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Messages - joni

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Michigan State Forum / Web Site for Dads in Michigan
« on: Apr 01, 2005, 11:37:00 AM »

Here's a great group if your jurisdiction is in Michigan


Michigan State Forum / Child Support Calc Software for Michigan
« on: Nov 01, 2004, 05:23:24 PM »

go to this link and you'll be able to compute what your child support is




A major national press/media reporter is seeking to interview child support payors and recipients in Michigan who have documented proof that their child support payments have been lost, misapplied, etc., by the Friend of the Court (FOC) or State Disbursement Unit (SDU) resulting in financial hardships.

If you qualify, please respond (via email reply only) with the following information not later than Wednesday, June 9:

Payor & Recipient Name/addresses/phone numbers
Michigan County of jurisdiction
FOC Case#
Amount of error

Important...please do not respond if you are unable to verify your claim of errors with the appropriate documentation (copies required).  In such event, your case will not be used and valuable time would be wasted.  Forward this email as appropriate.

Thank you,

Murray Davis
Vice President
The National Family Justice Association

Michigan State Forum / I think so...
« on: Mar 14, 2004, 10:57:59 AM »

...think about it, you'd have a bunch of pissed off bio dads who got screwed by the court.  They'd sign it in a minute.  Maybe even be inspired to take a packet home with them (print off a bunch at Kinko's) and get some signatures at work or from their friends.

All it would take is a Wednesday AM in front of the court house.

Michigan State Forum / Had a thought....
« on: Mar 14, 2004, 08:40:54 AM »

....unfortunately we live in Illinois but I thought this petition could do well and gain not only signatures but also volunteers to gather signatures if someone spent the day in front of family court on a Wednesday and catch all the disgruntled fathers coming out of court after they've been screwed.  Get them to sign it and give them a packet to get other signatures.

Michigan State Forum / two thoughts
« on: Mar 11, 2004, 07:34:02 AM »

Great theory.  Never thought of it that way.  Something to add as a secondary charge...when was perjury every prosecuted in family court?  I would say probably NEVER.

You live in the same "state" of paranoia that I do with my husband.  I wait every day for his Ex to pull some new trick out of her a$$.  Nothing is beyond this woman.

This might be your guy as far as a new attorney.  Your post made me think of him:

Child Support Collection Leads Divorced Fathers to Sue the State of Michigan
Dateline: 01/26/2000

An attorney and his law firm in Michigan report filing a class action suit on behalf of himself and more than 2,000,000 Michigan divorced fathers, against the State of Michigan, it's seven largest counties, and their Friend of the Court agencies over alleged illegal collection practices relating to child support.

One interesting aspect of this suit is the claim that the state should be using its resources to enforce "parenting-time" orders, as well as child support.
The Complaint claims violations of fathers' constitutional rights when attempting to collect child support. It states that these agencies have illegally seized and sold property, illegally suspended licenses, illegally appointed receivers and refused to enforce father's parenting time and visitation rights, keeping Fathers from seeing their children.

This case, filed in Michigan's Ingham County Circuit Court, claims that these practices and procedures, under the authority of the State of Michigan, are allegedly designed and approved by the Michigan Friend of the Court Bureau. The case claims these abuses extend throughout Michigan's largest counties, including Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Livingston, Washtenaw, and Genesee.

The suit seeks a Judgment declaring these practices unconstitutional, ordering all illegally seized property and fees returned, dissolving all illegal receiverships, and enforcing fathers' parenting-time rights.

"These courts have literally ignored fathers' legal rights by denying them notice, hearings, and, simply refusing to enforce their own orders and the very laws they are sworn to uphold," said Michael E. Tindall of TROMBLY TINDALL P.C., attorneys for the plaintiff fathers. "These illegal acts by our largest state Circuit Courts are the direct result of fiscal pressure from the federal government to artificially inflate collection statistics, thus preventing loss of federal funding and federal revenue sharing."

Tindall, himself a divorced father and a plaintiff in the case, successfully sued Wayne County Circuit Court, Wayne County Friend of Court, and the Wayne County Sheriff in federal court last year for issuing illegal Show Cause Orders and Bench Warrants that violated federal constitutional due process rights.

"This case will change the way support and parenting time orders are enforced in Michigan courts. The civil rights of all Michigan parents must been forced fairly and equally for the sake of our children and our families," said Murray Davis, Executive Director of DADS of Michigan.

Also named as defendants are a collection attorney known as the "Garbage Man" and his law firm, who is alleged to have received the largest number of receiver appointments and was paid the largest amount of fees from these courts for seizing property.

One interesting aspect of this suit is the claim that the state should be using its resources to enforce "parenting-time" orders, as well as child support.

Under federal mandates, states typically provide child support collection services for free to the primary residential parent, even if the state has no direct financial interest such as recoupment for assistance payments. State agencies have collection powers independent of courts, and states attorneys will pursue collection cases at public expense when necessary. Yet, a parent who needs to enforce a visitation order or parenting plan must pursue his own case in court, often at considerable expense that cannot be recovered.

In fact, in my experience, state agencies encourage a culture of treating support payors as second-class citizens, referring to them in their daily lingo as "absent parents," as if every non-custodial parent had abandoned their children on purpose.

The question of why the government has such an interest in child support collection, yet no significant interest in supporting the other half of the parenting equation, deserves to be widely addressed.

Michigan State Forum / our current attorney
« on: Mar 09, 2004, 10:13:16 PM »

Here's our current attorney.  Expensive but worth it.  Unfortunately, alot of damage our first attorney did, Merrill Gordon, cannot be undone.

Our current attorney is Michael Robbins.  He use to head the family court division for the Michigan bar.  He's in Bloomfield Hills.  Nice guy, tough, doesn't take $hit from anyone.


Michigan State Forum / Misery enjoys company???
« on: Mar 08, 2004, 10:58:38 PM »

It gave me chills reading your story to see how closely it resembles what happened to my husband.  the only thing that saved us is that I "had" a condo.  My life savings are gone at 43, I'm poorer than I was when I got out of college.  If I hadn't done that, we also would have been $2500 a month in the hole.  He also got stuck with all her debt, the joint marital debt and her atty fees.  We live paycheck to paycheck.

We live in Chicago.  His Ex also left Chicago to move Detroit and denied visitation to him for 14 months, claiming domestic violence.  After that, my DH had to travel to Detroit once a week to see his child supervised for 1 1/2 hours for 18 months.

The wonderful Judge Pezzetti of Oakland County allowed his ex to move from Detroit to Rochester, NY because his Ex claimed she was bankrupt from the marriage.   His Ex has cash flow in excess of $100,000 a year between her job, child support, bogus child care she pays her mom, alimony and property settlement.   The judge totally disregarded the divorce decree the same judge signed just 9 months earlier that awarded her all of this money.  How short term their memories are...evidence, facts and proof mean nothing in family court when you're a noncustodial father.

Did you have the same crappy lawyer that we did?

We spend $1000 a month in airfare to see his child two weekends.  So far so good...the Ex hasn't cooked a scheme to sabotage that....yet.  Thank God for credit cards.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation.  My heart truly aches for you.  I know your kids know what a great dad you are and the older they get they will only understand and embrace everything that you gave up for them.  

It's the same hope and dream I have for our situation.

Michigan State Forum / RE: motion screening
« on: Mar 08, 2004, 03:03:53 PM »

I have never heard of that.  I searched and couldn't find anything.  Why don't you email dadsmi@aol.com and ask them?

You have 50% physical custody and have to still pay over $800 per month in child support?

Michigan State Forum / Michigan glitches snarl child support
« on: Mar 07, 2004, 08:22:12 AM »


Snags in state's $459 million system don't give dads credit, leave kids without money

By Gary Heinlein, and Kim Kozlowski / The Detroit News

John M. Galloway / Special to The Detroit News
Michigan's child support system

* Approximately $30 million in support is disbursed each week.

* Michigan collected $1.4 billion in child support last year, third highest among the 50 states. Michigan has the second largest support caseload in the nation.

* By changing to a centralized computer tracking system in October in compliance with a federal deadline, Michigan avoided $147.5 million in federal penalties.

Source: State of Michigan

WEBBERVILLE — A federally mandated $459 million record-keeping system, intended to correct Michigan’s creaky, mistake-filled process for tracking payments to parents and their children, has instead caused a new wave of problems for those paying and receiving child support.

Rather than streamline services to 2.5 million adults and kids affected by nearly 800,000 child support orders, the new computer system has created errors and added headaches for parents and hard-pressed Friend of the Court agencies around the state.

The system, hastily installed in October to meet a federal deadline, may take years to fix, officials said.

Two years ago, a Detroit News investigation found that most of the agencies had too little staff and too much work. As a result, more than 400,000 children were getting none of the child support due them, and more than 600,000 custodial parents who were owed child support had been forced onto state assistance.

Since then, things haven’t gotten better at Friend of the Court offices. State and local budget problems have resulted in hiring freezes, if not staff reductions.

The ongoing problems are making life more difficult for hundreds of parents, like Webberville resident Lara Vinluan, who depend on child support — not to mention those who are required to pay it and can face jail time if they don’t.


Until the new system cranked up in October, child support payments of $341 flowed smoothly every two weeks from Ruben Davila’s paychecks to Vinluan and their 3-year-old son Aidan. Afterward, the checks and amounts became sporadic.

Between October and February, the new system shorted them by $650 while continuing to deduct the proper amount from Davila’s pay.

To make matters worse, Livingston County’s Friend of the Court agency, where Vinluan’s child support order is filed, seemed powerless to correct the problem. Local agencies have to rely on state computer technicians in Lansing to fix even the most elementary glitches.

“I contacted Livingston County many times, and the state many times, but they told me there was nothing they could do about it,” said Vinluan, 34. Eventually, she received a check for $650, but that may not mean the problem has been fixed.

Vinluan and Davila say it appears the state’s computer came up with the $650 check by deducting extra money from his paychecks. Further, the system now claims Davila, a Grosse Pointe Park resident also paying support for a child in Macomb County, is subject to three child support orders, rather than two, and is in arrears.

Such mixups have nearly doubled calls to Friend of the Court offices, said Jeff Albaugh, president of the Michigan Friend of the Court Association. An automated state phone system for child support clients is logging 230,000 calls a week.

More than 2,000 mistakes have cropped up since the system was activated, said Albaugh, head of Calhoun County’s Friend of the Court office in Battle Creek. A task force has compiled a list of more than 60 corrections, some of them major, that programmers need to make.

“This system has the seeds of being a very good system, but a private business would have waited another year to implement it,” Albaugh said.

Officials estimate it will take three years to meld data from the state’s patchwork of 64 Friend of the Court offices and 83 county prosecutors into a smooth-running system.

Focus on certification

Michigan hurried to meet an Oct. 1 deadline and avoid $147.5 million in federal penalties. Failure would have resulted in an added penalty of $60 million. The federal government requires states to have automated child support systems linked to federal computers.

“The focus had been to get (federally) certified, so the blinders were put on and the (computer) vendor was told not to be distracted by anything, including user issues,” Albaugh said. “Now problems are cropping up, creating more work rather than saving time.”

Examples of problems abound.

Southgate parent Ken Machus Jr. had made about 10 trips in a year to Wayne County’s Friend of the Court office at the Penobscot Building in Detroit, trying to clear up confusion over the $222.86 deducted weekly from his paychecks and sent to his ex-wife.

He’s puzzled about the $38,000 he is listed as owing the state and his former wife, in addition to child support being deducted for a 17-year-old daughter of whom he’s had legal custody for two years. More puzzling: His ex-wife also is supposed to be sending him $20 a week in support for the same daughter.

“When they switched to the computer, they sent me a letter saying it would be four to six months before my payments would be posted to my account, so I’m paying $222 a week and wondering where it’s going,” Machus said. “And I’m keeping very good records.”

Staff is overburdened

Computer troubles only magnify tension in densely populated Wayne County, where nearly half the state’s child support orders are lodged and an overburdened staff is too busy to answer phone calls.

But Wayne County Chief Judge Mary Beth Kelly, who’s overseeing the agency, said the problems are being dealt with and the system promises to be a big help. In May, Wayne’s office will expand with a 30-member call-in center staff, handling some of its 8,748 daily calls. The Wayne County Commission allocated $500,000 annually to fund it.

“There’s no question the system works,” Kelly said. “And the system has had profound benefits for Wayne County families. There’s no question that with the system, more families have received more child support.”

Marilyn Stephen, director of the state office of child support, acknowledged the changeover “has been a fairly bumpy ride,” but said complaints have leveled off.

“A year from now, I think there will be significant improvement. Some of the larger issues will take more time.”

Metro Detroit free-lance writer C. Lerner Rugenstein contributed to this report. You can reach Gary Heinlein at (517) 371-3660 or gheinlein@detnews.com

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