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July 29th FEEDBACK, Civil Rights, Reform Goal & News from Colorado/California

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From: Webmaster (kids-right) (
Date: Wed Jul 17 2002 - 11:17:02 EDT

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Good People & People of Faith,

This message contains information on:
1. Civil Rights - two very compact lines which make it clear.
2. Reform Goal - can we be specific about what we want?
3. Recent News - somethings to think about (Colorado Sit-In & California)
4. Your FEEDBACK - to the NonViolent action planned July 29th.

1. Civil Rights - two very compact lines which make it clear
The following definition was submitted by Wilbur
( as part of some other feedback below.  It
captures the great injustice being done by our preset Family Law/Child
Abuse processing systems:

> Treat people as part of a group, and by definition you have to treat
> some people badly.  Treat everyone as an individual, and by
> definition, the entire group is treated well. [Thomas Szasz]

2. Reform Goal - can we be specific about what we want?
The following from Daniel Lee (, it attempts
to fill in some "details", similar to what we have done with a draft
Family Rights Acts (FRA), http://www.AKidsRight.Org/act.htm

One of the largest impediments to family law reform is a consensus has
yet to form around what exact goal we are trying to reach.  This lack
of direction is reflected in the use of vague terms such as; 'the best
interests of the child', 'joint custody', and 'shared parenting'.
These are undefined and mean different things to different people,
which leads to organizations working at cross-purposes with each
other, and is one of the reasons we have hundreds of small groups
nationwide instead of one big one.  Also they provide camouflage for
persons to say they are for reform, when they are actually working
against it.

We need to define our ultimate goal, and in so doing important legal
and practical concepts have to be understood.  Two people cannot be in
charge of the same thing at the same time, so to be workable 'joint
custody' and 'shared parenting' laws have a permanent decision maker
(custodial parent) designated.  This creates two classes of parents,
and allows the legal community to radically unbalance the burdens and
rewards of raising the child.  To prevent this, parents must kept in
one class.  This is done by the simple solution of alternating custody
between them on a multi-year schedule.  Inherent benefits are this
would end most child access problems, and resistance to reform of
other troubled areas of family law such as child support and domestic
violence would virtually disappear.

So parents both being custodians, but not at the same time, is an
intriguing goal to strive for.  It would allow for true equal
parenting, and go a long ways towards winding down the gender war that
has been going on.  Alternating custody describes our concept well,
but maybe someone can coin a better term?

There are three ways we are aware of to get alternating custody.
1. As a positive option to all parents in a state by amending your
custody statute.
2. Through a constitutional challenge.
3. In a single case via the CBI model parenting schedule.  Below are
notes on these three paths.

1. In Tennessee this year two groups worked at cross-purposes, one trying to
see enacted a 'rebuttable presumption of joint custody bill', the other an
alternating custody bill.  During testimony for joint custody it was stated
this term is undefined under Tennessee law, and the trial judge then has
discretion to create an outcome identical to sole custody.  Testimony on
alternating custody did not show it to be unworkable, and most statements
against it were nonsense such as it would force children to change schools
every 6 months.

Both bills had good legislative support, until members of the judicial
and executive branches rose up in opposition.  The joint custody bill
was voted down 5-5, and the alternating custody one rolled over to
next year.  If both groups would have got behind alternating custody,
it might be law in Tennessee right now.  This first in the nation bill
can be seen at:

2. Over the last century state supreme courts and the U.S. Supreme
Court have issued hundreds of rulings on the constitutionality of
state interference in the parent-child relationship in the context of
schooling, medical care, termination of parental rights, etc.  They
have released exactly zero rulings on the constitutionality of parent
v. parent custody practices.  That's a curious circumstance, and a
letter to your state's newspapers, family law legislators, and supreme
court justices asking them to explain why, will bring this legal
embarrassment to their attention.

In 2000 the United States Supreme Court struck down the forcing of a
parent to turn their child over to a grandparent for 2 days a month as
being too intrusive on constitutional grounds.  When contrasted with a
fit parent in a divorce or paternity action being restricted to 4 days
or less per month with their child and a permanent bar as decision
maker, there is no doubt this much greater intrusion is even further
outside of constitutional bounds.

Some persons unknowledgeable about constitutional law argue that the
state can properly intervene in the parent-child relationship when the
circumstance is parent v. parent, because the judge is only dividing
up their rights.  If they would have studied the Family Law Reference
CBI has had available for many months, they would know their position
is at odds with at least three ironclad constitutional law rules:

A) Any intrusion into fundamental parental rights requires the meeting
of the state''s compelling interest, which is typically described by
the term 'substantial harm', and is defined as harm to the level of
abuse statutes.  Even in contentious custody cases it is rare for a
child to be in harm to this level, so the state is barred from issuing
any orders.  Meeting the compelling interest is a mandate on judges,
and not an option.  Since this step alone shuts down the
divorce/custody industry, it is no surprise state supreme courts have
never ruled on it.  B) If the state gets around or ignores that
hurdle, any orders issued must still be as narrow as possible.  This
would limit the dividing of parental rights to having a substantially
equal outcome, which is an alternating custody arrangement.  C) On
equal protection grounds the state can't create separate classes of
persons unless there is no other option and circumstances require it.
Since the option is available to alternate custody, the state is
barred from creating the classes of permanent custodian and permanent
ncp.  See the words of the judges themselves from which this was
derived, and you may note in the introduction the first person ever to
get a constitutional case before the U.S. Supreme Court is credited
(Chuck from PACE):

3. To change your state's law a well-run group will need at least a
few years, and a constitutional challenge takes a knowledgeable and
gutsy attorney willing to take on the system, along with a parent
willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it.  So for
parents in an active case who need help now, we developed a parenting
schedule which can be simply handed to an attorney to see if the judge
will order it.  In it the child is with one parent for three days in a
week, and then the other for four.  This reverses yearly along with
the custodial status.  Even parents in conflict can use this because
the exchange can occur by one dropping off the children at school, and
the other picking them up when they get out.  See the schedule at:

Equal and alternating custody is good public policy, is probably the outcome
of a well-argued constitutional challenge, and provides a solid center of
gravity to form cooperative organizational building around.  Also this will
cause the fakes to identify themselves and depart, because they will never
support more than a token number of fathers as decision makers of their
children (or women as equal custodians), and peace between men and women.

Don't accept people telling you the way things are.  Be a visionary, and
unless a better concept is put forth, I urge you to adopt this as your
personal and organizational shared parenting goal.

Dan Lee

3. Recent News - somethings to think about.

==== From Lowell Jaks ( -- you can "beat" a dead horse.

Representative Cox, from California, has introduced a bill that would
make ncp's pay taxes on any child support they haven't paid, as if it
were income.  In addition, the custodial parent would be able to
deduct the amount they didn't receive, much as if it were an expense.

To paraphrase Stuart Miller concerning what this bill will mean:

"If an ncp makes $20K/yr and is $10K behind in support, he must pay
income tax based on $30K/yr every year until he is caught up or
dead. Also, now he can be put in prison for failure to pay taxes on
the child support he couldn't pay... after his occupational license,
driver's license, fishing license and hunting licenses were all taken
away for being poor in the first place!

[You can read the news release.  The extra "punishment" for deadbeats
is meant to "motivate" them to do better.  Unfortunately, many are
laboring under support orders that were issues without fair due
process and protection of rights.  One size fits all justice? - Ed]

==== From Mike Sandifer (

        Two items from Mike:

   We will be staging an old fashioned non-violent "sit in" in the
middle of a selected Judge's Courtroom to protest the corruption and
bias/predjudice experienced by NCP's and pro se litigants in Southern

   We are lining up legal counsel and a bail bondsman in case we are
arrested. We feel our local political group now has enough clout with
the local news media to get press coverage.

   Anyone in the Southern Colorado area of Colorado Springs, interested
in participated in the sit in, or providing moral support, please
contact me at this e-mail address and we'll keep you informed of the
date and time.


  Two important Civil Rights lawsuits have been filed in Colorado
State District Court in Denver.

   The first, 02CV4356, Muchnick v. State of Colorado seeks to have
the legal concept "best interest of the child" declared
unconstitutional.  The second, 02CV3778, Stillman v. State of
Colorado, seeks to have the Colorado Child Support law declared

   Both lawsuit filings can be viewed in their entirety off the web

4. Your FEEDBACK - to the action planned July 29th.
John Murtari (jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org) got several messages
(and a few folks interested in participating) to an event planned outside
the offices of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York

Your messages (with '>') along with some responses below, his original
message at http://www.AKidsRight.Org/archive/archive2002/0031.html

=====    Ben - - thanks!

> Amen John.  I appreciate you.

 Thanks for the message.  I hope this will help trigger public
awareness and change.

=====    Wilbur - - a BAD idea!

> Hillary, one of the primary parties who has created this mess?  I'm
> sorry that you can't understand that christian faith is the basis
> for the actions that we are suffering.  Jesus was a bastard,
> remember?  Check out how LITTLE Joseph is mentioned in the Bible,
> despite sitting there and being the father for the bastard child of
> God, Jesus.  We are simply implementing the Chrisian Faith in our
> society.  The CHURCH and the STATE are the only family permitted.
> Real family doesn't count.  But then how could the CHURCH and STATE
> continue to intrude in our lives if they didn't destroy the family?

> Treat people as part of a group, and by definition you have to treat
> some people badly.  Treat everyone as an individual, and by
> definition, the entire group is treated well.

 I like that last paragraph there!  You really hit something.   Regarding
the importance of Faith, I'd ask you read the book "Let the Trumpet Sound",
an excellent Bio on Martin Luther King.

===== Daniel Lee - ( -
time has come.

> Hello John, the protest in front of Sen. Clinton's office is making
> more sense as times goes on.  I guess you were ahead of your time.
> Will she be in her office July 29th?  Try to make sure she's there
> when you do the protest.

>  For your consideration, as you almost certainly won't be able to
> meet her yet, type up a letter to give to her staff, send to the
> media, and distribute over the Internet.  In this mention that the
> issue of family law reform is catching on nationwide, and give the
> example of the historic case in Tennessee where a unanimous
> appellate panel upheld BOTH parents having custody, in an equal and
> alternating schedule.

>  CBI has a large e-mail network, and we can help publicize the
> protest as well as your letter to her.

 We will see what happens.  We will be ending out some press
releases, etc.. as you say.  We already have quite a document history
with her staff not responding
(http://www.AKidsRight.Org/legislative.htm) so I don't feel "pushy" in
asking for a meeting with her.  The few times I have been in DC I
realized the Senators/Representative are VERY sensitive to their
constituents.  I have no doubt if I can get just two or three more
people with me, CLinton will meet with us -- the same for any other


> Wonderful!!!! Just Wonderful.  This was really moving and evey word
> was heart felt.  I will try to be there to support our cause.  I
> will get a group to pray for us that day.

 I think you know a lot of the history.  I hope you will be
able to be there.  If we can get just a few others I have no doubt we
will get a "real" meeting with Senator Clinton.  I will be keeping a
separate list for folks who might be there -- when you have a chance
please submit the registration form at

=====    Stan Posthumous - - can help.

> I would like to help Please call me when you have a moment.  You can
> read a little about my vocation at Take care --
> spend as much time talking with your child as you can.  It is
> through two people putting their perspectives together that they
> build understanding -- the dimension we call a relationship.

=====   Tanya - - about time.

>  It will definitely take a stand of parents... look at what immorale
> issues can be brought upon this great country just because some
> aethiest didn't want his child to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
> Anything can be accomplished if it is pursued with great conviction,
> such as you have been doing.

> It's about time someone is willing to stand up for something that
> actually means something.  I can't wait to see you on The O'Reilly
> Factor, or The Today Show, etc. once an awareness has been received
> by the people of your cause.

 Yes, I think you are right. Everyone is aware of this issue,
but the "monster" seems so big that no one thinks real change can
happen.  If a few folks will participate, we will be sure to get some
positive attention.

====    David - - money is needed.

>  What I would really like instead of reading a endless string of sad
> stories about the misery kids and dads suffer in divorce is for you
> to forward this email to the wealthiest members of your listserve.
> My plan is to obtain sufficient funding to create a federal
> political party then win the next election with a majority
> government and then force the necessary changes through.

 Sorry, we don't really have that info.  BUt I do agree with
what you say about taking political action.  Hopefully what happens on
the 29th will be a start and may trigger some of the donations

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