TOOL OF THE DAY: Parents are the Experts in Raising their own Children — 7th Circuit Brokaw v. Mercer County
CASELAW: Family Law Caselaw
Who does this case apply to? Anyone in the 7th Circuit.
So who is directly in the 7th Circuit?
- Central District of Illinois.
- Northern District of Illinois.
- Southern District of Illinois.
- Northern District of Indiana.
- Southern District of Indiana.
- Eastern District of Wisconsin.
- Western District of Wisconsin.
However, when rulings are made on something so important like parental rights that is gaining more and more traction in the public, the federal court decisions begin to have a much broader reach. And that is exactly what is happening with the ruling like this one, it is having much more affect in more than just the 7th Circuit.
If you saw the most recent Hunger Games movie, “Mockingjay part 1” you heard them say that fire catches, “we burn, you burn.” That’s how it is with many of the federal district circuit court rulings.
The Brokaw v. Mercer County ruling below is of particular importance and interest because it specifically addresses the courts as “governmental interference” and states that “Parents and children have a well-elaborated constitutional right to live together” without a judge’s interference!
This is not how the trial courts are handling disputes between parents though is it? So how can they get this so wrong?
States have statutes that have misguided the courts into thinking that parents going through divorce are a special class of people who can be discriminated against and told to pay for unnecessary burdens just to continue to be equal parents in their child’s life.
This case proves that this is not allowed “Until the state proves parental unfitness” and that “the child and his parents share a vital interest in preventing erroneous termination of the natural relationship.”
You might be shocked right now that something so clear can be ignored. Remember this ruling is controlling for the states listed above only. But are those states even following this. We have had many parents come to us from Illinois who are not receiving the protections and the proper due process even though this case exists.
Why might that be?
One reason is that most parent’s attorneys never even bring this case up in the hearings! The other reason is that many parents in the beginning of their cases don’t want the other parent to be equal and so they ask the court to deprive the other parent. And the other parent in response asks the court to do the same to the parent that is attacking them. And there you have it, the two parents have decided to empower the court to make decisions for them.
However, these parents are not asking the judges to make the decisions for them in the way that the courts use it. They usually are not even aware of their rights, yet they are considered as giving them up to the judge. Most parents don’t know that they have the rights that are listed in this case. Read the parts from the case that we pulled out below and see what you knew and what you didn’t. Then ask yourself how much of this was brought up to the court by your attorney? Was it even brought up to you?
Brokaw v. Mercer County, (2000), U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, (Parents and children have a well-elaborated constitutional right to live together without governmental interference… Equally fundamental is the substantive due process right of a child to be raised and nurtured by his parents… Until the state proves parental unfitness, the child and his parents share a vital interest in preventing erroneous termination of the natural relationship… We recognize that the forced separation of parent from child, even for a short time, represents a serious infringement upon both the parents’ and child’s rights… Thus, substantive due process provides the appropriate vehicle for evaluating the constitutionality of the nearly four-month government-forced separation of C.A. from his parents… The due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the government from interfering in the familial relationship unless the government adheres to the requirements of procedural and substantive due process… The Supreme Court has long recognized as a component of substantive due process the right to familial relations… (“Parents and children have a well-elaborated constitutional right to live together without governmental interference.”); … (“We recognize the constitutionally protected liberty interests that parents have in the custody, care and management of their children.”)… The Due Process Clause “includes a substantive component that provides heightened protection against government interference with certain fundamental rights and liberty interests.” … These decisions recognize that the right of a man and woman to marry, and to bear and raise their children is the most fundamental of all rights — the foundation of not just this country, but of all civilization… Equally fundamental is the substantive due process right of a child to be raised and nurtured by his parents… (“We recognize that 1019*1019 the forced separation of parent from child, even for a short time, represents a serious infringement upon both the parents’ and child’s rights.”) … (“a child’s right to family integrity is concomitant to that of a parent”). Thus, substantive due process provides the appropriate vehicle for evaluating the constitutionality of the nearly four-month government-forced separation of C.A. from his parents. … (“[I]t is evident that there was interference with plaintiffs’ rights of familial association because L.B. was physically removed from her home and from her parents for a period of almost 18 hours, which included an overnight stay in a pre-arranged shelter home… (“The due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the government from interfering in the familial relationship unless the government adheres to the requirements of procedural and substantive due process.”).)
Now that you know this, what will you do with it? Surf around the other posts in this blog and find the tools that help you with where you are right now. It might take you time to turn this around but it can be done.
I did it, and you can listen to the interview where we talk about some of this in the blog talk radio show hosted by Jill Egiizi in Illinois: Interview recording that aired in July of 2013 — What do you do when your judge says the constitution doesn’t apply?
About 20 minutes into this interview, Ron and Sherry Palmer goes over some of what you need to start doing today!
See you back here tomorrow for another tool to help you get better results, waste less time, spend less money, so you can go back to enjoying your life and all that you worked so hard for.
You can learn more about how to reason through your rights and protect your rights in our books and courses. Click at the top on Store and you will find the books and training tabs. The book teaches you your rights and the training courses teach you how to argue them like I demonstrated above.]
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Strategic Parental Rights Strategist, Instructor, Constitutional Scholar, and Author
Divorce Solutions and Child Custody Solutions
Co-author “Not in the Child’s Best Interest” (Book on parental rights and children’s rights)
Co-author “Protecting Parent-Child Bonds: 28th Amendment” (Book includes guide for legislators)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/fixfamilycourts (@fixfamilycourts)
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