Military not always the best idea for women

My personal facebook gets plastered today with links to a facebook page: SupportVeteranMotherBritney that is about some gal who joined the military and could not “get her son back” from the father who had obviously cared for the child while she was away.

This appears to be a picture of the mother and child:

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Ironically, the above statements over the picture suggest she is “fighting” to get him “back” as she clearly does not understand she never “had” complete custody in the first place.  Children born of a marriage have two equal parents with equal rights.

I have been involved with family law for awhile now and have quite possibly heard everything there is to hear.  Interestingly enough, this story did generate a revelation though.

Generally, men in the military have done very well in my jurisdiction over child custody.  I thought of over ten cases in the past two years I have worked on personally where the father was awarded custody after returning from overseas.  However, I could not think of a single case; not ONE, in which a military female returned home and acquired primary custody (unless of course the child was with the parents and the father was no where around).

I pondered the issue and thought of the reasons why this would be.  The recurring theme in these disputes was that the female was unstable, promiscuous and just generally a crazy person.  Over and over these women would come home only to fight a losing battle in court while ironically their male counterparts did much better and were often awarded custody a rate higher than average for men (I’d say men win custody disputes 20% of the time while men returning from overseas were at about 30%).  In my experiences, women returning home from deployment did far, far worse than average in court (considering I cannot think of one single case in which the civilian father was not awarded custody over the military mother but I am sure they are out there).

The answer is really quite simply……women who join the military are perceived as flawed and troubled and not qualified for motherhood.  The idea that a woman would leave traditional roles  to instead engage in warfare is bizarre to many.  This becomes an issue as it relates to child rearing as men are expected to defend the family while the mother is expected to nurture the family.  While women are often admired for accomplishments within the civilian workforce, women in the military may not be as socially accepted as you may think.  In fact, it has been my experience that some of the stereotypes are true regarding woman in the military.  Many of these young women who join are deeply troubled teenagers having absolutely no business considering a military career.  While obviously there are many young troubled men who join the military (as was I years ago), it is apparent that military life is meant for men…not women…and not kids.

On the other hand, many of the men who are sent off to war return home to find their children living in deplorable conditions.  Men in the military seemingly always find a way to marry the biggest piece of trash from his hometown and move her to some lonely military base where he learns discipline and self control while she deteriorates and becomes an alcoholic, a drug addict or a stripper…. and military wives are not the most faithful either and often are not very good mothers.

My conclusion is that military life often improves men but the opposite appears to be true for women.  Obviously, there are tons of exceptions so spare me the one-in-a million stories of your grandma getting a purple heart for killing Hitler while Grandpa stayed at the farm.  In general, I believe women should avoid military service if they want to prevail in a custody dispute.  Men however seem to understand that being deployable in the military obviously means a disadvantage during a custody dispute while poor Britney simply blames everyone else.

So good luck to this young lady, her family and child.  I doubt she will prevail though.  The laws in place, at least now, protecting military personnel from losing custody while deployed are very good.

On Louisiana Child Support spreadsheets and Hurricane Isaac

Well, I have not posted in six months.

We are still repairing the house after being flooded by Hurricane Isaac. Hope everybody is doing well.

We are learning/relearning more about insulation and sheetrock than we care to know. My daughter got very efficient at installing all of the insulation.

It is time to blow some of the cobwebs off and do a bit more posting.

The first question, is what changes do we need to make to the Louisiana Child Support Guidelines Spreadsheet. I am looking to update them and am seeking input on the changes that you would like to see with them.

sincerely yours,

Nicholas

Enforcement of Visitation Orders (s) … IN NEBRASKA

The other states are so far ahead of Louisiana when it comes to providing Online Legal Self-Help.

Take for example, Nebraska.  I was answering a question for someone from Nebraska about obtaining Legal Aide for the enforcement of visitation orders.

A quick google search took me to the Nebraska Online Legal Self-Help Center – a site maintained by the Nebraska Supreme Court.

They have a section specific for Family and Children issues.

In that section, for the Enforcement of Visitation, they have a number of court forms with instructions for how to complete them.  Here is that section of the page.

Enforcement of Visitation Order(s)

These instructions and forms are a product of the Nebraska Supreme Court Implementation Committee on Pro Se Litigation and are provided as a public service to people who want to do their own divorce cases. The Supreme Court does not represent that these instructions and forms will be appropriate in your case. Any questions you may have regarding the use of the instructions and forms should be directed to a lawyer. Although these instructions and forms were developed to assist people who want to do their own cases, the Supreme Court’s Implementation Committee on Pro Se Litigation urges everyone thinking of doing their own case to consider getting a lawyer to help.

WOW.  Forms on how to enforce the visitation and instructions on how to complete the forms.

You can’t find that in Louisiana. Continue reading

Insanity in California (SB 1476 of 2012)

Children have only two parents – one mom, one dad.

It is a function of biology.

It is a law of nature.

 

California, through SB1476, attacks this law of nature by seeking to authorize children having more than two parents.

This proposed law is insanity.

 

For more information, read his story From the Sacremento Be on the Miami Herald titled

California bill would let children have more than two parents


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/02/2878187/california-bill-would-let-child.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/02/2878187/california-bill-would-let-child.html#storylink=cpy

What happens when your attorney agrees to something you did not authorize?

Today reaffirmed to me that the most important thing in a custody dispute is to have a competent attorney not afraid to challenge a judge.

I want to repeat the above statement over and over and over.

I did not wake up one morning and decide that I was going to become an expert in family law.  I know what I know because my attorney years ago entered me into an agreement without my consent.  I recall throwing a fit in the hallway not realizing the judge was standing 5 feet from me.

I spent four years, about $100,000 and a United States Supreme Court writ to resolve the issue created by a careless agreement made without my permission.

 

Over and over and over again, Ladads gets involved with cases and over and over and over again we discern that the attorney made a decision without the consent of the client and that the attorney refused to file proper paperwork out of fear of “pissing off” the judge.  The excuse is always, “oh judge, I will get my client to agree, I will get him to understand”.  Judges are not gods; it is only the trial attorneys, through their inaction, that make judges believe that they are gods.  Hell, we “pray” to the court for relief…no wonder judges think they are gods.

I can say this without hesitation….never, never, never agree to be absent during any pre-trial conference. Always, always, always ensure that any conference with the judge is memorialized in some form or fashion.  Never, never, never let your attorney make a decision without your approval.  I can’t stand attorneys who take the whole “trust me, I am in charge” attitude.  Keep your client in the loop!!!!  Having said that however…..I didn’t say that you have to be in the middle of the verbal debate.  Be present…shut up……and let your attorney argue for you….but never be absent, always be aware of what is going on, and MAKE SURE your attorney explains to you what is going on.

Attorneys often make their living in front of the same judge.  If your attorney expresses fear about sticking up for you, strongly consider getting a new attorney.  A judge should respect an attorney who is willing to go to war for their client.  At the end of the day, the attorney should understand that representing their client is more important than the fall-out from pissing off their god.

To answer the question the title of this post presents, be prepared to throw yourself at the mercy of the court in hopes of undoing what your authorized representative got you into.

Parental Authority

I observed two family law attorneys discuss when an  unwed father is able to exercise parental authority. 

When a married woman has a child then by law both mommy and daddy have the exact legal authority over the child (well, actually Dad has more authority but I will save that for another discussion).  If they split up, they still exercise equal authority until a court says otherwise.  When an unwed mother has a child, by law, no father is placed on the birth certificate (unless Mom and dad both agree otherwise) and therefore Mom has all the legal authority.

I have always been taught that an unwed father can only assert parental authority over a child in two ways: 1) by court order; or 2) the mom consents to having the father placed on the birth certificate.

Two family law attorneys were arguing and one asserted that when a man signs an acknowledgement  of paternity then he has as much right to the child even without being placed on the birth certificate (remember, Mom still has to consent to Dad being on the birth certificate or Dad has to go get a court order).  Essentially, the attorney argued that once the Dad signs the acknowledgement then it was a matter of time before the birth certificate could be modified. 

Support Enforcement often requires the parents to sign an acknowledgment before collecting child support.  The Dad in turn has to take the acknowledgement to get a court order  to be placed on the birth certificate (because moms don’t usually agree to amendments to the BC because it gives the Dad parental authority).  GOING TO GET THE ORDER IS THE EXPENSIVE PART.  This is the primary reason why so many unwed fathers don’t get more rights because they have to go to court to force themselves onto the birth certificate. 

This is important because the attorney was suggesting that unwed fathers have equal rights to the child the moment that the acknowledgment is signed…..even without any further action in court.  Many women sign the acknowledgment thinking that is what they have to do to get child support without giving Dad parental authority.  Well, not according to at least one family law attorney.  He says signing the acknowledgment grants a Dad the same right as being on the birth certificate….interestng.  This would certainly be contrary to what virtually every unwed father is told when he is dragged into court for child support and told he has to adjudicate his legal rights to the child separately.  I have always preached that when you go to court for child support to make sure you get the judge to order that you be placed on the BC.  Though the attorney may be right, I think it is still safe to get added to the BC just in case.  A BC with my name as Dad sure looks a lot more solid than an acknowledgment. to lay persons (like cops, principals at a school, etc.)

It Is Not A Dollar-for-Dollar Reduction/Increase in Most Cases Guys!

It seems that I have to explain this over and over and over again….and sometimes to attorneys.

Let’s say you pay $1000 per month in child support PLUS $400 DIRECTLY to a daycare center to pay all the monthly daycare expenses.  For the sake of discussion, let’s assume child support was calculated with both parents earning the same amount of money (meaning the parents split the total support obligation 50/50.

Question: What is the basic support obligation for both parents? (everything you need to know is in the paragraph above)

Answer: $2400

Question: What is the total support obligation for both parents?

Answer: $2800 (basic obligation + daycare)

Explanation: Since the non-custodial parent is paying all the daycare directly then that parent must have received a $200 credit (half of $400 since the split is 50/50) meaning his half of the basic obligation must actually be $1200.  Since child support in this scenario was based upon the parents having the same income then logically the basic support support obligation of both parent is $1200 x 2 = $2400.

The second answer is easy: $2400 + total daycare

So what happens when daycare is no longer required?

Total support obligation now becomes $2400 ($2800-$400).  Parents split the obligation and the non-custodial parent gives the custodial parent $1200….NOT $1000

Bet you thought that once daycare was dropped that the $400 would come off the top and $1000 would be owed.  What you fail to realize is that you were already given a $200 credit when you were giving the custodial parent only $1000.

I see it time and time again that judges and attorneys often have a hard time with this.

(Total Support Obligation of Both Parents) x (Your Percentage of Total Income) Minus (Direct Payments)=Child Support

With Daycare:

($2800  x  .50) minus $400 = $1000

No Daycare:

($2400  x  .50)= $1200

The reverse works the same of course.  If the custodial parents want to use the daycare again, he/she would only get a $200 increase in child support for a $400 expense.

The ONLY time the amounts change dollar-for-dollar is when the custodial parent has no income (which should only occur if he/she is caring for your child while under the age of five).  Be sure to appeal anytime a judge does not impute income to a custodial parent who just wants to sit back and collect child support.

And of course, make sure you get a good family law attorney.

If you think this is complicated;  try this:  Daddy makes $4000/month and Mama makes $1500/month.  Daycare is $388 per month paid by Mama.  Daddy pays dance lessons in the amount of $30 per week.  Daddy also pays Blue Cross for health insurance in the amount of $115 per month.  Daddy pays child support for another child from a previous marriage in the amount of $500 per month but it is not court ordered.

Daddy loses in court and mama is made domiciliary parent.  There is one child under the age of five.  What does Daddy pay Mama in child support?

Once you get the Basic Support Obligation from the statutes then the answer is rather simple.