Iowa and Best Interest of the Child

FUANGuest Contributor, News & Events, News You Can Use

FUAN Advocate of the Month March 2017
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This article is a guest submission from Sherry Palmer of Fix Family Courts. 

[DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in guest posts, are the personal opinions of the author. They may or may not reflect the opinions of Families United Action Network (FUAN) or its individual members. Note that submissions are edited for clarity if needed.]  

Iowa residents are no stranger to government takeovers of their lives; at least the Native Americans weren’t and neither are parents facing child custody battles in the Iowa Family Courts. 

Back in the 1680’s the Europeans arrived in Iowa, the French claimed Iowa as part of New France but when the French sold their land to the U.S. all but one of the Native American tribes put up much resistance to the takeover. That one American tribe still has a reservation today. They kept their way of life and their home. 

The other Native American tribes sold their land to the US government except for the Meskwaki. And the Meskwaki are the only ones who have a reservation today. 

Parents in child custody suits may not realize this but they are selling their rights to the courts without much resistance. Parents are faced with the choice of either they put up a fight and resistance or they will be forced to sell their life to the US government under the name of the Iowa Family Courts.

What Is It Exactly That Parents Are Having To Fight In Iowa?

Iowa parents have been told for decades that the courts would “assure the child” has “the opportunity for the maximum continuing physical and emotional contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved the marriage. [1]

Just as you know the Indians were made many promises. But those Indians who sold out do not have their land today, do they?

And parents who sell their rights to the courts lose their child to the control of a single judge.

How Do Parents Lose Control? 

Iowa child custody statutes continue to have “in the best interest of the child” embedded in them.

The Best Interest of the Child is a phrase used to trick parents into believing that the court is going to protect their child and make sure that they don’t lose time with their child and don’t lose rights to their child. But instead what this phrase has allowed is for the court to use your child for financial gain, strip you of your rights, and dole them out as they please, and keep you paying for that privilege.

The courts gain power and control when you concede your rights to them. It is your rights that protect you from government control. Once the court gets your rights out of the way. They can use “in the best interest of the child” for just about anything they want. Once you concede you cannot prevent most of what they choose to do because you gave them permission to make the decisions. 

Best Interest is an invidious phrase used by the court as generally as possible to justify anything they want to do. If they want to create debts for you, if they want to give your money to their buddies, they appoint an attorney for your child called a Guardians ad Litem or appoint an advisor to the court, called an Amicus, and use your money to do it.

If they want to strip you down to a visitor in your child’s life they use it to do this. If they want to take your money and make you pay child support they use it to do this. If they want to force you to sell your home they use it to do this. If they want to support false allegations from the other parent and put you on supervised visitation or approve a protective order they use it to do this. 

The courts claim that you are asking them for this and they are providing the service. People get bullied and mistreated in the family court process because of this phrase, in the best interest of the child (in some circles referred to as BIC).

As long as the courts are allowed to pretend that they are providing a service they will continue to surf under the radar and avoid the protections you and your child deserve from the Constitutions of your own state as well as the Constitution of the United States.

Misleading and destructive laws need to be changed. Convincing people of the danger of this phrase is challenging because there is a strong desire to protect children, and people have been convinced that this phrase is what allows the courts to protect children. It is difficult to prove to people that a phrase that they thought was so perfect and so beautiful is being used for evil.

These Are the Challenges  Organizations Like FUAN Will Face In the Coming Year.

The legislatures will eventually give in and will update their statutes to include a presumption of equal custody, but this will not be enough. As long as they leave in that the court still determines what is “in the best interest of the child” as they have in Iowa right now in 598.41, adding the presumption of equal parenting does little to protect parents from the continued government takeover of their home, their child, and their life.

If you would like to read more on how Best Interest is a trick and a big, giant lie to get you to sell your rights to them, you can read more here at Fix Family Courts

[1] Parkinson, P. (2014). The Payoffs and Pitfalls of Laws that Encourage Shared Parenting: Lessons from the Australian Experience. Dalhousie Law Journal, 37(1), 301.

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