Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Divorce, American Style: A Perfect Storm

In the UK, John Mortimer wrote a book, Felix in the Underworld. It was about the Labour policy that abolished the UK equivalent of AFDC. Instead of the government providing for single mothers with dependent children, no payments would be made unless the woman named the father. Once she'd named the father, the payments would be collected from the named father. As Mortimer wrote, there was absolutely no need for the woman to name the biological father, as long as she named some male who would be responsible to make the payments and largely allow the government to abolish government payments to women with dependent children, thereby saving the taxpayers money.

Clinton read about the UK system, and, as a legacy passed in his last year in office, decided to press for adoption of this system in the US. He succeeded at the Federal level.

The US, however, is a Federal system, unlike the UK. In 38 states, no payments can be required of the father after the children are 18. In the other states, which include Clinton's Arkansas, the support, once ordered, can never be reduced for any reason. In Arkansas (and my state) fathers of 30 year old children are still paying.

In many (but certainly not all) states, the courts watch Lifetime television. On Lifetime, viciously beaten women have no recourse to the criminal justice system.

This myth appears in most published novels. Grisham wrote that most judges refuse to get involved when a man beats his wife or girlfriend. Dick Francis wrote that, when a man beats his wife, the case does not come to trial until after all wounds have healed, and the defence lawyer says, 'M'Lud, the prosecutor says this man beat this woman. Does M'Lud see any evidence of this abuse?' The jury sees no such evidence, and finds the guilty man innocent.

In real life, I went with a police patrol called by a neighbour. 'I heard hitting and screaming,' said the neighbour. The constable, who had a warrant, demanded access to the apartment inside which the fight had been heard. He saw a woman with abrasions, cuts, and bruises who said, 'I fell down the steps. My husband isn't home now.' The constable forced his way in, and found the husband cowering in a closet. The wife was photographed. At the trial, she was not called by the prosecution, who used the photographs and the testimony of the neighbour to get a conviction.

But real life never appears in any Lifetime 'documentary' about domestic abuse, or in any novel.

So the Divorce Court is advised to remedy the deficiencies of the Criminal Courts in the US, and to demand that, if accused of abuse, the man named as father pay at least 140% of his income.

So my judge, hearing that my wife said she was viciously abused, but the police would not help, found me guilty of 'vicious, bizarre, occult abuse.' He said that I had used occult means to beat my wife and children almost to death, but then used occult methods to conceal such abuse from the police.

Under the Clinton law, I cannot ask another judge to review the case.

If I do not give my ex the 200% of my assets and income as I was sentenced, I must go to gaol for life without the possibility of parole.

Before Clinton, most men in states that demanded more than 100% of their income left the state where they were convicted. The conviction was strictly civil, not criminal, and was therefore not extraditable. The few fools who remained in the state where they were divorced were gaoled, then, since the judge didn't want to be responsible for the costs of the incarceration of these men, the judge would set up some delayed schedule of support payments, forgive the unpayable payments, and, after a few weeks in gaol, release the man named as father. Usually, these fools figured out that they had to leave the state where they were divorced. Some went to judges in other states and got a more reasonable settlement.

Clinton changed all that. 1) Not one penny may be forgiven. 2) Not one penny may be re-scheduled. 3) Once the woman has chosen a court, no other court may hear the case. 4) Crossing state lines after a divorce is a Federal offence for the man (if the women still feels threatened after the divorce, she is allowed and strongly encouraged to leave the state).

So I left. Not just my state, but the US. Only, I had a question, and, when I went to ask, the embassy shredded my passport.

So now I am a mojado in this country, with no visa, no passport, no papers if any kind.

Which is highly illegal, and I have no idea what I can do.

I went to a local lawyer who took $450 from me. I said, 'What is your advice?'

'We are required by law to turn you in, but we don't want to hurt our clients, so we have to ask that you never come by or call us again, and we won't tell anyone here about you.'

So I just have to hope I'm not asked for my papers.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

How I became a fugitive

The New York Times reports that 48% of divorced men are deadbeats. In spite of the fact that divorced men have their salaries garnished at source by the IRS. So, in fact, the deadbeats have all been ordered to pay more alimony than their take-home pay.

I was one of those deadbeats.

Where I was divorced, the guidelines were (are) that, if the wife claims abuse, the court should sentence the husband to life without the possibility of parole.

My wife said that she couldn't get any satisfaction from the criminal justice system, since they could find absolutely no evidence of abuse.

My judge (and lawyer) who both watch The Lifetime Channel, watch a movie every night where the woman can't get any help from the criminal justice system. The poor woman's TV husband, every night, manages to inflict compound fractures, but, when the cops arrive and take the woman to the hospital, the abuser has used sorcery, so the TV doctors can't find any evidence of abuse, and, without evidence, the criminal justice system can't do anything. This cannot happen in real life, but real life is alien to The Lifetime Channel. And to Family Law Court.

As far as Family Law Court is concerned, the only solution is the one used in Salem, MA. Or Loudun, Fr.

The Family Justice guideline is incarceration without the possibility of parole for any man accused of abuse where there is absolutely no criminal evidence of abuse, since that is a priori evidence of sorcery. The Family Justice guideline is thwarted by the stupid modern laws which prohibit burning at the stake for men who are clearly guilty by virtue of the fact that there is no conventional evidence of any kind against them, so, sadly, the courts have to settle for sentences of life without the possibility of parole.

In September, 2000, I was in arrears enough that, under the Clinton Law, the feds came to deport me back to the state where I was divorced, where I would be incarcerated for life, or until I could pay 200% of my take-home pay.

So I left the US for the ME.

And so, now, I'm FugitiveME.