Cyber-security is more important than ever

(Former FBI Agent and Author of “Cybersecurity Secrets”, Scott Augenbaum, left, standing next to myself, founder of Nalini-Global, Randell Stroud.)  

 

The internet is becoming an ever-growing force in our lives as technology rapidly expands into our everyday interactions. Apps, cell-phones, robotic automation, and wifi connections are all becoming staples in how we communicate and engage each-other on  a global scale. These technologies make life easier, cost-effective, and more accessible in regards to communication than ever before.  Even the poorest among us can utilize internet access with a simple library card or a low-cost data managed ISP. (Internet Service Provider).

However,  with this rise in technology and convenience, also comes new opportunities for amateur and career-criminals  alike to engage in scamming and/or hacking activities. Many people are aware that downloading pirated entertainment and watching adult pornographic materials are notorious for destroying cell-phones and computers around the world. Their enticing nature attracts all classes of people to consume this type of  “guilty-pleasure”. Alas, you may not be aware that there are many other less obvious ways that scammers, viruses, and hackers invade our lives.

One such scam involves creating fake facebook, twitter, and internet pages used to mimic official pages.  If you were to be sent an e-mail from a bank that had the same name as yours containing a web-link that brought you to a page which appeared official but was indeed a fake, could you spot the difference?  That Facebook friend that you have been talking to for months, have you ever tried to video-chat with them? How do you know it’s a real person? That phone call you got from the IRS claiming you owed them 15K in back taxes and is threatening you with jail time, is it a real call, or a fake?

Many of us, especially the elderly and those who aren’t tech savvy, are especially vulnerable, but even experienced tech users can fall victim to cyber attacks. Do you travel alot? Chinese hackers have been known to target foreigners in airports by phishing their IP addresses through public Wifi connections. “When traveling, consider using a VPN.”  (A technique used to hide your IP address), says Augenbaum.

Data is being shared at an astronomical rate these days. Everywhere we go on the internet, websites and apps are constantly asking for access to our GPS location, contacts, and so on. Ever wonder how programs like TLO and Spokeo get our personal information which can be bought publicly for mere dollars?  It’s most likely because you agreed to it! In other cases, such as the Equifax  data- breach that occurred a few years, are a result of hacking.  Alternatives to Google search engines such as “Duck-Duck-Go”, are becoming more popular as internet users are becoming more aware of privacy concerns.

Mr. Augenbaum gives great advice in his book on how to protect yourself from such attacks.  Creating complex passwords, using VPN, managing internet activity by scrutinizing suspicious links, and safe storage of passwords are just a few ways people can protect themselves from attack. Once your bank account is hacked or your SSN is stolen, havoc can be wreaked upon your life.  The internet is a fun place to share idea, learn knowledge, and to entertain ourselves in moments of boredom. Yet, it can also be a scary place full of enticing sinful behaviors and predators of all sorts.

I would highly recommend his book to anyone who is looking to create a safer environment for themselves when distributing data and personal information.  His book can be purchased by clicking the link below:

 

 

Before you file for Bankruptcy: Read This

 

Bankruptcy is seen as a fresh start for many people.

Bankruptcy is prominently mentioned in the Constitution. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4 of the United States Constitution provides:

The Congress shall have Power To…establish…uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States….

Bankruptcy is a necessary option for those with a high debt to income ratio.  However, it does come with serious consequences. Your credit will be ruined for up to 10 years, the process will cost you atleast 1-2,000$ to file and lenders will be very weary of you.  As a Bankruptcy paralegal myself, I would not recommend anyone file for bankruptcy who has less than 10,000$ of debt.  Debts can be paid down, negotiated, and so forth without destroying your credit report! However, if you find yourself in the midst of a foreclosure or simply cannot see a foreseeable way to escape, then bankruptcy could be your best option. If you are thinking about this option, consider these 10 strategies.

  1. Pass the “Means Test”:  If you are single and make under $40,000 per year, you will most likely qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you are married and your combined income is less than $80,000 per year, you will most likely qualify. Some couples will strategically file for separation during a bankruptcy process in order to reduce their household income, however, the bankruptcy trustee will investigate your living situation to ensure it is a legitimate separation.
  2.  Replevin Orders are often needed to recover property from a debtor, which require the creditor to take you to court. Small items such as toasters, Televisions, or any item that is worth less than $1,000 is often able to be retained if the debtor is brave enough to call the creditor’s bluff. Replevin orders cost money and time. In my years working as Bankruptcy paralegal, it is extremely rare to see any creditor file for a Replevin order on any item worth less than a grand.
  3.  Credit scores can be strengthened after bankruptcy if you obtain a secured credit card and pay it down fast after making small purchases.
  4. Do not purposefully rack up debts on entertainment(non-essential) items and then immediately file for bankruptcy. Most debts younger than 90 days are generally scrutinized and are considered “fraudulent”  debts in many bankruptcy cases.
  5. Chapter 13 bankruptcies will save your house  from being foreclosed upon, however, it will only buy you a few months. If you fail to make payments on your Chapter 13 plan, the foreclosure process starts all over again.
  6.  Chapter 7 bankruptcies will not clear out mortgages and auto loans.  Expect to give back those properties after your case has completed unless you enter into a “reaffirmation agreement”.
  7.  Negotiate your reaffirmation agreement with your lawyer or better yet, try to avoid signing into one! See if the creditor will continue taking payments at the same rate as before. Oftentimes, creditors will try to get you to enter into a new agreement with higher rates to benefit themselves.
  8.  Child support is a non-dischargable debt.  However, filing for a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can help you reorganize your child support debt and save you from getting your drivers license suspended.
  9.  Student Loans and owed Tax debt are generally considered non-dischargable. In some rare circumstances, they can be discharged.
  10.  Show up to court! If you don’t get a notice in the mail from your lawyer, call him/her! Missing your court date can cause huge delays and possibly have your case thrown out. It is imperative that before you file for bankruptcy, you save up some personal time off from your employer. The judge doesn’t care about your excuses. If you don’t show up, it takes alot work from the lawyers, paralegals, and courts to get a new court date. Your lawyer and the paralegals who assist will certainly thank you for making their job much easier!

 

These are just a few basic tips when it comes to filing for bankruptcy in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. If you have any additional questions. Feel free to contact me at Naliniglobalconsulting@yahoo.com

 

-Randell Stroud

2018

Saudi Feminist faces possible Execution

 Loujain Alhathlou, 28, of Saudi Arabia, is a well-known middle eastern women’s rights activist. In her homeland, women are barred from the simple act of driving a vehicle without a husband’s permission.  Referencing my book, “Global Human Trafficking in the Family Law courts”, I highlight ways in which men are treated unfairly in society, especially when it comes to finances, divorce, custody, social aspect, and military service requirements. While I often criticize feminism in the west, there is no argument that a moderate amount of feminism is certainly needed in the middle east.  While feminism was very apparent in the west during the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s, modern feminism in the west often appears to be overly aggressive. (witch hunting?)  However, in the middle east, women are still treated as if it were the middle ages.  Women in the west, especially feminists or anyone who calls themselves a human rights activist should support this brave woman who has put her life on the line to give women the basic right to live in society an enjoy simple privileges such as driving a car.   I encourage everyone to reach out to amnesty international in support of this young woman by emailing their directors at :  report@aiusa.org

Nalini-Global


Via Washington Post

It was just days before Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s March visit to the United States when Loujain al-Hathloul, one of Saudi Arabia’s most high profile feminists, was stopped by security officers as she drove on a highway near her university in Abu Dhabi.

The 28-year-old was taken from her vehicle and spirited away to her home country on a plane.

Hathloul spent several days in prison before being released, and she was banned from using social media or leaving the country as the Saudi heir apparent embarked on his marathon three-week public relations blitz in the United States, where he met with President Trump as well as Oprah Winfrey and others.

The activist’s rendition from the United Arab Emirates, where she was studying for a master’s degree, highlights the contradiction between Saudi Arabia’s public relations campaign touting reform and the reality on the ground for those asking for basic rights for women.

It also demonstrates the close cooperation between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which together have promoted a model in the region that prioritizes stability and economic development while harshly suppressing political activism.

The details of Hathloul’s forced return were recounted by people with knowledge of the incident, who were granted anonymity because they fear reprisals. Authorities in Riyadh did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday.

The Post’s Loveday Morris visited a motorcycle driving school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. For the first time, women there are learning how to ride motorcycles. 

Despite apparently complying with Saudi Arabia’s attempts to silence her — Hathloul’s last tweet to her 316,000 followers was on March 12 — she was arrested again last week in what appeared to be a particularly brutal crackdown on female activists in the kingdom.

A total of seven Saudis were detained — five women and two men who had supported their cause, including a lawyer who had represented Hathloul in the past. They were accused of crimes including “suspicious contact with foreign parties” and undermining the “security and stability” of Saudi Arabia, and they have been publicly vilified in pro-government media in what activists have described as a vicious smear campaign.

“Loujain should be celebrated now,” said Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi writer in self-imposed exile in the United States. “This is so unneeded right after the huge effort that MBS [Mohammed bin Salman] made in the United States, presenting himself as a reformer.”

Hathloul’s activism focused on women being allowed to drive and on ending the country’s restrictive male guardianship system, which meant women required permission from a male relative to access many government services.

The movement had some success and had appeared to be in step with Mohammed’s vision to modernize Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom granted women the right to drive last year and guardianship laws were eased. Women can now supposedly access government services and open businesses without a man’s permission, though in practice it is still often requested, women say. A guardian’s permission is still required for women to travel or marry.

But the kingdom’s inching reforms have come alongside a clampdown on activists, with an increasingly oppressive environment for those who call for changes. Human Rights Watch described it as having sparked a “frenzy of fear” for those genuinely engaged in reform.

“This arrest campaign is an arrest campaign against feminism in Saudi,” said one female activist who knows some of those detained. “Even the men who were arrested, they were with us.”

At 2:30 p.m. on May 15, Hathloul’s house was raided and she was arrested in her bedroom, according to Alqst, a Saudi human rights group based in London. She was taken to al-Hair prison, the group said, the same jail where she was held after she was seized in the United Arab Emirates. Those detained have since been transferred to Jiddah, according to human rights groups.

She’s no stranger to detention. Hathloul rose to prominence in 2014, when she got in her car in neighboring Abu Dhabi and tried to drive across the border to Saudi Arabia. She was arrested and referred to a terrorism court but was released before being tried after 73 days in detention.

The following year she stood in local council elections, after a royal decree allowed women to both vote and run for office. However, her name was never added to the ballot.

She was detained again in June 2017 after returning from a family visit to the United States.

Her activism has brought her international recognition. Last year she was photographed alongside actress Meghan Markle, who married Britain’s Prince Harry on Saturday, at a humanitarian summit in Canada. She was ranked 45th on a list of the most influential Arabs in the world by Arabian Business magazine last year.

But it has come at a cost. Saudi Arabia’s Okaz newspaper reported on Sunday that those arrested could face up to 20 years in jail. They have been publicly branded traitors by pro-government ­media.

Those detained span several generations of Saudi feminists.

Aziza al-Youssef, a professor at King Saud University, has been campaigning for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia for decades. When women signed a petition against the guardianship system, she took it to the royal palace.

Also detained was Aisha al-Mana, a 70-year-old who was among the first to challenge the driving ban, one of more than 40 women who drove in a convoy in Riyadh in 1990, along with ­Madeha al-Ajroush, a psychotherapist in her mid-60s, who is also now in detention.

“Loujain, Aziza and other activists who use their real identities are very brave,” said the Saudi activist, who has campaigned online anonymously. “They have very supportive families and nice lives but they chose to be the voice for us.”

Just hours after the announcement that the driving ban would be lifted in September, women who had campaigned for that right were called and asked to not comment publicly — even positively.

Speaking before the latest round of arrests, one female activist speculated that there could be an “old camp” trying to counter Mohammed’s reforms. Others disputed that, saying he has a complete grip on power.

“There is no old guard,” Khashoggi said. “He is in total control. What’s happening is unprecedented.” It doesn’t represent the “old” Saudi Arabia, he said, but the “new Saudi.”

Kareem Fahim in Istanbul contributed to this report.

Book attempts to bridge peace between Atheists and Believers

For many people in the USA, when they ask you, “Do you believe in God?”,  saying “No” means that you’re an atheist, and saying “yes” means that you are a “Christian”, or so is the assumption.  However, according to many polls, nearly 30% of people living within the United States claim to have no affiliation with a particular religion.

Can you really believe in a God without belonging to a single religion? In the age of science, is there any modern experiments that hint towards a possible creator or God? Currently, the idea of Atheism is spreading like wild-fire. Many European countries poll at 50% rates or higher of national atheism. With science becoming more prominent and social values becoming more liberal, people are leaving religious institutions in waves.

I grew up as a Christian, yet was adopted by a Cambodian community who introduced me to Buddhism. Later at my first professional job working with Dell Computers, the bulk of my co-workers were Islamic former refugees. Throughout my life experiences, I have gotten the chance to explore many cultures and religions.  From these experiences, I have decided to write a book titled, “A Truce between God and Atheism.” This book explored modern and ancient discoveries that may hint towards a shapeless God that cannot be bound by religion. Yet, at the end of the day, we must all respect the possibilities of there being no God, many gods, or a single God.

This publication tips many sacred cows. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, no one is safe from criticism! After reading this book, regardless of your beliefs towards God, you are sure to question yourself and become a more open minded person!

The book can be purchased here.

(click here)  

Atlanta “ends” Cash Bail requirements

(Activists celebrate the passing of a new law that exempts bail requirements on certain misdemeanor offenses.)

 

On Tuesday, February 6th, 2017, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, signed an ordinance Tuesday that eliminates the Municipal Court’s cash bond requirement for certain low-level offenders who otherwise would be forced to sit in jail due to being unable to afford a bond.

The Atlanta Mayor stated, “…It makes no fiscal sense to hold someone in jail over a $500 bond”.

According to the many reports, after six hours of public comment and debate Monday afternoon, the City Council approved the ordinance 13-0. The bail bond industry itself appeared to be the main opponent of this law during public comments. However, citizens largely supported this effort. Sure, the bail-bonds industry may lose a little money, alas, families will be safe from the racketeering system that our legal system has become!

Like in all matters of the law, we have to strike a balance between liberty and security; Protecting the logical rights of men and their properties, while not creating monopolies that only the wealthy and the governments themselves can understand or afford to participate in. That’s the problem with our current legal system. The legal system is a glorified socialized “gun” that we use to point at one another in a “civilized” courtroom. However, it doesn’t make society any fairer or safer when that shared use of force can only be afforded by certain groups of people. Namely, the extremely poor who can claim to be “indigent” , or the extremely rich who can afford the best lawyers or to pay off judges. It is the middle-class who has no remedy. They don’t qualify for low-income exceptions, and they cannot afford a legal team of their own. Where do they go?

The legal industry and the for profit prison system, nicknamed the “Prison Industrial Complex”by many, benefits the state departments, judges, prison investors, bail bondsmen, lawyers, and police officers looking to keep their quota numbers up. However, this sort of “for profit” legal system creates another hurdle for the poor looking to get a leg-up.

Public urination, driving on a suspended license, an unpaid traffic ticket, simple possession of marijuana, — these are not charges synonymous with dangerous criminals who may flee the country or state, they are merely “infractional” petty offenders. To hold these people on a bond, who probably can’t afford the bail money, will sit in jail over such infractions whereas they are likely to lose their jobs and further slip into the cycle of legal penalties which facilitates poverty and loss of family ties.

The system doesn’t seem to care. As long as they are pulling in revenue for the system, lawmakers appear oblivious to long-term impacts on low-income families looking to escape poverty. According to statisticbrain.comthe average police officer in the USA pulls in about $300,000 per year in revenue from citations. That’s about $6,232,000,000 per year nationally! That’s a lot of revenue for infractions that could largely be forgiven, warned, or overlooked.  If I receive a seat-belt ticket, and am forced to pay the state $50, how does that solve any problems? If I cannot afford the ticket, my license will be suspended, taking away my ability to get to and from work, further forcing my family into the bellows of poverty. If I get caught driving on a suspended license, I go jail.

Holding a prisoner isn’t cheap either. It costs taxpayers about $31,000 per year to feed, clothe, and house an inmate.  That’s about $85 per day, much more than the cost of your average citation. But, the prison investors, bail bondsmen, law makers, government workers and attorneys who make money mitigating these issues don’t care about tax-payers or at risk families. They care about profit margins and expanding department budgets!

Some may say, “Just follow the law and it won’t be a problem!”.  We must ask ourselves, why does the United States have the largest prison population in the world? Over 70% of our inmates are non-violent! It’s a money scheme! It costs $500 to legally operate a lemonade stand in America! The average American commits three misdemeanors and a felony per day without even realizing it! Literally every inch of American life has a statute or code attached to it! If the legal system can’t get you for running a red-light, maybe they can get you for being a “public nuisance” or for the bumper on your car being one inch lower than what statute allows. The more laws we create, the more criminals we create by default! It is an inadvertent consequence stemming from good intentions; or perhaps it is all designed purposely to be this way? Or perhaps, the truth is somewhere in the middle?

Regardless, this reform effort that the city of Atlanta has made, thanks to so many passionate advocates and leaders like Atlanta based attorney Gerald A. Griggs, who championed this effort, is a welcomed change! It is so rare for attorneys and politicians to come together on behalf of the poor. When these instances happen, they deserve all of our applause and credit.! I salute Mayor Lance-Bottoms and all of those who fought for the repealment of such archaic bail practices.

Sure, if a man is wanted for malicious battery,murder, rape, robbery, or grand theft auto, it makes sense to put a bail requirement on him/her. Alas, those who are subject to a bail requirement for petty offenses are merely pieces of evidence proving what a corrupt system we have. This new change in the law is an excellent move and I pray that all cities follow suit!  This may seem like a small victory, but in reality, it can potentially turn into a huge wave of momentum in terms of criminal law reform.

Please send your special thanks to:

Gerald A. Griggs,

https://www.geraldagriggs.com/

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

https://www.atlantaga.gov/government/mayor-s-office/meet-the-mayor

 

—And all other activists who assisted in this effort!

 

-Randell Stroud

Nalini-Global

2018

 

student loans are killing Americans

 

The United States government is about $20 trillion dollars in debt currently. The number is consistently climbing. With the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, financial institutions are more volitale than ever.

For many college graduates, student loans can feel like a financial death sentence. Child support, Taxes, Alimony, and Student loans are generally unforgivable in bankruptcy cases. So, what is a graduate to do if they cannot find a great paying job with their degree?

The good news is that there are well known options like “deferment” of payments and income based payment plans. However, many fail to realize that there are numerous grants and applications that can be used to lower your payments even further or have part of your balance forgiven.

Those who work in public service are the best candidates to have part of their loans removed. Teachers, lawyers, public defenders, and those who make less than 10K a year have a plethora of options for relief.  You can also challenge the accrediting merits of a school in order to have your loan forgiven.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Forgiveness from an income-driven plan
Federal Perkins Loan cancellation
Loan forgiveness for teachers
Loan forgiveness for nurses
Loan repayment assistance for doctors and other health care professionals
Loan repayment assistance for lawyers 
Additional student loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs)
Military student loan forgiveness and assistance
Student loan discharge for special circumstances

If you need help processing your application or advice upon qualifications, feel free to set up a consultation with me by donating $30 on our support page .//naliniglobal.wordpress.com/support/

After you complete that step, shoot me an e-mail at naliniglobal@yahoo.com so that we may schedule a consult!

In liberty,

Nalini-Global

Where is the International Day of The Boy?

Today the United Nations declared that October 11th, would now be considered “International Day of The Girl”, bringing awareness to the fact that 1 in 4 girls world-wide will become married before the age of 14.  Girls are also more likely to end up as sex trafficking slaves than boys are. Girls are also subject to genital mutilation in developing countries like Sudan, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia.

As these girls turn into women, 1 in 4 of them will end up in an abusive relationship.  Being a girl/woman, in human society is rife with challenges that should never be ignored or marginalized. However, as a gender studies enthusiast, I noticed that there is no international day of the “boy”. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. According to studies, “Fathers Day” generates 1/4 of the income from sales as compared to “Mothers Day”.  If Fathers are being ignored in their importance, then why not their sons too? Makes sense….

We must recognize that boys/men face unique challenges that girls/women do not. For example,  According to “Child-soldier.org”,  in the last 10 years, over two million child soldiers ranging from the ages of 4-15 years old, have been killed in combat. In places where child soldiers are used, more than 95% of the time, the soldiers will be boys. In fact, the military draft, including the United States, only targets men. In most countries, women are not required to sign up for conscription.

As far as genital mutilation is concerned, over 70% of newborn male babies are circumcised. A process that is not medically necessary and causes extreme pain and disfigurement to the male reproductive organs.  The foreskin that is removed contains thousands of nerve-endings, once removed, many pleasure sensing nerves and self-cleaning organisms are removed in the process. After the operation is complete, the hospitals keep the foreskins and use them for other medical procedures. Essentially, they are harvesting free organs, mainly because this sort of mutilation is socially acceptable. However, when we discuss “Female Circumcisions”, then suddenly it becomes a human rights issue.

Boys who will later turn in men are subject to many shocking statistics. Men live up to 3-5 years less than women. Men are 3 times more likely to commit suicide. Twice as likely to file for Bankruptcy due to societies demands on them to be “bread-winners”, and 1 in 7 men will end up in a relationship with an abusive woman. While many governments sponsor domestic violence shelters for women, none exist for the male counter-parts.

Men who fight for legal custody of their children will only win 7% of the time, and only after spending upwards to $30K on lawyer fees. Men are often alienated from their children in family law courts. While the courts have created agencies that enforce child-support and tend to favor custody towards women, the struggles of fathers and having enforced access to their children and/or receiving financial assistance from the government is almost unheard of; hence why there is a Child Support Enforcement Agency but there is no Child Visitation Enforcement Agency. This alienation not only causes severe depression in fathers who are alienated from their sons, but also for the children being alienated. Men are almost always the targets in cases where one parent is alienating the child from the other parent because custody is rarely granted to men to begin with. Boys who grow up with fathers are much more likely to end up as criminals,sexual deviants, and/or less successful in their jobs.

Men’s contributions are also ignored in the professional field.

Men are also more likely to take on higher-paying but also higher-risk jobs such as demolitions, military, law enforcement, construction, high-rise window cleaners, public sanitation, and oil-rig operators. Jobs that come with many health-risks. While women do exist in these fields, their numbers are very low.

Girls face unique challenges, especially in sexually charged situations. Girls also face workplace discrimination because employers fear that once they become mothers, they will not devote time to their work, thus they sometimes avoid hiring them. Is this fair? Absolutely not! In no way, shape, or form am I marginalizing the struggles that girls and women face. They are real!

But, have we gotten so focused on developing the rights of girls and women that boys and men have been chopped down in the process? This is why Nalini-Global prefers the term of “Universal Human Rights” instead of women’s rights, men’s rights, immigrants rights, ect…

The bottom line is, “HUMANS” have rights! If we are only capable of fighting for the rights of those people who look and feel as we do, then we inadvertently become discriminatory ourselves. For the misogynists who claims that “women should get back in the kitchen”, and for the misandry Feminists who calm that “Men are nothing more than sperm donors to us.” , are both proponents of extremism.

Instead of having a Women’s Rights March or a “Men’s Rights March”, why not have a “Gender Equality” march that addresses the grievances of both men and women? Because there is a bias! It is easy to fight for the rights of those who look like us. But, if we truly believe in equality, we must also ask that our sisters support their brothers, and our brothers support their sisters.

Should we celebrate mothers, girls, and women in general for the contributions that they give to our society and to our homes? Absolutely!

Should we celebrate fathers, boys, and men in general for the contributions that they give to our society and to our homes? Absolutely!

I don’t want to live in a gender neutral society. There are differences between men and women. We are not biologically equal. Both sexes contain physical and mental advantages and disadvantages. Let us start by celebrating the things that make women and men unique, and start talking about the things that negatively impact women and men.  We may be separate in our biology, but in our spirits, and our claim to human rights, we are absolutely equal!

So to our boys who will someday become men…

Thank you for being strong, masculine, and determined. We celebrate your masculinity and we fathers will also love and support you. We will help you become strong leaders, loyal husbands, hard workers, and diligent advocates for social change. Keep up the good work.

Nalini-Global

2017

-Randell D Stroud

Dedicated to Eli Ross Sayson.

10 ways to Improve Family Law

 

The current model governing family law courts is extremely outdated and archaic. It is governed by a 1950’s chauvinistic view towards marriage and parentage. Men are expected to be emotionless, robotic-breadwinners whereas women are expected to be keepers of the home and children.  Women now work. The economy is in shambles whereas even those who are not burdened with child support or alimony are forced to work two jobs to stay afloat.  Below, I have proposed 10 ways to drastically improve fairness in the family law courts.

1. Remove presumptions:  When a man and woman enter into a courtroom, the presumption is that women are already the custodial parents who deserve child support. The courts should presume that both parents are equally shared in their rights. There should be a presumption of 50/50 shared custody with no mandate of child support payments.

2. Repeal Title IV-D of The Social Security Act:  This law states that the Federal Government will give $2 to the State government, for every $1 they collect in Child Support payments. This creates an automatic incentive for courts to set high child-support measurements. The extra money awarded to the states also does not benefit the children, it goes into “slush” funds.  There is no basis for the state to receive profits in these cases. It creates a conflict of interest.

3. Limit the Child Support Enforcement Agency’s Power:  CSEA administrators should NOT be acting as judges. They should NOT be issuing and calculating child support orders. They have no authority to hear special circumstances, to forgive debt, or to deviate from normal guidelines. It is costing tax payers over 3 billion dollars a year to staff and maintain these agencies which probably shouldn’t exist to begin with or should atleast be severely downsized.

4. Give equal representation:  Under the constitution, in criminal law, defendants are entitled to representation even if they cannot afford an attorney themselves. In child support cases, the state is a profiting party that has vested interests. The petitioning party is backed by the Child Support Enforcement Agency with incentives being paid to the state via Title IV sec D award payments.  While child support cases are technically considered “civil cases”, the repercussions and complexity of family law are very severe; not to mention a child being involved. If the courts truly believe in the best interest of the child, they will seek to properly represent and protect both parents. Fathers who feel protected and considered are much more likely to accept their duties if they don’t feel so scared and alienated from the process. This is why I believe both parents should have court appointed advocates to give everyone the best deal. Happy parents= Happy children.

5. Build up Non-custodial Parents:  According to my research, parents who make under then national medium income ($42K) per year, are considered at “high risk” for going into arrears.  Fathers or (NCP’s) who make under $42K per year should be given the option to complete job programs in lieu of sanctions. If the courts can offer programs that will help the paying parent reach that benchmark of $42K per year, they will become “low risk” at falling into default.

6. Remove Crippling Sanctions:   The courts can garnish their wages, seize their bank accounts, liquidate their properties, do whatever you want to recover owed child support payments. However, do not suspend a person’s driver’s license and do not incarcerate them. By doing either, you severely limit that person’s ability to earn an income. They get caught into a cycle of jail, accumulation of debt, and a destroyed resume. No one wants to hire someone who has a record. And if you live in a city that has poor public transportation, getting back and forth to jobs can become extremely burdensome, thus limiting job opportunities.  Debtors prisons were outlawed for a reason. To transform someone’s child into a source of someone’s imprisonment is a crime unto itself.  A married man who doesn’t provide for his child is left alone by government, however an unmarried man is subject to discrimination.  Find out why the parent is unable to keep up with the order and in the “best interest of the child” make it easier for the parent to be able to keep up with the order!

7. Let both parents opt-out:  Women can legally murder their children via abortion and thanks to “Safe Haven Laws”, they can also drop off their children at Fire-stations or Police Departments with no questions asked. A woman who makes the decision that she is not emotionally or financially ready to be a mother is given the option to choose parentage. Men are told to suck it up or face prison. The parameters found in states that allow abortion, should also apply to men. Up until a certain point, determined by law, a man should be able to dissolve his desire to be a parent just as a woman can. Many will argue that it will create more welfare dependent mothers, however, we must consider many things. The federal government can spend 1 trillion dollars on unconstitutional wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet they complain about a welfare spending that takes up less than 5% of the Federal Budget? Also, who says the government has to distribute foodstamps in the first place? If the federal government can afford to give states $2 for every $1 they collect in child support, then they can afford to feed and house poor people.  The Federal Reserve printed up billions to bail out corporations, why not bail out the people?

8. Cap amounts and Spending:   It is outrageous that a custodial parent can claim $10,000 a month just by getting pregnant BY a wealthy person, perhaps even get HIS house too! With the magic of “no-fault divorces”,  someone can literally get pregnant by a wealthy man, divorce him for no reason, and take half of his assets for the next 18 years.  Caps need to be developed based on cost of living in the state, so that divorces are not incentivized for those looking for a quick lottery ticket!  Additionally, the paying parent needs to have tools available to hold the custodial parent accountable for how his money is being spent. Custodial parents should be given prepaid cards that are trackable.  Housing, Food, day care, school-supplies, medical expenses, clothes,…..these things would be acceptable charges. However, if the custodial parent used the card to buy alcohol, vacations, TV’s, and other non-essential items, those charges would be disputed. This card system could create an argument that the custodial parent needs more money and/or less. Another option could be to use the left over money at the end of every month and have it automatically go into a trust fund for the child and/or to be applied to arrears.

9. Create a Child Visitation Enforcement Agency:  Parental Alienation is a HUGE epidemic. Fathers have to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees to get basic access to their children with no help from the state. If there is to be a child support enforcement agency, there needs to be an agency or hotline for non-custodial parents to call if they are actively being denied access. In many cases, fathers go years without being able to see their kids because of expensive legal fees, phony restraining orders, and cooperative mothers.

10. Mediation first- Court Second:  Before a mother and father ever see a judge, both parties should be required to attend mediation first. Have a worker use the child support model as a starting point, then allow each parent to discuss and negotiate with one another and come to agreeable plan. If the parents cannot communicate properly or the order is later deemed insufficient, then the judge can step in and give his own calculated orders. My point is, give the parents one last chance to solve things without government intrusion!

These are just a few ideas I have. This idea that we must punish and throw people in jail only works on those rare individuals who CAN afford child support yet choose to hide their assets or use trickery. However, most of these laws, albeit well intended, end up turning the middle-class and poor into criminalized debt-slaves.

Earlier this year, I submitted a 54 complaint to the Human Rights Council in Geneva,Switzerland addressing the global epidemic of unfairness in the family law courts around the world. A portion of that report can be found at https://naliniglobal.wordpress.com/human-rights-reporting/

“Global Human Trafficking In the Family Law Courts” 

 

-Nalini-Global

2017

Going to Child Support court? Read this

 

In the eyes of God, before anyone enters into a court-room, both father and mother are the full fledged guardians of a child. Before a couple enters into the family law system, there is no one regulating the terms and conditions of parenthood, household income, time spent with each parent, ect. However, as soon as you add a judge into the mix, lives can be forever altered by an ordinary human construct. The Family Law Courts!

Custody spats, Child support, alimony, these are all terms that send shivers down the spines of many. If you are a non-custodial parent or custodial parent, entering into the family law system, please consider these tips moving forward to ease the struggle of your unique family structure.

Non-Custodial Parent:

  1.  Get a DNA Test! : This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed at how many men are paying child support for a kid that is not biologically their own.  Unless there is a prior adoption agreement, no one is legally obligated to pay for someone else’s child.
  2. Consider communication:  If the child is yours, make one last effort to communicate with the mother. What are your goals with the child? What are her goals? Does she want to keep the child? Do you want to be a part of the child’s life? Are you both financially sound? If you two can both find an agreement without involving the government, this will be your best bet. However, if any financial support is given to either party, keep receipts of everything. The custodial parent, (who is typically always going to be the mother in the eye’s of the family law system), can bring the case before a judge at any time and thus sue you for retroactive support. Without any evidence of prior support, you could be on the hook for thousands of dollars.
  3.  Consider your income:  When a child support case is brought to court for the first time, the court will ask for your previous year’s tax return and proof of income from the last two months.  If you know that you have a case coming up, it may be in your financial interest to research how your income levels will be considered. If you have been working three jobs for the last two months before your court date, the courts will consider that income for setting guidelines on how much you are to pay each month. While I do no advise anyone to do anything illegal, maneuvering within the rules (while still adhering to them), in order to survive the eventual 50% garnishment of your income that is soon to take place, is a worthy survival tactic.
  4.  Never let an administrator set the guidelines for support! The child support enforcement agency will often  sell the idea to you that a judge is not needed. They will first appoint an administrator to have a meeting with you and the “custodial” parent. During this meeting, they will calculate income and expenses and then come up with an arbitrary number. That number will always favor the custodial parent.  Never agree to their offers! Always demand that a judge make a ruling on the numbers. Remember, only the judge can make deviations from the  state guidelines. The Child support enforcement administrators cannot make deviations, in fact, they are encouraged to calculate high numbers so that they can collect bonuses from the Title IV section D grant money that is linked with child support collections. However, if you demand to speak with a Judge, he/she may or may not, consider the fact if you have medical expenses, outrageous rent, or other factors that impact your ability to earn income. If the judge is compassionate, you may get lucky with a ruling that is slightly lower than the recommended guidelines issued from the Child Support Enforcement Agency. However, the administrators will never tell you this because they know you are intimidated and do not wish to sit in a court room all day. While the administrators can quickly draw up an order and get you out of their offices, in the long-run, it may not benefit you.
  5. Be Careful with Modifications:  Just because you think your child support is too high doesn’t mean a judge will agree. If you seek to modify your child support order, you may end up paying more! Especially if you have earn more income than you did previously. In some states, CSE (child support enforcement) will automatically raise support amounts if the NCP (Non custodial parent) gets a higher paying job. It is a deadly cycle. Get a higher paying job to afford a child support order, only to have it raised again! Only seek modification if you experience a sharp decrease in earnings and/or you lose your job.  Major medical expenses coming from a surgery or foreclosure may warrant a temporary reduction but can be risky. Consult an attorney!
  6. Challenge Expenses: In child support cases, you will be made to pay for half of any day-care or medical costs. Be sure to challenge any receipts that appear home-made.  These extra expenses can inflate child support payments very quickly, especially if the other parent is embellishing the amount they are paying for child-care costs.
  7. Ask for mediation:  Many courts will offer a no-cost, one-time, mediation session between you and the mother. This is your last ditch effort to sit privately in a room with you and the other parent to negotiate a parenting plan and/or to make voluntary reductions in support. While mediation can be extremely helpful if both parties are logical, it is still up to the judge to agree with the terms.
  8. Consider settlements or Forgiveness:   If you get behind in child support, you may be able to offer settlements to avoid jail time. If you owe $10,000 for instance, you may be able to offer the judge a $6,000 settlement to avoid jail-time without having to pay the remaining three.  Some states even allow for forgiveness of child support debt if you have a good excuse such as medical problems and you are showing good faith to look for employment.
  9. Study Turner V Rogers-  This supreme court case outlined that non-custodial parents should only be jailed if they are willfully refusing to pay child-support payments. Being unable to pay does not warrant one’s life or liberties to be suspended. It must be proven before such aggressive tactics can be implemented against the non-custodial parent.
  10.  Study State of Minnesota V Nelson-  In this case, Mr. Nelson was behind over $80,000, on child support, however, he was still caring for and nurturing his children, i.e.- “Supporting”, therefore the supreme court reversed his felony conviction of failure to pay child support.
  11. Study  Coull vs. Rottman –  In this case, Mr.Coull was absolved of paying any child support due to Ms.Rottman alienating the child from Mr.Coull. The courts found that Ms.Rottman had no bases to ask to support if she was adamant on not allowing the father to partake in the child’s life despite him being fit to do so. This is a rare case decision, but very thought provoking.
  12. Consider International Law: 1976 Article 11 of the ICCPR – International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – came into effect stating, “No one shall be imprisoned merely on the ground of inability to fulfill a contractual obligation.”  This international obligation contradict many countries’ domestic laws that allow for civil jailings. The United States being one of the chief offenders in not adhering to the provisions in this international agreement. Nevertheless, it is still noteworthy.

Custodial Parents:

  1. Communicate:  Do you want this child? Does he?  Is abortion or adoption being considered? Can you sit down with him/her and have an open-dialogue about both of your futures?  If the child has already been born, still communicate! Do everything you can to handle the situation without court involvement.
  2. Welfare-  Many states will not issue welfare to struggling parents unless they name both parents and/or agree to put one of the parents on child support. A good remedy is to have the entire family apply together, however, this often times makes one ineligible because your income bracket may be too high.
  3. Do not alienate your children:  If you are receiving child support, you are NOT a single parent doing it alone, you are getting help.  Even if the other parent is not able to financially provide, if they are showing love to the child, you should not get in-between that bonding process, to do so can cause severe mental and emotional scars to the child that can make them more susceptible to  deviant behavior as an adult not to mention the emotional damage done to the parent who is being prevented from seeing the child. No body wins in alienation.  Children are not bargaining pieces..
  4.  Spend wisely:  If you receive a good amount of child support every month, use what money is left over and put it in a trust fund for the child’s future education. Many custodial parents like to use child support funds to spoil their children with toys or even themselves. In the long run, it does nothing for your children. It is called “child support”, not an entertainment fund.
  5. Reconsider enforcing penalties:  Asking a judge to suspend the other parent’s drivers license or to have him/her incarcerated only hurts you and the child.  Such penalties will make it harder for him to find and keep employment, thus reducing the chances that you will ever see a dime in child support.
  6. Rethink “Support”-  Many custodial parents are extremely protective of their children, since they usually spend the most time with the child while the other parent is usually busy trying to keep up with child support or alimony payments. If you truly need “support”, do not fight “joint custody”. This way you have one parent taking responsibility half the time, and the other parent doing half the work. In many cases, child support may not even be warranted, in this case, everyone can win. If it isn’t about the money, and you can check your emotions at the door, then joint custody shouldn’t be an issue.
  7.  Become an advocate- About 92% of the time, women end up becoming the custodial parent. As a custodial parent, you have a lot of power. Don’t abuse this power! Use it to advocate for equal parenting rights.  I am reminded of an old saying, “Those who desire to give away their power are the most powerful indeed.”  or as Confucius would say,  “Those who wish to secure others, has already secured himself.”

Both parties

Be mindful of eachother! Neither parent is in a particularly “easy” situation. While the non-custodial parent will become stressed out about meeting child-support criteria, the custodial parent will become stressed out with the rearing of the child, transporting the child ,ect. Try to put yourself in the other parent’s shoes and practice empathy. If both parents can do this, it will make it easier for each of them to work together for the sake of the child and potentially remove the disagreements that lead to one of the parents allowing the government to regulate their family affairs.

While the media has given much coverage to the narrative of the “struggling single mom”, whereas “Men need to step up for face the consequences”, I believe that a new narrative needs to be introduced to the general public. One that considers the history of gender relations and how modern developments require us to look at the situation of family disputes through a modernized “looking glass”.

This publication includes the un-redacted portions from a report that was submitted the Human Rights Council in Geneva and to several other human rights organizations and/or governing bodies such as the United States Department of Justice. The original report was over 50 pages long, however, the sections shown in this publication exclude personal documents that are privileged to confidentiality. I pray that those who take the time to read this report will walk away with a better sense of how the modern family law system operates, who is being marginalized and what we can do to reduce its over-reach into our personal decisions. After all, true “freedom”, isn’t the just the ability to make a choice, but to also suffer the consequences of a choice.

“Freedom”, teaches us that consequences rarely need to be administered by government, but rather by the laws of nature of karmic retributions, principles that no man-made legislation can create a loop-hole for.

God-speed.

-Randell D. Stroud