Government

Time To Make Legal Changes to Parental Laws in Muncie and Delaware County Now

Tired of Being Scammed by Lawyers in Delaware County

When it comes to justice for parents of young children in Delaware County, Indiana, one thing is clear, there isn’t any because the process is all about money – or should I say generating fees for the lawyers. “No, Todd, the judges are generally concerned about doing what’s right for the children.”

How often are you referred to a lawyer so you know about your rights even though the state has them written on their website?

Those who have shared their personal experiences with me also beg me not to include their names or any other identifiers because they fear retaliation from our “legal system.” Most of the parents call it a shakedown. At first, I was naive, but I now can confirm that is the perfect name for it. It’s a scam and shakedown. If you’re a woman who is seeking assistance, it can also involve sexual exploitation. “Aw honey, you don’t have enough to make payments? I think we can work something out.” I’ve got several stories about the male lawyers on this one. Maybe it’s time to start sharing specifics.

Maybe it’s time to tip the balance of the scales away from our “justice system.” If we began to share our experiences, we might be able to add some collective fairness and justice back to a system that quite frankly places money and/or exploitation ahead of the parental rights or the children involved. Who knows what we might discover.

Non-Custodial Parental Rights

For example, assume a father has visitation for a weekend, and those kids are due back Sunday at 6 pm based on Indiana Parenting Guidelines, and they’re not with mom at 6:15 pm, she can call the police. Soon, you will have the city cops or sheriff’s deputies storming your property to get those kids.

Now, what happens when dad heads over to pick up those kids at 6 pm on Friday to start the visit and the kids aren’t there? What happens when there is no response to phone calls or texts to mom on Friday?

Don’t waste your time calling the Delaware County Sheriff’s Department. They’ll tell you they don’t get involved. Good luck getting the Muncie Police Department to move their ass to enforce your rights. Those tasked with upholding the law aren’t too interested in enforcing civil or domestic matters. They are only interested in criminal proceedings. Protect and serve as a 20th-century marketing scheme.

So, what happens when the guardian parent decides they don’t want to follow the court-approved visitation guidelines?

You’re Told to Contact a Lawyer

After seeking assistance from the two local law enforcement agencies, they will tell you to contact a lawyer. Your average fee will be $150 to $250 an hour. Does anybody out there make that much an hour? You’re going into debt right off the bat to enforce your legal rights since those paid by your taxes aren’t interested in helping. So, lawyers, it is.

Now, what do you think their urgency is in getting your rights enforced and getting your kids back to you when they are being paid by the hour? Hmm? Do you think there is a little intentional foot-dragging? Especially when you have two foot-dragging lawyers who know the system is tilted in their favor?

You better have a credit card with a high limit or access to cash from a relative. Remember, your rights are already established, and one of the parents is violating those rights. How many guardians assume that since the other parent isn’t paying child support, is dating the wrong man/woman, would rather spend time with another girlfriend or boyfriend, or is buying pot instead of clothes, takes matters into their own hands?

“Well, if you’re not doing _______, then you can’t see your kids?” Anybody experience this vindictive person? Anybody denied their kids because the mother or father caring for the kids is resentful?

My Personal Experiences

Several years back, the mother withheld visits because she was mad at me for forcing a drug test on her due to an anonymous tip. She said you ain’t seeing your daughter! After paying nearly $6,000, the judge said, “Don’t withhold the child and resume visits immediately.”

I was astounded. Mom illegally withholds visits with my child (breaks the law), but there are no negative consequences for her. None. She loses the case; the judge tells her not to do it again. That’s basically how Indiana laws are set up.

Several years later, she does it again. Will the cops or sheriff’s department do anything? Nope.

Law enforcement tells you to hire a lawyer and file an injunction. Anybody got an extra $5-6,000 sitting around to pay the legal class? Is it any wonder so many parents say screw it, stop paying child support (this is a terrible idea, by the way), and disappear from the kid’s life?

I’m a writer and do social worker. Neither provides enough cash to pay a lawyer $250 an hour to shuffle papers around, so a local citizen-paid judge tells the parent who’s breaking the law to stop breaking the law. It’s a shakedown — a scam. I filed the injunction myself, ordering the other parent to stop violating my rights, and paid the filing fee. Guess what the judge ruled again? I told the other parent to quit withholding visits! Yep, the same decision which I knew would happen.

I even asked the other parent to pay for all my legal fees since she broke the law twice when told not to. Except, when the judge got to fee reimbursement, she asked my former lawyer for the total fees (the judge didn’t believe me). My former lawyer said, sure, judge, I’ll give you the fee breakdown, but I’m charging $600 for it. So this shyster wants to extort $600 for a fee breakdown so the judge can rule if the other parent should reimburse my fees. This isn’t ethical and is as slimy as it gets. It cries, “You wouldn’t let me take $6,000 from you again, so I’m at least charging you nearly a thousand dollars for a cost breakdown.”

Time for Parents to End this Victimization

This is where we are going to make changes if parents are interested. You see, in Indiana, as in many other states, you can file pro se, meaning you are representing yourself instead of paying shysters who are parties to this scam. In addition, you can file your own injunction ordering the other parent to stop violating your rights, which a lawyer would do. Instead of paying $5,000, you pay the court filing fee, which is like $170.00. Doesn’t that sound better? Instead, we jam up the courts and force guardian parents to hire lawyers and make judges swim through the paperwork.

How long before they consider changing the system? How long before they recommend “law enforcement” enforce parental rights when violated by an angry or vindictive parent?

Whoever is interested in participating or learning more, please send me an email to my encrypted email at toddsmekens@protonmail.com.

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.
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