Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ohio Family Rights- Consistency

Ohio Family Rights

We expect Consistency in the things around us. We expect that our fast food hamburger will be the same from day to day, different restaurants within the same chain; that our morning coffee at the local shop with be consistent with what was sold the day before. We expect that favorite meal cooked at home or in a local restaurant to be consistent. We expect consistency in clothing items when we shop as to size quality and pricing within a name brand. Same holds true for our autos and the tires that we drive on.

We expect Consistency within the legal system. In criminal law or with major torts we have the ability to be judges on the merits of a case by a jury of our peers or by a high standard of law.

Unfortunately that high standard does not exist in the one area that is of the most importance to families and society, Family Law. With the lowest standard of review in law and a nonexistent default standard, the consistency that we expect is not possible.  I think so can never replace I know so when making any decision especially one that will affect the life of a child.

Ohio does allow this to happen and it is unnecessary and wrong to the State of Ohio.  The simple from a preponderance standard that we use now in family law to a clear and convincing evidence standard assures all parties that the best decision is made in while protecting the best interests of that family.  That switch will not only protect our most innocent but assure that the false allegations that permeate many of the cases within family court are available to use.

I  made a quip recently and referred to the Ohio family law system as Calvinball.  For those not familiar with Ohioian Bill Wattersons Calvin and Hobbes cartoon that appeared in newspapers nationwide, Calvinball was a game that Calvin and Hobbes paled where the

rules changes depending on who had the ball. It combined football, baseball and numerous other sports into one game where the holder of what every ball they had changed to suit that players desires. While I was half joking when I said it, it is closer to the truth than many within the family law systems of Ohio and other states will admit.  The inconsistency of the every changing rules of the family law system has caused far too much harm for it to continue any longer.

The consistent inconsistency has caused cases involving children to drag on for far longer than they should have gone and increased costs of operation in every courthouse throughout the state while attorneys, caseworkers and Guardian Ad Litems change the rules without notice. In the end it is the children that pay the ultimate price as their relationship with fit and loving parents is eroded while the legal system makes up the new rule of the day. Many a future paid college education has been wasted away in a senseless game of Calvinball that can easily be prevented.

Last sessions SB144/HB253 would have brought consistency to the process by setting a clear default standard for custody arrangements between two fit parents. The language brought a strict standard of review that protected every family member involved that assuring that Calvinball was not the game of the day that adults were playing with the lives and futures of children.

Isn't it time for the legislature to stop playing Calvinball and start thinking and acting as adults, with common sense. Reforming family law will do that and in turn save the state and its family the funds that can be used to create the future that we have always hoped the American Dream would bring. 

While we are working hard to bring these reforms to Ohio, we are also working with other states. The same comprehensive reforms are being bright forth and are gaining national attention with legislators across the land. Dont be left behind and join us now as we work to solve a long standing problem that has affected too many families and society. This is a cost effective and comprehensive solution that makes common sense for every state and its citizens. Use the email address below for more information.

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Ray R. Lautenschlager
Ohio Family Rights
3624 E. 76th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44105

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