Currently, the non-enforcement of visitation is one of the main ways in which family courts serve to marginalize fathers, according to Robert Franklin, a member of the board of directors of Fathers & Families.
Amazingly enough, courts in California do not have the explicit expressed authority to enforce visitation orders. The courts do have that power in child support cases, though. The penalties for being in contempt of court for missing child support payments run from fines all the way up to imprisonment.
“We all know when child support is not paid the law is swift and severe,” Franklin said. “But it’s not so with visitation matters.”
Fathers & Families plans to address many family court issues in 2011, including:
Curbing alimony abuse by limiting the amount of alimony and number of years for which it should be paid.
Requiring a domestic violence restraining order advisement similar to a reading of the Miranda rights. The bill would “mandate that before a respondent can agree to a restraining order, he or she must first receive a advisement from the judge as to the possible implications of his or her agreement.”
Removing the falsely accused from many states’ child abuse registries that do not provide a process by which innocent people can be removed from the index.
Reducing, if not eliminating, the outrageously high interest rates charged to child support arrears that keeps fathers unable to pay from ever recovering.
Protecting minors from paternity fraud by prohibiting any agency from asking a minor to sign a paternity declaration without the presence of a parent, legal guardian, or legal counsel.
Combating groups such as the National Organization for Women and their legislative campaigns to drive recognition of parental alienation out of the family court system. Refusing to recognize parental alienation, which usually is urged by the custodial parent, would further empower mothers in custody battles by taking away the father’s right to inform courts about parental alienation by mothers.
Fathers & Families had seven bills in 2010 passed in the California, Arizona, and Indiana legislatures, and “we intend to have an even better year in 2011,” Franklin said.
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