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FATHERS’ RIGHTS
NOT JUST EVERY OTHER WEEKEND

This is about fathers' rights law, and protecting the best interests of your children. It provides information, news and comments on laws, cases and strategies for life as a single father and winning your custody, access or child support case.

Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Arguing the Case

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

One of my children left the lights on in the basement so I asked them which one. Jake said Nick and Nick said Jake. So I asked who was the last one down there.

Then they started to argue their case. It was Jake’s theory that Nick had turned the lights on so he should be the one to turn them off. Nicholas countered that Jake was the last one in the basement so he should turn them off. Jake then said that his friend was the last one down there. Nicholas asserted that the acts of the friend should be attributable to Jake.

This argument from my little lawyers took 15 minutes. They looked to me for a decision. I turned around, went downstairs and turned off the lights. That took 15 seconds.  Sometimes just doing it beats arguing about it.  Do you think they learned anything from this?

Abraham Lincoln’s Letter to His Son’s Teacher

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

He will have to learn, I know,
that all men are not just,
all men are not true.
But teach him also that

for every scoundrel there is a hero;
that for every selfish Politician,

there is a dedicated leader…
Teach him for every enemy there is a

friend,

Steer him away from envy,
if you can,
teach him the secret of
quiet laughter.

Let him learn early that
the bullies are the easiest to lick… Teach him, if you can,
the wonder of books…
But also give him quiet time
to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky,
bees in the sun,
and the flowers on a green hillside.

In the school teach him
it is far honourable to fail
than to cheat…
Teach him to have faith
in his own ideas,
even if everyone tells him
they are wrong…
Teach him to be gentle
with gentle people,
and tough with the tough.

Try to give my son
the strength not to follow the crowd
when everyone is getting on the band wagon…
Teach him to listen to all men…
but teach him also to filter
all he hears on a screen of truth,
and take only the good
that comes through.

Teach him if you can,
how to laugh when he is sad…
Teach him there is no shame in tears,

Teach him to scoff at cynics
and to beware of too much sweetness…
Teach him to sell his brawn
and brain to the highest bidders
but never to put a price-tag
on his heart and soul.

Teach him to close his ears
to a howling mob
and to stand and fight
if he thinks he’s right.
Treat him gently,
but do not cuddle him,
because only the test
of fire makes fine steel.

Let him have the courage
to be impatient…
let him have the patience to be brave.
Teach him always
to have sublime faith in himself,
because then he will have
sublime faith in mankind.

This is a big order,
but see what you can do…
He is such a fine fellow,
my son!

— Hat tip to David Goldberg, Maryland Family Law Mediator, for bringing this to our attention.


Medical Pot And Custody

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Jeanette Daggett and Dustin Sternick became involved in a custody struggle over their daughter after Jeanette decided she wanted to move from Maine to Florida.

There was evidence at trial that the father used medical marijuana which is legal in Maine.  Of the 20 states that have legalized medical marijuana, Maine is one of the few that say a parent’s custody and visitation rights cannot be denied based on his or her use of medical marijuana unless their conduct is contrary to the best interests of the child.  The trial judge ruled in favor of the mother and the father appealed.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court that the use of medical marijuana, and whether it impairs the ability to parent, could be considered in determining the best interests of the child.  The father’s appeal was denied.

Things I Want to Teach My Children

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Growing up, my brother and I could never figure out why our dad was so obsessed with us putting our shoes away in the closet instead of leaving them by the door.  He also seemed similarly obsessed with us turning off the lights when we left one room and moved to another.

This morning, I picked up my children’s clothes on the floor and put them in the hamper.   I turned off the lights they left on and thought about the Pepco bill I have to pay this month.  I hung up the wet towel one of them left on the carpet.  I washed their cereal dishes and put the cereal box away.  I tripped over their sneakers as I left for work.

Now I finally understand where my father was coming from.

Homework

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

My youngest son is in the sixth grade.  He asked me to help him with his math homework last night.

I took a look at the problem.  Er…how do you divide exponents?

I’m not exactly a slouch at math. I have a degree in chemical engineering, a law school degree, and a master of law degree in taxation.  I’ve taken every math course available including differential equations and laplace transformations.  I’m in Mensa.

But I couldn’t divide exponents.  I must have missed that day in school.

Fortunately for me, I’ve never encountered a real-life work situation where I had to divide exponents.

I do know how to ask Google though.  So last night I learned for the first time that one divided by x to the negative third power is x to the third power, that anything to the power of zero equals one, and how to divide exponents.

Most successful people can point to someone in their childhood who helped them with their homework.  Help your kids with their homework.  They will benefit and you might learn something new.

Better Relationships with Children Ups Child Support Collections

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Emily DeVoe at WECT.Com describes the success of a program in New Hanover County, North Carolina, called Partnership for Fatherhood.

“We found out that a lot of fathers weren’t paying their child support–they didn’t have a relationship with their children–and so we said, ‘If they have a relationship with their children, maybe then they will pay their child support because they will have a relationship and be committed to their child,'” Angelina Bernard of the Department of Social Services said.

One of the program’s goals is to build better relationships between fathers and their children.  It also provides employment and educational services to non-custodial parents.  Child support payments have increased by 34 percent since the program started in June of 2013.

How I Got My Son to Do His Homework with a Poem

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Today is my day to take my 10 year old son to school. I told him his mom left instructions for me to make sure he does his spelling.

“Why?” he said. “The test is four days away.”

“Theirs not to reason why. Theirs but to do and die,” sprung from my lips before I could think about it.

“What?” he asked.

“It’s from a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charge of the Light Brigade,” I answered.  I looked it up on the Internet and read it to him:

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
“Charge for the guns!” he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Someone had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

We talked about how the cadence sounds like galloping horses. We talked about the Crimean War.

Then he did his spelling.

Tonight I promised him we’d take a look at Gunga Din.

States Consider Shared Parenting Laws

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Arkansas passed a law last year providing for “approximate and reasonable equal division of time” of children between parents in divorce proceedings.

The Connecticut General Assembly has created a task force to study family law issues, including whether the state should have a presumption in law that shared custody is in the best interest of children.

The Maryland General Assembly created a Commission on Child Custody Decision Making last year.

Florida pass a shared parenting bill last year, but it was vetoed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Minnesota passed a bill in 2012 that would have increased the minimum amount of custody from 25% to 35%, but it was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.

Bode Miller Custody Battle

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Bode Miller, 36, Olympic skier, met Sara McKenna, 27, former marine, through an online dating service in April, 2012.  They dated briefly and she became pregnant with his child.  They were both living in California at the time.

Miller married someone else, and McKenna, seven months pregnant, decided to move to New York to go to college at Columbia University on the G.I. Bill.

In November 2012, Bode filed a “Petition to Establish Parental Relationship” in California, checking the box on the form to say he was the father of “a child who is not yet born”.

The baby was born in February 2013.  Two days later, McKenna filed her petition for custody in the New York Family Court.

There is a uniform law that governs child custody cases between the states which provides that the child’s “home state” has jurisdiction.  Since the baby was born in New York, that state should decide custody.

But the family judge in New York sent the case back to California saying she appropriated the child while in utero, which was “irresponsible” and “reprehensible”.  He gave custody to Miller and his new wife.

Then that order was overturned by a New York appeals court and the baby was returned to McKenna.  The cases continues as the two sides try to work out a parenting plan.

Needless to say, it is spurring controversy among fathers’ rights and mothers’ rights activists regarding the right to relocate if you are pregnant.

Ready, Fire, Aim

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

“My client was shocked to learn that your client has enrolled their 5 year old son in the swim team at the community pool,” the letter from the mother’s divorce lawyer started.

The father’s lawyer scanned it to the father by email.  By the next day he had received three drafts of a four page letter from the father explaining all the benefits of swim team.  The father wanted the lawyer to send the letter to the mother’s attorney.

“Wait until I speak with her,” the lawyer told the father.

“Why?” asked the father.  “I want her to know, for the record, that I’m not the bad guy here.   And I didn’t do it just because my new girlfriend is the coach of the swim team.”

“First of all,” replied the father’s lawyer, “she won’t believe you.  Second, there is no record.  Third, I don’t try my case in letters.  And finally, I don’t know why, but my intuition and experience tell me to wait until I speak with opposing counsel.”

Five days later, the mother’s attorney called.  The mother was concerned that she had been left out of the decision making process.  She wanted to know how many lifeguards were on duty, their ages, and what training they had.  These were easy to provide and the problem was solved. The father’s letter was put in the file and never sent.

 
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