fathers' rights Archives - Page 5 of 7 - Cordell & Cordell

Children located after allegedly kidnapped by mother

Children who were allegedly kidnapped from Los Angeles County four years ago by their mother, in violation of a child custody agreement, have been found in Mexico, Fox News reports.

The three children are the grandchildren of Rep. Gary Miller of California.

According to the news source, Jennifer Lopez DeJongh allegedly fled with her three sons, violating an agreement for child custody with ex-husband Brian Miller. The kids were found in Tijuana, Mexico, and transferred to U.S. authorities. Soon, the 12-year-old and his 10-year-old twin brothers will be reunited with their family.

DeJongh and her husband, George DeJongh, were arrested and the mother is currently being held on $500,000 bail. She faces up to three years in prison for the charge of child custody deprivation.

The Los Angeles Times reports that DeJongh and Miller were in a battle over custodial rights regarding medical and educational decisions before the alleged kidnapping.

Rep. Gary Miller thanked everyone involved with returning his grandchildren, stating that he would like to express “my deep appreciation for all of my colleagues, friends and constituents who have given my family their support and their prayers during this extremely difficult time.”

Film focuses on fathers struggles for custody

A new film depicting the world of divorce, custody and child support from the perspective of fathers is drawing attention to an often ignored side of the story. The documentary, titled “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” made its theatrical debut recently in Washington, D.C.

The goal of the film maker, Janks Morton, was to tackle the issues found in family courts and to bring to light the plight of fathers in this scenario. The film follows five men through the system and shows the emotional toll and disparity between how fathers and mothers are viewed in family court.

According to Janice D’Arcy of the Washington Post, one particularly saddening story in the film is a man who was denied visitation and jailed because he was hospitalized, which made it difficult to pay child support. Before the hospitalization, his child support record was flawless.

“Millions of parents and children are directly impacted by court and agency rulings,” explained Michael McCormick, executive director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children. “The routine and unnecessary separation of children from a parent is creating a nation of fatherless kids.”

Following the premiere of the film, a discussion was held to address audience comments and questions about the subject matter.

Huffington Post: Cordell on Fathers Rights

As the newest columnist for the Huffington Post, Cordell & Cordell co-founder Joseph Cordell writes about the unfair uphill battle men and fathers must face in family courts around the nation.

The law is supposed to protect us and treat everyone equally, Cordell writes, yet family law seems to ignore this, thus causing fathers and men to spend more time, money, and effort just to try to get to a level playing field in a family law courtroom.

“In family law, more than any other area of the law, judges have a huge amount of discretion allowing ample opportunity for biases that we all as human beings have,” Cordell writes. “One purpose of the law is to protect us from those leanings of individual judges, but once you give a judge such a wide range of discretion and decision-making then it invites that sort of bias.”

Of course, historically, the bias has worked against men. Cordell does admit there has been progress in the family law system overcoming its gender bias.

“But in order to be truly fair to both parties, courts need to be completely gender blind, which is simply not the case,” he writes.

Read the full Huffington Post article “Is The Playing Field Level For Men In The Family Court System?

Fathers rights documentary premiering this month

Filmmaker Janks Morton explores the complicated and sometimes controversial issues surrounding the U.S. family court system in a new documentary set to make its debut on July 26 in Washington, D.C.

The film, titled “Guilty Until Proven Innocent,” discusses how millions of people are influenced by what it says is the family courts’ often unnecessary decision to separate children from their parents – fathers in particular. The film, according to a press release by the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, investigates how the “unnecessary separation of children from a parent is creating a nation of fatherless kids.”

There will be a discussion following the documentary’s premiere to address audience comments and offer research and other support to back up the “positive solutions” discussed in the film. The statement said the discussion will revolve around issues such as whether a couple should stay together for the sake of their kids and the way fathers really feel about their relationships with their children.

Mothers are granted primary custody in 70 percent of U.S. child custody cases. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that there are 3.4 divorces per 1,000 people.

Jailed dad had due process violated

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a South Carolina man who was sent to jail after he was unable to pay his child support was deprived of his 14th amendment right to due process, according to published reports.

South Carolina law allows law enforcement to jail individuals who do not pay child support without providing them legal counsel. The defendant, Michael Turner, was sentenced to up to 12 months in prison for being unable to meet his child support payment and state courts denied that Turner had a right to a court-appointed attorney even though his liberty was on the line.

However, Turner claims he was never told that his ability to pay child support was the reason for his legal woes and said authorities never provided him with financial disclosures forms or any other means to determine whether he could feasibly meet his child support payments. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that state officials must ensure that hearings are “fundamentally fair” to the person facing possible incarceration.

“Under these circumstances, Turner’s incarceration violated the Due Process Clause,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote.

In addition to South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Maine and Ohio also do not provide counsel for those too poor to afford legal assistance in child support cases.