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Petitioning Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and 1 other

Unfair treatment of fathers in custody and visitation

I'm a father of four children that I haven't seen and practically have
no relationship with for almost 5 years because the current system has
allowed it to happen.

I've fought for over four and a half years to
remain in my children's lives only to be shut down time and time again. My 10 year old daughter, Haley Nicole Starks, My 8 year old son, Gavin Christopher Starks, My 6 year old daughter, Julia Morgan Starks, and my 4 year old son Ayden Joseph Starks.
A buddy of mine sent the following info to me and it saddens me to know
that this systematic behavior is going on nationwide and continues to
happen day in and day out and our govt officials will do nothing to
resolve it. What will it take? I tell you what it takes, it takes
someone who cares enough in your position to stand up and say enough
is enough. Obviously us fathers, no matter how loud the voices, will
make a difference but you can do something. You can do something to
change the system, the question is, Do you care enough to stand up and
do the right thing? Well, do you?

In my personal experience, my ex-wife has filed 7 false protection orders against me, has been caught lying on the stand, committed perjury, committed fraud against me, hidden the kids from me, verbally harrassed me, verbally and physically abused the children, admitted to verbally abusing the kids to child services, on record... The list goes on, nothing and I mean NOTHING is getting done. The state turns a blind eye to all of her wrong doing no matter how much I've asked for help. I can't even get the office of the Governor or Attorney Gemeral to answer the several emails I've sent, not even a response whatsoever... I guess that means we just aren't being loud enough....

While more fathers are starting to assert their rights in courts
during custody battles over children, physical custody still is more
often awarded to mothers than fathers, despite the important role dads
need to play in the lives of their children. Stories of deadbeat dads
readily are available, but the story of divorced fathers trying to be
good dads is one not often told. And new studies reveal that custody
battles and divorce have more long-term negative effects on men and
children than they do on women.

The importance of fathers has been well documented. Fatherless
children are twice as likely to drop out of school as their classmates
who grew up in a two-parent home, 72 percent of all teen-age murderers
grew up without fathers, and fatherless children are 11 times more
likely than children from intact families to exhibit violent behavior.

Although more dads are getting access to their kids after a divorce, a
majority are not. ''When you are dealing with equally fit parents,
four out of five times the mother will be awarded physical custody of
the children with the father sometimes sharing the legal custody,''
says John Bauserman Jr., a family lawyer in Northern Virginia.
Bauserman has noticed that dads often lose custody battles and end up
just writing checks for child support without so much as access. He
blames the courts and the legal system which he sees as ill-equipped
to adjudicate family life.

Craig Deanto is an electronics engineer with two children. After
almost 15 years of marriage he filed for divorce and custody of his
children on grounds of the mother's adultery, child abduction and
child neglect. ''I just had to get my kids to a safe place,'' he tells
Insight over the phone from Florida.
Deanto's wife confessed to all three allegations during a deposition.
Court testimony revealed that he had been a good father and had
engaged in no misbehavior. A court-ordered psychologist diagnosed his
wife as depressed and having difficulty connecting with her children.
Both children indicated that their father was a better parent and the
one they would like to take care of them. Therefore Deanto was
shocked, he says, when a female judge in Maryland not only awarded
custody to his wife but ordered his wages garnished and his car and
house given to her.

Many fathers interviewed by Insight complained that court-ordered
visitation never was enforced, with the practical result that they
were allowed to see their children less than 25 percent of the time
scheduled.''Standard visitation is only 40 hours a month, and it is
difficult to get that sometimes,'' complained one father. ''How can
you have a relationship based on 40 hours a month?''

"There have been many stories where the father pays his child support
and the mother refuses to allow him to see their children. Some of
these fathers try to contact the Attorney General’s office but was
unable to receive any help because they do not deal with visitation
enforcement. When dads pay child support and not allowed visitation,
their fathers rights have been stripped away from them."

This petition was delivered to:
  • Missouri Attorney General
    Chris Koster
  • Governor of Missouri
    Jeremiah Nixon

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