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Fathers and Families

Bill Modeled on F & F Legislation Passes--
That's 11 in Past 15 Months

June 28, 2011

Top Stories
Bill Modeled on F & F Legislation Passes--That's 11 Bills Signed into Law in Past 15 Months

Ohio Governor Kasich has signed HB 121, a bill to protect military parents’ child custody rights modeled in part on AB 2416, which we helped pass in California last year.

HB 121 is the 11th bill inspired by F & F or modeled on F & F legislation to pass in the past 15 months. Legislative victories require work and money--please help fund our success and progress by visiting www.FathersandFamilies.org/give.

We salute HB Ohio representative Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), HB 121's sponsor. To learn more about the bill, see F & F of Ohio Executive Committee Chairman Donald C. Hubin's Columbus Dispatch column Custody agreements should survive deployments (4/6/11).

This success is yet another vindication of the key tenets of our strategy:
  1. Effective organizations need paid legislative representatives and staff. Volunteers are great but over time they are only effective when coordinated by fulltime staff.

  2. It took decades for the family law system to become the mess it is--we are not going to change everything overnight. We pick battles that are tough but winnable, we build sustainable alliances and relationships, and we make consistent legislative progress.

  3. It is axiomatic that California family law has an enormous impact on the family law of other states--we are effectively exporting F & F's work in Sacramento to other states.
We want you with us--to volunteer, please click here.

Glenn Sacks, MA
National Executive Director, Fathers and Families

Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.
Founder, Chairman of the Board, Fathers and Families


SCOTUS Decision Legitimizes Debtors’ Prisons for Child Support Obligors

Even the most heinous of criminals has the right to an attorney when the state attempts to jail him. If the defendant is indigent, the lawyer is paid by the state. There is, however, one exception—parents who owe child support.

The Supreme Court ruled last week in Turner v. Rogers that indigent child support obligors do not have the right to a state-appointed attorney, even though the state seeks to incarcerate them for their failure to pay. The court instead held that, when a parent owing child support claims to be unable to pay due to indigence, due process only requires that the judge question the parent about his financial status.

Fathers and Families Board Member Robert Franklin, Esq. explains:
This is woefully deficient--the judge is not the parent’s lawyer and has no obligation to vigorously represent him. Turner attempted to explain his poverty and plight to the judge, but was jailed anyway. He’s like tens of thousands of fathers and mothers across the country.

Even a study by the U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement found that most parents behind on their child support earn poverty level wages and that judges routinely order child support without regard to the parent’s ability to pay. This amounts to debtor’s prisons, as the weight of the Court’s ruling falls only on the poor.

The solution to this is simple and fair. Accused murderers are entitled to state-appointed legal counsel—so should accused parents whose only “crime” is poverty.

F & F Condemns New Anti-'Deadbeat Dad' Measures on CNN (Video)

Glenn Sacks“The overwhelming majority of these parents are not deadbeat, they are dead broke… even during the recession… child support enforcement agencies are very, very slow to give fathers and mothers… downward modifications. So, you have people who are forced to pay child support on an income that they haven’t earned in a year…”
F & F’s Glenn Sacks, on CNN Newsroom

Fathers and Families Executive Director Glenn Sacks squared off against a leading child support enforcement official on CNN Newsroom on Friday, May 27. Due to a glitch, we didn't have the video available previously. We now do--to watch the debate, click here.

What's Happening
Massachusetts Bill to Reform Alimony

"If passed, the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act of 2011 will allow judges to base alimony awards on the recipient’s actual need for spousal support. It will end alimony payments for long-term marriages at the age of retirement — sooner for short-term marriages. And it will require that alimony payments terminate upon the recipient’s remarriage or cohabitation."

Texas Man’s not the Dad; Still Owes Mother Child Support for Adult Child


Boy, 7, Wanted To See Dad; Charged With Unlawful Use of Motor Vehicle

Center for American Progress: Support for Visitation ‘Must Be Drastically Expanded’


Obama’s Father's Day Op-Ed Ignores Causes of Father Absence


The Latest Outrage About Foster Care--Identity Theft


Two Updates: Christian Diaz and Anne Lynn Montgomery


Former Foster Child: ‘In foster care, families can always say ‘Take him back’

San Diego Reader Article - ‘Dad Was a Bum’ - for Fathers Day


CPS Didn’t Call the Father; His Child was Killed


Fathers’ and Mothers’ Parenting Complementary, Important to Child Well-being

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