Rally at CT’s Legislative Office Building, Wednesday, Feb 22

Please join shared parenting supporters in our effort to pass legislation reforming the family courts.

Where: the Lobby of the LOB, Hartford Connecticut

When: 4:30pm, Wednesday February 22, 2017

Who: Rep Minnie Gonzalez and the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus.

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Support HB 6645: Shared Parenting is Good for Kids and Reduces Court Costs

The Connecticut Judiciary Committee is considering a bill establishing the presumption of shared parenting. The bill will encourage parents to stay focused on their children in custody disputes. Children can maintain good relationships with both parents if the courts operate with a strong presumption that equal access, time and decision making authority unless a parent is proven unfit. Court costs are reduced because parents seek mediation when they know that the court favors equal involvement.

Call the leaders of the Judiciary Committee telling them that you want this bill and related bills (HB6626 and HB6638) voted out of the Committee for hearings. This is a basic democratic principle. The public can’t be heard unless they hold hearings. Be sure to talk personally to their legislative aids and call Rep Joe Aresimowicz, Speaker of the House:

CT Judiciary Committee and House Speaker 2017
Speaker Joe Aresimowica D 860-240-8500, ask for Aide
Co-Chair Sen Doyle, Paul R. D 860-240-0475, Aide: David Seifel
Co-Chair  Sen. Kissel, John A. R (800) 842-1421, Aide: Kate McAvoy
Co-Chair Rep. Tong, William D (860) 240-8585, Aide: Adam Sciviano
Vice Chair Sen. Winfield, Gary A. D (860) 240-8585, ask for aide
Vice Chair Sen. McLachlan, Michael A. R (800) 842-1421, Aide: Amanda Zavagnin
Vice Chair Rep. Stafstrom, Steven D (860) 240-8585, ask for aide
Ranking Member Rep. Rebimbas, Rosa C. R (860) 240-8700, ask for aide

IMPORTANT: Send letters to each person, especially Democratic Leadership: Legislative Office Building, Hartford, CT 06106-1591 

For the full text of HB6645: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2017/TOB/h/2017HB-06645-R00-HB.htm

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Most child support debt is owed by parents who cannot pay

The following excerpts are from Vicki Turetsky, Federal Commissioner, Office of Child Support Enforcement:

“Most child support debt is owed by parents who do not have sufficient income to fully pay their child support orders. Most debt is held by parents with less than $10,000 in reported income. An Urban Institute study of California child support arrears found that:

  • 80 percent of unpaid child support debt is owed by parents with less than $15,000 net income.
  • Over half of the arrears are owed by debtors with less than $10,000 income but more than $20,000 in debt.
  • Only 1 percent of child support debtors have net incomes over $50,000.
  • 70 percent of the arrears are owed to the government—to repay welfare costs—rather than to families.
  • 27 percent of the debt is unpaid interest.

Conclusion: The actual choice facing policymakers is between chasing after nonexistent or sporadic payments now and developing the potential for steady support over the long haul.”

Source: pages 3 and 4 of “Staying in Jobs and Out of the Underground: Child Support Policies that Encourage Legitimate Work” by Vicki Turetsky, Center for Law and Social policy (CLASP) Child Support Series March 2007, Brief No. 2.

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Florida strongly encourages shared parenting

  • “There is no such term as “custody” in the Florida Statutes nor is there a primary or secondary residential parent designation in the Florida Statutes. In Florida, both parents have “time-sharing” with their children. The court will order a time-sharing schedule that is in the best interests of the children
  • Terms that reflect the type of time-sharing schedule include “majority time-sharing” and “equal time-sharing.”
  • If both parents enjoy equal time-sharing, then child support is still calculated using the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet, which is dependent on the parties income, percentage time-sharing (only overnights are used for purposes of establishing the percentages), health insurance, and costs of daycare and uncovered medical expenses. As the payor’s percentage of time-sharing increases, the less he or she will pay in child support generally.
  • Historically, courts have favored mothers with regard to caring for children particularly with children in their “tender years.” However, Florida courts have abolished the tender years doctrine and the statutes do not favor one parent over the other based on gender.”

Source: Cordell & Cordell Law Firm.  http://cordellcordell.com/resources/florida/florida-child-custody-questions/

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Massachusetts Senate fails to pass shared parenting

A shared parenting bill passed the MA house in July 2016, but failed in the Senate. The key sentence supporting shared parenting:

“The general court finds that every child in the commonwealth has the right to a safe,          healthy and meaningful relationship with both parents, subject to the court’s                        determination of each child’s best interest, and encourages shared parental                        responsibilities.”

Do you agree that state legislatures should actively encourage shared parenting?

Should state legislatures strongly support shared parenting?
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Unrealistic Child Support is a Root Cause of Shootings

Unrealistic child support is a root cause of escalating violence between police and black men. Vicki Turetsky, Commissioner of the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement says: “One third of young black men will serve time before they are 35 years old…. Many of these men are fathers—55 percent of state prisoners have children under 18….Fathers typically enter prison with a $10,000 child support debt and leave owing $20,000 or more.” P 1, Turetsky, March 2007, Policy Brief No. 2.

Walter L Scott, the black man recently shot and killed by police got behind on child support, and as a result he lost “the best job I ever had.” Then his life spiraled out of control, causing him to tussle with police before being shot in the back. Source: New York Times

Read more at http://nyti.ms/1yJelpe

When setting child support amounts, should priority by given to encouraging both parents to be actively involved with their children?

 

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Gwyneth Paltrow on divorce: “the children are our commitment.”

Gwyneth Paltrow says co-parenting with ex Chris Martin has been “hard” but that they have made their two their priority and commitment and have remained friends since their split.

The 42-year-old Oscar winner, who shares daughter Apple, 11, and Moses, 9, with the Coldplay singer, made her comments on Friday at the #BlogHer15 conference in New York, presented by SheKnows Media.

“I think, unfortunately, though we couldn’t stay in a romantic relationship, we’re very, our values are very much around the importance of family and the importance of those relationships and I’m lucky that we’re aligned in that way,” she said. “And it’s been hard, and you know, like, we’ve gone through really difficult times with it but we’ve always said these children are our priority.

“What that really means is, ‘Even though today, you hate me and you never want to see me again, like, we’re going to brunch, ’cause it’s Sunday and that’s what we’ll do!’ You know, like, ‘That’s what’s happening!'” she said. “Like, the children are our commitment.”

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Child support guidelines are 200%-400% too high

A University of California professor shows that child support guidelines are 200%-400% higher than the real cost of raising children.

The study is based on thousands of households and it compares expenditures of families with 1, 2 and 3 children with those with no children, the control group. It also studies single parent households. It compares the marginal cost of raising a child (the real out of pocket cost) to the methods used in most states: average expenditures (divide all expenditures by number in the household) and the income-expenditures (IE) shares method. Both the existing methods are deeply flawed because they make hypothetical allocations of income to raising children. Real families adjust their total expenditures because the children change their lifestyle, but this is ignored by child support guidelines.

All this is clearly explained by Joe Sorge at DivorceCorp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=196XCAXfqrI&feature=youtu.be&utm_source=Mailing+Lists&utm_campaign=e56d991e78-Shocking_Facts_On_Child_Support_3_23_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b5b1488f8f-e56d991e78-165851009

When setting child support amounts, should priority by given to encouraging both parents to be actively involved with their children?
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Your Turn: Comment on Guardian ad Litem Reform

Connecticut’s Judicial Branch is seeking written public comment on its draft report to Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers. Written comments will be accepted on or before Tuesday, January 12, 2016. The comments may be e-mailed to external.affairs@jud.ct.gov or mailed to the External Affairs Division, Supreme Court Building, 231 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106. Anonymous submissions will be considered but afforded less weight than signed submissions.

This is a great opportunity to be heard on GAL reform.

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Connecticut’s unrealistic child support awards-out of compliance

The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has proposed that states revise unrealistically high child support guidelines. Details are at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css

OCSE proposes to update Federal regulations in § 302.56 that address State guidelines for setting child support awards. Highlights of changes proposed by OCSE:

  • Compliance with child support orders increases dramatically if the award is in the range of 15-20% of the noncustodial parent’s income.
  • Compliance helps custodial families achieve economic stability, and this is especially important to millions of low-to-moderate income families.
  • Consistent, predictable child support payments are important to families, and extensive research shows that realistic child support orders promote consistent payments.
  • “A growing body of research finds that compliance with child support orders in some States, regardless of income level, declines when the support obligation is set above 15–20 percent of the obligor’s income, and that orders for excessive amounts result in lower, not higher, child support payments.” (Federal Register, v79, no 221, p. 68554)

Unrealistic orders produce incarceration and unmanageable arrearages. This can lead to a downward spiral in the involvement of the non-custodial parent with his or her child. Walter L Scott, the black man recently shot and killed by police got behind on child support, and as a result he lost “the best job I ever had.” Then his life spiraled out of control, causing him to tussle with police before being shot in the back as he ran away from his unmanageable arrearages. Source: The New York Times, http://nyti.ms/1yJelpe.

Connecticut is out of compliance. Connecticut’s Guidelines that require up to 55% of income for child support; typical amounts are 25% to 35% of income – with substantial medical expenses added on top. When is the legislature going to address unrealistic child support orders?

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