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Letter To Massachusetts Representatives

April 10, 2005

Dear Representative,

Until recently I have never been an activist of any kind, other than by writing checks and having my company support worthy causes. As a CEO I feel I understand the challenges of a large bureaucracy and how it can get out of control, though I have no government service experience.   Now as a father going through a divorce I am constantly shocked by the judicial system in the family and probate courts.  It is a bureaucracy that is totally out of control to the extent of being a complete tyranny run by judges.   I have now become committed to a long term campaign to force the reform of family courts.  The stories I have heard and actions I have seen by judges  are completely unbelievable.  As you must know, voters in Massachusetts were 85% in favor of post-divorce equal parenting rights in the recent non-binding referendum. Every divorced Non-custodial parent (mainly fathers) I talk to has nothing but horror stories.

This issue needs your attention immediately! This is one of the biggest issues in the U.S. today. With the divorce rate over 50%, and millions of children across the U.S., indeed an entire generation, being irreparably damaged by this problem every day, action cannot wait any longer!
I have studied this problem for many months now and here is just some of what I have learned:

The family courts are clearly sexually biased and have been corrupted by good intentions gone bad. These courts literally ignore U.S. Supreme Court rulings, the U.S. constitution, and even our own state laws every day, in nearly every case.  And the federal government looks the other way.  Proper shared parenting legislation that FORCES judges to obey the law and provides penalties for not doing so is needed very badly.  One problem, that I am sure you are aware of, is that these judges have no real oversight, accountability, or penalty for abusive practices.  As JFK pointed out: "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."  These judges are legislating from the bench every day based on personal agendas and preferences, not based on the laws they are sworn to enforce.   

Todayís Topic: Best Interest of the Child
Judges hide behind the vague mantra "Best interests of the children", but it is really "best interests of the lawyers" and easiest boiler plate decisions with little finding of fact.  The research is in, yet the family courts are basing their custody decisions today on research that is several decades old (and was never scientifically valid), and on traditions that should have gone away with the Equal Rights Amendment and woman joining the workforce. Family courtís behavior does not reflect today's parenting, let alone equal rights.
In fact, shared parenting is really already the law, as upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, parents should have equal rights to raise their children. This is a fundamental constitutional right, which requires "substantive due process" and "serious harm" to children to override any parent's rights.  Yet the higher court rulings are ignored daily by the state courts in virtually every case by boilerplate custody awards that are clearly sexist. The recent Bridget Marks case in New York is only the latest in a series of complete judicial abuse, where a woman was actually found by the court to be an "unfit mother", to have committed fraud, perjury (and likely committed conspiracy too), and yet she still got full physical custody of the children. Any man would have gotten a jail sentence for that behavior.

As a loving father I want to, and will, see a PRESUMPTION of shared parenting become law, and more importantly, be strictly enforced.  Judges are literally out of control and the checks and balances our forefathers designed into the constitution have been subverted. Money is one powerful root cause of this. More fights between parents generate huge fees for lawyers, and judges indirectly benefit too.
Shared parenting is coming to the forefront now.  A huge ground swell is building with hundreds of web sites and fathers groups. Anything besides a full shared parenting presumption creates huge incentives for legal battles, which hurt children and families and drains family finances for the benefit of lawyers. The current system has become a distorted mess over the last thirty years. Effectively the family courts are still living in the 1950s.
Imagine if you had to run for election with the presumption you would lose, and therefore (because of that presumption) your opponent got all the money from your fundraising efforts for their campaign! Then the fact that you had no money left was used to show you had no support.  Would that not be outrageous? This is almost what is happening in family courts today.  The children and money is given to the mothers, then the father is told he is the breadwinner and must continue that by paying the ex-wife huge sums of money (40% of his after tax income) (citing). However, now he gets very limited access to his own children - so the mothers are awarded the money AND the children. Both the children and the responsibility to bring them up, financial and otherwise should be shared by both parents.  It has been shown that this is the only way that is truly in "the best interests of the children".(study cites)  That the divorced father is then an indentured servant to is ex-wife for up to twenty-three years,  because he was not the primary caregiver AND he gets only "visitation" is an outrage to fathers today.

The resulting conflicts, encouraged by lawyers, drains the estates of families at their most vulnerable time.  Mothers are set up to get the majority of the estate and legal and physical custody of the children on day one of a divorce filing. Who can blame them for taking full advantage of this completely slanted system? Fathers are very often forced immediately below the poverty line by the terribly unfair child support guidelines that are often eight times the actual cost of raising a child (see below).  Ultimately fathers lose on all counts, simply on sexual bias and the fact they spent less time with their children, so that they could earn a living to support them (often a choice the couple made i.e. joint parenting).  No matter what the situation they are raked over the coals with tens of thousands in unnecessary legal fees. It is an insidious and vicious cycle which generates miserable results for families and children, ruining many lives and often encouraging divorce.  Attorneys donít make money without conflict.

The bottom line is that both divorce and fatherlessness are now encouraged by many states including Massachusetts. Obviously this was never the intent of these laws.  This is a silent travesty that is now coming to light. Please research this further and you will easily see that only lawyers and judges benefit from the current system, not children and families. Of course, they want the existing family court system maintained for their personal power and enrichment.

I ask you to become more informed in this issue.  I trust further research will educate you on the damage current laws are causing to our children, fathers and families. This is now a very serious issue for our entire generation and the next. There are already hundreds of fathers rights organizations, class actions suits in more than 46 states and a swelling of grass roots support.   
Please for our children's sake, and entire generation, help shared parenting happen quickly and take the money away as motivation for both divorce and for lawyers.
Best regards,
Robert - A concerned father whose children have been kidnapped by the state
Father of 2 beautiful children who constantly ask for and need more time with their dad
68 Whitewood Road
Milford MA 01757

P.S. I will be writing to you next on restraining order abuse which it stripping men of all rights, sometimes without even an accusation of wrongdoing