Court results: you have less money, can't drive? - dismissed!

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From: John Murtari (
Date: Wed May 06 2009 - 14:57:10 EDT

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Good People & People of Faith:

Just a quick update on what happened in my local "Family" Court on
Monday (something many of you can probably relate to).  After months
of preparation and expense, the whole support modification proceeding
was over in less than 10 minutes. Support Magistrate Deborah Farber
dismissed the action for "failure to allege a change in circumstance
since the last order."


I felt the petition (above) laid out decreased income and changing
family obligations.  WHen allowed to speak I also mentioned the
reduced income and suspended license.  She acted in an impatient
manner and with some rudeness in her behavior.  I know I should
probably be used to it, but it came as a real surprise and
disappointment.  Our system at work....?

Upset at Support Magistrate Farber?  Yes, but is she a bad person?
No.  I've seen more rude & impolite treatment from other parents on
mailing lists.  Who ever reads everything?  You see someone is $99,000
behind in child support and been jailed twice -- well, if it
walks-like-a-duck and quacks-like-a-duck, it probably....

I'm sure she cares about parents and children and tries to be
objective (don't we all?).  It's a job where you deal with people and
everybody lies and exaggerates -- easy to have a bad day.  Too many
cases for the hours in a day, overworked and under appreciated -- just
like many of our jobs!

Simply too much power for one person to have over a Family.  No real
oversight, no quality control.  The solution:

What's next - paperwork? 
In New York State support actions are first heard by a Support
Magistrate, not an elected Judge.  I now have 30 days to file
"Objections" to the dismissal order.  These will be reviewed by a
Judge (it is much easier than an appeal).  Then, if the Judge sustains
the Support Magistrate's actions (which is usually a rubber stamp),
you can file a full appeal -- if you have the money, skill & time.

I will file the objection.  Why?  Because you have to try to the
extent you are able.  Nothing wrong with feelings of sadness &
despair, but to then act without hope can only make things worse.
Why?  It demonstrates a lack of Faith.

What's next - action?
I'm looking forward to six weeks of vacation with my son Domenic (16),
at the beginning of June (even if we do have to walk!).  But then
I certainly need to demonstrate action -- facing the indignity of not
even being able to drive a car added to that of not being presumed
a FIT & EQUAL parent.

Early August - I'm trying to make some plans for an "I LOVE YOU"
chalk-a-thon on the sidewalk outside the offices of my New York State
Assemblyman, Robert Oaks.  His office is right in Lyons, NY, and
within walking distance.

He has been reluctant to support any real family law reform issues.
I've addressed the problems caused by license suspensions with him and
his feelings were "that it is effective in bringing in support." As
human history shows, a lot of 'effective' methods were also gross
violations of human rights.  Certainly, segregation was a tried & true
'effective' method of keeping social harmony...   

Mr. Oaks is a very nice man and usually has time to talk.  But he
isn't seeing any large public clamor for change.  By our actions we
need to show the depth of our beliefs and generate positive
publicity... http://www.AKidsRight.Org/civil.htm

                                       John Murtari
Coordinator                            AKidsRight.Org
jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org                "A Kid's Right to BOTH parents"
Toll Free (877) 635-1968(x-211)        http://www.AKidsRight.Org/
A Kid's Right to Both Parents!
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