Tag Archives: chancery court

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.

 

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A MOTHER’S LAMENT, by B. R. Hardin, Attorney, Father, and Grandfather

(The following is a letter written by a mother who lost custody of her two children, reminiscing of the times they spent together, their life in Ocean Springs.  Because her ex-husband could afford the children a larger home, and her inability to recover from her loss when Katrina swept the gulf coast, she lost custody of her children, and was limited to visits on an every other weekend basis, but only to the tri-county area of Rankin, Madison and Hinds, and no over night visitation, I suppose for fear she would remove the children from the jurisdiction of the court.  She spent her life’s savings, over $45,000 dollars in attorney fees and the fees of Guardian Ad :Litems appointed by the court to investigate and report their findings to the court for the purpose of assisting the court in determining the best interest of the children and which parent would be more suitable for their care.  The first Guardian Ad Litem gave her a favorable report and recommended to the Court that the children be placed in her custody, but the second Guardian Ad Litem, for some reason, chose her ex-husband over her, and the Court favored this last report and her ex-husband one out, mainly because, in her opinions, he had a large, lovely home in Madison County and had the funds to raise the children, whereas, due to her circumstances, she did not.  That was seven years ago and she has been fighting to recover their custody since that time.  This is a lament of her efforts and the pain that she has suffered in that pursuit. It is addressed to a dear friend and to her older daughter by a previous marriage.   It begins with the ending of one of her visits with her young, twelve year old daughter.)

“Tonight, as I drove Miranda back to Madison, stroking her hair as her head lay over the armrest, stretching toward me as close as her seatbelt would allow like she always does on those drives ‘after the visit is over’, I vowed to begin writing, again.  It is one of a few passions of mine for which I have slowly turned away from.  My other favorites were put away much more abruptly.  My present demeanor may be disheveled, at times, but my memory is as sharp as a tack, like it has always been.  I recount my life events by dates, sometimes even down to the hour and minute, of ‘before’ and ‘after’ events.  Fishing, which always included some form of beach walking and nature exploration (which meant cardio exercise and fresh air as a bonus), ended the last time I went with my youngest daughter Miranda.  I haven’t allowed myself to recreate that particular memory down to the time and date, but I know it was with her, and I know that it ended as abruptly as the day we were separated by a court order that wrenched us apart in November 28th, 2011.  Listening to music, especially bayou-zydeco and country-western, old gospel hymns, and really old country ho-down music that I was tickled to hear my kids sing to as well.  I had amassed quite of collection of downloads, cd’s, and 2 great stereo’s that I wired together … my talent for setting up surround-sound and wiring “outdoor” speakers in nooks and crannies along the outside of our home was acknowledged and admired by even the most manly men of neighbors and teenaged boys with jack-up trucks and booming sound systems (my kids were quite proud of their mom’s sound-wiring skills), and every night, summer, spring, winter or fall, we enjoyed sitting outside by a fire …. for just a few minutes to a few hours, listening to, and singing along to “our” songs.  We always seemed to have extra’s, company, whether invited or not … the kids friends, their friends of friends, their parents, our neighbors…. somehow, our music and outside supper’s became an international “welcome” sign in our yard and drew wanderer’s in like magnets.  The kids loved it and I never minded.  It was a peaceful, simple time and I take some comfort knowing with all certainty that I made mental notes all of the time to “stop, and ENJOY them”.  I am grateful for that.  My love of music listening, as well as my infamous “singalongs” was severely restricted after my 12 year old son, Philip, went missing, or, for a better term, was “parentally abducted and never returned”, June 4, 2010.  I continued to enjoy some music with my young daughter, Miranda, after that date, but it was limited to music that would NOT remind me of Philip.  It was difficult, but I made it work for the next 17 months, and Miranda and I found our “own” music that we belted out every day.  The music ended completely, November 28, 2011, the date my daughter was taken from me as well.  I have not been able to bring myself to listen, or sing, since then.  The world became very dark, and very quiet, and remains that way.  Music brought me great joy.  Yard work, and gardening, of which I spent a great deal of time enjoying in all seasons and was quite talented in and for which I took great pride in, ended when I boxed up my belongings with the help of my oldest daughter Jessica, this past April 2012 when the decision was made to end the burdensome, tiring 5 months of travel that had been unavoidable since the day Miranda and I were separated and she was ordered to live with her father in Madison Mississippi.  I struggled valiantly to keep up our home in Ocean Springs, waiting day to day, week to week, turning into month to month, chasing the “15-day reversal of opinion” I’d been assured was certain to happen due to the many errors and fraudulent claims made in court that led to the removal of both of my minor children, Philip and Miranda, from my lifelong care and into the care of their father.  As the days and weeks turned into months, and the certain “presentation of the real facts” and the “testimony of real witnesses that would at the very least show his contempt of court and have the judge make good on his promise to reverse his opinion and return the children to me failed to come forward, and with these failures, my dreams for keeping our home, our very lives as we knew it, began to dissipate.  In addition to the near-weekly frantic drives I made those first few months to Jackson to be near my youngest child due to her very real, very serious medical, emotional, and/or legal emergencies surrounding our case, it slowly became clear to me that I could not continue to “stay home” and keep house while driving to and fro.175 miles each way.  Looking back, that is one of several things that astound me… that I even managed to hang on to the dream for as long as I did. Yes, the gardening was a great loss to my spirit and my body… but, the real joy in it ended the same time the music ended, November 2011.  I continued to manicure my lawn, and fret over it’s condition after my daughters disappearance from our home in November 2011, but my heart was no longer in it and I gave it up completely when I boxed up our life and closed the door for good in early April 2012.  Crocheting, which I recently picked back up due to the odd timing of a double urging and suggestion of two important people in my life who have never even met one another, yet who each brought up the topic within the same 24 hour period leading up to this past Christmas Eve.  The urging was by a friend who coaxed me into attending a small Christmas gathering at her home the night before Christmas Eve, and the suggestion was made by my oldest daughter, Jessica, who mused about my ability to “create” the newest craze of baby beanie hats that is so popular and in demand among all her co-workers and friends.  I have been a longtime believer of there-is-no-such-thing-as-coincidence so I paid heed to the sign before me and picked up my crochet needle, junk yarn from the back of my truck, and, with some help from Google, proceeded to crochet intently throughout this very difficult time of year… Christmas without my children.  Christmas without my closest friends.  Christmas away from home.  Homesick, Heartsick, and … Christmas without my children.  Thank you, Arlette, and Thank You, Jessica.  Your blessing and gift to me put an idea and a desire in my mind that thankfully I did not turn away from.  It helped me survive the most hearbreaking Christmas of my life.  Little Blessings…. count them one by one:)”

Me (A Mother, Still, In Mississippi)

 

 

 

Family Court for Dummies (A Work in Progress – Steps for Newbies in Family Court)

    1. Do not allow your attorney or opposing attorney to strong-arm, influence, or rush you into accepting an appointment of a guardian ad litem OR psychologist OR ANY OTHER COURT APPOINTED PROFESSIONAL (cap) under ANY circumstances WITHOUT running your own background check, gathering referrals, credentials, even checking into OTHER cases of said guardian ad litem, and/or psychologist … take the list of the names they offer you (it WILL BE A SHORT LIST!), and look into who they are offering – your life depends on this.  You HAVE the RIGHT to take time to run background checks, you have the right to take TIME to do this, YOU EVEN HAVE THE RIGHT TO ALTERNATE NAMES OF PROFESSIONALS, if you do these things before the gavel hits … please do not underestimate this.
    2. BY INVESTIGATE … please first run 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/what they are being paid as private vendors from your county of jurisdiction funds … again, you WILL BE SURPRISED.  This is how you follow the money.  Not complicated – more on this later.  It’s also easy enough to run all professionals 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 this step very seriously – it can change the tide of the whole case, and QUICKLY, BEFORE you have a FINAL HEARING.
    3. Go to your county of jurisdiction, pull your own court file, go through it with a fine tooth comb … look for missing documents, stamps, dates, evidence, missing documents, hidden, stapled, etc.  You would be surprised how few attorneys take the time to go through your court file, and, you know your own file better than anyone else.  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, misplaced, placed out of order, “hidden”, etc. ALL THE TIME.  This is less likely to happen if you keep up with your own case file and what has been submitted for the court’s record.  Keep an eye on items that are “tabbed” for quick review … it gives clues to documents hurried “professionals” flip to automatically without taking the time to read your entire case history.  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 your fair trial, treatment, case?
    4. 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 (cap) … you can dissect this information on your own time and will surely have more invested in it than even your own attorney.  Good attorneys are often 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, reconsiderations … you’ll all be too tired and old to make it that far, very few do, trust this).
    5. Addendum to 4, but deserves section of it’s own:  It is not unusual for court appointed professionals (caps) to hide, send by “error” OOPS … I DON’T KNOW HOW THAT HAPPENED, I THOUGHT I WAS USING YOUR/YOUR ATTORNEYS PROPER EMAIL ADDRESS … or, LET ME CHECK WITH MY ASSISTANT … I DON’T KNOW HOW THAT HAPPENED … WHY WE MISSED THAT … HOW YOUR EX RECEIVED COPIES OF REPORTS YOU DIDN’T … COPIES OF YOUR PERSONAL EMAILS … anyway, the list is infinite, I’m just adding some I have heard personally.  This section simply means, do not be surprised by ANYTHING, ask questions, who’s talking, who received what, what is going on, what they are doing/teaching/counseling/advising … 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 it, or you, is/are STUPID  … remember what we teach our children? … There ARE NO STUPID QUESTIONS!
    6. KNOW the HIPPA laws and do not fail to use them in your conversations with cap’s (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 them 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.  It’s likely the matter was decided well before you step into a courtroom.  Again, do all of these things BEFORE any final hearing or it’ll take YEARS to get back on any solid ground and lawsuits, reporting, ethics, commissions, review boards, are all AFTER you’ve lost your children’s childhoods.  You’d much rather have their childhoods.