Archive for April, 2015

The Supreme Court and Parenting Equality

Follow the above link to see today’s New York Times article, “Lawyers Seek Sea Change on Gay Rights at Supreme Court”.

The article draws parallels between “marriage equality” and the movement against interracial marriage (miscegenation) bans in various US states.  One of the most important aspects of this parallel is the rapidity of change in people’s attitudes on marriage equality as compared to the anti-miscegenation struggle.

In 2006 only 36% in the U.S. supported gay marriage whereas in 2015 61% do so.  The change in attitudes toward miscegenation took at least three times as long.Chief Justice Earl Warren in 1967 was expressing a minority opinion in the U.S. when he stated:

“The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”

Hopefully, within the next few years, we will hear Chief Justice Roberts make the same statement in regard to access to ones children.


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Follow-up to the death of Walter Scott

Christopher Mathias of The Huffington Post has written an excellent response to Mr. Scott’s death.

Among many other salient points, Mr. Mathias found that in South Carolina 13% of the inmates are there

due to contempt of court charges from failure to pay child support.  He found that one can be jailed for

being as little as five days late in a payment.

Follow the link below for the full story.

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Walter Scott and the child support issue

The dominant news story of the past week was clearly the death of Walter Scott in Charleston, S.C. and the subsequent

murder charges brought against a local police office. The consensus from all sides of the political spectrum, as well as the

media, was that these charges were completely justified.  As is typical however, the media tends to ignore most, if not all,

issues related to family court.

One must give some credit to the New York Times for at least mentioning (I counted eight words) the fact that Mr.

Scott’s brother stated his belief that Walter fled from the police because he feared being arrested for child support

arrears.  Charleston’s local paper, the Post and Courier, ignored the issue completely in its original story.

The NY Times article (see link below) did state that  Mr. Scott was employed, so undoubtedly his wages were being

garnished for his child support debt.

One can only hope that the media will finally wake up to the importance of family court issues and that being behind in child

support does not become a capital offence, as it was in the Scott case.

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Last of three articles regarding Mr. Doar’s WSJ piece on child support

To the WSJ:
The Journal summarizes Mr. Doar’s article with, “The Obama administration seems more focused on absent parents’ interests than on their children’s welfare”.
I believe that Mr. Obama and Mr. Doar harm both groups by ignoring the societal effects of family court decisions.
The key to the argument is Mr. Doar’s statement that states can earn additional funds if their collection rate increases.  I have read that most states receive 2-$3 for every support dollar collected.
Therefore, states receive far more from the Feds if one parent has 80-90% custody time.
A parent can achieve this either by demonizing the other parent or by simply moving to a distant location, making frequent contact by the non-custodial parent all but impossible.
This is a major reason that 40% of all US children (50% of Hispanic and 73% of black ones) grow up in one-parent homes, which greatly increases societal costs since these living situations are correlated with much higher rates of crime, substance abuse and suicide.
The people of Massachusetts voted in 2006 to address this issue by voting 86%-14% to make 50/50 child custody the default position of courts in the state.
This could have been a powerful pilot program were it not widely ignored by family court judges in the Bay State.
-K. James Shaw
San Diego CA

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