Maria Jose Carrascosa.


FLORIDA  

Schenecker father sues wife suspected of murdering their children

By John Barry, Times Staff Writer

05-09-11 -- For three months, Parker Schenecker has refrained from public attacks on his wife, even after police say she murdered their two teenage children. He quietly filed for divorce. . . . But then came her demands. . . . Julie Schenecker wanted $40,000 for a lawyer and $10,000 for a forensic accountant. She wanted alimony. She wanted health insurance. She wanted him to buy a life insurance policy naming her as beneficiary. And she wanted her diamond engagement ring back. . . . It was too much, the grieving father thought. . . . "I was incredulous," he said. . . . And so, today, at the Hillsborough County Courthouse, he plans to go on the offense, filing a wrongful death lawsuit against his wife of 20 years. . . . Layered upon an unthinkably tragic double murder case will be an expanding civil action called Schenecker vs. Schenecker.


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March 2011

SOUTH CAROLINA   

Case seeks attorneys for nonpaying parents

Associated Press, The Augusta Chronicle 

03-22-11 -- A South Carolina father who was repeatedly jailed after insisting he couldn't make child-support payments of about $50 a week is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to end five states' practice of locking up delinquent parents without providing them with a lawyer. . . . In a case to be argued before the high court today, Michael Turner contends that poor people facing time behind bars for missing payments have a constitutional right to an attorney at taxpayer expense. Florida, Maine, New Hampshire and Ohio are the other states where deadbeat parents are not automatically given a lawyer in such cases.


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February 2011

NEW YORK  

Judge gives custody of son to homeless dad

By William J. Gorta, New York Post   

02-28-11 -- A Brooklyn judge ordered a teen to live with his homeless dad -- in a shelter -- after the boy's mom, a $90,000-a-year court worker, was critical of the legal process, court papers reveal. . . . Jeannette Traylor was even denied visitation rights -- despite the fact that the 17-year-old boy's dad, John Jacobs, "has been living in storefronts and borrowed rooms and basements" for years, according to the court papers. . . . The dad "constantly misled" investigators -- and a psychologist testified that he had "severe reservations" about Jacobs' parenting skills, the papers say. . . . "I begged the judge please not to play with my son's life," Traylor told The Post. "What my ex-husband does doesn't surprise me. But I expected better when I went to court." . . . But Jacobs insisted to The Post that the teen is better off with him.


FLORIDA  

Florida Law Firm's Philosophy Is Just Men, Just Family Law

Lawyer Kenny Leigh says family court system unfair to men.

Bob Self |Florida Times-Union

02-27-11 -- Ask lawyer Kenny Leigh if he would ever represent a female client and he'll say no. . . . He'll also tell you he's not sexist but railing against a family court system that is unfair to men. . . . At 41, the Jacksonville lawyer has built what appears to be a successful law practice branded on the slogan, "Men Only. Family Law Only." . . . And while Leigh said he's finished with that slogan, the lawyer said his firm's philosophy won't change. . . . "The only thing that's very consistent about family law is how unfair it is to men," Leigh said in a January interview. "The current system turns a father into a visitor and a paycheck." . . . Leigh said dropping that particular slogan is connected to hiring an advertising firm. He said it's not related to a recent letter from The Florida Bar that mentions a professional conduct code about not engaging in conduct that discriminates based on things including gender.


Why So Many Men Never See Their Divorce Coming

Huffington Post (blog) -Lynn Toler presides over the syndicated court program, "Divorce Court" and the author of My Mother's Rules.

02-02-11 -- I first heard it from attorneys who typically represent men in a divorce. I then began to see it in the cases that came before me. I remember the attorney who first mentioned it to me some ten years ago, he leaned back in his chair at a conference on divorce and said, "It never ceases to amaze me how many men come to me with their jaws on the floor saying they never saw it coming." . . . Now, I am witnessing it in my own social circles. All around me long-term marriages are coming to an end. And as the studies show many of those jumping ship are women. . . . Not only am I seeing a rash of fleeing women all around me, I also see what I first ascertained years ago: That a fairly significant number of men--especially in longer term marriages--never saw their divorces coming. There was, they say, no warning, no build up, no escalating tensions, just an unexpected, non-negotiable and seemingly unprovoked decision to leave. . . . Of course, this is not the norm. Most marriages careen into a ditch after traversing a noticeably bumpy road. Likewise, there are women who are surprised when their husbands decide to leave, but what I am talking about here is that not-so-small group of guys who are caught flat footed by their wives sudden and seemingly unexplained departure.


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December 2010

TEXAS  

Call 4 Action - Father claims attorney didn’t do job

by Amber Dixon, KGBT-TV 

12-28-10 -- David Luna says his ex-wife isn’t following their custody agreement. . . . He’s now fighting for more visitation. . . . "I feel like it's hopeless,” said Luna. . . . Luna hired attorney Veronica Farias. . . . That was back in April. . . . "Nothing's been done,” said Luna. . . . One look at her office in Brownsville, and it appears Farias packed up. . . . Sandbags block the doorways, and a for rent sign is posted. . . . Action 4 News tried calling the attorney’s cell phone. . . . It was disconnected. . . . Luna said he contacted the State Bar of Texas to complain and discovered Farias was suspended. . . . “Now I’m out $1,500,” said Luna. . . . After several calls to her office, Action 4 News did receive a call back. . . . Farias said her cell phone was disconnected. . . . She invited Action 4 News to her home to discuss Luna’s concerns. . . . Farias did not want to speak on camera.


ILLINOIS

Veteran Chicago Divorce Lawyer Anthony D'Agostino Saves Child

PRNewswire

12-02-10 -- Veteran litigator, Anthony D'Agostino of the Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving, Ltd., navigated a complex paternity case this week whereby the court awarded possession of a 12 year-old girl to D'Agostino's client, the unwed father.  The court also awarded an injunctive order preventing the mother from removing the child from the father's care and custody. A hard-fought victory like this keeps hope alive for unmarried fathers everywhere. . . . "Initially, the judge was hesitant to award possession of the child to the unwed father but Attorney D'Agostino simply did not give up and presented allegations of the potential harm to the child to the court. Anthony's tenacity won an important decision," commented Attorney Jeffery Leving (http://dadsrights.com). . . . According to allegations in court documents, the mother "abuses drugs and alcohol" and the child's "well-being is in jeopardy and subject to great endangerment."


INDIANA  

Father Claims Religious Beliefs Cost Him Custody

Man's Agnostic Beliefs Cited In Ruling

WRTV Indianapolis 

12-02-10 -- An Anderson father is upset after he claims he lost custody of his three children due to his religious beliefs. . . . Madison County Superior Court, Division 3 Commissioner George G. Pancol Sr. gave Craig Scarberry's ex-wife, Christine Porcaro, full custody of the couple's children in a Nov. 1 ruling. . . . "Further evidence indicated that the Petitioner/Father did not participate in the same religious training that the Respondent/Mother exercises and that the Petitioner/Father was agnostic," the ruling said. . . . Scarberry, who subscribes to the belief that it's impossible to know if there is a God, told 6News' Joanna Massee he thinks the judge has turned the custody dispute into a religious issue. He said his ex-wife is Christian. . . . "It's rocked me to the core, it really has," he said. "Anybody who has children should understand exactly how I'm feeling right now."


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November 2010

Pending Supreme Court Case Weighs Unmarried Fathers’ Rights

by Robert Franklin, Esq., Fathers & Families

11-15-10 -- About a week ago, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that, frankly, has a pretty limited scope.  Despite that, I thought I’d mention it, less for what the case is about or what its potential outcome might portend, and more for who’s on what side. . . . The case is Flores-Villar vs. United States.  It’s a citizenship case in which a son, Ruben Flores-Villar, Jr. is contesting the constitutionality of a federal law.  That law says that (stay with me here) the child of an unmarried American woman whose father is a non-U.S. citizen and who is born in a foreign country receives American citizenship if the mother has lived inside the country for one year at any time in her life. . . . On the other hand, an unmarried American father in exactly the same situation (i.e. he fathered a child in a foreign country with a non-American woman) has to satisfy several conditions in order for his child to receive citizenship.  This article explains what a father must do (Slate, 11/9/10)

[T]he law holds that Ruben Sr. cannot confer citizenship unless he provides proof of parenthood, legally acknowledges Ruben Jr. before the child turns 18, and pledges to support him. Finally—and crucially in this case—Ruben Sr. must show that he himself lived in America for at least five years, after he turned 14 and before Ruben Jr.’s birth. Ruben Sr. satisfied all the legal requirements save the last one, which was physically impossible: He was only 16 when Ruben Jr. was born. . . .

In short, the statute treats unmarried American mothers and unmarried American fathers differently.  Well, what it actually does is treat their children differently, but presumably, both mothers and fathers have some legal interest in the citizenship of their children.


NEW JERSEY

Lawrence Taylor wants to cut child support for ill daughter

By Jeane MacIntosh, New York Post 

11-13-10 -- Football legend Lawrence Taylor is trying to sack his chronically ill out-of-wedlock daughter -- asking a New Jersey judge to slash his monthly support payments to the child, The Post has learned. . . . Taylor -- who's awaiting a criminal trial for allegedly having sex with an underage hooker -- wants to cut as much as $500 off his estimated $1,825-a-month payment for daughter Erielle, now 12, according to her mom, Ebony Washington. . . . Taylor made the move after Washington, 36, filed in Bergen County family court to increase her $456-a-week support deal with the former grid great. Part of the money, she said, would go toward Erielle's unreimbursed medical expenses. . . . The "bubbly, outgoing" sixth-grader -- who has never been publicly acknowledged by her famous dad -- this year was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, a debilitating intestinal illness that has no cure. . . . Taylor, 51, didn't score any points yesterday with judge Peter J. Melchionne when he failed to show up for a mandatory hearing. . . . Instead, the sleazy sack king, who lives in Florida, e-mailed the court an 11th-hour, "two line" note from a doctor claiming he had a "medical condition" that prohibited him from flying.


NEW YORK  

Threatened with 6-Month Jail Term, Attorney Pays Daughter’s $9,733 Tuition Bill

By Martha Neil, ABA Journal

11-10-10 -- Threatened with a six-month jail term after his wife for the third year running sought a contempt order, a New York lawyer has narrowly avoided the slammer and purged a contempt order after paying his daughter's court-ordered $9,733 tuition bill. . . . Attorney John J.P. Krol also was required to pay his wife's legal fees by Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Robert Bruno, reports the New York Law Journal in an article reprinted in New York Lawyer (reg. req.).



October 2010

NEW YORK

Father's custody quest now fulfilled

By Robert Gavin, Times Union Staff Writer

10-29-10 -- Johnny Smith's wait is almost over -- he will soon have his daughter back. . . . A Warren County judge on Friday officially handed custody of the 5-year-old child to the South Carolina man as of Nov. 4, which will end a more than two-year legal process he described as a "living hell." . . . Smith can meet with his daughter daily until Thursday, at which time he and his wife, Cheryl, will bring the child to live with their family in Horry County, S.C., his lawyer said Friday. . . . "He's anxious to have this be over as anyone would be," said Schenectady-based attorney Richard Antokol, who was thankful for the decision by Family Court Judge J. Timothy Breen. "Overall, he's pleased that this is coming to an end."


September 2010

MICHIGAN

Man who fathered 23 children with 14 women sent to prison after missing more than $500,000 in child support payments

Barton Deiters | The Grand Rapids Press 

09-24-10 -- The state attorney general's office has prosecuted thousands of parents for failing to pay child support, but none of those has been as "outrageous" as the claims -- and children -- piling up for Howard Veal. . . . The Muskegon man has fathered 23 children with 14 women, and is more than $533,000 in arrears in his child-support payments, according to the attorney general's office, which has been pushing a case against Veal -- tied to two of those children -- in Kent County Circuit Court. . . . On Thursday, Judge Dennis Leiber sentenced Veal, 44, to two to four years in prison for failure to pay child support, a felony. With this sentence, the judge far exceeded the state guidelines, which called for Veal to get no more than six months in the county jail. . . . "You are the poster child for irresponsibility," Leiber told Veal, who appeared surprised by the sentence. "You're an insult to every responsible father who sacrifices to provide for their children." . . . "I was stunned and amazed," said Leiber of the scope of Veal's fatherhood, and his failure to pay anything but a scant amount to most of the mothers. . . . "Animals procreate, human beings are supposed to nurture their children."


UTAH  

Utah Supreme Court to hear dad’s bid for his baby

By brooke adams, The Salt Lake Tribune   

09-08-10 -- John Wyatt says this is the thought that keeps him going: One day, he will be with his daughter. . . . Wyatt knows the daughter he calls Emma, now 18 months old, only through photographs. Since her birth in a Virginia hospital, he has waged a battle in two states to assert his right to have custody of Emma. . . . The next round will take place Thursday before the Utah Supreme Court, where attorneys will argue adoption law, jurisdiction and, perhaps, whether a child is better off being raised by two parents than a single father. . . . Wyatt claims Utah’s laws are unfairly aligned against unmarried biological fathers and that a Utah judge ignored legal decisions made in his home state and the federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act. . . . “I have the law on my side,” said Wyatt, 22. “These people are blatantly breaking the law. They are just trying to wait us out, hope that we’ll run out of money or give up.”


August 2010

FLORIDA

Doctor's Medical License in Jeopardy

Randy Heysek has refused to pay child support and alimony, state says.

By Matthew Pleasant, The Ledger

08-14-10 -- A pre-eminent cancer doctor with a sprawling Polk County practice could have his medical license suspended for refusing to pay child support and alimony now totaling about $673,000, the state says. . . . Randy Heysek, a radiation oncologist specializing in treating prostate cancer, has fought the Florida Department of Revenue's attempts to collect the money since it first began taking action against him last year. . . . The department's Child Support Enforcement Program began sending Heysek past-due notices in spring 2009 and has since taken increasingly aggressive steps against him, including an unsuccessful attempt to suspend his driver license, said Robert Babin, a Department of Revenue spokesman. . . . The doctor's former wife, Mary Heysek, a Plant City resident, and their four sons - including 15-year-old triplets - should have been receiving monthly payments of about $35,420 since January 2009. . . . Heysek, 51, has paid about $60,572 as a result of the Department of Revenue's efforts, which Mary Heysek has received.


NEW YORK  

Judge Transferred Over Alleged Actions in Visitation Case Involving Sex Offender

Complaint alleges judge joked about child pornography during custody proceeding, misstated the facts of the case and maintained an 'inappropriate' relationship with the father's attorney

Mark Fass, New York Law Journal

08-13-10 -- A Suffolk County, N.Y., judge who was the subject of a searing complaint by a children's advocacy group has been transferred from Family Court to the County Court's civil term. . . . A court source called the immediate transfer "unprecedented" and an indication of the how seriously the allegations are being taken by the Office of Court Administration. . . . According to the complaint, Judge Andrew G. Tarantino Jr. granted a father who had been convicted of possessing child pornography and third-degree rape of a minor overnight visitation of his three children, supervised by his own parents.

Read the complaint (pdf) and Tarantino's earlier ruling (pdf).


MINNESOTA    

Freed Toyota Driver: My Children Don't Know Me

Attorney Credits ABC News Report for Helping Koua Fong Lee Win Release from Prison

By Angela M. Hill, ABC News    

08-06-10 -- In his first interview since winning freedom yesterday, Koua Fong Lee, the Minnesota man jailed after his 1996 Toyota Camry sped out of control and killed three people, said his two youngest children don't know their father because he's been imprisoned on vehicular homicide for the past three years. . . . "The first thing I'm going to do is talk to them, to get to know them, to play with them," Lee told ABC News. "I want them to know I am their daddy. I will teach them what the word daddy means." . . . After a judge ordered Lee freed from prison Thursday pending a new trial, prosecutors announced they would not try Lee again.


OHIO  

Ohio Man Gets Probation for DWI (Daddying While Intoxicated)

Posted by Eric Lipman, Legal Blog Watch

08-04-10 -- Many a mother or father will tell you that the stress of parenting is sometimes eased by the occasional glass of chardonnay, bourbon on the rocks or other adult beverage of choice. Then there's Steven Melendez. . . . Melendez was arrested last week in Mansfield, Ohio, while walking around the streets drunk -- pushing his children, ages 1 and 2, in one of those nifty double strollers. Though reportedly unable to stand without leaning on the stroller, Melendez told the arresting officers he had consumed only "a couple of Budweiser beers." (Nice plug, Steve. Do I hear an endorsement contract in your future?)


July 2010

TEXAS

Musician Maurice Davis, Pens “Missing Children” Song and Later Discovers Family Secret Brings Song Close to Home

Maurice Davis was compelled to write a song entitled “Missing Children,” after watching a late-night episode of, “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Then he found out he was one. Davis also found out that he is a Native American and a descendant of the legendary Apache Chief and American hero, Geronimo. Davis has pledged to donate .25 from each purchase of the song to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

PRWEB

07-29-10 -- Musician Maurice Davis, 27, was compelled to write a song entitled “Missing Children,” after watching a late-night episode of, “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” The episode, which featured the story of a missing child, prompted Davis to work through the night on the song, which highlights the plight of missing and abused children and encourages the public to come to their aid. . . . It was after writing the song, that Davis discovered a secret from his past that gave the issue of missing children more personal meaning. When Davis was two years old Texas natives Johnny and Rebecca Davis adopted him and his two brothers, believing that they were abandoned by their mother. . . . Two decades later, while Davis was preparing to record the song about missing children, he and his brothers received a call from their biological father, Joseph Suarez. Davis was informed that he and his brothers were abducted by their mother, given away for adoption and that his father and biological family had searched for him and his brothers for 24 years. Davis found out that he is a Native American and a descendent of the legendary Apache Chief and American hero, Geronimo.

Listen to the Missing Children Song

Proceeds from the song will benefit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.


June 2010

Fatherhood as a Luxury, Not a Necessity

Armstrong Williams, Townhall.com

06-23-10 -- We all should be absolutely alarmed by the current state of fatherhood in this country. It is terribly troubling that our society accepts fatherhood as a luxury, not a necessity. An involved, loving, active father has become the exception in this country, and it's time we make it the norm again. . . . On the surface, there are some things that only a father can provide his children. Although a mother is vital to a child's development, there are some activities that a dad just makes perfect. Shooting baskets or going ice skating becomes more than a bonding experience between father and child, it becomes a moment when boys learn how to carry themselves as men, how to strive for a goal, work hard, and strengthen their male personality. It becomes a moment when daughters learn how a man should properly treat a woman, interact with males, try their best, overcome adversity, and strive for their potential. There is little in life that can simulate these fathers – child moments that turn ordinary days into treasured lifelong memories. . . . Like most loving fathers, my father expected a lot out of me and my siblings. He constantly encouraged me and pushed me to reach my potential, but occasionally - and only when necessary - he would use his lash to get my attention. His stern face or grave words would let me know that my behavior or attitude was out of line. My healthy fear for him in these rare moments kept me focused on living a healthy, productive life. I remember his strong grip as he taught me to shake hands like a gentleman, I remember his huge arms wrapping me tight after tough family football losses, and I remember my father's extraordinary courage to do the right thing regardless of the situation. I would never be where I am today without my mother, but my father taught me how to be a man.


Modern fathers increasingly juggle work, life

-- McClatchy Newspapers, GoErie.com

06-23-10 -- "A profound shift is taking place with today's new dads," said Brad Harrington, co-author of "The New Dad: Exploring Fatherhood Within a Career Context," released this week. "Men have redefined 'good father' from breadwinner to role model, friend, mentor." . . . Harrington's research of new fathers found a strong cultural perception that when men become dads, little will change at work. . . . Peter Rega maneuvers through South Florida traffic like a man on a mission. It's nearing 5 p.m. and Rega, a divorced father, has wrapped up his sales calls and is on his way to pick his son up from after-school care. Cell phone to ear, Rega tells his customer he will call back in an hour, once he successfully shuttles his 12-year-old son, Peter, home for dinner and then to karate lessons. . . . "I'm a top salesman," Rega said. "For me, my phone rings 24/7. I have to train my customers that there are certain hours I'm not available." . . . A new report shows that fathers, much like Rega, are dramatically feeling the pull between work and family. Indeed, men reported their levels of work-life conflict have risen significantly over the past three decades, while the level of conflict reported by women has not changed much.


NEW HAMPSHIRE

Fathers 4 Justice are on song

Daily Echo  

06-17-10 -- PARENTS from across Hampshire have lent their voices to a new song being released by campaign group Fathers 4 Justice. . . . The Anthem For Justice song is being launched by the Hampshire-based campaign organisation for Father’s Day this Sunday as an Internet download track. . . . Mothers and fathers from across the county travelled to London to record the song this week and film a video for the single, which is promoting equal rights for parents.


MINNESOTA   

Stabbed by Client’s Ex-Husband, Lawyer, 54, Has ‘Horrible Injuries’ But Is Recovering

By Martha Neil, ABA Journal

06-17-10 -- A Minnesota attorney suffered "horrible injuries" but is expected to survive being stabbed a dozen times in her Fridley office a week ago, according to Anoka County Sheriff's Lieutenant Paul Sommer. . . . Within an hour or so, a client's ex-husband confessed to the attack on Terri Melcher that took place a little after 5 p.m. last Friday. Sheikh Nyane, 32, is being held in lieu of $1 million bail on two counts of attempted murder and two counts of assault, reports WCCO. He was reportedly upset over having recently lost custody of his child. . . . "He just walked into the office, found her and attacked her with a knife," Sommer tells the station. The knife was broken in the attack. . . . The 54-year-old lawyer was treated for a head injury and stab wounds to her face, throat and chest, reports the Pioneer Press. . . . A criminal complaint says Melcher told investigators her attacker at one point held her down as he cut her throat, the article states.


Start a Revolution on Father's Day

by Rebecca Hagelin, Townhall.com           

06-16-10 -- What we need when Father’s Day arrives on Sunday is nothing short of a family revolution, led by America’s fathers. . . . Ours is a broken culture — of fathers and mothers with broken vows, families with broken bonds, and children with broken hearts. . . . For every 100 babies born in America, 60 are born to a broken family. That is, they are either born out of wedlock, or to a family that will soon suffer divorce. Our teen pregnancy rate is the highest in the Western world. Our little girls are looking and behaving like sex kittens at younger and younger ages. Boys are afraid of marriage, addicted to pornography and have few or no manners. There are about 1.2 million abortions in America every year. . . . Mothers feel overwhelmed as they seek to "do it all" — earn a paycheck, nurture the children, manage the finances and keep the family together. Much of that is the fault of a radical feminist movement that perverted the battle for equal treatment into a battle for total independence from men. Many men just sat out what became a destructive force, and now all of us — men, women and children — are suffering the painful results as we realize that we really do need each other after all. . . . Imagine how our culture would be transformed if fathers refused to be bullied by angry feminists and took more of a loving role of responsibility in their own homes. What if husbands started pouring out unconditional and constant love on their wives in the same manner in which Christ pours love out for his people?


PENNSYLVANIA   

For parents, justice not served

Paperwork goes unfiled, appeals are dismissed.

By Terrie Morgan-Besecker, Law & Order Reporter,  Wilkes Barre Times-Leader

06-16-10 -- Mary Tullis was devastated last August when a Luzerne County judge terminated her rights to her son and daughter. . . . She and the children’s father, Jeff Harris, had been working to resolve the problems that led Luzerne County Children and Youth to place the children in foster care. She was confident the state Superior Court would overturn the decision on appeal. . . . She never got the chance to argue the merits of her case, however, because the assistant public defender assigned to represent her failed to file the required court papers, resulting in her appeal being dismissed outright. . . . A Times Leader investigation revealed she is not alone. . . . Since 2005, 15 of the 53 parents who challenged the termination of their parental rights or the involuntary adoption of their children have seen their appeals dismissed because the Public Defender’s Office or other court-appointed attorneys failed to follow proper court procedure, according to a review of cases filed with the state Superior Court. . . . The revelation prompted newly appointed county Chief Public Defender Al Flora Jr. to launch an investigation. He is reviewing records, including those identified by The Times Leader, to determine if anything can or should be done to seek to restore the appeals. . . . The newspaper’s review showed that in nine of the 15 cases at issue, the appeals were filed, but later dismissed because the attorneys failed to file the required legal briefs that detail the errors the trial judge allegedly committed. . . . In another six cases, the appeals were “quashed” – a legal term that refers to the dismissal of an appeal for failure to comply with some other aspect of appellate court procedure, such as filing the appeal late. . . . The lack of action by the attorneys means the parents were deprived of their right to have the Superior Court review the lower court ruling to determine if it was properly entered – a result an advocate for parental rights described as “appalling.”


NEBRASKA  

Neb. judge reprimanded for behavior in custody case

Kerri Rempp Chadron Record, Rapid City Journal

06-14-10 -- Dawes County District Court Judge Brian Silverman has been officially reprimanded by the state's Judicial Qualifications Commission for remarks he made in a child custody case last year. . . . The commission's opinion was released last week. The incident occurred during a hearing in a child custody case in February 2009 in the case of Cari Goodwin v. Derek Goodwin. According to the commission's opinion, Derek refused to acknowledge a December 2008 agreement regarding custody and a purge plan for child support. Silverman informed Derek, who was behind in his child support, if he proceeded with a trial on custody issues, the agreement would be revoked and he would be sent to jail. Derek filed a complaint saying Silverman raised his voice and addressed him in "an impatient, discourteous, angry and condescending tone and demeanor." . . . The commission agreed that Silverman's behavior violated the judicial code of conduct requiring judges to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary, to avoid impropriety and the appearance thereof and to perform the duties of the office impartially and diligently.


NEW YORK  

Nassau County judge jails mother who falsely accused ex of sex abuse and alienated him from kids

Daniel Weaver, Albany CPS and Family Court Examiner

06-07-10 -- In a decision that will surely generate controversy and fuel gender wars and the ongoing debate over parental alienation, Nassau County Supreme Court Judge, Robert Ross, has sentenced a woman to six weekends in jail for alienating her children from their father. . . . The court went into great detail describing the mother's behavior toward her ex-husband, the defendant in Lauren R. V Ted R. The mother's behavior reached a crescendo, according to Judge Ross, when she made a false report of sexual abuse against the father to Child Protective Services. . . . The factual findings concerning the mother's behavior as stated in the decision by Judge Ross are extensive but worth reading in their entirety as they form a basis for his decision. . . . Concerning the plaintiff's (mother's) behavior, Judge Ross stated:

"Plaintiff intentionally scheduled their child's (N.'s) birthday party on a Sunday afternoon during defendant's weekend visitation, and then refused to permit defendant to attend. She demanded that N. be returned home early, in order to "prepare" for her party, but D., the other child, was enjoying the time with her father and wished to remain with him until the party began.


OHIO

Divorcing dad wants to take kids to Saudi Arabia

Culture clash at root of Cincinnati custody fight

By Dan Horn • Cincinnati.com

06-05-10 -- When Rima Shaheen and Talal Bawazir go to court later this month to resolve their divorce, they will fight over more than which school their four kids attend or which parent gets to take them to movies on weekends. . . . Shaheen wants the kids to stay with her in Cincinnati, where they have lived for the past six years. . . . Bawazir wants to take them to Saudi Arabia, where he says he can get a good job. . . . Judge Elizabeth Mattingly will make the call, but she says she's not happy about her choices. . . . "You have got very few good options here," she told Shaheen at a court hearing in March. "It's not a perfect world." . . . The big legal questions in the case - who should get custody and what are the rights of the other parent - come up in countless custody battles every day in Hamilton County's domestic relations court.


May 2010

TEXAS  

Once-powerful Republican lobbyist's life in ruins

By R.G. Ratcliffe, Houston Chronicle 

05-25-10 -- For nearly 20 years, San Antonio lawyer W. James Jonas III was one of the more influential Republican lobbyists in Austin and Washington. . . . Jonas' life now is the wreckage of a messy divorce prompted by battles over two autistic children, new age medicines and another woman in his life. He has lost his job, his clients and his freedom, jailed for 180 days for more than $100,000 in unpaid child support. . . . “A lobbyist in jail is a devil without a cause,” said Jonas, clad in an orange uniform and talking over a scratchy visitor's booth phone in the Bexar County Jail this week. . . . Jonas says the judicial portrayals of him as a “deadbeat dad” are misplaced when he has paid his wife almost $500,000 in child support and medical care for their children the past three years. . . . Jonas, 48, blames his incarceration on a vindictive spouse who wants to hold him to support and medical payments of $11,000 to $18,000 a month despite a decline in his income.


WISCONSIN

Milwaukee mayor, Brewers hit road for fatherhood

By Chris Jenkins, AP Sports Writer, USA Today

05-21-10 -- Ferris Bueller would be proud: Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett is hitting the road to catch a Brewers game in Minneapolis on Saturday. . . . OK, so Barrett isn't really taking the day off. He's using the trip to promote the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative, a program designed to keep at-risk fathers involved in their children's lives. . . . Barrett, Brewers executives, Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball coach Rob Jeter and a group of 50 fathers and their kids will fly to Minneapolis, talk fatherhood and responsibility during a breakfast with players Rickie Weeks and LaTroy Hawkins, then attend the Brewers-Twins game. . . . Barrett is bringing one of his children and will speak about his own family experiences. But he doesn't want the conversation to be one-sided.


IDAHO

Man faces contempt of court for not forcing daughter to wear ear implants

Kenneth McGrath, KHQ Right Now

05-05-10 -- 8-year-old Emma has been deaf since birth and has cochlear implants in both ears. An attorney for Emma's mother, Jennifer Miller, who has primary custody of Emma, says medical personnel have deemed it essential that she consistently wear the device in order for her to develop both verbal and social skills. . . . Emma's father, Shaun Mclaughlin, is also deaf. When Emma is in his control the two communicate using American sign language. . . . In August of 2009 during a custody trial the two parties agreed that Emma would be required to wear the implants during waking hours. . . . When it became clear that her father was not forcing her to wear the implant in her left ear while in his custody, Emma's mother filed a claim against Mclaughlin for contempt of court.


TENNESSEE

Father is Detained in Japan Trying To Reclaim Kids

Written by Amy Munday, HULIQ     

05-05-10 -- A Japanese law is keeping Christopher Savoie's children in Japan with his ex-wife who fled there after approval from a Tennessee court judge. The divorce between Christopher and his wife was bitter then ended with threats of taking the children out of the country, which she did. . . . Christopher took the matter into his own hands after his ex-wife left the country. He went to Japan and took his kids back on their way to school then was arrested a short time later. . . . Japan hasn't complied with international law for any half-Japanese children that are taken into the country. The father feels it might be a feeling of entitlement. . . . The other problem with the Savoie children being in Japan is there are no rights for visitation. Christopher's ex-wife is not being held by law to share the rights of her children with their father. . . . A divorce in Japan leaves full custody of children directly to the mother. Fathers have no rights of the children. Christopher explains that Japanese fathers have written him and explained their similar stories.



April 2010

NEBRASKA

Nebraska appeals court overturns child custody ruling

By Nancy Hicks / Lincoln Journal Star

04-28-10 -- Mere possession of an illegal drug does not mean the state can take custody of a child, according to a Nebraska Court of Appeals decision. . . . The father, whose full name is not used in the opinion, was picked up with a small amount of crack cocaine in March 2009. . . . That summer the Douglas County Juvenile Court determined that his infant son lacked proper parental care and supervision and took custody of the child. . . . The Appellate Court, in a split decision released Tuesday, overturned that ruling . . . . Juvenile Judge Donna Taylor based her decision that the child faced potential harm because the father might be incarcerated on a drug conviction. . . . However there was no evidence that the father was actually charged with any crime.


SAVE THE CHILDREN

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UTAH  

'Baby Emma' case puts state adoption laws between father, child

By Jerry Markon, Washington Post Staff Writer

04-14-10 -- John Wyatt raced to the hospital, excited to be a father but worried about the mother. . . . His girlfriend had promised to call him the moment she went into labor, but she'd turned off her cellphone. Wyatt had been calling it for hours. Finally, an operator at Potomac Hospital in Woodbridge confirmed the news: His girlfriend was there, and his daughter had been born. . . . When Wyatt arrived at the hospital that morning of Feb. 11, 2009, he got the shock of his 20-year-old life: Administrators insisted that no such baby was there -- and no such mother. . . . Court records show that Wyatt's daughter, Emma, was born Feb. 10, at that very hospital, and that she spent the next week at two Woodbridge hotels before being put up for adoption -- in Utah. "We just want Emma to come home," says Wyatt's mother, Jeri. "My son wants his child. I want to see my granddaughter." . . . More than a year later, a cross-country court fight over the child known as "Baby Emma" has yet to settle the question of whether the strawberry-blond, blue-eyed girl was illegitimately taken from her father or legally put up for adoption by her mother, 20-year-old Emily Colleen Fahland, a George Mason University student. The highly unusual dispute pits Virginia against Utah; a Stafford County judge in December awarded Wyatt custody of Emma and cited a federal kidnapping statute in ordering the state to bring her back from Utah.


ILLINOIS

Appeals court upholds finding that cops framed Riley Fox's dad

Steve Schmadeke, Chicago Breaking News

04-07-10 -- An appeals court today agreed with a federal jury's 2007 finding that Will County police framed Kevin Fox for the rape and murder of his 3-year-old daughter Riley, but reduced the damages awarded to Fox and his wife from $12.2 million to $8 million. . . . The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals chastised the investigators on the case, implying that their decision to quickly rule out Riley's 2004 death as the work of a sexual predator was "absurd." . . . The court, in a 52-page decision by Judge Terence Evans, also found that detectives lacked probable cause to arrest Fox using the "exceedingly weak evidence" they had assembled. . . . Fox was arrested four months after the death of his daughter, who was sexually assaulted, bound with duct tape and drowned in a Wilmington creek. Fox gave police a videotaped confession that he said was fabricated. The videotape was not shown during the civil trial.


TEXAS  

Child' in support case is a granddad

81-year-old mother says payments are 60 years overdue

By Mike Tolson, Houston Chronicle

04-05-10 -- Fights over children — who gets custody, how much for child support — are at the heart of any family law court on any given day. The faces change, but the stories and disputes rarely do. . . . So it is on today's docket in the Los Angeles courtroom of Judge Elia Weinbach. At least on paper. The dispute between Rosemary Douglas and Urban Joseph Grass over back child support seems familiar: She claims he never paid; he says he never knew. . . . In this case, however, the mom has a head of gray hair and has been collecting Social Security for more than a decade. The father was born in the heart of the Jazz Age, when a fellow named Coolidge resided in the White House. And the “child” in question is that only on some yellowing piece of paper. In real life he is a retired grandfather. . . . “He was ordered to do something. He didn't do it,” said the 81-year-old Douglas. “He didn't challenge it, not legally anyway. I'd always thought about this. It was never far from my mind. Finally I decided, why not? Why not try one more time?”


Current Catalog

A Victims-of-Law Associate


March 2010

ILLINOIS  

Judge: Father Cannot Take Daughter to Easter Mass

FOX Chicago News

03-25-10 -- A local father involved in a messy divorce has been barred from taking his 3-year-old daughter to church on Easter. . . . Wednesday, Joseph Reyes asked a judge if he could take his daughter to Catholic Mass on Easter Sunday. The judge refused his request. . . . Reyes and the child's mother had agreed to raise their daughter in the Jewish faith. . . . Reyes had her baptized in the Catholic Church, and a temporary restraining order was then issued to stop him from exposing her to other religions.


MARYLAND   

Child support payments could go up significantly

Proposed legislation rewrites guidelines for courts to use; covers wealthy for first time

By Julie Bykowicz | Baltimore Sun

03-22-10 -- Some child support payments in Maryland could soon go up - a change that state Human Resources Secretary Brenda Donald called "long overdue." . . . For the first time in two decades, lawmakers are poised to revise the guidelines that courts use to set child support when divorcing or unmarried parents cannot agree on an amount. Those guidelines are based on household expense data from the 1970s, and although they accommodate rising incomes, advocates say they don't account for the escalating costs of raising a child. . . . Human Resources officials estimate there are about 500,000 child support orders in Maryland - a mix of private agreements and court cases. . . . "We think the changes are reasonable and fair and about time," said Donald, who led a work group over the past year to revise the guidelines. Her agency administers about half the state's child support cases.


OHIO

Christian Husband with Covenant Marriage Agreement vs. Routine No-Fault Divorce

by Bai MacFarlane

03-03-10 -- A Christian husband is citing Ohio Law to protect his family from no-fault divorce. Months ago, Paul Neumann was fully supporting his stay-at-home wife and their daughter in their North Olmsted home. Now he is a defendant in Cuyahoga County divorce court. He sumbitted his wife's signed wedding covenant agreement to the court because she promised to uphold her obligations in accordance with the "Commandments of God given in His Word" and "the divine laws and ordinance for the governance of marriage." . . . Neumann is giving the court an ultimatim: either his wife committed fraud on their wedding day and tricked him into marriage, or she intended to be married in conformity with the rules of their church (see filing 1.4 MB). If she committed fraud, the parties were never really married and the court can't take away his property and force him to pay alimony. . . . In Ohio, argues Neumann, it is criminal for Christian pastors to conduct wedding ceremonies without requiring couples to get a state marriage license. Ohio Law specifies that parties can marry in conformity with the rules of their church. . . . "We wanted a Christian marriage" Neumann said in and interview. "I'm shocked that another Bible believing Christian would bring the world into my marriage rather those in the church who are experts in resolving marital conflict according to the 6000 year principles of God's Word."

Bai MacFarlane writes at Mary's Advocates.


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February 2010

LOUISIANA   

Louisiana must issue birth certificate to men who adopted baby boy, federal court rules

By Gwen Filosa, The Times-Picayune

02-18-10 -- A federal appeals court Thursday ordered the state to issue a birth certificate to two men who adopted a Louisiana-born baby boy in 2006 only to have the registrar of vital statistics refuse to give them the document because they were unmarried. . . . The 5th Circuit Court's decision upholds U.S. District Court Judge Jay Zainey's 2008 ruling in favor of Oren Adar and Mickey Ray Smith's request for a Louisiana birth certificate that identified both as the boy's parents. . . . Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell appealed Zainey's decision, arguing that state law wouldn't allow such an adoption in the first place. . . . The San Diego couple adopted the boy, born prematurely in Shreveport in 2005, via a court in Kingston, N.Y. But when they sought an amended birth certificate from Louisiana, the Office of Public Health and Vital Records Registry said that state law forbade it, citing their status as unmarried men.


January 2010

Doritos Slaps Children In The Face

The New American Sport

by Marc H. Rudov, NewsWithViews.com

A Victims-of-Law Associate

02-09-10 -- Our society has sunk to a new low. Six years ago, during the halftime show of Super Bowl 38, the world went berserk when Janet Jackson exposed her nipple to Justin Timberlake and all of TV-land. Yesterday, however, during Super Bowl 44, when a young boy slapped a man’s face in a Doritos commercial, the same world reacted with laughter and approval. . . . Hitting men with impunity is the new American sport. Just ask Elin Nordegren, Tiger Woods’s wife, who hit her husband and chased him with a golf club that she wielded to smash his car window — a feat that would landed any man in jail. Just ask Mary J. Blige, who punched her husband in the face, in full view of nightclub witnesses — a feat that would have landed any man in jail. . . .  Doritos pulled a similar misandrist stunt in Super Bowl 43, as I illustrated to Bill O’Reilly on Fox News, when it’s high-priced spot featured one man hurling a snowglobe at the crotch of another. If you laughed at that one, too, you demonstrated your pure disregard for men. . . . If all of this is so funny, reverse the genders and run the same commercials again. Let’s all have a big laugh. What network, agency, and advertiser pinheads are greenlighting these anti-male commercials? Send me their names; I will publish them.


ILLINOIS

Children best served by mom's lesbian relationship?

Allie Martin - OneNewsNow

01-08-10 -- An official with the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) says it's outrageous that a judge has permitted a mother to take her children from their dad in order to move in with her lesbian partner. . . . Recently Karen Kelsky, the ex-wife of Taro Iwata, took him to court in a custody battle. Kelsky has become a lesbian and was granted custody of the couple's two children, and will also be allowed to move to Eugene, Oregon -- 1,800 miles away from her ex-husband -- to live with her lesbian partner.


Fatherhood by Billboard?

by Marybeth Hicks, Townhall.com 

01-07-10 -- The billboards are everywhere. On one, a child's tiny toes rest atop the big, burly feet of a man, suggesting a playful moment between a dad and his toddler. Another portrays a laughing boy being chased by what appears to be his boisterous father. In another, a dad and son hop across the grass on bouncy balls in a larger-than-life spontaneous moment. . . . All of these images are captioned, "Take time to be a dad today" and refer to the Web site www.fatherhood.gov. . . . Positive images of fathers engaging with their children are a welcome message in a culture where families struggle to remain intact and mothers generally bear responsibility for childrearing. . . . Then again, I'm certain that our Founders are gathered in some corner of heaven wringing their hands and wondering how we evolved into a government that teaches its citizens how fulfill our most basic human responsibilities. . . . What next? Take time to brush your teeth today? Take time to blow your nose today? Take time to visit the potty today? . . . There's a reason they call it a "nanny state." But sure enough, this ad campaign is a major component of the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC) funded by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families' Office of Family Assistance (OFA).


December 2009

NEW JERSEY

An emotional homecoming for Goldman and his son

Maryann Spoto, Star-Ledger Staff

12-30-09 -- "Our home." . . . Those two words from his 9-year-old son made a five-year, politically charged, multi-continent custody battle all worth it for David Goldman of Tinton Falls. . . . Returning to the Monmouth County home with his son Monday night after a much-publicized, international custody struggle, Goldman finally heard the words he longed to hear when his son, Sean, asked where they lived. . . . Goldman, 42, said he was overwhelmed. . . . ""Just to hear him say "our home,' '' Goldman said yesterday, his voice cracking and his eyes filling with tears. ""I waited five years to hear that.'' . . . With the safe return of his son, Goldman also said yesterday he would work with U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th Dist.) to get legislation passed that would help other parents in his situation. . . . ""My assistance is offered to Congressman Smith, however possible,'' Goldman said at a news conference in his attorney's Red Bank office. ""He is a hero. He didn't have to give up his Christmas. He missed his Christmas.''


Guest Viewpoint: After divorce, fathers too often excluded from parenting

By Jason Aulicino, The Register-Guard

12-30-09 -- According to the Strengthening Families Act of 2003, “Nearly 24 million children in the United States, or 34 percent of all such children, live apart from their biological father. Forty percent of children who live in households without a father have not seen their father in at least one year, and 50 percent of such children have never visited their father’s home.” . . . The Census Bureau, in 2006, found that five of every six custodial parents are mothers (83.8 percent). One in six are fathers (16.2 percent), and 37.9 percent of fathers have no access or visitation rights. . . . Simplified, the result of divorce for the majority of children is a fatherless home. . . . If you are divorced and are the noncustodial parent, then you probably have experienced first-hand the inequity that exists in divorce and child custody cases. Restrictive visitation rules — or parenting plans, as they are now called — often accompany sole custody awards regardless of circumstance. Many status quo parenting plans are not based on a presumption of shared parenting, nor do they promote a father’s presence in a child’s life after divorce.


TEXAS

Foster Grandparents team with Kids First program to provide support

by Kathleen Thurber, Midland Reporter-Telegram

12-27-09 -- As Reggie Webb kicked the soccer ball with his 12-year-old daughter while his 10-year-old finished crafting a Christmas card one recent Thursday evening, Foster Grandparent Mary McFarlin watched from the doorway and smiled. . . . "It's fun when you come and see the parents and kids involved," McFarlin said, turning her gaze to the adjoining room where a father shared pizza with his two kids. "When you see the families grow closer together it's good." . . . Across the hall at Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity, where the program meets, Geneva Mills or "Granny G" shifted her video camera as she observed while a mother and her 11-year-old daughter finished a craft. . . . The two are among a group of Midland's Foster Grandparents who have added volunteering at Centers for Children and Families' Kids First Program to their list of weekly activities. The program, which recently received a $10,000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation, provides supervised visitation for non-custodial parents.


NEW JERSEY  

Brazil custody case: David Goldman gets custody of son Sean

Brazil's chief justice upheld late Tuesday a lower court order handing 9-year-old Sean Goldman over to his American father. The Brazil custody case has been dragging on for five years, reflecting the difficulty of international custody disputes.

By Daniel B. Wood Christian Science Monitor Staff writer

12-23-09 -- The ruling by Brazil’s chief justice in favor of an American man seeking to gain custody of his son has important resonances in an era of increasing international marriages, say several legal experts. . . . Chief Justice Gilmar Mendes late Tuesday ruled that nine-year-old Sean Goldman should be handed over to his New Jersey father, lifting a stay on a lower court’s order and raising the prospect that the two could be reunited within days. . . . The ruling comes in a five-year custody battle over Sean, who in 2004 was taken by his mother, Bruna Bianchi, to her native Brazil. Ms. Bianchi later divorced his father, David Goldman, and remarried. The boy remained in Brazil with his stepfather and other family after his mother's death last year, while his American father sued in both US and Brazil courts to get him back. . . . The case garnered international attention, and threatened to disturb Brazil-US relations. . . . “Although the Brazilian judicial system finally reached the right decision, its failure to act expeditiously contributed to this tragic story,” says Christopher Schmidt, a legal expert with the US law firm of Bryan Cave LLP.


GEORGIA  

Former NFL Player Henry Appeals Child-Support Ruling

Lawyers asked Ga. high court to review order that Travis Henry pay $3,000 per month and fund a $250,000 trust

Andy Peters, Fulton County Daily Report

12-22-09 -- It's not uncommon for judges handling child-support cases to order the noncustodial parent to establish a trust from which the other parent can make monthly withdrawals. But a lawyer for former NFL running back Travis Henry thinks DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Clarence F. Seeliger went too far in 2007 when he ordered Henry to pony up $250,000 to create a trust for one of his children and to make monthly $3,000 payments. . . . Seeliger said Henry's history of delinquent payments despite making a huge salary made the trust necessary in case he is late again paying for the child -- one of nine he has fathered with nine women, according to Seeliger's final judgment of paternity and legitimation.


NEW JERSEY

Dad falls more than $700,000 behind in child support

By John Petrick, The Record Staff Writer

12-17-09 -- He might just be the mother of all deadbeat dads, at least in Passaic County. . . . The Lavallette man has been locked in county Jail after a state judge found that he owes $746,058 in back child support payments to his family in Wayne. . . . “It’s the highest amount I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been here for 15 years,” said Presiding Family Judge Michael K. Diamond in state Superior Court in Paterson, speaking outside of court. . . . Mark J. Taggart is being held on a charge of willful nonsupport until he can pay at least $225,000 of what he owes, under Judge Diamond’s order. He first appeared before the judge after being picked up on an open warrant for unpaid child support following a statewide sweep on Dec 2, and must appear before Diamond for a review of his case every 14 days. His most recent court appearance was Wednesday, when he was still unable to post the minimum. . . . But that’s only the latest chapter in what appears to be a complex past. Diamond said part of the reason Taggart’s former wife has been in Family Court 20 times trying to track him down since their 1999 divorce might be because he’s lived in so many places since then.


Jailed Father on Hunger Strike

by Bruce Eden, National Writers Syndicate

12-17-09 -- Protesting Denial of His Parental and Other Constitutional Rights. Mr. Amir Sanjari, was divorced after a 17 year marriage. He's a UK Citizen who  was originally invited to the United States to Stony Brook University, New York for a research position. . . . Now he's destitute and on a hungar strike in jail to protest the unconstitutional denial of fathers' rights and more. . . . Initially, Sanjari and his ex-wife shared equal custody of their children and had similar incomes. Nevertheless he was ordered to pay $1,000 a month in child support. Such a payment is the first sign that something is seriously amiss. . . .  But when he lost his job and applied for a reduction in "child support", it was denied. This denial is also not unusual, wrong, but not unusual. His ability in the recession to get a job to cover the outrageous child support payment faded. It brought on hardships for him. . . . Eventually his ex-wife won sole custody of the children, he says, by lying about him while he was out of the country on vacation. . . . Sanjari, a competent man, was not idle though. He learned the law to fight for his children and his rights to see them and care for them on his own. He fought in the Indiana family court, its district court, and eventually in federal courts. He had to go on the run to stay out of jail for not paying what he couldn't pay - a common circumstance for fathers under such 'child extortion' orders. He spent time helping other parents with their family court cases while he was on the run. . . . Unfortunately, though well-versed in constitutional and federal legal processes, it became apparent that he'd get no due process to protect rights clearly denied to him. For the child support he couldn't pay, he's been sent to jail. . . . Amir is now on a hunger strike to try to expose his plight and that of other fathers under this tyrannical anti-father system that separates fathers from their children and turn them into criminals. <MORE>

Bruce Eden, Civil Rights Director
DADS (Dads Against Discrimination)--New Jersey


NEW JERSEY

U.S. dad says he hopes to bring son home

CNN

12-17-09 -- An American father said he hopes to be bringing his 9-year-old son home from Brazil on Thursday after a long international custody battle that has involved U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and many Brazilian courtrooms. . . . A Brazilian court on Wednesday ordered that the boy, Sean Goldman, be returned to the custody of his father in the United States. The father, David Goldman, spoke to CNN's "American Morning" on Thursday shortly after his plane touched down in Brazil. . . . "I hope that this is the last trip I'll have to come down here," Goldman said. . . . In an earlier conversation with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Goldman said, "I hope this time I will be able to go down to Brazil and come back home with my son. Hopefully the rule of law, god, nature, human decency will be followed, and Sean will come home to reunite with me, his only parent."


FLORIDA

Where's the justice?

Klaus H. Mehlhorn Opinion, Hernando Today

12-2-09 -- Re: "Concerned Father: Don't let my son go," by Tony Holt in the Nov. 22 edition of Hernando Today. . . . I am of the impression that this man, Nasser Samad, is genuine in his expression. As a parent having gone through this, I can feel his pain. I give my thanks to Tony Holt for exposing this "insensitive justice." Holt is a true patriot for this, and the judge is a total pinhead, as Bill O'Reilly would put it. . . . I cannot believe this judge, Daniel Merritt Jr., will not at least request a guardian ad litem. I also cannot believe this judge will not let the 11-year-old boy testify. In addition, I cannot believe this judge will not hear counseling sessions with the boy's therapist. This judge absolutely allows an injustice to exist and does nothing about it. I don't know all the facts, but from what I have read and from the experience of having gone through this same scenario, I must dismiss the judge and applaud the father and his lawyer. . . . At this juncture, if I were the father's lawyer, I would not stop arguing this point until the judge's wrong is corrected. I would continue to do this until Judge Merritt sees the light. I would do this before the Paris flight and at this point, I would do it for the cause at no further charge. His client deserves better, as he and his son have suffered enough. There is moral and ethical law and there is legal law. Moral laws are absolute like gravity is. Legal law is arbitrary and based on politics and money and is manipulated. It's easy to draw the line here.


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November 2009

TEXAS  

Father putting his life back together after daughters recant stories of molestation

By Diane Jennings / The Dallas Morning News

11-27-09 -- "Paul Parks" spent almost three years in prison for molesting his two young daughters. He spent another 15 years living with the stigma of being a registered sex offender. . . . All because of what they now say is a lie. . . . Last year his now-adult daughters changed their story and he was exonerated. Such recantations are not unusual, but being declared innocent by the courts is rare. . . . For Parks, who requested a pseudonym as he pulls his life back together, his moment came when a Dallas judge concluded that his daughters' recantations were credible. In April, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals set the convictions aside "on actual innocence grounds." . . . The 54-year-old father of nine, paroled in 1994, got a call at work last spring telling him that after 25 years of hoping and praying, his name was cleared. . . . "It feels like I've got my life back, like I was suffocating and I came back to life," he says. . . . "I didn't want to die with a lie." . . . Once a lawyer, now a truck driver, he celebrated by asking his boss for time off to attend the wedding of one of the two daughters who accused him of molesting them. . . . Parks' case is every man's nightmare: to be accused of molesting your own daughters and to have no way to prove you didn't do it. Even now, he's aware that without conclusive evidence, like in the flurry of DNA exonerations in recent years, some people will always wonder if he's guilty.


I traced my dad... and discovered he is Charles Manson

By Pete Samson. US Editor

11-23-09-- LIKE many adopted children, Matthew Roberts set about finding his biological parents with a mix of nerves and excitement. . . . In particular, he hoped that discovering his father's identity would help him to work out what made him the man he had become. . . . But nothing could have prepared him for being told his dad was... serial killer CHARLES MANSON. . . . Over a five-week period in the summer of 1969, Manson and his Family of commune followers committed a series of nine gruesome murders. Victims included pregnant actress Sharon Tate, wife of film director Roman Polanski. . . . Matthew, 41 - who bears a haunting resemblance to his father - sank into depression after discovering his identity. . . . He has since been in contact with his dad in a series of letters to his California prison and Manson has replied - each time chillingly signing off with a swastika. . . . Now Matthew, who was given up for adoption as a baby, has told of his horror at finding out he was the son of a monster. . . . He says: "I didn't want to believe it. I was frightened and angry. It's like finding out that Adolf Hitler is your father. . . . "I'm a peaceful person - trapped in the face of a monster." . . . Matthew grew up in Rockford, Illinois, and didn't know he was adopted until his sister told him when he was ten.


GEORGIA

April Becker-Antoniou: Woman Finds Dad By Googling Herself

Huffington Post (blog) - ‎Nov 11, 2009‎

11-11-09 -- April Becker-Antoniou was reunited with her father, who had spent 30 years searching for her, through a Google search. . . . Becker-Antoniou's father, Dr. Scott Becker, created a web site named after his daughter, AprilBecker.com, as part of his efforts to track her down. . . . Becker-Antoniou typed the name into Google, performed a search, and stumbled onto the website Becker had made in his search for his daughter. . . . Becker's site contained this message:

April Joi (Joy) Becker

Dear April, When you read this, please send an email to: april@aprilbecker.com. Im your Dad and I would really like to talk to ya. When I get your email, I will ask you a couple of questions that only you would know so I can filter out the crazies out there. By the way, You have a lil sister that REALLY wants to talk to you :-) Dad Scott Robert Becker"

After seeing the site, Becker-Antoniou first contacted her father over email. As CBS reports, The two communicated by e-mail and over the phone for the past five days. Becker said he confirmed her mother's maiden name, her birthday, middle name and some other specific details only his daughter would know.


OHIO  

Daddy activists facing prison promise ongoing protests

Teri Stoddard Family Rights Examiner

11-10-09 -- Jury selection continued today for the two daddy activists who hung banners on a 175' construction crane at Ohio State University last year to draw attention to civil rights violations within family court.  One banner read "Stop the war on fatherhood" and the other "Fathers 4 Justice." . . . As Donald Tenn explained in 18 mos prison possible for CA dad his daughter Madison was illegally moved from California to Illinois by her mother.  His wife filed a false restraining order claiming fear of him, he says, when she learned the law wouldn't support her unilateral decision. . . . When unmarried dad Paul Fisher was prohibited from being an equal parent to daughter Demetra he took his case to the Ohio Supreme Court, and won.  But the local family court judge circumvented the win, claiming a change in circumstances to deny Fisher equal parenting of his daughter.  He now sees Demetra just four days a month.


VAWA facilitates and funds illegal parental child abduction - part one

VAWA facilitated and funded the illegal abduction of Madison Tenn

Teri Stoddard, Family Rights Examiner

11-4-09 --

Fathers 4 Justice daddy activist Donald Tenn opens up about his own child custody case as he faces 18 months in prison for an Ohio crane protest, in this exclusive three-part interview. . . . . On May 25, 2006 Madison Tenn was illegally moved six states away from her Sacramento, California home by her mother, says dad Donald Tenn.  Since that time Shannon Phillips has committed fraud and perjury in two states, wasted thousands of tax-payer dollars and kept a little girl from her loving, stay-at-home, primary caretaker daddy, he adds. . . . . Tenn is speaking out about his own case he says, because he's facing 18 months in prison for a peaceful protest for parents rights.  He wants people to know the truth; that he and Shannon were happily married, "We never had domestic problems.  I'm not a violent person.  I believe in communication.  The police were never called to our home."

Continued in parts two and three.


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October 2009

Custody battle arises between father, stepfather

Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow

10-28-09 -- An odd child custody battle is now before the Pennsylvania Superior Court. . . . The story begins with a marriage between Eric Harner and his wife. The couple soon had a daughter, but divorced three years later, leaving primary custody of the child with the mother. Alliance Defense Fund attorney David Dye tells OneNewsNow that both remarried. However, the former wife died, leaving the little girl in the custody of her biological father. Dye says the stepfather then sued for custody. . . . "Well, the trial court sided with that gentleman, and the trial court made the little girl go back to live with the stepfather rather than with her own father, her stepmom, and her half brother," the attorney explains. . . . He further emphasizes that nothing has surfaced in the two-and-a-half years of litigation to indicate the biological father is not worthy of raising his own daughter. State law permits a third party to gain custody only under strict circumstances.


Alec Baldwin Offers Divorce Advice in Paperback Book

By Martha Neil, ABA Journal

10-1-09 -- Divorcing actress Kim Basinger was hell, says actor Alec Baldwin. Plus it cost both of them some $3 million in legal fees. . . . But in a book that details the wrenching experience and has just been released in paperback, A Promise to Ourselves, he also offers some advice to others about avoiding the worst of the pitfalls he experienced. Among his suggestions: File first, get a lawyer who is not only skilled but someone you like and hire a good therapist.


September 2009

NEW YORK

Brooklyn Family Court judge refuses to terminate parental rights of incarcerated, illiterate dad

Daniel Weaver, Family Court Examiner

9-29-09 -- Kings County (Brooklyn, NY) Family Court Judge J. Alan Beckoff denied a petition to terminate the parental rights of an incarcerated father late last week. In the matter of Jayquan J., SCO Family of Services, a foster care agency, petitioned the court to terminate the parental rights of Clint J., saying that he had made no efforts to contact his child and had abandoned the child, therefore his consent was not needed to put Jayquan up for adoption. . . . "Teresa Tucker, the SCO caseworker, testified that Jayquan has been in a non-kinship foster home since entering foster care; that Respondent had no contact with him in the six-month period preceding the filing of the petition; that the agency had not discouraged Respondent from visiting or contacting Jayquan; that Respondent had not sent any cards, gifts, or letters to Jayquan; and that no one had come forward on Respondent's behalf. Ms. Tucker also testified that going back to May 2006, when Jayquan first came into SCO's care, Respondent did not have any contact with the child or the agency and had paid no support." . . . The judge found Tucker's testimony believable, but said in his decision, the agency treated the termination of parental rights in a perfunctory manner, acting as if Mr. J. "was little more than a technicality that had [to] be covered for the termination to go forward." . . . The court found the testimony of Clint J. to be credible, and his testimony underscores the difficulties that parents who are illiterate and/or incarcerated face when a petition is filed to terminate their parental rights. Mr. J testified  "that he told Becky C. that he wanted to get in touch with Jayquan either directly or through other individuals, but that he never got any addresses or contact information from the "foster people" and so did not know how to contact the New York City Administration for Children's Services ("ACS"). He said that he had no addresses or phone numbers for ACS caseworkers and that he wanted to send Jayquan clothing and cards but did not know where to send anything."


INDIANA

The War against Fathers

by Mike Adams, Townhall.com

9-21-09 -- Dan Brewington is among the latest casualties in a war against fathers that is tearing our nation apart, family by family. The Ripley and Dearborn County (Indiana) court system recently stripped him of his parental rights without reason or cause. He is no longer able to see his daughters despite his history of loving care for them and their strong bond with him. . . . Mr. Brewington has neither a criminal history nor a Social Services history. He is loved by his children whom he has taken excellent care of their entire lives. He has also demonstrated his ability to successfully parent the children under joint custody with the mother for the past 2 ½ years. Yet his rights were violated during divorce proceedings in which Judge Humphrey of Dearborn County ordered him to have no visitation with his children. . . . Ordering a man to have no contact with his children is a very serious matter. So there should be some compelling reason for such drastic intervention by the state into the life of a citizen. . . . As part of court documents submitted during the divorce proceedings, a custody evaluation report was, of course, submitted. In this report, a psychologist named Dr. Connor evaluated Dan Brewington’s parenting abilities. But Dr. Connor was not licensed in the state of Indiana at the time of his evaluation of Dan Brewington. So what was he doing stripping a man of his rights to see his children without proper licensure?


August 2009

GEORGIA

Childless man released from child support debt

CNN

8-11-09 --A Georgia man who spent a year in jail for nonpayment of child support -- despite the fact he has no children -- has been cleared of the debt, his attorney said Tuesday. . . . Frank Hatley, 50, spent 13 months in jail for being a deadbeat dad before his release last month. A judge ordered him jailed in June 2008 for failing to support his "son" -- a child who DNA tests proved was not fathered by Hatley. . . . Last week, Cook County Superior Court Judge Dane Perkins signed an order stating, "defendant is no longer responsible for paying any amount of child support." The order permits the state's Office of Child Support Services to close its file on Hatley. . . . "We're satisfied with the result for Mr. Hatley, but still troubled by the state's monumental lapse of judgment in this case," attorney Sarah Geraghty with the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights told CNN in a written statement. Hatley did not immediately return a call from CNN Tuesday. . . . His story dates back to 1986, when Hatley had a relationship with Essie Lee Morrison, who gave birth to a son. According to court documents, Morrison told Hatley the child was his, but the two ended their relationship shortly after the child was born. The couple never married and never lived together, the documents said.


CALIFORNIA

Abducted child's father faces prison for peaceful protest

Teri Stoddard, Examiner

8-9-09 --Donald Tenn, the Sacramento father who traveled to Washington DC recently for a rally to confront President Obama on his "fathers need to step up" comments, will be in a Columbus, Ohio courtroom Monday morning on charges related to his 4 day protest on a 175'  construction crane last year. . . . Tenn was a stay-at-home daddy until Shannon Phillips took their daughter to Illinois on what was described as a vacation three years ago.  After her arrival Phillips announced that she had no intention of returning to California, or of allowing Madison to return.  When Tenn reminded her that California law prevents parental move-aways Phillips filed her first of many false charges of domestic violence against Tenn. . . . At one point he had hope.  One judge refused a restraining order and scolded Phillips for her antics.  But after Tenn had one visit with Madison in Illinois Phillips renewed her campaign of false allegations. . . . He writes on his website dedicatedtomadison.com:


July 2009

TENNESSEE  

Tennessee ACLU Affiliate Attorney Participates in Abuse of Children

Contact: Daniel Morgan, Christian Citizens against Corruption, 423-519-6410, stopdcsabuse@gmail.com  

Christian Newswire

7-31-09 -- Daniel Morgan is a father to three children 4, 6 and 7 years of age. When his children came home from visitations with their mother having burns, blistering, lacerations, needle punctures, bruising and infection. Mr. Morgan reported this to the Tennessee Department of Children's Services and his Attorney Peter J. Alliman (TBA #5984). . . . Physicians, Medical records, affidavits, letters and reports from school administrators, teachers and licensed clinical social workers all indicated that the abuses occurred to the children while in their mothers care and specifically by an adult male companion having past drug convictions while cohabitating with the children's mother. . . . Judge Jerri Bryant a Chancery Court Judge ordered that "the parties minor children shall not be left alone in the care of the wife's live in boyfriend John Scarbrough and the children shall not be allowed to ride in a motor vehicle being driven by John Scarbrough." Several police reports verify John Scarbrough blatantly violating Judge Jerri Bryant court order on numerous occasions. . . . When Mr. Morgan consulted his attorney Peter J. Alliman about the burns and lacerations to his 2 year old son Mr. Alliman reply was, "I don't have time to deal with your case on a day to day basis; there are other people with more serious problems!" When Mr. Morgan reported that John Scarbrough was in violation of Judge Jerri Bryant court order by picking up his 2 year son and his two daughters Mr. Allimans response was "Just because he doesn't have a drivers license doesn't mean he can't drive."


Family Court Injustices to Men

by Phyllis Schlafly, Townhall

7-21-09 -- Did you know that a family court can order a man to reimburse the government for the welfare money, falsely labeled "child support," that was paid to the mother of a child to whom he is not related? Did you know that, if he doesn't pay, a judge can sentence him to debtor's prison without ever letting him have a jury trial? . . . Did you know that debtor's prisons (putting men in prison because they can't pay a debt) were abolished in the United States before we abolished slavery, but that they exist today to punish men who are too poor to pay what is falsely called "child support"?  . . . Did you know that when corporations can't pay their debts, they can take bankruptcy, which means they pay off their debts for pennies on the dollar, but a man can never get an alleged "child support" debt forgiven or reduced, even if he is out of a job, penniless and homeless, medically incapacitated, incarcerated (justly or unjustly) or serving in our Armed Forces overseas, can't afford a lawyer, or never owed the money in the first place? . . . Did you know that when a woman applying for welfare handouts lies about who the father of her child is, she is never prosecuted for perjury? Did you know that judges can refuse to accept DNA evidence showing that the man she accuses is not the father? . . . Did you know that alleged "child support" has nothing to do with supporting a child because the mother has no obligation to spend even one dollar of it on a child, and in many cases none of the "support" money ever gets to a child because it goes to fatten the payroll of the child-support bureaucracy? . . . These are among the injustices that the feminists, and their docile liberal male allies, have inflicted on men. The sponsor was former Democratic Senator from New Jersey and presidential candidate Bill Bradley.


GEORGIA  

Man jailed for child support, even though he was not the father, released

By Bill Rankin, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

7-15-09 --A South Georgia man who had been jailed for more than a year for not paying child support — even though he was not the biological father — was released from custody on Wednesday. . . . “I thank God for this day,” Frank Hatley, 50, said in a telephone interview shortly after his release. “It feels good being free.” . . . Hatley had sat in a Cook County jail since June 25, 2008, even though a special assistant state attorney general and the judge knew Hatley was not the child’s biological father. . . . After showing a judge during a hearing Wednesday that he was indigent, Hatley was ordered released from confinement, his lawyer, Sarah Geraghty of the Southern Center for Human Rights, said. . . . The judge, however, postponed deciding whether Hatley must still repay the more than $10,000 in child support the state says he owes. But Hatley does not have to make any monthly payments until that issue is resolved, Geraghty said.


PENNSYLVANIA  

Attorney Freed After Being Jailed 14 Years for Contempt in Divorce Case

Chadwick's son William, 41,
embraces dad.

JoAnn Loviglio, The Associated Press, Law.com

7-13-09 -- A Pennsylvania attorney who was released from prison Friday after serving the longest imprisonment on a civil contempt charge in U.S. history said judges have too much discretion in cases like his. . . . "If I had been convicted of murder in the third degree in Pennsylvania, I would have been out in half the time I was in jail," H. Beatty Chadwick said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. . . . A judge ordered Chadwick's release from a county prison in suburban Philadelphia more than 14 years after he was jailed for refusing to turn over millions of dollars in a bitter divorce battle. The case prompted dozens of appeals to county, state and federal courts, twice reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. . . . Chadwick, 73, said he will stay with his 41-year-old son, Bill, for now. He said he plans to find a job, though he was not sure what sort of work he would do.


Fathers wanted, fathers needed

By Jesse Muhammad, FinalCall.com Staff Writer

7-3-09 -- Father's Day, with its annual commercialized corporate advertisements and gift giving, has come and gone, but one group of men in America must continue year-round work to break the stereotype that they are irresponsible, no-good and indifferent towards parenting—the group of men is Black fathers. . . . Black children living in fatherless homes exceed 50 percent; single Black mothers are increasingly at the helm of households, not to mention the number of Black children having to talk to incarcerated fathers through a double pane of glass. . . . While analysts and the media often focus on the problem, Dr. Rozario Slack and other advocates seek to counter the negative image with examples of Black men who are successful husbands, fathers and role models. . . . “We can't just continue to point out the statistics. We already know them. But who is offering assistance to the men and being the example is the question. Where are those stories?” asked Dr. Slack. . . . Dr. Slack is the founder of Rozario Slack Enterprises in Chattanooga, Tenn. He travels across the country conducting seminars about marriage, fathering and other issues that impact children and families. He challenges Black men to develop healthy, wholesome family, and marital relationships. He has also published several books that offer real life tools. . . . “We help young men with pre-birth preparation, ways to avoid infidelity, financial management, and other means by which to save their families,” said Dr. Slack. He has been married over 16 years and has three children ages 13, 10, and 6. . . . “I am blessed to have an example in my parents who have been married for 58 years,” said Dr. Slack, who is also the head pastor of Temple of Faith Deliverance Church of God in Christ. “Divorce is far from my mind. We have to show that President Obama is only an example of other great Black husbands and fathers that exist. With all due respect, he is not the only one. Let's push them out front.”


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June 2009

What is a Good Father? Are You a Good Parent?

by Mark Adams, www.opednews.com

6-21-09 -- Unfortunately, since you’ve been kept in the dark about one of the most important ways that our Nation’s Framers provided for us to prevent abuse by government agents and criminals and the widespread damage that the loss of that right has caused, you are failing your children. However, you can redeem yourself by taking action now. . . . What is a good father or mother? A good father or mother provides a variety of things that are important to their children, but mostly importantly, a good father or mother takes action to make sure that their children are protected from harm. . . . Certainly, a good father or mother would take action to protect their children from being beaten, raped or tortured.  However, most Americans are failing their children in this most important task. Torture is routinely used by U.S. government agents against Americans, but the "news" media almost never mentions this serious issue or that it happens daily to completely innocent, mostly young, Americans. . . . Since most of you are saying, "No way. That can’t be true!" I’ll let you in on one of the dirty secrets that the "news" media cartel has kept you in the dark about.



CALIFORNIA

Court Denies Benefits to Child Conceived With Dead Father's Sperm

Courthouse News Service

6-19-09 -- A child conceived from the sperm of her deceased father cannot claim survivor Social Security benefits, the 9th Circuit ruled. The court rested its decision largely on the mother's inability to prove that the father had consented to the birth. . . . A three-judge panel upheld the district court's denial of benefits to Brandalynn Vernoff and her mother, Gabriela. . . .      Brandalynn was conceived after her father, Bruce Vernoff, died of accidental causes in July 1995. Shortly after his death, Gabriela directed a doctor to extract five vials of Bruce's semen, which she used to undergo in vitro fertilization in 1998. . . . About five months after giving birth to Brandalynn, Gabriela filed a claim for child survivor benefits on behalf of her daughter and herself, as the surviving child's mother. . . . The Social Security Administration denied their claim, and Gabriela appealed, claiming her posthumously conceived daughter had an equal-protection right to the benefits. . . . But the San Francisco-based federal appeals court emphasized that a child must be dependent on the insured parent to be eligible for benefits. Gabriela could not establish her daughter's dependence, the panel said, because she was unable to prove that Bruce had consented to the birth.


Any man can be a father.  It takes someone special to be a dad. 
~Author Unknown~


OHIO

Child support law enforced equally, area officials say
By Ryan Carter, Herald Record Staff Writer

6-15-09 -- "Why don't women who owe child support go to jail?" . . . Two local men who pay child support recently made claims that the mothers of their children (who both have been ordered to pay child support) are treated with more leniency when they fail to make their child support payments. . . . "My ex-wife is supposed to be paying child support on three of my kids," said a Fayette County man who requested anonymity. "I've been paying child support to her mother who has custody of the kids. I've already been locked up a couple of times for not paying." . . . The man also claims that his ex-wife hasn't paid any child support since 2003. . . . "She lives in (another state) and when I ask the child support agency why she can't be arrested, they tell me it's hard to enforce it when she's out of state," he said. "I just don't think it's right that they don't arrest her. I'm taking care of my business now and she isn't. It's not right." . . . Another local man who has custody of his youngest child said his ex-girlfriend is also chronically late on child support payments, yet nothing has been done. "I'm perfectly fine taking care of my child and I like this setup," he said. "But if the shoe was on the other foot, I would most likely be in trouble. If you have a court order to do something, and in this case it's to pay child support, you should have to do it or pay the consequences." . . . However, a look at the records in Fayette County Common Pleas Court shows that women who are charged with felonies for non-support are punished with the same severity as men. Just last week, Judge Steven Beathard sent a Fayette County woman, Tina Snyder, to prison for six months for non-support after she violated her community control. . . . A comparison of men and women who have the same amount of non-support violations showed that they were treated by the courts nearly identically.


Men In Power

By: Dean Tong, NewsWithViews.com

6-6-09 -- We have seen literally scores of men's rights groups pop up globally over the past 40 years. From MEN International to the National Organization for Men to the National Coalition for Free Men, most of these well-intentioned and well-meaning groups were not organized, funded well enough, or politically backed to compete with the rise of the feminists and the National Organization for Women. That said, it is important for everyone - men, women, and children - to ascertain the significance of The Men's Movement and that men are not just "paychecks and biological necessities." . . . We have heard of The Promise Keepers and of the 1995 Million Man March. Even Mel Feit from the National Center for Men recently appeared against feminist love Gloria Allred on Dr. Phil. Now, a brand new college born group from the University of Chicago called Men in Power has surfaced. And the president of the advocacy group, Steve Saltarelli, has just been interviewed on National Public Radio. . . . Saltarelli's group is the first men's group at the University of Chicago compared with nine women's advocacy groups at the same. Men in Power was started to raise awareness of men, professionally speaking. Saltarelli, who desires to become an attorney, believes men need help with respect to the fields of medicine, law and business. He wants to bring in speakers to address these issues and garner media attention, too. According to Mark Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan in Flint, in April, the national unemployment rate for men was 10 percent compared 7.6 percent for women. In addition, he said women hold three out of every four jobs in health care and education. As a still licensed laboratory medical technologist who worked in hospitals for twenty-odd years, I can tell you firsthand women outnumbered men in the labs big time. And Perry said future employment for men is an issue, too, because since 1981 women hold more bachelor's and master's degrees than men do.


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May 2009

Editorial: Anti-Dad bias

Why is the father always the villain on American TV?

By The Washington Times 

5-18-09 -- Strong families need strong fathers, but American television has come a long way from the 1950s series "Father Knows Best." . . . Now Lifetime TV, a network known for its movies about women being endangered by men, has sunk to a new low - a reality program called "Deadbeat Dads." . . . In the beginning of gotcha TV, viewers enjoyed watching the police bust down a door and haul away the bad guy on a show like "Cops." That same format migrated over to Animal Planet, where the cops bust down the door and arrest the man who has been starving his dogs or kicking his cats. Now Lifetime is doing the same thing to divorced fathers. . . . Lifetime TV's new reality show, "Deadbeat Dads," centers around National Child Support founder Jim Durham, who finds and confronts dads who do not pay their child support. Reuters news agency reports that Mr. Durham "functions as sort of a 'Dog the Bounty Hunter' for tracking deadbeats ... it's ambush reality TV." However, the reality show, originally developed at Fox as "Bad Dads" and later dropped, is Lifetime's attempt to take cheap shots at men while ignoring the damage the show can cause children, wives and other family members. . . . The Lifetime TV program ignores the numbers. More than 90 percent of fathers with joint custody paid the support due, according to a Census Bureau report (Series P-23, No. 173). So deadbeats are in the minority. Also, most so-called deadbeat dads actually are dead broke. Two-thirds of men who fail to make child-support payments earn poverty-level wages, according to the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement. Most of the others are unemployed.


TEXAS  

Whistleblower claims Texas unfairly targeted judges who defend fathers' rights

Barbara Thompson, Single Parenting Examiner, Examiner.com

5-25-09 -- Ginger Weatherspoon, a former Assistant Attorney General in Texas, has filed a lawsuit in Dallas County District Court claiming that she was fired for refusing to sign a false affidavit accusing Judge David Hanschen of wrongdoing. . . . Judge Hanschen has been at odds with the Texas Attorney General's office for several years over what he claims are unfair and deceptive practices used to award and collect child support.  Some staff in the Attorney General's office had been collecting affidavits accusing Judge Hanschen of threatening the AG's office or issuing prejudicial rulings against AAGs.  Presumably their intent was to file a complaint of judicial misconduct against Hanschen. . . . Several lawyers in the AG's office claim that they were encouraged or coerced into signing the affidavit's against their will, but Weatherspoon says that she was fired for refusing to cooperate. . . . Ongoing conflict between Judge Hanschen and the Texas Attorney General's Office. . . . The Texas Attorney General's office prides itself on its relentless pursuit of deadbeat parents and portrays itself as an advocate for children. The office's Child Support Division has been nationally recognized for leading the country in child support collections. Critics point out that since the office receives federal funds based on the amount of child support it collects, there is a financial incentive to close as many cases as possible without regard for the rights of the parties involved.


TENNESSEE  

Child custody case to study constitutional protections

Fathers frequently left without significant contact

By Bob Unruh, © 2009 WorldNetDaily

5-12-09 -- A court hearing is scheduled tomorrow on arguments that allege the basic child custody procedures used by judges in Bradley County, Tenn., are unconstitutionally biased in favor of one parent. . . . WND previously reported on the case stemming from a divorce dispute that attorney Stanley Charles Thorne believes could impact custody decisions nationwide, because it calls down the authority of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause to help fathers who are good parents. . . . According to Thorne, the case before Circuit Judge J. Michael Sharp is testing the court procedures used in the child custody case of 3-year-old  Kate Hopkins, which began in 2007. . . . After more than two years in court and five different judges, the case is set for trial beginning May 27 in Sharp's courtroom. But Sharp is hearing the constitutional issues before the rest of the case is heard. . . . Attorney Jeffrey Miller will argue on behalf of fit Tennessee parents and their children, and an attorney from the Tennessee attorney general's office, Warren Jasper, is expected to argue on behalf of the standard procedures. . . . According to a statement from Thorne, one of the procedures that will be challenged is the "80-day rule" created by local judges. It automatically takes effect as soon as a child custody case is filed, allowing one parent only 80 days a year with the child while the other parent is allowed 285 days – regardless of circumstances. . . . The rule, Miller argues, discriminates against one parent, violating the principle of equal protection as well as due process, since it is imposed without a hearing. . . . Such procedures would be banned if Sharp rules the practices are unconstitutional, Thorne's statement said. . . . Hundreds of divorce cases are filed daily across the U.S., and according to the Children'sJustice.org website, custody dispute cases leave nearly 38 percent of the fathers with no access or visitation rights to their children. In addition, four in 10 mothers report they interfered with the father's visitation to punish him at least once, half the mothers see "no value" in the father's continued contact with his children and 70 percent of the fathers wanted more time with their kids. ******* Thorne questioned the legal system ordering a child taken from one parent "when the child is in no danger … and the child has never been abused, neglected, or harmed" and given to another parent absent a court order. . . . The 14th Amendment states: "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." . . . "This case affects not just the people of Tennessee," Thorne said. "This is huge." . . . Numerous organizations are working for the rights of fathers in disputes like the Tennessee case, including FathersCustody.org, LongDistanceParenting.org, Fathers False Charges Helpline, Fathers National Lawyers Referral, WinningCustody.com and FathersRights.org.


April 2009

NEW YORK

State program helps Onondaga County men become better fathers

by Delen Goldberg / The Post-Standard

4-15-09 -- Perry Rouse says he'd probably be in jail if not for the Parents Success Initiative of Onondaga County, a state pilot program aimed at making men better fathers. . . . Seven months ago, Rouse, a Desert Storm veteran, owed large amounts of child support for his two daughters but was unable to make payments. He had no job and no lawyer. . . . "I was sick. I was dejected. Then, I found a program to help me," said Rouse, 43, of Syracuse. . . . Today, Rouse is rebuilding his relationship with his 21-year-old and creating new bonds with his 3-year-old. . . . "I relate better to them, I call more often," Rouse said. "Every minute I have free, I'm with my 3-year-old. My 21-year-old, I was surprised she actually listens to what I say." . . . "I thought I was a good father at the time," Rouse continued, "but I took classes and learned it's more than just financial support. I need to be a hands-on dad."



March 2009

VERMONT

Stay-at-home Dad Wins Online Education Scholarship from GetEducated.com for Unique "Humane Leadership" (Animal Welfare) Degree

A 41-year-old stay-at-home dad in Vermont wins Online Education Scholarship from GetEducated.com for a unique "humane leadership" online bachelor's degree, aimed at future animal welfare workers. Online education's growth and stability has allowed colleges to offer narrowly specialized, unusual degrees, providing flexibility for consumers seeking new or better careers, says GetEducated CEO Vicky Phillips.

(PRWEB)

3-19-09 -- You don't have to leave home to get a degree in animal welfare. Ask Paul Kopulos - a 41-year-old stay-at-home dad living in Vermont, who is finishing his bachelor's degree in humane leadership from Pittsburgh's Duquesne University. . . . Kopulos, like all other students in the unusual program (which is co-sponsored by the Humane Society of the U.S.), is earning his degree completely online, while caring for a two-month-old baby, a two-year-old toddler, and three shelter pets (two dogs and a cat). The degree is aimed at people who wish to work in animal welfare or advocacy positions. . . . GetEducated.com is rewarding Kopulos' efforts with a $1,000 Excellence in Online Education Scholarship. . . . For Kopulos, going to school online worked perfectly with his hectic lifestyle. . . . "With the kids and everything else going on in my life, I can do my school when I need to," says Kopulos. "I can take an exam at midnight or 1 a.m." . . . Online education is appealing to nontraditional, older students like Kopulos, who are turning to the Internet for maximum flexibility in training for new careers. Internet learning has broadened to include a variety of unique degrees. . . . Vicky Phillips, GetEducated's founder, says that "a decade ago, a narrowly specialized degree like this one -- leadership in the animal welfare sector -- would have been impossible to find. One physical college could not have found enough students within commute distance to sustain such a narrow career specialty."


GEORGIA

Student fought long for right to be a father

By Gracie Bonds Staples, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

3-18-09 -- You may or may not remember Rashad Head, the 17-year-old father who a few years ago was waging a fight to see his son. . . . It seemed a small thing to ask, but five months after his birth, the court was still siding with the infant’s mother even though Head had done everything the law required. **** Just days after Rashad’s ex-girlfriend gave birth, an adoption agency called Rashad’s father, Geoff Head, requesting consent to let his grandson be adopted. . . . Geoff Head refused. He wanted Rashad to do what he’d always tried to do, take care of his son. . . . Indeed, from the moment Rashad learned his girlfriend was pregnant, he had stood by her. When they told their parents, the Heads supported Rashad. . . . “What we did was a mistake, but I don’t look at my son as a mistake,” Rashad said then. “I don’t ever want him to feel he doesn’t have a real place in this world.” . . . The Heads decided to fight. Leslie Graham took their case pro bono and on Feb. 24, after almost three years of legal wrangling, got some good news. . . . Gwinnett Superior Court Judge George Hutchinson awarded Rashad joint legal custody of his son, three consecutive weeks of summer visitation plus every other weekend and the right to change the toddler’s name to Trey Rashad Head.


ILLINOIS

Father seeks custody of baby rescued from toilet; mother remains jailed

The father of an infant rescued from a toilet is seeking custody while the mother remains jailed in southwestern Illinois on attempted murder charges.

Seattle Times

3-18-09 -- The father of an infant rescued from a toilet is seeking custody while the mother remains jailed in southwestern Illinois on attempted murder charges. . . . Edward Goodrich of Belleville appeared with his attorney at a custody hearing Tuesday, but no action was taken and the child remains in a foster home. Another hearing is scheduled for April 7. . . . Authorities say 23-year-old Elyse Mamino (MAM'-ih-noh) delivered a baby girl in a Columbia home's bathroom during a family party in November and tried to drown her in the toilet. . . . After her arrest, authorities found the remains of an infant in Mamino's Belleville home. The cause of that infant's death remains unclear, and no charges have been filed in that case.



February 2009

Reporter Apologizes After Fathers & Families Bombards Sacramento Paper over Anti-Father Article

February 19th, 2009 by Glenn Sacks

In a Fathers & Families Action Alert last week, I explained that journalist R.V. Scheide of the Sacramento News & Review, a prominent California weekly, labeled Parental Alienation a “discredited, pseudoscientific malady” in his article Down by law (2/5/09). I wrote “The author of the article, R.V. Scheide, probably means well but…doesn’t know any better–write him (politely).” . . . Hundreds of you wrote Scheide and/or Letters to the Editor. Today, Scheide publicly apologized and wrote a (mostly) classy article in response. Below is his article in italics, interspersed with my comments –to read the full article without my commentary, click here.


NEW JERSEY

After bitter 4-year fight, he finally sees his son again

Dad has ‘beautiful’ reunion with boy whose mother abducted him to Brazil

By Mike Celizic TODAYShow.com contributor

2-10-09 -- Choking back tears that had been building up for more than four and a half years, a New Jersey father tried to describe the emotions he felt at finally being able to hold and hug his son and tell the boy how much he loved him. . . . “It was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen since his birth. It was incredible. Amazing. I got to see my son,” David Goldman told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira Tuesday by phone from Brazil. . . . The previous day, accompanied by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, Goldman had finally reached the end of a nightmare that began in June 2004 when his wife, Bruna, left with their son, Sean, for a two-week trip to visit family in her native Brazil. She never came back. . . . In all the years since, Goldman had traveled to Brazil numerous times hoping to see his son, but all the contact he was allowed to have consisted of a few brief phone calls. . . . International dispute / A New Jersey court ruled that Bruna had to return Sean to New Jersey for a custody hearing. But despite international law and treaties between the United States and Brazil that upheld the court ruling, Bruna refused to either return or to give up custody of the boy. Instead, she divorced Goldman in a legal proceeding that violated international law, and married an influential Brazilian attorney.


The War Against Fathers Continues

An article from the current issue of Touchstone Magazine: Divorced from Reality
"We’re from the Government, and We’re Here to End Your Marriage."
by Stephen Baskerville

2-8-09 -- The decline of the family has now reached critical and truly dangerous proportions. Family breakdown touches virtually every family and every American. It is not only the major source of social instability in the Western world today but also seriously threatens civic freedom and constitutional government. . . . G. K. Chesterton once observed that the family serves as the principal check on government power, and he suggested that someday the family and the state would confront one another. That day has arrived. . . . Chesterton was writing about divorce, and despite extensive public attention to almost every other threat to the family, divorce remains the most direct and serious. Michael McManus of Marriage Savers writes that "divorce is a far more grievous blow to marriage than today’s challenge by gays."


Paul Fredrick MenStyle


January 2009

TENNESSEE

Divorced father seeks equal protection

Custody challenge cites discriminatory decisions

By Bob Unruh, © 2009 WorldNetDaily

1-28-09 -- A case is developing in a Tennessee divorce dispute that one attorney believes could impact custody decisions nationwide because it calls down the authority of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause to help fathers who are good parents and want to remain involved in their children's lives. . . . The attorney, Stanley Charles Thorne, told WND the issue in the case at hand will be significant, since there are 3,000 divorce or custody cases in courts across the U.S. daily. . . . And according to the Children'sJustice.org website, those cases leave nearly 38 percent of the fathers with no access or visitation rights to their children. In addition, four in 10 mothers report they interfered with the father's visitation to punish him at least once, half the mothers see "no value" in the father's continued contact with his children and 70 percent of the fathers wanted more time with their kids. . . . Thorne told WND he is serving as a consultant in the case of Jeremy Hopkins, a successful lawyer, in his attempts to be treated the same as his daughter's mother, Elisabeth, also a successful lawyer, in their custody of Kate.


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 " I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection."
-- Sigmond Freud--

 "A father is a guy who has snapshots in his wallet where his money used to be."
 -- unknown --

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 "A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty."
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Archived on March 15, 2012
Updated 03/15/2012
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