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Family Court Reform Suggestions

Will Abbott, co-chair of the Citizens' Commission on NH State Courts, has asked for suggestion on what an "ideal" family court would look like. Here is my response.  I strongly urge everyone to write to him at:
wabbott@mountwashington.org  and offer your comments and suggestions.
What WOULD the ideal family court look like?

From the perspective of one who's been in this battle for close to 20 years, and has seen the unconscionable actions of judges first hand, I think that calling for Kelly's resignation is too mild.  I, along with a goodly number of others, have called for the chief justice to terminate him, and filed complaints with the Committee on Judicial conduct, demanding the same from them.  Not that we have a snowballs' chance in Hell of that happening.  The idea is to serve notice that we are sick and tired of judges abusing their authority, violating state and constitutional law, ignoring their oath of office and the Code of Judicial Conduct, all to the known detriment of our children and society. We hope, by demanding extreme measures, to wake up the authorities, and force them to control the excesses of the family courts.  If that doesn't happen, and we really have no reason to expect it will, then we will have to resort to legislation to force them to live up to the laws and code of conduct. 

What does the ideal system look like?  It looks like an impossible dream, based on twenty years of observation, experience, and knowledge, and the resistance to change we have experienced in that time.  However, let me make an effort to provide some practical answers to the question. 

First, we need to have and enforce a rebuttable presumption that parents will share custody as equally as humanly possible, under a parenting plan drawn up by the parents themselves.  No evidence or testimony of unfitness to parent should be allowed without sufficient proof.  HB 529 would make that rebuttable presumption the rule, rather than the exception.  It also provides for written findings to be provided by the judge in any case where physical custody is NOT the order of the court. That would make it harder to disenfranchise the father on spurious grounds, such as an unfounded allegation of domestic violence, as is now all too often the case. 

Second, we should have a process whereby the parents must meet WITHOUT LAWYERS to discuss an equitable dissolution to the marriage, and all the ramifications of divorce, within 14 working days of the court's receipt of the filing.  The meeting would be a mediation session, facilitated by a certified mediator. The mediator's fee would be standardized (by the courts or state law), and shared EQUALLY by both parties.  

Third, we need to have a Judicial Conduct Commission that is completely severed from the courts.  As it is, the committee acts as if its' purpose was to protect the judges from complaints, instead of protecting litigants from unscrupulous, incompetent, biased, and ignorant judges.  A summary of all complaints should be published yearly, to expose the judge's record to the light of public scrutiny.  Such an action would also allow the public to see if the judicial conduct committee was doing it's job properly.

Fourth, we need to halt the payments to the court from the child support collection agency.  Those payments provide an incentive to maintain the status quo, which means giving mothers sole custody in order to force the father to pay the DDT, or Divorced Daddy Tax. 

Fifth, we need to simplify the appeals process, making it more easily navigable, and less expensive for an aggrieved father to utilize. 

Sixth, we need to institute a process of "retention elections"for judges and marital masters.  After a given period on the bench, not an overlong period, but maybe EVERY three to five years, each judge would stand for "re-election".  The vote is to retain the judge or not.  There would be no competition for the position.  Just a vote on the judge's record.  If the voters say the judge shouldn't be retained, then he/she would be terminated with prejudice, meaning he/she could never hold a judicial position again.  At the nomination of a replacement, there should be public hearings, much like legislative hearings, to gather public input on the acceptability of the individual. 

Seventh, we need to eliminate the re-distribution of wealth scheme that passes for child support.  If the parents share custody according to a schedule that is acceptable to both, then no support should be ordered. If the evidence warrants that sole custody be granted to one parent, then any support order should reflect the true cost of raising a child, and be shared EQUALLY by both parents.  It should NOT be based on the parents' income, as that is the basis for the Communistic Transfer of Wealth scheme, which is the motivating force behind the pressure to award sole custody to the mother.

I know I probably haven't covered all the bases, so I'll forward this message to our lists, and ask for comments and suggestions to be sent on to you.

As for funding the ideal system???  The courts are already funded with taxpayer dollars to a very adequate extent.  With a rebuttable presumption of shared physical custody, and elimination of the financial, social, and legal incentives to divorce, the divorce rate will drop, and the courts' costs will be decreased.  Furthermore, the study by the National Probate Judges' College and Boston Univ. School of Law (as well as others) have found that re-litigation is reduced by 50% when shared
custody is the rule.  A 50% decline in court activity should reduce costs accordingly, and funding becomes a moot issue.  Of course, that begs the question of human greed.  It can be assumed that the courts MAIN financial concern is the $2 Million a year in free money they get from the child support collection agency.  That's icing on the cake, and hard for them to give up. 


Great stuff. I would also add and suggest the following:
Video monitoring and taping of all judicial proceedings which is NOT in the control of the judge or clerk (sound or motion activated - now being done in PA (?)).  The chief justice should be required to review and comment on every judge (unknown sample) once per quarter by watching 2-4 hours of random tapes and evaluating performance to a standard and requirement to follow all rules of civil procedure. Every business in the world has a system to monitor and enforce policy, law and rules for their employees. Judges seem to be the only exception I am aware of here. There is no feedback loop to discipline judges and over time they get more and more arrogant. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  They have become arrogant kings of their own little tyranny where the people under them are either afraid, or just assume they are legally right, when they are committing completely illegal acts DAILY!
Removal of any restraining orders without proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a law was broken. This must be beyond these "abuse" definitions that feminists have infiltrated the legal system with which make crimes out of normal everyday acts that are not crimes.  These allegations have become a joke and include dirty looks, minor spats on name calling, finger pointing (literally)  and other perfectly normal human behavior in any marriage. These warped definitions are now used as an excuse to hijack children and homes without due process and strip men of all their constitutional rights when they have done nothing wrong. If a woman is "in fear" she can deal with that by leaving - the men should not take the penalty for this CLAIMED fear. She can move out, but must provide equal access to their children.
There must also be accelerating fines for every instance of visitation interfered with by either parent with more severe punishment and loss of time with child if this continues.  i.e. for each day of visitation not allowed the offending parent will lose 2 days of time with the child.
Mediation should be the standard. The courts were designed as an adversarial system to protect innocent people from being incarcerated.   The standard has always been we would rather let 9 people free than send one innocent person to jail.  We are convicting 1,000 out of 1,000 men of "abuse" when only 5 in 1,000 are statistically guilty of such under government statistics due to a feminist propaganda machine that is out of control and spreading stories (not statistics) and falsehoods too.  The family courts have maintained the adversarial part, and lawyers increase the level of this to drive up their fees (I know one case with a prenup where the family has now spent $500,000 on legal fees!). Yet the courts have thrown out all the legal protections for the accused. Any unconstitutional behavior (state or US) should be an infraction of the law (IT ALREADY IS LEGALLY, BUT IS IGNORED). After so many (3 per year) of these caught on tape the judges should be removed from the bench with penalties. An early warning and feedback system of training must be implemented because unqualified people are being named judges.