Mr. Cordell spoke at length about how the system is punitive and leaves many fathers who are unable to pay child support, rather than unwilling, in a difficult position. [Read more…]
MensHealth.com examined “The Custody Bias” and, with the help of Cordell & Cordell Principal Partner Joseph Cordell, answered the questions: Is the justice system unfair to fathers seeking child custody? And what can dads do to keep their kids?
Mr. Cordell advises any man in a rocky marriage to take a critical look inward before the divorce papers arrive. Have you started drinking more than you should? Are you attending PTA meetings and doctor appointments?
“Somebody is going to talk about the fact that you weren’t there and your wife was,” Cordell told MensHealth.com. Prepare, and be honest, so you won’t be caught off guard. “Divorce is an ugly thing. That’s why you don’t want to go there unless you have to.”
Read the Men’s Health article on “The Custody Bias.”
A member of Fathers and Families (F & F) blasted the family law system that exists in Oklahoma, noting that it is unfair and often separates children from the fathers who they love and need, according to an article from the organization.
Fathers and Families reported that Chris Gregory, a member of F & F and former Marine, told an Oklahoma House of Representatives committee that the family law system in the state was unfair and rife with injustices.
The Oklahoma House of Representatives has previously conducted a study on family law in the state and the findings were seen to show a need for new legislation to be passed, the news source reported.
A release from the Oklahoma State Legislature noted that lawmakers may consider implementing a “no-fault” divorce statute and revising the laws in order to protect the children within the state.
“There is very little in the divorce process that is even remotely connected to the interest of the children,” State Representative Mark McCullough said in the release.
According to Fathers and Families, a specific case concerning Gregory raised concerns of injustice in the system, as the Oklahoma resident was left with only $26,688 out of his $125,000 salary following payments to his wife and court taxes.
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell left a lasting legacy upon his exit from office, as the politician reformed the state’s child custody laws, according to the Centre Daily Times.
The new laws have led to four major changes in the state’s handling of parents, children and custody. While the legislation has increased the level of protection for kids due to more stringent rules regarding past convictions and drug use, the main change has to deal with the gender of parents, the news source reported.
According to the Times, the new laws make gender neutrality in custody cases official. In a dispute between two parents, the rules direct that there should be no presumption that full rights will be given to a particular individual.
Judges in the state are not allowed to give any preference to a parent’s gender when they are deciding a custody order, the news source reported.
In 2007 alone, the Office of Child Support Enforcement collected up to $25 billion in payments associated with child support cases, and established more than 1.2 million new orders for parents and children, according to the Administration for Children and Families.
Fathers and Families, a Boston-based fathers’ rights group, has lost its legal challenge against Massachusetts child support guidelines enacted in 2009, the Boston Globe reports. The Supreme Judicial Court unanimously upheld Massachusetts’ existing child support laws.
The organization argued that the state’s rules were enacted unlawfully, are unfair to fathers and may cause harm to parents making support payments.
The lawyer representing Fathers and Families told the court that the new guidelines were approved in a manner that was illegal and unconstitutional, because a judiciary made the final decision, not the legislature. However, the attorney representing the judge and the state’s court system explained that the legislature gave the power to amend child support guidelines to the top administrative judge in 1986.
Still, the advocacy group stated that it believes parents can end up paying excessive child support for children from a first marriage, leaving the spawn of subsequent marriages without basic needs due to lack of funds.
According to the Boston Herald, Fathers and Families has not given up the fight.
“We’re in this for the long haul,” Ned Holstein, founder and chairman of the organization told the publication. “The family courts have been hurting children’s lives for several decades.”