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News Relating to Family Law

If you are interested in news items relating to daily and weekly summaries of US state and federal courts, refer to Courthouse News Service.
   Courthouse News Service is a news-wire for lawyers.  It is comprised of a network of correspondents who provide daily comprehensive reports on new appellate rulings, new legislation and new civil cases from the federal and state courts with the most prolific and weighty litigation.
    Most of the daily and weekly summaries of state and federal courts in many states appear to be free and there is no need to apply. (Thanks to Andrew Carlan)

See also: Family Law — Table of Contents

Index for news items of interest to pro-family activists (These are articles and news items that were sent to F4L or that F4L became aware of through other means)

Date Received

Home-school family unlawfully harassed by social worker 2008 11 18
Video on violent women 2008 10 20
The Henry-Report on Paternity Fraud 2007 08 27
 Court Nixes Jail For Deadbeat Dad

PIERRE (AP) -- A court order requiring a man to spend 10 days in jail every time he failed to pay monthly child support was unconstitutional because it amounted to criminal punishment imposed without a trial, the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled Thursday. In its unanimous opinion, the high court said a circuit judge must re-examine the case to determine the proper penalty for Ed Sazama, who was found to owe nearly $63,000 in support for two children. (Full Story — Requires to subscribe, but subscription is free)

2007 03 05
Australian government bureaucracy aids, abets and actively participates in child kidnapping

Two Australian children who had been kidnapped by their mother to Switzerland were found, institutionalized for a year, and then returned to Australia to be reunited with Russell Wood, their Australian father.  However, the Australian Department of Community Development (read "Department of Family and Community Destruction") then got the assistance of a family-court judge to have the children ordered returned to their kidnapper in Switzerland. (Full Story, from the 2006 08 24 Hansard of the Legislative Assembly of the Parliament of Western Australia)

2006 08 26
California: Alleged Dads Losing Right to Paternal DNA Testing on Sept 28 [2006]

"Once this law expires," according to Mr. Ackermann, "even if the alleged father discovers that paternity was established in error, he will still be 100% responsible for all child support. Ironically, the real father, who might even be living with the mother and child, would have no legal or financial responsibility whatsoever."  (Full story)

2006 08 08
An end to the secrecy in the family courts. 

The long-awaited view of reality is here:  On the balance of the evidence family court is guilty.  In family court there is no justice, and judicial advocacy and bias prevail.

  • In criminal court guilt is assigned when no reasonable doubt remains based on the evidence;
  • In civil court guilt is assigned on the probable balance of the evidence, and reasonable doubt does not come into the picture;
  • In family court the accused is assumed guilty regardless of the evidence; ideology, vested interests and judicial discretion rule, and inconvenient evidence can be capriciously disregarded, ignored or discarded at will by the judge. 

Read the objections by a father who is enmeshed in and being railroaded by the law of the family court jungle.  If you do, you will not know whether to laugh or to weep.  This father's account illustrates how greed triumphs over his rights, and how lies trump the truth.

2006 07 12
Family Violence in America
The Truth about Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

ACFC has just released this revealing report, authored by ACFC President Stephen Baskerville, PhD. Containing previously unpublished commentary and factually supported inescapable conclusions regarding family violence, public policy, and the politics surrounding these issues - readers will develop new insights and gain understanding of how the 'politics of family' influences every aspect of our society. (News Release; Full Report — 464kB PDF file)
2006 05 17
Supreme Court of Canada Judges, Index of Speeches
One of the most remarkable speeches of those is one by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, "UNWRITTEN CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES: What is Going On?" (Dec. 1, 2005, NZ), in which she argues that the rights of judges must transcend common law, constitutions (it follows that that includes the supremacy of God) and parliamentary principles.
2006 05 12
California "Move Away" Bill Defeated By Massive Opposition, Men's News Daily, 2006 05 10 2006 05 11
Canada: An Analysis of Options for Changes in the Legal Regulation of Child Custody and Access PROVINCIAL AND TERRITORIAL LEGISLATION, by Department of Justice, Canada 2006 05 08
Child Support Gold-Diggers
Carey Roberts writes about paternity fraud, for example: "Consider the paternity scam. Here’s how it works: Find any dim-witted man to get you pregnant. Then look up the name of some unsuspecting Joe who’s got a steady job – it doesn’t matter that you never met the poor bloke. Put his name on the baby’s birth certificate.
   Now cross your fingers and hope the man is out of town when the sheriff delivers the papers. In California, such default judgments account for 70% of paternity decisions, according to a 2003 study by the Urban Institute. (Full story; off-site)
2006 04 07
Contrary to his own 2002 ruling, Judge Perkins now awards custody and child support to a mother who walked away from her family.  The judge ordered that sole custody - that had been in place for three years - be taken away from a Georgia man, awarding him standard visitation rights: one weekend every 14 days.  In the process the father has been ordered to pay more than double than what the mother had previously been ordered to pay but never did. (Full story) 2006 03 20
Child Support Relief — South Dakota Relents on Oppressive, Exploitative and Destructive Child Support Legislation 2005 01 22
Sir Geldof on Fathers Rights, U.K. Channel 4 - Tuesday 12th)
The Real Love That Dare Not Speak It's Name
2004 10 14
Will Some Reservists' Homecoming Be a Jail Cell?
Chicago Sun-Times (3/3/04).
2004 03 08
Judicial Accountability in New York State
The Albany TIMES UNION, Feb. 2002
2003 12 03
Quebec's Götterdämmerung
Quebec's justice minister Bellemare believes that a new child-support law he tabled will bring sufficient financial relief to second families to entice them to breed in numbers sufficient to avert Quebec's catastrophic decline in birth rates.
2003 11 09
Child Support and Alimony
Some [hair-raising] Case Law Examples
By Eeva Sodhi
2003 04 20
No breaks for non-custodial dads who are called up for service, put their lives and health on the line and receive large cuts in pay for the honour. 2003 04 04
Utah prepared to move to equally shared parenting after divorce 2003 03 07
Austria Launches Commission on the Status of Men
Program Outline for the Examination and Improvement of the Status of Men
2003 03 02
Tennessee: Equal Child Custody Bill Introduced to Legislature 2003 02 16
The right to be a parent
A letter to the US Attorney General Ashcroft
By Robert Palumbo, Psychologist
2003 02 05
Canada: Supreme Court Act
An act to amend the Supreme Court Act to restore law-making powers to Parliament
2003 02 04
Fatherlessness, in "the best interest of the child"
Does a child have the right to have its father in its life and to bond with him?
2003 02 02
There's no town 'square' here, man
By Colby Cosh, 2003 02 03, Report Newsmagazine
Judge: Right to an attorney a multiple choice.
It depends on "who" is speaking to the arresting officer at the time of an arrest. Equitable justice loses, and the criminal, a woman, wins.
2003 01 28
Tennessee: Supreme Court ruling on GALs
If an objection is raised in the trial court to the GAL's report, the report will be considered hearsay.  This ruling can be cited in any case nationwide....[There's an] even more important aspect to it.  It proves attorneys are not raising obvious points of law on behalf of fathers.
   It makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?  How come it took a shafted father acting pro se to find out? There's never been a single lawyer in all of the US who's ever made the point.
2003 01 12
Irreconcilable differences, by Joanne Byfield, 2003 01 06
A new lawsuit says the [Canadian] Divorce Act favours women and violates men's rights
2002 12 27
The Politics of Fatherhood, Stephen Baskerville, Ph.D., Howard University; peer-reviewed article in PS: Political Science and Politics, vol. 35, no. 4 (December 2002). 2002 11 26
An opportunity to sue the police?   Ontario court decides that it is time to provide for contingency fees for lawyers. 2002 09 15
Great news! New Hampshire's progressive FEMALE governor, Jeanne Shaheen signed into law to become effective July 1st, a bill authorizing a Commission on the Status of Men in New Hampshire.
   This is the first state commission of this sort in the nation!
Rationale for the new state commission
2002 05 21
Paternity fraud:  Should courts allow DNA testing ... in child-support cases? — Two articles in Insight Magazine, one arguing that we should be honest in the interest of justice, the other that we should lie in the interest of the State, the mothers and the children. 2002 05 06
Calling judges to account in Canada — Does it help to complain about what judges do? 2002 05 02
Georgia judge declares: Child Support Guidelines Are  Unconstitutional — ...a constitutionally sound standard for the determination of child support guidelines can readily be determined. ... [T]he Guidelines fail miserably in meeting these [constitutionally acceptable child support] standards. (2006 03 20 update) 2002 03 06
Judicial Accountability Within The State of New York 2002 02
Tennessee Shared Parenting Bill (HB2338 / SB2406)
Could Help Children, Reduce Divorce
2002 02 28
Georgia judge declares child support guidelines unconstitutional 2002 02 25
Canadian law-locator now on line.
2002 02 23
Paternity Fraud Bill (AB 2240) Introduced in California 2002 02 21
Massachusetts: Fathers Urge Resistance Movement in Response to New Child Support Guideline -- 'Refuse to Submit to Guideline Child Support,' say Advocates 2002 02 05
Colorado's latest shared parenting bill, House Bill 02-1190 2002 01 16
[US] Virginia Senate Joint Resolution No. 113 to establish marriage strengthening commission 2002 01 09
New Hampshire Bill attempts to put constraints on no-fault divorce 2001 10 20
New Hampshire: HB 1301 — No more no-fault divorce for parents with minor children (Your help is needed with this one) 2001 10 18
Winning Strategies against Paternity Fraud 2001 09 22
Missouri SB move-away bill killed 2001 08 13
Family Law and the Collapse of Culture, by Daniel Lee, 2001 07 24; Free Congress Online 2001 07 25
Missouri: SB 551 moveaway bill killed 2001 04 13
Bankruptcy for divorced fathers in the US to be ruled out if the National Organization for Women, other radical feminist (more accurately called redfem) organizations and Senator Wellstone have their way. 2001 03 06
Ohio joins Colorado, Iowa and Louisiana in producing a law that permits falsely alleged fathers to shed their child support burden and to have their child support arrears cancelled. 2001 03 06
US: Use of SSN on Licenses Illegal 2001 02 19
California: Bills to instruct children in "Gay Tolerance" to become law 2000 01 01. 
Pacific Justice Institute fights back with  Opt Out Form for parents
See also WORLDNETDAILY exclusive
2000 12 30
Family information releases 2000 12 28
Ontario, Canada: No more time limits to launch persecution of men 2000 12 12
The Charter Revolution & The Court Party (A history of how Canada's jurisprudence got made over in Her image.)  Book review 2000 11 09
US - Virginia: Mommies don't have to obey court orders VA Court of Appeal condones willful lawlessness 2000 10 28
Child Support Reviews in US — Capability to pay, now subject to mandatory review by states every three years 2000 10 22
Reno calls for tougher hate crimes law 2000 10 20
Truly shared parenting in Oklahoma 2000 09 08
Due process of law upheld in favour of alleged  fathers in two CS arrears claims by State of Alaska 2000 08 31
Major Breakthrough for Parents in the European Human Rights Court
Access denial is unlawful, but not discriminatory if a father experiences it.  Nevertheless, pecuniary damages and costs were awarded.
2000 07 14
Breakthrough for parental right to access to children 2000 06 14
(USA) Important Federal Law Suit by the Fatherhood Coalition, against Trial Court Judges of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts 2000 01 03
(USA) Courts Uphold Criminal Penalties for the Failure to Pay Child Support 2000 01 02
Child Support is Unconstitutional for Adult Children in Oregon 1999 07 04
Child Support Statute Declared Unconstitutional in California 1999 07 03
Justice Canada's Child Support Team 1999 06 05
False DV affidavit, Lawyer jailed 1999 05 10
Shared parenting after divorce to become law in Canada 1999 05 07
Paul Laird wins $150,000 in punitive damages from DCSE 1999 03 01
Paul Laird wins child support case 1999 02 21
No justice yet in Alberta for divorced and separated dads 1998 10 19
No Undue Hardship in False Abuse Allegations! 1998 10 15
Does DCSE help enforce visitation? 1998 10 07
Vermont Supreme Court Ruling on Parental Alienation 1998 10 04
Alberta Justice Committee — Presentations 1998 09 16
A Couple Talks About It — Their Rights as Parents 1998 07 05
PD Story on Parenting Time Credits 1998 07 29
For Folks in the Military -(old news after July 31, 1998, but still of interest) 1998 07 24
New Missouri Support Table sham !! 1998 07 20
Man forced to pay CS for Child not his own 1998 07 19
Court backs child support injunction 1998 07 14
Jail for CS defaults illegal 1998 07 11
SCOFFLAW PARENTS GET A BREAK, with driver's license suspensions 1998 07 11
Your Children Went Missing? 
[US] Gov't Must Locate Your Kids For You!!
1998 07 06
911: Child Support Table Update 1998 07 03
Florida Makes False Abuse Allegations a Felony  1998 07 02
Messages by Gene Colman, a family lawyer helping fathers 1998 06 24
Law-lists accessible on the Net 1997 08
Parents' [US] Constitutional Rights 1998 03

Florida Makes False Abuse Allegations a Felony 1998 07 02

On Mon, 29 Jun 1998, NCPRC wrote:

SB 1024

Well, after about 10 *long* years of fighting for harsher penalties against false accusers, it seems that the hard work has FINALLY paid off. Got a call from CH.28-TV Tampa News today and they're interviewing me tomorrow about SB 1024 (Sponsored by Tampas own Jim Hargrett, the same Senator who sponsored *The Spanking Bill*).

SB 1024 became law without the Governors Signature. It will become officially Wednesday July 1st Florida Statute Chapter 98-111.

The law will

  • Increase malicious reports of abuse from a 2nd degree  misdemeanor to 3rd degree felony (I asked for that 7 years ago).

  • Allow those falsely accused civil remedies.

  • Require Floridas Dept. of Law Enforcement to thoroughly investigate the cases and exercise their subjective discretion.

  • Mandates that DCFS notify FDLE with the name(s) of the accusers.

  • Mandates DCFS report to the Legislature annually how many *false* reports were *turned over* to the FDLE for investigation purposes.

Dean Tong

Subject:     911: Child Support Table Update
   Date:          Fri, 03 Jul 98 16:04:59 -0500
   From:         "usher" <usher@mvp.net>


The latest revised support table parenting time credits are theoretically finalized, and have been quietly released by the Supreme Court to a few insiders to see what the kickback is.  It looks like a winner, but there is no guarantee.  The court is under heavy pressure now to resolve the issue because many folks are delaying their hearings, and this is plugging up the courts big time.

I am told that the new table should be in effect by the end of August.  Do not count on this, though, because major complaints from the other side could put everything back up in the air again.

I estimate about an 80% chance that they will go with this new plan.

Here the basic elements, as told to me on the phone.

  • Parenting time credits are discretionary - (unvisibly based on need of the mother).  This is a very bad thing - courts will continue to pretend they are the welfare state, and that every family must live at a womb-to-tomb standard of living.

  • Credit for 10% of parenting time would be 6% of total support obligation, with graduations up to a 35% credit against a 50/50 plan.  Credit for 25% (most of you) would be at 20%


Giving parenting time credits runs the risk of folks demanding maintenance (becuase they 'need' it)  This is bad because it makes for more litigation.  Once a history of maintenance is established, she can come back on you until the day she dies for more and more.  The good thing is that at least you get a tax credit for being screwed.

The discretionary part is an invitation for welfare-state courtroom antics and more litigation.  this is a bad thing.

However, this still represents an improvement where 100% of the people were screwed 100% of the time.  We should view it as such, and plan on mounting a very serious campaign when reviews come up next time to get rid of the discretionary part.

I will let everyone know the minute this gets approved.

#       ACFC Missouri Coalition Website

Subject:   ACFC: [US] Gov't Must Locate Your Kids For You
   Date:     Mon, 6 Jul 1998 01:28:35 -0600 (MDT)
   From:   acfc-l@usa.net

Thanks to Mens Hot Line for sending us the following.



With the passage of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, states are required to use the Federal Parent Locator to find children for fathers and mothers who cannot find their children to exercise or establish "visitation."  A 1997 MHN survey of state compliance found some states refusing to comply (Minnesota, Texas, Utah) and others that avoided the question or stated that they had not yet (one year following passage of the law) determined what procedures they would establish (Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Washington state, West Virginia.  Still others, including Maryland (mentioned in the accompanying letter) refused to respond to either a 1st or 2nd request.  A follow-up request was sent just prior to the publication of this letter.

The results of the completed survey will be published on the MHN web site in August 1998 at:  http://www.menshealthnetwork.org .

Telephone numbers for taking the first step in accessing each state's PLS will also be posted on that site.


Washington Times - July 3, 1988 Page A-16

The front page of the Washington Times, on Fathers Day, featured a story about a black, non-custodial father who hasn't seen his children in over a year because the custodial mother disappeared, in order to deny the father his court ordered visitation.

The Maryland Office of Child Support Enforcement said they were not allowed to tell the father the whereabouts of his children, even though they knew where his children were... and were  forwarding the $640/mo, child support payments he faithfully paid, to the kidnapping mom.

But they are wrong. Not only are they allowed to tell, they are required under federal law, to disclose the location "for the purposes of establishing or enforcing visitation rights."

Congressman Clay E. Shaw, Jr. (R-FL) Chairman of the Human Resources Subcommittee, Committee on Ways and Means, United States House of Representatives, wrote the following letter which appeared Friday, July 3, 1998 on page A-16 of the Washington Times:


Your Father's Day story "These Dads See Need For Role in Rearing Children," prompted me to write. The story tells of the difficulty a divorced Maryland father, Virgil T. Chase, is having getting cooperation from government officials in locating his children.

As chairman of the House subcommittee with jurisdiction over the child-support program, I want your readers to know that federal law requires both state governments and local courts, under most circumstances, to help a father in Mr. Chase's situation. More specifically, federal law requires states to provide information on the location of children who do not live with their children.

In order to protect against cases in which domestic violence is a potential issue, the information is provided by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to the local court responsible for the case. If the information has been requested by an authorized person, such as the father's lawyer, and if the court is not aware of evidence of domestic violence, the state must provide, and the local court must share information on the location of children with the nonresident parent.

The federal statute, which was put in place by the 1996 welfare reform law and modified slightly in 1997 legislation, is based on a simple principal: Children need love, involvement and money from both parents.

Congress has created a strong child-support program designed to ensure that parents who do not live with their children provide financial support. Although the child support program leaves most issues concerning custody and visitation to the state, the federal government does insist that information on the location of children be made available to nonresident parents such as Mr. Chase.

E. Clay Shay, Jr.
Chairman Human Respurces Subcommittee
Committee on Ways and Means
U.S. House of Representatives

[What good is a law, no matter how well-intended, if it has no teeth? --WHS]
#       ACFC Missouri Coalition Website

Subject: [MENTION] USA Judge says license suspension law unconstitutional
Date:     Sun, 12 Jul 1998 21:38:59 +1000
From:    Lindsay Jackel <jackel@melbpc.org.au>


By Liz Ruskin
Daily News Reporter

A Superior Court Judge has declared unconstitutional a law that requires the state to suspend the driver's licenses of parents who failed to pay Child Support.

"The threat of license suspension was intended to coerce payment by the most recalcitrant of parents - deadbeat dads and moms who take extraordinary measures to avoid supporting their children," Judge Dan Hensley wrote in a decision issued last week. "However..endorsement of the statute has also had less beneficial effects, including results which are contrary to the intent of the statute."

Among the problems he cites: the law doesn't distinguish between people who refuse to pay and people who are truly unable to pay, it prohibits the court from considering a parents extenuating circumstances, it doesn't allow the parent a trial, and it doesn't extend to the parents who are behind in their child support but who are not part of the Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) caseload.

"In some cases, the statute requires the suspension of drivers licenses of parents who currently have custody of and are supporting their children, making their job even more difficult than it already is," he wrote.  John Mallonee, acting director of CSED, said the division and the attorney general's office are still reviewing the decision. They haven't decided yet whether to appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court.

No driver's licenses have been suspended yet, he said, but 11,000 parents got letters this year warning them that their licenses are in jeopardy.

Hensley's decision arose out of the case of Paul Beans, a Mountain Village father who has worked intermittently as a taxi driver and commercial fisherman. He was ordered in 1991 to pay $845 a month in child support and by this year was more than $50,000 behind. He filed a legal challenge, as did other parents.  The judge put some 20 other cases on hold pending a decision in the Beans case.

Assistant attorney general Terisia Chleborad said it's unclear whether Hensley's decision extends to all parents in jeopardy of loosing their licenses.

The child support division says the law isn't overly harsh because it puts the debtors in control. They can avoid a license suspension by either paying up or negotiation a payment agreement with CSED, the division argued.

In fact, since filing the legal challenge, Beans negotiated a payment agreement with the division. Hensley decided the case anyway, saying it raises questions of public importance that are likely to recur.  The state can also take away occupational licenses from parents who owe back child support. That law is different because it allows parents to keep their licenses it they can demonstrate they are making the "best efforts possible under the ... circumstances."

"The court recognizes that collection of child support, especially f[ro]m some classes of obligators, is a difficult task requiring imaginative solutions," he said in his decision. "The decision chosen by the Legislature here might be considered reasonable if applied solely to those obligators who fail even to try to support their children, or who actively avoid collection."

Sen. Lyda Green, R-Wasilla, said the Legislature passed the law in large part to comply with changing guidelines of the federal government. She and other legislators are willing to add flexibility to the stature, she said.

"Accommodating language would not be that hared to work on," she said Friday.

Without a license revocation law, though, the state risks losing as much as $14 million in federal funds, Mallonee of the CSED said.  

(POSTED 8-24-97)

A decision in CA annulled an order which jailed a father for failure to pay child support citing, inter- alia, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude! "No indebtedness warrants the suspension of the right to be free from compulsory service."

Some of the language from that decision follows:

The basis for these holdings, as Jennings explains, is the constitutional prohibition against involuntary servitude, as contained in the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and paralleled in Article I, section 6 of the state Constitution. The court also pointed out that the United States Supreme Court, discussing the Antipeonage Act (implementing the Thirteenth Amendment under the enabling language of the Amendment; see now 18 U.S.C.A. Section(s) 1581, 42 U.S.C.A. Section(s) 1994)

. . .Congress has put it beyond debate that no indebtedness warrants a suspension of the right to be free from compulsory service. This congressional policy means that no state can make the quitting of work any component of a crime, or make criminal sanctions available for holding unwilling persons to labor." (Pollock v. Williams (1944) 322 U.S. 4, 18.)

On 13 Jul 1998 03:11:08 GMT, in alt.dads-rights.unmoderated
an433@chebucto.ns.ca (Sharon Molloy) wrote:

Date: Tue, 7 Jul 1998 22:50:54 -0600 (MDT)
From: acfc-l@usa.net
To: unlisted-recipients:  ;
Subject: ACFC: Court backs child support injunction

Thanks to Dianna Thompson for sending us the following.



Court backs child support injunction
July 7, 1998

By Jennifer Bundy

The Supreme Court has barred state child support officials from taking income from one parent to pay back child support until a court rules the parent is indeed behind and by how much.

In an unanimous opinion issued Thursday, the court said a parent owing child support must be given the opportunity to have a court hearing to challenge back child support.

However, the court noted that state law treats current and future child support obligations differently than past due amounts. The Child Support Enforcement Division can authorize immediate wage withholding for current and future child support without a court hearing, even if the paying parent is not in arrears, the opinion said.

The opinion, written by Justice Elliott Maynard, upholds Cabell County Judge Alfred Ferguson's injunction barring the Child Support Enforcement Division from withholding a portion of Willis Layne Jr.'s disability payments from the Social Security Administration.

Layne and Valinda Sue McFeeley were divorced in Boyd County, Ky., in 1985. Their child, Jonathan Layne, now 20, is in the armed services so Layne no longer is paying child support, the opinion said.

McFeeley moved to West Virginia in 1995 and began to seek payments for what she said was $18,783 Layne owed her for back child support. Layne, an itinerant union ironworker, says he owes her nothing. He had a stroke in 1995 and has not been able to work since then.

"Layne must be given notice and an opportunity to be heard before his disability income can be attached for alleged child support arrearages," the court said.

The opinion did not say where Layne or McFeeley live. Layne's attorney and Child Support Enforcement Division attorneys did not immediately return telephone messages Monday.  

Children Need BOTH Parents!

The American Coalition for Fathers and Children


Additional information is located at:

Subject: 1909 law forces man to pay support for child he didn't father
Date:    Sun, 19 Jul 1998 21:43:11 -0600 (MDT)
From:   acfc-l@usa.net

Thanks to Jay Todd for sending us the following.



Erie Times

1909 law forces man to pay support for child he didn't father

Publication date:7-19-98

1909 law forces man to pay support for child he didn't father

Crawford County man turns to state Legislature for help


Staff writer

ATLANTIC Robert Amrhein says he wanted the child to be his. In fact, he wanted the boy badly enough to ignore all the signs to the contrary, even his wife's suggestion that he might not be his father.

But 14 months after his wife Carol brought home the baby boy named in Amrhein's honor, a DNA test proved he was not the biological father [that is: natural father]. A few months later, Amrhein walked away from his marriage and away from the toddler who will turn 4 in August.

Now, the 39-year-old Crawford County man says he wants to close this chapter in his life and to end the flow of monthly $425 support payments to the child he's seen only occasionally since.

According to court documents, DNA is on his side and so is Crawford County Common Pleas Judge Gordon Miller. But the law isn't.

In a ruling made in April 1997, Miller acknowledged that Amrhein, who lives in this small community about 15 miles southwest of Meadville, is not the child's father. The problem, according to Miller's five-page legal opinion, is that the presumption that the child belongs to Amrhein cannot be overcome by the use of a blood test because of laws that presume a husband to be the father of a child born to a married woman.

A similar reading of the law in a recent Erie County support case forced a man for years to pay support for a child he did not father, according to blood tests. In that case, in which the father's name was listed as "Mr. G" in court records, the father lost on appeal to state Superior Court.

The state Supreme Court then declined to hear an appeal, leaving the original ruling untouched. Erie County Judge Roger M. Fischer, relying on precedent, made the first ruling that said Mr. G had to make the payments.

Mr. G, however, no longer has to pay child support. His lawyer, Peter Bailey of Erie, said the child's mother earlier this year agreed to release Mr. G from his support obligations even though the courts had determined Mr. G had to pay.

"It was the irony of ironies," Bailey said. "The mom agreed he didn't have to pay support for the child."

In the Amrhein case, Judge Miller thinks the precedents on which he was forced to rely are faulty, calling them "contrary to common sense and strong scientific proof."

The judge wrote in his opinion: "Even though our appellate courts have concluded otherwise, we believe that the Legislature has already provided that blood tests can be used to overcome the presumption of legitimacy."

The ruling ends with more questions than answers. "How do we explain this to the child when readily acceptable scientific evidence proves that a boyfriend of the mother is the father of the child, but the law declares otherwise? Shouldn't the child know who his or her father is? Shouldn't the real father be accountable to pay support?"

Amrhein said he's baffled by a legal system that can use DNA evidence to convict people of crimes such as rape and murder, but can't be used to determine paternity in a situation when the mother is married.

After losing an appeal to the state Superior Court, Amrhein said he's turning to the state Legislature and the court of public opinion for help.

Amrhein has sought help from state Rep. Rod Wilt, R-17th, Greenville, who plans to introduce legislation that will address the problem.

"The court case the judges are citing as precedent has been around since 1909," Wilt said. "We would like to make a simple exception that basically permits DNA to be used to determine paternity even in the instance where the couple is married."

Wilt was among those who opposed House Bill 1412 that created new means of tracking down deadbeat dads.

"I don't think the state can have it both ways," Wilt said. "If they are going to do all these things to collect money, why don't we do something on the front end to see who the father is?"

Amrhein's estranged wife, who lives in Espyville, said she, too, wishes the man with whom she had an affair would accept responsibility for the child he fathered. "My gut tells me my son should know who his biological father [that is: natural fathers] is," she said.

To some extent, she even sympathizes with her husband's situation. "Yes, his rights were violated because he couldn't bring test in (to) evidence," she said.

Even if legislation does manage to sort out the legal and scientific issues of establishing fatherhood, Carol Amrhein, however, rejects her husband's contention that he has no moral obligation to her son.

They shared a home for 14 months, but Robert Amrhein said he sees the little boy only as a reminder of infidelity and a failed marriage. "I don't think I formed a bond with him," said Amrhein, a bus driver in the city of Pittsburgh, who was often away at work during his child's early days.

Carol Amrhein sees it differently. Not only was her husband there in the delivery room, but "he rode around in his truck for almost a month with a sign saying "It's a Boy," " she said.

Carol Amrhein said she admitted her affair from the outset and told her husband the child might not be his. "I'm not sure why he is trying to act like he didn't know," she said. "If you didn't want to get this far involved, why didn't you leave when I told you?"

Amrhein, who said he and his wife tried to conceive a child for much of their 15 years together, said he tried to pretend the child was his. "The relationship was rocky at best. I wanted a child so bad I wanted to believe he was mine," he said.

When it comes to the legal matter at hand, however, both sides seem to agree. The man who fathered Carol Amrhein's child should probably be paying for his support.

Carol Amrhein said she knows who he is, but can't compel him to take a paternity test because of the legal presumption that her husband is the child's father.

While the Amrheins remain separated, Robert Amrhein said he's engaged to be married and can't afford the more than $90,000 he will eventually pay out it if he continues current payments until the boy is 18.

What's more, he said, he has no desire to see the child who calls him Bob when they see one another from time to time.

"I'm happy. I have a good life," Robert Amrhein said. "I want to get on with my life."

Carol Amrhein said she depends heavily on the monthly checks to support her little boy, but she understands the position her estranged husband has taken.

"He has to do what he has to do," she said, "but there is a little boy who is going to be hurt by all this."

Subject: New [Missouri] Support Table sham !!
Date:          Mon, 20 Jul 98 20:22:32 -0500
From:          "usher" <usher@mvp.net>


Please review Marty Witbecks comments about the new support tables.  It is apparent that the Supreme Court is admitting the old support orders without maintenance do, in fact, contain hidden maintenance, which is of course a lie and tax scam.

It is a license to continue screwing all fathers subjected to past abuses of support law.

I find the new table completely unacceptable, and I believe this should be litigated, picketed, lettered, and leafleted until the esteem of the Bar and Supreme Court is so low that it cannot save its image without doing the right thing.

You may view the new table at:


Click on "Orders / Rules"

Dave Usher

Forwarded message:

I skimmed through sections of the new CS Mandate.  The percentages of credit for custody are much reduced from the April 1 Guideline.  However, there is a credit where there was none before.  Interesting to note there is a caveat that ties CS to alimony.    CAVEAT:  If the parent receiving child support under a decree or order entered before October 1, 1998, is not receiving modifiable maintenance, then no adjustment on this line 11 shall be awarded in any proceeding to modify an award of child support.

That means most people can not get the previously ordered CS amount reduced for times they have custody.

Other notable items in the new law are that several of the assumtions used to calculate the CS amount artificially increase the targeted tax.  For instance number one,    (1) There is no evidence that the expenditure patterns of parents in Missouri differ significantly from national estimates of child-rearing costs.

We know this statement is false.  The former director of MO DCSE made it clear to the CS committee that the cost of living in Missouri is substantially less than the rest of the country.  We don't know exactly how much but we know there is a significant difference.  Item number one also begs the question "Why do we care about expenditure patterns when CS is calculated based on a percent of income.  This CS calculation has nothing to do with expenditures what so ever.

Other assumptions they made seem to indicate they did not include certain items in the base CS table such as daycare.  Based on the amount of the underlying table daycare, extraordinary medical, and college expenses must already be included.  Why are these line item additions to the base amount?

We clearly have our work cut out for us.

Marty Witbeck

Subject:          ACFC: For Folks in the Military
Date:          Sat, 25 Jul 1998 23:45:31 -0600 (MDT)
From:          acfc-l@usa.net

Thanks to Jim S. for sending us the following.



For those Dads (and second wives) on the list who have had their military retirement or VA disability used to pay alimony, here's you chance to fight back.

July 24, 1998


 Compiled by:

 Mark H. Olanoff, B.A.             Kristen L. Pugh John J. Daly
 CMSgt, USAF (Ret)               TREA Lobbyist   Legislative Correspondent
 Legislative Director

         This week's TREA Legislative Update continues with the new format we will use  during the next few months to track the status of legislation which is  important to TREA  members.  As Congress works towards the completion of the budget process, the  Defense  Authorization Act and Appropriations Act include items which would be  significant victories for TREA's members.  There are also items, however, which were not  included this year but we intend to continue to fight for in the future.  



 TREA is asking for real situations that affect you and the current law.

 The current legislative status regarding House Resolution 2537, the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Equity Act of 1997, sponsored by Rep. Bob Stump (R-AZ), is that the legislation is still in committee.  Currently there are only 19 co-sponsors.  Please insure that you write, call and/or email your representative and  request they co-sponsor H.R. 2537. If you are affected by this legislation, we would like your name, retired  rank, VA  disability status, city/state and other facts (i.e. former spouse has  remarried; VA disability is being used to pay former spouse; former spouse makes more money, etc.  This information will be used to inform members of Congress on specific details of this inequity to retired military personnel.

 If you feel comfortable relating your story by return email that's ok, otherwise, give us a call at 1-800-554-8732.

 We need this information by Friday, July 31, 1998.

Subject: PD Story on Parenting Time Credits

"Leigh Joy Carson, a Clayton attorney who specializes in family law, worries that the new system will be abused.    Noncustodial parents may ask for more time with their children, even if they don't want them around, just to have lower child support payments, she said. "

[Well, Leigh Joy Carson, you sly devil!  You've got that exactly right!  It's good for the business to tell people that it is deplorable when non-custodial parents (mostly men, of course) do such things. It would never do to show the other side of the coin.  It isn't in the best interest of your business to point out that many custodial parents (mostly women, of course) did exactly that for for all of these years, for no other reason than monetary gains!
    We've got to preserve the status quo! There's money in them-thar mother-custody litigations. --WHS

Date:          Wed, 29 Jul 98 00:41:32 -0500
From:          "usher" <usher@mvp.net>

While the credit is too limited and mathematically deflated, it is a start in the right direction.  Thanks to Marty Witbeck and the many guys who helped all these years to make this first step possible.

Dave Usher
Missouri ACFC Coalition

Credit plan lets judges lower parents' child support bills

8:45 p.m., Monday, July 27, 1998

By William Bell
Of the Post-Dispatch

JEFFERSON CITY -- Missouri judges can now lower child support payments for the time noncustodial parents -- most of them dads -- spend with their children.

Under a new system recently approved by the state Supreme Court, noncustodial parents can also get credit for things such as daycare expenses, parochial school tuition and select hockey team costs.

Lori Levine, a Jefferson City attorney, said the expenses of noncustodial parents have been ignored for too long.  Food, clothing and entertainment costs add up.

"I think it's probably as close to reality as it ought to be,'' she said of the new system.

Not everyone is happy.

Leigh Joy Carson, a Clayton attorney who specializes in family law, worries that the new system will be abused.    Noncustodial parents may ask for more time with their children, even if they don't want them around, just to have lower child support payments, she said.

 At the center of the debate is Form 14, a piece of paper that looks like an income tax return. The state Supreme Court approved the new form on July 9, after rejecting earlier drafts. It will now be used with other documents as a rough guide to figure out child support payments.

The most controversial part of the new form is the idea of credits for the time spent with children. Under the new system, noncustodial  parents who keep their children overnight 92 to 109 times a year, for example, could get 10 percent off their child support payments.

The form takes effect Oct. 1. Until then, judges have the option of using the form in calculating support payments.

Carson said the system should favor custodial parents, who generally pick up extra expenses like Boys Life magazine or Girl Scout fees.

The basic child support rates are based on the expenses of intact families, Carson said, which she says makes the support payments too small.

The new system could hurt low-income parents, she said. "I think it's a bad deal for the custodial parent. For some of these people,  you're taking away $30 a month. It makes a big difference.''

Marty Witbeck, 35, of O'Fallon, Mo., said the courts should more carefully account for the child support costs in both homes and divide the money accordingly.

Witbeck is president of the St. Louis chapter of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children. He said the system is still slanted toward mothers.

The latest changes are "a step in the right direction -- a very small baby step,'' he said.

Mark H. Willenbrink, Warson Woods' police chief, said he and his second ex-wife worked out their child support arguments on their own. When his daughter from that marriage spends vacations with him, he does not pay child support.

"When you rely on the courts to straighten  out your situation, it's not going to work,'' he said.

While Willenbrink sympathized with so-called ``mad dad'' groups, he said mothers and fathers need to get past the need for revenge.

"They don't know what it does to the kids,'' he said.

David Collignon, who will teach classes on the changing system for the Missouri Bar Association, said the new form is an effort to make the system more understandable. Not everyone agrees that it has succeeded.

"We're catching a lot of heat,'' said Collignon, a family law attorney who used to practice in Clayton. Referring to Form 14, he added  "you damn near need a CPA to look at this thing.''

See also:

The Daycares Don't Care website contains a very large collection of information on the inherent problems with daycare.
   You may be interested in its section on the Communist/Socialist origins of the institution of daycare.


Updates as per dates on which news items are received
2002 02 10 (addded URL for Courthouse News Service)
2003 05 02 (added reference to Family Law — Table of Contents