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Coalition of Parent Support, Inc.

AB 999 (Harvey) - Shared Parenting

FATHERS' MANIFESTO Home Page

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AB 999 (Harvey) - Shared Parenting

Coalition of Parent Support, Inc., is the sponsor of AB 999 (Harvey). It was introduced in 1995, and became a two-year bill. We sponsored similar legislation with AB 2856 (Harvey) in 1994.

WHAT WILL AB 999 DO?&127;

*AB 999 will provide that the first preference in awarding custody is to both parents, and that the second preference is to either parent, according to the best interests of the child. AB 999 does not establish a presumption for or against joint custody. * AB 999 will emphasize the basic right of a child to the emotional, physical, and financial support of both parents, and emphasizes the importance of both parents to the child. * AB 999 will implement a public policy that the court shall maximize the amount of time that the child spends with each parent, and minimize conflict experienced by the children. *The effect of these changes will be to ensure both parents of equal opportunity to affect their children's in a positive fashion following divorce or separation.

WHY DID COPS SPONSOR THIS LEGISLATION?

*History: California was a trendsetter in 1979 when it passed the nation's first legislation authorizing joint custody. It replaced the "tender years doctrine" -- in which sole custody was awarded to mothers -- with "the best interest of the child" standard; and instituted a public policy that "frequent and continuing contact" with both parents was in the best interests of the child, and custody in contested cases was to be awarded to the "friendly parent." Joint Custody was spurred by the societal push for gender neutral laws, arguments by feminists that child rearing should not be solely a female responsibility, and the fledgling fathers' rights movement. Currently, 43 states authorize it and it is the preferred approach to custody in 11 states. Unfortunately, California changed the preference in 1988 to indicate the first preference was to both parents jointly or to either parent, and that there was neither a preference nor a presumption for or against joint custody.

* COPS was founded in the fall of 1992, after hundreds of obligor parents were taken back to court to get the automatic increases in child support provided by SB 370 (Hart). COPS grew into a membership of thousands, with a correlating expansion of issues regarding the inequities and injustices of family law. In 1994, COPS sponsored 7 pieces of legislation, including AB 2539 (Bowler - parental baby-sitting), AB 2754 (Morrow - child support), AB 2856 (Harvey - joint custody). In 1995, it sponsored AB 999 (Morrow - child support) and AB 999 (Harvey - shared parenting). In 1996, it is sponsoring AB 999 (Morrow - child support), AB 999 (shared parenting), and SB 509 (Campbell, Morrow - spousal support).

WHY DOES COPS WANT TO EMPHASIZE SHARED PARENTING?

Fathers' Presence

* Because children raised by both parents enjoy greater emotional, physical, and psychological health, and perform better academically.

* Because a child benefits from knowing that both parents are interested in his well-being and companionship. This knowledge is a critical element in the stability that is so necessary for children.

* Because shared parenting means children can enjoy twice the good things in life: nurturing comes from two families instead of just one. Critics complain that children are "shuttled" and treated like chattel. In fact, children attend daycare, preschool, school, extracurricular activities, religious activities, sports activities, summer camp, and play with friends and siblings, visit with grandparents and other relatives, commute with parents and/or by busing, and, in general, lead very busy and hectic lives.

Fathers' Absence*

* 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
* 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
* 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
* 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes.
* 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
* 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes.
* 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes.
* 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home.
* California has the nation's highest juvenile incarceration rate and the nation's highest juvenile unemployment rate.
* Juveniles have become the driving force behind the national increase in violent crime; the epidemic of youth violence and gangs is related to the breakdown of the two-parent family.
* 71% of teenage pregnancies are to children of single parents. Daughters of single parents are 2.1 times more likely to have children during their teenage years than are daughters from intact families. Daughters of single parents are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a premarital birth, and 92% more likely to dissolve their own marriages. All these intergenerational consequences of single motherhood increase the likelihood of chronic welfare dependency.
* In 1983, a study found that 60% of perpetrators of child abuse were women with sole custody. Shared parenting can significantly reduce the stress associated with sole custody, and reduce the isolation of children in abusive situations by allowing both parents' to monitor the children's health and welfare and to protect them.
* 18 million children live in single-parent homes. Nearly 75% of American children living in single-parent families will experience poverty before they turn 11. Only 20% in two-parent families will experience poverty.
* The feminization of poverty is linked to the feminization of custody, as well as linked to lower earnings for women. Greater opportunity for education and jobs through shared parenting can help break the cycle.
* Kidnapping: family abductions were 163,200 compared to non-family abductions of 200-300, attributed to the parents' disenchantment with the legal system.

* Sources for statistics are available from Coalition of Parent Support.

Dear COPS Members,

We need EVERYBODY to come to Sacramento this Wednesday, 1/17/96. The Assembly Judiciary Committee will vote on AB 180 (Morrow), to lower child support and vote on AB274 (Kuehl) WHICH WOULD RAISE RAISE RAISE CHILD SUPPORT.

Assemblyman Morrow has REQUESTED a large COPS presence, with members wearing COPS t-shirts, hats, and buttons. Let's pack the meeting room and the halls outside. We have to show them we are not going to give up, we want to see a change. With the Republican majority in the Assembly we have the best chance ever to get these bills through!

The Committee will meet in Room 444, at 9:00 am at the Capitol. You may call the COPS corporate hotline at 209-577-8414 on Tuesday to verify the meeting time and room number. ALWAYS call the night before to verify that no scheduling changes have been made so you don't waste a trip to Sacramento. Or, you can call the Assembly Judiciary Committee by 5 pm on Tuesday at 916 445-4560 to confirm the meeting for the next day.

Please note that the COPS organization has gotten the bill this far; NOW IT IS UP TO THE MEMBERS to show up and do your part. You do not have to speak or testify; just SHOW UP. Surely you understand that it is a Herculean effort to get this bill passed, and to defeat Kuehl's bill – AND DON'T FORGET THAT KUEHL IS THE CHAIRMAN OF THIS COMMITTEE!!!!! However, don't give up --- there may be a change by Wednesday and Assemblyman Morrow may be Chairman. Let's not let him down after all the support he has given us in trying to bring child support levels back down to a reasonable level.

Please call our hotline 408 450-3552 through Tuesday to leave your name if you can be in Sacramento.

We realize this is very short notice but the political process changes so rapidly and we have no control over it.

In addition to being in Sacramento for the hearing we need members to write letters and fax/send them to the Assembly Judiciary Committee members. I have enclosed in this packet information you can use for letter writing for AB180 and AB999 (Harvey) our Shared Parenting bill which will be heard next week in the Assembly Judiciary Committee, January 24. We will update the hotline with any additional information we receive before then. It is also very important to overwhelm all of the committee members on Tuesday morning between 9 and 10 am (if possible-if not anytime Tuesday,don't call Morrow's office) with phone calls asking that they vote YES on AB 180 and NO on AB 274. Please also do this next Tuesday for AB999.

I have included the Assembly Judiciary Committee members addresses, phone and fax numbers for you to use.


Probable NO Votes:      IMPORTANT TO CALL THEM
Sheila Kuehl(D)                 916 445-4956    FAX:            916 324-4454
Kevin Murray(D)                 916 445-8800    FAX:            916 445-8899
Marguerite Archie Hudson(D)     916 445-2363    FAX:            916 323-9640
Phillip Isenberg(D)                     916 445-1611    FAX:            N/A
Howard Kaloogian�               916 445-2390    FAX:            916 324-9991
Barbara Alby�                   916 445-4445    FAX:            916 323-9411
Wally Knox(D)                   916 445-7440    FAX:            916 445-0119

LOCAL PROBABLE NO VOTES   CALL DISTRICT OFFICE AND TELL THEM THEY
REPRESENT
US on the Assembly Judiciary Committee and you live in the Bay Area AND YOU
WANT A YES VOTE ON AB180 and a NO VOTE ON AB274
Liz Figueroa(D)                 916 445-7874      DIST.  510 791-2151   FAX:916
324-2936
Byron Sher(D)                   916 445-7632      DIST  415 364-2080    FAX: 916
 324-6974

DON'T KNOW WHICH WAY THEY WILL VOTE.  IMPORTANT TO CALL THEM
David Knowles�                  916 445-8343    FAX:            916 327-2210
Pete Knight�                    916 445-7498    FAX:            916 327-1789

YES Votes:              Call anyway and request yes vote on AB 180 and no vote o
n AB 274
George House�                   916 445-7906    FAX:            916 445-7344
Jan Goldsmith�                  916 445-2484
Jim Battin�                             916 445-5416    FAX:            916 323-
5190

Bill Morrow             DON'T CALL, they know we support AB180
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Address for letters:
The Honorable     NAME
California State Assembly
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento,  CA  94249-0001

The COPS Silicon Valley Chapter now has a fax line. The phone number is 415 965-7471.

IF WE DON'T GET THESE BILLS THROUGH THE ASSEMBLY JUDICIARY COMMITTEE THEN WE WILL NOT HAVE ANOTHER CHANCE THIS YEAR TO CHANGE THESE LAWS!!!!

PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO DO YOUR PART NOW!!!!!

If you are a former or recently expired member, please take the time to rejoin COPS now.

Thank you and I look forward to seeing you in Sacramento.

Janice Ingle

Director, Silicon Valley Chapter, COPS ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------

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AB 180 (Morrow) - Child Support Reduction

Coalition of Parent Support, Inc., is the sponsor of AB 180 (Morrow). It was introduced in 1995, and became a two-year bill. We sponsored similar legislation with AB 2754 (Morrow) in 1994.

A YES VOTE will essentially return the child support guidelines to the amounts under Rule of Court 1274 instead of keeping the guideline status quo based on a never-published, faulty and misleading research that is severely harming the families of California on a daily basis, and provide an opportunity for all interested parties -- not just a few selected advocacy groups -- to come to the table to work out a fair and equitable child support formula.

A YES VOTE will standardize the K factor at .20 for all income levels, and end the discrimination against middle-income obligors.

A YES VOTE will right the grievous wrong that was done to California's children and families with the passage of SB 370 in 1992. WHAT WILL AB 180 DO? *AB 180 will reduce the K factor from .25 to .20 for middle income obligors (those earning between $801 - $6,666 per month). * AB 180 will eliminate the distinction between low, middle and high income obligors, and standardize the K factor at .20 for all obligors. * AB 180 will reduce the multiplier from 1.6 to 1.5 for two children, and from 2.3 to 2.25 for 4 children. *The effect of these changes will be to return child support levels to what they were before SB 370 (Hart) was enacted, which took effect on 7/1/92. It will reduce the K factor by .05 -- which, as our opponents note, is a 25% reduction; however, it is equivalent to the increase in SB 370 -- in other words, it undoes the effect of SB 370.

WHY DID COPS SPONSOR THIS LEGISLATION?

*History: The Agnos Guidelines set the standard for the MINIMUM amount of child support that could be awarded. The Agnos Guidelines were replaced by Rule of Court 1274 in November 1990. Rule of Court 1274 was revised in March 1991. In June 1991, SB 101 (Hart) was signed by the Governor, but was superseded by SB 370 effective July 1, 1992. Each change resulted in increases of child support.

* COPS was founded in the fall of 1992, after hundreds of obligor parents were taken back to court to get the automatic increases in child support provided by SB 370 (Hart). These parents saw their child support orders increase anywhere from 25% to 500% -- not because of the child's needs or special situations, simply because the new law provided that its enactment constituted a "change of circumstances" which allowed automatic increases. Many obligors had second families, mortgages, etc., planned to fit within their budgets -- and this was destroyed when SB 370 took effect. Many of our members subsequently filed for bankruptcy as a result.

* COPS grew into a membership of thousands, with a correlating expansion of issues regarding the inequities and injustices of family law. In 1994, COPS sponsored seven pieces of legislation, including AB 2539 (Bowler - parental baby-sitting), AB 2754 (Morrow - child support), AB 2856 (Harvey - joint custody), AB 3072(Costa - penalty interest), SB 279 (Calderon - Child Support Task Force), SB 1807 (Lewis - uninsured health costs), and SB 3108 (Haynes - attorney fees). In 1995, it sponsored AB 180 (Morrow - child support) and AB 999 (Harvey - shared parenting). In 1996, it is sponsoring AB 180 (Morrow - child support), AB 999 (shared parenting), and SB 509 (Campbell, Morrow - spousal support).

WHY DOES COPS WANT TO REDUCE CHILD SUPPORT?

* To standardize the K factor for all income levels. AB 180 will reduce child support for middle-income obligors, not for low income obligors. It will apply a .20 K factor to every obligor and standardize it for all income ranges. It will stop the discrimination against middle-income earners by reducing the K factor by .05 for middle-income earners only. Currently, under SB 370, an obligor parent pays 30% of his earnings for one child, 40% for 2 children, and 50% for 3 children. Under AB 180, an obligor parent will pay 20% of his earnings for one child, 30% for 2, and 40% for 3.

* To undo a law (SB 370) that was premised on faulty, obsolete misleading data in a never-published report. AB 180 will return child support levels to what they were before SB 370 took effect. This will give the Legislature an opportunity to correct its grievous mistake, and will provide an opportunity for all interested parties to come to the table to work out a fair and equitable child support formula.

[SB 370 was enacted in response to research which found California's average child support levels to be low compared to most other states. This "research" was a never-published report by Diane Dodson of the Women's Legal Defense Fund, an inherently pro-custodial parent advocacy group. It was a flawed report, premised on obsolete and misleading data. The unpublished Dodson research compared the Agnos (minimum) Guidelines of 1984 with various hypothetical typical child support norms for other states. By using obsolete minimum levels and defunct data and hypothetical scenarios regarding child support amounts compared to the rest of the nation, Dodson's research "showed" that California ranked 49th in the amount of child support ordered. Child support was enormously increased based on faulty data that was obsolete and misleading and hypothetical scenarios.]

[Dodson admitted in a public speech that under Rule of Court 1274, California would have ranked 4th in the nation in the amount of child support ordered. Rule of Court 1274 was only in effect for 16 months (3/91-7/1/92) -- and it never had a chance. Child support was increased based on data from the Agnos Guidelines of 1984, and not on actual levels of child support ordered prior to Rule of Court 1274 or even under Rule of Court 1274.]

* To make child support reasonable and fair. As it is now under SB 370, California's child support amounts are now 150% higher than the rest of the nation, due to the child support basic guideline (Family Code 4055) and mandatory add-ons (day care, uninsured medical costs) and discretionary add-ons (education, special needs, travel expenses for visitation) (Family Code 4062).

* To enforce the equal and mutual responsibility of parents. Our laws already state that parents are financially responsible for their children equally (Family Code 3900) and mutually (Family Code 4053). A fair child support law should be based on a reasonable estimate of what it actually costs to raise a child in decency; and, it should require each parent to pay half.

* To force California into compliance with Federal law. The report of the Judicial Council of California, "Review of Statewide Child Support Guideline" (December 1993), notes that Family Code 4054(b) requires that Judicial Council review of the guideline "shall include economic data on the cost of raising children," based on 45 Code of Federal Regulations 302.56(h) which requires the state's review of its guidelines to "consider the economic cost of raising children." Inexplicably, the Judicial Council's report then says, "It would appear, though, that the term "cost of raising children" is a form of shorthand for "estimates on spending patterns of children." (pg. 86) Nothing could be further from the truth. "Costs to Raise" and "Expenditures by Parents" are two different things. Expenditures are discretionary; costs are necessary.

* Cost to Raise Guideline. The Judicial Council's report included only one study on the costs of raising children: that of Mark Lino of the United States Department of Agriculture, Family Economics Research Group (FERG). The USDA/FERG 1993 study found that in a middle income family (earning about $2,000 per month in California), the first child costs about $330, and the second child costs about $190. In other words, 2 children cost $520 per month. Each parent's fair share (half) would only be $165 for one child, and $260 for two. This is reasonable, and almost anyone could pay it without hardship, thus enhancing child support compliance.

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AB 999 (Harvey) - Shared Parenting

Coalition of Parent Support, Inc., is the sponsor of AB 999 (Harvey). It was introduced in 1995, and became a two-year bill. We sponsored similar legislation with AB 2856 (Harvey) in 1994.

WHAT WILL AB 999 DO?

*AB 999 will provide that the first preference in awarding custody is to both parents, and that the second preference is to either parent, according to the best interests of the child. AB 999 does not establish a presumption for or against joint custody. * AB 999 will emphasize the basic right of a child to the emotional, physical, and financial support of both parents, and emphasizes the importance of both parents to the child. * AB 999 will implement a public policy that the court shall maximize the amount of time that the child spends with each parent, and minimize conflict experienced by the children. *The effect of these changes will be to ensure both parents of equal opportunity to affect their children's in a positive fashion following divorce or separation.

WHY DID COPS SPONSOR THIS LEGISLATION?

*History: California was a trendsetter in 1979 when it passed the nation's first legislation authorizing joint custody. It replaced the "tender years doctrine" -- in which sole custody was awarded to mothers -- with "the best interest of the child" standard; and instituted a public policy that "frequent and continuing contact" with both parents was in the best interests of the child, and custody in contested cases was to be awarded to the "friendly parent." Joint Custody was spurred by the societal push for gender neutral laws, arguments by feminists that child rearing should not be solely a female responsibility, and the fledgling fathers' rights movement. Currently, 43 states authorize it and it is the preferred approach to custody in 11 states. Unfortunately, California changed the preference in 1988 to indicate the first preference was to both parents jointly or to either parent, and that there was neither a preference nor a presumption for or against joint custody.

* COPS was founded in the fall of 1992, after hundreds of obligor parents were taken back to court to get the automatic increases in child support provided by SB 370 (Hart). COPS grew into a membership of thousands, with a correlating expansion of issues regarding the inequities and injustices of family law. In 1994, COPS sponsored 7 pieces of legislation, including AB 2539 (Bowler - parental baby-sitting), AB 2754 (Morrow - child support), AB 2856 (Harvey - joint custody). In 1995, it sponsored AB 999 (Morrow - child support) and AB 999 (Harvey - shared parenting). In 1996, it is sponsoring AB 999 (Morrow - child support), AB 999 (shared parenting), and SB 509 (Campbell, Morrow - spousal support).

WHY DOES COPS WANT TO EMPHASIZE SHARED PARENTING?

Fathers' Presence * Because children raised by both parents enjoy greater emotional, physical, and psychological health, and perform better academically.
* Because a child benefits from knowing that both parents are interested in his well-being and companionship. This knowledge is a critical element in the stability that is so necessary for children.
* Because shared parenting means children can enjoy twice the good things in life: nurturing comes from two families instead of just one. Critics complain that children are "shuttled" and treated like chattel. In fact, children attend daycare, preschool, school, extracurricular activities, religious activities, sports activities, summer camp, and play with friends and siblings, visit with grandparents and other relatives, commute with parents and/or by busing, and, in general, lead very busy and hectic lives.
Fathers' Absence*
* 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
* 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
* 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
* 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes.
* 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
* 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes.
* 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes.
* 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home. * California has the nation's highest juvenile incarceration rate and the nation's highest juvenile unemployment rate. * Juveniles have become the driving force behind the national increase in violent crime; the epidemic of youth violence and gangs is related to the breakdown of the two-parent family.
* 71% of teenage pregnancies are to children of single parents. Daughters of single parents are 2.1 times more likely to have children during their teenage years than are daughters from intact families. Daughters of single parents are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a premarital birth, and 92% more likely to dissolve&127; their own marriages. All these intergenerational consequences of single motherhood increase the likelihood of chronic welfare dependency.
* In 1983, a study found that 60% of perpetrators of child abuse were women with sole custody. Shared parenting can significantly reduce the stress associated with sole custody, and reduce the isolation of children in abusive situations by allowing both parents' to monitor the children's health and welfare and to protect them.

* 18 million children live in single-parent homes. Nearly 75% of American children living in single-parent families will experience poverty before they turn 11. Only 20% in two-parent families will experience poverty.

* The feminization of poverty is linked to the feminization of custody, as well as linked to lower earnings for women. Greater opportunity for education and jobs through shared parenting can help break the cycle.

* Kidnapping: family abductions were 163,200 compared to non-family abductions of 200-300, attributed to the parents' disenchantment with the legal system.

-0-

* Sources for statistics are available from Coalition of Parent Support.

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