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Family Law Reform Goals
#1 Shared Parenting solves many of the problems destroying children and families today in the broken family court system.  The presumption of equal rights to both parents as a starting point is a constitutional MUST.  PROBLEM: The whole family court system is designed around the civil and criminal systems as adversarial.  Husband and wife should not be incented to go after each other viciosuly for financial benefit and more time with their children.  Lawyers should not be incented with more billable hours to separate the parties and essentially cause more fights. It seems that every decision made by most lawyers is driven by how much money they can make, not by the best interest of their client. The cost of a divorce is in direct proportion to the financial assets of the parties. Lawyers ask about your assets during first interviews to see how much money thay can make on the case etc. What does this say?
#2 Judges must be accountable for their decisions. If a judge continues to get overturned on appeal, or appeals look like obvious mistakes or bias, then they should be removed. Videotaping of what happens and a system for chief justices to be required to monitor and review these video tapes and/or real-time feeds for so many hours per judge per quarter. Judges should be warned with blatent violations of the law, like refusing to hear motions, ex parte conversations and showing of bias. A second offense should have a stricter punishment (maybe suspension for 30 days) and a 3rd (in some time frame like 2-3 years) should cause removal. It also seems judges are appointed and the experience requirements are lax in terms of their knowledge of the law, constitution and their responsibilities. Judges must have time and training and be required to enforce constitutional rights over any state laws (in theory they are, but in practice this is a joke).
#3 Unconstitutional state laws should be removed from the books completely.  Many states are violating the constitution as a matter of standard operating procedure, every day in nearly every restraining order and divorce case. This goes to the abuse of restraining orders, which strip men of many constitutional rights as soon as a woman say the word "fear" or makes any accusation. It includes the instant division of children's time by 14% and 86%.  Standards of proof and "strict scrutiny" must be applied to take away children, property and any other fundamental constitutional rights. Without hard proof anything but a 50-50 split is unconstitutional and should not be supported by any courts. There is enough case law on this to choke a horse, saying this is right, but the federal government has been ignoring this abuse for decades under the excuse that family courts are in the domain of the state. This is NOT mutually exclusive with requiring state laws to be constitutional - which is required already by the supreme court. No state may limit a person's rights under the constitution as I understand it.
#4 DSS/Child Services reform - I have no direct experience with this so will not comment specifically on this but all of the above 1-3 would certainly be relevant and apply too.
#5 Child support should be based on the actual cost of raising a child and meeting their basic needs. No one has the right to continue a lifestyle ad infinitum that was possible during marriage.  Divorce causes major financial changes and fathers are getting all the burden of that today.  The presumption that 2 homes can be supported on the same income that supported one pre-divorce is a ludicrous starting point. The profit and alimony should be taken out of child support and both parties must be expected to pull their own weight financially.  Today men are expected to continue what they did during the marriage (financial support) and women do nothing for them after the divorce.  The party that was a "stay-at-home" person must be required to support themselves with either part-time or full-time employment as soon as feasible (usually once children are in kindergarten). Women have equal rights and pay opportunities in the workforce today and forcing all the financial responsibility on the man is a crazy thing. Men post divorce commit suicide from 10 to 12 times more often than woman. What does this say about the fairness of this process?
I think your number 2 is too broad and subjective. It needs to be reworded somehow, or incorporated into other items.  Who could argue with that. But it sounds like a request to rewrite all laws in this area which will never happen.  Laws must be change incrementally I fear.  It is the discretion and bias that judges have that allow them to do whatever they want to in spite of what the law says really. Because they can choose to believe whoever they want they can basically make totally one sided decisions. The requirement of evidence and proof, not the "she said" standard is a fundamental problem here. The standards of proof are not enough in family courts to insure fairness.
Your #7 might also be too broad. This sounds like a request to start a special commission of government to investigate and fix government. i.e. an internal affairs division and more government.  To me less government would be far better and more distorts the goals further and creates more people that think they should be making decisions for citizens.  The attorney general should investigate and prosecute abuse of office.
Best of luck with this avenue.


From: The Fatherhood Coalition [mailto:FATHERS-L@HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM] On Behalf Of howard deaton
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 6:14 AM
Subject: Top 10 issuse's

I was sitting here because I can't sleep and some thoughts were going through my head.
I Got my State Rep. To Contact me well she came bye my house and I missed her.
And I called her Well She told me she would listen to the Issue's at hand.
When I was Talking to her she was saying well this is A different issues and that was one two.
And some that know me My emotion runs wild when I speak of the issue's.{lol}
Well I told her All these issues come to one problem.
Abuse and wrong bye our system.
She said well you need A lawyer I told her that is another issues that comes to the same problem the fleecing of our children.
Basically I feel this was a good phone call and I think she will keep to her word and meet with us here in Colorado.
But So we can come to all the issue's And get the point across None of the issue's are working for our children and the Family unit.
I Am Asking everyone on the boards to make a top 10 list and  what they think the most Vital issue's are. If you have time.
Here is my list.
1. Equal parenting
2. Make the laws Fair and just
3. Social Services reform all Departments.
4.Stop the discrimination in the Family Courts.
5. Explain how Lawyers and special Advocates and Judges have no accountability when it comes to our Children.
6. explain how the child support formula is A mathematical error and needs to be re Collated.
7.Investigations in to wrongs of our Government agency's that have totally abused there powers.
8. Explain how it cost the tax payer 1.26 to collect 70 cents of child support and has still not helped the problem of Child support debt.
9. Perjury should be enforced and recognized when it comes to Family law.
10. Abuse of D.V. laws and how there considered the Instant Divorce.