Alimony Child Custody and Divorce Problems Strain State Legal Systems

A father, whose original $3 billion lawsuit against the state was appealed to the 9th Circuit Court is stalled for lack of ability to obtain legal counsel, and lack of money to prosecute the case.

United States District Judge Ronald S.W. Lew previously denied a plaintiffs motion to proceed in forma pauperis based on a magistrate judges recommendation and opinion that the suit was legally and/or factually patently frivolous and that the District Court of Central California lacked jurisdiction.

The civil rights lawsuit was originally filed on July 10th and was amended in a second filing docketed July 28th, 2006 against the State of Oregon, naming over a dozen of its employees, including Governor Kulongoski, the three major credit bureaus, a Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge in Oregon, an Administrative Law Judge, and half a dozen lawyers for multiple claims of civil rights violations, aggravated damages, declaratory and injunctive relief and punitive damages amounting to $3 billion.

After the case was dismissed by Judge Lew, the plaintiff attempted to refile the suit under RICO but this too was dismissed because by then the case was under appeal, according to court records.

The insolvent plaintiff, who is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy under the burden of over $2 million in liabilities from failed businesses and unpaid credit card debts allegedly fraudulently wracked up by his ex wife, plead to proceed without prepayment of the necessary $350 filing fee. It was denied.

The civil case also alleges slander, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The amended filing included violations by Oregon State employees under RICO and named prosecutors, judges and members of the local bar in Eugene Oregon as negligent defendants.

The father appealed the order dismissing the case by Judge Lew denying the request of the plaintiff to file the action without prepayment of the filing fee, which stated, “It is clear from a review of plaintiff’s complaint and the documents attached to his request to proceed in forma pauperis that plaintiff effectively seeks in this Court review of a judgement entered in a state court action. This court lacks jurisdiction to conduct such a review,” wrote the Magistrate on the attachment to the order.

The father refiled the suit under a second amended complaint and included Racketeering charges under RICO against the state of Oregon and various law enforcement agencies including the Oregon Department of Justice, Lane County Sheriffs, Eugene Police Department, and more than two dozen other defendants named in the suit. Unfortunately, the clerk sent the refiled suit back claiming the case was now under appeal.

The United States Attorney’s Office may be investigating the State of Oregon but would not confirm or deny the information. The FBI, which usually investigates cases under RICO does not comment on any cases it may or may not be reviewing.

In the second filing, the Plaintiff, if he can prove on the merits that there is any factual basis to his allegations, would be entitled to triple damages or $9 billion under RICO.

If such an award were made by a Jury, it would bankrupt the state of Oregon and cause a ripple effect through the legal establishment setting a precedent allowing public citizens to excercise their civil rights in collecting damages against state run government agencies acting under the color of law in administering unfair and unconstitutional administrative procedures not protected by the Constitution.

“I’m not sure I’m competent enough to proceed with a case of this magnitude and it is unfortunate that in America, the cost of effectively pursuing justice in such individual civil matters has become so inflated that it may not be long before only billionaires will be able to afford to hire attorneys when they are wronged by such massive fraud and corruption rampant in our society,” said the father in a confidential interview.

It all stems from the Plaintiffs ex wife who the plaintiff alleges has filed fraudulent bankruptcies twice in ten years, went on welfare, caused his businesses to collapse through her overt and covert actions, ruined his public image and business reputation, blackmailed him, extorted money from him, embezzled funds from his corporate bank accounts, lied to the State of Oregon to again collect welfare almost a decade later, and told him that he would never see his children again if he left her, which he did after marrying her twice.

The battling couple is in the middle of a divorce in Los Angeles County and most recently, the father filed for a restraining order against the woman, who in turn filed a stalking order against him in Lane County which was summarily dismissed at trial for lack of evidence.

The father had withdrawn his motion for a permanent restraining order in Los Angeles County Superior Court because from her responses “it was clear that her lies would only multiply” as he proceeded with any legal action against her in attempting to recover his property of which she still retains possession.

At the Oregon state level, the Plaintiff had filed a motion to vacate a judgement first entered in 1996 to pay child support. Unfortunately the plaintiff was homeless for almost six years before he remarried the same woman in 2002.

That motion was subsequently denied by the local judge in Lane County. The entire issue of child support is pending a rehearing while under appeal from two administrative law judges who found that the father, despite being unemployed for six years, was still liable for over $45,000 in child support, contrary to Oregon Revised Statutes.

A California Superior Court Judge, in the Plaintiffs dissolution of marriage filed last January, has ruled that its’ Court has no jurisdiction over the issues of child support, child custody or visitation because the children have lived with their mother in Oregon for more than six months. Thus the father, who is seeking to divorce his dishonest ex, must deal with Oregon through the local court there.

The Oregon Department of Justice through its child support enforcement division has sought to collect back child support amounting to over $45,000 from the plaintiff and has not taken into consideration the fact that the father and mother had reconciled, the father was unemployed for most of 6 years due to a disease causing disability, and the couple later remarried having had a second child. One judge stated that even if the couple is still married, it does not abrogate a fathers responsibility to pay child support.

The father, in a telephone conference, said, “I am not attempting to abrograte or abdicate my responsibility to pay child support. The real issue is how much back support is owed, how much money she stole from me, and her covert vindictive nature that has resulted in a massive injustice over the past ten years.”

The parties are still legally married but have been separated for over two years. The father has not seen or been able to talk to his two minor sons for over a year because his ex has threatened him in the past with violence if he goes near his children or her home. She has allegedly in the past had him falsely arrested on five separate occasions based on false sworn testimony to law enforcement.

He has sought for over ten years to have the State of Oregon remove what the state and credit bureaus’ refer to as a “tax lien” on his credit report. Three credit bureaus are also named in both the original suits.

The suits further allege that the State of Oregon is engaging in a massive negligent fraud scheme in which fathers rights are trampled in order to receive funding from the Federal Government. The suit calls for criminal investigations into the entire welfare system being operated in the State of Oregon.

The father says he has been approached by several other fathers around the country who are considering filing class actions against any state or county that denies a father his right to visit his children as a result of the bureaucracy that has built up around the issues of child support, custody, and visitation.

According to one father, “the entire child custody, child support and welfare system in this country is a lose-lose proposition and the most damaged are the children. It is a systemic problem that rewards mothers who chose to go on welfare instead of confronting and resolving real issues with fathers.”

A group calling itself the “Shared Parenting Initiative” says that their state government has taken an official stance in opposition to it which was formed as a response to the deteriorating situation for families in North Dakota.

The Initiative seeks to change the adversarial model of family law. The group was formed by dedicated volunteer citizens who joined together and crafted the “North Dakota Shared Parenting Initiative”.

Those North Dakotans believe that Congress never intended the state family courts to become a battle ground pitting good parents in ongoing conflict with children as the prize’ to the winner of that conflict. They claim there is a better way to manage the tragedy of family dissolution.

“The current structure of our family courts provide few benefits to anyone other than the family law attorneys who generate significant fees from contested divorce and child custody cases.

“Many good parents, wanting to spare their children the trauma of court battles and knowing they cannot afford a court room fight, simply sign agreements that limit contact with their children,” said Mitch Sanderson, Chairman of the group.

Duane Houdek, a lawyer working in Governor Hoeven’s office said, “It is the state of North Dakota’s position that the shared parenting initiative would put North Dakota child support guidelines out of compliance with federal standards, something that would in turn cause North Dakota to lose some $70 million in annual federal funding.”

There is clearly a conflict of interest for the true welfare of children across the nation. Is any one fathers love for his children worth $70 million? Are children being denied the love of their fathers because money is more important than responsible fatherhood?

“The Shared Parenting Initiative in North Dakota was defeated after much lobbying by the vested interests who garner their paychecks from a system that is unfair and unjust”, said one mother who lost custody of her only child to her lawyer husband through various legal subterfuges. She now has very limited access to her child and is suffering from what she calls “Parental Alienation Syndrome”.

A former official with the State of Oregon said on condition of anonymity that the “Federal Government pays all the salaries of all the judges, lawyers, secretaries and clerks of the welfare system in the State and then some.”

Carol Olson, executive director of the North Dakota Department of Human Services says her job is to administer both the child support enforcement program that serves about 60,000 children monthly and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which each month helps financially support about 5,000 qualifying low-income children who live with single parents or other relatives.

The federal funding for these programs comes with federal requirements. According to Olson, federal Department of Health and Human Services regional administrator Thomas Sullivan wrote a letter to state Sen. Tom Fischer, R-Fargo, confirming that either of the measures, if approved, “would put North Dakota’s child support enforcement program out of compliance with federal requirements.”

The entirety of that letter has not been made public and contained misleading information that was skewed toward defeating the measure. Olson and her massive lobbying organization succeeded in defeating the initiative on November 7th, 2006.

Federal and State government jobs were clearly at stake in this hotly debated issue which has now been settled by mostly Republican voters who still view the mother’s place in the home and as the primary caregiver of children’s needs.

Federal law requires courts or administrative agencies, as neutral third parties, to determine child support using state guidelines that must be based, in part, on a percentage of all of a noncustodial parent’s income.

Unfortunately, many States make up their own guidelines through Statutes and judges tend to arbitrarily decide, without inspecting all the evidence, and without jury trials, what any one party owes or should pay.

In some states, it requires the income of both parents to determine how much a non-custodial parent pays. “The burden of proof in any disputed child support matter is usually upon the Obligor, after a judgement has automatically been rendered through the court process, a process during which most courts in this country deny men the right of due process of law and the right to jury trials”, according to one family law attorney in Minnesota who represents fathers in child support cases.

Under the initiated North Dakotan measures, child support would have instead been based on the undefined “needs of the child” instead of uniform guidelines and would be determined by a “parenting plan” instead of an order of a court or administrative agency. The initiative was 57-43 margin. It required a 2/3rds majority to pass.

“Perhaps whent he divorce rate in the country reaches that level, the laws will change to meet the shifting needs of children, rather than the best interests of the States”, says one disgruntled parent.

One father questions whether State Courts can be neutral third parties when their paychecks depend on how much money they collect on behalf of the Federal Government in child support cases and says the “Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act” is a complete failure on the part of our government to amicably help children. Government has no right to dictate the lives of families”.

A family lawyer in Tennessee says “That law is one of the most complicated areas of the law and is a fertile field for appeals. The law purports to make child custody matters across State lines more uniform and easier, it does neither, because each State seems to modify the “uniform law” to suit itself.

“It is particularly socially disturbing when vast amounts of federal funds are provided to the States based on the amount of outstanding debts owed by homeless, unemployed, and often times disabled fathers whose credit is destroyed by frivolous and vexatious tax liens placed on them by such agencies,” said another.

Most employers now order a credit report before hiring and those with low credit ratings due to support enforcement judgments tend to be overlooked for good higher paying positions which might in fact benefit children whose fathers are honestly seeking employment. “It amounts to double jeopardy,” says another father.

According to the Sullivan letter to Fischer it warns: “Due to the gravity of the consequences that may result, we urge you to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that initiated measures are not enacted that would render the state’s statutes out of compliance with the federal law.” Apparently those steps succeeded in defeating the initiative.

It would appear that this is clearly becoming a national federal question that must per se eventually be resolved in the Federal Courts. Do the States and Federal governments have a conflict of interest in funding State sponsored child welfare programs when those States are paid to enforce child support orders generated by the same tribunals?

For example, 3000 class action suits were being organized by one group of fathers calling itself the Indiana Civil Rights Council, but led by its President, Torm L. Howse, who in 2004 tried but failed to file class action suits against 40 States, are purportedly about to be filed against each and every county government that has had any hand in child support or family law cases. Those cases, at this writing have not been filed in any federal court, and the movement to change family law seems to be losing some momentum.

The States funnel federal funding to each respective county and each county has a child support enforcement office as part of its agency with the respective State.

According to Howse, “they will all be filed during “Constitution Week” (Sept 17-23) in the various federal courts… basically, every federal court in the entire country, with most federal courts necessarily receiving multiple class action filings, one from each of the county groups within that court’s locale… It happens that “Equal Parenting Week” follows that week…” but they were never filed.

Howse, who has been incarcerated before as a result of his own domestic divorce and child support cases was denied this last May by Federal Judge Hamilton to remove his case from State to Federal Court.

The judge ruled that Federal Courts lack jurisdiction over dissolution and child custody matters. Howse tried two previous times to remove his case to the Federal Court level but was twice struck down.

The actions of abusive judges in family law and dissolution hearings is another issue that is fast becoming part and parcel of the national movement to reform the problems created at the Federal level and may require some new laws being passed by Congress to address those issues.

According to the leader of Fathers for Justice, a Minneapolis Minnesota based father’s rights group, “a Franklin County Ohio judge is currently on trial for judicial misconduct. Several parents filed complaints through the Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court of Ohio. The result was an investigation and has evolved into a full disciplinary hearing. This judge is running for office this November. Re-election to the bench is going to be tough.”

In the recent California case, the Magistrate Judge stated that “district courts lack jurisdiction to conduct de facto appellate review of state court decisions”.

Judge Ronald S.W. Lew is a highly respected member of the Federal Judiciary with a long track record. He was named “Person of the Year in 1998 by the Metro News Company.

The soon to be 65 year’s old jurist was appointed to the bench in 1987 by Ronald Reagan. Judge Lew is a respected, well-known figure and community leader in Los Angeles. He is rumored to be planning to retire some time next year.

On September 1, 2000 Lew issued an opinion holding that despite knowing about and benefiting from the use of slave labor, Unocal could not be held liable in a joint venture with a foreign government. Unocal merged with Chevron a little over a year ago and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Lew’s ruling.

“I respect and honor the decision of Judge Lew, and despite all the hostility, past abuse, misguided arguments, and tortuous trouble that has pummeled the relationships within my own family, I still very much love both my wife and children, and only wish that we could sanely get on with our lives and make the children happy and successful human beings,” said the California father in the $3 billion action.

Since the interview, the father has become unemployed, has been denied unemployment, and is waiting for surgery for three hernia’s. In his case, justice may never see the light of day.

In 2005, Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act which made major changes to child support and temporary aide to needy families. Those changes included $50 million over five years, less than $10 million a year, allocated to fatherhood programs.

The Responsible Fatherhood program was announced on May 18th, 2006 by the Administration for Children and Families.

The amount of money allocated for child support enforcement and TANF for the states of California and Oregon combined is in excess of $500 million per year.

In California there were slightly over one million recipients of TANF funding and in Oregon, as of the first of August 2006, according to statistics published by the ACF, 45,000 recipients, and the numbers, despite budget cuts in social services and a reallocation of funds geared more toward a war based economy, are growing.

“Surely therein lies the rub of a multi-billion dollar racketeering operation,” according to a father who will forever remain anonymous.