Posts tagged ‘jeffery leving’
By Jeffery Leving
Deniers simply are unable to face the fact that their marriage is over, even when the signs are unmistakable: Their spouse is cheating, siphoning money out of their accounts or making plans to move out. Still, deniers hope their marriage can be saved. Jack and Ellen’s story is an excellent example of divorce denial and of the mistakes men make in divorce.
A Loyal Man
Jack refused to believe his wife Ellen was going to divorce him. They had been married for seven years, and though he knew their marriage had problems, he was certain they could work them out. Some of the problems were related to Ellen’s bipolar disorder, for which she was being treated.
Unfortunately, Ellen sometimes refused to take the prescribed medications that helped keep the condition under control. In her manic phase, she drove recklessly, and though she had never done so with their two young children in the car, Jack always worried about this possibility.
In her “down” phase, Ellen talked about “running away and starting over.” But Jack, loyal to mistakes men make in divorce, was certain that no matter how many arguments he and Ellen had, she would never file for divorce.
He was wrong. Not only had she hired a lawyer and started the process, but she also had followed the lawyer’s instructions regarding her medical condition. Her lawyer, anticipating that Jack might use this condition to try to gain sole custody, had instructed Ellen to persuade Jack to sign a document attesting to her mental fitness; he helped Ellen create a cover story that she needed this document for health insurance purposes.
By the divorce, he was hopelessly behind. It took him weeks to find a lawyer, and even then he remained unconvinced that she was serious about sole custody; he insisted to his lawyer that this was just a negotiating ploy.
Jack, realizing he was falling victim to mistakes men make in divorce, finally emerged from his divorce denial.
Denial Signs To Be Aware Of
To prevent this from happening, be aware of the following signs that you’re in divorce denial:
- Your spouse informs you she wants a divorce, but you insist to both her and yourself that she’s not serious.
- The marriage is dead and your spouse moves out and makes a down payment on a new house, but you convince yourself that the separation is temporary.
- You note that your spouse is taking money out of your joint accounts, that your relationship has experienced serious problems and that she is having an affair, but you refuse to put two and two together.
- Your spouse has threatened to take the kids and leave, but even as you’re consulting your lawyer, you refuse to believe she would ever do such a thing.
- When your spouse informs you that she’s filing for divorce, you refuse to hire an lawyer, convinced that things will work out if you avoid “playing her game.”
- You tell your friends that your spouse is only using the possibility of divorce as a bargaining chip to buy a new house or change your bad habits, but that when push comes to shove, she’ll never follow through on the threat.
- You hire a lawyer in response to your spouse filing for divorce, but you argue with him that your spouse has no intention of limiting your visitation, asking for sole custody, refusing to give you certain monies, or share property fairly; based on your certainty that your spouse would never treat you unfairly, you don’t follow your lawyer’s advice.
Divorce denial is dangerous, especially if you have children at risk. Recognize the warning signs and take immediate action to protect your rights and the rights of your children.
Part 1 of 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwz6fy5oKA4
If I’m a good father, it’s because I try to be half the father as my father was. I had a father who I thought was a prince. Even though at times we disappointed him in terms of what we did as teenagers, as kids with all that energy. But for the most part, I just thought when I sit down and analyze what he gave me – the sense of comfort, the sense of safety that he gave me.
I knew that he wasn’t a big man, I’m a foot taller than my father but the sense of presence, and the way he took on his responsibilities of caring for the family – all those things I was able to take into fatherhood. And hopefully, even though some things I think I could have done differently, hopefully those had some sort of impact on my daughter. And our relationship is a testimony that it’s had an impact on her.
That’s only because my father was there in the household and my mother was there. We had a unit as a family with 5 children and mother and father and we did things as a family. We traveled on vacation as a family. There was the concept that the family took precedence over me the individual. So we all had and took on responsibility whether it was the upkeep of the house or whether it’s the cooking of the meals and all the other kind of things and I think what it did was give me another sensibility.
So since there were 4 boys and 1 girl, there was no gender preference given to the boys in terms of responsibility. The boys washed dishes, the boys ironed clothes, the boys cooked – every one of them knew how to do all of that. I think those were important because in a sense that’s the images I saw in my parents. My father cooked, he washed clothes, he ironed, he did all those things – he took on that. My mother was a Cub Scout Mother. When we lived in the projects when I was a little boy, my father was my youngest brother’s Boy Scout Den Father when we lived in a house. So I applaud them in creating the sense of normalcy and the consistency in which they maintained that.
You’re fortunate because you grew up in a stable family where your parents were together and they raised you as a teen and you had a great dad. You had an excellent father.
I had a great mom and a great dad and I think they made each other the best that they could be. I had one of those mothers who had the most glorious smile that you ever want to see and yet she was a woman of magnitude. She was the president of the local chapter of the National Council of Negro Women, she knew Dr. Dorothy Hite well, she was the first in her family in rural Georgia to graduate from college. So she was a woman going somewhere. And she happened to pick one of the most gentle men, one of the most beautiful men I ever met in my life – my dad.
I mean that’s great, as a divorce lawyer and as a fathers’ rights attorney, I’m a big supporter of children having two parents. And when we were growing up, a lot of children had two parents.
Unfortunately it’s changed a lot and a lot of fathers get kicked to the curb and children suffer. And I’ve represented a lot of good dads struggling to be there for their children and the system kicks them out. But fortunately for us we grew up in a different time.
Yeah! I’m 62 years old so I grew up in a time when it meant something to get in the car and the family go on a Sunday drive down the coast – I grew up in San Francisco – so we’d go an hour down the coast as a family and stop by a little, local hamburger/French fry place – that’s a cravat right there, there was the real thing about that. We’d have some hamburgers and French fries as a family and I loved that and I remember that so vividly in my mind, you know, with my parents. And it could be a way in which they were saying, “Okay, let’s as a family do something.”
We don’t have a lot of money; we weren’t blessed with a lot of money. My parents went from paycheck to paycheck all their entire time that I lived with them. And after I moved out of the house. But there was this sense of doing something that felt so and remarkably wonderful as a family. And I lost a sister, lost a brother to rheumatory arthritis, colon cancer to my sister. But I tell you – my younger brothers that are much younger that I am and I are very very close.
Oh, that’s great. I wrote this book, Fathers’ Rights and in it on pages 46 and 47, I listed a lot of statistics on how father absence effects in children and the most reliable predictor of crime in America is father absence. It says right here, 72% of all teenage murderers grew up without fathers. The absence of a biological father increases by 900% a daughter’s vulnerability to rape and sexual abuse. And these assaults are not often committed by the dads, it’s committed by boyfriends of the custodial parents. These are the statistics that are somewhat new to our society.
I agree with you to some extent, but there are other factors that happen within a family, within the communal structure than just those particular statistics which apply to the individual. What are the social conditions? What is the stress level of the mother? What other kind of support mechanism does she have around? Where are the uncles around there to help raise those children? Where are the aunts around to help raise those girls? A lot of other factors that go into that. To say that the numbers, of course, when we take the fact that 2 million men and women incarcerated in this country. Those numbers who suggest that, but I think that there are a lot of other dynamics around the maintenance of a family. The laws and regulations and communities are family-friendly that create the kind of atmosphere as well in support.
The fact is they say that if you can’t love the one you want, love the one you’re with. We found that in most cases, when those single boys – and I’ve been in those situations – and those boys in those relationships where there’s someone who cares, where there’s someone there. He may be a father figure; he may be a father himself. But there’s someone who cares. And those girls are with people who care about them and care about who they are. Amazing things happening.
And sometimes in the 21st century, given all the kinds of dynamics that happen. In the last part of the 20th century, people were very mobile. They moved from place to place. They went from job to job as opposed to the first part of the 20th century. The last part of the 20th century, people become mobile and that has an impact on whatever the social dynamics among the family and the community itself. And also, the structures that employ us, remember – you take a place like Detroit. Detroit was one of the first places in this country as black people after the invention of the cotton picking machine in 1944 – black people were free from the land. 100% of the cotton was picked by hand in 1944, within 25 years 100% of the cotton was picked my machine. So black people moved, migrated. 5 million black people moved out of the South, to the North. All kinds of family disruptions. So almost a quarter of the black population moved in transit to find work.
They came to places like Detroit, got jobs – good jobs. Low skill jobs, good paying jobs. They built homes, raised families all over the country. Then those cities became de-industrialized. Those jobs went over seas to cheaper labor. Continued, we see it today. They went to some other place, for cheaper labor. Therefore are many losses: tax based. They lost a sense of self. They lost their sense of identity. Upon losing that sense of identity you have what you have now. Those are the kind of ideas that we cannot simply; we must incorporate any analysis of those things that have happened. That’s real history. That’s real history that’s right in front of my eyes.
My dad had a job, he retired from a job after 31 years. My mother when she passed away was still working. They had a job and everything else. They were able to build a family. We moved from the projects, I lived in the projects, the housing projects until I was 11 years old. We moved from there, we bought a home.
Every one of us got into problems; yes we did things as kids. But I remember when my dad came down into that police station and said after I had done something and came in and picked me up and said, “Son, I am disappointed in you.”
I’m towering over him now, I’m 6’2”, I am towering over him. “Son, I am so disappointed in you.”
That has meaning to me. That had meaning to me because of their life. That had meaning to me because of all the things that have happened. And that was the last time I had been involved in anything like that. I’ve been arrested for doing other things like for protesting something or sitting in or something like that. But it’s the last thing. Those are the kind of things I think of enforcedly. I know that now. I got a 5 year old grandson whose father is not there. I know that I have to tell him everyday that he is the most important person in my life. I have to tell him every day that I love him. I have to tell him that everyday, the best job that I have, the best job in the world for me is to being your grandfather – and everything else. Your dad may not be here, but you know what, I’m here. That kind of infrastructure, that kind of support will give him a shot! Give him a chance, you know. Somebody loves me. And maybe it’s nice that I love myself as well.
By Josh Hoff
The State of Illinois bears an uncanny resemblance to the uncle who for years looked like he just got out of bed when he attended the annual family reunion. The, one year, somehow, he gets motivated to pull himself together and charms the entire family much to everybody’s delight. This stems from the fact that the State of Illinois has done an about-face for child support collections in 2006.
In the mid-1990s, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) Child Support Division’s performance fell steeply, causing hardship for thousands of Illinois parents. In 2000, Illinois faced the threat of federal penalties for poor child support enforcement. Recently, however, Governor Blagojevich announced Illinois’ 2006 child support collections reached $1.14 billion, the most collected in any single year ever.
As a result the National Child Support Enforcement Association selected Illinois for the 2006 Most Improved Program Award. What does all of this mean when the state has scored consistently low in this department in the past?
“It shows that the Governor is aggressively collecting child support,” says fathers’rights attorney Jeffery Leving. “It is going to be more difficult for non-custodial parents. They will have a harder time avoiding paying child support.”
The amount of child support collected in 2006 is over 11 percent higher than last year’s $1 billion in record-breaking collections, and more than 50 percent higher than the $729 million collected in fiscal year 2001.
“Every year, as the cost of raising children and providing a loving and secure home continues to go up, more and more parents are struggling to meet those needs alone,” Governor Blagojevich announced in a news release. “Before I became Governor, the child support system in our state was the worst in the nation. But this program has turned around and is now breaking its own records and receiving national recognition for its improvements. More Illinois parents than ever are getting the payments they are owed so their children can have the childhood they deserve.”
While the trend of increased child support collections is beneficial for children and families in general, it could also have a positive impact on fathers in their relations with their children. “There is a correlation between contact with children and payment of support,” explains Leving.
The increase in child support collection is attributable in large part to the implementation of several new programs, including: the Illinois/Iowa Joint Child Support Enforcement Office; the Deadbeat Parents Website; and the New Hire Initiative.
The Illinois/Iowa Joint Child Support Enforcement Office is a collaborative effort that ensures improved interstate information sharing, faster collection of court-ordered child support, and more efficient enforcement of child support laws. According to the Governor’s office this collaboration has resulted in the collection of $234,351. Further, the Deadbeat Parents Website has been an effective tool for the state of Illinois, in that it identifies parents who owe more than $5,000 in child support payments, and has resulted in the collection of nearly $190,000 since the program’s launch in November 2003. In Illinois, 80 percent of child support is collected through wage withholdings, a method facilitated by the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s New Hire Directory.
Though these initiatives have led to increases in child support collection, they also have a flipside – that is, further alienation between some parents and children. Most deadbeat dads, for instance, have no income or low income. In fact, 66 percent of those behind in child support are at poverty level income.
“You can’t get child support from people who are indigent, sick, ill, or incarcerated,” warns Leving. “It could alienate fathers from their children further.”
The question then becomes: What is the state of Illinois doing for parents, particularly fathers, who want to meet their child support obligations but are unable to do so? Fathers’ rights guru Leving has some ideas for what the state might do to improve the lot of these parents.
“Fathers that are unemployed, find employment for them, empower them,” he suggests. “Job training could be valuable. They could use money allocated to chase down deadbeat dads to educate the jobless.”
The state of Illinois bears an uncanny resemblance to the uncle who for years looked like he just got out of bed when he attended the annual family reunion. Then, one year, somehow, he gets motivated to pull himself together and charms the entire family much to everybody’s delight. This stems from the fact that the state of Illinois has done an about-face for child support collections in 2006.
We have just lost a champion of civil rights. James Cook, often called the “father of joint custody,” passed away last week in California. His passing is being lamented by prominent fathers’ rights attorney Jeffery Leving.
The people in Illinois have joint custodial rights for parents because of Jeffery Leving; however, he is quick to point out that it was James Cook who was the pioneer in this movement in our nation.
It is 30 years since James Cook initiated the joint custody movement, traveling all over the country to argue the case. As a result of his work, California passed the joint custody law in 1979, and this inspired Jeffery Leving to advocate a similar measure in his home state. Jeffery Leving co-authored the Illinois Joint Custody Act which the Illinois governor signed into law in 1986. Thus Jeffery Leving gave impetus to a movement which has in most states transformed the law concerning the custody of children.
James Cook’s effort has forever changed the treatment of fathers in the courts. When James Cook went through the trauma of divorce, there were no civil rights for fathers. The judge told him that the law did not permit him to grant joint custody. In contrast, about a decade later, New York Supreme Court Judge Richard Lattner regarded joint custody as “an appealing concept” that freed the court from making decisions based on gender.
Even now, the work started by James Cook is not complete as there are still many states that have no joint custody law on the books. Nevertheless, many fathers will be grateful to James Cook who launched the fathers’ rights movement; and to Jeffery Leving who continues to champion the cause, and has increased public awareness through publishing the online magazine LevingsDivorceMagazine.com, founding the non-profit Fatherhood Educational Institute, as well as chairing the government body the Illinois Council on Responsible Fatherhood.
Jeffery Leving expects to go to the graveside service for James Cook on Friday, March 6, 2009.