NC Fathers Rights

Miller Bowles Law Firm in Charlotte Rebuttal

Miller Bowles Law FirmMiller Bowles is a law firm in Charlotte NC that bills itself as a full service family law firm specializing in child custody, child support, domestic violence, and divorce. Recently, Miller Bowles published a press release aimed at defeating Senate Bill 610 which is a shared parenting bill within the NC General Assembly. According to their website, the lawyers that make up the Miller Bowles law firm are Kate Bowles Miller, Christopher Miller, Valerie Gefert, and Jennifer Paternostro. This article serves as a rebuttal to Miller Bowles argument and it is meant to get the attention of Charlotte NC and Mecklenburg County non-custodial parents, step-parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and other families (potential future clients) who by all accounts represents a very large number of voters in Charlotte who have been pushed to the margins of their children’s lives as visitors and payment providers rather than families who are valued for their equal and direct parentage of their minor loved ones after a divorce or relationship breakdown. If you are reading this article as a Charlotte NC non-custodial family, NC Fathers would like to invite you to get active within our organization either by joining our FACEBOOK PAGE or MAILING LIST so that we can build a massive organization of NC non-custodial families who demand equal parentage and access to their children. You can also view OUR GOALS HERE.

Posts related to the Miller Bowles Law Firm in Charlotte NC – NC Domestic Violence Coalition, NC Lawyers and Child Custody, NC Adoption Crisis

Judge, courts, nc

Charlotte NC Law Firm - Child Custody and Family Law

Before we get into the arguments made by the Miller Bowles Law firm regarding Shared Parenting in North Carolina, we invite Charlotte NC non-custodial families to click on the red and blue graphic below to get a reminder of issues NC Judges, Lawyers, and Legislators ask you to deal with on a daily basis and remember these issues when this law firm uses “high conflict” as a reason that shared parenting should not exists in NC. Simply put, the NC Family Courts create FAR greater conflict between parents over 18 years and it is done to keep parents fighting and making lawyers very rich by paying them large retainers every few years trying to gain equality in a system that is built around inequality.

Miller Bowles Family Law Firm in Charlotte NC

Official Rebuttal Arguments To The Miller Bowles Law Firm in Charlotte NC On Shared Parenting and Senate Bill 610

Before beginning this section, we must state that we agree with Kate Bowles Miller and Christopher Miller on one issue, and that is that Senate Bill 610 is a bad idea. And, it is a bad idea because even if the NC Legislature passes this bill, Judges in North Carolina still have discretion to continue the historical bias and divisiveness in the family courts. Until Judges are stripped of their discretion to alienate and marginalize one parent and extended family from their children there will never be true shared parenting in North Carolina.

In their press release, the Miller Bowles Law Firm stated “In making that determination, the Court must consider all relevant factors, such as acts of domestic violence and the safety of the child.”

The immediate problem with this statement is that while it looks and sounds good, and has the “do it for the children” argument attached to it, the reality is we have examples of custodial parents in the new that are being arrested for domestic violence and who find themselves in DSS court on child abuse, neglect, and dependency. Miller Bowles appears to make the argument that custodial parents are good, and non-custodial parents are bad, and this just is not the case. The reality is, both custodial parents and non-custodial parents are perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse on children. Our belief is that when parents find themselves in situations that lead to domestic violence or abuse of a child, we should do everything possible and provide an avenue for these parents to rehabilitate and then get them back into their child(ren)’s lives as equal parents. Under our current system, there seems to be advocacy for “one mishap, and your out of your child’s life forever.”

Another argument from this law firm – “Based on the evidence presented, the Judge may make an award for child custody as he or she sees fit, as long that award promotes the best interest of the child.”

Unfortunately, Judges in NC are locking themselves daily into a standardized visitation schedule for non-custodial families. The argument above makes it look like Judges are deciding visitation schedules based on individual merits of each case, but that is simply not true. How many of you have the standard visitation schedule of every other weekend? And, as a Charlotte NC family, do you think it’s in the best interest of your child to see your children moved six states away and see them maybe once a year?

Bowles Miller went on to state – “Family law attorneys throughout North Carolina have had strong reactions to Senate Bill 610 and the policies stated therein. According to the attorneys at Miller Bowles Law, while the Bill promotes noble goals, such as uniformity and shared custody, those goals are thought to be lofty and potentially unachievable.”

Some examples that the lawyers at this firm allude to are 1) encourages “both parents to share equitably in the rights and responsibilities of raising their child” even after the marriage or relationship ends. 2) To encourage this policy, the Bill proposes promoting certain ideals, programs, laws, and court practices that encourage and support the maximum participation of a child in the parents’ lives. 3) This presumed shared responsibility standard requires that each parent have as close as possible to an equal amount of time with the child, but not less than thirty-five percent of the amount of time with the child. 4) the proposed State policy also encourages “parents to take responsibility for their child by setting the expectation that parenthood will be a significant and ongoing responsibility requiring the creation of a joint parenting agreement.

The best rebuttal we can think of to this assertion is, how do these lawyers know that these lofty goals can not be achieved? Do they have some empirical evidence from other States that this does not work? Here is the problem for the Miller Bowles law firm, nobody knows for sure that shared parenting does or does not work because it has never been put into practice. Of course, there is ample research that Lawyers and Judges get educated on during retreats that suggest that it does not work, but we surmise that only researchers that advocate against shared parenting get invited to these educational sessions. We would sure like to see Kate Bowles Miller and Christopher Miller’s UNBIASED research on shared parenting and why it does not work.

Miller Bowles went on to state again – “First, every child custody case is unique and distinguishable from another; therefore, uniformity is not a realistic expectation.”

Every time we see this argument, we have to laugh. If you do some consistent research on shared parenting and the American Bar Association’s response to it, you will see lawyers using this exact phrase in almost every article they write. It has clearly been scripted, taught, and is being regurgitated by lawyers who say that uniformity is a bad idea. The problem they have is that what is uniform is the large amount of data coming out that shows every child benefits greatly when they have two very active parents and their extended families at their side nurturing, loving, and supporting them directly. So, we disagree that every case is different. In a large majority of these cases, there is a child who needs and loves both of their parents, grandparents, step-parents, and aunts and uncles. This nurturing, support, and direct love cannot happen from six states away, and it cannot happen 4 days a month.

The lawyers at Miller Bowles stated – “while it is the hope of all involved that the parties will be able to communicate effectively and compromise with regard to the custody of their child, often times that is not the case. Therefore, expecting the parties to create a joint parenting agreement is unrealistic in light of the often contentious nature of child custody disputes.”

If you are a Charlotte or Mecklenburg County NC non-custodial parent, you are well aware that the family courts actually created more conflict than either you or your ex-spouse could ever dream up. Unfortunately, the Charlotte family courts actually encourages conflict because it is setup on a “one parent win, one parent lose” system by which both parents NEED the other parent to be a horrible person so that he/she can get custody and control. There is conflict because these parents are in an arena where only one parent can come out victorious. The minute Judges in NC start deciding custody or shared parenting on how well one parent gets along with the other parent, you will see a LOT of parents busting their tails to get along with the other parent which is good for kids. In short, when there is nothing to fight about, nothing to win or lose, parents will have no reason to fight and there will not be nearly as much conflict.

Lastly, the lawyers at Miller Bowles stated – “While family law attorneys are always striving to ensure the best interest of the child.”

Bull!

Most Family Law attorneys are vested financially in a unequal system by which parents fight like gladiators to keep/lose custody for 18 years and paying lawyers retainer fees. The love the conflict, because it pays the bills. As a Charlotte NC non-custodial family, how much did your child custody battle cost? $10,000? $20,000? And how much did the other parent pay? I suspect about the same. We estimate that parents (from just ONE family) spend on average $80,000 over the life of a minor child in custody, child support, and contempt hearings. With Shared Parenting, and strict words from Judges to either get along and work on a parenting agreement, parents are going to get it together quick and not spending this money with lawyers.

Law Firms in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County

Now, lets talk about “Fit Parents” and Domestic Violence. In their press release, Miller Bowles stated that Senate Bill 610 has the potential to bring conflicted parents together more often and this will lead to more domestic violence.

“…the Bill’s proposed State policy purports to “[e]nsure that a child will have maximum contact with both parents through a presumption of shared responsibility unless it has been established based on a preponderance of the evidence that one of the parents is unfit or obstructs a healthy relationship with the other parent.”

Here is a video that clearly explains preponderance of the evidence in very clear terms. While this video is about medical malpractice, the same standard is applied in Domestic Violence and it clearly shows that absent evidence or witnesses, one can be found guilty simply on “likelihood” that violence existed. This is why just about every divorce and child custody case today involves an allegation of abuse because the burden of proof is so low, it’s almost a given that a Judge will find fault. From this fault, again, with no evidence or witnesses, just the mere word of the accuser who gains big time from the allegation, you can be removed from your home, belongings, kids, lose your job, loss of reputation, and could very well never see your children again. Sounds like serious conflict to us that Miller Bowles is not explaining. And of course, many Judges and Lawyers sit on Domestic Violence organizations boards that continue to get significant money with increased statistics on Domestic Violence. With preponderance of the evidence, it is assured that statistics will continue to rise, thus triggering federal and state money into non-profits.

 

We would like for Christopher Miller and Kate Bowles Miller to explain how pushing one parent to the far margins of their children’s lives after spending $20,000 with an attorney, seeing their children moved off to another state, or bringing contempt motions over and over regarding visitations orders not being followed, only to have a Judge roll his/her eyes,  is not creating more Domestic Violence?

I imagine once a Divorce or Separation is realized, both parents take on a LOT of anxiety, fear, and depression knowing one of them will not be an equal parent anymore and who will likely not have a say so in how their kids are raised and will essentially become a visitor. We suspect that this then leads to substance abuse and other unhealthy coping skills that culminates in Domestic Violence.

With Shared Parenting, those fears, anxious thoughts, and depression can substantially be lowered. And, I can assure you, if a parent knows that he/she is going to be seeing their children 10-15 days per month after divorce, the last thing on their mind is Domestic Violence.

NC Fathers and Charlotte NC Lawyers

Miller Bowles Law Firm and Charlotte NC Non-Custodial Families

Another thing the lawyers at Miller Bowles did not comment on is what we call the family court pay wall. Without a doubt, the single most disturbing fact about family law is that there is a HUGE incentive to alienate a child from another parent. Here is how it happens: One parent decides to leave a marriage/relationship and makes plans while the other parent has no idea. The parent leaving the marriage/relationship contacted an attorney who told them as long as there is no order in place, he/she does not have to allow the other parent to see the child. That parent then leaves the marriage or relationship, likely moves out of state, forcing the other parent to find the other parent, get $7,000 (to start) to retain an attorney, and start the process. For those that CANNOT find this money, they never see their child again or signs an agreement that is not in their/child best interest just to see the child again. Unfortunately, this makes that parent LOOK like a disinterested parent because they signed an agreement assuming the role of marginalized parent. For those that can get access to money, by the time they get their ducks lined up, the alienating parent has established consistency which is a huge part of what Judges use in their decision making process. Judges routinely never look at how consistency was established because they just want to move through the other 30 cases and get home at a reasonable hour. This “pay wall” between parents and children is highly destructive and often times results in domestic violence and/or murder/suicide. NC Legislators, Judges, and Lawyers in Charlotte NC  really need to hear this scenario from you because it is happening on a very frequent basis daily.

NC Fathers wants to remind Charlotte NC non-custodial families that you equal a HUGE voting block of very angry parents and extended families who have been reduced to visitor and federally enforced payment providers to your children while lawyers get rich and Judges and legislators use you to push political agendas.

We also want to remind you that you come from every single racial and cultural background, political party affiliation, socioeconomic background, and educational level. The minute that the estimated 5.5 million citizens with direct ties to a non-custodial family unite around a central organization, you will see legislators, judges, and lawyers advocating for a system that keeps you in this predicament with your children.

Additionally, a figure that the lawyers at the Miller Bowles Law Firm can not dispute, non-custodial parents are created almost hourly in the family courts in all 100 counties and we are determined to reach them and unite you so that you can advocate for yourself collectively.

With this information in mind, we again ask that you join our MAILING LIST and FACEBOOK PAGE and begin learning more about how preponderance of the evidence is being used in domestic violence cases to inflate convictions where there was no evidence or witnesses to corroborate violence, but allows a Judge to convict you on “likelihood” rather than innocent until proven guilty. This has lead to MANY of you being non-custodial parents and it has to stop. Furthermore, we need you to realize that the State of NC is generating federal Title IV-D money to replenish social services programs on each dollar collected in child support and how the State NEEDS more and more of you alienated from your children so that you pay greater child support and trigger federal money.

If you identify with this article as a Charlotte NC non-custodial family, we ask that you extensively share this article on sites like Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin to bring about the greatest exposure. We also ask Charlotte NC non-custodial families to use the comments section below to tell us your experiences with the Miller Bowles Law Firm, or your experiences in the NC Family Courts.

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May 8, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized

10 Comments »

  1. These firms like Miller Bowles that oppose the bill need to be dug up, documented, and then a campaign against them all needs to be made. Bombard them with e-mail, phone calls, protests outside their offices, and make it as public as possible, that they oppose fair custody courts. Then every effort needs to be made that firms like this get as little business as possible.

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    Comment by Bob W | May 8, 2013 | Reply

  2. Our children deserve SHARED PARENTING period, the members of the General Assembly should put themselves in the place of parents who get very little time to spend with their fathers (for the most part)….since when is it someone else’s place to make the decisions of a child’s life that could/would do more harm than good for the child’s health, education and welfare. MAKE CHILD CUSTODY 50/50…..EQUAL TIME FOR EACH PARENT, the only FAIR AND JUST WAY FOR CHILDREN OF DIVORCED PARENTS.

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    Comment by Mimi L | May 8, 2013 | Reply

  3. I do agree with one statement that Miller Bowles makes – “Every situation surrounding the custody of a child is unique” it absolutely is. however in the state of North Carolina ….. unless joint custody is agreed upon in mediation…. at trial one parent receives custody and one parent receives visitations. the visitations include every other weekend. one day during the week that is not the week of the weekend. and alternating thanksgiving Christmas and Easter. to include a two week vacation time in the summer. that is the “standard” court accepted “visitation” for most noncustodial parents in the state of North Carolina. Now remind you that North Carolina has “programs” set up to assist noncustodial parents with visitations, but when you call them they never return the calls, never make an appointment and emails are returned unanswered. Also the unified family courts of North Carolina published an article on the importance of fathers being involved in the lives of their children. and yet the fathers are being kept away from their children by the same court systems. To obtain child support the custodial parent files, it is approved and child support can begin within 2 months. to obtain visitations…. it requires serving, going to court, receiving dna results, attending mediation, before a visit can even begin…. minimal amount of time….. 4 months. then even with a court order the custodial parent can deny visitations. then you must file again, press charges, go to court for the judge to say “don’t let it happen again” in the meantime … the noncustodial parent goes without seeing the child for months or years. however…. get behind on child support…. do not pass go… go to jail. each situation and child custody is absolutely unique… so if there is no evidence of abuse, neglect or danger… why are custodial parents being punished for loving their children. the “laws” we have now pertaining to custody visitation and support are behind many other states in regulations and laws. i think it is time we truly start supporting the children of North Carolina and jointly working together to heal a broken system. maybe just maybe we will see improvements in drop out rates, teen pregnancy, run away decreases, drug and alcohol abuse. how many studies need to be done before we realize that our children need both parents to grow and thrive? how may thousands of dollars need to be spent on lawyer fees and court costs until we realize that money could be better spent on the children. two parents made the child … two parents have the right to assist 50 -50 in raising the child. ( if there is no abuse, neglect, danger) when a parent refuses joint custody with no extenuating circumstances i wonder… what are they hiding?

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    Comment by Joanie G | May 8, 2013 | Reply

  4. This bill does have a huge weakness. The domestic violence section. Domestic Violence needs to be reinvented. My case is the perfect example. I’ve never had a bit of violence in my record, and I’ve never hit a woman, but the mother of my first child thinks its awesome that she can go to a sheriff and make claims I’m trying to kidnap my son and get a restraining order against me. That eliminates my chances of ever being able to use Senate Bill 610.

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    Comment by Greg R | May 8, 2013 | Reply

  5. It’s called greed !!!! That’s why they don’t want this bill to pass… It would mean less money in their pockets… They don’t care about what is best for our children. They care about lining their pockets. If they truly cared our justice system wouldn’t be the way it is and non of us non custodial families wouldn’t be in this situation PERIOD!! Remember there are 24 million children in this country living in fatherless homes and not by their choice.

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    Comment by Jodi Akers | May 8, 2013 | Reply

  6. Parenting was and is a choice that we as adults make and it should not be up to a judge or attorney to reverse the choice as a free American have already made! I would really ask who you think you are to even think you can take that choice from us! Shame on all of you for profiting from our children! Everyone that stands up and think you have more of a right to the decision to say one parent is better than the other because of money is just as greedy as the parent using the system and their own children as a profit!

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    Comment by Dawn Freidt | May 8, 2013 | Reply

  7. What is scary to me is how many former clients of this law firm who are now non-custodial parents realize that their former lawyer advocates that they not be an equal parent?

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    Comment by Michael S | May 8, 2013 | Reply

  8. Well I can tell you this Charlotte father will not be doing business with this law firm nor will I be referring friends to them.

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    Comment by Craig (Charlotte NC Father) | May 9, 2013 | Reply

  9. Are you kidding me???? This law firm represented me in my child custody case, which I lost (big shock) and now I read that they think I should be a visitor to my children? Now I guess I should wonder if that wad the plan all along. Tell Dad everything will be fine, take his money, we know he will lose, then lobby the legislature for his demise? Yea thanks a lot Miller Bowles!

    Like

    Comment by DF (Charlotte NC Father) | July 24, 2013 | Reply


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