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Father's Issues / Talk about role reversal!
« on: Sep 30, 2009, 10:31:53 AM »
This was on abcnews.com:
Role Reversal: Ex-Wives Angry Over Paying AlimonyLong a Gripe of Divorced Men, More Women Feel Burdened by Spousal SupportBy ALICE GOMSTYN
ABC NEWS Business Unit
Sept.30, 2009—
He got their second house, an investment property she had bought in Costa Rica, and a $96,000 annual alimony payment.
She got angry.
"It's so obscene," said Holly Chiancola, 52, a Gloucester, Mass. real estate agent who is fighting the terms of a divorce settlement ordered by a judge in 2006.
You used to hear about divorced men complaining that their ex-wives were unfairly cutting into their income. Now, as more women become primary breadwinners, the complaints increasingly come from them. The number of American men receiving alimony has climbed, from 7,000 in 1998 to 13,000 last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data
Chiancola's ex, who declined to comment for this story, is among them.
Thanks in part to the pre-financial crisis real estate boom, Chiancola earned considerably more than her ex-husband, a sometime carpenter and fashion model, during their 19-year-marriage. She said her ex didn't hesitate to take advantage of that -- even though her income plummeted after the real estate boom years, and she's now struggling to make her mortgage payments.
Chiancola said she partly blames Massachusetts' "outdated" divorce laws for her predicament -- she is a supporter of the group Mass Alimony Reform -- but she's also plenty outraged at her husband.
"He went for the jugular, believe me," she said.
Aggressive pursuit of spousal support by men is becoming more common, some divorce lawyers say, as the stigma of asking for alimony fades.
"Early on, men were somewhat embarrassed to ask for alimony because it went across their defined roles in the culture. That has diminished," said Marlene Moses, the president-elect of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, an organization of family law attorneys. "There's been a revolution of men and their rights and the vigor with which they pursue legal opportunities for themselves."
It's a revolution, experts say, that has been going on for more than 20 years -- actress Joan Collins' divorce and alimony case made headlines in the 1980s -- but today, it's still catching some women off guard.
Take Terry, a 56-year-old Florida healthcare executive, who asked to have her last name witheld because her divorce from her husband is not yet settled.
"He's a very independent man, a very macho guy, and I was quite surprised that he would ask for alimony," said Terry.<!-- page -->

Alimony Ex-Husband: 'I Helped Her'
Terry said her soon-to-be ex is asking for $2,500 per month in alimomy -- and she's fighting it.
Terry, who earns more than $100,000 a year, said she's not against the principle of women paying alimony to their former spouses. But in her case, she said, it's not warranted. Her husband was laid off from an $85,000 per year job several months ago, but "he's completely capable of earning a living."
For some men, just as with some women, it's past experience, not future earning potential, that weighs heavily on their decisions to seek alimony. One divorced New England man told ABCNews.com that he deserved tens of thousands in alimony payments because he played a key role in his ex-wife's professional success.
"I helped her out in the background," said the man, who asked that his name be withheld due to ongoing divorce proceedings. Without him, he said, "there's absolutely no way she could have done what she did."
Despite the increases in men seeking and receiving alimony, advocates warn against linking the trend to equality in the courtroom. Family court judges still tend to favor women, said Ned Holstein, the founder of Fathers & Families, a group advocating family court reform.
"Family court still gives custody overwhelmingly to mothers, child support overwhelmingly to mothers, and courts still give almony overwhelmingly to mothers and women," he said.
"The family courts came into existence years ago in order to give things to mothers that mothers needed," he said. "The times have changed and the courts have not."<!-- page -->

Recession Brings More Male Alimony?
Today's economy may be adding new men to ranks of alimony-seekers. As traditionally male-dominated industries like finance and construction continue to struggle, more men are finding themselves with lower income or no income at all, forcing a newfound dependence on their wives or, in some cases, ex-wives.
Earlier this year, a British judge ruled that Elena Bowes Marano should pay her ex, real estate tycoon Peter Marano, 5 million pounds (about $8 million) after his property portfolio dwindled in value -- an order that Elena, originally from a wealthy California family, is fighting.
Such cases notwithstanding, a reversal of traditional gender roles in a divorce doesn't necessarily create more acrimony, experts say.
Alexis Martin Neely, a prominent California family lawyer, is an alimony-paying women content with her divorce settlement. Supporting her husband, she has said, allows him to spend time with their children.
"I do really like him being available for the kids and their school events and if he can't work and do that, I'd rather support him to be readily available for them," she wrote in a blog post. "He deserves it and so do they."
And if you like that, you ought to read the comments.....as of this posting, it is predominantly positive.  I take that to mean that the mindset is certainly changing in every aspect of family law, as I viewed female-only alimony to be the only holdout from by-gone days......

Father's Issues / 'Kids of Divorce' program.........
« on: Jul 20, 2009, 08:05:00 AM »
July 20, 2009

Kids of divorce get new program

Rob Daniel
Iowa City Press-Citizen

Children caught up in the middle of their parents' divorce now have a place to go to vent their thoughts and feelings.  United Action for Youth in Iowa City has started providing the Kids First Divorce Workshops for children whose parents are divorcing. People who have filed for divorce in Johnson County since May 26 now will be ordered by the courts to enroll their children in the 2.5-hour workshop at UAY.
Kate Moreland, UAY's development director, said children often are left to fend for themselves by parents working through their own issues as the divorce proceedings continue. She said the free workshop provides a place for those youth, who are grouped with other kids their age, to express what they are thinking and feeling.
"Kids process information differently at different age," Moreland said. "It serves as a support group, too. It allows them to vent feelings so they're not alone in the process."  The program is based on a divorce workshop developed by the Kids First Law Center in Linn County, where the program has been in place and ordered by the courts for the last two years, she said. The workshops are designed to be educational and interactive using artwork, games, videos, discussions and role-plays. In addition, the older children can ask questions about the divorce proceedings with an attorney.
"It empowers kids a little to have a voice and tell their parents what they're feeling," said Moreland, a former divorce attorney who expects 220 to 240 children to go through the program each year.  We see a lot of kids who don't get a lot of information," she said.
Moreland said the Rotary Club of Iowa City Downtown and the Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys have provided some funding for the program and that additional grants are being sought.
I find it interesting that the Iowa Org. of Women Attys. is actually providing funding for this.  But what concerns me is how much information they are actually giving the kids about the divorce process.  And it doesn't say who is facilitating this, whether it's social workers, therapists..........or others in the divorce industry who have a stake in the outcome. 

Father's Issues / IA ruling others should watch.............
« on: Apr 18, 2009, 08:45:23 PM »
Just read this and found it very interesting..............
Iowa Court Says Child's Health Records Protected
Originally printed at http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/43226427.html
DES MOINES (AP) - In a decision that child advocates say extends new privacy rights to children, the Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that a child's mental health records can be kept private from a parent.
The court's decision on Friday was in the case of a divorced North Liberty woman who claimed she was entitled to her children's records. A counselor objected, saying the records should be kept private.
The woman has joint custody of her three children but is not their primary caregiver.
The court ruled that the law does not compel the release of the records and then when joint legal custodians disagree over treatment of a child, the court must step in and decide what is in the child's best interest.
This just allows the courts to have more say-so in how parents care for their children.  All the more reason to get legislation passed that takes the adversarial atmosphere out of custody disputes.  You would think that parents who realize the courts will take over their decision-making rights regarding their children would at least try to make an effort to come to some agreement so that wouldn't happen.  You would think.........

Father's Issues / Another child misses out on having a father......
« on: Apr 01, 2009, 12:50:01 PM »
Cops Find Anonymous Note at Hit-and-Run Scene Letter 'Expressed Remorse' at Death of Man Walking Home From Job at McDonald'sBy EMILY FRIEDMAN
April 1, 2009 —
The person responsible for a fatal hit-and-run accident in southeastern Texas left an unusual piece of evidence behind at the scene : an anonymous apology note.
League City, Texas, police told ABCNews.com that the note was left near the body of 34-year-old Maurice Jones, who they believe was walking home from his job at a McDonald's when he was struck and killed.
"We're surmising that the person who struck Jones stopped and left the note," said Sgt. David Hausam of the League City Police Department.  Police declined to release the contents of the note, but the victim's mother, Roberta Jones, said that authorities told her the message read, "I'm sorry, but I have a family."
"The note is something a coward would do," said Jones. "We teach our kids to be honest, and if you did something to tell. Of course, you'll get in trouble but it won't be as bad as if you lie.  This was a coward's way out," she said.
Jones' mother said that her son's body was found -- clad in a McDonald's uniform -- by a local police officer who was patrolling the road where the accident occurred. She described the area as one that wouldn't have had a "steady flow of traffic" late on a Saturday evening.
Jones had recently moved home to live with his mother after losing his job as a carpenter, and he had been walking home because his truck had recently broken down.  "He was just planning to get himself back together and get his situation settled," said his mother, who described her son as a "happy" guy who was always willing to help out where he could.
"Maurice was everything to everybody," said Jones. "If you needed help fixing something, he'd come fix it. If you needed something cooked, he'd come cook it."
[HIGHLIGHT=#ffff00]Jones is survived by his 11-year-old daughter, Jada, whom his mother said he rarely saw because of his estranged relationship with the child's mother. [/HIGHLIGHT]
Hausam believes Jones was killed between 10 p.m. on March 28 and 7 a.m. on March 29.
"It's very odd," said Hausam, who said that in his 16 years on the job he'd never heard of a note being left by a driver in a hit-and-run case.   "Obviously [the person who wrote the note] is aware they struck him and I believe they have a conscience about him," said Hausam.
The note was written in ink on a piece of spiral notebook paper, said Hausam, and was left close to Jones' body.  Hausam declined to speculate as to whether he believed the author of the note was male or female, but one of his colleagues, Detective Scott Aldridge, told The Galveston Daily News that he believed the driver was female because of the handwriting.
Aldridge told the paper that whoever wrote the note "clearly acknowledged having made a mistake," and that the note was approximately 20 words in length.
Hausam said that he hoped the note would help them find the driver.  "The note is a big clue," said Hausam. "They showed remorse in the note and hopefully, when they think about it, they'll tell someone else about it or come forward."  Hausam said that he had hoped the widespread media attention given to the case would have already led to an arrest.  "This is something that's going to leave quite a mark on someone's car," he said. "And someone must have seen something."
Maurice Jones' mother said that she hoped the identity of the note-writer would eventually be learned.  "I don't think anybody deserves to be treated the way my son was," she said. "Maurice never would have done that. That's an ugly person."
Now the 'child's mother' will start receiving a fat survivor benefit check from Social Security.  The only saving grace is that she can't keep taking SS back to court to increase it!  And another child grows up without her daddy..........

Father's Issues / Information for pro se litigants in Iowa.........
« on: Mar 09, 2009, 09:19:12 AM »
This article was published in this morning's Cedar Rapids Gazette:
Mar 9, 2009
Do-it-yourself divorce: It's no cakewalk

Stick me on a spit and rake my naked flesh over the coals of hellfire. Chain me to a cactus and leave me at the mercy of jackals and buzzards.

But please, I beg of you, don't ever make me go through another divorce.

My ex-wife and I finalized our divorce last summer after a lengthy separation. Early on we decided the best way to proceed — for the sake of our son and our financial health — was to represent ourselves, becoming pro se litigants.

Following a nationwide trend, more Iowans are doing the same. And Iowa's courts are responding proactively.

"I think it's safe to say every court has seen more and more pro se litigants each year," said Tim Eckley, staff attorney at the American Judicature Society, based in Des Moines.

Representing yourself in a divorce is not easy. That's why we have divorce attorneys. Add a child to the equation, and you're looking at serious work. Here are some tasks we had to undertake:

l Reach complete agreement on splitting our assets (house, furniture, cars, retirement accounts, etc.).

l Agree on the exact details of child custody and support, as well as who would cover health care, education and insurance expenses.

l Determine which legal documents we needed, find or draft the documents, and have them notarized.

l Attend family education classes and consult with a mediator.

Why go through all the work? The main reason for many is financial.

"Studies suggest most people choose to represent themselves for economic reasons," Sixth Judicial District Judge Patrick Grady said.

Another reason is simple independence.

"We live in a self-help, do-it-yourself society," Eckley said. "You can go to Home Depot or Menards to get stuff to fix your house, go online to make your own stock trades. That phenomenon is ... bleeding into the legal arena."

The jump in pro se litigation has weighed on Iowa's courts.

"Pro se litigants take up clerks' time, they can take judges' time, they can really gum up the works," Eckley said.

In this area, I'd have to plead guilty. We appeared before a judge three times before finally getting it right.

Iowa addressed this problem in recent years with the appointment of a Pro Se Litigants Task Force, which created court recommendations. The Iowa Supreme Court then appointed a Pro Se Family Committee to design forms.

Grady, who has co-chaired both committees, said forms for cases not involving children were created first, and certain child support forms were approved recently. Forms for divorce with children are in the works.

Forms are available free at the Iowa Judicial Branch site, www.judicial.state.ia.us, or at Clerk of Court offices for about $10.

I found forms through the Iowa Judicial Branch. I found others online and also studied friends' divorce papers to figure out proper wording and format. But be careful online.

"There's a lot of misinformation on the Internet, and the forms might not work in Iowa courts," Grady warned.

Eckley said some Iowans have paid up to $300 online for the same forms available at the Iowa Judicial Branch site.

If you go pro se, don't expect to be coddled. Clerks answer basic questions but can't offer advice. And sitting before a judge is intimidating.

On that third try, beads of nervous sweat gave way to elation when our divorce decree finally was signed. We high-fived in the hallway, relieved to be done.

We had saved money and avoided unnecessary acrimony and arguments. We were satisfied in the end, and our son, who shares equal time between us, is happy as possible in his modern family. Who wouldn't be? Now he gets two Christmases every year.


I'm glad to see that this couple were able to set aside any animosity towards each other for what's best for their child.  And I'm glad to see that Iowa has made it much easier to represent yourself.  But I still think (like in this instance) pro se will ony work if both parents are willing to go the extra mile to MAKE it work, which they obviously have in this article.  But if a parent is hellbent on wreaking havoc in the other parent's life (and gets an atty. to meet those ends), I would NOT ever recommend going it alone.  I think going pro se is no different than agreeing to joint physical custody.....if the parents are not willing to work with each other to make it happen, it will not work.

Some new information from acfc.org.  This is a study that was done in Canada that looks at the scope of child custody not in the terms of parental rights, BUT parental responsibility.  It also includes the government's responsibility to the parents so that they can sustain their parenting responsibilities.  I've only been able to look briefly at the executive summary, but I'm impressed with how they present the data.  It is also implied that, even though this study was done in Canada, it would be useful here in the US, too.

'Responsibility-based framework based upon children's needs'.............Personally, I think they've hit the nail on the head...........


[COLOR=#NaNNaNNaN]http://www.fira. ca/cms/documents /181/ChildCustod y.Kruk.Fullpdf. pdf[/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE]

Father's Issues / Wouldn't it be great????
« on: Jan 20, 2009, 04:44:42 PM »
I don't know if the Obama girls will be attending any of the balls this evening, but wouldn't it be great if they did and got at least ONE dance with Daddy??  If that wouldn't get the nay-sayers of children's and father's rights right through the heart, then they're genuinely cold-blooded...........
I remember dancing with my Daddy when I was a little girl.........I would stand on his feet to do it!  It is one of the happiest and earliest memories I have of my Daddy.  I hope that Sasha and Malia have the same experience to remember!

Dear Socrateaser / A favor........
« on: Apr 28, 2004, 12:51:40 PM »

I have a friend who cannot post here because of certain circumstances.  Could they e-mail you instead and would you post your addy.?  It would be greatly appreciated!

And thank you for all the help you give to everyone here!  :-)

General Issues / What do you guys think???
« on: Aug 14, 2007, 09:53:55 AM »
Saw this article in the local e-news and thought it quite interesting:


Article published: Aug 13, 2007
Helping kids cope with divorce

Cedar Rapids -

It's hard enough for adults to understand and cope divorce, let alone kids.

A $50,000 state grant will allow the Kids First Law Center in Cedar Rapids to begin a course for school-age kids whose parents are divorcing.

The one-year pilot project will focus on Linn County divorces, but the goal is to develop a program that can be used throughout the state.

While parents sit through the mandatory Children in the Middle Class, which teaches parents how not to put kids in the middle of their divorce, their kids may be in another room taking the course for kids.

Participating children will be able to share experiences with kids their age, develop coping skills and learn about court and what to expect, said Jenny Schulz, executive director of Kids First.

``As a child's attorney in divorce cases, I've had kids ask me if their parents' divorce will be on TV, and if it's true that they have to sit between parents in court and pick who they want to live with,'' Schulz said.

Divorcing parents can turn to self-help books and articles, support groups, therapists or friends, but kids don't have the same options, she said.

The $50,000 grant allowed Kids First to hire a second attorney, recent University of Iowa College of Law graduate Laura Ebinger, to develop the program for kids.

She started Aug. 6 and is researching programs in other states, ordering teacher workbooks and reviewing books for children about divorce. Ebinger, who studied education as an undergraduate, is also talking to school counselors to find out what's available locally.

In 2006, 496 divorces were filed in Linn County involving children.

Adding the course will allow Kids First to reach perhaps 1,000 kids each year, well beyond the 50 to 60 cases Schulz takes. Schulz gets appointed by judges to represent kids in high-conflict divorce and custody cases.

``We're barely just scratching the surface in terms of the number of kids we can help,'' Schulz said.

She and Ebinger would like to begin offering classes by December or January, and they hope the court will mandate attendance.

Sixth Judicial District Chief Judge David Remley said he and the district court judges will decide that after they learn exactly what the course is about.

“The fact that she got the grant speaks volumes about the quality of the (Kids First) program because grant money is not that easy to get,'' Remley said.

It was a competitive grant process, but Kids First is not only unique to Iowa, it's one of two similar non-profit programs in the country that deals solely with kids in divorce and custody cases, at least as far as Schulz knows about through the American Bar Association.

“We think it is a really good idea to provide information and support for children in the middle of a divorce, and it's a very good idea to have legal advocacy available for children when it's needed in the most contentious divorces,'' Attorney General Tom Miller said. ``Kids First Law Center is well-equipped to deliver these services.''

Schulz said Kids First must raise another $7,000 for the pilot project.

“I know that people will step up to help. This is an incredibly generous community,'' she said.

This spring, Kids First conducted a market analysis to determine how best to expand services. Attorneys and judges who participated overwhelmingly stated Kids First should add another family law attorney, perhaps as early as next year, Schulz said.

Remley was among those who answered those questions. He'd like to see the program expand to the extent where there is an unmet need. It's key to make sure children who need representation the most get it and that all attorneys follow the same procedure, he said.

There's interest throughout the 6th Judicial District - which includes Tama, Benton, Linn, Jones, Johnson and Iowa counties - for an expansion of Kids First, mainly from attorneys who have heard about Schulz, he said.

“It's going well because it gives the children an attorney and, in some of the high-conflict cases, they need someone to represent them. It isn't needed in every case when children are involved, but in some cases it is,'' Remley said.

About 30 area attorneys have been trained to take two Kids First cases within a year. That would potentially double the number of kids represented by an attorney.

Ebinger, who interned with Kids First last fall, will devote most of her time to getting the program running, then plans to take on child clients by early next year.

“She's just brilliant,'' Schulz said.


General Issues / To all my friends here..........
« on: Nov 23, 2004, 11:47:43 AM »
I know I haven't been around for the past week.......I got pulled to another temp. position.  And I start my new job next week on Wed.  I have a feeling I'll be around even less after that.  And I don't have Internet access at home, at least right now (that may have to change, LOL!)

I was 'placed' in this new position, so you can imagine my feelings about it.   :-(   The good news?  The position I had applied for, interviewed with, and wanted desperately back in August has come open again!  It's the dispatch position and the hours and days will fit perfectly with my family.  I have this gut feeling that I'm getting shafted by HR, so I contacted my union pres. and told him I had applied for this position again.  He told me he would make sure that the head of HR knew he knew of the situation, so that they couldn't pull a fast one on me.  He's got my back door.

So things still haven't settled down on the job front, but there's still hope!  I just wanted to thank all my friends here who have supported me thru all this.....I can't thank you enough!  Knowing that you are all there behind me makes it easier to deal with all this and to keep forging ahead.  I thank God every night for such wonderful, caring friends!

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