Parents going through child custody litigation in the American family courts learn after it is too late that they spent all that money just to get an order they cannot ever hope to be able to enforce.
Why legislation isn’t enough to stop these family courts.
As many of you know even with legislation, there are abuses happening. There are lots of sections in enforcement statutes that say the court “shall” do this and “shall” do that and “shall” enforce orders and then don’t.
Most parents have not been able to get any meaningful enforcement of their custodial rights to their child. Parents who have spent thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands or more to get an order in place regarding their basic family rights are denied enforcement of these orders. Most of the time the judges just flat out ignore their pleas, do nothing, or claim that they will do something if it happens again. Most parents can barely afford to get into the court to enforce the first time let alone come back again! What this boils down to is that parents cannot enforce those orders. Most feel that they might as well not have any orders at all and wonder why they spent the money in the first place.
One parent in Connecticut has a theory regarding this problem: (You guessed it…follow the money. But keep reading, there is more.)
Peter Szymonik noted that there are only 3200 new custody cases filed in CT every year. However, according to Chief State Justice Rogers, 11,500 cases are returned to the Family Courts every year. This does not reflect a problem with a small number of litigants, he said this reflects a systematic problem with judges routinely issuing ineffective and poor orders on purpose in order to force parents to keep returning to the court, retaining counsel, paying marshal fees, filing fees, new GAL, etc.
Imagine if you had that kind of performance in general civil court, businesses disputes, etc. Imagine if judges were employees, judges would be fired!
What Can You Do?
There are many ways that a parent interferes with your custodial time with your child, and many codes involved in enforcing this custodial time.*
First you have:
The Civil Procedures Code, like the Rule 308 posted above.
Then you have the enforcement and contempt statutes.
Then you have the basic civil family code statutes like SAPCR.
And then you have the relief and punishment statutes.
In combination, these are supposed to protect the rights that the court declared you have in the decree. But it has been impossible and cost prohibitive to enforce.
The key to getting relief and to invoking these codes is to make it easier for parents to be able to access the enforcement and to make the burden for triggering the enforcement much simpler. (See a sample proposed enforcement bill here: proposed-legislative-bill-amendment-for-expedited-enforcement-general-v1_0.)
Be more successful by knowing what you are fighting for…protection of your rights, not more regulation, not more restrictions, not more control over your ex.
*This is a very basic review of the codes and not a legal or technical review. The author is not an attorney and does not practice law. This is not meant to be a practice of law or to demonstrate any expertise in law. This post is serving a public service regarding an issue that is of great public importance. We are required to tell you to seek the advice of an attorney for your rights.