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Questions for Public Officials Regarding Michigan's Friend of the Court

Questions for Public Officials Regarding Michigan's Friend of the Court

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Published by: DougDante on Aug 25, 2009
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Questions For Public Officials RegardingMichigan's Friend of the Court
Doug DanteDougDante1@yahoo.comTuesday August 25th, 2009I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.If you believe these are interesting questions based on reasonable information, then pleasefeel free to ask these questions of public officials, including FOC workers, Judges, PublicAttorneys, Michigan Congresspeople, Michigan Senators, or any statewide elected official.These officials often appear at public speaking events.If you do, please let me know whatthey said.Each of these questions intentionally mentions the FRC yahoo group.A couple of these questions are redundant, because they're intended for different public officials actingin different capacities.http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FRC/Please be aware that there is some evidence of racketeering and other possible criminalactivities at the FOC.Appearing to criticize the FOC in a public forum, even when asking anhonest question, could bring participants in the system consequences for their politicalspeech.According to some members of FRC, they believe that even being associated withparent's rights advocates has caused them unnecessary difficulties with the FOC.Yes, Ibelieve that, if true, these alleged actions on the part of FOC could be violations of citizen'sfirst amendment rights.http://www.scribd.com/doc/454566/Racketeering-in-Michigans-Friend-of-the-Courthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution
Child Support
#1: When a FOC support specialist "runs the numbers" and hands me a filled out form withhis/her support calculations, how can I believe that they are accurate, given that a supportspecialist in a major Michigan county admitted under oath that he/she didn't follow thesupport manual, used numbers that he/she may have known were wrong, and "... also wenton to say a great deal more that proves that FOC is putting their thumb on the scale",according to a message on the online FRC yahoo group which seems to be a legitimate firstperson account, and other evidence of possible fraud in support calculations?(FOC recordsare for members only, but the message was ID #23705 if you are a member)FOLLOW UP: Why can't I see a line by line breakdown of the calculations, so that I canconfirm for myself, using the manual or independent software, that they are correct?Whatis the purpose of hiding from me and my child the calculations for parenting time offset,deductions for retirement account contributions, income offsets for other children, etc, etc?
 
http://www.scribd.com/doc/458394/Michigan-Friend-of-the-Court-Child-Support-Modification-Request#2: FOC's internal "2008 Changes to theMichigan Child SupportFormula" says that theyhave abandoned "automatic imputation", and will impute based on "actual ability andlikelihood of earning".This is a great change of policy, but sorely overdue, because frommy reading in FRC yahoo group, it looks like theprecedent demanding this change wasfrom Ghidotti V Barber, a 1998Michigan Supreme Court ruling, from ten years prior.http://coa.courts.mi.gov/Digest/DigestDetail?digestId=58195&mode=view#365695If my child and I have been harmed because the FOC previously violated Michigan law overthe past ten years by automatically imputing my income, how do I retroactively modify myobligation to reflect the actual application of Michigan law and the best interests of mychild?#3: I have read on the FRC yahoo group e-mail list that some Michigan courts may openlyignore their legal obligations under US Code TITLE 15 > CHAPTER 41 > SUBCHAPTER II > §1673. Restriction on garnishment and MCL 552.608 Limitation on amount of incomewithheld, and refuse to limit their garnishment orders toaggregate disposable earnings notto exceed50% for payors with spouses and other family members, 55% for payers without,and60-65% for payers who are in arrears.Do you recognize that Michigan andfederal lawlimitsyour garnishment orders?Do you also recognize that state and federal law forbidother mechanisms to collect the remaining income of payers, including demanding monthlychecks, when § 1673 says:"No court of the United States or any State, and no State (orofficer or agency thereof), may make, execute, or enforce any order or process in violationof this section"?http://www.legislature.mi.gov/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-552-608http://uscode.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode15/usc_sec_15_00001673----000-.html
Parenting Time
#4: I heard about something odd while reading the FRC yahoo group.Does this office forceparents who are seeking parenting time enforcement to request a parenting timemodification, and then sometimes use that request to reduce the amount of parenting timethat they have with their children?If so, why can't parents request enforcement withoutthe risk of losing time with their children?Isn't that kind of like punishing parents who wantto have a relationship with their kids?
Child Custody
#5: MCL 552.23 provides the 12child custodyfactors.Factor (c) is: "(c) The capacity anddisposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care orother remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs."I understand that this is sometimes interpreted tomean that parents who have low incomes cannot have a court orderedjoint custodyarrangement, because they don't have the means to provide the child with two bedrooms,
 
two sets of toys, etc.Does this court or the FOC have a minimum income that it uses belowwhich it will not generally recommendjoint custody?If so, what is it?http://www.legislature.mi.gov/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-722-23FOLLOW UP: In the case of two parents of modest incomes, particularly when one is onwelfare, who want to have a substantially equal joint custody arrangement, does the courtforce or discourage them from making their own agreement for substantially equal jointcustody?FURTHER FOLLOW UP: What part of the law permits the court to overrule theconstitutionally protected fundamental liberty interests of two fit parents who want to makedecisions about the best interests of their child, and why do the needs of the state trumpthe fundamental liberty interests of two fit parents to care for their own child in the mannerthat they see fit?FURTHER FOLLOW UP: Does it concern you that given the lower incomes of AfricanAmerican families inMichigan, and the fact that more mothers of any race or ethnicitygenerally get custody more often than fathers, that this rule, for many African Americanfathers of modest means, essentially means that the court is saying that it is illegal for themto spend significant time with their children in Michigan?Are you aware of the studies thatindicate that father involvement improves child outcomes, reduces the chances of criminalactivity bychildren,and are you aware of the many detrimental child outcomes, includinghigh dropout rates and high unemployment rates, are substantially higher in many poorAfrican American communities in Michigan?#6: As you may know, a statistical analysis of the most recently available child custodyrecommendation data from the Michigan Friend of the Court published on the FRC yahoogroup shows vast disparities between the likelihood that a man or woman will get solecustody or joint custody of his/her children in differing counties in Michigan.For instance,of the more than 100 fathers who received custody recommendations in Livingston County,63% were given recommendations for sole or joint custody.Similarly situated fathers inWayne county only received such recommendations 12% of the time.How can we believethat the fourteenth amendment due process rights of these fathers and mothers to the careand custody of their children (Troxel V Granville) when we see that a county line appears tomake a father more than 5 times more likely to spend a significant amount of time with hiskids (And a mother, similarly less likely)?http://www.scribd.com/doc/6169001/Analysis-of-Friend-of-the-Court-Custody-RecommendationsFOLLOW UP: Given the unequal distribution of people by race and ethnicity throughout thevarious Michigan counties, even if people of different races and ethnicities are treatedidentically in each county, African American fathers are only about three-fifths as likely asWhite non-Hispanic fathers to obtain a recommendation for sole father or joint physicalcustody.Do you think that such significant differences in outcome based on skin color canexist in a system that fully protects the fourteenth amendment due process rights of parents to the care and custody of their children?FURTHER FOLLOW UP:To the best of my knowledge, there are no public, direct, ethnicityor racial comparisons of custody recommendations.Would you support making and publiclyreleasing such comparisons?Given that the SCAO (State Court Administrative Office) hasapparently violated Michigan law by not releasing a new statistical supplement since 2003,would you support laws making the release of such data mandatory, and requiring strict

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