Birthday Wishes

Apr 10. Today was my daughter’s 8th birthday. She is ‘captive’ in Germany.

The last time I saw her or even heard her was July of last year. Same with my 9 year old son. Everyone in my family is prevented by my kids’ mothers and the German district court from even speaking to my kids on their birthday, Christmas or Thanksgiving, much less seeing them.

There is a court case in the European Court of Human Rights against Germany for this, filed by the only German family lawyer who has ever forced German family laws to be changed via his wins at this court. (In addition to letting me talk to my kids again, my case includes declaring another German family law unconstitutional . I need to help others not suffer like we have).

Meanwhile, I have a case now just moved to Germany’s appeals court which asks to let me not just speak to, but actually see my son. The district court keeps blocking the similar case for my daughter from moving to the appeals court.

The last time I ever saw or held my daughter:

I sent her a box of presents hoping her mother will give them to her. In one of them is a book where you can record your own voice, so I sent that to her with my voice recording, like when I would read to her at bed time. So she can remember me.

24 Reasons that 50% of divorced fathers in Germany never see their kids again

24 German Laws and Family Law Practices leading to the fact that half the fathers in Germany never see their kids again after the parents split up.

  1. Until 2013, the law did not allow fathers of children born out of wedlock to petition the court for joint or sole custody if the mother did not want this.
  2. 35% of all children born in 2013 were born out of wedlock. In East Germany that number is over 60%.
  3. Since this change in the law in 2013, only a handful of appeals court decisions have upheld custody decisions for the father against the mother’s will.
  4. Until 2013, if a child was born to married parents, but the biological father was someone else, the biological father had no right to go to court to get visitation rights or even be allowed to prove he was the biological father.
  5. Until 1970, a medical test to establish the father’s paternity could be denied simply by another man claiming without a test that he could be the father.
  6. Until 1970, a father of a child born out of wedlock could be forced to pay child support, but given no rights to see the child or even be legally declared the father. This gave rise to the term Zahlvaterschaft (paying only fatherhood).
  7. Until 1970, a mother could simply refuse to let the father of a child born out of wedlock see his child and no court could change this.
  8. Until 1998, joint legal custody after divorce was not allowed, and in the case of a child born out of wedlock, only possible if the mother agreed to it.

Still to this day:

  1. The law states that lawyers are only entitled to roughly $700 compensation for an entire custody case. A handful of lawyers in Germany can get their clients to agree to paying standard legal hourly rates. Consequently very few custody cases are handled by lawyers who have invested the time to learn this legal area well and/or will spend the time necessary to do such a case (which normally would be 100+ hours if the father wants to win).
  2. There is no penalty for lying in family court proceedings or in written filings.
  3. There is no court transcript in hearings.
  4. Nothing is made public about custody and visitation cases.
  5. Court decisions on emergency motions are not appealable (this law is currently being challenged at the Supreme Court by my constitutional lawyer).
  6. The average time a judge spends on a case in its entirety is 3 hours.
  7. The requirement to be a judge is only that they passed tests on the law. Most judges are in their early to mid-twenties when they first become a judge. There are no requirements that they have previously practiced law as a lawyer, no masters or professional doctorate in law, no recommendations by a legal association or government officials.
  8. The department of child services is required to participate in all custody and visitation cases. There is no appeal or court process to regulate this department’s actions.
  9. At any point in time, each employee in this department must handle hundreds of cases.
  10. In Gottingen where my children live, this department lacks the address of the 90% of the fathers of the cases they handle. This lack of contact information for the father is true even though federal law requires every resident in Germany to immediately update the government with any address changes and the fact that any government department can request up-to-date addresses on any resident.
  11. Lower court judges can ignore orders by higher courts, even ones specifically ordering them to change their decision.
  12. Less than .01% of judge recusal motions are granted.
  13. You cannot call your own witnesses except in the rare occasions where the judge allows it.
  14. There is no cross-examination in hearings. This is considered impolite.
  15. Guardian Ad Litems require no specific training. Sitting in a 1 day class is sufficient qualifications. (In Washington State they must have a PhD in psychology.) Their appointment cannot be challenged.
  16. Court experts are appointed by the court, though they are rarely appointed. There are no specific qualifications required and rarely are psychological reports done by psychologists. Also, you do not need a PhD to be a psychologist (like you are in the US).

Moved back to the US

After the court only glanced at and then refused sole custody petition for my daughter who had asked to live me, I waited for the results of my sole custody petition for my son, who has serious neurological, emotional and education problems that were being denied or poorly treated by his mother. When it became clear the court would deny this petition too and his mother would continue doing little to nothing about my son’s condition, I decided to return to the US where I can make 3-10 times what I earned in Germany in order to finance a solution for my children.

As a result, both mothers blocked all contact to my kids (even phone calls) and the courts first looked the other way and then gave them permission to continue this travesty.

A video about my extremely brief contact with my kids is here:

A fundraiser for my legal fund is here

Are the Final Hurdles in Sight?

Are the Final Hurdles in Sight?

In January 2012 I thought the steep climb I had made, meant the summit was near. That apart from some last dying gasps of the opposition, peace was at hand. While no subsequent cases have been as intense as the appeals court cases in the Fall of 2011, there have been more cases in the last 2 years than there were in the prior 4. Instead of scaling a mountain face, I should have considered the hurdling metaphor.

But now I think the end is in sight. German courts rarely award father’s sole custody, but even in my small city, I know one (foreigner!) father who got this and another father who will soon. If this succeeds, there will be no more cases necessary as I am offering the mothers defacto shared parenting abilities, even though they have been trying for years to completely shut me out.

You get what you pay for / Qualität hat seinen Preis

According to a study, 10-15% of the lawyers in Germany earn (gross pay) less than 20,000 euros a year, which given the costs of taxes, health insurance, housing,food etc means they qualify for welfare.

The link the article (in German) on this economic condition is at the bottom (Google Translate is your friend)

This is why it is hard to get good legal advice in Germany. Lawyers don’t earn enough to justify attracting enough qualified people who will spend the time necessary to be good at their profession.

——————————————————————————————

“Heute schon sind rund 10 bis 15 Prozent der Anwälte bei einer Vollzeittätigkeit von aufstockende Sozialleistungen bedroht, weil sie weniger als 20.000 Euro im Jahr verdienen.”

http://www.gegen-hartz.de/nachrichtenueberhartziv/viele-anwaelte-demnaechst-selbst-auf-hartz-iv-9001473.php

Das ist warum, es ist schwer gute Rechtsberatung in Deutschland zu bekommen. Anwälten verdienen zu wenig genug qualifizierte Leute anzuziehen, die die erforderliche Zeit verbringt, um gute Anwälte zu werden.

Best Constitutional Lawyers in Germany / Siegreichste Verfassungsrechtler

Aus der Entscheidungsdatenbank des Bundesverfassungsgerichts (1998-Gegenwart) rechne ich die Folgende:

From the Supreme Court’s Decision Database (1998-Present) I calculated the following:

Anwalt Attorney

Verfassungsbeschwerden Supreme Court Cases

Siege Wins

Siege in Familiensachen Family Case Wins

Mandanten in Familiensachen Family Law Clients

Dr. Kleine-Cosack

50

24

2

2

Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Zuck

60

11

3

3

Prof. Dr. Joachim Wieland

21

11

0

0

Herr Georg Rixe

19

10

10

17

Frau Azime Zeycan

5

4

4

1

Prof. Dr. Fritz Ossenbühl

11

4

0

0

Frau Heike Hase

3

3

3

2

 

Obwohl es wahrscheinlich ein paar Verfassungsrechtler mit ein paar Siegen gibt, gibt es keinen anderen mit mehr als eine siegreiche Verfassungsbeschwerde in Familiensache seit 1998.

Dr. Kleine-Cosack hatte bevor 1998 neun mehre Siege. Zwischen 1989 und 1997 konnte Prof. Dr. Joachim Wieland als Bevollmächtigte vorm Bundesverfassungsgericht haben. Bevor 1997 war Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Zuck sicherlich als Bevollmächtigte in mehreren (wahrscheinlich viel mehr) Verfassungsbeschwerden.

Although there are probably a few constitutional lawyers with a several wins, there is no one else with more than one Supreme Court family law win since 1998. Dr. Kleine-Cosack had 9 additional wins before 1998. Professor Wieland could have been the attorney at a Supreme Court cases between 1989 and 1997. Professor Zuck was surely the attorney in more, probably many more Supreme Court cases.

 

Die Besteigung meines Aktenbergs (Climbing a Mountain of Legal Files)

Climbing My Family Court Cases Mountain (of Legal Filings)

I'm almost at the summit

After spending the past half year or so greatly increasing the quality and quantity of my legal filings, within a week I should find out from the appeals court whether the years of frustration are over.

Die Besteigerung meines Aktenbergs

Ich bin fast auf die Spitze

Nach einem Halbjahr gesteigerter Qualität und Quantität meiner Schriftsätze soll ich in einer Woche die vom Oberlandesgericht herausfinden, ob die Jahren des Frusts vorbei sind.

Self-Explanatory. Enjoy.

The End of the Beginning

I finally won an appeals court case!
OK, it was on a small matter, but after four losses, I’ll take it!

one small step for jeff
One Giant Leap For My Children!

Details: I wanted to celebrate Halloween with my two kids, age 3 and 5. My 5 year old has NEVER been allowed to celebrate Halloween. My 3 year old (different mother) has. Her mother never objected.

This year, I specifically asked for the court to give me this. The lower court rejected it. It was two decisions for two children. One judge gave B.S. reasons that clearly showed she knows far too little about American culture, the other judge completely ignored the request. I appealed both decisions. The appeals process is running long, so I asked for a temporary injunction. Ironically, the mother of the child who has never gotten to celebrate Halloween did not fight this, and the one who always agreed to Halloween did fight this.

The judge ruled against the mother who fought it. Her arguments were petty and the judges saw that. Her arguments in our other cases were mostly petty or unsubstantiated, but my defense has always been weak. Now, I am taking over the legal filings and have finally learned how to do them fairly well. I hope this bodes well for the main appeal’s cases.

Now for my unedited attempt at German (writing so many legal briefs has helped, but normally I spend hours writing a few pages). For this blog, I’ll just wing it (and probably reedit it later).

****
Jetzt versuche ich ohne Bearbeitung auf Deutsch. So viele Schriftsätze in der letzte Zeit zu schreibe, hatte geholfen, aber normalerweise verbringe ich viele Stunden ein paar Seite zu schreiben. Für dieses Blog durchmogele ich mich (und gebe ich es später wahrscheinlich neu heraus).

Ich habe endlich ein Verfahren beim Oberlandesgericht gewonnen!
OK, es war klein, aber nach vier Entscheidungen gegen mich, ich nehme dieses!

ein kleiner schritt für mich
Ein Großer Sprung Für Meine Kinder!

Details: Ich wollte mit meiner zwei Kindern (das Alter von 3 und 5) Halloween feiern. Der fünf-Jährige wurde nie erlaubt Halloween zu feiern. Die drei-Jährige (andere Mutter) wurde erlaubt, weil sie nie ablehnte.

Dieses Jahr beantragte ich auf dieses vor dem Gericht. Das Amtsgericht lehnte es ab – zwei Beschlüsse wegen zwei Mütter. Eine Richterin gab Scheiße-gründe, die klar zeigt, dass sie viel zu wenig über amerikanische Kultur kennt und die andere Richterin ignorierte völlig meinen Antrag. Ich fechte beide Beschlüsse an. Da sie lange dauern, brachte ich zwei einstweiligen Anordnungen. Ironisch streitete dieses nicht die Mutter, die sich immer Halloween weigerte, sondern die Mutter, die mit Halloween immer einverstanden war.

Das Oberlandesgericht urteilte entgegen diese Mutter. Ihre Argumente waren billig und das Gericht das erkennt. Ihre Argumente in unseren anderen Verfahren waren oft billig oder unbegründet, aber meine Klageerwiderungen haben immer schwach gewesen. Jetzt, nehme ich die Schriftsätze über und habe endlich erlebt, wie diese einigermaßen gut zu schreiben. Ich hoffe, dass es für die Hauptverfahren Gutes versprechen.

#1 Music Video for Fathers

Review by Artists Direct:
“I had to this say to get it out of my way and tell my daughter Blue where I was,” declares Blue October frontman Justin Furstenfeld of his band’s new masterpiece, Any Man In America.

He doesn’t spare any of the gritty details of his brutal divorce on the group’s latest album, and that’s precisely why it’s such a bruising, beautiful, and brilliant record.

American Coalition for Fathers and Children:
Any Man in America’ debuted last week at number 8 on the billboard list of 200 hottest albums.
Earlier this week Blue October launched a new website in support of Shared Parenting. Check it out, there is a great feature which lets you upload a photo message to your kids. Share the site with your friends and family members and encourage them to upload their message. Note how many kids want more time with their dads.

Blue October Tour
USA Aug 16-Oct 21
UK Nov 3-4
Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Netherlands Nov 6-22