Monday, March 9, 2009

Minnesota Shared Parenting Report - Part X Public Participation

Public Participation

Minnesota Child Custody Presumption Study Group hearing on October 27, 2008.
List of Speakers at Public Listening Session, Name Organizational Affiliation (if any), Focus of Testimony
1. Julie Moylan, Domestic violence
2. Joan Lucas, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Best interests
3. Lance Johnson, Child Speak, Best interests
4. John Mazzitelli, Best interests
5. Tom James, Domestic violence
6. Donna Dunn, MN Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Best interests
7. Les Jobst, Fathers 4 Justice Fathers
8. Leigh Ann Olson, MN Coalition for Battered Women, Mothers
9. Todd Harris, Center for Parental Responsibility, Fathers
10. Kathrun Eagle, Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, Domestic violence
11. Quincy Boyle, and John Corliss, Employment Action Center, Diverse communities
12. Charlie Hurd, National Coalition of Free Men, Best interests
13. Joseph Field, Private attorney, Fathers
14. Troy Molde and Nancy Lazarayn, Best interests
15. Tami Peterson, MSBA Family Law Section, Best interests

Written submission were also received by the Study Group. I have highlighted a few of these here.

Katherine Eagle of the Domestic Violence Response Team Family Crimes Unit stated that it is her belief that if one parent objects to the court considering both parents to be entitled to equal consideration before the court then the court should NOT presume that both parents should be entitled to maintain a relationship with his or her child and await hearing evidence to the contrary.

Thomas P. Kelly, Senior Assistant County Attorney, says that in the "vast majority of cases the male parent shows tragically little interest in their child beyond the strictly financial issue". This guy must be a real hater of men. It clearly makes one wonder what a man has done to him or if he did something to his own child and now has a self-loathing for fathers. I play on a real football team made up of fathers who are coaches or have children who play in our Youth Soccer Association. I have heard the term 'soccer mom' and even seen the stickers on mini vans but I suspect that once the season starts again this year we will see more fathers than mothers out there once again. Thomas Kelly may find this unbelievable but they will actually be coaching, cheering or otherwise supporting the children by being there, not by writing a check.

Glen A Norton a father of two and an attorney who has been in practice since 1986 opposes a presumption that a child is entitled to continue having access to both parents because he says "a presumption that parents should have nearly equal time erroneously focuses upon parents."

Bernard Borene who has practiced family law for 13 years and been a judge for over 24 years says that he is "not in favor of a presumption of joint physical custody". He does not believe that children should be entitled to a presumption that they may continue their relationship with both parents.

Kathleen M. Newman an attorney worries that a presumption that children maintain a relationship with both parents would have an affect on child support issues. She believes that the due process presumption of equality is not appropriate unless both parents first agree to equal joint custody. I believe that Kathleen was also an opponent of integrating the school unless all the white people first agreed to it.

The most biased and amazing letter came from Judge Thomas G. McCarthy who stated that the answer to the question of should parties be entitled to equal consideration for child custody upon the first appearance in the courtroom is "Clearly and unequivocally, NO."

Many other people who reap huge financial windfalls from destroying the lives of children, especially judges, also continued with their expression of opposition that a court, upon first viewing of the parents, should consider that the children are entitled to maintain a relationship with each parent.

On page 157 of the report the letters in support of a presumption that children maintain a relationship with both parents begins. Many of these letter writers were school teachers, social workers or those otherwise intimately involved with children of separated parents on a regular basis. There were also some attorneys, a judge and a state representative in addition to numerous parents. Most of the supporters of a presumption favoring children's right to have access to both parents were women but not those who profit from the destruction of families.
There was significant consideration for the legal implications and rights of children expressed by most of the favorable letter writers.

The last section is a collection of letters than neither showed favor or disfavor to the due process presumption of equality.

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