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.