Washington State Childrens Rights Petition
Washington State Senate
More Info at:
Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen
PO Box 40400
Olympia, WA 98504-0400
Phone: (360) 786-7700
Email- [email protected]
Dear Lieutenant Governor Owen,
I am concerned about our childrens rights and welfare in Washington State.
While I would hope that most parents could avoid court by working together to support the best welfare of their children, there are those cases where court involvement is unavoidable; this petition addresses those cases.
While Senate Bill 6721 exists to create a task force to review statewide standards for GAL / CASA (Guardian Ad Litem / Court Appointed Special Advocate), there is currently no Statute / RCW (Revised Code of Washington) that requires the mandatory engagement of an advocate for a child in family law relocation cases. Currently, the engagement of a GAL/CASA or allowing child to express their important opinion is purely at a Superior Court Judges discretion. This constitutional flaw can leave a child without an unbiased advocate or a voice in their future.
I ask that (Senate bill 6721 be amended or a new bill be created) to have a task force review and enhance the following family law statutes.
1.Prior to any relocation involving a minor, an unbiased advocate for a child (a trained GAL or CASA), must be engaged by the court to explore family dynamics, research potential living environments, education, and most importantly solicit a childs opinion. (Amendment to RCW 26.12.175)
2.If an adolescent is age twelve or older their opinion regarding their life shall be considered by a judge. It is our childrens right to choose to voice or not to voice their opinion regarding their future. (Amendment to RCW 26.09.187 and 26.09.210)
3.Mid-school year relocations shall not be permitted. Mid-school year transfers have a detrimental impact on our children developmentally and educationally. (Amendment to RCW 26.09.520)
4.Absent mutual agreement of (both involved natural parents), long distant relocation of a child shall be forbidden. Our children have the right to be involved with both parents. Our children come first and with effort, career and life solutions exist that protect our childrens best overall welfare. (Amendment to RCW 26.09.520)
Your leadership over the years has been instrumental in establishing laws that protect our children. Our children need your assistance and leadership once again.
I appreciate your help.
!To Sign The Petition Go To The Top Or Bottom Of This Document!
To e-sign this petition you must be a Washington State Resident 18 years or older, registered to vote or a property owner.
Every person who signs this petition with any other than his or her true name, or who knowingly signs more than one of these petitions, or signs a petition seeking an election when he or she is not a legal voter, or signs a petition when he or she is otherwise not qualified to sign, or who makes herein any false statement, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor under RCW 35.21.005.
Protecting Our Childrens Rights in Washington
I would appreciate your review of this letter and your support creating a positive change for our children. This letter and research is founded on my ten years of direct, first hand family law legal experience.
If the Superior Court is involved in a family law case, Washington States current legal structure gives Judges complete unjust discretion over the engagement of a GAL/CASA (Guardian Ad Litem / Court Appointed Special Advocate for a child), or allowing an adolescent the right to voice their opinion regarding their life.
This is an issue that affects 1000s of children each year in Washington State. It is critical for a child to have a voice in their future; my son was not given that chance.
I love my son very much and am committed to making a positive difference. In the span of two years, I made two extremely difficult long distance relocations (Spokane to Las Vegas and Las Vegas to Seattle) to be an integral weekly part of his life. My twelve-year old son and I spent nearly every weekend together. I had been a consistent, dedicated force in his life, with a perfect child support record as well being a strong advocate for his best welfare. It became impossible for me to chase a third deliberate long distance relocation within five years, to Hawaii by my sons mother and stepfather.
For years I tried everything to avoid court and to build an amicable multi-parent relationship with my sons mother and stepfather. This included trying to set up monthly meetings with them, asking to engage in joint family counseling, writing letters, attempting to facilitate and mediate the issues. Sadly, I could not change their bad faith agenda of parent alienation and elimination.
Prior to this latest move of my son, every single previous Superior Court Judge or Commissioner rewarded my dedication to my son by consistently increasing our important quality time together in every one of the previous four parenting plans ordered. Pierce County Superior Court Judge Kitty Ann Van Doorninck blindly ignored proper protocol necessary to protect and promote a young mans best overall welfare. Absent any child expert (Psychologist) guidance or a trained GAL/CASA (Guardian Ad Litem/ Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children), Judge Van Doorninck reduced my sons time with me to next to nothing and stripped me of my joint decision making rights regarding his life. Judge Van Doorninck stated on the record that other judges didnt need an advocate for a child or experts so neither did she. Judge Van Doornincks final ruling made it crystal clear that she couldnt care less if an exceptional father was involved with his son, other than just providing a monthly check.
Judges are not inherently child experts and cannot accurately determine detrimental impacts to a young man, family dynamics and the father/son bond without guidance from a qualified expert. Furthermore, Judges cannot clearly see the truth, isolated on a bench. The absolutely warranted appointment of an unbiased GAL would have revealed the truth and given a young man a voice in his life.
My son was punished for writing a letter to the judge expressing his opinion, a First Amendment Right. Judge Van Doorninck refused to believe the letter was from my son. To add insult to injury Judge Van Doorninck ordered that she has exclusive jurisdiction (judicial prejudice) over this case, even though neither party resides in Pierce County.
The multiple child experts I spoke with were appalled that neither a trained GAL/CASA nor a child expert, were assigned to this case. Child experts were also alarmed that my sons mature and important opinion was not solicited by Judge Van Doorninck by any means. Our children do not want to pick sides, however they have the right to express their important opinion regarding their life and future. Wouldnt you want a voice in your life?
If the Superior Court is involved, our current legal structure gives Judges complete discretion over the engagement of a GAL/CASA or child expert. As ethically wrong as it is, our judicial system allows Judges discretion regarding allowing an adolescent to voice their opinion. Furthermore, Judges are allowed to exercise blatant discrimination against non-custodial parents.
Judges are human and can make mistakes. Isnt it ironic that judges in the past stood behind forbidding women to vote, holding judicial or political positions. The point being that history has proven time and time again that there can be major flaws with our judicial system.
Prior to the existence of RCW(Revised Code of Washington) 26.09.520, as biased as it may be, it was a judicial free for all regarding family law relocation cases. Rulings varied widely based on Judges discretion, which was very broad and inconsistent. It is clearly time once again to enhance Washington States RCW to protect and promote our childrens best overall welfare.
Positive solutions enhancing Washington State statutes to protect our children:
1-Prior to any relocation involving the court, an unbiased advocate for a child, a trained GAL/CASA, must be engaged to explore family dynamics, research potential living environments, education, and most importantly solicit a childs opinion. Judges cannot accurately gather the facts isolated on the bench, they require a child advocate in the field. (Amendment to RCW 26.12.175)
2-If an adolescent is age twelve or older their opinion regarding their life should be considered by a judge. It is our childrens right to choose to voice or not to voice their opinion regarding their future. Child experts agree that adolescents should absolutely be allowed to voice their opinion. (Amendment to RCW 26.09.187 & 26.09.210)
3-Mid-school year relocations shall not be permitted. Child experts and educators agree that mid school year transfers have a detrimental impact on children both developmentally and educationally. (Amendment to RCW 26.09.520)
4-Absent mutual agreement of both involved natural parents, long distant relocation of a child shall be forbidden. Relocation should not be used as tactic to eliminate one parent from a childs life. Our children have the right to be involved with both parents. Our children come first; with effort career and life solutions exist that protect our childrens best welfare. (Amendment to RCW 26.09.520)
These issues will not get better on there own. Our First Amendment rights or the creation of the relocation statute RCW 26.09.520 didnt magically appear. We live in an amazing country where, We The People can get involved to stimulate a positive change to protect our childrens welfare, rights and freedom. We also live in a country where if you do nothing to protect your rights, someone will inevitably take them away.
Your effort may help a child that you know. If you want to stop these issues from happening again to a child and you are concerned with the flaws in our family law judicial system, you need to get involved.
One voice makes little difference; the voice of many can change the world.
Keep the positive momentum going and forward this petition to someone in Washington State, who also cares about children.
Please sign the Washington State Childrens Rights Petition The Goal is 100,000 signatures.
If you would like to learn more about the RCWs referenced in this letter, go to the following website: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/
If you would like to know who your Washington State Senator and Representative are, go to the following website:
If you have further questions please look at the frequently asked questions below. If you still have a question then email me at:
Thank you for your consideration.
Our children sincerely appreciate your help.
Father for Life
Frequently Asked Questions
Washington State Childrens Rights Petition
Protecting our Childrens Rights in Washington State
1-Who would be affected by the proposed changes and why do our children need this amendment to our family law statutes?
If you have a child or know a child of separated, divorced or unwed parents, this issue will affect them if the primary parent chooses to relocate. The current relocation statute pretty much forces court involvement and rubber stamps relocation of a child.
2-How do you know this is an issue with 1000s of children?
Thru my own research and relationships with local and regional childrens and non-custodial rights organizations. I encourage you to start asking people that you know directly and indirectly; it will quickly become clear that these are legitimate issues.
3-Can I really make a difference?
Yes, you live in the greatest country in the world where We the People can unite to make a remarkable difference and create positive change. We have done it again and again. No other country in the world empowers its citizens more than the U.S. However, you must speak up via the petition if want to help our children. One voice makes little difference; the voice of many can change the world.
4-Isnt Family Law well thought out by wise people?
Most of the time yes, however it is impossible to think about every scenario and the law can be misinterpreted, contain gaps and have flaws. History has proven this time and time again (i.e., womens rights, civil rights and now childrens rights).
5-We elect Judges to make these decisions, why does the law need to be spelled out?
There are many good Judges that do the right thing. However, there are also some judges who demonstrate poor judgment. The Judicial community has demonstrated a lack of common/cohesive understanding on this issue. Do you want the voice of a child you know to be ignored or for a child to be treated unjustly by a bad judge or good judge having a bad day, without these amendments to family law in place?
6-Why does it take a Petition and for people to speak up to do what makes common sense? It doesnt make sense to me either; the law should have never gotten to this flawed state. Our judicial system tends to get a bit entrenched in poor concepts and at times is a little arrogant regarding directing Judges on how to rule. It takes our voice, the voice of the people to wake up the legal system in order to set things right for our children.
7-I thought that a Petition had to be hand signed to be valid for presentation in the Wash. State Senate?
There are a couple of ways to introduce a bill and one of them is by someone like Lt. Gov. Owen who is on the senate committee and represents the voice/opinion of the people. Lt. Gov. Owen has a time proven track record of promoting and protecting childrens welfare. Old hand written petitions are antiquated, often ineffective and fail to rapidly communicate to concerned citizens that want to make a positive difference. This petition, every valid e-signature, will be delivered to Lt. Gov. Owen. You may also send a signed copy of this petition to your State Senator and Lt. Gov Owen.
8-What does involved parents mean on the petition?
This is where we let the judicial system define the parameters/guidelines while utilizing a GAL (Guardian Ad Litem) to validate the involvement of both parents. Simply put, it means separated, divorced or unwed parents that are regularly involved/engaged in person with their child/children on a daily or weekly or monthly basis. This amendment to law will have checks and balances to make sure it is not used as a tool by parents to hurt each other,(i.e., a parent that isnt involved at all, claiming to be involved only to aggravate the other parent). This amendment would keep children involved with both parents that have demonstrated their commitment. It is our childrens right to be involved with both parents. No parent is more important than the other, they are equal.
9-What if I dont agree with all of the concepts or wording on the petition?
Keep in mind the petition is asking for a task force to review these concepts, to refine the wording and amendments to the law that would best enhance it for our children. If youre still not comfortable, make a copy of the petition retaining the concepts you feel you can support and mail a hand signed copy to your State Senator and Lt. Gov Owen.
10-Doesnt a Guardian Ad Litem cost money?
They are not free and for those people that cant afford one for their children the court can assign a volunteer (CASA) Court Appointed Special Advocate for a Child.
11-Why would I need Guardian Ad Litem /Court Appointed Special Advocate for a Child to inform the court about my childs opinion?
Try everything to avoid going to court. Sadly if you do end up involving the court, both parents are too bias in the Judges eyes. Your child needs their voice represented so that a Judge will listen. My son was not given that chance.
12-Are all Guardian Ad Litems /Court Appointed Special Advocates unbiased?
Like anything, the majority are professional , with a few bad ones. Senate Bill 6721 asks for the review of the standards, standardization and training required make them even better. Keep in mind people become GALs and CASAs because they care deeply about children. Most of these people, should in my opinion, be referred to as Guardian Angels.
13-Are you an Attorney?
No, however I have had the privilege of working with and retaining some of the finest family law attorneys in Washington State. I have written the bulk of my legal draft documents and have represented my son and myself in court on occasion.
14-Why didnt you name your sources of information?
My resources support this petition however; I promised the professionals that I consulted with that I would keep their names out of it. Some people could think my sources might be bias. Check the facts with your own professional sources, you will find that the vast majority agree with the issues. Only a few possibly tied to special interests groups will state otherwise.
15-Arent there a lot more family law issues that need to be addressed?
Yes there are, parent alienation, custodial interference, parent elimination, etc. Yet as with anything so overwhelming, you must take it in small steps gaining momentum along the way. It is important to focus in on the root-cause related issues in our Family Law system, not the symptoms. If you have gained any sense about who I am, you know you can count on my continued involvement and support of future family law enhancements.
16-My email or information is not going to be distributed?
No, you have the right to your privacy. Our legislation will get a copy of the petition, which is public record, but they are not going to distribute your information.
17-Did you do something wrong to warrant losing your involvement and right to in input in your sons life?
Absolutely nothing; there was no just reason for it, only a flawed legal system. I relocated twice long distance to be a part of my sons life, as my sons mother and step father continued to attempt to eliminate me from his life.
18-Did you file a Complaint against the Judge?
Yes, and the no violation found response by the Washington State Judicial Conduct committee was a key factor that greatly strengthened the validity of this petition.
19-Arent you a little intimidated of the legal system?
I am respectful of its power to do good and also bad. There are many good Judges and a few bad ones. The real sharks in the pool are the special interest groups. History has proven this fact regarding any other individual rights issue. As clear as this issue is and as strange as it may seem someone is always going to have a polar opposite opinion. The harder a special interest group fights, counters, confuses or attempt invalidate the issues, the more you will know your stance is right.
20. Are you a Fathers Rights Advocate or part of a Special Interest Group?
No on both questions. I am an advocate for children and non-custodial parental rights. The issue mainly affects our children. I lost my son due to poor judgment and a flawed legal system. I dont want to see any other children hurt. I am just an ordinary guy trying, with your help to accomplish the extraordinary.
21-Will this petition help your son?
No, my sons life has been severely and irreparably damaged by poor legal judgment. Washington State made it impossible for my son to be involved with me. Necessary enhancements to Washington State Family Laws will protect our children in the future.
22-Have you spent a lot of time and effort on this petition?
Yes I have, hundreds of hours; you could say that I have spent the last 10 years being prepared to write this petition. I love my son and I feel I owe it to him, because his rights were violated. I dont want to see other children hurt by a flawed judicial system.
Thank you for your support of this petition and for making a positive difference.