Why do we continue to allow the denial of parental rights on a routine basis, without cause, and contrary to the U.S. Constitution? The problem lies in acceptance of the system by those of us within the system believing it has authority over our parental rights and decision making. As a movement we need to understand the unconstitutional nature of these government actions against parents. Unless you abandon, abuse, or neglect your child the removal of your rights is unconstitutional. Unless you abandon or neglect your child financially then child support (actually a child excise tax) is unconstitutional. Any process that does NOT take into account you have not abandoned or neglected your child is a violation of your parental rights.
It seems to me that the beauty of the Declaration of Independence was that one need not be some legal scholar or person of high learning to understand it. Simply, we all individually have unalienable God given rights which the government can NOT remove. Life, liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, is mine to define and pursue how I see fit. It is tyranny when government controls my life and restricts my liberty and in so doing removes my pursuit of happiness and violates my God given rights. All men are created equal, we all have equal protection under the law (14th Amendment).
Parental rights are a fundamental right and the state must apply strict scrutiny to interfere with them and child custody shall not be removed without clear and convincing evidence of abuse and/or neglect. As a parent I, as the vast majority of parents do, placed the health and welfare of my children above even my own. A standard I believed to be well above the threshold of a clear and convincing showing of abuse and neglect which should keep me free from government intervention. And should allegations to the contrary be made I certainly expected to be given due process prior to removal of my parental rights for easily no cause to do so existed. I was wrong, so terribly, terribly, wrong.
The decision to remove my children from my care and custody and to garnish a large percentage of my income for “child support” was all against my wishes and more importantly, all without cause. I stood ready to exercise care and custody of my children and to provide for them financially, and absent abuse, neglect, or abandonment the courts had no clear and convincing evidence to interfere with my fundamental right of parenthood. Worse, I was DENIED due process of law and the strict scrutiny standard for state intervention was never met. I expect your case was exactly the same.
Make no mistake about it, the wholesale removal of parental rights without cause is the NUMBER ONE CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE OF THE 21ST CENTURY. The unconstitutional nature of this is made worse as all 3 branches of government at both the federal and state level operate in collusion to violate your rights. The entire Orwellian system is so lacking in common sense it is almost laughable were it not so tragic for men, women, children, families, and society. Many published legal argument exist for reform of the unconstitutional system (see Parental Rights and Due Process by Donald C. Hubin as an example) and books have been written about the injustices (see The New Politics of Sex by Stephen Baskerville as an example). Yet many, if not most, of those negatively impacted still do not fully understand the violation of their basic rights.
Understanding that men are disposed to suffer abuses before acting on them, we suffer a long train of abuses of our parental rights here which forces us to recognize that government regulates the family not in the interest of the family but in the interest of government itself, a series of bureaucratic despots removing life, liberty, due process and happiness at every turn. With 40% of children disenfranchised from their fathers and living absent them one wonders how long before parents throw off this absolute tyranny? Do we accept that the nanny/daddy state is superior to families and fathers to raise children?
I ask, can the court award me air? I have this right to breathe, as all do, and need no court to award it to me. Yet when I stood in court with an equal parent the court “awards custody to the mother” which she already had in concert with me. And so in fact it was government double speak for what the court was really saying is that I was denied my parental right to the care and custody of my children. There was no equal or equitable distribution of both parents rights. I was made a “Non Custodial” Parent and removed from my children. What ludicrous government double speak is next, an award of air to another which deprives me of life?
I had a 15 year history of providing for my children financially and there was no evidence presented to indicate that I would not do so in the future. Yet without a showing of neglect or abandonment, nor with a showing of need on the part of the children, I was assessed an excise tax. It was a percentage of income based upon the number of children (48% of my gross salary), income transferred from my control to the other parent. Apparently I was adjudicated a pre-crime sentence with no showing of cause to prevent a future neglect or abandonment which might occur.
Even though matrimonial matters and child welfare are rights reserved to the states the federal government operates a system of financial incentives to create single parent homes. The Constitutionally illegal Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (USOCSE) was created to collect “child support” as reimbursement for welfare benefits paid out and to be returned to government coffers, in other words an excise tax on non residential fathers of mothers choosing to receive public assistance. A “non custodial” parent is necessary for a child support order which the state needs to receive federal reimbursements and as such the state has a perverse incentive to keep parents apart, or to break up existing marriages.
The USOCSE bureaucracy feeds a State Office of Child Support (S-OCSE) which also serves to maintain proper accounting to maximize collections from the federal government. Another incentive to the states is the collection of “child support arrears”. Thus the state has an interest in setting the child excise tax as high as it can to ensure arrears occur. Temporary orders of support are often set below the standards, with the bureaucracy working months before a final order is entered, ensuring that there will be arrears right from the get go. And payers will be forced to pay at the rate set, any change in job is considered a “voluntary reduction in income” and ludicrously, even incarceration is considered a “voluntary reduction” with the arrears building.
Married parents present a problem as it is built in shared parenting arrangements, no orders to add to incentive payments. So enter “no fault divorce” to provide incentives to break families apart. Unilateral divorces of convenience, “we grew apart”, are now common. An 85% mother custody rate and the resulting child support income transfer fuels the filings, about 50% of all marriages. Combined with out of wedlock births, the system has steady continuous supply of “clients”.
State family courts have no legal restriction to not award shared parenting but this would minimize federal reimbursements so it is not done. Ironically, in arguing against shared parenting the NYS Bar Association stated that it would “limit judicial discretion” this in spite of the system referring to the every other weekend of visitation and one mid week 4 hour visit by “Non Custodial” Parents as “the standard NY order”. These court of equity (and not law) are designed to work “in the best interest of the child”, yet never does a court go on the record to explain exactly how “the standard NY order” is in the interest of a child.
The greatest shame within the system, over and above the violation of parental rights, is that the system which is supposed to protect children from harm is putting them in harms way. The volume of evidence to support positive outcomes for children with two active and involved parents is overwhelming. Societally, support for shared parenting is well over 80% among the population, liberal, libertarian, and conservative alike. In spite of this, state legislatures fail to act to reform the system. The courts continue to order parents and children apart. Executive Agencies continue to plunder parents assets. All under the guise of doing good, ‘in the best interest of the children”.
While often portrayed as a conservative v. liberal issue, or a man v. woman issue, the rightful point of blame is with an overbearing intrusive government which has overstepped its Constitutional authority and violates individual God given rights. Many celebrate July 4 and recognize this National Day of Independence as freeing us from tyranny. But for us beat dead with no due process, dead broke for payment of child excise taxes, abused by a tyrannical omnipotent morally superior government, disenfranchised parents there is no freedom or justice.
The yoke of unjust bureaucratic despots is the same as the yoke of unjust kings. I encourage all to call on the government to modify Ttile IVd SSA and to enact the Parental Rights and Responsibilities Act.
and most importantly…