An Un-Merry Christmas In Cook County Family Law Court.

March 2, 2012 | Author: | Posted in Society/Divorce

This will be another Un-Merry Christmas for one of Cook County Illinois’ litigants. No, not Rod Blagojevich but Douglas McKalip. For more than 6 years Douglas has been involved in what has been described as the “divorce from hell”. He has been involved in 7 separate legal actions brought about by his divorce and has appeared in court more than 200 times.

Doug will not be able to spend time with his children for Christmas again, for the fifth consecutive year. Although most parenting agreements allow the non custodial parent access to their children more than 1300 hours a year, and Douglas has such an agreement, he has been prevented from seeing his children even 40 hours for the full year. The lawyers, judges and politicians brag about protecting the children and that visitation interference being a crime in Illinois, yet Doug has found no judge that will enforce the parenting agreement on anyone but but him. The Judge he is currently in front of, Jeanne R. Cleveland Bernstein, has told Douglas that he does not deserve to see his children because he can only pay $2,728.00 per month. Although this goes against all current wisdom of not connecting visitation with child support, there is no place to go in Cook County when the attorneys or Judges are out of control.

Having never been before this Family Court Judge, it was nothing short of bizarre when Judge Bernstein began lecturing Doug for over ten minutes about all the things his children do not have. This was prior to a single word of testimony about the McKalip children. Judge Bernstein then inquired as to what money Mr. McKalip had in what accounts. When he explained the only money he had was set aside for taxes, the Judge ordered Mr. McKalip not to pay his taxes and use the money to pay a $5000.00 additional “purge” amount or go to jail. This was in addition to the child support, he was paying at that time.

In Doug’s experience, the Cook County Court system is run much like the Mafia and if you go up the chain with a problem it is like complaining to the Mob Boss that an Enforcer is trying to break your legs – and that would be a big mistake. Doug’s problems do not end with the county, the State of Illinois has wreaked havoc in his life as well.

Due to what Mr. McKalip describes as a miscalculation of the divorce trial Judge, tens of thousands of dollars were added to the child support he was paying and the State of Illinois took away his drivers license almost two years ago. Mr. McKalip claims he has the “DNA evidence” of check copies, court orders and time lines that proves he was in fact “paid up”, but he has been unable to get anyone to review his documents.
It appears that no judge will review another judges work or even their own on a “motion for reconsideration”, and even though no judge has ordered Mr. McKalip should lose his driving privileges, the State of Illinois decided independently, without review of his canceled checks, to take his license away. This is despite the fact that the State can only produce a dollar amount that they think Doug is in arrears for, but cannot provide a statement of total monies paid or how they calculated the total. Over a year ago Doug’s bank accounts were seized and hundreds of dollars taken by the State supposedly for child support. To this day, the State cannot show where he got credit for the money taken or even if the money ever got to his children.

For both the State and County employees the incentives are clear. The State and County are both in serious financial trouble with the pensions under funded by billions of dollars. If the State or County judges can extort money from Mr. McKalip and others that they do not owe, the State gets a dollar for dollar match from the federal government. It is part of the original “Stimulus Package”. They even get money from the federal government to jail dead beat dad’s – a modern debtor’s prison. The State employees are pumped up with stories how successful the program to punish dead beat dad’s has been and how much money it has brought in for the State.

The States use a Mob technique similar to that of “buying protection”. They tell you to pay a certain amount of money that is not authorized by anyone but their own authority. If you don’t pay they take away your drivers license, professional licenses, hunting licenses, passport and seize all the money in any bank account you have. They do this without a judges order, no proof, no hearing, or review of facts. Even though the State claims to have a hearing process, in four trips downtown, dozens of phone calls and several letters written, they have not been able to present an itemized statement like you might get from your phone company or bank. There also has been no review of Mr. McKalip’s court orders, time lines and canceled checks. The truth is that there is no way to appeal a bad finding.

Many people might think this new collection technique would be illegal, but the States believe it circumvents the Constitutional Rights of Equal Protection under the law and Due Process by calling any license, ability to travel or ability to control your own money a “privilege” given at the whim of the State, not inalienable rights.
The various Federal and State agencies refer to the non custodial “dead beat” parent as “turnips”, further de-humanizing them and making them an easier target for discrimination. The unfair treatment of non custodial parents has spawned the website: https://www.facebook.com/savetheturnips
One might think these problems would be enough for one person in this holiday season, but Mr. McKalip’s situation has taken a turn for the worse. After assigning a beneficial interest of a property that belonged to Douglas’s father to a person who had been paying taxes in an effort to help the family, Doug was unaware that the bank had not executed documents making the assignment. Additionally, the bank failed to notify either Doug or his father of this delay until after sworn testimony by Douglas in court as well as the unfortunate death his father.

Doug had been unaware he had misspoken due to the Bank’s negligence, but when Judge Bernstein found out she began yelling and told the attorney for Douglas’ ex-wife that Doug should be brought up on criminal contempt charges for perjury. Doug’s attorney had in his possession exculpatory evidence regarding the matter from the bank — but was not allowed to present the evidence or even explain the situation to the Judge. Courts that stonewall credible evidence and run their own agendas are the hallmark of third world countries, not the United States of America.

The criminal contempt charge has caused Doug to spend additional thousands of dollars of borrowed money hiring a criminal defense attorney. The punishment for the criminal charges is not monetary but jail time and Doug’s attorneys are baffled why the Judge, Doug’s ex-wife and her attorney would want Doug in jail and lose the support checks for the children. The Judge, Doug’s ex and her attorney also have been vehement in preventing Doug from getting his drivers license back, greatly limiting his earning capacity.
The divorce courts, the State of Illinois, Douglas’s ex -wife and her attorneys have thrown every impediment they can to prevent normal visitation with his children, and limit Doug’s ability to earn money. It makes one wonder who is looking out for the children? Doug’s next court dates are the 27th and 28th of December and could answer the question whether Doug could have the possibility of a happier New Year, or start the New Year in jail.

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