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The bill itself does seem poorly designed, but I'm all for opening up family courts to routine federal review and setting out some basic fundamental rights of children and parents at the federal level. I've read of far too many cases where family courts have the least competent judges and are filled with Divorce Professionals of various stripes who are completely non-transparent and totally unaccountable for everything they do. Family courts acting in the "best interests of children" often violate the constitutional rights of families, at times egregiously, and yet federal courts rarely accept family law cases for review. Hague Convention cases are one notable exception and the only reason there is any uniformity at all in the handling of Hague cases nationwide is precisely the fact that they are subject to federal review. As it stands today what will happen to any given family in America brought before a family court is a mystery to any but those local family law practitioners who, understandably, know the State law but, more importantly, know the personalities and dispositions of the individuals who run the family courts. A topic as important as child custody should not be so opaque to outside scrutiny or review nor so heavliy dependent upon on the dispositions, personal biases and/or amount of sleep of the members of the court who happens to hear their case (granted that the personalities of the court will always play some role.) There is nothing more damaging to respect for the rule of law than the sullying of the judiciary in the eyes of the public, and there is a growing movement of disaffected parents, children and extended family members who routinely and regularly denounce the family courts... and their message is being increasingly well received by the public and the media.

John Mertz


From the ABA white paper -

"A Solution in Search of a Problem

There is no reported case in which a service member has being denied custody initially due to deployment or has lost his or her custody rights upon return from deployment for that reason. The bill is a solution in search of a problem. For the past three years, whenever Rep. Mike Turner gets ready to introduce his favorite bill, critics have asked, “Where’s the beef?” Where are the problems which would purportedly be solved by such legislation? In the spring of 2010 the Defense Department, after an exhaustive survey of reported cases, issued a report to Congress finding that there are NO cases where a SM lost custody solely due to deployment."

Wonderful. Another law we don't need. Don't we pay these people enough to persuade them they don't actually have to pass anything to get re-elected? Custody cases in "federal" court. What will they think of next?

John F. Mertz, J.D. (P25200)
330 N Clemens Avenue
Lansing, Michigan 48912
(517) 482-5200

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