Monday

Child Refusing To See Parent


This was in response to a growing number of fathers claiming they were being denied access to their children while women's groups were claiming they were not, and that the men only wanted to abuse the mothers.

The HHS received funding to do an initial summary study of five states, with more funding once that was completed to do the rest of the US.

The "Survey of Absent Parents" was a sampling of divorce case files, in which children were involved, extending back ten years, to determine if there had been any filings to enforce access rights on behalf of the non-custodial parents, which in the 80s was the father in 99% of the cases.Congressional Hearing Graphic

South Florida Family Law Reform
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An estimated 24.7 million children (33%) live absent their biological father. We asked Democratic and Republican Primary Candidates ~ How can you address the fatherlessness epidemic? ~ Of students in grades 1 through 12, 39 percent (17.7 million) live in homes absent their biological fathers. ~ 57.6% of black children, 31.2% of Hispanic children, and 20.7% of white children are living absent their biological fathers. ~ According to 72.2 % of the U.S. population, fatherlessness is the most significant family or social problem facing America. ~ Among children who were part of the “post-war generation,” 87.7% grew up with two biological parents who were married to each other. ~ Today only 68.1% will spend their entire childhood in an intact family. With the increasing number of premarital births and a continuing high divorce rate, the proportion of children living with just one parent rose from 9.1% in 1960 to 20.7% in 2012. Currently, 55.1% of all black children, 31.1% of all Hispanic children, and 20.7% of all white children are living in single-parent homes. White children born in the 1950-1954 period spent only 8% of their childhood with just one parent; black children spent 22%. Of those born in 1980, by one estimate, white children can be expected to spend 31% of their childhood years with one parent, and black children 59%. You’ve heard about the crisis of fatherlessness and the negative consequences for children and for our society. Even if you are an involved dad, until we are successful, your children and grandchildren will be growing up in a culture of absent fathers and unfathered children. They will be affected! You can be a part of the solution!
   
   
   
   
   
Fatherlessness is associated with almost every societal ill facing our country’s children. An estimated 24.7 million children (33%) live absent their biological father. We asked Democratic and Republican Primary Candidates ~ How can you address the fatherlessness epidemic? ~ Of students in grades 1 through 12, 39 percent (17.7 million) live in homes absent their biological fathers. ~ 57.6% of black children, 31.2% of Hispanic children, and 20.7% of white children are living absent their biological fathers. ~ According to 72.2 % of the U.S. population, fatherlessness is the most significant family or social problem facing America. ~ Among children who were part of the “post-war generation,” 87.7% grew up with two biological parents who were married to each other. ~ Today only 68.1% will spend their entire childhood in an intact family. With the increasing number of premarital births and a continuing high divorce rate, the proportion of children living with just one parent rose from 9.1% in 1960 to 20.7% in 2012. Currently, 55.1% of all black children, 31.1% of all Hispanic children, and 20.7% of all white children are living in single-parent homes. White children born in the 1950-1954 period spent only 8% of their childhood with just one parent; black children spent 22%. Of those born in 1980, by one estimate, white children can be expected to spend 31% of their childhood years with one parent, and black children 59%. You’ve heard about the crisis of fatherlessness and the negative consequences for children and for our society. Even if you are an involved dad, until we are successful, your children and grandchildren will be growing up in a culture of absent fathers and unfathered children. They will be affected! You can be a part of the solution!
   

When the summary was presented to the Congressional Committee overseeing the study, it was decided that no further funding would be issued to continue the study.

The Reason?
The preliminary results did not meet the intended goals for the study.

The results showed that in 60% of the cases, the father had filed for enforcement of his access rights within six months of the initial court orders. However, despite repeated filings, within five years, 90% of those fathers all had lost all contact with their children. In many cases, it was costing the father $2000 in legal and court fees for each time they saw their children.

The amendment to the 1988 Child Support Enforcement Act was passed.

Studies in recent years have placed the rate at 40%, but currently, 15% of the time the fathers have custody of the children.

States like Kansas and Missouri partook in the grants, with two different approaches. Kansas set up a procedure to enforce the access rights, through the simple filing of forms with the Clerk of the Court Office. A hearing is set within 30 days of the filing, with "No Attorneys" are allowed, and just the parents.
HOWEVER, KS DOES NOT ADVERTISE THE FACT.
In Missouri, an amendment was passed to RSMO 565.156, the Child Abduction Law, making it a felony to deny the other parent their court ordered access rights. However, since its passage in 1989, Missouri County Prosecutors have refused to enforce it.

Much is the same in other states. In Michigan, the custodial parent can lose their driver's license, yet no judge is willing to order it.

This is not to say that efforts should not be maintained to enforce the access rights, but one needs to learn how to do this without running up a large legal bill, or better yet, avoiding the need to hire an attorney to resolve it.



Initial Steps

Part of the problem with getting visitation enforced is to possess the knowledge on what to do to prove your case. For this, see Collecting Evidence below.

It's most important that you keep a DAILY JOURNAL of all your activities, and not just your contact with the child(ren). There does not need to be any violence for a claim of violence to take place. A mother can obtain a restraining order because she fears the father's reaction due to not seeing his child(ren).

A restraining order can be filed up to a year after an alleged event in most states. With a Daily Journal, you can look back to see what you were doing that day and who witnessed it, such as being 30 miles away, as was the case with this father.
Five months later, the mother of his children claimed that on that night of June 28th, he had shot out her car windows. She even had a police report to back up her claim. She also claimed in the report that later he bragged about it in a phone call. With the Journal, he was able to produce witnesses at the RTO hearing to show she was lying.

Please note that there is a drawback to doing this. When a mother is unsuccessful in a false allegation of domestic violence, it will progress quickly to child abuse, and within two years, to child sexual abuse allegations. Note that if legal in your state, you should also record all conversations with her. Any recordings need to be transcribed into your Daily Journal.



Intent To Deny Access

If there's intent to deny access, prepare a "Notice of Intent to Exercise Visitation" letter stating the specific dates as laid out in your order. Add to this a "Notice of Intent to Exercise Parental Rights" in the same legal format of your other court papers. Sign both and make six copies.


Mail the originals "CERTIFIED MAIL" and another set with just "DELIVERY CONFIRMATION" (75¢ + postage). If she rejects the Certified Letter, she will still receive the letter with Delivery Confirmation. Remember that these are two different type of mail. To get a Confirmation of Delivery printout, go to the USPS web site at the link below.


If the Certified letter or the Certified Letter Confirmation of Delivery Card, with her signature on it come back, attach either (letter unopened) to a copy of the "Notice of Intent to Exercise Visitation" letter and "Notice of Intent to Exercise Parental Rights", plus the printout of the Delivery Confirmation from the USPS Website.

Take these documents to the County Courthouse and have the Clerk of the Court notarize and place them in your case file. It's very important that you repeat this process each time you are to exercise your visitation until either she obeys the orders, or you go to court. The judge before any hearing reads this file, so he will see your efforts to resolve this issue without involving the court.

FILE THE REMAINING COPIES FOR FUTURE USE
If the other parent continues to deny you access, you need to decide if you want to use an Attorney or go Propria Persona (Pro Se) in taking an enforcement action to the courts. The Federal Government has made funding available to states for developing model programs to ensure that children will be able to have the continuing care and emotional support of both parents. Check with your local Child Support Enforcement Agency and/or the Clerk of Court to see what resources are available to you and to find out about laws that address custody and visitation. There are also Document Preparation Services that can help.
If you wish to use an attorney, you need to take the time to interview attorneys before picking the one to work with. Prepare a "Chronological Statement" expressing a history from the time you met her up until now. 


A common complaint in dealing with this action in court is a claim of bias on the part of the judge. For the most part, the issue is not as much bias as it is a lack of preparedness, including using the right attorney. However, to address any potential of bias it is best to use Court Watchers, which are persons who are there to witness the proceedings, and not to give testimony.

If you decide to represent yourself in court, check with your Clerk of the Court for forms for filing an enforcement action. If they do not have one specific for visitation, the ones for child support will work as a template. You need to produce a "Notice of Exercise of Parental Rights", filing with the court and having the judge sign it. Serve or have it served on the other parent, depending on the requirements of your state. In Kansas, it can be sent by Certified Mail.

Produce a "Notice of the Court of Denial of Exercise of Parental Rights" and"Motion to Show Cause for Contempt of Court of Denial of Visitation" for filing with the court.

Note: This is where it can get complicate in what choices you wish to make. If held in Contempt of Court, this is a "CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCES", which are grounds for a Change in the Custody Arrangements. You or your attorney needs to have a"Motion for Change of Custody" ready to hand the judge.



Proving Denial Of Access - Evidence

  1. Take a witness along with you, preferably an off-duty police officer, deputy sheriff, or another neutral official. Have your witness stay in your vehicle, but with the window down so that he/she can hear the tone of the conversation, and with the vehicle parked in such a way as the witness can easily see you all the time.
  1. Take a copy of your divorce decree along with you which shows that you are supposed to see the child(ren) on that weekend, and at that time.

  2. DO NOT BE EVEN 5 MINUTES LATE
  3. Take a tape recorder with you. Have it running from the time you approach the residence, and do no stop it until you leave. DO NOT have it on the "voice activated" setting as you need to show the time elapsed during your stay there. Keep it running as you leave the area. (see this link on legality)
  4. As you approach the residence, state the following facts into the recorder:
    • Your complete name;
    • The address you are approaching;
    • The reason you are there ("l am going to see my son/daughter/children as this is my weekend to visit with them...." etc.);
    • State who is with you and why;
    • State the time of the day and a.m. or p.m.
  5. As you leave, state that you are leaving and state the time and briefly what occurred which did not appear on the recorder (she/he made an obscene gesture, etc.).
  6. Keep a calendar of each denied visitation, and keep a written record of the number of recordings you have.
  7. Make sure you have a credible witness each time that you try to go see the child(ren) and DO NOT MISS A VISITATION PERIOD.
  8. If she/he calls the police, keep the recorder running as long as they will let you.
  9. Remember to use a new tape for each attempted visit, and make sure it is blank except for your attempted visits, as admitting a tape into evidence admits the whole tape, and everything on it.When recruiting a person to go with you, always have a back-up just in case your first choice cannot make it, but DO NOT GO ALONE. Start out early to give yourself plenty of time; you can always stop at a store near her/his house and get a soft drink to kill time. NEVER drink a beer or any other alcoholic beverage before going there.
  10. If your child(ren) come to the door before they can be told to go back into the house, the first thing you say to them is, "I love you and miss you." They simply come first and must know that your absence has not been their fault and that you have not wanted to stay away.
  11. DO NOT ARGUE with your ex regardless of how hurt you are and how mad you are or what your ex has to say. Staying calm and recording the conversation is the smart thing to do and will get her/him in the long run and make you and your child(ren) the winners.
Sample Statement To Make At The Door

"I am here to exercise my visitation . Going by our court order, I am to pick up (child[ren]'s name[s] ) at this time."



(If told that you cannot see the child, that they are sick, or that they have other plans, then use one of the following)



"I have a copy of our divorce papers which says that this is my weekend with (or "the children") and I miss them very much and want to be with them, and I know they miss me."

(If illness is claimed:) "What is wrong with ."


(Then say:) "I will take their medicine with me, and see that it is taken as ordered by the doctor."



(If you still are refused, say:) "I want to see and that I am sorry he/she is sick. Who is the doctor, so that I can talk to him/her and see how is doing?"


(If still refused, then leave with the recorder running and follow other instructions.)

(If told that "they have other plans," say:) "I can take them where they are going if you will tell me when and where." 





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