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Family court  Where every day is mother's day

Bucks County Courier Times
Sunday, April 7, 2002
Editorials/Guest Opinion

Family court a misnomer
No justice for fathers: Where every day is mother's day

Family court. What could we say about it? I feel a name change is in
order. It should be referred to as mother's court, since every day in
family court seems to be mother's day.

Fathers rarely seem to receive any justice there. Why? Because of the many
deadbeat dads of the past? How is this fair to all of the good fathers who
fulfill their parental and financial obligations? It is not fair! This
so-called system of justice is in need of a major overhaul.

Any good father who has ever had the misfortune of appearing in family
court knows what I'm talking about. The moment he enters the building he
is regarded as a deadbeat by the court. Has it ever occurred to the court
that the father is the one being abused and/or taken advantage of by the
mother? And that the mother is manipulating the system? There is such a
thing as a deadbeat mother.

The scales of justice are supposed to be balanced. But in family court
they are tipped so far to the mothers that it is virtually impossible for
fathers to receive fair treatment. Judges have the power to maintain
fairness within each case that comes before them, but seldom do.
Shamefully, perhaps they lack the compassion to preside over family court
fairly, and all that gets considered is how much money a father earns. We
can thank the lawyers for that, but let us remember that judges were once
and still are jurists who helped make the system of family court the
cesspool of incompetence it now is.

A father's rights are constantly and consistently neglected and abused.
He is held hostage and rendered helpless by a system that professes
itself to be fair, serving in the best interests of all involved, but is instead
equivocal and full of hypocrisy.

To fully appreciate the above, consider the following:

A father is not allowed to claim his children on his income tax, nor is he
allowed to deduct the support he pays, regardless of how much more
than 50 percent he pays. This also applies to day-care fees. The privilege
automatically goes to the mother.

A mother can claim that she pays someone less than the actual cost of
day care, with only a hand-written note as proof, and the father can be
obligated for at least 50 percent of the cost. This is acceptable to the

A father is obligated to provide health and dental benefits for his children,
but the mother is not always obligated to use them wherever and
whenever possible. If a doctor stops accepting the insurance coverage,
the mother should be obligated to find a participating doctor immediately.

If a father remarries and has more children, and should need to get a
part-time job to cover all of his expenses, because of the exorbitant
amount of support placed on him each month, the mother can file for an
increase in support. Shouldn't the father be able to provide for all of
his children equally? The courts feel only the first of his children count.

A mother can use her children as an excuse to minimize her work schedule
and earnings capacity, which in turn increases the amount of support the
father must pay each month. But if the father needed to minimize his work
schedule due to an issue on his part, the court would tell him to adjust
his schedule and/or lifestyle to maintain his earnings capacity. Why won't
the court tell the mother the same?

A father is always expected to give in to the demands of the mother, even
when they are inappropriate and/or not obligatory. The courts pressure
the fathers to give in to these demands by having the attitude of, "well, sir,
it is only a few times a year," or "it is only a small amount of money, and
you are employed full time." If a father attempts to stand up for himself,
and refuses to be taken advantage of, the courts tell him he is in contempt,
and is wasting the court's time.

When will the courts realize that it is the system that is in contempt,
and that the system continually wastes the father's time by refusing to
recognize his rights?

If a father needs to adjust his visitation schedule due to a job-related
incident, and the mother is not in agreement, he can be found in contempt.
Is a father supposed to place the job that affords him the ability to pay
his support in jeopardy to satisfy a mother's whim? The court seems to
think so.

A mother can schedule all of a child's activities on the father's visitation
days, and the father is obligated to take the child to them. So instead of
having quality time with his child, he becomes a taxi service for the mother.

When is it enough? Where is the limit to how much can be taken from
a father? Where is the limit to how much abuse he must accept? Where
does the court-sanctioned extortion end, and the father's rights begin?

I urge all good fathers, divorced and/or unwed, to take a stand against
this travesty known as family court. The system and the laws governing it
must be changed.

Contact our representatives and demand that they address the need for a
more equal system of parental responsibility. Advise our representatives
that if they do not address these issues, we will address them at the
voting booths.

Anthony Mariani, Levittown, has been a resident of Bucks County for
26 years and works as a sales manager.

Copyright 2002 Calkins Media, Inc.
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