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Fathers and Families

Changing Courses: Victories to Vintage;
Thank You Committed Activists!
Comment on Child Support Guidelines
June 7, 2012
Top Story
Changing Courses: Victories to Vintage
Michael Robinson
Michael Robinson
By Michael Robinson, Lobbyist, Fathers and Families

Since 1997, I have been fortunate to be in the position to fight for family law reforms for fathers and their children. While almost all of the battles that I have engaged in over the years have occurred in state legislatures, and a few in Congress, some have been precedent setting court cases.

During this time, I have had the privilege to work with some of the pioneers of the movement, such as Sacramento lobbyists Jim Cook, who championed the nation’s first Joint Custody law in California, and Will Brown, who championed Grandparents rights legislation. Both have now passed on.

Almost three years ago now, the opportunity to work as the Legislative Representative for Fathers and Families was presented. During my time with Fathers and Families, we were able to achieve thirteen legislative victories in multiple states.

Five of these victories I personally worked on in California, including Suspension of Child Support Order for Inmates; Child Health Insurance reform for Obligors; Spousal Support reform; Military Parents Protection; Disabled Parents Protection; Disabled Veterans Protection. In addition, Fathers and Families actively engaged in the Elkins Task force in California that has produced a few worthy reforms and defeated bad legislation, thus successfully killing two anti-parental alienation syndrome bills.

With a host of committed activists, Fathers and Families was able to pass legislation in these states as well:
  • Arizona: Military Parents and Disabled Veterans Protections
  • Georgia: Military Parents Protection
  • Hawaii: Military Parents Protection
  • Indiana: Disabled Veterans Protection
  • Nevada: Military Parents Protection
  • Ohio: Military Parents Protection
There was also the precedent setting Brandt vs. Brandt, the Colorado Supreme Court case that we assisted with affecting Deployed Military Parents regarding the Uniformed Child Custody Jurisdictional Enforcement Act. This Act led to the introduction of more legislation in California and other states.

Additionally, many important alliances were formed with Veteran and Disabled Parent Organizations that are affected by our family courts. These alliances will be very beneficial moving forward.

While the work has been very rewarding, it has also taken its toll on my own life and children. For these reasons, it’s now time for me to change course and move on. I will be joining one of my brothers in his vintage car restoration business and will most likely dabble back into some racing once again.

I want to thank Fathers and Families, its Board of Directors, and especially Dr. Ned Holstein and former Executive Director Glenn Sacks for providing me with the opportunity to work for such a great organization. I wish Fathers and Families and its many committed activists continued success in this very important work for the sake of children of divorce and continued support from Fathers and Families’ members.

Best Regards,
Michael Robinson

Thank You Committed Activists!
Michael Robinson
Rita Fuerst Adams
By Rita Fuerst Adams, National Executive Director, Fathers and Families

Many committed activists made Fathers and Families and Michael Robinson’s legislative victories possible. On behalf of Fathers and Families’ Board of Directors, I thank each of these energetic activists for their work to change family law. Fathers and Families applauds the tireless dedication and the work and commitment of:

  • Matt Adams for his work in Georgia.
  • Rick Bell for his work in Ohio.
  • David Brasington for his work in Massachusetts.
  • Mark Beres for his work in Arizona.
  • George Cronin for his work in Massachusetts.
  • Dennis Egge for his work in Hawaii.
  • Robert Franklin for his tireless analysis of key issues.
  • Richard Fucillo for his work in Massachusetts.
  • Shawn Gliklich for his work in Massachusetts.
  • Chris Gregory for his work in Oklahoma.
  • Ned Holstein for his work in Massachusetts.
  • Don Hubin for his work in Ohio and nationally.
  • Susan Jordan for helping our members gather and tell their stories.
  • Terry Kee for his work in Ohio and his tracking and reporting on stories.
  • Steven Kokensparger for his work in Ohio.
  • Paul Lee for his work in Ohio.
  • Dave Murphy for his work in Massachusetts.
  • Alyssa Streller for her work in Ohio and Illinois.
  • Susan Takach for her work in Ohio.
  • Lisa Wilken for her work in Indiana.
As Fathers and Families continues to gain momentum and organize in more states, we will be looking for talented, volunteer activists to:
  • meet with legislators,
  • organize and lead other volunteers,
  • increase membership and funding,
  • contact the media,
  • provide working knowledge of the legislative and regulatory process in their state,
  • have knowledge of the political “players,” or
  • provide working knowledge of family law in their state.
Please email me if you are ready to lead in your state.

Comment on Child Support Guidelines
By Rita Fuerst Adams, National Executive Director, Fathers and Families
Fathers and Families is seeking Massachusetts activists to provide formal comments to the Massachusetts child support guidelines. We are also seeking activists who will research their states child support guidelines to learn whether or not the guidelines will be reviewed this year.

Email me with a copy of your response to the Massachusetts child support guidelines. Or email me with your interest in working with Fathers and Families on the guidelines in your state. We would be delighted to work with you in presenting a formal response.

Of course, Fathers and Families is presenting a formal response to the Massachusetts child support guidelines. In 2008, Fathers and Families’ Ned Holstein sat on the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Task Force. Due the findings of the Task Force, he was forced to prepare and present a minority report to present the information that was important for the Task Force members to receive and analyze.

According to federal regulations, states review and potentially modify the child support guidelines. Because of these regulations:
  • 45 states review the guidelines every three years.
  • 44 states review using guidelines calculations.
  • 41 states must use the best interest of the child standard for review.
  • 10 states review using cost of living adjustments.
This year, the Massachusetts Trial Court is inviting public comments and recommendations for the formal review of the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. If your recommended changes include specific changes to the guidelines, the Task Force ask that you include the specific sections, the exact new language you are recommending, and the reasons for the proposed amendments.

Written comments must be submitted by September 30, 2012 to the Child Support Guidelines Task Force child support review announcement by mail or email.
Child Support Guidelines Task Force
Administrative Office of the Trial Court
Massachusetts Trial Court
Suite 540
Two Center Plaza
Boston, MA 02108
The Child Support Guidelines Task Force will hold five public forums. During the forums, written statements may be delivered and brief oral statements may be made. All five forums will be held in September around the Commonwealth. Fathers and Families will announce the dates and locations when the forums are set.

The Child Support Guidelines Task Forces consists of:
  • Honorable Paula M. Carey, Chief Justice, Probate and Family Court, Boston
    The Honorable Paula M. Carey
    Chief Justice
    Probate and Family Court
    The Massachusetts Court System
    John Adams Courthouse
    One Pemberton Square
    Mezzanine Boston, MA 02108
  • Honorable Anthony R. Nesi, First Justice, Bristol Division, Taunton
    The Honorable Anthony R. Nesi
    First Justice
    Bristol Division
    Probate and Family Court Department
    The Massachusetts Court System
    40 Broadway, Suite 240
    Taunton, MA 02780
  • John B. Johnson, III, Chief Probation Officer, Hampden Division, Springfield
    John B. Johnson, III
    Chief Probation Officer
    Hampden Probate and Family Court
    The Massachusetts Court System
    Hampden Division
    50 State Street
    Springfield, MA 01103
  • Evelyn Patsos, Family Law Facilitator, Worcester Probate and Family Court, Worcester
    Evelyn Patsos
    Family Law Facilitator
    Worcester Probate and Family Court
    The Massachusetts Court System
    Worcester Division
    225 Main Street
    Worcester, MA 01608
The review is being conducted according to Federal Regulation 45CFR, section 302.56, sections E and H. These sections state that the review must be completed at least once every four years and the state must consider economic data on the cost of raising children and analyze case data on the application of and deviations from the guidelines.
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Contribute to Fathers and Families

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

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