Standing Up For Your Rights.
“A parent's right to the care and companionship of his or her children are so fundamental, as to be guaranteed protection under the First, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. In re: J.S. and C., 324 A 2d 90; supra 129 NJ Super, at 489.”
Family court is notorious for ignoring our constitutionally protected parenting rights. For years, family courts have stripped targeted parents of their right to parent without due process or consequences. This happens because we get bullied into thinking that family court has the authority to order custody and placement in any way they see fit. The key word is “fit”. The court must prove that you are an “unfit” parent and that you pose a clear and present danger to your children in order to take away any of your equal parenting time.
Remember these bits of advice:
1. You are divorcing your partner, not your children.
The Supreme Court has said that Parental Rights attach to the individual not the marriage. (Eisenstadt, Sheriff v. Baird, (1972) The Supreme Court has said that Parental Rights are the same for fathers and mothers (Stanley v. Illinois, 405 US 645-Supreme Court 1972) and for married and unmarried and single people alike. (Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 US 438-Supreme Court 1972)
“No bond is more precious and none should be more zealously protected by the law as the bond between parent and child." Carson v. Elrod, 411 F Supp 645, 649; DC E.D. VA (1976).”
2. Stand up for your parenting rights.
If you feel that your parenting rights might be in jeopardy because of a high-conflict (ex) partner, tell your lawyer right away that you want your constitutionally guaranteed right to parent upheld. Politely but firmly let him or her and the court know that you are aware of your fundamental rights as a parent and that you want the court to respect and protect those rights. Statement about your right to parent should not just be verbal, they should be written in your pleadings, motions, and other types of tangible communications with the court.
A parent's right to the preservation of his relationship with his child derives from the fact that the parent's achievement of a rich and rewarding life is likely to depend significantly on his ability to participate in the rearing of his children. A child's corresponding right to protection from interference in the relationship derives from the psychic importance to him of being raised by a loving, responsible, reliable adult. Franz v. U.S., 707 F 2d 582, 595^Q599; US Ct App (1983).
3. Never sign any agreement, unless it is something that you can live with.
This advice pertains to all agreements, but, targeted parents are often “tricked” into signing agreements that limit their placement time. Usually their lawyer will tell them, “not to worry, it’s just temporary”. In truth, temporary agreements may not be temporary at all because you may be in family court for years. Also, if the lawyers and/or the guardian ad litem convince the judge that the temporary agreement is “working,” the Judge is much more likely to make temporary agreements—permanent.
“A parent's interest in custody of her children is a liberty interest which has received considerable constitutional protection; a parent who is deprived of custody of his or her child, even though temporarily, suffers thereby grievous loss and such loss deserves extensive due process protection. In the Interest of Cooper, 621 P 2d 437; 5 Kansas App Div 2d 584, (1980).
4. Require the court to show proof as to why your parenting rights should be limited.
Even though family court has weak evidentiary standards, they still need to prove that you are unfit to parent your children less than 50%. That proof does not include the other parent’s opinions or accusations about you or your parenting ability. This is called “hearsay” and your lawyer should keep any and all of this rhetoric out of the courtroom. Family court is not an opportunity for one parent to make criminal charges against the other parent in the absence of due process.
“One of the most precious rights possessed by parents is the right to raise their children free of government interference. That right, "more precious than mere property rights," is a liberty interest, protected by the substantive and procedural Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 92 S.Ct. 1208, 31 L.Ed.2d 551 (1972).”
No one will respect your rights, until you do.