Posts in "Family Court Reform" category
As we watch this political season it is easy to be distracted by entertaining ads, compelling videos and debates, but if you listen carefully…you will not hear what is missing. And that is the voices of families and children who are being divided and set up to fail. They are all around us but because they’ve been isolated or discredited in one manner or another, we can’t hear them.
I’m sharing these images as a reminder of a horrific past, but also as a reminder of what can happen when we are not diligent in learning what we really need to know about leaders and about people we subject ourselves to or put in a position of authority. I’m referring to those who crave the kind of power that can wipe out a population, and destroy anyone in their path.
What if people who work themselves into positions of authority do not look or sound like Hitler? What if they are isolating, exploiting and destroying their victims, but not calling for them to be literally burned and killed? Should we still be paying attention?
If you are daring enough to learn and to want to see where you can provide relief or support intervention, let me know by emailing me using the contact form on MyAdvocateCenter.com, or call if you have my number.
Yes, it’s preferable to share colorful, inspirational images and messages that do not bring up darkness, terror, evil and death. But when a young Jewish woman confirmed that what we are seeing done to tens of thousands of people reminds her of the Holocaust, I knew I had to write this out and show you, as uncomfortable as it may be.
This building, at a glance, does not say to an uninformed person, “Come inside, death is waiting for you, but first we are going to take your children and all of your belongings. Life as you know it is over. But step inside, we have you covered!”
If you are singled out because of a label that is given to you, and you are told that you have no choice but to “come this way” and “don’t worry, your children will be with you,” and “if you work as we tell you, you will be released once this is over…” you might not resist, not at first, because you do not know what is at the end of this path. There hasn’t been anyone down the road waving at you to tell you to run or stop, right?
If I had to guess, these children were told to comply “or else,” just like their parents and grandparents were told, but they believed at some point they would be freed and reunited. For sure they do not yet understand the kind of evil exploitation they were up against. They are concerned and uncertain but not yet showing the signs of trauma that we later heard about from survivors.
This image of the children behind the barbed wire reminds of too many children who have been wrongfully – and without due process – separated from healthy, loving and available parents and even isolated in “treatment centers” where they do not belong. This kind of isolation – both then and now – serves to solidify power, to profit those in control, and to beat down any resistance. In Kids for Cash and in a growing number of jurisdictions in America and elsewhere, this is exactly what is happening. It just doesn’t have a name because there is no one Hitler to give it a title that can be marketed as he so charismatically promoted to his followers.
The people who take charge of families because they are vulnerable, in need of a service that to them is mysterious and overwhelming, but who lack empathy, integrity and have an undisclosed ulterior motive? They are dividing and conquering much as Hitler’s followers did to those he deemed unworthy. Their lives, their children’s lives, their property, businesses and possessions? They were all up for grabs, and there was no one there – no one strong enough – to stop them.
I imagine you can fill in the rest of this history lesson about the Holocaust and you can hopefully appreciate why I’m interested in learning more about Churchill’s leadership and what he overcame to turn around this horrendous “trend” put in motion by Hitler. Hitler knew what he was doing when he created his messaging, when he enlisted people to follow and to duplicate his beliefs with their actions. Similarly, modern day figures are charismatic, dress sharply, hold positions in churches, appear in the media, contribute financially to others in positions of power and convince others around them that they are to be respected, and that their victims – those they isolate and steal from – are unworthy of support or protection.
But this is the message I’m asking you to see and hear today, as we are bombarded with messages enticing us to vote for our next leader:
“Work makes one free,” the sign says to those forced or fooled into entering. I know this is a leap, not easy to grasp, but the concept is much the same as what is being said to us as we are told we must enter our court system (whatever the situation is that sent you there; the cause is almost irrelevant).
The message is, “Do what we tell you to do, pay what we demand, sign what we put in front of you, go down this hallway while we send your child down a different hallway…and you will all be fine.” Like Hitler and his messengers, many in positions of power over families and children are lying.
In our current surroundings we also do not have transparency or accountability for what is being wrongfully and intentionally done to weaken, destabilize and exploit families and children. This is why I’ve used skills and resources as I have, because if I’d had this information then…I could have avoided loss and trauma. But my experience was minor compared to others; others have lost their lives after being finished off in every way.
In our society (busy, overwhelmed with work/home/kids/health/finances, entertained into a trance) we tolerate certain behaviors and do not do due diligence on people who are able to gain control over us; because we are not watchful and informed, it is easy to fall into traps we never knew existed. Unfortunately this is happening on a large enough scale that I’m willing to use these images.
So who is interested enough to learn, to engage policy leaders, the church, our business community, healthcare systems, law enforcement, schools and media? Those are the people I am seeking out, and I can say this because I’ve stood in front of a concentration camp gas chamber and have also stood in court watching certain people in authority leading people and their children to destruction. This just cannot be tolerated any longer.
“The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law and particularly to deny him the judgement of his peers is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.”
What do you think? Do you agree?
If you were able to step back in time…or are able to step in today, what would you do or say to help these people and their children?
I know it’s shocking and unpleasant to say the least! If this comparison has you completely taken aback or you are doubtful, let me know; we have the case studies and the data to back it up.
…And I do expect we’ll need a strong coalition and that this will take years to stop and even longer to recover from. But I believe that God did not intend for his people – for anyone – to live this way.
Please read God and Churchill and send me your thoughts?
It would be so easy to sensationalize an expensive, high-profile case I’ve been keeping an eye on, but that would that mean setting aside empathy and the mission of supporting the best interests of families and children. I can’t and won’t do it.
This week I am having to choose between reporting something shocking or guiding content in a way that leads to something better for people engaging the legal system because they are either going on offense and being forced to defend.
This post will evolve as my report on the case is completed, but for now I’m logging the sadness I felt in observing a tough family matter being exploited in court. My personal belief is that this family has been through enough, and professionally I believe it’s time for the lawyers escalating the family conflict be stopped in their tracks.
A professional who has exploited a number of cases I’ve observed allowed her client to be exposed for using the court system in an abusive manner, showing he was acting in bad faith. When I say “allowed,” I mean that it is my belief that this could have been avoided with minimal and reasonable effort by this man’s counsel. It’s just more profitable to allow offensive legal actions to ride – even when they make no sense and serve no valid purpose.
But it does not seem that he acted on his own, and it is clear this stressful, expensive and time-consuming trial is a waste of the court’s time and of the family’s time and money.
I wonder what could have been resolved and corrected her if counsel had been willing to help him avoid the embarrassment and discomfort seen and felt in court today.
This man admitted that “had he known” what he was learning in court through the exposure of the facts, he would not have filed the action against his ex-wife. He seemed confused at times, still wanting to “get” his ex in some way, but not able to support his feelings and actions with facts. He was flapping out in the wind, and this was preceded by his counsel laughing, saying, “We aren’t fighting…we are having a PARTY at (their) expense.”
This appears to be a big mess that could have been avoided if his counsel had truly been acting in his best interests, and upholding duty to him and heeding ethics rules and our laws.
To be continued…
There’s no question that we can do better as a community, as a state and as a nation.
The numbers are discouraging when you hear or read about children losing parents due to misguided court professionals, false claims of abuse or neglect, and about the loss of homes due to bad practices found in many court cases.
We have the ability right now – an opportunity to have a huge impact – by supporting solutions to the challenges facing parents who are fighting to support, nurture and protect their children.
Please continue reading here and on MyAdvocateCenter.com and listen to ProAdvocateRadio.com each week, or follow our podcast discussions as you have time. Please send questions or feedback through the contact form on My Advocate Center’s website.
Just watch, then ask what you can do…
The last few years have been like playing hide and seek in getting to know the truth about what happens to parents and children when they have to go through our court system.
Too late, many parents caught in a Family Court matter realize the truth just doesn’t matter, and by then they are turned upside down wondering what happened, and how.
WHY was my evidence not used to protect me or my kids? WHY did they tell me we would be “just fine” because the truth was on our side?
The numbers of children who are NOT fine is staggering, whether they are remaining with abusive or addicted parents, cut off from healthy parents, or if they are watching parents lose their homes because the “divorce got really ugly.” The reality of the “ugly” is that legal fees are ratcheted up so high that parents too often cannot afford to keep homes, or cannot pay for college or medical/psychological treatment.
This is what it feels like to these children and parents: it is like being on the inside of a pinball machine, but you can’t get out and you have no control over what will happen next. This breeds uncertainty and makes decision-making nearly impossible. You react…really are just knocked around, until you can’t tell which way is up…or out. To those certain professionals managing these confused parents, they are looked at as pawns, and to some it seems this is entertainment, not just a way of earning an income. When parents are treated this way – intentionally – it is certainly not advocacy.
Most people can’t relate to what this family is experiencing, and the professionals tell their clients not to talk about what is happening, and then they seal reports so that the truth never comes out.
For so many mothers and fathers, and for children who are being hurt in the process in some way or another, it boils down to the fact that our judges and custody “experts” do NOT have to consider the evidence we present to help us get through conflict safely.
It’s unfortunate but true that for certain Family Law professionals it is just too profitable for them when they keep evidence hidden — evidence that if used in Court might have otherwise put your case to rest and allowed you to get through it safely, and without losing your children and everything else you cherish.
The worst is when they cooperate – attorneys, custody experts and the judge – to suppress evidence of child abuse rather than using it to protect and uplift a child. The same thing applies when they put an innocent parent in jail, or cause them to lose their job in addition to their children and property.
In the process of suppressing evidence – to manipulate the outcomes of cases for their financial gain – they are severing relationships with nurturing parents who want to protect the child and end the fighting. The damages to children are staggering, and many of these children never recover. Parents who are blocked from caring for and protecting their own children…are also having a hard time managing and recovering. Some do not.
The opposite of what should happen – based on the available evidence – is what is occurring on far too many cases all over Georgia.
Please write your legislators and simply say that we want our Georgia statute to say that Judges and court appointed professionals “shall” consider evidence, rather than “may” consider evidence. This is just one point for reform, and it may take time but it’s important.
It is time to end this suffering and to address the cycles of abuse, addiction and dysfunction where it is possible for our Courts to use evidence to intervene properly. Where evidence and testimony are available to help put protections in place for children, and to support good parents, these should be secured on the record and used to protect.
Family Court practices that lead to ignoring evidence are worsening the situation. The professionals who work this way are worsening mental health, stability and productivity; they are increasing the cycles of abuse and addiction.
Where you are seeing certain professionals cooperate with each other to block, suppress or ignore evidence – evidence of real abuse, or evidence that would exonerate an innocent parent who is falsely accused – please visit MyAdvocateCenter.com to report this data.
This post is being updated in October of 2015 as we acknowledge Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Please see this note shared on the MAC Facebook page that was written by a former family law attorney, and also read what I shared myself directly onto the page:
In all situations where evidence is ignored and the truth does not count, this leads to more loss, stress and trauma for the children and parents involved. Please let us know how you can help address this, and how you can help involve our healthcare community so that these families can recover while we work on reforming bad practices.
If you see me around the Capitol, you know why I’m there. Get involved.
It has been a while since I first posted about the tragic murder of a woman who was a great mother, beloved church member, neighbor, daughter and friend to many.
My hope is that ultimately we will know that she didn’t die in vain, but for that to happen we are going to need to see our court system do a much better job of acknowledging danger – imminent danger and violent threats – and following through to prevent such losses as in this case.
What happened to this mother could have been avoided, and this man could have and should have been kept in jail for the sentence handed down to him, based on the facts, the evidence and the record which showed the judge knew he had been hospitalized because he was mentally unstable.
The lack of care and concern here is typical, unfortunately, in many cases where there is clear intent and opportunity to cause harm to vulnerable citizens, and especially to children. It’s just not something that is taken seriously by many judges and other court professionals. But hopefully that will change and improve in our lifetime.
Thank you to these contributors, to Men Stopping Violence and the AJC for highlighting what really needs to be changed in how we look at and respond to conflict:
This is one of the best pieces written yet on this story, so thank you to all the contributors and to the AJC for ongoing coverage.
As Director of My Advocate Center, Atlanta, GA, I am especially appreciative of Judge Hobie Jones’ comment above. It’s time to call it like we see it. …Based on the facts and patterns around this and other cases, and not as a “Monday morning quarterback” (which I agree with you on).
And it is true that this is not just a women’s issue – violence and false allegations of domestic violence affect everyone. Our focus is on the damages to children that stem from all of it. If you hurt or threaten a good parent, you are harming her (or his) children.
False allegations, as well as NOT heeding and responding to REAL violence…and NOT using the evidence or following protocols that we have in place…all put us in a downward spiral.
I knew Donna and John, but not recently, and because I didn’t cross paths again with her in time…I am both distraught and determined that we not let this discussion end without seeing the needed changes in how we respond to these situations.
There ARE pending local cases that mirror this tragedy in too many ways, so we would appreciate continued coverage and investigation. Please email for case and location details for hearings and transcripts.