Category Archives: court reform

Dare You To Read … 



I have some horrific news to share. Yesterday, I learned about a 13 year old girl who took her own life. I know her family.. Look at this beautiful girl. Look at those eyes… She was involved in extracurricular actives at her middle school as a Cheerleader and Goal Keeper for the Co-Ed Soccer Team. She was also active in Gymnastics and was a member of the Competition Cheerleading Team. What would prompt a beautiful girl with her whole life ahead of her to take her own life? Why was she so tortured?

I’ll tell you why… Her father (a police officer) managed to gain full custody of her and he completely cut her mother out of her life. This precious girl was deprived of her own mother like my children and so many other children have been, so many mothers and children who are now coming forward with their own personal stories and experiences. 

If your heart is not already broken for the mother of this beautiful young girl who took her life, it will be after I tell you what happened the day before she took her life. This child wanted desperately to see her mom again, so she called her using a friend’s cell phone and asked if she’d meet her somewhere (on the sly of course since her father would never allow her to be with her mother at all). They met and were able to finally spend some time together. This mother and her family thought their prayers had been answered. How could they know what would happen next? This young girl took her own life the very next day. Can you imagine how her mother must have felt? Can you imagine how this precious child must have felt just before she pulled the trigger that ended her life? There is nothing in this life more horrific -more traumatic- than forcing a child to live with no contact with their own mother.

If there were any doubts about how cruel this father was before his child took her life, there are no doubts now. He buried this baby girl (and “baby” is what I call a 13 year old) without allowing her own mother -the women who carried her and gave birth to her and cared for her until she “lost” custody of her- to come to the funeral or burial. He even left her mother out of the obituary as if she didn’t exist. If evil has a face, it’s the face of this dead child’s father.

Not long after I read this post, Janie and I teamed up and decided to use our knowledge of the inner workings of the corrupt family court system and our writing talents to do -to create- something that would make a difference. Something that would give a voice to those who are harmed the most – the children. After working on numerous blog posts together, we began working on The Motherless Child Project which was released just before Christmas 2014. This book is only the first in a series. Sadly, our nation is truly becoming a nation of motherless children more and more with each passing day. While mothers have some small voice, children have no voice. Ember -our book’s main character- is a much needed voice for all the motherless children. You can read more about The Motherless Child Project at http://www.themotherlesschildproject.com

Depriving children of a relationship with their own mother is completely traumatic. It’s known that childhood trauma is linked to many adverse and long-term health and social consequences. The more traumatic events a child experiences, the more tragic the consequences will be. You can read more about how childhood trauma negatively impacts a child’s life here http://acestudy.org/ What’s makes the results of the ACE Study even more troubling is the fact that this nation’s family court judges (those charged with upholding the law of the land), family court lawyers, GAL’s (lawyer who are charged with representing the best interest of the child), court appointed social workers and psychologists intentionally place children in dangerous, abusive, traumatic situations.

To get a glimpse of what a “motherless” child endures -feels-, read “When a Mother Disappears: The Words from a Stolen Child” http://mothersoflostchildren.org/2015/01/when-a-mother-disappears-the-words-from-a-stolen-child/ 

Following is a heart-wrenching excerpt “I grew up thinking this could not have happened to anyone else. No one else’s mother disappears, which had made me feel deeply ashamed, though I hadn’t named that; I had just felt it somewhere beneath the surface of my heart, because children always assume it is their fault when a parent leaves. I had known my father had something to do with it though. And perhaps my mother had done something bad, something that made him furious.  I knew it wasn’t only my fault.”

Of course, trauma impacts the mothers of “lost” children experiencing trauma they can’t do anything about. Losing a child “through life” is the most horrific way to lose a child. Until a couple of decades ago, nobody had ever lost a child in this way– at least not in mass numbers. And, children didn’t go missing “legally”.

No mother should ever have to lose a child through life. It’s not normal. It’s not natural. There is no closure. There is no end to the gut wrenching pain. The wound does not ever heal. In fact, it never even forms a scab toward healing. It remains perpetually open… The taking of living children from living mothers is something so terrible, so evil, that there is no way to really describe such a loss. I wrote a poem about losing a child through life here http://motherswithoutcustodyworld.com/to_lose_a_child_through_life The mother of this 13 year old lost a child through life and then through death too. I don’t know how to even begin to describe that kind of loss….

This story -this suicide- has hit me really really hard. I’m also thinking of other mothers I’ve met who hatheir children to abusive fathers and then suicide – mothers like Maria Bauer Melinn. Maria’s son Michael took his life in the same way… I wonder how many children commit suicide because of being deprived of their mothers. God never intended for the sacred bond between mother and child to be broken. Laura was only eleven months old and Matthew was only twenty-three months old when they were taken from me in November 1998. I do not know my own children. And they do not know their own mother. They have grown up entirely motherless. There are hundreds of thousands of motherless children in the United States (and beyond) who have loving mothers, but are not allowed to see them or even know them in many cases.

Janie McQueen wrote a blog post a while back called “A Nation of Motherless Children” where she asked the question “Do you know the spiritual Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child? All these sad, one-winner cases make me wonder if we’re heading toward a nation of motherless children.” http://janiemcqueen.com/a-nation-of-motherless-children/

{it’s} past time to get serious about stopping this intentional maternal deprivation. Please, let’s all work together to stop this. Speak out loudly about the racketeering going on in the family court system. http://motherswithoutcustodyworld.com/family_court_a_criminal_enterprise

Most important of all though, let’s continually pray for our children to be delivered from evil.

(For more details, additional information, please see The Motherless Child Project) 

Starting Over When You Can’t Go Back? – To All Protective Parents

Starting Over When You Can’t Go Back?  – To All Protective Parents:  Rebuilding when you can’t go home again:
To all of my friends:  I have slowly begun to rebuild my work and my career, my freelance paralegal research.  I had been self-employed in the same field for over 20 years when my life came to a screeching halt in 2010 when my young children (ages 9 and 12) were kidnapped by their father and taken over 200 miles away … this was parental kidnapping, against custody, against the law.  So many others are familiar with this horror but this type of kidnapping garners little sympathy and certainly less action.  This atrocity, and the long-haul of horror it places a protective parent in is in no way different than having your children kidnapped by a stranger.  Although with parental abductions there may some knowledge, confirmation, and awareness, however vague, that your children are alive, the complete, abrupt and traumatic separation from them is very real and the agony, horror and pain is just as sharp.  It is as if a parent is separated from their children by walls of glass, unable to see, care, and nurture  them, while waiting on the slow and uncertain and oftentime unfair and outrageous and corrupt “system”.  In most cases, delay after delay, motion after motion, and date after date is heard and set by professionals while years roll on by and everyone ages.
These few months have been spent, for me, on the newest course of my re-burgeoning career and I am encouraged that a fresh new start may be open for me, and hopefully, for my children.  We have all nearly “aged out” of this system and are in no ways closer to being intact than that fateful summer day in 2010 when my children were snatched away from me, from their home, their school, their friends, family, neighbors, activities.  Family court protected the abductor, not the children.
No milestones in life have any meaning without my children and they as yet have not been returned to me, and we have not been able to “go home again”.  I am one of the last ones to let go of a memory, a life, that can never be regained.  I am a mother … I can’t, I won’t, let go of the hope, the dream, our memories.
I continue to pray that I will soon reunite  with my youngest child, at least, and to once again have her in my physical care and custody (this youngest, my now 14 year old daughter, who has now been back in my legal custody since early this year… I have been working hard to recover financially, and avoid a jail term for the ever-threatening, unpaid gal fees issue that continues to hover.
This past winter both my 14 year old daughter and her 16 year old brother, Philip, were removed from their father’s home and custody, September 2013.  It was at that the court removed all custody and visitation from my ex-husband due to his conduct and parenting, and for the “irreparable harm” he inflicted upon both children.  At that time I would not be considered by the court as a suitable alternative for my own children’s custody because I was facing imminent jail/incarceration for the court appointed guardian ad litem fees I had been unable to pay.  It was quite a surreal, chaotic, and worrisome time for me, and for my children.
It’s important to note that the fees I owed this guardian ad litem had been tallied and billed despite the fact that I had only met with this guardian ad litem just one time for little over two hours, an occasion in which I drove the 200 some mile distance to meet with this gal at her office on a day prior to this gal’s “custody-switch” recommendation in November 2011 .. this despite the fact that I had always been my children’s primary caretaker, caregiver.  I was not nor had I ever been a criminal, a drug-user, an abuser, promiscuous, or mentally ill …. there were no charges that deemed me to be unfit but regardless, this gal recommended in 2011 a full custody switch that would place custody of both of my minor children into the full-time care and custody of my ex-husband despite the fact that he had never been the children’s primary caregiver and he was a criminal and abusive spouse and parent, and, he was and continues to be a drug-abuser.
Most damaging to me in being able to recover my children were the guardian ad litem fees which had compounded to much higher than I could ever pay.  It is interesting that  my portion was much higher than any amount my ex-husband was ever charged and/or billed, and much higher than any portion he ever paid.  Why?  And, for my part, this gal never acknowledged me, nor did she ever perform any thorough, proper investigation.  This same guardian ad litem, in August of 2013, almost exactly two years after her initial recommendation, called an emergency hearing to remove the children from the care and custody of my ex-husband, the same parent that she had fully recommended that both children be placed with back in November 2011.  It would appear that this case, and outcome, could be quite the embarrassment for this guardian ad litem, and for all professionals involved.  It has certainly been quite destructive, and heartbreakingly painful to my small family.
I had long campaigned, attempted, to convey the very abuses and neglect on the part of my ex-husband to this guardian ad litem but to no avail … with a guardian ad litem to be the voice of the parties involved, and, deigned to be the “arm” of the court, a person cannot be heard if a guardian ad litem does not wish it so.
At any rate, I have been pouring all that I have into my work while desperately hoping and praying, doing all that I can to find the way to reunify with my youngest child, and, start life anew somehow.
Just last week I learned, quite by accident, that this week the most recent hearing was to be heard for the matter of my incarceration, jail for fees for this guardian ad litem’s unpaid fees.  It seems this matter will forever be looming over me and separating me and my children, preventing our reunion and recovery from all of these lost years.  Extremely high and unnecessary costs and fees, over-and-unfair-billing by court appointed professionals, and, the threat of incarceration for inability to pay appears to often be used as a strong-arm tactic, a method to used against a protective parent, one who has undeniable proof, justifiable means and complaints, against a recommendation/ruling regarding custody of children.
It does not seem possible that these things can go unaddressed and “un-righted” for so long a time.  My son has successfully been alienated for me.  I often ask others that I speak to regarding these terrible matters how a person, how any parent, can explain to their own children, matters re: blatant unjustices.  How can you explain to children, after two, three, even four years or more, that they really ARE important, that the justice system really is fair and does work?  I have been unable to satisfy these questions for my children, it is heartbreaking to have to try.  Even though my children are fully cognizant, aware, of their own memories, of me, their mother, of my behavior, of my affection, my deep, abiding, maternal love for them, and of our lives together, I have yet to offer any reasonable explanation why their father, an indisputable criminal, abuser, drug-user, was able to obtain, and keep, custody of them for so long, and, how this was done with the complicity of those court appointed to see to the children’s safety and well-being … how all these things were done for so long, how I was given very limited, stringent visitation, as their mother, and for so long.  Is it acceptable to try to explain to children?  How does one do so in any rational way?  These considerations fly in the face of everything I believe in, know, and cherish.
I continue to be very proud of my children.  They continued to love me despite such great pressure to reject me totally.  This has never been their fault.  They were never prepared, never protected and those who were assigned to protect them the most failed them the greatest.
I pray with all of my heart that I will in fact be able to reunite with my youngest, my 14 year old daughter, who has certainly suffered the greatest abuses, betrayals, and injustices … she stood up for herself, for me, and for the truth, and for the quiet, peaceful, happy life that we once had.  She continued to express her views long after anyone, even me, could have ever guessed or anticipated.  She used her voice, despite overwhelming odds and despite all of the abuse and retribution she endured for doing so.  I can never fully, adequately, explain how painful that was to watch, experience, and how even more painful it was to be prevented from helping her when she needed, asked and called out for help.  I will never fully recover from that alone.
I ask each of you, my friends, to continue to keep us in your prayers.  I appreciate any and all feedback on how to proceed, move forward, recover from what has undoubtedly been such a terrible and heartbreaking experience.  There are few “help” groups for this type of suffering, much less for this type of recovery.  Sadly, but out of necessity, such groups are forming all over the Nation, but none locally, yet, as far as I have discovered.
All I continue to pray for myself is to be reunited with my daughter as soon as possible .. at her age she desperately needs the loving care and supervision of a Mother, her mother, ME.  And, I continue to have some hope for reconciliation, reunification, with my 16 year old son.  I have long accepted and understood that this is a far-reaching dream of mine but, through God, I believe that all things are indeed possible.
I thank all of you for your love and support.  It has never gone unnoticed or unappreciated.  I truly hope for the day in which I will be able to do more to convey my thanks and gratitude and perhaps to pay it forward.
Rebuilding when you can’t go home again – To all protective parents who have gone before.  Not only were you strong enough to endure the unimaginable but you paved the way, gave a name to the nameless, defined the undefinable, made sense out of the senseless.  You have lifted up those of us falling in right behind you.  Sadly, but out of necessity, our numbers are growing by the day.

A Must Read re: loss of parental rights, pas, court reform, a Re-Post of Article

Thank you to the author, Jennifer Verraneault (May 03, 2014) from http://www.ctlawtribune.com/id=1202652965182/Guardian%20Ad%20Litem%20Reform%20Approved%20By%20Legislature?mcode=0&curindex=0&curpage=ALL&slreturn=20140503203106

 

excerpt:  Parents who are good parents are not seeing their children as a result of many things wrong with the way we do business in family court. Court orders are not followed and nothing happens to the offender. Time goes by and children miss their right to have a relationship with their parent. Parental alienation is very real and unfortunately, in my opinion very common in our family court system. I view our family court system as an enabler; attorneys, GALs, AMCs, judges, mental health professionals who call themselves consultants are all getting it wrong. We can spend tax payers dollars on giving, yes giving retired judges a very comfortable pension even if they only serve for three years, but we can‘t provide these same judges with the resources they need to help when they‘re on the bench. It doesn‘t make sense. I know there‘s a lot of good in family law but unfortunately, there‘s a lot of bad apples who have used our system to ruin it for children, parents and the good guys (full comment/article below):

Seenitall:
Thank you for your unbiased, educational and nice commentary. Just as we accuse GALs, AMCs, judges, mental health professionals and alike for being not so good; we have to admit that there‘s also some not so good parents who have been vocal and also silent throughout our cause to promote constructive and overdue changes in family court. Parents who have joined other parents to share their experiences, from my view, have legitimate complaints and concerns. Are there parents in which they may have some form of a personality flaws or disorders? Are some parents more vulnerable to personality adjustment disorders when they go through one, if not the most stressful and detrimental life experience ever? I am sure, however, for the vast majority of these parents I have met, none of what has been reported, researched, analyzed, scrutinized and so on rise to the level of abuse, neglect or a determination of being an unfit parent. We are not talking about DCF cases. Our most vulnerable children need a voice and this is not what our cause is about.

I will say, a lot of parents don‘t have the luxury, although it should not be viewed as a luxury but a right, to ask their children about their day or to spend precious time with their child because their rights have been ignored. Not only the parents right to care for their child, absent abuse and neglect, but their child‘s rights to have a relationship with their non-custodial parent have denied. All communication has been stopped, therefore have a telephone conversation is not even an option with most of these parents and children. This is very sad and it will end up being societies problem when these deprived children grow up to be adults. I understand your recommendation for parents to let the system evolve as we know it will, and to spend their energy and efforts on their children, but it‘s truly not that easy. Parents who are good parents are not seeing their children as a result of many things wrong with the way we do business in family court. Court orders are not followed and nothing happens to the offender. Time goes by and children miss their right to have a relationship with their parent. Parental alienation is very real and unfortunately, in my opinion very common in our family court system. I view our family court system as an enabler; attorneys, GALs, AMCs, judges, mental health professionals who call themselves consultants are all getting it wrong. We can spend tax payers dollars on giving, yes giving retired judges a very comfortable pension even if they only serve for three years, but we can‘t provide these same judges with the resources they need to help when they‘re on the bench. It doesn‘t make sense. I know there‘s a lot of good in family law but unfortunately, there‘s a lot of bad apples who have used our system to ruin it for children, parents and the good guys. Sorry for any typos.

Read more: http://www.ctlawtribune.com/id=1202652965182/Guardian-Ad-Litem-Reform-Approved-By-Legislature#ixzz33ctTcvoj

Now What? For Families Like Us – A Work In Progress

Now (May 2014)

I closed my family court case out in January 2014 (by mutual agreement w/ex after HE lost custody last Fall by the very court professionals he hired who took them nearly three years ago from me, their mother, protective parent, and the loving, happy, happy, safe, criminal-free home I provided them).  I had no choice but to negotiate a mutual agreement with the ex because by that time, his “paid” professionals could no longer cover for him and his neglectful, negligent, abusive parenting, and I could not be considered as a fit alternative for custody once again because I owed guardian ad litem fees and face the very real possibility of jail for those unpaid fees.  All this after nearly 10 yrs of my ex-husband’s abuse-by-proxy using the court system to beat and wear me down.

Although I have now freed my family of the appointed psychologist, who did nothing for my children and was on the county payroll for her “accounting services”, and, the guardian ad litem  who performed NO sort of legal investigation or checking into the safety, welfare, and best interest of my children in the 2 years of her appointments  AND the same guardian ad litem who kept me on restricted visits w/children 200 miles away from home, keeping me in a constant stranglehold with threats of incarceration for the matter of her unpaid gal fees the entire time.

In addition to the emotional and physical shock and horror, I was devastated financially, forced to live as an invisible, non-person due to the courts and these appointed “professionals”. I now find myself in the heartbreaking position of finally being visible as a mother to my youngest, able now, legally, to get my last child, my youngest, back in my care & custody (I’ve lost 2 other children to PAS with no assistance or intervention on the part of the courts or the appointed professionals), but am now facing the daunting challenge of re-building a semi-normal life, struggling mightily to regain footing financially, recupe home and rebuild my freelance title/legal research business before I can actually reclaim my daughter.

I truly wonder how many other similar, sick, sad stories are out there?

Bobbie (Still Here, and Still A Mississippi Mother)

 

That’s What Mama’s Do …. (Excerpt, Writing For My Life, June 2013)

FAMILY COURT NIGHTMARE – I grew up and into what I realize now was the calling and purpose of my life.  I am a life-long southerner. I am sober-minded and law abiding and extremely loyal and proud of my Mississippi heritage and hometown.  I have been a native “Coastonian” since 2005 (B.K. i.e. Before Katrina).  I am a well-read,intelligent woman yet it took me over a year to fully absorb, accept, and define exactly what family court nightmares are.  I am as expert on the matter as anyone south of the Mason-Dixon and that thought horrifies me.  I wish to share this horror with others not to degrade our State or tear down ….  I wish only to build up what is broken.  First I must draw a line and paint a picture because it doesn’t appear broken at first glance or second look.

I wish to share this in order to see my children be noticed and freed from the invisible glass barrier that has separated them from the world.  I will continue to pester, persist, write, call, mail, file, cry, and scream any words I can until I get them noticed and recognized.  I have to.  I am their mother, I am proud of them, I cannot help them myself as I too am invisible.  I have been rendered useless so far.  But, I am still breathing.  And I can pester, persist, write, call, mail, file, cry, and scream.  That’s what Mississippi Mama’s do.

Please let me know if you would like to know more about my children and more about Mississippi’s children in need of justice.

(Excerpt, Writing For My Life, June 2013)

 

Wouldn’t Know Your Own Child If You Saw Them On The Street? (In Memory of My Son)

Wouldn’t Know Your Own Child If You Saw Them On The Street? (In Memory of My Son)

If writing of this helps another loving mother from marking a day in her own diary of life as the day in which she could not, and likely will continue not to be able to recognize her own child in a photo, then, somehow, it may all be worth some of the pain that went into sharing this, our loss”

03-08-14:  Yesterday someone dear to me text me a photo of what I thought to be a picture of this person’s son and his prom date. I took a moment to admire the photo, and sent reply text, remarking on what a sweet, handsome couple these two young people were.  After a brief pause, I received what I am sure was a difficult reply … that the handsome young man in the photo was my own son, Philip. Philip will be 16 years old next month. He was taken from me, from home, June 4, 2010, when he was 12 years old, against custody, and never returned. Philip and I have had no significant contact since, no assistance by family court professionals, despite the fact that we had a guardian ad litem and psychologist appointed by the courts to see to my children’s “best interest”.

I have only recently begun to speak up, publicly, to get any attention to our cause, and our case. I have, in fact, spent most of my time, energy, and resources battling to avoid going to jail for unpaid fees for the “unprofessional” professionals in charge of seeing to the best interest of my children, instead of fighting for my children, which has been extremely dispiriting but necessary and very critical.

I am sad, and ashamed, that I couldn’t do more for my children when they needed me the most and it has been, IS, extremely dispiriting but necessary and critical … you have to remain alive, and out of prison, of course, before you can fight to help your children.

All the most critical matters, addressing rights of parents, rights of children, reform, and oversight, laws, ethics, etc. all took backseat to issues of fees, and, sadly, as in other cases, children “age out” before any wrongs are ever identified, addressed, much less righted. And, so many community leaders, and others “in charge” are simply uncomfortable getting involved.  From all I have learned, these are the primary reasons for which these issues, this silent epidemic, has been allowed to continue for so very long.

Yesterday, the realization of accepting that I was not even able to recognize my own child in a photo washed over me in a slow and steady crush.

Writing has been my lifelong habit, mostly a joy, and has surely been some positive exercise for me during times when I could not speak of the unspeakable, explain the inexplicable. During these past months I have written, and, slowly, I try to hone this habit. I confess that I recognize my writings can be too much, too overwhelming, to the reader, the listener.  I try always to remain mindful of this fact and I recognize that I often fail. The things of which I write and speak eek of a pain and suffering on such levels that wears on the spirit of the reader, the listener, and my words, our story, has not yet had victories, redemption, which we all need to have in order to be inspired.

I share these things with the hope that all we have experienced, all the time and effort I have put into research, all that we have sacrificed and lost may not be in vain. I am learning to try to accept that going back is impossible (very hard, for a mother, for any loving parent) – that I will not wake up to be back in our happy home in Ocean Springs, with my busy, active, sweet, spiritual, loving 12 year old son and 9 year old daughter, with ever-revolving doors of friends, laughter, music, clutter, activities, dinner-time, and chatter … all the joyful noise, and chaos that makes up a busy, loving home. All I know to do at this point is recognize that we did indeed have this, it was no dream, and, nightmares have to end, one way or another.

I ask you to pray for my children, and for me. If writing of this helps another loving mother from marking a day in her own diary of life as being the day in which she could not, and likely will continue not to be unable to recognize her own child in a photo, then, somehow, it may all be worth some of the pain that went into sharing this, our loss.

Bobbie

Still A Mother In Mississippi

Everybody’s Children, Nobody’s Children, My Children (September 2013)

 

​Writing For My Life (September 2013):

For over two years, since the beginning of our most recent of family court battles, I have sought to get help for my family, my four children, especially my two youngest children, now ages 15 and 13.  We have been forced to live our lives according to the whims of an angry man who, for nearly a decade now, has manipulated the legal system and used our two equally dysfunctional extended families to further isolate and victimize me as well as each of our four children.   Manipulating chaos and discord and stirring conflict has only perpetuated the cycle of violence we continue to live with, ten years after a finalized divorce that my ex-husband initiated.

My children and I have had no choice but to make the best of a no-win situation and have tread new ground in unfamiliar territories, alone, afraid, but bound by simple, basic, human love.  We have far exceeded all expectations and are no longer only a story of simple survival but of success.  We successfully maintained bonds, loving bonds, albeit fragile and still smarting, but we are the epitome of “love knows no bounds”.

 

This is a very long time to live adjusting to what is easily seen and clear to read as an obvious pattern of abuse that is marked by repeat, return-trips of endless back to back court appearances and custody hearings that began in July 2005.  We had no choice but to appear and answer to at least one, sometimes two and three per year since.  That summer in 2005 my ex-husband filed this first emergency legal action, an emergency separation and for emergency custody of our three minor children who had been in my care and custody since birth.  The three children at that time were ages 14, 7, and 4.  He filed this suit in a jurisdiction that was 200 miles away from the jurisdiction in which we resided and he filed his petition immediately after he abandoned us, leaving me and the children penniless.  Shutting down our mutual checking and savings account was actually the first action he took. In that very first legal action of July 2005 my ex-husband claimed that I kidnapped our the three (3) minor children against their will and moved with them to another county in an attempt to hide them and keep them from him (their father).  It would be careless to omit the date of that very first hearing, August 29, 2005, and the impact it too would have on our future.  The day that Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (landfall actually within 10 miles of our home).  At that moment I was standing on courthouse steps 200 miles away waiting for a hearing that would be reset due to bad weather.  This was a pivotal and defining moment in me and my children’s lives in more ways than one.   So, although the blatant and outrageous lies and accusations were never given credence and I was able to maintain the custody and care of our three children, these lies sat at the top of our “family file” and opened my own family’s new story, foretelling the tragedy to come and that lead us to where we are today.  I didn’t know it then but the very fact that these very serious claims, lies and allegations were never addressed or curtailed by “authorities” of the people in charge, or, the  inaction” by the court that day gave some sense of freedom from all accountability which is in essence nothing short of a green-light to an abuser.  That day a new pattern of torment emerged and a whole new pattern of torment began in the form “legal abuse”  by my ex-husband.  Money and the ill-equipped court system were used by my ex-husband as new weapons to punish me since he was, in fact, no longer legally allowed to do so as my spouse.

 

I can state that although I knew what was happening to us and that I was fully cognizant, horribly aware, that what we were going through was abusive, I did not fully understand how much damage this abuse could and would inflict upon me and my children nor did I have any idea that this would ever be allowed to continue as it has for so many years.  I have to live with that ignorance and what it cost me and and my children.  We lost basic freedoms and minimum rights yet managed not only to survive but somehow thrive despite impossible circumstances.  I am proud of them and proud of the example I have set for them.

 

Not only do all of my children have years of emotional damage in which to cope with and heal from, they have only very recently been allowed the chance in which to try begin the painful process.  They also carry the added pain and scars from so much suffering they had to endure for so long in plain sight.  The entire community around them failed to them because it has not yet even recognized, identified, or acknowledged what exactly “It” is.  This has only intensified their pain and sense of worthlessness, further isolating and violating them.  They have had to cope with the constant rejection and abandonment by the similarly dysfunctional extended families of origin of both of their parents … how could they possibly avoid feeling worthless and unimportant? No one will ever really know how much damage all of this perceived apathy and rejection has done to them.  It is certainly understandable that most communityleaders, neighbors, and friends assume extended families, if there are any, will step up and in to help if there are valid emergencies.  Sadly, that is not always the case, and these days it is a very dangerous assumption to make.  There are no villages anymore.

 

My children have been completely “invisible” in plain sight and as their mother I can’t rest until they are noticed.  Because I myself failed to comprehend, accept, and define what was happening to us there was no possible way to explain it to others, let alone ask for help.  I carry the full weight of this, knowing I have been the biggest failure of all to my children and I carry it with me like the weight of the world on my shoulders every day.  There are so many caring people who have looked on helplessly, uncertain how to help.  My children have completely lost their childhoods and I have completely lost the years in which to mother and nurture them.  I wish very much to make this the time for change, the beginning of the end of this destruction. Maybe, in the process, we can shed some light and knowledge on this most terrible of human atrocities.  It is occurring every day in every community in our civilized society.  If left unchecked it will undoubtedly catch up to each and every family in one way or another.  Maybe we can avoid further unnecessary and senseless suffering.  Maybe we can help other “invisible” children and parents.  This is a senseless shame that has invaded our homes, steals childhoods and robs memories and leaves everlasting scars.  This is tearing families apart and is dividing communities.

 

Would you please help me with this, for my family and for yours?

 

Mother’s Day, PAS, and Family Court Corruption

Mother’s Day has not been anything real for me since the beginning of PAS of my 21 year old daughter, in 2007. All these years later, my 16 year old son has fallen into the alienation, WITH the help, or lack of help from the so-called court-appointed professionals, and, I now face my 1st Mother’s Day that my youngest, 13 year old daughter is showing solid signs of PAS and distancing herself. I do not know if I will visit with her at all this Mother’s Day. One child was like a surreal blow that I went into shock over, second child was agony and long-held scream of protest that kicked me into reality, frantically educating myself with how to battle PAS while battling courts, ex, etc., … the third and youngest child?… feels worse than death. idk … it’s worse than a nightmare and very hard to avoid feeling as if you have failed them all miserably. Divided we fall … the irony. I hope and pray for awareness and education in order to unite, RE-UINTE so many of us, the broken, severed families wandering around in so much pain. Prayers to all who are experiencing this same pain. It’s indescribable. And, many thanks, deepest gratitude to those who have been paving the way, forging ahead through all of this confusing nonsense ahead of us these many years, writing, studying, educating. Without them, without their putting a name, definition, to these atrocities, I believe I would have fallen through the cracks many years ago. God Bless You!

Family Court for Dummies (A Work in Progress)

1. Accept that there is absolutely no such thing as a guarantee of speedy trial, representation, protection under the Law in Family Court.

2. The practice of debtors prisons is very real and is being carried out every day in Family Court Systems across America. You can be jailed for professional fees (i.e. appointed guardian ad litems, psychologists, special advocates, mediators, evaluators, etc.) even if you are a safe, fit, and loving parent, regardless of whether or not these professionals even perform their duties … more on this topic later.

3. Be prepared to learn more about Family Law (Federal AND State) than you ever dreamed possible. By the time you are through you will likely know more than your own attorney but it will have been worth it, especially if you do so BEFORE any final hearing.

4. Understand at the outset that a large proportion of family courts and court professionals across this nation who have been appointed, elected, and entrusted with protecting your and your CHILDREN’S rights, ARE corrupt and that this has been the norm rather than the exception for a very long time. The sooner you accept this sad fact the more ahead of the game you can become. Not ALL are corrupt, but many more than the average citizen is aware of. You have only to google topics such as bias corrupt family courts, abuse child custody, report complain lawsuits against attorneys, judges, guardian ad litems, court appointed psychologists, family court reform, etc. and you will find a WEALTH of information regarding these matters. It is rampant in every State in our Nation. This has now become a worldwide, human rights issue. Research headlines, personal stories, articles, lawsuits … knowledge is power.

5. Do not allow the opposing attorney, or, even your own attorney to strong-arm, influence, rush or shame you into accepting an appointment of a guardian ad litem, psychologist, or ANY COURT APPOINTED PROFESSIONAL WITHOUT first gathering referrals, credentials, running your own background checks, and, even checking into OTHER cases of said guardian ad litem, and/or psychologist … thoroughly review the list of the names offered you (it will very likely be a SHORT list!) – your life depends on this. You have the RIGHT to to take TIME to do these things, it’s a very important decision that you should be a part of. YOU EVEN HAVE THE RIGHT TO ALTERNATE NAMES OF PROFESSIONALS. Do these things before the gavel hits … please do not underestimate the importance of this.

6. BY INVESTIGATE … start by running a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Request on ALL professionals involved in your case in the county of your jurisdiction. The purpose of this is to find out if, and what they have been paid as private vendors from county funds … you will very likely be surprised at how fruitful, and shocking, these requests are. This is an important way of following the money, finding serious conflicts of interest, improprieties. This is an easy request to perform, is not complicated for a lay person to do – more on this later. It’s also easy enough to run all professional’s names through your State’s Secretary of State database for corporations they own, are officers or holders in … again, it’s following the money. Please take these steps very seriously – it can change the tide of your entire case very QUICKLY and easily BEFORE any FINAL HEARING.

7. It is very important to go to your county court records and pull your own court file and go through it with a fine tooth comb … look for missing documents, evidence, incorrect or missing official stamps and/or dates on documents, hidden documents, stapled, etc. You’d be surprised how few attorneys take the time to go through your court file, and, you know your own file and case history better than anyone. Make notes, or better yet, ask for a complete copy of your file, and update it every few weeks, days even, if you can. Documents turn up missing, added upon, misplaced, out of order, “hidden”, etc. ALL THE TIME. This is less likely to happen if you keep up with your own case file and are constantly aware of any new or unusual additions, surprises. Also, keep an eye on motions, orders, etc., that are “quick-tabbed” and labeled by clerk’s, judges, attorneys, court appointed professionals … these are usually tabs put in place for quick review and give clues to the documents hurried “professionals” flip to automatically without taking the time to read your entire case. After all, that would require a lot a time and effort on their part … it’s just your life, and the lives of your children depending on them to do so … are you willing to take the chance that they are THAT invested in you and your child’s (children’s) rights, lives, treatment, case?

8. Find out how, when, yes, even IF, the court appointed professionals are communicating with YOUR attorney (again, you’d be surprised how often they communicate with only ONE side). Insist on copies of all communications between your attorney and the court appointed professional … you can dissect this information on your own time and will surely have more invested in it than even your own attorney. Very often, even “good” attorneys are naive to the manipulative, underhanded tactics “biased” professionals use in order to leave a party out of communications, correspondences, etc. and often end up blindsided, surprised, in court … leaving you, and your children, no recourse (aside from time-wasting threats of appeals, reversals, re-considerations … you’ll likely all be too old and tired to make it that far …. very few do, believe it).

9. Addendum to #8: It is also not unusual for court appointed professionals to make costly “mistakes”, hide communications and/or documents, or, send documents ”by error”, as in … “OOPS … I DON’T KNOW HOW THAT HAPPENED?… I THOUGHT I WAS USING YOUR/YOUR ATTORNEYS PROPER EMAIL ADDRESS?” … or, “I DON’T KNOW HOW THAT HAPPENED, LET ME CHECK WITH MY ASSISTANT”, or, “I DON’T KNOW HOW/WHY WE MISSED THAT?!” or “I DON’T KNOW HOW/WHY YOUR EX RECEIVED COPIES OF REPORTS AND YOU DIDN’T?!”. Also, it’s not surprising for the opposing counsel, or, your ex, to be on the receiving end of copies of your personal, protected, confidential emails, medical records, etc. which is extremely unethical, illegal, and gives reason for review, reversals, reporting, oversight, investigations and lawsuits. These are the only ways to change, for everyone. As you can tell by now, the list of excuses, errors, corruption, can be infinite … I just listed a few I have experienced personally. This section simply means, do not be surprised by ANYTHING, ask questions, find out who’s talking, who received what, what is going on, and, what they (court appointed professionals are doing, teaching, counseling, advising your children) … do NOT allow yourself to be shamed into thinking you are being overly pesky or paranoid. Easier said than done, I KNOW, but, I assure you, the alternative is much worse, much more final, much harder to bear, years and tears later. Ask the questions, even if they make you feel STUPID for doing so … remember what we teach our children? … There ARE NO STUPID QUESTIONS!

10. KNOW the HIPPA laws and do not fail to use them in your conversations with the court appointed professionals (this should be a given but turns out it is often a slam-dunk in getting their attention). It’s hard, but you’ll have to learn early own to stop letting these so-called “professionals” intimidate you into silence … you will not win them over with good behavior – remember, your good reputation and good behavior did not help you in the first place. And, it’s also possible the whole matter has been, or is being, decided well before you even enter the courtroom. This, too, happens ALOT. Again, do all of these things BEFORE any final hearing or it will likely take YEARS to get back on any solid ground with your children and, lawsuits, reporting, ethics, commissions, review boards, only come AFTER you’ve lost your children’s childhoods. You’d much rather have their childhoods.

11. Tape record any and all conversations with court appointed professionals. It will come in handy one day, and, this is the dawn of a new age … change is a-coming, faster now than ever, thanks in part to the use of newest technology and faster information sharing sources. Protect yourself at all times. Put everything in writing. Journal, diary, take notes as often as you can. Document, document, document.

12. Day of the week actually matters — Cry as you might, even if your child is in the hospital critically injured or seriously ill you will be a lucky one if you get even a notification from much less a callback from attorneys, etal. So it is highly unlikely to expect that you will ever even see the inside of a courtroom, even if there is a bona fide emergency situation that affects your children and their health, safety, wellbeing. I was given this very important piece of advice early on in my own court-nightmare and it has served me well in the years since, helping me conserve my precious energy and focus on other matters at hand. Learn, comprehend and accept, early on, that you will not be effective in getting anyone’s help or attention on a Friday and let yourself off the hook until Monday. If there are Motions or other matters pending before the court, you can pester your attorney all you want but they too, in most cases, are at the mercy of waiting on responses and callbacks, notifications, etc. none of which will likely not happen for them either on a Friday. I did not readily accept this bit of advice initially, but I kept it in mind, and after weeks of observation I learned that it was indeed applicable in my case and jurisdiction. I urge everyone to experiment with this, see if it is true nationally. Years ago I dubbed Fridays “golf-day” in order to regain some sense of control, inject some humor, in order to cope with the agony of the condition of waiting. Only others who have experienced the agony of waiting helplessly while your child is hurt, hurting, injured, abused, sick, crying for you, etc. can truly understand that it is hell on earth to endure. Accepting, for the meantime, the imposed limitations of the court and personnel will help you focus on what you CAN DO!

13. Have you asked how many appointments each family court industry professionals involved in your case (i.e. guardian ad litem, psychologist, expert, visitation supervisors, evaluators, etc.) handle in your jurisdiction. Not many of us are aware, at the outset, that this information is not reported but it is available and vital information for you to have.

14. Ask if court appointed mental health professionals, (i.e. psychologist/psychiatrist) are appointed in accordance with your (your children’s insurance provider). All too often this is not the case, forcing parent(s) to pay out of pocket, leaving many literally bankrupt, and/or eliminating one parent altogether from participating in counseling sessions, as happened in my own case, when the court appointed psychologist was paid, in cash, by my ex-husband. I was not privy to counseling sessions my young daughter received as I was not in any position to pay for this private psychologist’s steep hourly fees for “counseling” my daughter. This psychologist was chosen and appointed by the presiding judge. Another very important and damaging fact was that my ex-husband was paying the bill – and he was in a position to, and did, bar me from participating in our child’s counseling session. The psychologist concurred, which was definitely not in the best interest of my daughter.

15. Request, and be prepared to make numerous requests, regarding billing by court appointed professionals … they are often difficult, or next to impossible to receive, and are almost always inaccurate. Follow the billing, hourly rate, diagnosis code, etc. The importance of “billing” and how to use itemization of in checking for errors, provable facts for trial and/or complaints cannot be underestimated.

16. Ongoing Work