War On Women,
The Family, Fathers and Children
FEBRUARY 9, 2014
For over a decade now, I have spent a significant amount of time writing, advocating, and creating awareness of the lack of child protection in my state. It seems on any given day, from local to national news, web or print, children are being put in dangerous circumstances while “standing” in silence. My question has always been, “How can this be? Is this really possible?”
After years of researching and investigating child abuse, neglect, and child fatalities, I was continually pointed to the Family Courts as the source of the problem. I had to ask myself, “What could the Family Courts have to do with “causing” the lack of child protection?” So as I investigated that question further, those in Family Law and Child Protection kept directing me to child custody outcomes. After I was able to compile a significant amount of information, I was able to co-author a child protection bill that became law in 2005. One of the things I was discovering through my research was that more individuals within Family Law were implying there was collusion taking place with the judiciary, guardian ad- litems and private practice child custody studies.
At this point you must be asking, what does child protection have to do with "the war on women"? A lot…It's coming.
A document surfaced around Feb. 2004 called the “Standard Policy on Periods Of Physical Placement”. I read and re-read this document, trying to find out what this policy’s intent was and was it a contributing factor in “blocking” child protection. At first glance I had to ask myself, “Could this be the document that those in Family Law and Child Protection kept directing me towards, regarding child custody outcomes and also manipulation of non-custodial placement schedules?” I knew that there was more to this. I just could not pinpoint it. Many non-custodial parents would come to me over the years and say, “What can I do? The custodial parent is keeping me from protecting my child from the significant others abuse.” With all of my investigative research in the child protection arena, I knew this statement was very real. I would explain to these non-custodial parents that it was not just the custodial parent, it was the system’s pursuit of matches and incentives that is keeping you from protecting your child. Some non-custodial parents would get frustrated because they would think I wasn’t advocating for their position or that I didn't understand their child's plight, but I did. I also knew in the back of my mind that it was not just a custodial parent trying to “alienate” good, loving non- custodial parents from protecting their children from significant other abuse… it was well beyond. What many loving non-custodial parents didn’t understand was the dynamics of Social Security Act Title IV_D and B, child support incentives (Wisconsin Chapter DCF153) and the Standard Policy On Periods Of Physical Placement being used to block them.
For many years, I sat back and thought I need to ask some hard hitting questions of some very “powerful” people within the judiciary. I sent a letter off asking a judicial official about the “Standard Policy On Periods Of Physical Placement”. What I received back in a response was absolutely the shock of my life. It was a denial that the practice or policy even existed. What this individual didn’t realize was two things: (1) I had the clerk-stamped "Standard Policy On Periods Of Physical Placement" in question and (2) I had recently learned that another local judicial official who “spoke out” against the practice of using the “Standard Policy On Periods Of Physical Placement” in family cases. At this point I realized there was something within the Family Law arena that “they” wanted to cover-up. At this point my gut instinct told me that I had not even scratched the surface. I combed through every last document I had and recounted every person I spoke with to find that common denominator…all of which led me back to the “Standard Policy On Periods Of Physical Placement”. I decided to push all the information I had out of view, except for this one document. I needed to figure out what piece of the puzzle, within this document, I was missing. One thing that was apparent, was the pre-designation of non-custodial and custodial schedules, which I thought was odd. I decided that I needed to write to the second judicial official that I was told “spoke” out against the use of the “Standard Policy On Periods Of Physical Placement”…I had a great deal of respect for this individual. I sent out a letter to this judicial official, not really expecting a response. Sometime later, if you can believe it, I received a response. The answer back, although vague, was very “telling” being that they used the word "often" in the letter. It reaffirmed their position on the “Standard Periods on Physical Placement” usage. After receiving this letter, what was once big, was even bigger. I now needed to see where else this document was being used. To my astonishment, after the denial in the first letter, I found it being implemented within other family law cases. At this juncture, about 2009, I was disheartened for what I had discovered. I still did not conclude what this document's agenda really was. I did know “powerful” people were at odds with each other over its use. Still I could not get my head “around” it. Clearly, many in Family Law were willing to speak out, but not “on the record”.
I set this document aside for a couple of years and tried not to think about it. Although Family Law attorneys, county employees, etc. were pushing me to continue, I felt I needed to step away for a bit, and clear my mind. I didn’t decide to revisit it again until the “Standard Policy On Periods Of Physical Placement” appeared again, years later in a couple of family cases, where both individuals were acquaintances of mine. What was significant in one case was that it was a high earner career mom. It was no surprise to me that she was paying child support as I had seen so many women’s names appearing on warrant list for non-payment of child support, (Meyer vs.Teasdale Ruling), as this seems to be a current trend. But when I heard the placement schedule, alarm bells went off. Knowing this it forced me to go back and look at the "Standard Policy On Periods Of Physical Placement" once again. I was not happy about doing this. I spent a significant amount of time reviewing what I had looked at hundreds of times before. I still believed it was being used to generate entitlement matches and incentives, but I still felt in my heart there was something much more “sinister” at work. Could this be a war on women?
Many things come to me, when I least expect it and "it" finally did... Right in my face! What I believe, is one of many intents of the “Standard Policy On Periods Of Physical Placement”, is to covertly and silently “strip” public assistance moms of equality and punish high earner career moms for establishing shared placement "50/50" with the father so both parents can have careers. How did I come to this conclusion? I was thinking about my daughters as high income earners being forced into a "Standard Policy On Periods Of Physical Placement" order and how it would not only instantly impoverish them but also destroy any career ambitions, dreams of shattering a glass ceiling and being equal to men within the business world. Example: General Motors, NASCAR or Yahoo. If they decided to share placement 50/50, they would get punished with a high child support order and the every other weekend "Standard Policy On Periods Of Physical Placement" order. Such a blow would set them back an easy 10 years or longer to establish themselves on a career path that would "afford" them the "American Dream" lifestyle.
I know many have said, “But, we have all these great programs for single parent moms: W-2, Snap, Badger Care, Food Share, Housing, and many more programs to help these moms out”… What they don't tell these moms is that it wont help them out of poverty. These public assistance programs only insure cyclical incentives and matches to agencies if they can keep these single parent moms chained to poverty. They know anyone on these programs could never financially ever get their heads above water, let alone having any aspiration to launch a small business, establish a solid career path, or shatter a glass ceiling. We all know, that this lifestyle would be taxing on any person mentally and physically. I have worked with many “powerhouse” women over the years. I know nothing was ever given to them,they fought and scratched during every waking moment with a determined resolve. It takes decades of conditioned focus to establish that kind of will and confidence. I believe that these public assistance agencies think if they coach a single parent mom long enough, poverty will envelope them like smoke in the night. They can smell it, but could not react to the speed in which it was consuming their conscience.
I believe in the future, if my hunch is right, we will see an Appellate or Supreme Court challenge. Where could this challenge come from? Based on trends, it’s most likely it would come with the full-force and fury of a determined, strong-willed, self-assured, non-custodial career mother who has been subjected to paying an unprecedented child support order, jailed for non-pay of child support (Meyer vs. Teasdale) while being judicially silenced by the every other weekend "Standard Policy On Periods Of Physical Placement".
This legal challenge won’t be of Family Law itself, but of the forged underpinnings of judicial activism that has created this imbalance of equality against career moms is in the pursuit of matches and incentive revenue streams.
The charge of inequality would be difficult for an Appellate and/or Supreme Court to ignore. I believe a decisive ruling in favor of equality of this magnitude, not seen since the sixties and seventies, would forever set an unequivocal precedent of equality, not seen within present Family Law. This will force legal, constitutional, and academic scholars to challenge the constitutionality of decades-old family law decisions…moms and dads alike.
True equality is 50/50. In our state, whoever thought it was a wise decision to flip the script and “punish” non-custodial career moms, for wanting to step out from the shadows of poverty and shatter the glass ceiling, is going to wish that the “Standard Periods on Physical Placement” was never contrived. In closing for those who spent locally a decade plus intimidating and retaliating against those of us who uncovered this silent war on women, families, fathers and children, you have some explaining to do within our community.