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Fathers and Families

Children Are Being Stolen; New Jersey Paternity Testing;
Ohio Child Support
April 25, 2012
Top Story
Children Are Being Stolen With a Lie
By Teri Stoddard, Program Director,
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE)

It’s down to the wire. The senate is expected to vote on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) very soon. Vice President Biden recalled recently that when VAWA was first passed, opponents warned that it would be misused in divorce. They were right.

One in six Americans know someone who has been falsely accused of domestic violence. The “silver bullet” in divorce, false allegations are sometimes used to obtain child custody. This despicable act removes fit and loving parents from the lives of their children.

Please take a moment as soon as possible, and speak out for the millions of children who are missing a falsely accused parent. And do it for the parents who are grieving for their children, stolen with a lie.

Find your senators. Take note of their party affiliation and phone number.

If your senator is a Republican, call, and ask them to support Senator Grassley's Substitute Amendment to VAWA.

If your senator is a Democrat, call, and ask them to demand changes to Senator Leahy's VAWA (S. 1925), to curb false allegations of domestic violence especially in divorce and child custody disputes.

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, has announced she is working with Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa and Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, on an improved domestic violence bill. The proposed VAWA substitute amendment fixes major flaws in VAWA by:
  • Curbing mandatory arrest policies that violate civil rights.
  • Requiring domestic violence educational program accreditation to ensure truthful, science-based information.
  • Removing gender-discriminating language.

Critics of the Leahy-Crapo VAWA reauthorization bill have noted these concerns:
  • Allows for the continued funding of mandatory arrest policies, which a Harvard study found increases partner homicides by nearly 60%.
  • Endorses the use of restraining orders, which are known to be ineffective in curbing violence.
  • Implies only women are victims of domestic violence, thus condoning gender-based discrimination.
  • Uses overly broad definitions of domestic violence and does not give priority to persons with evidence of physical violence, thus squandering resources that are needed for real victims.

The Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized in 2000 and again in 2005, each time with bipartisan support. The law expired in September. The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act will provide a five year authorization for VAWA programs, and reduce authorized funding levels by more than $144 million, or 19 percent, from the law’s 2005 authorization.

The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first enacted in 1994 and has been the centerpiece of the federal government’s efforts to stamp out domestic and sexual violence. Critical programs authorized under VAWA include support for victim services, transitional housing, and legal assistance.

Will Paternity Testing Be Mandatory in New Jersey?
Gilbert Wilson New Jersey Assemblyman Gilbert Wilson is proposing a bill that calls on obstetricians or midwives — or whoever delivers the baby — to be responsible for conducting cheek swab DNA tests at the expense of patients or their insurer, New Jersey A2609.

For now, the bill’s future in the Legislature is uncertain. While Wilson said the measure applies to mothers and fathers alike, “mostly this should be geared towards the father because with the mother, of course, there is no doubt.” So far, no companion legislation has been introduced in the state Senate.

Wilson, a Democrat from Camden County who goes by the nickname Whip, said “I’ve heard different stories about fathers who are raising children and paying support for a child and come to find out years later that it wasn’t their child. It’s a devastating thing to find out.” Wilson said the bill would allow men who turn out not be a child’s father to seek reimbursement for support or other expenses they have incurred raising the child.

Under this bill, the father may file a motion for relief from a paternity determination or child support order if he can prove that the paternity determination or child support order was based on fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact. If the court grants a motion for relief, the obligation to support the child and all legal rights to the parentage of the child, including parenting time and decision-making, would be terminated.

Tom Snyder, a family law attorney, has such a case before the state Supreme Court that relates directly to the bill. His client, identified in court documents as R.W., is seeking reimbursement from a former brother-in-law after he discovered through a home DNA test that the 23-year-old he raised is not his biological son. According to the documents, R.W. thinks his former brother-in-law is the biological father and is trying to compel him to take a DNA test to prove it so he can recoup what he spent to raise the child.

“The proposed amendment is very significant because, if enacted, in a correct form, it will provide judges, lawyers and the public at large with a clear and definitive road map,” Snyder said. “The big picture is what it can save, what it can prevent as far as destroying families because the truth was not known.”

A similar measure was introduced last year in the Kansas Legislature that would require all babies, along with their fathers and mothers, to undergo genetic testing to establish paternity, but it has not progressed.

24/7 Access to Ohio Child Support Cases
Haiti Kids The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has a new website that will give families 24-hour access to their child support case information online Now, you can look up information about your case without having to call or visit a local office.

The site provides access to recent payment activity, as well as payment information for the previous two years. Future enhancements planned include a way for families to communicate directly with their county child support enforcement agencies, and also a way for them to apply for services such as paternity establishment, support enforcement, or a request for a review and adjustment of a child support order through the website.

In Ohio, child support orders can be reviewed and possibly adjusted every 36 months. The amount owed could be reduced if the parent responsible for paying becomes unemployed through no fault of his or her own for at least 30 days or experiences a 30 percent reduction in gross income. The ODJFS Office of Child Support collects and disburses nearly $2 billion annually to more than 1 million Ohio children.

For more information about Ohio’s child support program or to access the new Child Support Customer Service Web Portal, visit or call or visit your county child support enforcement agency (CSEA).
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Rita Fuerst Adams
Executive Director

Fathers and Families improves the lives of children and strengthens society by protecting the child’s right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce. We seek better lives for children through family court reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers.

Fathers and Families’ vision is a society in which:
  • Children are happier and more successful because their loving bonds are protected after parental separation or divorce:

  • Children have a natural right to be nurtured and guided by both parents:

  • Society treats fathers and mothers as equally important to the wellbeing of their children:

  • Shared parenting after separation or divorce is the norm:

  • The courts arrange finances after separation or divorce so that both mothers and fathers can afford to house and care for their children and themselves: and

  • Our society understands and respects the essential role of fathers.

Core Principles
Our core principles are:
  • Shared Parenting: Shared parenting protects children’s best interests and the loving bonds children share with both parents after separation or divorce.

  • Parental Equality: Equality between genders has been extended to every corner of American society, with one huge exception: family courts and the related agencies.

  • Respect for Human and Property Rights: The Supreme Court of the United States has found that “the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children... is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.”

Fathers and Families
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PO Box 270760
Boston, Massachusetts 02127-0760
(617) 542-9300
[email protected]

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