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December 8th, 2011 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
This short entry caught my eye (NH Insider, 12/6/11).  Why wouldn’t it?  It’s by a woman named Samantha Haas who asks a simple question, “why wouldn’t shared parenting be supported?”  It turns out she’s the daughter of a divorced couple who did share parenting and she’s got some important ideas about the value it.

Here’s her piece in full.

Children deserve the very best from BOTH parents.  Parents have the Right to raise their children and make sure they are safe, educated, healthy and responsible.

If a parent of right mind understands the importance of both parents being equally involved with their children; then why wouldn’t that parent support it?

False allegations and domestic violence are far too common.  And it happens by women and men, and now more than ever, the Family Courts turn the other cheek.

In my experience as a daughter of parents who divorced and SHARED PARENTING; it is truly the most important decision you can make for your children.

You notice she’s unequivocal.  To her, it’s the most important decision divorcing parents can make.  Strong words, but she knows from experience.

Apart from her experience as a child of divorced parents, it turns out Haas has some hard-learned lessons about the parental side of divorce court.  It seems her husband is a non-custodial father whose ex-wife has refused to allow him to see or contact his children for two years.  Has he received any help whatsoever from the New Hampshire courts in dealing with that flagrant violation of his and his children’s rights?  He has not.

Into the bargain, the state child support agency screwed up the billing on his account.  So he’s ended up paying far more than he should have, and is still behind.  Has he received any help whatsoever from the New Hampshire courts in dealing with that flagrant abuse of his rights?  He has not.

I’ll let Samantha Haas tell it.  Here’s her letter to the Honorable Ed Kelly, judge of the court that should be doing something about her husband’s outrageous case, but apparently hasn’t.

Honorable Ed Kelly;

My name is Samantha Haas.  I am a wife and mother from Hooksett, New Hampshire.

Mr. Kelly, your Courts are destroying my family.

We have suffered severe emotional distress, financial hardship and estrangement from my two stepdaughters.

My husband was denied his right to Due Process as his Constitutional Rights have been violated and the essential base on the concept “fundamental fairness”.

A mathematical error in the Court on November 20th 2006 has followed my family ever since, with my husband always being held in contempt on an inability to pay.

Ignored or denied pleadings, a Guardian ad litem who withheld evidence of abuse on my husband and children by his ex-wife, turning into not seeing his two daughters since September 26th, 2009.

My husband has paid over $120,000 in child support in the last four years, has a $250,000 life insurance policy on his two daughters naming his ex-wife as the beneficiary, pays for the children’s medical and dental insurance, and pays for half of all uninsured medical and dental expenses.

Yet, he has not seen his daughters in two years.

Every attempt to see them has been blocked by his ex-wife, who has perjured your very Courts since 2006.

My husband and I have been damaged financially because of the ongoing litigation.  We have been getting food at our local food pantry and are on the verge of bankruptcy.

I am a full time student and my husband works in fund accounting for towns and schools, and is also a Hooksett Town Official as a member of the Budget Committee.

On June 17th 2011, my husband was falsely incarcerated at Manchester Family Division on his inability to comply with paying for the mathematical error from 2006.

Mr. Kelly,  I felt like I lost my life that day.  It was Father’s day weekend and my son (Nicholas’ stepson) and our daughter were without their dad because he was in jail.

It became my responsibility to find $10,000 cash bail to have him released.  It became my responsibility to fight for my husband’s freedom and his right to be a father and not be faulted for an error the court made.

We have filed with the Supreme Court.  We continue to file with Manchester Family Division with no response.

Why? Why are we being denied our rights? Our rights as people and our rights as parents?

Our family desperately needs relief, Mr. Kelly.

The longer this is allowed to continue, the older the children are getting and they already have a two year old sister they have never met.

Please show us what to do.


Samantha & Nicholas Haas

That’s about as good a summary of family law in the United States as I know of.  It’s almost all there.  The screw-up by the child support system resulting in payments he can’t make.  The ever-increasing penalties.  The inability to get the judge to care or pay attention.  Impending bankruptcy.  An ex-wife who perjures herself, a pro-mother guardian ad litem who withheld evidence.  Refusal to enforce the visitation order.  Depriving the children of their father indefinitely.  And what must be counted the crowning achievement of the whole sorry affair, the father’s arrest on Fathers Day due to the court’s mistake.

About the only thing missing is for the dad to learn he’s not the actual father and to be made to keep paying anyway.

I hate to tell Ms. Haas, but she and her husband are far from alone in this.  Similar things are happening to fathers all across America; it’s as common as dirt.

If you wanted to design a system to separate fathers from children, you couldn’t do a lot better than the one we have.  Earlier this year, and not too very far from where Mr. and Ms. Haas live, a distraught father walked up the courthouse steps, poured gasoline on himself and lit a match.  I hope no one else ever does such a thing, but it is surely a measure of the disgrace that is our family court system that it happened.

Listen to Samantha Haas:  “Mr. Kelly, your courts are destroying my family.”

Judge Kelly didn’t listen; she got no reply to her heartfelt and deeply moving letter.  Nor has Kelly addressed in court the many issues she raised.  A bankrupt family, children without a father and no end in sight.  What an accomplishment.

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