Author Topic: Johnson County Family Law Guidelines  (Read 10940 times)

Guru

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Johnson County Family Law Guidelines
« on: August 30, 2011, 08:32:25 PM »
This document is huge!  I skimmed through the document and found that a weekend is actually defined as a block of time that is at least 8 hours :)  I don't know about other people, but I kind of consider weekends to be ALL Saturday and ALL Sunday, no matter the context.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 11:36:28 AM by Guru »

KTM

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Re: Johnson County Family Law Guidelines
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2012, 12:19:04 AM »
GURU,

I believe you have missed a few key things while skimming the JCFLG.

"Because infants perceive time differently than adults, parenting time with infants should be on a consistent routine with frequent contact throughout the entire week for generally shorter periods than older children. Ideally, neither parent should be separated from their infant child for more than 3 days. Suggested MINIMUM for one parents parenting time with infants......... B) Weekends - One Block of not less than 8 hours every weekend either on Saturday or Sunday. D) If the parents are both regularly involved in providing day-to-day care for the infant child, then they should consider extending parenting time to overnights.

Guru

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Re: Johnson County Family Law Guidelines
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2012, 12:31:18 AM »
KTM,

I probably missed a quite a few things.  Like I said, I just skimmed the article.  You found the same thing as I, though, that a parent could be awarded "weekend" parenting time which is 8 hours.  That, in my book, is barely a DAY, not a weekend.  A weekend starts on either Friday evening or Saturday morning, and ends either Sunday evening, or Monday morning.

Infants are considered infants if they are less than a year old.  I was referring to the rest of the 17 years.  I don't think seeing a child once every 3 days would create a firm parent/child bond.

Regardless, there are some significant problems with these guidelines.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 11:51:35 AM by Guru »

KTM

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Re: Johnson County Family Law Guidelines
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2012, 01:32:06 PM »
There is no "one size fits all" way to raise children and I don't think it is the intent of the Bench Bar committees to say there is.

Ultimately, when two parents agree to a plan, the Courts will not set it aside. So, the guidelines would be irrelevant. However, if two parents do not agree or argument for the sake of setting up a win/loose situation occurs (abuse or bullying) than the JCFLG present a well thought out guide for consideration on each point of potential conflict, a suggested resolution and often another alternative the parents may get stuck with if a third party has to decide for them.

I have found the JCFLG to be an effective tool to limit opportunities for arguments to be made for the sake of argument as is the case in abusive relationships. As read the guidelines give an outline of MINIMUM standards on parenting time which I believe were initially put in place to protect Fathers rights when a "traditional" family breaks apart. There are a series of suggested choices A or B and sometimes C which I have seen be helpful when parents do not know where to start and what details need to be considered when crafting a parenting plan, a new way of parenting their children due to the change to living in separate homes and taking separate Holidays & Vacations.

Having been in an abusive relationship where the other parent argued every single detail, every single exchange time and was regularly arguing for changes in the schedule it was a blessing to have the JCFLG to end the constant conflict. A person who wants to argue with you because they are angry and want to set up a win/lose scenario will argue over anything, always take the opposing view and then change positions before ever compromising. Such is the art of "war". They win because they don't care about the actual outcome. The only way to end that behavior is to limit the choices and take the opportunities to argue away one by one over time.

Guru

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Re: Johnson County Family Law Guidelines
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2012, 04:51:19 PM »
KTM,

It sounds as if you are personally involved with a divorce situation, but it also sounds as if you are professionally involved with the family law system in some way.  You have a great deal of insight on many of the posts here.  I'm not discouraging your input, but do you have some level of professional involvement with the legal system (judge, attorney, case manager)?  Not often are people as well versed and familiar with things such as the JCFLG unless they have been pro se for years or are involved with them on a professional level.

The term "bench bar" is not one familiar to either myself or many here I don't believe, but from what I gather this is a hand selected group of legal professionals and all meetings held by them is closed door.  Would I be correct in this assertion?  If that is the case, why is it close door?  Why not solicit input from those affected by the decisions?

I can see the intentions of the JCFLG are to promote some level of consistency, but that consistency needs to be statewide if it is only a guideline.  Why not implement a statute that could standardize the state?

KTM

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Re: Johnson County Family Law Guidelines
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2012, 07:18:03 PM »
GURU,

Unfortunately my experience is firsthand & not professional.

I am a Pro Se Litigant who has been working through a High Conflict Divorce case brushing up with the Criminal Courts at times over the past 5 years. I had to put many many hours of research into how the laws and the system work in order to reduce my costs. My family has utilized the services of 4 different Judges, 7 different attorneys, The District Attorneys Office, The local Police Department Detectives, Court Services, a Domestic Violence Shelter, Court Appointed Guardian (for kids), Mediation, Case Management, Psychiatric Evaluation, Custody Evaluation and Home Study, Psychological Counseling, Supervised Visitation services, the Kansas Payment Center, and Special Master for property division. There were 3 trials and 1 appeal. One by Judge, One by Jury & One by Magistrate.

This process has cost me personally over $150,000.00 to obtain & maintain my ability to be a parent free from intimidation/threats and advocate for my children.

My familiarity with the guidelines comes from the painstaking 4 year process it took through the Case Management process finalized by Court Hearing to get a parenting plan in place that was so specific and clear to the letter that there was no room for interpretation thus eliminating the possibility of starting an argument for the sake of yanking someones chain or filling a need to be in control.

If you reference the JCFLG introduction it outlines the process of how the document is constructed and who contributes. I have not looked at it before posting this. But, believe the Bench Bar Committee is listed. The meetings are business meetings as Family law matters are business. If someone from the general public would like to find out if their views are being represented and how than it would be appropriate to contact someone on the committee, make an appointment with them (may be for a fee) and ask questions.

I suspect that there are cultural & geographical differences in each County which are better represented by local input vs. Statewide mandate. Again, if two parents agree it does not matter what the County or anyone else recommends. The parents will get what they agree to.

Guru

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Re: Johnson County Family Law Guidelines
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2012, 10:36:15 PM »
Well, it sounds as if you've been down a hard road.  You're definitely well read on the topics.  Being pro se as well, I know all to well the amount of time and the level of dedication it takes to learn all the rules.  But, I feel it has been well worth it.

I'll make two comments about your post.  First, I'll make the same comment as was made to the child support committee.  Why even talk about agreements in a document like the family law guidelines or the child support guidelines?  Seriously?  Do you really think people would need such guidelines if they agreed on everything?  The answer is no.  Of course the courts will always approve an agreement, but that's only after everyone has looked over the guidelines to see how far each one has the other bent over the barrel.  As the guidelines read, it is usually Dad who will be working uphill to gain any kind of real quality parenting time and gain any responsibility.  He has to first prove himself rather than simply starting with the understanding that both parents are equally important.

Secondly, the meetings that are conducted closed door are not ethically appropriate.  I've personally called to inquire about the JCFLG well over 2 years ago.  I was met with hostility from the word "hello."  The lady was immediately confrontational that I even asked who approves the guidelines and how they came to be.  There are no names listed, there is no contact information, the KS Bar knows nothing about the guideline, no meeting minutes have ever been published, and no one except an attorney can attend.  So, I wondered, why is an attorney automatically a custody expert?  They get divorced just like everyone else if not more so.

The same question of the child support committee.  What makes all the judges and attorneys that make up that committee experts?  They all felt the public had little useful information to offer.  They quickly learned that quite a few Kansas residents were just as educated and just as informed on child support than they were.  But they had fresh ideas.  As a result, changes were made in a positive direction.  I see no reason the JCFLG should not publish meeting minutes unless they intend to keep a low profile so no one knows.  Involving members of the public will lead to a better understanding of the issues and a better guideline.

I think we need a couple seasoned attorneys to ascertain if the process used to enforce quasi-law on everyone is even legal.  I think if it is being treated as a law (and I'm sure a few transcripts would prove this), then any information leading to its development would be open to the public. And by federal law it would be required to be discussed at a public hearing.

KTM

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Re: Johnson County Family Law Guidelines
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2012, 10:01:43 AM »
GURU,

In paragraph 1 of your post below you state that Mom is given preference in the JCFLG. I do not read any preference given to Mom vs. Dad. As written there are two parents A & B. There are families in Kansas that consist of two mothers or two fathers.

In paragraph 2 of your post below your statement about the JCFLG committee, Bench Bar committee and it's constitution is not accurate. Reviewing the first page of the document will give you the accurate information about how the committee is formed, it's purpose and who is on the committee. This list includes members of the community who are neither Judges or Attorneys.

As to your question in paragraph 3 in your post below, the people on the committee are experts because they spend 5 days of every week working within the bounds of Family Law in Kansas. I have personal experience (a narrow view), as do you and others. But, I do not have experience which allows me to understand the scope and magnitude of the issues within the boundaries of the Law and professional responsibilities.

However, I agree that there are value judgments being made and implemented through the Legal process of Divorce. One of which is that there are two parents of equal importance in the child/ren(s) life. The presumption is that the child/ren need(s) both parents. The entire Divorce system is based upon that principal. There is no moral judgment as to what constitutes a good parent. Only issues of physical or sexual child abuse, neglect, abandonment and safety are considered. Even a parent that has a criminal history, is incarcerated, has been abusive to the other parent, abuses drugs/alcohol or has psychiatric issues is considered an equal parent with rights to parenting time. If both parents are financially responsible for the child/ren than the State and Federal government are presumed less likely to be involved.

The JCFLG as I read them provide a well considered professional guideline outlining what would be MINIMALLY appropriate as equal parenting time regardless of the roles of parent A or parent B in the child/ren(s) life prior to Separation & Divorce. I believe this was initially written and structured to suggest the MINIMAL parenting time rights of fathers exiting a traditional marriage working a full time job with mom, unemployed,  still at home with the kids and has been modified over time to reflect and include options for other family structures.

I too did not appreciate being pushed in a direction other than what our chosen roles were with me as full time mom to my kids. I told the Case Manager that she was preventing me from being a mother to my children. Dad worked 40-60 hours per week and routinely traveled out of town on business. I managed the household and cared for the children. After separation, in order to give Dad his 50%, with a restraining order, it meant I would no longer be there for my children 50% of the time. My chosen role was, as a stay at home mom, to care for them. In one fell swoop my entire identity was gone. Just as it would be if any employer cut your hours in half or laid you off work because you were no longer needed. I did not have a backup plan. But, when the pushing started by dad to have 80% or 100% of the parenting time, the same guidelines I resented protected me and the children's time with me.

Guru

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Re: Johnson County Family Law Guidelines
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2012, 11:45:50 AM »
KTM,

My reference to Mom/Dad is implied.  I'll have to let someone else look up the statistic, but I believe about 80% of custodial parents in KS are women.  Dad's rarely have primary custody.  Therefore, reference to Mom/Dad is implied.

In reading the JCFLG guidelines again, I find that quite possibly, the document I was thinking of was the 20th district guidelines (yet another guideline): http://www.ricecounty.us/Parenting%20Time%20Guidelines%2010042011.pdf.  They do not state where the heck any of the information came from, who developed it, and who to contact about it.  But this one defines a weekend in a much more common sense way.

I can see how the guidelines have protected you and how they have possibly hindered you as well.  I can see value in a guideline, BUT it is not fair for one county to say that the moon and planets must all align before you can get shared custody, yet the next county over says shared custody is the defacto standard ruling.  The simple fact is that shared custody is becoming more popular every day.  I have it, and I know tons of people that do.  It was the absolute best thing that ever happened in my case.  I would like to have more custody, but I feel it is fair to everyone for us both to have shared custody so I'm not fighting it.  BUT, it took just short of an act of congress to get shared custody.  There is no reason for that.

A statewide guideline developed by a state committee would work better.  That guideline should be reviewed and approved by a legislative committee to ensure its statutory acceptability before enactment.

KTM

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Re: Johnson County Family Law Guidelines
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2012, 09:15:44 AM »
Guru,

Is it possible or even probable that the ratio of Mom's vs. Dad's receiving support is an indication of the existing ratio of Traditional marriages vs. non traditional marriages (Husband as primary wage earner and/or sole provider) in the state vs. any real prejudice within the judicial system?

Wouldn't it be important to have the factual data before making such broad assumptions as stated in your post here?

I can appreciate that the language may be offensive to you. But, legal terms do not have the same meaning legally as lay terms do to the general public even when using the same exact word.