Florida Makes False Abuse Allegations a Felony 1998 07 02
On Mon, 29 Jun 1998, NCPRC wrote:
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.
Subject: 911: Child Support Table Update
Date: Fri, 03 Jul 98 16:04:59 -0500
From: "usher" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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)
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:
A PARENT HAS A LEGAL RIGHT TO KNOW A CHILD'S LOCATION
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 <email@example.com>
SCOFFLAW PARENTS GET A BREAK
(FROM THE ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS, SATURDAY, AUG 16TH, 1997)
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.
MAN FREED FROM JAIL FOR NON-PAYMENT
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
firstname.lastname@example.org (Sharon Molloy) wrote:
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 1998 22:50:54 -0600 (MDT)
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 ASSOCIATED PRESS
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)
Thanks to Jay Todd for sending us the following.
1909 law forces man to pay support for child he didn't father
1909 law forces man to pay support for child he didn't father
Crawford County man turns to state Legislature for help
By JIM MARTIN
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" <email@example.com>
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"
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.
Subject: ACFC: For Folks in the Military
Date: Sat, 25 Jul 1998 23:45:31 -0600 (MDT)
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
Mark H. Olanoff, B.A. Kristen L. Pugh John J. Daly
CMSgt, USAF (Ret) TREA Lobbyist Legislative Correspondent
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 SEEKS STORIES OF THOSE AFFECTED BY THE UNIFORMED SERVICES FORMER SPOUSE PROTECTION ACT
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" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
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.''