On April 20, 2012, a rally and lobby initiative is set to occur in Washington D.C. at Senate Park on the West Lawn of the Capitol. Designed to promote parenting rights and reform in our nation’s domestic relations courts, it was first announced in November, 2011. Related details can be found at www.leonkoziol.com. This week we sent final notices for participation to all the parenting groups and followers known to us. We intend to publish their involvement, if any, on a future date so that you might learn whether your group or contributions to any of them are producing results.
Now, in our final countdown, we feature short stories derived from callers and contributors as promised in a recent post. We call them the “Parenting Papers”. Satirical in scope, they are intended to stimulate attendance at our march, rally and lobby event next month. They are also based on real people and events brought to our attention. However, the names and content have been edited to protect the sources. Our first story, Day 29, is entitled: “Tony the Timid”.
Tony Timid was a private contractor on Long Island. Recently divorced, he retained a loving relationship with his ten year old boy and thirteen year old daughter. However, like 90% of all male parents in a separated family unit, Tony was classified as a “non-custodial parent” under the federal child support standards act. Despite $25,000 in fees wasted upon his lawyers, nothing could be done to alter his inferior status because, in plain terms, he was born incorrectly under “the law”.
Tony had read about the American Constitution, equal rights and all, but somehow, according to a Family Court judge, those rights did not apply to him. This allowed his government to reduce him to a mere visitor in his children’s lives while some other guy played the real father. Every time he filed a court petition, he was denied, frustrated and even made to feel like a criminal especially when his emotions logically got the better of him. Over and over again he was told that his only worth was money. This meant that his private life and finances would be forever scrutinized while lawyers reaped the benefits instead of his children.
Eventually Tony gave up, thinking this would produce an end to all the abuse. He met a wonderful woman and did his best to maintain a presence in his children’s lives. However, the ex was not happy with that woman for no logical reason, and she began to turn “her” children against both. As a superior “custodial parent” she was given special authority to file false accusations and drag Tony to court every chance she got for support increases. This caused the woman to leave him along with mounting bills in the paternal home. Meanwhile, his work suffered, and predictably, he could no longer keep up with court ordered support payments.
Tony had heard about parenting groups and father advocates, but every time there was a meeting or event, there was also a Basketball Tournament to watch or a bowling commitment with his buddies. As he put it “Hey I got no time for this protest stuff, ain’t some body else supposed to be doing it for us, ACLU or Legal Aid or sumptin?” Actually, as most people knew, those groups had no duty or interest in promoting Tony’s private causes. As a result, the local fathers rights chapter disbanded for lack of donors and participation.
Meanwhile, bar associations, feminists and socialist groups continued to lobby for higher support formulas and penalties. And one day it all hit Tony square in the face. He had fallen behind in support payments due to economic downturns. Worse yet, the state collection unit was charging interest rates on his arrears to pay for the judges and staff that were hitting him with these ridiculous orders. They could care less about his hard times, and simply performed a magic trick known as “imputed income” each time he complained. They would hold him to the largest earnings possible for a guy of his background.
In time, Tony landed himself in prison for back support. He called everywhere for help, demanding a protest in front of the courthouse or something. But there was no advocacy group, and certainly his lawyer was not going to protest such a lucrative system no matter how unjust or unconstitutional it was. Sadly, nobody was there for Tony because Tony was not there for anyone else. There was at least one silver lining though in his new found home. His team was still in the Tournament, and he did not have to pay for cable along with his newest buddies: convicted felons, rapists and child molesters in the cells next to him.