The Genocide of Battered Mothers and their Children

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Congressional Report On Fatherhood Funding Used in Family Courts, Child Support Agencies Engaged In Financial Fraud, Senate Finance Committee Hearing, June 2012

In domestic law on August 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Note:
"Showing definitively that the child support agencies are engaged in financial fraud when they meddle in custody cases, kids are getting sold out and killed to the abusers the agency promotes and covers for." – AMPP

Combating Poverty: Understanding New Challenges for Families

Congressional Report on Fatherhood Funding Used in Family Courts and Testimony Submitted to Senate Committee hearing on “Combating Poverty: Understanding New Challenges for Families” that took place on June 5, 2012.

http://www.finance.senate.gov/hearings/hearing/?id=0a85a99b-5056-a032-52f7-b827ad9732ba

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Dear Senate Finance Committee,

Please accept this testimony with regards to the Senate Finance Committee hearing on Combating Poverty: Understanding New Challenges for Families” that took place on June 5, 2012.

Attached is a copy of the July 2011 letter from Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) Commissioner Vicky Turetsky to Senator John Kerry which declined to provide Senator Kerry with the information he requested, or follow up on his concerns regarding misappropriated funds. Turetsky essentially states that OCSE does not have any obligation to oversee OCSE program funding once the checks are cut from the Federal office to the State programs. Instead, Turetsky referred Senator Kerry’s concerns over OCSE fraud to the HHS OIG, who months before took the position that they lack jurisdiction to investigate a State child support program. So who is watching the hen house?

Our main concern is that Congress should distinguish between and place paramount the TANF programs which are means tested and provided to needy women and children below the poverty line, as opposed to the predatory TANF programs bankrupting the country by placing any unfit or unwilling father–even millionaires who abandon their kids–onto the welfare roles. Attached is a copy of an article this issue for the Huffington Post entitled “Top 5 HHS Programs Endangering Women And Children” that can also be found on line at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-stevenson/top-5-hhs-programs-endang_b_1511613.html

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 and the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) program it created transformed welfare policy by drastically reducing and shifting federal assistance away from the homes of mothers and children and into the homes of violent male offenders. The original intent of welfare reform was to require States to function as collection agencies, recovering financial support from parents who had willfully abandoned their parental responsibilities to their children. These policies have drastically backfired because:

  1. it dedicated billions in TANF to programs for childless fathers that are not needs based,
  2. created redundant “to work” programs via HHS which were already funded via the Department of Labor and the Department of Education, but then excluded women and children from participation by labeling them Responsible Fatherhood programs,
  3. the HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG)[1]and the Government Accountability Office[2]determined that the programs lacked oversight and are riddled with fraud, and
  4. State welfare programs adjusted their environment to have a greater need by casting a wider, less transparent net.

90% of those receiving TANF benefits are single mothers,[3]so does it make sense to exclude them from the “to work” employment assistance component of welfare reform? Instead of helping children, welfare reform created a new breed of dangerous Kings through HHS Office of Child Support Enforcement when it began using non-needs based TANF programs to subsidize the homes and legal battles of the unfit, unwilling, and violent fathers (like mass murderer John Muhammad, the Beltway Sniper.[4])

OCSE is a federal agency which is supposed to be gender neutral and pro child, but is it? Note that Commissioner Turetsky was previously employed by HHS contractor Manpower Demonstration and Research Corporation (MDRC,[5]) and that Ron Haskins is on the board of directors at MDRC.[6]Haskins is co-director of the Brookings Institute’s Center on Children and Families, a senior consultant at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, former Senior Advisor to the President for Welfare Policy at the White House, who spent 14 years on the staff of the House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee.[7]Haskins is also on the board of the National Fatherhood Leadership Group with several other former HHS affiliated officials,[8]yet together, Haskins and Turetsky promoted/solicited federal funding for MDRC policies and programs[9]that diverted TANF assistance to childless, wealthy offender fathers while targeting and excluding abused children and mothers. Is this a conflict of interest?

We can identify no legitimate purpose for these programs and request that Congress take the following actions:

  1. Revoke or reduce funding to Administration for Children and Families (ACF) child support incentives, Access and Visitation (AV) programs, and gender based funding to child support agencies.
  2. End collateral child support/custody funding mandates.
  3. Overhaul Office on Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) on the federal level to remove staff with conflicts of interest and bias.
  4. Audit OCSE to find out where our tax dollars are actually going, and then implement rigorous transparency, oversight, and accountability measures on programs.

I. OIG DETERMINED THAT OCSE PROGRAMS ARE RIDDLED WITH FRAUD.

In 2011, the Office of the Inspector General released a report[10]called “Rollup Review on States’ Reporting of Undistributable Child Support Collections as Program Income” that concluded 21 of the 23 States audited failed to properly report program income, and were hoarding tens of millions in child support collections by [intentionally or unintentionally] failing to make sufficient efforts to locate the children the resources are intended to benefit. Only a hand full of counties out of the several hundred contained in the relevant States were audited, and a review of the initial reports shows discrepancies that indicate the problem may be much larger than what the Administration is willing to admit.

The State agency classifies child support as “undistributable arrears” when it collects a child support payment but cannot identify or locate the custodial parent or return the funds to the noncustodial parent. Federal mandate requires that at the time when State law deems the funds “abandoned,” States must recognize and report the unallocated funds as program income in order to offset program costs. The Federal policy is that abandoned collections are then split 66% Federal share, 34% are retained by the State. However the OIG determined that all of the States had [intentionally or unintentionally] devised various “set up to fail” support distribution systems that allow the Agency to improperly hoard the child’s money in State coffers by mislabeling it “abandoned property.”

Examples of “set up to fail” policies the OIG listed include:

  • send checks to the wrong address,
  • illegal liens on accounts
  • create massive arrears, give dad the tax benefit, then garnish the tax benefit,
  • put child support it in trust accounts during litigation-that lasts more than 3 years,
  • retroactively abate arrears, then keep it for themselves without telling either parent.

The OIG determined that while some States claimed to be unaware of Federal reporting requirements, “These deficiencies occurred because States did not have adequate controls to ensure that undistributable child support collections were recognized and reported as program income in accordance with Federal requirements.”

In each instance, the OIG recommended solutions that failed to require State agencies to improve disbursement methods to ensure delivery of the funds to the child’s home. Instead, the OIG’s focus was to ensure the increased the State’s accuracy and compliance with Federal reporting requirements to ensure that the Federal HHS office received its’ 66% share of program income. The audits were done for support collected between 1999-2007, 23 states audited, but only a couple counties within each state were audited—NOT the entire state’s child support system. So the fact that like Michigan may have audited 18 counties out of a total of 85 counties, and that those 18 counties stole $8 million from Michigan families is significant. What would the number be if they did audit the whole state?

But the 2011 roll up report is also incorrect for another reason—it appears to have under estimated the original auditor’s findings. The 2011 "roll up" report is a collection of the findings in the original 23 states, most of which were complete by 2009. So I obtained copies of the original audit reports for every state, and found that many states were caught with their hands in the cookie jar for millions and millions of dollars, but the 2011 has them down as owing $0 sometimes.

1. Cook County, Illinois: (102 Counties in IL, not sure why it appears only 1 is audited)
http://oig.hhs.gov/oas/reports/region5/50400039.pdf
2011 Roll Up Total: $1.8 million, 2005 report: $3.4 Million

2. Michigan: (85 counties, only 18 audited?)
2011 Roll Up Total: $5.3 million

2006 report: $8 Million

http://oig.hhs.gov/oas/reports/region5/50500033.pdf

3. Georgia: (159 counties, none audited, just the state program—so my impression was that the county courts contracted by the State who collected support independently but not through state coffers were never reviewed)

2011 Roll Up Total: $238,000

2007 report: $1.2 million

http://oig.hhs.gov/oas/reports/region4/40603506.pdf

4. California: (58 Counties, only 3 audited)

2011 Roll Up Total: $1.45m

2007 report: $3.3 Million

o Orange county: $2.2 million
http://oig.hhs.gov/oas/reports/region9/90600040.htm
o Riverside County: $245,000
http://oig.hhs.gov/oas/reports/region9/90700049.htm
o Los Angeles county: $878,000
http://oig.hhs.gov/oas/reports/region9/90800024.asp

But the LA county report is perhaps inaccurate for another reason, because at the same time the OIG conducted the audit, Attorney Richard Fine sued LA County for holding $14 million in child support collections from LA county children.[11]He won the case, and the county had to disburse the $14 million to the families. But this total is not included in the OIG’s report.

II. TANF CHILD SUPPORT PROGRAMS ADAPT TO ARTIFICIALLY INCREASE NEED FOR THEIR OWN SERVICES

These reports and others reflect the fact that TANF’s generous collection incentive policies may have in effect created a child support vacuum as States to adapt their practices to reflect a greater demand and need for resources that are ultimately withheld from needy families.

  1. Recovery Act: Thousands of Recovery Act Contract and Grant Recipients Owe Hundreds of Millions in Federal Taxes
  2. Government Accountability Office report recently came out which shows that these HHS grant recipients owe us struggling taxpaying families hundreds of BILLIONS in taxes. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-686T
  3. GAO REPORT: Child Support Enforcement: Better Data and More Information on Undistributed Collections Are Needed http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-04-377
  4. Medicare and Medicaid Fraud, Waste, and Abuse: Effective Implementation of Recent Laws and Agency Actions Could Help Reduce Improper Payments http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-409T
  5. Child Support Enforcement: Departures from Long-term Trends in Sources of Collections and Caseloads Reflect Recent Economic Conditions http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-196

In fiscal year 2009, the child support enforcement (CSE) program collected about $26 billion in child support payments from noncustodial parents on behalf of more than 17 million children. The CSE program is run by states and overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). States receive federal performance incentive payments and a federal match on both state CSE funds…The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) eliminated this incentive match beginning in 2008, but the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 temporarily reinstated it for 2 years. This 2011 report[12]found that although the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided generous matching funds on State support collections:

“In fiscal year 2009, the CSE program experienced several departures from past trends. For one, child support collections failed to increase nationwide for the first time in the history of the program in fiscal year 2009… Also in fiscal year 2009, the number of CSE cases currently receiving public assistance increased…Preliminary HHS data show that total CSE expenditures grew by 2.6 percent in fiscal year 2008 as many states increased their own funding to maintain CSE operations when the federal incentive match was eliminated…In contrast to fiscal year 2008, a different picture emerged in fiscal year 2009, when the incentive match was temporarily restored but total CSE expenditures fell slightly by 1.8 percent, which HHS officials told GAO was due to state budget constraints. Most states nationwide have not implemented "family first" policy options…because giving more child support collections to families means states retain less as reimbursement for public assistance costs.

  1. Administrative Expenditures and Federal Matching Rates of Selected Support Programshttp://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-05-839R

III. TANF PROGRAMS FOR CHILDLESS FATHERS ARE NOT NEEDS BASED.

If the goal of some Fatherhood programs is so child support benefits “trickle down” to the child during tough economic times, why does Commissioner Turesky’s department make TANF available to the 1% of child support debtors making more than $50,000-who are unfit or unwilling to have kids live in their homes?[13] Unlike the welfare programs for women and children which had restrictive income eligibility requirements, TANF diverts billions of dollars through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) to non-needs based programs exclusively available to unfit and unwilling fathers, such as Healthy Families Initiatives, Responsible Fatherhood Initiatives, and Access and Visitation Initiatives.

Benefits from Responsible Fatherhood programs to childless abusers include:[14][15]

  • Child support obligations are suspended
  • Free attorney representation in the family courts to fight for custody
  • Free housing
  • Direct cash incentives
  • Free groceries
  • Free car maintenance, gas, and other transportation costs
  • Free healthcare and dental care

These TANF benefits are not intended to directly reach children, their purpose is to reward the unfit and unwilling childless fathers who lost custody of them. The incentives are structured so that the State will only benefit if children are removed from loving homes, then arbitrarily placed with male offenders who previously lost custody. If the programs do not successfully increase in the percentage of noncustodial fathers who file for and win custody, they will not get paid.

HHS reports show that 80% of Fatherhood program participants are court ordered to attend, [16]and many are recruited directly from prison.[17]In 2000, Commissioner Turesky authored a paper for the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) that concluded:[18]

"Many women trying to leave an abusive home rely on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, financial assistance to women in poverty may lessen their risk of violence… about 20 percent of women receiving cash assistance are current victims of domestic violence, while about 50 to 60 percent have experienced domestic violence during their adulthood."

Considering that Commissioner Turesky also claimed in a 2006 CLASP policy brief that 70% of all child support arrears are owed to the government to pay back TANF costs,[19]doesn’t this mean that the overwhelming majority of fathers enrolled in compromise of arrears programs are violent, unfit fathers? This may explain why recent studies found children fare far worse when support is court ordered.[20]

The programs also punish the majority of responsible fathers who willingly provide love and support to their children. Using the virtually unregulated child support system as a vehicle and the father’s will to evade prison time as collateral,[21]the fathers are told they can risk their liberty and property attempting to pay down arrears, or alternatively, sue the mother for custody using a variety of federally funded "supports." Children in safe homes do not need rehabilitation, so often times a “need” is created by the State by placing children deliberately in an unsafe home.

The effect of these Fatherhood and welfare reform policies is to place the middle class on welfare by “leaving no family member undiagnosed” when they come into contact with the family courts.[22] At the beginning of a custody case, only the offender is sick, but if one violent offender gets custody, the whole family needs treatment. Consequently for courts and social services agencies to appoint dozens of federally funded family court mental health and legal professionals onto the case to sustain the deadly custody rights of a single violent father.[23]

IV. THE GAO DETERMINED THAT OCSE FATHERHOOD PROGRAMS ARE RIDDLED WITH FRAUD.

HHS fraud costs tax payers $60 billion per year, and it is not improving.[24]When you start to look at how many contracts are going to the same network of providers like Manpower, Maximus, Goodwill Industries, etc. with inside connections to HHS Administration, it is also worth asking yourselves if and when Congress will investigate these conflicts of interest?

In 2008, the GAO released a report entitled “HEALTHY MARRIAGE AND RESPONSIBLE FATHERHOOD INITIATIVE: Further Progress Is Needed in Developing a Risk-Based Monitoring Approach to Help HHS Improve Program Oversight”[25] that concluded that these programs were riddled with fraud and not performing.The GAO concluded that HHS failed to create oversight mechanisms or standard performance goals prior to disbursing $500 million in grants to hastily chosen programs meant to serve children living in high-risk families:

“HHS…lacks mechanisms to identify and target grantees that are not in compliance with grant requirements or are not meeting performance goals… Our review of grantee case files found documentation of grantees that were not meeting performance targets…or not in compliance with grant requirements, such as providing only those services allowed under the grant.”

Report Highlights:

$500 Million Unconditionally Given To Activists:

Operating under a deadline that allowed HHS 7 months to award grants, HHS shortened its existing process to award Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood grants to public and private organizations. During this process, HHS did not fully examine grantees’ programs as described in their applications, including the activities they planned to offer, and this created challenges and setbacks for grantees later as they implemented their programs. –P. 2

Failure to Implement Uniform Standards, Policies, and Procedures:

HHS uses methods that include site visits and progress reports to monitor grantees, but it lacks mechanisms to identify and target grantees that are not in compliance with grant requirements or are not meeting performance goals, and it also lacks clear and consistent guidance for performing site monitoring visits. –P.2

Embezzlement and Fraud Was Likely Vastly Under Estimated:

Moreover, we did not survey organizations that received money from grant recipients to provide direct services, subawardees. Since making the initial awards, 4 organizations have relinquished their grants, 1 organization had its grant terminated, and 1 new grant was awarded. There are 6 organizations currently pending non-continuation of award funds.

Please recall that the irresponsible programs are recruiting violent offenders directly from prisons[26]to help them obtain legal and physical custody of the child victim witnesses they hurt, yet the GAO cannot directly account for the activities or the funding going into the programs.

Although groups cannot use TANF money for attorneys, the literature shows that some groups like Illinois Council on Fatherhood[27]provides fathers with legal advice and exceptional access to judges, Michigan is providing dads with legal assistance,[28]and the Montrose County, Colorado Fatherhood program[29]match up fathers with “Fatherhood Coaches” who also just happen to be attorneys who want to help them with their child support and custody problems.

You should ask yourselves who represents the victim child’s interests while their violent noncustodial fathers use concealed child support and federal assistance to build up legal arsenals to take custody and silence them? HHS programs are actually a deadly investment given that (a) abusive men win custody of their victims 70% of the time[30]when they ask for it, and (b) regardless of the gender of the victim, it is a public safety issue when DOJ studies[31]show men perpetrate more than 95% of violent assaults against women. The Center for Disease Control’s 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey[32]also concluded that men are raped by other men more than 93% of the time, and women are raped by men more than 98% of the time.

Programs like the Massachusetts Department of Probation’s[33]provide “treatment” to thousands of untreatable, incurable violent offenders and sociopaths targeting their victims through the courts Although violence is a voluntary act, HHS now invested our tax dollars into rehabilitating the incurable who choose to assault the most vulnerable members of society. Some Studies[34]of male DV perpetrators show that 50% of them are sociopaths and another 25% have sociopathic tendancies. Psychopaths are people who feel no emotional connections to others and have zero regard for the rules and regulations of society, they do not respond to therapy, and cannot be rehabilitated. Dr. Robert Hare reports that psychopaths make up 1% of the general population, but 25% of the prison population:

"Violence is not uncommon among offender populations, but psychopaths still manage to stand out," he says. "They commit more than twice as many violent and aggressive acts, both in and out of prison, as do other criminals … The recidivism rate of psychopaths is about double that of other offenders … The violent recidivism rate of psychopaths is about triple that of other offenders."

Respectfully, would you as a member of Congress, allow your children to be cared for by convicted murderers and felons? If you believe these “fathers” are harmless, why do you pass budgets that provide for armed guards to protect Congressional hearings and family courts? These programs have no legitimate purpose because here is no epidemic of “fatherlessness” that in itself harms children. There is no “fatherlessness crisis” that would justify such ruthless and irresponsible pork barrel spending on discrimination based TANF programs that exclude 90% of the TANF roles, the women and children they purport to want to get off welfare and “go to work”-but place wealthy single men on the TANF roles instead.

We believe the majority of men are genetically programmed to be good fathers, and we do not agree with HHS’s assessment that all men are incompetent and need federally funded parenting lessons. Dangerous offenders have no business raising children. We are a nation of strong single mothers who raised Presidents like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, both of whom were rescued from the clutches of fathers who were irresponsible, violent addicts. These Fatherhood programs now undermine and punish mothers who try and rescue their children and stay off public assistance, while punishing good fathers and abetting the irresponsible, no matter how rich or poor.

V. CONCLUSION

The more federal dollars were receive the less States collected in support. States refuse to distribute child support to "families first," and are instead keeping the money for themselves-without accounting for it. When the OIG identified the embezzled funds, they did not help “struggling agencies” find the children it was intended to benefit, the OIG instructed States to properly report…So the feds could have their 66%. This policy entirely lacks accountability or consequences for this fraud. Subsequent reports demonstrated that the problem has continued to worsen, and there are [still] no protocols and procedures in place to define, identify, and track these monies.

The [unlawful] programs are supposed to be ADMINISTRATIVE, but they used quasi judicial power to create, amend, and enforce court orders without judicial authorization. The agency does not provide due process, nor do they have to show you their files. Judges have to look the other way because if they object, they will lose their HHS funding, and at the same time the judge has to accept responsibility for the agency’s badly managed and even crooked interference when litigants are hurt.

Instead of fixing these programs, Obama’s proposed budget includes billions more in incentives to disburse and collect support to the programs with no oversight. If the core mission of the child support program is to collect and disburse support to needy children, this is an administrative function which in 2012 should be handled electronically through the treasury. There is no need to create billion in incentives to involve the support agency in taking over the judicial branch’s functions in custody cases.

Fred Sottile, the Founder and President of the LA chapter of Fathers 4 Justice says in his view:

“The President should spend his efforts creating laws and policies that actually encourage father/child relationships, instead of just pretending to promote father/child relationships in extortion based OCSE programs that deprive children and blame dads for being absent.”

Linda Marie Sacks, Co-Chair of the Family Court Committee of the Florida chapter of the National Organization for Women:

“The vast majority of fathers do not abuse children, and there are many instances where courts have unjustly deprived children of good fathers. The problem is that the programs punish children living with healthy strong mothers by incentivizing courts to cash in by arbitrarily minimizing and even eliminating moms from the picture.

Since there is virtually no oversight of OCSE funding, we have often found that this funding used to help pedophile rapists and violent predators get custody of child victim witnesses through the family courts. Studies showabusers are winning custody 70% of the time, and we think the programs will have catastrophic results on the next generation if this unsafe trend of maternal deprivation continues. ”

Liz Richards, Director for the National Alliance for Family Court Justice and a certified witness for the Department of Justice agrees.

“HHS is the source of the funding which is fueling the court corruption problems. Judge are making their rulings according to the program grant requirements and not by the case evidence. Past ACF officials like Wade Horn, Ron Haskins, and others were closely associated with the fathers rights groups and leaders, and essentially turned the dept into a pro-father, abuse cover-up agency.”

In 2012, we ask why the Obama Administration inexcusably ignored the pleas of desperate hard working parents and doubled the budget for these pork barrel projects, starving them out of their home. It’s time to get serious about deficit reduction, and require the president to exercise fiscal restraint on programs which would target and extort families under the most trying circumstances.


[1] “Rollup Review on States’ Reporting of Undistributable Child Support Collections as Program Income ” HHS OIG report A-05-11-00025, September 30, 2011 (http://oig.hhs.gov/oas/reports/region5/51100025.asp)
[2] “HEALTHY MARRIAGE AND RESPONSIBLE FATHERHOOD INITIATIVE:
Further Progress Is Needed in Developing a Risk-Based Monitoring Approach to Help HHS Improve Program Oversight “Government Accountability Office Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, September 2008. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d081002.pdf
[3]http://womenslawproject.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/debunking-the-myth-of-the-“welfare-queen”-who-actually-receives-tanf-benefits/
[4] “Parental Rights And Wrongs” By Liz Richards, Washington Times,
http://pmashilohlopez.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/from-the-washington-times-parental-rights-and-wrongs-by-liz-richards/
[5]http://www.acf.hhs.gov/orgs/bios/vturetsky.htm
[6]http://www.mdrc.org/about_board.htm
[7]http://www.politico.com/arena/bio/ron_haskins.html
[8] http://www.nflgonline.org/Board%20Members.aspx
[9]http://www.mdrc.org/publications/144/full.pdf
[10] “Rollup Review on States’ Reporting of Undistributable Child Support Collections as Program Income” HHS OIG report A-05-11-00025, September 30, 2011 (http://oig.hhs.gov/oas/reports/region5/51100025.asp)
[11] www.articles.latimes.com/1999/feb/20/local/me-9885
[12] http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-196
[13] Id. At FN [12]
[14] “OCSE Responsible Fatherhood Programs Early Implementation Lessons” Jessica Pearson, Center for Policy Research, Inc. David Price, Policy Studies, Inc. June 2000
With comments: http://www.nafcj.net/ocsefr.htm
Original Text: http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED463839.pdf
[15]“HHS Around the Regions 2005 Activities” http://fatherhood.hhs.gov/Partners/regions/regions06.shtml
[16] Id. At FN [8] “OCSE Responsible Fatherhood Programs Early Implementation Lessons”
[17]http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/publications/files/0349.pdf
[18] “Safety in the Safety Net: TANF Reauthorization Provisions Relevant to Domestic Violence”
http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/publications_archive/files/0167.pdf
[19] “Staying in Jobs and Out of the Underground: Child Support Policies that Encourage Legitimate Work” Vicki Turetsky, CLASP 2006 http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/publications/files/0349.pdf
[20] “Young children of unmarried parents fare worse when a father’s support is court-ordered”
http://www.sciencecodex.com/young_children_of_unmarried_parents_fare_worse_when_a_fathers_support_is_courtordered-91437
[21] “Giving Noncustodial Parents Options: Employment and Child Support Outcomes of the SHARE Program” Irma Perez-Johnson, Jacqueline Kauff, and Alan Hershey, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., October 2003
[22] “Unified Family Courts: Treating the Whole Family, Not Just the Young Drug Offender” American Bar Association/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, November 2000
http://www.rwjf.org/reports/grr/029319s.htm
[23]Pedophilia in the Justice System” By Kieth Harmon Snow, Conscious Being Alliance, May 1, 2012
http://www.sott.net/articles/show/245202-Pedophilia-in-the-Justice-System
[24]http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/medicare-fraud-costs-taxpayers-60-billion-year/story?id=10126555&page=3#.T-zL5-33C9Z
[25] “HEALTHY MARRIAGE AND RESPONSIBLE FATHERHOOD INITIATIVE:
Further Progress Is Needed in Developing a Risk-Based Monitoring Approach to Help HHS Improve Program Oversight”Government Accountability Office Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, September 2008. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d081002.pdf
[26] National Fatherhood Initiative: http://www.fatherhood.org/page.aspx?pid=375
[27]http://www2.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/02-15-2008/0004756780&EDATE
[28] http://www.michigan.gov/dhs/0,1607,7-124–187565–,00.html
[29] Montrose County, Colorado http://www.montrosecounty.net/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1721
[30]http://www.stopfamilyviolence.org/info/custody-abuse/overview/batterer-manipulation-and-retaliation-denial-and-complicity-in-the-family-courts
[31] http://www.umbrellanek.org/documents/DV%20General%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
[32] http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/NISVS/index.html
[33] http://www.mass.gov/courts/probation/pr062707.html
[34] http://www.lovefraud.com/blog/2010/03/01/staggering-statistics-about-domestic-violence/

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"RULE OF LAW" vs."RULE OF MAN" – Therapeutic Jurisprudence e.g. Case Managers, Parenting Coordinators, Custody Evaluations, ADR, Mediators, Lawless Family Court

In Bud Dale, Rene M. Netherton, Cae Managers, Kansas, Don Hoffman, family court corruption, Judge David Debenham, M. Jill Dykes, misogynists, mother rights, parental alienation, protective parent, Rape, restraining orders, woman haters. Jason P Hoffman,, Dr. Richard Gardner, Father of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) Committed Suicide May 25, 2003, Fathers Rights, Maternal Deprivation, Domestic Violence By Proxy, Mother-Child Bond, Motherhood, Motherless America, Parental Alienation (PAS), Parental Alienation (PAS), Parental Alienation (PAS), Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), Parental Alienation Theory: Amy J. Baker, Court Whore, PAS is a Scam, Supervised visitation also is used as a first step toward a custody switch away from protective mothers to abusive fathers., Bud Dale, Child Custody Evaluators' Beliefs About Domestic Abuse Allegation on August 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions

 

"RULE OF LAW" vs."RULE OF MAN"

A common theme underlying nearly all the problems in the family courts is the sloppy float away from the "rule of law" to "rule of man".

 

The "rule of man" describes such things as dictatorships,decision-making by whim, discretion without oversight, vague standards that cannot predictably be anticipated or applied, faux-expert recommendation-making and opining such as with mental health professional parenting evaluations, and the panoply of therapeutic jurisprudence interventions such as parenting coordination and special mastering. All of these abrogate due process, and the fundamental principles on which our system of jurisprudence was founded. The ideas have been pushed by the mental health lobbies and by individuals who either don’t understand or don’t care about some higher priorities.

"Rule of man" is a concept that we ditched with the formation of this country in favor of "rule of law". Our founding fathers recognized that there is no way to regulate or oversee individuals given too much discretion or dictatorial authority. With regard to the family courts, I keep hearing and reading what are essentially inane pleas to fix the various misguided ADR programs via "guidelines" (aspirational only, and with immunity from sanction for misfeasance), and for "trainings", and for getting rid of those who are "incompetent" — all of which suggestions exhibit an astonishing lack of appreciation for the stupidity inherent in these extra-judicial ideas — ideas which Thomas Paine and our founding fathers would have abhorred (see, e.g. Common Sense).

Dictatorship cannot be permitted not because there couldn’t (theoretically) be some wise and beneficent dictators who would be better and more efficient than the messy system of due process and checks and balances we idealize, but because under that dictatorial system we inevitably and primarily will suffer the fools, the tyrants, and the corrupt. And that’s without addressing the panoply of other constitutional defects. Besides, no scientifically sound research actually establishes "harm" from the adversarial system — or benefit to families’ well-being from applied therapeutic jurisprudence. These ideas were invented in mental health trade promotion groups as lobbying talking points. (If you doubt this, feel free to contact me for more information.) Yikes. What are we doing. To the extent we’ve been sold a bill of goods, swampland, snake oil and the voo doo of "expertise" by the mental health professions, at least until relatively recently, the stuff wasn’t harming our legal system. Now it is. Wake up, and wise up.

What we do need are some realistic changes in the substantive laws addressing divorce and child custody. What we don’t need is a revolution in procedural rules and the overthrowing of individuals’ constitutional rights.

 

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PSYCHOLOGY; CUSTODY EVALUATIONS; THERAPY Forensic Psychology; Case Managers, Guardians ad Litem; Therapeutic Jurisprudence

        

The sociological and psychological research on families and child well-being impacts public policy  and the issues of child custody in family law. The research frequently is misrepresented, and mis-cited by mental health professionals, lawyers, forensic psychologists and others, as well as interest groups lobbying for laws. Also review the sections pertaining to the issues impacted by the "therapeutic jurisprudence", such as child custody, parental alienation theory, research pertaining to child development, the subsection for research Myths and Facts in FAMILY LAW, and other family law issues. Also see the subsection on Child Custody in FAMILY LAW.

Therapeutic jurisprudence in the family courts, i.e. a "mental health approach to the law" substitutes the opinions of mental health practitioners for traditional evidence and decision-making procedures. Because these persons actually do not have any kind of "expertise" to opine this way, what originally was thought to be a helpful idea (in this medicalized and psychologized world) has become merely economic opportunism, harming not only the litigants and children in the system as well as the court system itself, but also perverting substantive and procedural law.

It is not science, but compensated yenta-ism that has permeated the courts under the pretexts that engineering family affectional relationships is within the ability of mental health "science" practitioners to accomplish, and that this is an appropriate goal of the government, court system, and state police power because children "need" something it has to offer.

http://americanmotherspoliticalparty.org/

 

Bud Dale and Kansas Case Managers: Mother Karen Williams Fight for Daughter Could Change Case Managers and other ‘Therapeutic Jurisprudence’ Laws in Kansas

In "Supervised visitation also is used as a first step toward a custody switch away from protective mothers to abusive fathers., Bud Dale, Child Custody Evaluators' Beliefs About Domestic Abuse Allegatio on August 18, 2012 at 2:34 pm
Kansas Mother Karen Williams Fight for Daughter Could Change Case Managers and other ‘Therapeutic Jurisprudence’ Laws in Kansas

Therapeutic Jurisprudence – 3rd party ‘Access to Justice’ deniers – Fathers Rights, SHARIA style to take his property.

Another Great Exposure Report on the Injustices of Mothers via Court Appointed Case Managers, parenting coordinators, Custody Evaluators et el.

Supervised visitation also is used as a first step toward a custody switch away from protective mothers to abusive fathers.”

Fight for Daughter Could Change Law in Kansas

Tess Koppelman

Topeka, Kan. — A mother said her daughter was taken away from her and she’s never been allowed her day in court to fight for her child. The woman’s story has now inspired lawmakers to look into what they can do to change the system.

Karen Williams  went to the Kansas Appellate Court arguing that her constitutional rights were violated when a Douglas County judge removed her daughter from her custody all based on the word of a court appointed case manager. The case manager suggested to the judge that there was “probable abuse.” Continue Reading

“Kansas Representative Joe Patton (R-Topeka) wants to change the law to require educational standards for case managers…..”

Joe Patton, “Shame on you”. You are an attorney for goodness sake. LAW, FACT, COURT – What part is not clear about this? FACTs only NOT ideas or the ‘Therapeutic Jurisprudence’s’ – OPINION, Theory, Personal Belief System, Societal Culture, ‘Philosophy’ – an ‘Idea’ -a-could-be-might-be 16th century witch DoktoR – voo-doo-thinking ‘get a stick and beat it to death’ mentality, who have created for their selves, HIGH Paying Jobs Where NONE should exist to begin with. None.

The “Trial Within a Trial” Court-Appointed, Case Managers, Custody Evaluators et el. Waste Judicial Resources and Parents’ Funds

The primary reason psychologists and other mental health professionals should be banned from the family court systems, except to answer limited and narrowly-defined questions actually within their expertise, is that their presence does not add value, but rather, wastes court, lawyer, and litigant time, money and resources. http://www.thelizlibrary.org/therapeutic-jurisprudence/TheDetectives.html

Parenting Evaluation, Parenting Plans…Reevaluating the Evaluators: “Rethinking the Assumptions of Therapeutic Jurisprudence in the Family Courts”http://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/child-custody-evaluations.html

A call for a revolt altogether against the notion of “therapeutic jurisprudence” — which has been proved to do little to benefit children, much to benefit the divorce industry, much to complicate and pervert our family laws, much to erode fundamental rights and liberties, and much to harm the families who become trapped in the system. There are many problems, of course. But they are symptoms. Step one is to get the agent of most of them out of our family courts. The Emperor has no clothes.

Lawyer Conflict: MHP’s and “therapeutic jurisprudence” ultimately must be – and will be – taken out of the family courts.

Lawyers’ unacknowledged conflicts are destroying the quality of family law representation. One of the problems with the rise of therapeutic jurisprudence and the placement of non-legal systems into the courts is the subtle denigration of long-established precepts of lawyer independence and due process. One of the multiple ways this happens in the family courts is through the common development of multidisciplinary collegial relationships and business referral.http://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/child-custody-evaluations.html

Children need. . . THIS? standards and practices in child custody evaluations CHILD CASE MANAGERS, CUSTODY EVALUATORS: IN THEIR OWN WORDS

http://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/custody-evaluator-quotes.html

DOJ Study: Child Custody Evaluators’ Beliefs About Domestic Abuse Allegations- Their Relationship to Evaluator Demographics, Background, Domestic Violence – Knowledge and Custody-Visitation Recommendations Final Technical Report Submitted to the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice

Parenting Coordination, a bad idea

  • Parenting coordination is an inappropriate delegation of the judicial function
  • Parenting coordination is an impediment to court access
  • Parenting coordination is a denial of due process
  • Parenting coordination violates privacy
  • The parenting coordinator concept encroaches on family liberty interests
  • Parenting coordination represents arbitrary dictate by a person, in denigration of rule of law
  • Parenting coordination is a make-work role newly invented by psychology trade promotion groups
  • No studies indicate parenting coordinators make good decisions
  • No studies indicate parenting coordination improves families’ lives or child wellbeing.
  • Nothing qualifies a stranger to make family decisions for other people
  • Nothing qualifies a mental health professional to interpret a court order or legal document
  • Nothing qualifies a lawyer to play at being an unlicensed, unregulated therapist for hire
  • Nothing qualifies any third party to “fill in the gaps in someone else’s contract
  • There is no definition of what constitutes a successful parenting coordination
  • Parenting coordination does not, in the long run, alleviate court docket congestion
  • It creates additional issues and leaves the door open for return trips to resolve them
  • Parenting coordination provides a new forum for squabbling over petty disputes
  • Parenting coordination is an additional expense that many can ill afford
  • Parenting coordination enables one parent to spend the other’s funds
  • Parenting coordination is time-consuming and tedious
  • Parenting coordination is not confidential
  • Parenting coordination constitutes continuous government discovery, 4th Amendment
  • Parenting coordination constitutes continuous discovery by each parent into the affairs of the other
  • Parenting coordination can never be “voluntary because it implements unwanted court orders
  • Parenting coordinators demand that the parties sign “consents” that give up constitutional rights
  • Some have demanded that parties give up the right to go to court, contact police, or involve their lawyers
  • They are hired or appointed under shadow of the threat of court sanctions or loss of custody
  • They are agreed to by parties ignorant of the repercussions, in fear, out of funds, or overwhelmed
  • Parenting coordination does not result in increased family well-being
  • Parenting coordination does not make children happier, healthier, or better adjusted
  • Parenting coordination is not therapy but coercion backed by the state’s police power
  • Parenting coordinators tend to be hostile to, and at odds with attorney-client relationships
  • They align with GALs and other court appointees in a pretext of “focus on the children”
  • They encroach on parental-child relationships and decision-making
  • They undermine the parental authority children require for a sense of security and well-being
  • Instead of at least one authoritative parent, children have no authoritative parent
  • Petty tyrants place a premium on the perception of who is cooperating with them
  • Cooperation with the parenting coordinator is court-ordered and
  • They alone decide if a parent is “cooperating” with them
  • They are given unwarranted authority to impose or recommend sanctions against parents
  • They are given unwarranted authority to speak with extended family, friends, and collaterals
  • They are given unwarranted authority to speak with children, teachers, and school officials
  • They are given authority to demand private medical and therapy records
  • They are able continuously to undermine the credibility and competence of parents to third parties
  • They are able continuously to divulge private family issues to third parties
  • They are given authority to demand meetings, and meeting times and places
  • There are no studies of parenting coordination methods or techniques
  • There is no research into parenting coordinators’ efficacy, and there cannot be
  • Decisions are based on the parenting coordinator’s private agendas, values, and beliefs
  • Most parenting coordinators lack psychological insight
  • Parenting coordination is not “co-parenting therapy” which rarely works anyway
  • Mental health professionals are ignorant of the repercussions in law of their ideas
  • There is no valid “training because there is no body of knowledge to base training on
  • Decisions are made without actual knowledge of people’s households and daily lives
  • Parenting coordination provides a forum for the arguing of minutiae, not just major decisions
  • Parenting coordinators frequently make bad decisions
  • The parenting coordinator has absolutely no incentive to work himself or herself out of a job
  • Parenting coordinators tend to be individuals who can’t make a go of practicing their profession
  • Many have axes to grind; others need to re-live and normalize their own family-of-origin issues
  • Parenting coordination is unregulated and practicably unable to be regulated
  • There is no effective oversight, and there cannot be
  • There is no recourse against the parenting coordinator for malfeasance or malpractice
  • Parenting coordinators have control to self-generate their work and churn fees
  • The claim of parenting coordinators that they sought this role in order to “help” people is specious
  • Parenting coordination proceedings are informal, outside court, and not subject to effective oversight
  • Parenting coordinators can report conversations and events differently from how they really happened
  • Parenting coordinators can cover themselves by blaming parents for the failure of the venture
  • Parenting coordinators can and do give parents make-work at whim
  • Parenting coordinators may not have any personal parenting experience
  • Parenting coordinators may not have experience being primary caregivers, or as single parents
  • Many of those drawn to the field are by nature meddlers, incompetents, or petty tyrants
  • Parenting coordination is dangerous, founded on erroneous beliefs about “high conflict”
  • Parenting coordination is a tool to force fit parents and children to invest in abusers’ rehabilitation
  • High conflict” means “abusive relationship”, not “difficult learning situation”
  • “High conflict” means “threats to security and well-being”, not “lack of communication skills”
  • Fears and concerns are real, not irrational, vindictive, or merely personality disordered
  • “High conflict” means that the “parenting plan” is inappropriate,unjust, unhealthy, or unsafe, and
  • there is no “adjustment period” to get through or equal “co-parenting relationship” to regain
  • Parenting coordinators have missed domestic violence
  • Parenting coordinators have inflamed emotions and exacerbated legal issues
  • Parenting coordinators have assumed facts that are not true
  • · Parenting coordinators have perceived emergencies or situations incorrectly
  • Parenting coordinators have mischaracterized events
  • Parenting coordinators have made egregious judgmental mistakes
  • Parenting coordinators have lied outright
  • There is no basis to presume their “good faith” or their “neutrality”
  • There are no ethical guidelines that practicably can be enforced
  • There are, and can be, no enforceable practice parameters, only vague aspirational generalities
  • Parenting coordinators will be biased because of the nature of human relationships and the role
  • Court oversight is illusory because the parenting coordinator has more credibility than either parent
  • Court oversight is illusory because the parenting coordinator has the ear of the judge, and
  • because the parenting coordinator has relationships with supportive guardians ad litem, and
  • because the parenting coordinator has other courthouse referral relationships who will back him or her
  • Court oversight is illusory because it’s easy to claim a parent is uncooperative or lying
  • Court oversight is illusory because it’s expensive
  • or there is not enough time to get a hearing
  • or the party doesn’t have a lawyer post-decree, and
  • because the judge who appointed the parenting coordinator did so because he didn’t want to hear it
  • Most of all, parenting coordination is proof that joint custody does not work

Therapeutic Jurisprudence – Child Trafficking via family Courts. It’s monetary. It’s all about their money and the “gravy train” ride. THEY MUST BE ELIMINATED FROM ALL FAMILY COURTS!!

You cannot ‘PREDICT’ or see in any “Crystal Ball”. It is not FACT and these Case Managers, Guardian Ad Litem’s, Parenting Coordinators, Co-parenting, Shared Parenting, SUPERVISED VISITATION and ACCESS VISITATION Centers should have NEVER been allowed into the Kansas Courts to begin with! It is all Therapeutic Jurisprudence that denies ‘Access to Justice’. It does not matter, in fact will only ‘entrench’ these NON Fact – Pseudo Science, self serving Profiteers with ‘god’ like authority if you Give them a simple pedigree in B.S. crystal ball reading experts forced, CAPTIVE litigants to hire by the Court of Law and Fact. You still have the same thing as you do with a non licensed A$$hole. Oxymoron. Allow the Judge to ‘Judge’ not anyone else. If these people want to ‘judge’ rule and play god in an already EGO ruled Entitlement Family Court then let them become ‘Judges’.

Opinions only – None are based in any FACT—A Court of Law, must be FACT. The difference between non licensed and licensed ‘carnival crystal ball reading – theory, assumption, future predicting based on their own personal beliefs’ is the PRICE they charge.

The Amicus Brief by the one Dr. Milfred ‘Bud’ Dale Amicus Brief – Karen Williams- Case Managers Kansas – EXPERT of the experts for hire by the experts- forensic PROFESSIONAL expert – in the end is still just ‘one man’s personal opinions’, self interest, extremely profitable and continuing expenses for his ‘captive’ clients. This completely denies the Constitutional Right to a Court of Law governed by FACT.

(I know this first hand)

(KS) Dr. Dale and Pedophile Dr. Gardner: Similarities Engaged

A Topeka Kansas Evaluation: Teaching the mother to NOT REPORT sexual or physical Abuse: As Ordered by the Courts;

Courtesy www.TheLizLibrary.org

Topeka Kansas Evaluation: Teaching the mother to NOT REPORT sexual or physical Abuse: As Ordered

by the Courts; by Dr. Milford “Bud” Dale.

then see below same? hmm…… http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/pas/RAG.html

Overview of Dr. Richard Gardner’s Opinions on Pedophilia and Child Sexual Abuse

Richard A. Gardner, M.D., is the creator of the creator and main proponent for Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) theory. Prior to his suicide, Gardner was an unpaid part-time clinical professor of child psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University . He made his money mainly as a forensic expert.

Get rid of them.

The best interest of the child is to remain with their primary attachment figure (usually their mothers) stop ripping the hearts and the lives out of these mothers and her children, by the highly profitable lucrative ‘industry’ of Case managers, Guardian Ad Litems, et other 3rd party ‘Justice’ interferers.

MISTAKES MOTHERS MAKE in Child Custody Litigation

In domestic law on August 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm

After that last post, it is sad that we can not help these moms, except to reach them before they enter family court nightmare. Readers please share this freely, we can not create justice in an unjust system. We can not fix it. All we can do at this point is ‘avoid’ to the best of your ability, the things that will choke the life out of you when you dare to walk into family court with the insane notion that ‘Justice’ will prevail. Be smart. Think. Think. And then, Think some more.

AMPP

MISTAKES MOTHERS MAKE in Child Custody Litigation

Courtesy The Liz Library

Mistake 1. Making threats, complaining, antagonizing, provoking, telling the other side what information you have and what you know, and otherwise disclosing your plans. Don’t make threats. Don’t complain. Don’t exacerbate the situation pointlessly. The fleeting psychic satisfaction isn’t worth it. And above all: don’t tell the other side what you know, or what information you have and what you’re going to do with it. The threats are particularly stupid when they’re empty. All they will do is motivate him to better prepare his case. Even if they’re not empty, you’ve lost the element of surprise, and given him a heads up how to prepare his case against you. (And be careful about what you tell mutual friends and coworkers. Too many of them end up being his friends. That includes what you put in writing or on-line or on other electronic devices that make records: email, Facebook, Twitter, cell phone bills, your vehicle’s GPS and toll passes, your computer hard drive, all leave discoverable evidence.)

custody prep for moms mothers movement activism, dealing with 
therapeutic jurisprudence in the courts, how to win your child custody caseMistake 2. Failing to prepare. Don’t file a lawsuit (and don’t threaten to file one — and do everything possible to keep one from being filed against you) until you have copies of all information, especially all financial information and legal documents, that you will need stored with family or friend in a safe place, including a complete copy of the hard drives of household/shared computers (call a professional to do this). Also safely store away all jewelry and precious tangible items, as well as irreplaceable sentimental items such as old photographs. Carefully think through who controls what assets (and in the case of household utilities who has the power to shut them off.) Make a plan to segregate debts, and to assure that debts that will affect your credit rating will continue to be paid. Have at least one separate bank account and ready access to cash. Discuss your future case with a lawyer, or preferably several lawyers. Talk with an accountant (not the family accountant). Thoroughly consider what you will do for income, living arrangements, transportation, and other needs. Have your own medical insurance for you and the kids. Make sure that email accounts are separate and under passwords that only you know, and that you have private communications. Make sure that on-line social, financial and medical accounts are private and passworded. Get a post office box for private mail. (And forpetessake don’t use the cell phone he gave you to talk to your lawyer!)

    (a) Failing to close joint credit lines. Before "anyone" knows you’re planning to get divorced, to the extent possible, close all home equity and joint credit card lines that can be run up and used to destroy your credit, fund litigation against you, and disappear your assets. Pay down the debts for which you are separately liable. (Even if debts are "assigned" to be paid by one or the other party in a divorce, that does not bind the third party creditor, who can still come after you.) This rule also applies to signing joint tax returns. See Mistake 9(a), below.

    (b) Filing for divorce near the 10-year social security spousal entitlement date. If you’re married for ten years, and you’re the lesser-earning spouse, especially a stay-home spouse, this could mean a lot of retirement money in the future. Don’t file for divorce in year 8 or 9 without making this calculation.

    (c) Not trading in the old car for a new one, not putting braces on the kid’s teeth, or not obtaining that elective surgery "now". These involve big ticket expenses that do not result in having divisible assets, but are or will be needed or wanted fairly soon, and may be far more difficult (or impossible) to purchase later on your own, when cash or credit is low, or when you need his agreement or a court order to obtain contribution. Buy them now with marital funds. Other big ticket expenses could be prepaying college tuition, the kid’s tennis lessons, or for next year’s summer camp.

    (d) Not living in the jurisdiction you want to live when you file for the divorce. Don’t relocate in the first place to follow the spouse to some remote, undesirable, or iffy new location. Maintain your permanent residence where you want to live, especially if he’s got a temporary assignment. If your marriage breaks down in the new location, you and the children may be stuck there for a very long time. (And if you have minor children, do not ever, ever, ever move — or bring them even temporarily for a visit — to any country such as Saudi Arabia with Muslim sharia laws in which, because you are a woman, your freedom to travel, and your authority over your own children, including leaving with them, can be restricted.)

    (e) Having your baby in a state (or country) in which you may not want to live for the next 18 years. The state where you give birth has initial jurisdiction over that child. If you’re pregnant and not married, go home to mama. Do not be lured back to live with him while you are pregnant. Especially without having a job or substantial ties, family and friends, in the area. Even if his entreaties to become family or get engaged are not a ruse, if it doesn’t work out, you’re stuck. Possibly for the next 18 years. You can always do the "let’s move in together", "let’s get engaged" or "let’s try it and see" later. Fewer and fewer courts these days are permitting women to relocate with their children.

Mistake 3. Making the custody case primarily about how crappy the man is instead of about the children (usually while professing to be "agreeing with" the proposition that the child "needs a relationship" with the father and/or pretending to be fostering this flimsy fuzzy idea). Not focusing on specifics of what the child needs and the observable tangibles: the child’s developmental age, habits, temperament, needs for consistency or stability; the parents’ work and school schedules; the child’s work and school and sleep schedules (and extracurricular activities that are important and why); other persons in the respective parents’ families, households and lives; the quality of the households and homelives of the parents; the parents’ respective socio-economic positions, backgrounds, education, and particular things each can offer (or not); how the child might better benefit from this or that schedule rather than another and why; time constraints, the pragmatics of traveling and everyday life; the quality of the communications between the parents; and so forth.

Mistake 4. Filing for child support, or a child support increase, if there is any way you can manage without it. This is the number one way women end up in custody litigation, losing control of their lives, and possibly losing custody of their children. In too many cases of "custody switch", everything was going fine, and something (the ex’s financial windfall, or her family) got her motivated to head into court for more child support. He frequently counters with a bid for increased time share, including a litany of accumulated wrongs she’s ostensibly perpetrated as the primary custodial parent. The money is rarely worth it.

therapeutic jurisprudence, custody evaluators, PSYCHDIAGNOSIS.NETMistake 5. Going to a mental health therapist or psychologist. Don’t have — and don’t make claims of having — any kind of emotional disability, disorder, anxiety, depression, inability to cope, or other dysfunction, if you can possibly avoid doing so. Especially do not leave a record of it on his insurance. Cry in the shower, go to church, meditate, or take up jogging. Exercise helps; therapy really doesn’t. Drugs don’t. Many lawyers endorse going to therapists because they don’t want you wasting time and money venting to them, or you’re rambling, unfocused, and using them as a sounding board. Some are just spouting the "common wisdom" promoted by mental health professionals. If you absolutely, positively must vent with one of these paid listeners for hire (therapist or psychologist) — or a physician/psychiatrist but only if you’re truly dangerously dysfunctional — then do not tell anyone you are going, pay cash, don’t get or fill prescriptions where any record of that can be discovered, and do not take any of their advice that remotely affects legal or financial issues.

Mistake 6. Taking the children to a therapist. There is absolutely nothing therapy from a mental health practitioner can do to fix a crappy situation. Fix the situation; don’t try to train children to cope with it. If children are having problems, then it’s far more likely than not that it’s the adults around them who are doing something wrong. If they need academic tutoring, then seek that; not mental health therapy and unnecessary diagnoses. Fixing the situation is the only "therapy" that will help. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that shlepping the kids to a therapist is a way to "build your case", create "evidence", or get a third party to testify to the children’s "disclosures". It isn’t. Better they "disclose" to a teacher in school. Judges have become jaded about clinical therapist testimony, especially therapists unilaterally selected by mothers, who are seen as biased advocates with next to no credibility in court (assuming they’re even permitted to testify.) If children are physically injured, see a physician. If children are abused, call the police. If you’re abused, call the police.

Mistake 7. Claiming that the children have physical, emotional, or academic disabilities, and therefore especially "need" you. One thing that helps mothers lose custody is to emphasize or fabricate claims that children are dysfunctional in some way, and hence need them, the primary caregiver under whose watch the kids haven’t done so flippin’ well. If the children do have disabilities, then de-emphasize these problems, and document realistically how the children have improved, and how well they are doing academically and in all other ways. Judges like to see happy people and well-adjusted children. They’re burned-out on complaints, have seen far worse (atrocities), and have hardened sympathies. The reality is that unless you or the children are at actual imminent risk of life or limb, your chances of getting primary timeshare will be greater if you appear to have a beautifully functioning life with beneficent feelings for all, than if you or the children are traumatized, victimized and needy. (If this is impossible, then at least project yourself as a capable well-adjusted parent who is managing optimally under the circumstances).

Mistake 8. Claiming that the children prefer you as parent. If this is true, and if you’re the better and more attached parent, it should be obvious. Stating that the children want or do not want this or that also is poisonous to your case (if there are good reasons for what they "want", then the facts alone underlying those reasons should be sufficient — leave the children’s feelings out of it.) If he’s abusive or incompetent, you may need to articulate the facts, but only in a balanced way (see item #13 regarding how) without harping and without exaggerating. Custody evaluators especially want to see that you have a rational point of view and can point out "strengths" as well as weaknesses. Also bear in mind that anti-mother fatherhood-exaltation custody evaluators and guardians ad litem (most of them) particularly recoil when women emphasize their super-close loving relationships with their children. Perhaps they resent that they themselves don’t have these kinds of relationships with their own children (or any children at all), or as children did not have a good relationship with one or both of their own parents. These professionals too often seem to have their own emotional and family issues, or at best are in it for the money. Any mother who appears to be emphasizing the difference between how the children feel about her versus their father is setting herself up for charges of being a parental alienator, "enmeshed", overly protective, controlling, angry, depressed, vindictive, and other mother-dissing phenomena. Also for father-sympathetic increased timeshare or "therapy" to improve the father-child relationship.

Mistake 9. Allowing your lawyer to make substantive decisions, or to pressure you into signing agreements without adequate time to think about it. It’s your case. Your job is to make it easier for the lawyer to promote your case, and to find out what you need to do to accomplish your goals, working together. Read The Good Attorney-Client Relationship, and the Custody Prep for Moms website (linked above). Do not ever let your lawyer attend any court hearing or conference without you, or make any agreements in your case without previously discussing the matter with you and giving you time to think about it and decide. (Unless you’re more sophisticated in these matters than the other side, that includes pressuring you to sign agreements at mediation too. If it’s such a great agreement, it will hold for a day or so.) Make sure your lawyer understands this and agrees. Don’t cave to threats from your lawyer of withdrawing or future demands for big lump sums for trial if you don’t settle. (That’s extortion, by the way, and should warrant bar discipline.) Some common seemingly minor things agreed to hastily or under pressure, but which can have long-term bad consequences, include:

    (a) Signing, or agreeing to sign a future joint tax return. Be very careful about doing this unless the assured benefits far outweigh the risks, especially if he is self-employed or cheats on his taxes. "Outweighing the risks" means that the money is not merely promised, but in hand.

    (b) Not being the owner of the life insurance policy. There are three roles in a life insurance policy: the owner (the person in contractual privity with the insurance company), the insured, and the beneficiary. Being the beneficiary is useless if you are not also the owner of the policy with the ability to control who the beneficiary is, or even whether the policy gets cancelled. Too many women have discovered that they can’t collect a cancelled insurance policy from a dead man’s estate.

    (c) Agreeing to a "right of first refusal" that’s not well thought through. This rule also applies to anything of importance that is hastily drafted by a mediator or lawyers at a settlement conference.

    (d) Agreeing to a "temporary" timesharing solution — or "temporary" anything else, such as aparenting coordinator — that you know is difficult or unworkable, or as to which you have doubts. Just don’t agree to "try it and see". Say no. Temporary agreements have a way of becoming permanent, or at least extremely difficult to get changed. Contra, adequate temporary financial support if you easily can get it and it’s not so much that it will motivate him to up his timesharing demands.

    (e) Agreeing that the family home is a "bad investment", or too expensive for you, and should be sold. Many financial advisors will give this advice as a rule of thumb. But occasionally they’re wrong. Everyone still has to live somewhere and housing costs are going to be incurred no matter what. So "it depends". It’s not like you can trade the residence for a stock portfolio and live on the street. The financial advisor’s assumptions may or may not be correct. Moreover, life is to be lived, and quality and neighborhood counts, especially for kids. There are value judgments here in addition to purely quantitative calculations. The decision should not be made based on shoot-from-the-hip truisms uttered by pencil-pushing strangers (or the other party’s desire to minimize support obligations.)

    (f) Seeking supervised visitation when it’s inappropriate. Unless you and your lawyer both think that there’s a good chance that he’s going to be criminally convicted of domestic battery or child sexual abuse, or you and your lawyer both are pretty sure that you have or will obtain evidence warranting the termination of his parental rights or at least the permanent cessation of all contact (rare), or you can out-litigate and out-spend him until he goes away, or you’re desperate to protect the children even for a short time (and after that come what may), or your situation fits within one of the other limited appropriate uses of supervised visitation, cavalierly seeking this remedy is a way to make an expensive complicated mess of your case, guarantee the appointment of a GAL and probably also a custody evaluator, and place yourself at a 50-50 risk of ultimately losing custody.

Mistake 10. Failing to attend every single court hearing and case management conference. The overwhelming most of the time when bad things happen to mothers in litigation, they happen, or the seeds are planted for them to happen in the future, when their lawyer agrees to something without consulting with them. These mistakes include the "innocuous" agreements for the appointment of or choice of custody evaluators, parenting coordinators, therapists and GALs. (See mistake #11, below). Two heads are better than one, and you know the details of your life and needs better than your lawyer does. At worst, a lawyer who says that youshould not or may not be present, or does not tell you in advance about every single case event, is more likely than not deliberately or stupidly or lazily going to end up doing something you may not like. Alternatively he may sincerely believe that your presence harms your own case (in which event he should have the balls to tell you this outright and explain why). At any rate, if your lawyer does not adequately inform you so that you can be present, or tells you that you should not or may not attend, then be assured that he is unlikely to be doing so out of concern for your personal time and schedule.

    (a) Failing to insist on having a court reporter at every single hearing.This includes short motion calendar hearings and case management conferences, no matter how ostensibly unimportant, and no matter whether they’re supposedly "taped" by the court. Do not ever let your lawyer suggest that you do not need a court reporter. A lawyer who does this is not representing your interests. It’s not a money saver; it’s penny-wise, pound-foolish. When it’s documented, everyone behaves better, and you have the record you might need on an appeal (or when you hire a new lawyer.)

    (b) Failing to keep on top of and understand your case. It’s your case. You need to understand it, you need to demand all information about it from your lawyer, you need to know exactly what is going on at all times, and you need to be making the decisions and receiving all information necessary for you to make the decisions, including — after explanation, when you are so inclined — allowing the lawyer to decide between thoroughly described alternatives.

Parenting CoordinationMistake 11. Allowing a mental health professional, child custody evaluator, parenting coordinator, therapist, guardian ad litem, visitation superviser, or other court-appointed professional into your case. Do everything you can to prevent court-appointed professionals from coming into your case, and resist if your lawyer appears to be making an ill-thought-through rote suggestion. The odds are far greater than not that the introduction of these people will exponentially increase your costs, complicate your case, and end up hurting your chances of prevailing. This includes seeking inappropriate supervised visitation; see Mistake 9(f) above.

Mistake 12. Letting your own parents badmouth the ex in front of the kids. You’ll be blamed as the parental alienator. They don’t understand that times have changed. They only know that their own child has been wronged, and too often, won’t shut up about it. Sad fact of life. More and more these days, it seems as if it’s the grandparents who indirectly are the parties in these cases. It’s great if you have their emotional or financial support, but do make sure they are up to speed on what helps and what hurts.

Dealing with forensic psychologists and discovery of test data in courtMistake 13. Not learning the difference between telling people what to think and articulating the facts in a way that will induce them to come to their own conclusions that accord with yours. If you’re in custody litigation or any court case, you will be testifying as well as telling others such as your lawyer the facts of the case. Credible witnesses talk about what they saw and heard. People tend to be much more convinced by their own conclusions drawn from descriptions of what happened than by conclusory statements such as "he’s abusive". When neutral people are told what to think, their minds start weighing and silently arguing with your conclusions. By contrast, when they are given facts, they may ask for more information, but they don’t feel the same need to mentally interpose their judgment against yours for the sake of balance. Good testimony is when you paint a picture for the other person by describing what you saw, heard, felt, tasted or smelled. Bad testimony is telling others your opinions, whether formed from your personal observations or from what other people have told you.

Mistake 14. Choosing a lawyer because he or she tells you what you want to hear. (Usually, the lawyer who gives you this kind of sell job actually is letting you mislead yourself by using vague language — but the written retainer agreement may "sound" very different, e.g. "no guaranteed results".) Also be wary of the lawyer who sets fees unrealistically low (a risk that the lawyer will not be motivated), or in the celebrity stratosphere (a risk that your case may be made unduly complicated, churned with crony referrals and unproductive shenanigans.) Conversely, you do not want to hire a lawyer who tries to impose on you the lawyer’s ideas of what your goals should be, or what is in the best interests of your children. This is not the same as a realistic assessment of your case, or asking questions to elicit why you hold the position you hold. Listen carefully to what the lawyer says. Ask "why". A lot. When you interview a lawyer, you should be able to articulate a reasonable outcome that you would like to achieve, and, although some will disagree with me, I think that the lawyer is going to be more creative, certainly more convincing, if he or she cares about the outcome — beyond "winning" — and is in actual ideological agreement with you. Consider the lawyer’s own personal background. Ask about it. The lawyer also should be able to explain to you how realistic or difficult or expensive or not it may be to achieve your goals, and your options. Your lawyer is not there to give you emotional support, or to terrorize and punish your ex. The lawyer is there to work for you, to strive to get as close as possible to your reasonable goals while also attempting to limit the amount of pain and cost for all concerned without compromising those goals.

therapeutic jurisprudence and forensic psychology researchMistake 15. Failing to set long-term goals, and not keeping the end-game in sight. Don’t allow your case to get waylaid and off on money-wasting, time-wasting, or counterproductive tangents. Disputes over relatively unimportant issues. Squabbling over minor financial matters. Visitation timing minutiae. Discovery delays. Getting sucked into the bog of a custody evaluation. Remember where you want the case to end up, and how you want your family situation to look in the short term and long term. Keep the lawyer on track by asking how this or that suggestion or strategy or legal maneuver may help move you toward your goals.

liz

[This article was discussed May 5, 2012, on The Justice Hour radio show hosted by family lawyer Lisa Macci; and subsequently supplemented with additional "mistakes". To listen, download (wma) or (mp3) file. Re the above (Mistake #5) regarding the over-consultation of therapists, see the archives and listen to the May 22, 2012 show with Harvard psychologist Paula Caplan on DSM corruption and the APA.]

RESEARCH AND CITATIONS

  • Joint Custody Research: The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions
  • Or maybe not. Joint Custody Studies (multiple research citations)
  • What the Experts Say about "Shared Parenting"
  • Myths and Facts about Fatherhood: What the Research REALLY Says
  • Myths and Facts about Motherhood: What the Research REALLY Says
  • Myths and Facts about Stepmothers and Mother Absence: What the Research REALLY Says
  • Misplaced Blame and Simplistic Solutions by Margaret Martin Barry
  • Protecting Battered Parents and Their Children in the Family Court System by Clare Dalton
  • Judge Gerald W. Hardcastle on joint custody and judicial decisionmaking
  • Attachment 101 for Attorneys: Implications for Infant Placement Decisions by Willemsen and Marcel
  • The Case Against Joint Custody (Ontario Women’s Justice Network)
  • The "Responsible Fatherhood" movement by liz
  • Right of First Refusal in Parenting Plans
  • Custody Evaluators and Discovery of Test Data
  • Richard Ducote, Esq, on Abolishing Guardians ad Litem
  • Margaret Dore, Esq. on the Case for Abolishing Custody Evaluators
  • Liz on the Lawyer Ethical Problems with Therapeutic Jurisprudence
  • Re-evaluating the Evaluators: Custody Evaluation Guidelines
  • Child Custody Evaluators: In Their Own Words
  • Therapeutic Jurisprudence Index

    RESEARCH RELEVANT TO CHILD CUSTODY ISSUES

    Dead children.  Justice's Posterous

  • Research: Joint Custody Studies
  • Research: Joint Custody Just Does Not Work
  • Myths and Facts about Fatherhood  What the Research Really Says
  • Myths and Facts about Motherhood What the Research Really Says
  • Myths and Facts about Stepmothers and Mother Absence
  • Child Custody Research: What the Experts Say Scholarly Review

    "RULE OF LAW" vs."RULE OF MAN"

    The Child-Centered DivorceA common theme underlying nearly all the problems in the family courts is the sloppy float away from the "rule of law" to "rule of man". The "rule of man" describes such things as dictatorships, decision-making by whim, discretion without oversight, vague standards that cannot predictably be anticipated or applied, faux-expert recommendation-making and opining such as with mental health professional parenting evaluations, and the panoply of therapeutic jurisprudence interventions such as parenting coordination and special mastering. All of these abrogate due process, and the fundamental principles on which our system of jurisprudence was founded. The ideas have been pushed by the mental health lobbies and by individuals who either don’t understand or don’t care about some higher priorities.

    "Rule of man" is a concept that we ditched with the formation of this country in favor of "rule of law". Our founding fathers recognized that there is no way to regulate or oversee individuals given too much discretion or dictatorial authority. With regard to the family courts, I keep hearing and reading what are essentially inane pleas to fix the various misguided ADR programs via "guidelines" (aspirational only, and with immunity from sanction for misfeasance), and for "trainings", and for getting rid of those who are "incompetent" — all of which suggestions exhibit an astonishing lack of appreciation for the stupidity inherent in these extra-judicial ideas — ideas which Thomas Paine and our founding fathers would have abhorred (see, e.g. Common Sense). Dictatorship cannot be permitted not because there couldn’t (theoretically) be some wise and beneficent dictators who would be better and more efficient than the messy system of due process and checks and balances we idealize, but because under that dictatorial system we inevitably and primarily will suffer the fools, the tyrants, and the corrupt. And that’s without addressing the panoply of other constitutional defects. Besides, no scientifically sound research actually establishes "harm" from the adversarial system — or benefit to families’ well-being from applied therapeutic jurisprudence. These ideas were invented in mental health trade promotion groups as lobbying talking points. (If you doubt this, feel free to contact me for more information.) Yikes. What are we doing. To the extent we’ve been sold a bill of goods, swampland, snake oil and the voo doo of "expertise" by the mental health professions, at least until relatively recently, the stuff wasn’t harming our legal system. Now it is. Wake up, and wise up.

    What we do need are some realistic changes in the substantive laws addressing divorce and child custody. What we don’t need is a revolution in procedural rules and the overthrowing of individuals’ constitutional rights.

    For my list of rants, see the index to the section of the website on parenting coordination.

  • NJ APPEAL DECISION – HARMING KIDS FOR PROFIT IN FAMILY COURT

    In domestic law on August 2, 2012 at 12:45 am

    TAKE CARE OF THIS GUY – NJ APPEAL COURT

    I have been following a New Jersey family court case that started out in Essex County, and was moved to Hudson County.  The mom is a pro-se litigant- up against many high powered lawyers.  The appeal was filed pro-se, and while custody of kids was a genuine issue, the trial court made changes without the benefit of a trial.  There was no testimony in this case ever.  The court used one tainted expert – and – a CD captured something unsavory the day custody was altered a year ago.  The father in the case is caught on tape "I am giving this to you to make good to this guy"- nodding toward chambers.  The lawyers are heard saying "watch– be careful – the tape is running"- what did New Jersey family court do with this information?  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!  The story gets better.  The father gifted a large grant one month before the case was heard.  What was done about that?  NOTHING!

    Today- the news came in that a decision was reached in the case.  The Appellate Judges affirmed the decision of the trial court to alter custody and parenting time without the benefit of a trial, without any testimony, and without a peer review of the biased report.  The court went on TO JUSTIFY CHILD ABUSE !  Yes— you read that correctly- the appellate division of New Jersey justified why a six year old boy was hit across the face by the paternal grandfather.  (This abuse occurred during the evaluation)  There was no exam of finances in this case for over six years, and yet the court ruled the mother should pay all experts.  The mother has nothing left !  Not one dollar !  The father however has millions of dollars, many lawyers, and purposely ran the mom penniless litigating the case for six years and counting.  The court also talks about how the father cannot control his anger at times, but still grants him over 50% of the children’s time.  The oldest child will not attend parenting time, and they blame her for that too! 

    I can promise you that if the father had not liked the decision made in the evaluations, there would have been national experts flown in for him.  (The court actually promised him he could hire as many experts as he wanted- but denied the mother any independent experts)  This case has always had a smell to it– it stinks!  The children were taken from a stay at home mom, and sent to a "nanny".  The father continues to muscle the court system, even getting the new Judge to agree it is OK to leave a seven year old boy alone in a hotel room.  (The boy had been injured while the father strolled on the beach with a woman)  The Judge told the mom she would "do anything to ruin his vacation".  The child was left alone on an island repeatedly, and that was deemed acceptable by the Hudson County family court. 

    I always suspected that the appellate court would take the coward’s route – they will rarely go against a fellow Judge in the brotherhood.  What recourse does a regular mom have against a mogul?  None !  He bought this verdict no matter how you look at it–he had the money to pay all the experts he wanted- he had the money to have all the lawyers he wanted- the mom had nothing!  This case has never been on level playing ground.  While the husband brought in a parade of high profile lawyers (some worked on McGreevey divorce- Strahan divorce- and mafia cases) the mom was alone.

    The case is an unpublished opinion and will be posted on the NJ Court website for 10 days-

    http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/unappopin/unappopc.htm

    The title of the case is LC vs VC (Essex County)   Decision of 7/23/12

    Note that the opinion rips apart the mom for everything, and pats the dad on the back for everything.  This is the typical family court attitude- punish the victims- punish mom for leaving– award the monied spouse whatever they want- treat kids like property.  The appellate judges should be deeply ashamed of this decision- kids are being impacted because of a biased opinion that women are crybabies.  (Please keep in mind my other posts about the Honorable Judge Sol Gothard- only about 7% of abuse reports are false in custody cases)  The fair Judge they keep referring to was under federal investigation for his behavior in this case – and they knew it.  How much of this decision comes down to retaliation for going against a sitting judge?  Note– they fail to mention that the FBI were actively investigating this Judge, even though the point was talked about at oral arguments.  They had to punish her for seeking help from authorities.  (Although I cannot imagine what mother would hear the CD of the money exchange and not go to the authorities for help)  The court makes mention of the case being moved from Essex to Hudson County- but they never mention why it was done.  The case was moved after the FBI began questioning people close to the case.

     

    PART OF THE CD $$$ EXCHANGE – Video here:

    COURT CHANGING VENUE – Video here:

    Any person who wishes to help this mom- offer legal assistance- offer a peer review of the report that was placed into order- please contact me at annieisa74@gmail.com -  At this point in time- she is alone with no experts- no lawyer- and no way to help her children.  Something really unsavory occurred a year ago- and the appellate court does not care to correct this injustice- and this travesty of justice involving innocent children– "take care of this guy"–  I cannot sit by and watch this any longer– to be very clear to the courtwhores that will read this blog– the mom did not ask me to do this – she did not tell me to do this– I am just so disgusted with the justice system- I need to try and help in some small way- even if it is only showing support for this family-  The truth needs to be told- whether they like it or not – FREEDOM OF SPEECH STILL EXISTS (I hope)

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