di·vorce – dəˈvôrs/ noun ~ the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body.
- verb ~ legally dissolve one’s marriage with (someone).
A divorce can be many things. It is a legal proceeding to end a marriage. Divorce laws differ from state to state regarding the requirements and reasons or grounds for a divorce. The mechanisms and procedures for obtaining a divorce differ from state to state as well. In every state there is a legal requirement that a divorce proceeding be filed to end the legal marriage between a couple.
Billions in Child Support Going to Lawyers and Bureaucrats | Leon Koziol.Com
Public Apathy and Lack of Accountability in Family Court are Damaging Our Children
While federal and state prosecutors focus on high profile politicians for public accountability, our third branch of government remains self regulated and largely overlooked. As a result, parents, children and extended families are being fleeced by lawyers and third party beneficiaries every day to unconscionable levels. It’s all part of a lucrative child control industry.
Consider the recent custody case reported by the New York Post involving Dr. Eric Braverman, a highly committed father and respected neuro-surgeon in Manhattan who spent more than $4.5 million in an unsuccessful attempt to retain a meaningful relationship with his children. A judge-appointed attorney for those same children went to horrendous lengths to pervert this man’s efforts with fees approximating a half million dollars.
Now come on folks, let’s not lose sight of sanity here! How can one lawyer acting on behalf of immature and unsuspecting children be worth so much on a single case? Was this lawyer truly committed to “client” interests or was he seeking to justify his gigantic personal pay-out for a dubious role in a sensitive matter?
More disturbing, while this lawyer was busy racking up billable hours in his agenda against the father, those fees were being exacted from the same children’s college funds. Once again, it all goes back to our earlier posts warning followers of Leon Koziol.com that no amount of fees is enough once you enter divorce and family court.We even offer a program to convince would-be victims to choose mediation, counseling and alternative resolutions.
Compounding this uncontrolled greed is the lawyer glut entering the market. There are more than 1.25 million licensed attorneys in the United States today with about 300,000 in California alone and at least that many seeking a law school education each year. These people have to work somewhere and the bureaucrats are making room for them in family court. This is where apprentices typically learn their trade and marginal lawyers can concoct litigation to last an entire career.
The public is generally unaware that our federal government rewards the states by the number and magnitude of support awards generated in their family courts. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that such incentive grants make the decision makers inherently biased against fathers. Support obligations are artificially hiked through such judge-created fictions as imputed income. Fathers comprise 82% of support debtors per our Census Bureau.
To give an appearance of ethics, many states impose rules which prohibit lawyers from executing contingent fee arrangements in domestic relations cases. However, exceptions have been crafted which allow them for support collection purposes. This gets very interesting when you look deeper into the deceptions and the greed.
Think of it! A lawyer can now charge thousands of dollars in up front fees and billable hours during protracted litigation and then double dip on the back side by getting a third of the actual support intended for the children. The state typically gets all the interest generated off these awards in addition to a custodial fee and the federal incentive money.
In New York, the tax department is assigned support enforcement authority. In effect the state is intervening with all its machinery on the side of the so-called “custodial parent” while no similar powers are offered to the lower class parent to remedy child access deprivations. It prompted one state Supreme Court justice to question the state’s involvement in a private debt between self sufficient parents.
If you’re a debtor, you could be charged with your lawyer’s fees, the children’s lawyer, opposing fees, the contingency collection fee and court costs such as counseling, supervision and “parent education” as they call it. In countless cases, particularly those involving veterans and minorities, the debtor fathers will never be able to complete their servitude, landing them in debtor prisons. This will only add to our tax burdens and a dubious distinction as the most imprisoned population in the “free” world.
This kind of piling-on caused one police investigator to commit a murder-suicide, leaving three children without parents and city taxpayers with a $2 million liability. Nowhere in the civil rights case will you read about this father leaving support court living on $28 per week, see Pearce v Longo, 766 F. Supp. 2d 367. It begs the question: what would make a law man resort to such extremes after following the “proper” channels?
We’ve been doing our best to inform you of these alarming developments because the media is ignoring this crisis. But we cannot continue to do so without your financial support in a war against a trillion dollar industry. Public apathy has allowed this to happen along with the lawyer greed shockingly rationalized to be in our children’s best interests. It is a gold mine of unparalleled proportion that is causing so many of our social ills today.
And who pays for that?
By Dr. Leon R. Koziol
NEW STUDY ~ Children fare better when they spend time living with both of their parents.
This Divorce Arrangement Stresses Kids Out Most | TIME
Regarding the well-being of kids with divorced parents, the debate over what kind of custody arrangement is best rages on. But a new study, published Monday in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health,suggests that children fare better when they spend time living with both of their parents.
That goes against some current thinking that kids in shared-custody situations are exposed to more stress due to constantly moving around and the social upheaval that can come along with that. “Child experts and people in general assumed that these children should be more stressed,” says study author Malin Bergström, PhD, researcher at the Centre for Health Equity Studies in Stockholm, Sweden. “But this study opposes a major concern that this should not be good for children.”
The researchers wanted to see if kids who lived part time with both parents were more stressed than those who lived with just one parent. They looked at national data from almost 150,000 12- and 15-year-old students—each in either 6th grade or 9th grade—and studied their psychosomatic health problems, including sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, headaches, stomachaches and feeling tense, sad or dizzy. They found that 69% of them lived in nuclear families, while 19% spent time living with both parents and about 13% lived with only one parent.
Kids in nuclear families reported the fewest psychosomatic problems, but the more interesting finding was that students who lived with both of their separated parents reported significantly fewer problems than kids who lived with only one parent.
“We think that having everyday contact with both parents seems to be more important, in terms of stress, than living in two different homes,” says Bergström. “It may be difficult to keep up on engaged parenting if you only see your child every second weekend.”
Having two parents also tends to double the number of resources a kid is exposed to, including social circles, family and material goods like money.
“Only having access to half of that may make children more vulnerable or stressed than having it from both parents, even though they don’t live together,” she says.
HARVESTING JUSTICE starting with the Low Hanging Fruit, i.e. Senate reconfirmation hearings on Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner — OPT-IN-USA
The prospect of Joseph P. Carson securing the support of our national grassroots legal/judicial reform community transforms his 25 year long quest for OSC and MSPB accountability into a potential judicial accountability coup d’etat in America.
We identified it as an international human rights issue. We learned that a potentially insurmountable obstacle to relief was America’s failure to ratify the Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). With all these U.S. foreign policy considerations swirling in the air, it can be difficult to remember that Opt IN USA is a grassroots campaign to redress unchecked judicial misconduct in America.
- Opt IN USA will continue coordinating meetings between its campaign participants and their U.S. Representatives.
- Campaign coordinators will assist campaign participants in following up with whomever they met at those meetings.
- Already Opt IN USA is teaming up with some of the world’s most accomplished human rights activists to address the relative isolation of Americans from the international human rights community and the corresponding threat for current and potential targets of The Third Degree.
- Opt IN USA and its sister organization, NFOJA (National Forum On Judicial Accountability) will assist any and all willing Opt IN USA participants in organizing and mobilizing for local and/or state-focused judicial reform advocacy.
- IN THE MEANTIME, we should try to get a wi
n for judicial accountability under our belts, and the U.S. Senate reconfirmation hearings on Special Counsel Carolyn N. Lerner presents an opportunity for us to do just that!
They’re not politicians, so they shouldn’t act like them.
OF ALL the ways in which America is exceptional, its practice of electing judges is one of the least obvious and most striking. The spectacle of someone who has the power to hand out death sentences making stump speeches, seeking endorsements and raising funds has long seemed odd to outsiders. Alexis de Tocqueville, whose travels around the country coincided with the spread of judicial elections, predicted that “these innovations will, sooner or later, have disastrous results.” It is a view shared by many of the judges running for office around the country.
Judicial elections are becoming a lot like any other. Tennessee’s recent race was a good example. A few days before the poll Gary Wade, the chief justice on the state’s Supreme Court, sat in his office, a room enlivened by a bearskin rug on the floor, complete with paws and snarling mouth. Mr Wade had faced the voters five times before, but this election was the first time he had to do any actual campaigning. Tennessee’s race became unexpectedly political: the three judges up for retention were hit with adverts denouncing them as Obamacare-loving liberals, though their court has never ruled on the subject. The judges responded by raising over $1m to buy adverts of their own.
WHAT’S THE SOURCE OF GRANDPARENTS’ “RIGHTS”?
A fit parent’s “liberty” is defined as the right to establish a home and direct the upbringing of one’s children. Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399 (1923). Such is what makes it a “liberty interest”. This liberty interest is fundamental to the citizens of the United States of America.Washington v. Glucksberg, 117 S.Ct. 2258, 2268, 521 U.S. 702, 720-21 (U.S.Wash.,1997).
This means, if the state-as in a judge- wants to infringe or terminate this fundamental liberty interest, he or she had better apply the process due to a parent first. Otherwise, its action is explicitly forbidden. Id. at 721. If the state cannot show that it has a narrowly tailored compelling interest, then the state cannot touch the fit parent’s right at all. Ibid. No other avenue is constitutionally available to accomplish state action, which will adversely affect a parent’s fundamental liberty interest.
If a parent appeals an adverse action by a state which has affected his or her fundamental liberty interest, the reviewing Court must apply the Strict Scrutiny standard of review, to determine whether the state action was indeed achieved without the state showing that it had a narrowly tailored compelling interest to take the action it did. Id. This is a compulsory standard. It’s not an option. Nowhere does it say that if the reviewing Court has sat down and collectively decided, for whatever arbitrary reasoning, that it should apply a lesser standard, that it can do so.
That being said, tell me. Where exactly do Grandparents’ “Rights”, come from? When a parent is brought before a Court and his or her fundamental liberty interest is at stake, there are only TWO competing interests here- the parent’s and the state’s. Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 759-60 (U.S.N.Y., 1982). If the parent is fit, then the child’s interest, coincides with his or her fit parent’s. Id. at 745, 748, 760-761 (1982). The child’s interest does not stand alone. As such is the case, where exactly-constitutionally- does the Grandparent’s so called “interest” fit into the equation? I can tell you where-nowhere- because they don’t have any “rights”- not under these United States’ Constitution..
The Justices who decided Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), deliberately failed to apply the Strict Scrutiny standard of review, to the threatened fundamental liberty interest of the mother in that case for this precise reason.
Instead, it applied a less stringent standard, having nothing to do with the 14th Amendment, so that it could leave room for the individual states, to concoct their own particular processes by which each could infringe or even, as in my case, terminate the liberty interests of fit parents, by averting the Due Process Clause. In other words, applying the wrong standard gave state legislatures the power to enact laws granting such “rights” to grandparents to intervene into divorce and custody disputes. Under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, this “standing” does not exist.
Because of the Troxel Court’s “instructions” as the state of Georgia refers to the case, Clark v. Wade, 273 Ga. 587, 603-604 (2001), this state claimed that it had the power to sever my custodial relationship with my child, remove her from my home, terminate my legal rights to her and “award” “custody”, to her paternal grandparents- all without finding me unfit. Isn’t that something? After serving my country and vowing to die if need be, to defend the United States Constitution, my own rights were snatched right from under me. It said that it had the parens patriae power to do what it thought was “best” for my child. It had and has, no such power. Neither does any other state.
Number 1., Washington, 521 U.S. at 721 says the state can’t do anything with a child without first proving that it has a narrowly tailored compelling interest.
2. The state can’t achieve such interest without following the bifurcated steps established in Santosky, 455 U.S. at 745, 748, 760-761 .
3. Before we even get to any of all this, the state is explicitly prohibited from applying the best interest standard between a parent and a third party to begin with. Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292, 303-304 (1993).
Nevertheless, there are parents across America whose constitutional rights to their children have been deprived by state action, under color of law. This has been a collective, nationwide violation, extending from the top of our judicial system, to the bottom. This is the state of America today.
But for the United States Supreme Court’s decision in 2000, I would not have been robbed of my right to continue to have the home that I had established for my child, or my right to continue to raise her, so long as I was fit.
I know that such willful deprivation is actionable under federal civil and criminal law against state officials. I also know that one must request relief from the very defendants and perpetrators who have violated him or her- a futile effort that I learned the hard way. My question is, what happens when the willful deprivation comes from the top?
***I am a paralegal. I am not a licensed attorney. Anything I’ve posted here or on this site, may not and should not be construed as legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice, please consult with a licensed attorney. If you are in Cobb County, Georgia, good luck.
And Justice For All
primary focus on divorce, custody and guardian ad litems
Re: Judging judges: hearings on judicial appointments or reappointment.
At MeGAL we are writing you-in our role as grassroots advocates for Guardian ad litem and family court reform-about your committee’s work on judicial appointments and reappointment. You will soon be reviewing the appointment status of a number of judges. From our perspective, it is “a moment of truth” – the question being: are these judicial candidates good for the public who use Maine’s family courts?
Historically, judicial confirmation activity has been largely a series of privileged decisions by a special interest oligarchy composed of the Maine Bar and members of the Judicial Branch, with a near automatic, stamp of approval from your committee.
We would strongly argue that public users of family courts also have a vital interest in this topic. Bad or inadequate judges are a public hazard. They can cause untold cruelty and harm to families and children with bad judicial decisions. Yet, they are virtually impossible to correct or remove using judicial review procedures – just check the numbers of corrective actions yourself. We know of none.
We look to the legislature to act to remove judges with a troubled public record. As a start, we would suggest a series of questions for judicial candidates, the answers to which ought to be tied to decision making by your committee.
What MLK Taught Me About How to Be a Dad
“We don’t take black money.”
Those were the cruel words my father-in-law, Dr. Little, heard when he was a young man at a public golf course in 1959.
He left his cash on the counter, turned around, and walked out the door to go play a round of golf.
Later, he and his friends were escorted away by police for playing on a “whites only” course. Rather than exploding into a violent rage, as many others would have done, Dr. Little stayed calm and held his head high during his arrest.
That highly publicized event and his example of a dignified man were instrumental in the future of the golf course, which would be integrated a few years later.
On MLK Day, I find myself reflecting on my father-in-law’s story. I am also reminded that Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech was about being a father. It was about envisioning the future he wanted for his children, and then working to make that dream a reality.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” he said.
We can all learn something from Dr. King, Dr. Little, and Championship Fathers across the globe …
More important than a man’s circumstances—his race, his socioeconomic status, his custodial or marital situation—is the way in which he handles his circumstances and envisions the future.
Do you model self-control? Do you remain calm and rational, even when others are becoming bitter … perhaps even violent? Can you hold your head high because you know you are acting like the dignified man you want your children to see?
Do you communicate to your children that the world is a good place and that the future is bright and colorful?
Or do you act as though the world is a bleak place to live?
When I think about what other fathers—black, white, Asian, Latino, poor, rich, married, divorced—have been through, I am motivated to hold the mantle just as high and to walk with dignity.
I am reminded to be mindful about what my children see through my eyes and how they envision the future.
What are your deepest longings for the world in which your children grow up? How do you want them to see you? The future?
The documentary “Divorce Corp” estimates divorce to be a 50-billion dollar a year industry. With little oversight, lawyers are incentivized to keep their clients in court to make as much money as possible.
“When you have money, when you have assets, and when you have big income these big firms have absolutely positively no interest in resolving your case, even if you want to,” lawyer John W. Thatcher said in recordings obtained exclusively by PIX11.
Thatcher is a lawyer based in Clinton, N.J., who’s been practicing family law for more than 40 years. PIX11 News called and emailed Thatcher for comment, but he did not respond. In the phone recordings, Thatcher describes a system where lawyers keep their clients in the system as long as possible to reap big profits – a process known as churning.
“Everybody in the matrimonial business, all the lawyers are buddies,” Thatcher said during the phone call. “Everybody knows everybody. So if you and I are opposing matrimonial lawyers and Joe Schmo comes in with millions of dollars, you and I are like, you and I go back to the Mercedes dealership and buy another car. We know we’re going to make huge dollars and we work it with each other that way.”
Rachel Alintoff knows that system all too well. She said she lost custody of her son, who has been diagnosed with autism, when he was 2 years old without a hearing. That decision was overturned, but last year New Jersey Courts stripped her of custody again. Now she has a RICO lawsuit against Gov. Chris Christie and the State of New Jersey to change the process.
“From the moment that I stepped into the Family Court System in Monmouth County New Jersey, I was shocked at how little justice I was given,” Alintoff said.
“If you step into the family court system, you can guarantee that if you don’t have deep pockets or a politically connected law firm, you are going to have your constitutional rights denied and your civil liberties ignored,” Alintoff added.
The FCLU estimates that Alintoff’s is one of 50,000 families in the tri-state area affected by a broken family court system. Roberts said children often become pawns in the system because each state receives federal funding for every dollar of child support collected.
“So in many cases, child support is determined, child custody is determined by who is going to transfer the most money in child support and the state gets the most money,” Roberts said.
PIX11 News reached out to New Jersey Courts and asked to sit down with any of the presiding judges from the family division, but they denied our request citing the Code of Judicial Conduct. However, a spokesperson for the New Jersey Court System told us the state receives 66 percent reimbursement for the cost of collecting child support.
But exactly how that money is spent is unclear.
Former attorney Susan Settenbrino and author of the book “Unchecked Power Guide: The Entrenched Power and Politics in the New York State Court System” said that’s because the disciplinary committees are not doing their jobs.
“There is no meaningful oversight or accountability within our court system,” said Settenbrino. “Not over the $2 billion budget, not over the manner in which judges and attorneys behave. And it’s really gotten to the point where we have, I believe, a very dangerous system that is compromising the lives of the families.”
New Jersey Courts also pointed us to a study that shows 91 percent of divorce cases in New Jersey are closed within 12 months. But Settenbrino said families shouldn’t be there in the first place.
“The family should never have to go through a court system because what’s going on is their being destroyed economically, emotionally, mentally, and for what?” she said.
So with so much at stake, Roberts said the reform needs to come from a higher power.
“The federal government needs to step in and make corrective actions just as they did with the Veteran’s Hospital Administration Association. It is not going to be solved at the state level because they are all in cahoots,” Roberts said.
The FCLU has filed a complaint about the system with the Federal Trade Commission. PIX11 News reached out to the FTC for comment, but a spokesperson told us they could not comment on ongoing cases.