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One Couple Talks About It  — their rights as parents


Thanks to ACFC for submitting this  Sun, 5 Jul 1998 letter by Robert and Marie Baker.

I am writing this letter to tell the country about a cruel injustice and blatant discrimination that is going on in the U. S. right now.

    My wife and I are both divorced with children from a previous marriage.  We have both been granted Joint Legal Custody of our children and are both named the Non-Custodial parent.  We are ordered by the court to pay child support every month, and the Custodial parent is ordered to allow visitation.

    Here is the injustice:

    If we fail to pay child support the custodial parent has a government agency to get the money for the parent with no out of pocket expenses.

     If we fail to return the children to the custodial parent at the end of the visitation I can be charged with kidnapping, which is a felony.

    However:

    If the custodial parent ignores the court order and refuses to allow visitation as ordered, we are forced to retain an attorney to have the case tried, which takes time and money.  The police department will not enforce the court order.  The courts require a petition filed (which can take months and be very expensive).  Social services will not help either.

     Furthermore, the most the custodial parent can be charged with is Contempt of Court, which is a misdemeanor.

     Where is the justice in this?  One parent has a government agency to protect them while the other parent has to retain an attorney, wait months, and hope to be granted a new court order, that the custodial parent can also ignore.

    Money due for child support can be collected any time, but the missed days of visitation can never be replaced.

    It is not just the parent that suffers either.  The child is robbed of time with their other natural parent, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings.  And the family members of the non-custodial parents suffer as well.

    Lately there has been a lot of talk about "Dead Beat Dads", but no talk about the other parent, the ones who love their children and cherish every moment they get to share with their kids.

    Even though we have Joint Legal Custody, we do not have joint legal rights or protection.  The current laws need to be updated so that the other parent gets the same protection from the government.

    We are urging everyone that has had a similar problem, known someone with this problem, or just thinks this is unjust, to write their congressman and senators demanding a change in the laws as well an agency for the protection of the other parent.  In all fairness we deserve the same rights and protection the custodial parent has.

    You can also write us and we will forward your letters to congress and senate.

                          Webpage and other links:  http://members.bellatlantic.net/~rrrrbrt/

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See also: Family Law — Table of Contents

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Last updated:
1999 06 04
2001 01 25
2003 05 02 (added reference to Family Law — Table of Contents