On Strike for Domenic & Family Law Reform
We need to have Congressional Hearings into Family Law Rerform, we need a Family Rights Act -- your relationship with your children shouldn't depend on what State you live in. Why? In just a few words: Being a parent was always very important to me. I was involved in an awful divorce in 1996. I ended up maybe a little better than most -- able to see Domenic on alternating four day weekends (Thur - Mon). I still felt it was intolerable. Dom and I had a close relationship and he loved being with me and often cried when he left -- but then things got worse.
In the summer of 98, my former spouse petitioned the Court to relocate to California to attend grad school for a Ph.D. -- we went to trial (again). Called a lot of witnesses, had a house here, relatives for Dom -- but it just didn't matter.
In December of 1999 they moved. The Judge gave me 6 weeks in the summer and vacations -- but as far as regular contact -- even if I moved I was cut back to one weekend a month! (moving was never really an option. I have an 83 year old mother and I am her only child.) It was just beyond reason. Last year I went out there three times (for just a weekend) and we did have a wonderful summer together -- but that was "all the money". I could not make support payments. My former spouse is from a wealthy family and I was not concerned about Dom's physical welfare. I was upfront and let the Judge know I was not willing to sacrifice seeing Domenic. I felt caught in farm machinery from the support collection procedures and am now a "dead beat."
I have protested before regarding what has happened to Domenic and I. We need to have significant reform like the Family Rights Act -- it all starts with Congressional Hearings into reform. It has been 5 years of tears and pain for both of us. I am very concerned about Dom's welfare. Perhaps by willingly sacrificing my freedom -- I can demonstrate my concern and regain our relationship.
I was deeply distured by the misconduct of Judges, Lawyers, and other professionals. It appeared that personal "opinion" and "bias" took the place of sound procedure and practice. I tried writing letters to both Court and Legislative leaders, but just got form replies.
My experience is certainly similar to what many of you have seen yourselves. Many of my close friends have told me to give it up, after all, "you can't fight city hall." I perceived bafflement on the part of many officials, "this kind of stuff happens all the time...", "we take kids away from one parent or the other everyday...", "whats the matter with you, why are you being difficult? Just accept it."
Some of my specific complaints are:
1. There were many, many problems in the way my Divorce was handled by the Supreme Court Judge. The more significant are well documented in my original appeal.
2. The Appellate Division simply did not deal honestly with the issues presented on appeal. While it was a unanimous affirmation, I strongly felt that only one Judge had any working knowledge of the facts. Highlighted the reasons in my Motion to Reargue.
3. During the Appellate process opposing counsel clearly attempted to mislead the Court by including numerous "false" facts in the Brief submitted.
4. The Court of Appeals dismissed an attempt at appeal by simply stating the order appealled from, a Judgement for Divorce, was not final??
5. The Law Guardian for my son did not follow guidelines established by the Fourth Department.
Now, I plan on protesting again in a non violent manner similar to before. Only I hope to have the resolve to remain imprisoned until our relationship is restored. This could be a long time.
Why? Because of my background, because I had TWO loving parents, because I am a man of faith, because Dom's very birth was a miracle (coming after fertility treatment). As a man of faith I must quietly proclaim and live according to the truth -- and I cannot accept being cutoff from my own child as a matter of "processing."