Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bill revamps child custody laws in N.D.

By Janell Cole , N.D. Capitol Bureau , The Jamestown Sun
Published Tuesday, January 20, 2009

BISMARCK — Current child custody law in North Dakota “is in desperate need of improvement,” a legislator who helped lead a study told a Senate committee Monday.

Rep. Shirley Meyer, D-Dickinson, headed an interim committee that studied the issue after the 2007 Legislature.

The committee produced Senate Bill 2042, which proposes to take much of the animosity and repeat court appearances out of child custody cases. The study followed the defeat of a 2006 initiated measure that would have mandated shared parenting.

The bill got a hearing Monday in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which took no immediate action.

The bill does four main things:

* Changes terminology in present law that refers to “custodial parent,” “non-custodial parent” and “visitation.” New terms are “primary residential responsibility” and “parenting time.” It also will refer to “decision-making responsibilities” and “parenting schedule.”

* Mandates parents in court with child custody issues — whether a married couple that is divorcing or a couple that never married but share children — must have a specific parenting plan they’ve mutually created and agreed to, or the court will write one for them. Plans must cover how the parents will handle routine or day-to-day decision-ma-king about their children’s lives, how they’ll make major decisions on education, health care and religion, schedule holidays, summers, and transportation for exchanges of the children.

* Allows parents who have disagreements to go to a parenting coordinator to act as a mediator. If the couple can’t agree with the aid of the coordinator, the coordinator can make a binding decision. The idea is that if parents are disagreeing about, for instance, who has the children for Thanksgiving, the parenting coordinator may help them come to an agreement before Thanksgiving, rather than going to court.

“It’s a start,” Meyer said. “And we’re very aware this will not solve everyone’s problems.”

A task force of the State Bar Association of North Dakota wrote the bill. Sen. Tom Fiebiger, D-Fargo, was on the task force and sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sherry Mills Moore of Bismarck, who headed the task force, said the bill doesn’t address child support issues.

A Bismarck woman who was divorced in 1993 testified against the bill, saying she believed it would only mean more legal bills for parents who are already paying attorneys in the divorce or custody cases.

Nancy Carlson predicted the new law would give too much power and too little accountability to the parenting coordinators.

“There are too many what-ifs,” she told the senators. “Who am I supposed to tell if I am unhappy with the coordinator?” Carlson ask-ed.

Moore didn’t rebut Carlson’s testimony during the hearing but said later that Carlson is confusing a mediation pilot project used for divorces in some counties with the parenting coordinator proposal. The use of the coordinator is strictly voluntary, as a way to avoid the much higher costs of hiring a lawyer to go back to court, which would also take longer.

Cole works for Forum Communications Co., which owns The Jamestown Sun

Jolly Stanesby Fathers 4 Justice Activist ~ Thanks

Monday, 19 January 2009

Thanks

Firstly,

I would like to thank everyone for all their support and for all the letters, messages, and donations while I was in prison, following the roof top protest on Harriet Harman’s roof.

I feel honoured at the response by everyone, including the judge who sent me down, I feel the fact they are fighting back in this manner shows we are a thorn in their side and they do not like the fact that we are exposing them for what they really are.

Hundreds of Suffragettes were imprisoned before they affected change; Nelson Mandela spent 30 years behind bars with international support before that corrupt government made changes, Martin Luther King was shot dead.

So the reality is this corrupt government will not take any notice of a few of us writing letters and moaning about the persecution and abuse of our children, and us parents fighting for the rights of our children to be allowed a balanced upbringing by both their parents after separation.

The maximum sentence, for my crime of standing up against the biggest abuse of our human rights since the holocaust, was 3 months prison, with which you serve half, so that would be 6 weeks, surely that is a price anyone can pay if it will make a difference for our children.

I enjoyed a good rest from the continuous bombardment of relentless, useless paperwork of, recommendations, false accusations and unfactual biased, twisted reports that comes with you wanting to be a responsible parent.

It was an experience I am glad I have had, I was treated well, and if you’ve endured the family courts, it was nothing.

If we want change from the disease which is family law. This epidemic of pain and suffering forced on innocent children and ourselves by untamed corruption by our government, in particular by individuals such as Harriet Harman, with her anti-men agenda, and her determination to destroy the family.

If we want what is needed, radical change. Then it requires radical action, determination, effort, UNITY and some form of personal sacrifice.

We are now in a stronger position than ever, with the integrity of the family court, gravy train in tatters, and two good parents clearly recognized as the most positive way forward for our children.

And with a never ending collection of determined, dedicated, reliable, activists and individuals, all now that is needed is a concerted, driven effort to change things.

We all have one aim, now this is the time to set aside personal differences, and keep focused and not to allow any unnecessary stumbling blocks halt our drive to succeed in what is right and just.

Because of infiltration by government informants, and groups with fested interests to leave things as they are. A degree of misinformation and the appearance of a lack of interest of certain proposals, actions and volunteers may seem apparent,

I would like to assure all people that we respect everyone's views and understand the anxieties and frustrations that apparent inaction can cause.

But many things do go on behind the scenes, and we ask for understanding, and patience as things aren’t as easy as they sometimes seem.

We have no funding, and coordinating action, the costs of materials, time, transport and penalty's all come from the volunteers themselves.

All donations are now accountable, and we desperately need financial help to progress things at a quicker speed.

We have many activists, but there are never enough, in particular we need activists willing to endure hardship, ie a few nights out in the elements.

We also want to set up a buddies scheme where individuals, volunteer to support individual activists or a parent going to court,they would be expected to appear at court, be on the end of a phone to offer help support and advice, and generally let it be realised that we work as a team and no activist should be left on there own when they have stood up for all of us.

We also need back up crews in some areas, foot soldiers, willing to do the preparation on the ground, being able to keep calm, take orders and work in a team.

We are updating our lists, and welcome all new volunteers, men and women to our coordinated campaign of non violent direct action.Our children depend on us and we will not let them down.

Let the protest continue.


Jolly Stanesby

The work of Fathers 4 Justice and the Pain of Fathers ~ Activism in the UK

Equal and Shared Parenting ~ The Movie