Category Archives: judicial abuse

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

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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)

 

How We Got From There to Here (And Where We Go From Here?) – Writing For My Life (April 2013)

2013 – How We Got From There to Here (And Where We Go From Here?):

 

April 2013 –

This month was a turning point in our cause as it was the beginning of what I called being “noticed”, where I was successful in communicating, “volleying” I called it, by email w/guardian ad litem, for the first time in the year and a half since this gal’s appointment and her recommendation to the court to remove my children from my custody and place them in the full-time care and custody of my ex-husband in November 2011.   My ex-husband had never been the primary caregiver for our children and had a criminal record, continued to abuse drugs, and had irrefutable, questionable moral and ethical issues that continued to be detrimental to all of our children.

My youngest child, my daughter, who was 12 years old by this time in April 2013, was continuing to show signs of great distress, mentally, emotionally, and physically, her schoolwork and behavior continued to be a cause for alarm and was documented by teachers, and I notified the court appointed psychologist of this, as well as my ex-husband’s behavior toward my daughter which was increasingly threatening and abusive.  He imposed extreme isolation upon her, monitoring all of her activities and phone use and/or had her older brother assist in monitoring and withholding her outside contact, as well as utilizing other relatives as well.  The turning point for me came when my daughter related to her psychologist the details of her father threatening to kill the family pet, my daughter’s only comfort in the home, which was a cat she’d been caring for since she went to live with her father in November 2011.  I persisted in my attempts to communicate regarding these events to the guardian ad litem as well as the court appointed psychologist.  Up until this time I was not included in meetings/sessions regarding the children, having been banned by my ex-husband at the time he obtained custody of our children.   I finally received a response from the court appointed guardian ad litem and began to relay more details, and accurate information she appeared to be lacking in, and documented how my ex-husband had recently frightened my daughter in his re-telling of killing a previous family pet, my dog, by shooting it in the head after our separation and divorce.  These details were traumatizing to my daughter and her father laughed about these events.

This month was crucial in that with these details and my newfound attempts to communicate with teachers, the court appointed psychologist, and, the guardian ad litem, I at least began to engage the guardian ad litem in communications with me.  I also brought to everyone’s attention the facts regarding my ex-husband’s continued drug use.  The children had photos, and sent them to friends, of a bong that was sitting in plain sight on the patio at my ex-husband’s home, and photos and videos of other disturbing sights and sounds occurring in their father’s home.

Many incidents had occurred up until this point re: the disturbing events occurring at my ex-husband’s home, his behaviors that were not in the best interest of the children, the lack of parental supervision at my ex-husband’s home, underage drinking, suspected drug use, teen parties that were allowed in the home unsupervised, and other matters that were no longer going completely unnoticed by professionals, neighbors, other parents, etc. who were around my children while they were in their father’s care.

At this time I still continued to remain under limited, restricted visitation with my youngest child only, my son who was not yet 15 years old at the time having ceased visiting and/or communicating with me totally nearly a year prior, in May 2012, with no assistance or intervention on the part of the court professionals.

Once again, by April 2013, I had attempted, and did, relocate to this area and jurisdiction in order to be closer to my children, regardless of whether I was “allowed” to see them or not, and, in order to be closer to the jurisdiction overseeing our family court matters.  I researched and monitored my own case and was active in all proceedings and felt this move was prudent in order to relieve the 200 mile trip (one-way) burden that had been imposed upon me since my children were taken from our home and hometown and placed in their father’s care and custody some year and a half prior.  This continued to be extremely difficult for me as I had no support system or network in the area.  At times, my day-hours visitation with my young daughter, every other weekend, were held in local parks, McDonalds, anywhere we could manage to visit … inclement weather made this very hard but we always managed and my daughter and I looked forward so much to those few hours every other week.  By April 2013 I lived from one friend’s home to another, rotating in order to not become a burden upon any one family, while helping my elderly parents with their health and housing issues that had been, and continued to be, extreme and critical.  By April 2013 I was thankful to have secured part-time employment at the Law Firm of a local attorney who remembered me from years prior.  It was a start up and back into the field and area of my experience and expertise, title abstracting, and though it was not enough income to be independent and self-sustaining, it was a major turning point for me in that it redeemed me in my own eyes, and, in essence, redeemed the community around that had there-to-fore appeared to ignore my and my children’s plight.  This somehow, perhaps inexplicably, came to me as some form of redemption of mankind itself that I sorely needed and was a great boost to my self-esteem and self-confidence, calming me so that I could re-group, prepare, and try to plan once again for the future.  The trauma, grief, loss, and horror were still very real but by this time I felt as if I had been given a much needed breath of fresh air which fortified me, strengthening me to once again try to seek the truth, find others who had endured similarly, and, to begin to find and use my own voice again, for my children, for me.

Court Proceedings:  April 2013 – My attorney was given an hour “oral” argument in which to plead his case once more re: the removal of the guardian ad litem, which was promptly denied by the Court, again.  Sanctions were also imposed against my attorney, and, contempt fees against me.  I faced the very real and imminent threat and danger of being incarcerated for the matter of the guardian ad litem’s unpaid fees.  A hearing for this matter to address my incarceration was to be scheduled and noticed in the next few weeks.

 

 

SOUND-OFF 08-12-13:

SOUND-OFF TO FRIENDS, FAMILY, NEIGHBORS, AND COLLEAGUES

08-12-13:

Last month’s FOIA Public Request submitted to Rankin County was fruitful in that our court-appointed guardian ad litem, the one that has ignored my crying children, for 22 months, the one took them from me in a matter of minutes, nearly 2 years ago and promptly made me invisible, the same one that has ignored my ex-husband’s failed, court-ordered drug tests and has also failed to report said tests to the judge, even if we all are not sure his knowledge of said failed drug tests would even matter, and, finally, yes, the same gal who has finally gotten a date set in which to finally have me jailed in Rankin County for the matter of her fees, (and, yes, let me reiterate that this is the same guardian ad litem learned a few weeks ago that I was researching every single case of hers in Rankin County in which she was appointed guardian ad litem … ya’ll, she has an inordinately high percentage of appointments in just that one county alone.  I have read over alot of her cases … this woman has actually jailed ALOT of parents, for fees?!! And, as in our case, the kids and their interests are put off, indefinitely, until the matter of fees is resolved, OR, until the parent that is being threatened just… DISAPPEARS? One mother spent NEARLY A YEAR IN RANKIN COUNTY JAIL FOR FEES … I’m regrouping, re-organizing, and starting a bullet list of each case so more on that later.  We all know that this guardian ad litem took away the kids, devastating them, and me!  We all have asked ourselves how I, the soccer mom, who had custody of those kids their entire lives, who does not have a criminal record, no addictions, no mental problems, no promiscuity, and I, who have been forced back in court every year since my ex filed in July 2005, spending well over $40,000, at last count,  could possibly lose custody of those sweet children?  And then be erased and forced into invisibility as well?  WE ALSO ALL KNOW THAT MY EX-HUSBAND HAD AND CONTINUES TO HAVE PROBLEMS IN ALL OF THE AREAS LISTED ABOVE…. how do these things happen?   This guardian ad litem has never helped either of my children, never did any investigation into the false sexual abuse charges my ex-husband filed against the youth minister at a local church back in the summer of 2010.  I never dreamed that things like this were purposely done to wreak the havoc that they do, and DID?  I mean, how many of us have ever heard of such a thing?  Then, having a guardian ad litem appointed seemed ok, and normal, right?  I certainly was fine with having a “lawyer to represent the children”… that’s what they are supposed to do.  I certainly didn’t agree to pay her fees but I’m sure facing jail for them.  This woman never came home to Ocean Springs to meet with me and the kids, NOR DID SHE TALK OR MEET WITH ANY OF YOU GUYS?!!!, as so many of you have questioned me about.

At any rate, this gal HAS been paid OUT OF COUNTY FUNDS? on a case, and for indigent case purposes, for which Rankin County has denied even giving me an opportunity to protest her fees, for WHICH I NEVER AGREED TO IN 2010… I am experienced in family court, we all know.  We have had a wonderful guardian ad litem in the past, 2007, who did a thorough and proper investigation?!

I wanted everyone to know since this search turned up important, and relevant information that should expose our living hell of a nightmare, get some much-needed help for the kids, and, perhaps just keep me, THE PTA/SOCCER mom you all know and love OUT OF JAIL?! (YES, I am getting more and more used to saying and typing that line … it does not hold so much fear over me anymore), because of my amateur investigating has thus far been so productive, I have submitted yet another request of 14 business names, corporations/nonprofits that I have uncovered that are directly linked to the opposing attorney, guardian ad litem, court-appointed psychologist who has been invisible since being court-appointed in February 2012, AND, maybe even an incorporation directly tied to other professionals involved in our case.

Many thanks to everyone who has walked with me through this valley.  Thank you for letting me sound off, and thank you for listening to me cry.  The kids were taken from every one of you as well, and some of you have children they, we, were so close to.  My kids have not been allowed to leave the Hinds/Rankin/Madison county areas since November 2011… 😦  I am only allowed, on paper, to see them a total of 24 “day only” hours a month and have to drive 200 miles to and from to do so.  I’m so sorry that I cannot do or explain more to your sweet children.  I know they have so many questions and none of us have any good answers to give them.

Rankin chancery court, for some inexplicable reason, gave me a couple of extra weeks until my incarceration hearing  … it’s been continued to 09-13-13, incarceration for guardian ad litem fees.  Help me pass this along, forward, and forward to anyone, everyone you know.  I am seeking pro bono representation, now, so please keep in mind if you hear of any leads regarding that, in order to avoid actual jail (for an indefinite period of time?!), AND, most important, to put the emphasis back on the best interest of my children who are deteriorating more every day, I am doing the only thing left to do at this point …. trying to follow all leads into what I believe is at the heart of my particular case and that is corruption … I hate that term, I hated it from the first time I heard it applied in our case, but after all that has been uncovered, discovered, presented, and, ignored, there is no other possible explanation.  I don’t know why the fact that mere money changing hands feels more sickening to me.  I’ve learned so much.  There are so many variables and factors in every single case that I see now it is now wonder parents have not been able to unite.  Sometimes it is simply prejudice, sometimes incompetence, sometimes “God-like” complexes on the part of experts, …. on and on and ON …. and sometimes, it is, quite simply, ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. My ex-husband’s attorney, has represented Governor’s of Mississippi in their divorces (or, SPOUSES of Governor’s), and, I’ve recently learned, he is also very close and has previously worked with another Jackson Attorney who was paid $10,000 by my ex-husband and his family, in 1990, after my ex was arrested and charged with possession with intent (of several different illegal drugs) during a sting operation by the DEA launched in 1989.  All of my ex’s friends, and others that he knew of were arrested served time and have records … $10,000 paid to the family attorney kept “my ex” from serving any time and also kept his record hidden away until I was finally able to have this fact put on the record during one of our many family court hearings in 2011 (which, remember, the guardian ad litem, quickly ignored and forgot completely).  If $10,000 to the right hands in 1990 would do that I am willing to consider what, say, $50,000 OR MORE, in 2010, would do to me and my children.  Something horrible went wrong … there has been no other explicable explanation other than “money”.

Our state has a large volume of “innocent” parents that must use State time and resources due to court-imposed restricted/supervised visitations which has been catching quite alot of attention lately as well.  We all thought I dodged a bullet avoiding the “supervised” visitation, but, the restricted visitation has lingered on.  Now, since learning of the attention, and the supervision that is provided (or usually provided) to the parent’s who have received this terrible sentence, I see I would have been much better off having my child be “visible”, and our family’s suffering would have been witnessed and documented by State authorities supervising.  At least you have more than a 50/50 shot of getting a State employee with a heart, and, with the courage and moral fiber to actually investigate and report children, family member’s, etc.  If appointed a private, rogue guardian ad litem, as my children were, who by all intents and purposes holds the power of “God” in which to trump dhs, juvenile court, etc. you run the risk of being invisible before you even know it … we certainly did.

Anyway, I wanted you to have this information.  It may prove useful to you or someone you know.  By all means use it if you can.  Let me know if it helps.  I’m happy to talk to anyone who wants to know more 🙂

Bobbie

 

My Letter To Local Judge (08-13-13) A Mother, Still, In Mississippi

Please see forwarded email sent to a local Judge yesterday, 08-13-13:

Dear Judge,

My children are in desperate need.  You know me, as well as my 80 year old father who’s practiced law in Mississippi for over 50 years.  He has been as ineffective getting help for my children in Rankin County as my previous attorneys.  And now we both face incarceration for different reasons, mine for guardian ad litem fees that I am unable to pay and never agreed to in the first place, his for his inability to pay sanctions imposed on him for what the court called a “frivolous hearing” (my previous attorney was hit with sanctions as well, in April 2012 for the very same reason).  Both of them are very good, ethical attorneys, who had valid cause for seeking help for my children.  I implore you to look over the information in this email.  My youngest, Miranda Grace, just turned 13. She has begged to speak to anyone for almost two years.  She was cut off from home, friends, neighbors, classmates, my family, and, most important, she was cut off from me outside of 12 day-time hours only, every other weekend, 200 miles from home.  I have no criminal record, history of immoral or unethical behavior, no addictions, no psychological issues … I was in a much lower income bracket due to having to defend myself and fight to maintain custody of my children, which I did for eight years, until August 2011.  Being impoverished is no reason to have your rights as a parent essentially terminated, is it?  I’ve been campaigning for my daughter’s rights for nearly two years (my son Philip’s was given the same rights as an adult, by the court, with the help of the guardian ad litem, when he turned 14 years old.  He was sexually active, drinking alcohol, using tobacco, for certain, and, it was rumored that he was in trouble with drugs as well.  I lost the fight for his childhood in July of 2012.  He is worth more to me, but, not to anyone else that has been involved in our case, or in his care and custody).  Miranda Grace still has a chance for some semblance of a childhood, if I can convince anyone to listen to her, to me, to all of the teacher’s, law enforcement, others who have seen what is going on in her father’s home but can’t get past the court-appointed guardian ad litem in order to do anything about it.  No one in the Rankin County Justice System seems to care about one, young girl who has been suffering, invisible, in plain sight.  Miranda has gone through such severe isolation, and all manner of abuses in her father’s home, and even more so at the hands of the guardian ad litem.  The gal has ignored my children since she made, what every one involved in our case now does not dispute, a very grave error by failing to investigate our case and recommending to the court that my children would be better off in the care of their father.  Since doing this, in November 2011, the gal has been provided proof of, and subsequently ignored and overlooked, all matters pertaining to my ex-husband’s drug addictions and his unethical and immoral behaviors which he does not protect our children from, as well as his refusal to parent the children in any way other than to provide food and shelter for them, and, his obvious, dislike, animosity and hostility toward our youngest daughter, Miranda Grace, who’s crime is only that she still loves and misses me, her mother.  Judge, I am sure you hear slander and accusations hurled between opposing parties every day but I beseech you to give me the benefit of the doubt, for the few moments it takes to read over this when I state that that is not the case here.  I have always been discreet, and have never tried to slander and defame my ex-husband.  This is likely one of the reasons he was able to effectively slander and defame me because I failed to enjoin in that behavior.  His lifestyle is deplorable and hurts my children more every day.  The fact that no one in authority is even available or concerned enough about them to investigate and hold him accountable for this hurts them as well.  I fear they will never recover from these abuses in order to grow into the healthy, intelligent, loving and compassionate adults they were born to be.  They are sweet children who need only for one person to care enough to investigate what they have been forced to live in.

I lost my son, Philip, when he was 12.  His father kidnapped him, against custody, and filed what we all now know was a “false” sex abuse charge, in July 2010, in our Gulf Coast hometown of  Ocean Springs, against a youth minister at the church that I brought my several children to on Wednesday nights.  Though I was not a part of this charge, or horrible accusation, I bore the burden of assisting the OS police in their investigation, which took 15 months to get before the Jackson County Grand Jury, who promptly no-billed it due to lack of evidence.  This one act on the part of my ex-husband destroyed more than my family, I am sure you can understand that.  This act is what prompted Rankin County Chancery presiding Judge to order the appointment of a guardian ad litem in August 2011.  None of these details are in our family court file.  It simply leaves this important matter out entirely and moves into the custody switch after the gal’s failed investigation removed my children from my custody and from our hometown, and the two years I have spent desperately seeking help for my children, and for myself.  My son has been completely alienated from me, with the guardian ad litem not only ignoring this as it occurred, she is indisputably complicit in helping my ex-husband.  She has also failed to report his failed, court-ordered drug tests.  There are so many things that she, and the court, has failed to do.  I want only the opportunity to be allowed to offer the proof to substantiate these facts.  I can.

My father is overwhelmed to say the least.  He was also too emotionally involved too be of any help.  He has suffered shock, sadness, and, it appears, some guilt, as if he is somehow to blame being unable to help me, his daughter, and his grandchildren, with whom he had never become very close with.  I have never felt that he was in any way to blame but I have despaired of trying to encourage him to cast aside those feelings.

I have been in touch with everyone I can think of, and re-connected with everyone, again, at least once, in this two year period.  Our jurisdiction should never have been in Rankin County in the first place.  My ex-husband and I lived with our children in Harrison County until he filed for a temporary order in Rankin, July 2005, that I had kidnapped our children and moved away from Rankin County.  That simply was not true and I have documentation to prove it.  Our temporary hearing was set on the same date as Hurricane Katrina made landfall and the rest is legal-nightmare errors history.

I don’t know where else to turn.  My parents are elderly and my youngest sister has depleted all of their funds and assets.  I have found myself taking care of their needs more than focusing on my children’s.  This is heartbreaking and avoidable.  I have recently reached out to Jackson-area community, and our church friends, asking for help with Mom, and Dad so I can focus on my own family’s needs but this has been emotionally and financially draining for me and time continues to crawl by with no one addressing my children and their needs.

 Please, would you at least consider these things and if you are able to offer any advice or suggestions, I would be very grateful.  I sincerely thank you for your time.

Sincerely

 

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?

 

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

VITAL for Protective Parents:

From — http://protectivemothersalliance.blogspot.com/2009/06/guardian-of-truth-newsletter-vol-2.html

… It is vital that, from the very early stages of the case, protective parents do the following:

Rely only on attorneys, physicians, and mental health professionals with documented training and experience in domestic violence and child abuse cases. General family court experience for lawyers, and general child custody and family therapy training for other professionals, is woefully insufficient for these cases. Attorneys who represent the abusers should be avoided, as their experience with abuse cases is generally counterproductive. Look for attorneys who truly understand the constitution, the rules of evidence, and the mental health field, and who are willing to challenge the system when it is failing. Stay away from lawyers who believe that the wise psychologist and the experienced guardian ad litem will always make the right decisions and we just have to trust them.

Object to any process where written reports are submitted by guardians ad litem, custody evaluators, or mental health professionals. Insist that all rules of evidence be followed, and fight to keep bogus theories such as parental alienation syndrome and the like out of evidence.

Always depose any professional who is going to have an impact on the case.

Insist that any attorneys who purport to represent the interest of the children, such as guardians ad litem, minor’s counsel, or law guardians strictly comply with the American Bar Associations 2003 Standards of Practice for Lawyers Representing Children in Custody Cases and any state rules with similar provisions.

Never waive objections to unlawful procedures, and always argue that the court must decide the case based only on evidence properly admitted where your due process rights of notice and the opportunity for a fair hearing before an impartial judge are preserved.

Never waive your right to appeal an adverse decision.

Where children are old enough to testify about facts and events crucial to proving the abuse happened, their testimony should be presented, but in a way that minimizes the stress. However, continued abuse is much worse than the trauma of testifying.

Always use the testimony of fact witness who have direct knowledge of the abusive events, the aftermath of the abuse, and parenting quality. Do not expect the experts to be sufficient.

Never ask the court to require the accused abuser to submit to a polygraph, a psychosexual evaluation, or any other such evaluation. These devices are incapable of determining if abuse occurred and this strategy will backfire.

The first step in protecting children is controlling the process by which their fate will be determined. Where the integrity of the process is maintained, the opportunity for the court to know and understand the facts is maximized. Thus, an unbiased judge who considers only what is permissible, should then apply the law correctly with good results ensuing. While there are certainly no guarantees here, to ignore these guidelines will almost certainly invite disaster.

 

One day you WILL get to make it “PERSONAL”

A very learned and goodhearted parent once gave me some advice, a long time ago, at the start of my family-court nightmare, … “don’t take it personally”.  I, of course, found that impossible to do at the time, being a newbie and all.  This Veteran Mother, Parent of “the system” understandably, instinctively, knew how hard and long it takes to actually follow this advice, and kindly followed up with, WHEN the time came that I WAS able to do this, accept that the horrible treatment given to me, and to my children, by the court, and the court appointed professionals, and, just as painful and unbelievable, by the “apathetic bystanders”, whether they be the attorneys stymied by the outcome or those just plain out corrupted into “buying the outcome”, and that it was, in fact, NOT personal to them, just business, then I would be able to move on to the next level and try to begin fighting BACK.

I state with all sincerity and not just a little shame, that this piece of advice was the hardest thing for me to accept.  How can it NOT be personal … when it IS personal?  When it’s your life being destroyed, your children being ripped away with no voices, as if they are worthless orphans .. the outrage, horror and grief of this is at times unbearable.  The sad fact is it remains unbearable to many who capitulate, in total despair.  Why and how some of us survive these horrors and traumas is inexplicable to me, even now, years later.  I mourn those who did not make it, envy those who made it out and ran for their lives, and even resent (sometimes) those who made it out seemingly without a trace, having signed gag orders, etc. leaving no trail for those of us left behind to follow, like cracker crumbs to help guide us into finding OUR way out of the dark forest of this unspeakable hell.  I then console myself and forgive, knowing that there were MANY times during our nightmare had I been offered any reprieve to rewind, get out with my life and my children’s lives and childhoods intact I would certainly have jumped at the chance.

Parents – try, try, and try again, to NOT take it so personally simply in order to be able to see the great forest despite the trees in order to see the bigger picture.  And there is a bigger picture.  Try to console yourself that although it is very much personal to you, and to your precious children, if you can only find a way to survive You WILL, one day, get to speak up and out and make it personal.  In the between time, while you feel invisible, do everything you can just to survive it in order to live to fight another day.

My day has arrived. I don’t have my children back, and am dealing with the aftermath, and the secondary horrific crime of alienation, but, we are officially out of the system, by agreed order, not by any help from the courts and finally all court appointed unprofessional “professionals” officially discharged from our case, my ex  finally haven gotten a mere hint of a taste of their wrath, it was, after all, ALL ABOUT THE MONEY, and last fall he began to run out of money, actually losing custody himself just a few short months ago of the very children that these same “unprofessional” professionals granted him some three years prior.  It’s important to note he lost custody for the very reasons, grounds, that I had for many years tried but been denied from exposing to the courts, and their court appointed professionals.

I, the mother, ran out of funds after 6 years and $45,000 into the system while my ex had enough funds to continue on an extra three years.  It cannot be a coincidence that was this the three year period of time in which he was not only given custody but was assisted in his campaign to block access and visitation between me and my children.  These were the barriers my children and I faced these long years.

This January 2014, I was able to begin the long and scary road of coping with and accepting the pointless, unnecessary tragedies that wrongfully separated my children from me for over three years due to an abusive ex who simply used a corrupt system as a means to continue to abuse and denigrate me.  Our children are the real victims.

I begin my journey back to them … God only knows if or how we will reconcile with one another, and, if or how we will ever be able to accept and triumph over all that has happened to us while everyone around watched and did nothing to help us. It takes a great deal to overcome feeling that powerless and unimportant.  One thing is certain … we are not unscathed.

I pray every day that we will find a way to use our tragedy in some positive way to help others who are suffering similarly.

It has to begin somewhere.  This is my beginning, and I am now, finally, able to make it personal.  I am speaking up, and out, for my children and for all children and their protective parents.

 

 

Top Down or Bottoms Up … City, County, State, Federal Government Reform: Where We Start Matters Little As Long As We Begin

As convinced as I am that the Fed’s are abusing their powers, I am just as convinced, and urge others to explore solutions BESIDES AND/OR in addition to just giving MORE power to abuse to the many crooked STATE, COUNTY, and CITY politicians. All levels of government are corrupted from the lowest to the highest.  Those of us who have experienced family court abuse know firsthand how the judiciary fails our children, and state bar associations and review boards, investigative committees (IF your state even has oversight and investigative committees … many do NOT) look the other way or are so overwhelmed and incompetent they are waiting for HELP from higher authorities.  As it  stands, it really is the wild-wild-west, city, county, state and federal.  We must overhaul the system, bottom-up or top-down but it REQUIRES a complete overhaul.

I am convinced that is why change has not yet happened … we must organize, report, investigate, punish  and hold accountable and replace those who are corrupt.

WE (ARE) THE PEOPLE ….