Columbus, OH–From NBC4 in Columbus, Ohio’s Will they still be there at Christmas? (9/29/08):
Two men protesting for fathers” custody rights say they will still be perched atop a crane if by Christmas Governor Ted Strickland and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have not investigated the court system, which protestors said is biased against dads.
Camped a top a crane near Ohio State University, Fathers 4 Justice members Paul Fischer, of Ohio, and Donald Tenn, of California, told NBC 4″s Matt Alvarez that they have enough food to last “as long as they need.”
The fathers said they will come down when the governors from both states agree to a non-partisan investigation into the family court system in their respective states.
I have several tactical disagreements with the way F4J has gone about this but out of respect for the protesters’ admirable courage and initiative, I’m going to keep my yap shut. According to F4J’s press release:
Fathers 4 Justice Members Paul Fisher of Ohio and Donald Tenn of California have secured themselves 100 ft in the air on top of a crane…
The dads will remain on the crane while they await an answer from two other government representatives that must be accountable for inadequate equal parenting laws that lead to massive family court dysfunction and abuse of the law.
They are requesting that the Governors of both states launch an investigation into the Family Court system. Donald Tenn has legal rights to see his daughter, yet has not been able to see her in 2 years. Paul Fisher has won his case in Supreme Court and the decision was then violated in the local family court.
Crane workers reported to the job site this morning and were unable to work while Tenn and Fisher remain positioned on the equipment. Fisher said, “They understand why we are doing this.’
I don’t know anything about Tenn’s case but Paul Fisher’s seems strong–he won in the Ohio Supreme Court but the trial judge apparently still refused to increase his parenting time with his daughter from an average of about one day a week.
The Ohio Office of Public Information’s blurb on the Supreme Court’s ruling says:
The case involved a dispute between Paul Fisher and Emma Hasenjager of Mercer County , who had a child together in 2002. In 2003 the couple entered into a court-approved shared-parenting agreement in which parental rights were shared equally and a detailed visitation schedule was established. In 2005, however, Fisher and Hasenjager filed separate motions asking the Mercer County Court of Common Pleas to modify the shared-parenting order, with each asking to be named as the child’s sole residential parent and legal custodian. Following a hearing at which both motions were considered, the court issued a judgment that made no determination of a change in the circumstances of the parents, but held that it was in the best interest of the child that Hasenjager be named as the child’s sole residential parent and legal custodian.
Fisher appealed that ruling to the 3rd District Court of Appeals, arguing that the trial court judgment was invalid because it had taken away his parental rights as co-residential parent and custodian without first making a required factual finding under R.C. 3109.04(E)(1)(a) that there had been a substantive “change in circumstances’ of the child or of either parent that affected the prior parenting arrangement. The 3rd District affirmed the trial court’s decision, holding that under a different provision of the statute cited by Fisher, R.C. 3109.04(E)(2)(b), the trial court had authority to “modify the terms’ of the shared parenting agreement based solely on its finding that the modification was in the best interest of the child, without requiring a finding of changed circumstances.
One thing here troubles me–according to this, Paul and his ex had a shared parenting agreement and then they both filed for sole custody. As readers know, I don’t like sole father custody any more than I like the current norm of sole mother custody.
Perhaps Paul had a good reason for doing this–maybe the ex wanted to move out of state or was interfering with visitation, etc. I don’t know. If anybody does, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep it short and to the point and stick to facts, not speculation.