|Bill Modeled on F & F Legislation Passes--That's 11 Bills Signed into Law in Past 15 Months
Ohio Governor Kasich has signed HB 121, a bill to protect military parents’ child custody rights modeled in part on AB 2416, which we helped pass in California last year.
HB 121 is the 11th bill inspired by F & F or modeled on F & F legislation to pass in the past 15 months. Legislative victories require work and money--please help fund our success and progress by visiting www.FathersandFamilies.org/give.
We salute HB Ohio representative Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), HB 121's sponsor. To learn more about the bill, see F & F of Ohio Executive Committee Chairman Donald C. Hubin's Columbus Dispatch column Custody agreements should survive deployments (4/6/11).
This success is yet another vindication of the key tenets of our strategy:
We want you with us--to volunteer, please click here.
- Effective organizations need paid legislative representatives and staff. Volunteers are great but over time they are only effective when coordinated by fulltime staff.
It took decades for the family law system to become the mess it is--we are not going to change everything overnight. We pick battles that are tough but winnable, we build sustainable alliances and relationships, and we make consistent legislative progress.
- It is axiomatic that California family law has an enormous impact on the family law of other states--we are effectively exporting F & F's work in Sacramento to other states.
Glenn Sacks, MA
National Executive Director, Fathers and Families
Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.
Founder, Chairman of the Board, Fathers and Families
SCOTUS Decision Legitimizes Debtors’ Prisons for Child Support Obligors
Even the most heinous of criminals has the right to an attorney when the state attempts to jail him. If the defendant is indigent, the lawyer is paid by the state. There is, however, one exception—parents who owe child support.
The Supreme Court ruled last week in Turner v. Rogers that indigent child support obligors do not have the right to a state-appointed attorney, even though the state seeks to incarcerate them for their failure to pay. The court instead held that, when a parent owing child support claims to be unable to pay due to indigence, due process only requires that the judge question the parent about his financial status.
Fathers and Families Board Member Robert Franklin, Esq. explains:
This is woefully deficient--the judge is not the parent’s lawyer and has no obligation to vigorously represent him. Turner attempted to explain his poverty and plight to the judge, but was jailed anyway. He’s like tens of thousands of fathers and mothers across the country.
Even a study by the U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement found that most parents behind on their child support earn poverty level wages and that judges routinely order child support without regard to the parent’s ability to pay. This amounts to debtor’s prisons, as the weight of the Court’s ruling falls only on the poor.
The solution to this is simple and fair. Accused murderers are entitled to state-appointed legal counsel—so should accused parents whose only “crime” is poverty.
F & F Condemns New Anti-'Deadbeat Dad' Measures on CNN (Video)
“The overwhelming majority of these parents are not deadbeat, they are dead broke… even during the recession… child support enforcement agencies are very, very slow to give fathers and mothers… downward modifications. So, you have people who are forced to pay child support on an income that they haven’t earned in a year…”
—F & F’s Glenn Sacks, on CNN Newsroom
Fathers and Families Executive Director Glenn Sacks squared off against a leading child support enforcement official on CNN Newsroom on Friday, May 27. Due to a glitch, we didn't have the video available previously. We now do--to watch the debate, click here.