Generic Petition for Non-Custodial Parental Rights, Please print and mail to your public officials.

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Shane Pedersen

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Nov 21, 2011, 4:21:34 PM11/21/11
to Child Support Reform
Non-Custodial Parental Rights

I am writing to you to demand change on an epidemic that is destroying
families, fathers, and children right here in Country. Simply put, the
Family Court system as it now exists has stripped fathers of their
rights to be a part of their children's lives. Instead, fathers have
turned into financial pumps, living in constant fear of being dragged
back into court by their ex-wives and victimized yet again.

I could give you countless examples of fathers who have been
victimized. Im not referring to the deadbeat dad types who leave their
ex-wives and children living in the streets. I am talking about hard
working, tax paying, child-loving fathers who live for their children.
The ones who had their children stripped from them for the simple
reason of their ex-wife deciding that she just no longer wanted to be
married. The ones who are allowed to see their children for 4 days a
month. The ones who are allowed to see their children for a few weeks
over the summer. The ones who are required to pay astronomical amounts
of child support, often putting themselves in a situation where they
barely can afford to live. These are the fathers that are relying on
the judges, lawyers, and Legislators to help reform the system. This
system has created a society of fatherless children and childless
fathers. This system has created its own life through a judicial
system that exists on misery to feed itself.

This system violates their Constitutional Rights to Due process, Equal
Protection under the Laws, and Privacy.

I would like to call your attention to the February 25th, 2002 ruling
by C. Dane Perkins, Superior Court Judge of the Georgia Alapaha
Judicial Circuit. Judge Perkins declared the Georgia Child Support
Guidelines (which were adopted guidelines from Wisconsin which almost
all states use) void and unconstitutional in his ruling based on the
above Constitutional Violations.

Due Process
The United States Constitution provides that NO State may deprive any
person of life, liberty or poverty without due process of law. In
almost all states, presumptive child support awards rise as a share of
obligor (paying parent) income. NO child cost studies show child costs
rising as a share of after-tax income. ALL child cost studies show
child costs declining as a share of the after-tax income. In most
cases, especially in higher income situations, the presumptive child
support results in a significantly higher obligation than one bases on
actual child costs that decline as a share of net income. In Parrett
v. Parrett (1988, the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin), the court found
that, particularly in higher income situations, the presumptive child
support amount would result in a figure so far beyond the childs needs
as to be irrational. This is the very sort of result the Due Process
clauses are designed to prevent.

Equal Protection
The United States Constitution provides that NO State may deny to any
person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. The
court found that the egregiously different burdens placed on persons
similarly situated but for the award of custody, i.e., parents with
the obligation to support their child (ren) and the same means for
doing so as when they were married violates the guarantees of equal
protection.

Finding of Fact in the ruling further address this issue.

Tax Benefits
The court points out that custodial parents typically receive $200 to
$350 per month in extra after-tax income just for having custody.
These child-related tax benefits include Head of Household status,
Child exemptions, child credits, childcare credits, and Earned Income
credits. Wisconsin either does not include these credits in child
support calculations or they are grossly understated. The court found
that not sharing these child-related tax benefits violates equal
protection.

Financial Windfall
The presumptive child care award typically results in the custodial
parent receiving huge financial windfall (profit) well in excess of
childcare costs. For typical income situations, the custodial parent
ends up with a higher standard of living than the non-custodial
parent. This is the case even when the non-custodial parent earns
significantly more than the custodial parent. This represents an
extraordinary benefit for the custodial parent and an extraordinary
burden for the obligator. This violates equal protection. In addition,
when combined with the tax benefits discussed above, the outcome is
that the custodial parent does not contribute to the child costs at
the same rate the non-custodial parent and, often, not at all.

Hidden Alimony
The court found that, in essence, the child support obligation
amounted to hidden alimony. These hidden alimony amounts were so
excessive that a non-custodial parent is oftentimes unable to provide
for the child (ren) when in the non-custodial parents care to the same
extent as in the custodial parents household. Presumptive awards have
been shown to typically exceed total actual costs according to the
U.S. Department of Agriculture. This violates equal protection
standards for both the child and the non-custodial parent. In
addition, this bias towards hidden alimony exists even when the
custodial parent earns substantially higher income than the non-
custodial parent.

Low Income below Poverty Line
The presumptive award for low-income obligators (minimum wage workers)
pushes them below the poverty line. An award that leaves the obligator
with less income than needed for basic needs creates an extraordinary
burden. This violates equal protection.

Privacy
The source of the right to privacy has been held to originate in
varying constitutional provisions. However, it has been long
recognized to apply to family concerns whether the family exists
within the confines of marriage or not. (Eisenstadt v. Baird (1973)).
The court found that by requiring the non-custodial parent to pay an
amount in excess of those required to meet the child (rens) basic
needs...(the child support amount) impermissibly interfere(s) with
parental decisions regarding financial expenditures on children. The
governments interest in family expenditures on children is limited to
insuring that the child (rens) basic needs are met. Not extravagances,
not luxuries, but needs. Once that occurs, government intrusion must
cease (Moylan v. Moylan).

In addition, the court found that the presumptive child support is so
excessive that it forces non-custodial parents to frequently work
extra jobs for basic needs. This creates an extraordinary burden for
the obligor and, potentially, an additional burden on taxpayers. It is
also distracting the non-custodial parent from parenting fully without
justification. This violates equal protection. This is contrary both
to public policy and common sense. Any government mandate beyond basic
child costs interferes with the right to privacy.

Equal Rights
The Guidelines do not take into account the custodial parents income.
The presumptive child support awards do not vary with family income--
only obligor income. The custodial parent is not held to the same
standard for contributing to child costs. In most cases, the custodial
parents obligation of support ends up being largely or entirely paid
by the non-custodial parent. The custodial parents income has no
bearing on the amount of child support the non-custodial parent is
ordered to pay. There is no formula in place that can determine how
the custodial parents income affects the presumptive award. This is
not economically rational and violates equal protection.

Child costs of only the custodial parent are covered by the
Guidelines. Costs incurred when the child (ren) is in the non-
custodial parents care i.e. housing, food, clothing, entertainment and
other needs for the child (ren) do not receive similar consideration.
Yet, parents are similarly situated when child (ren) costs are
incurred by either parent. Each parent has an equal duty to provide
financially for the child (ren) when in the care of the other parent.
These Guidelines where based on welfare situations in which the
obligor parent was absent, and the custodial parent did not work and
had no earned income, and did not take into account the custodial
parent receiving large child- related tax benefits, and did not take
into account the obligor paying substantial income taxes. However, in
actual practice, typically the non-custodial parent is not absent and
incurs substantial child costs that the Guidelines do not require the
custodial parent to contribute. This violates equal protection and
does not meet the financial needs of the child (ren) when they are in
the care of the non-custodial parent. The Guidelines do not require
that the custodial parent share in the costs of the non-custodial
parent.

The Guideline criteria for deviation do not give any guidance on how
to apply the deviations in a consistent manner. This is
unconstitutionally vague and generally results in no deviations in
most cases, even when the circumstances to deviate exist.

We need to do more to make sure both parents are fully
involved in the raising of their children, particularly fathers
- Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson October 22nd, 1999-

Right here in our country, our homeland where we feel justified in
wanting to raise our Child (ren) are we being stripped of our
Constitutional Rights. We, as parents have a fundamental right to
assume equal periods of placement of our children, unless there is
credible evidence that a parent is not fit, that placement would be
harmful to the child (ren). This right is fundamental; not that one
parent must win as a result of lengthy, intrusive and costly legal
battle, or compromised simply to reach a stipulated agreement to avoid
a battle.

The Due Process and Equal protection provision of the 14th amendment
of the United States Constitution suggest the fundamental rights of
both parents must be treated equally. It also points out the
constitution and the laws of the United States..... Shall be the
supreme law of the land; and that judges in every state shall be bound
thereby, any thing in the constitution or laws of any state to the
contrary notwithstanding. The courts responsibility to support these
fundamental rights are further established;
Every person Elected or appointed justice of the supreme court, judge
of the court of appeals, judge of the circuit court or municipal
judge, shall take, subscribe and file the following oath: I,.... Do
solemnly swear that I will support the constitution of the United
States and the constitution of the state of.....

In practice, partly due to historical societal roles of parents and
statistics on court rulings, there is an unwritten presumption that
the mother gets custody and primary placement of the children and the
father pays child support to the mother. While this presumption is not
defined anywhere in the statutes, and is contrary to equality and the
equal protection provision of the 14th amendment, it is very real. The
net result is that the legal process treats a mother as innocent until
proven guilty, and a father guilty until proven innocent. In light of
this presumption, in cases involving two fit parents, the equal
fundamental rights of the mother is usually fully supported, while the
equal fundamental right of the father is subject to negotiation and
compromise.
As in many cases, fathers who merely want to fulfill their
responsibilities to the child (ren) by providing for their care during
equal periods of placement are often forced to accept 20-40\%
placement or endure a lengthy, intrusive and costly legal battle. This
violates the civil rights of those fathers who are encouraged, coerced
or threatened to agree to stipulated agreements that deny them equal
periods of placement against their will and denies the children the
opportunity to an equally important relationship with their father.

We are relying on our Courts to stop this egregious violation of
Constitutional Rights and start giving us our rights back. We are
relying on the courageous lawmakers to address this epidemic and stop
the further deterioration of fathers, families, and children.

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