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Saturday, November 22, 2014

LAUGHABLY FLAWED STUDY ON CT JUDICIAL BRANCH COMPLIANCE WITH THE ADA MAKES IT ONTO THE CT JUDICIAL BRANCH WEBSITE AND THE PAGES OF THE CT LAW TRIBUNE!

On November 17, 2014 I was struck by an article in the CT Law Tribune stating that the CT Judicial Branch had been cited by the National Center for Access to Justice (NCAJ) as having "the highest overall ranking for any state for its programs aimed at providing equal court access to all citizens." 
 
This was a surprise to me since I have been closely involved in advocacy aimed at getting the CT Judicial Branch to comply with the ADA, which for the better part it does not do.  I then today took note of the fact that the CT Judicial Branch itself is boasting of its great work as well on the front page of its website, also citing the NCAJ. 
 
Wanting to get a better grasp of this absurd announcement, I actually clicked on the link to the National Center for Access to Justice and was not surprised to see that the touted justice index which praises Connecticut so greatly was first started on February 25, 2014.  Well, I think then, given how new this index is that it can be forgiven a little idiocy until it catches up with the rest of us more grizzled participants in the field of disability rights! 
 
The next thing I did was take a look at the parameters which earned the Connecticut Judicial Branch such high ratings, despite the fact that it has such a widespread reputation among litigants for obstructing the ADA at every turn.  So, folks, these are the parameters that the Justice Index used as the basis of its determinations.  Mind you, they didn't speak to anybody--either judicial branch employees or litigants with disabilities.  What they did was surf judicial branch websites in states throughout the nation for answers to the following questions:  
 
1.  Are courts required or allowed to charge deaf or hard of hearing for sign language interpreters?
 
2.  Certification of sign language interpreters a. Is there a State statute, rule, or other guidance requiring courts to use only certified sign language court interpreters? b. Are courts required to give preference to sign language interpreters who have training in how to interpret in a legal setting?
 
3.  Does the state judiciary’s web site tell court users: a. How to request an accommodation because of disability or who to contact to request an accommodation? b. How to file a complaint about difficulty accessing court facilities or services because of disability? c. Who to contact to file a complaint?
 
4.  Is there a State statute, rule or other guidance requiring courts to allow service animals?
 
 
Questions one and two out of the four questions are in regard to the deaf.  I would suspect this is directed towards the CT Judicial Branch which signed a settlement with the Department of Justice in November 11, 2003 agreeing to provide accommodations for folks who are deaf.  Hard as it is to believe, prior to that date, they were not doing so. 
 
From the data I have, deafness is pretty much the only disability the CT Judicial Branch accommodates.  So what about all the other various disabilities that need to be accommodated--they don't receive any honorable mention? 
 
Question three appears to indicate that the Connecticut Judicial Branch provides litigants with information on who to contact in order to request an accommodation and who to contact in order to submit a grievance.  In fact, this is not true.  The CT Judicial Branch website tells you to speak to a contact person--and there are over a 100 listed on the website--at the clerk's office for a request for accommodation. 
 
This is hardly a name. 
 
For a grievance, you are asked to submit your documents to the Director of the Human Resources Management Unit. 
 
So you do not actually get the name and contact information of a specific individual, i.e. Designated Responsible Employee, who is in charge of the implementation of the ADA at the CT Judicial Branch which is what the ADA actually requires. 
 
What this comes down to is the fact that this so called justice index has been produced on the most superficial level possible and has no more credibility than, say, a law diploma ordered from the internet for a modest fee. 
 
Apparently, a considerable number of Carbozo Law students were involved in compiling the data used in the making of this justice index.  Oops!  Sorry, I meant Cardozo School of Law students.  Ok, call me a snob, but I would probably have been more impressed with these results if they had been compiled by students from Harvard Law, Cornell Law, or Columbia Law--you know, schools with some actual prestige--but, you know, they would probably not have been willing to participate in such a laughable project no matter how many brib--excuse me--much money you gave them. 
 
Ok, so students from the University of Pennsylvania Law school (ranked 7th or 8th in the country) did some research as well, but what with the Sandusky affair and the kids for cash scandal, I wouldn't credit any institution from Pennsylvania! 
 
The bottom line in any investigation of compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act is whether the CT Judicial Branch actually provided accommodations to the litigants who used the court system and whether the Branch actually reached out to litigants to let them know that such accommodations were available.  Yes, item number four regarding service dogs is important, but not half as important making sure that the ADA is applied to everyone.
 
I myself was unaware of the existence of  ADA accommodations  at the CT Judicial Branch until three years after my case was filed, and I am not the only one who has had that kind of experience. 
 
That is a pretty miserable record, in my humble opinion. 
 
From what I can see, the National Center For Access to Justice is largely made up of and funded by -- you guessed it -- attorneys!  I thought it was interesting to see the Pfizer Legal Group is participating since Pfizer is such a major corporation in Connecticut. 
 
Needless to say, when lawyers and their legal institutions start praising themselves and their accomplishments, which they are never too modest to do--see the Super Lawyers website which is equally powered by scuzzy brib--excuse me--financial contributions--you've got to start feeling a little nervous. 
 
I can only assume that this recent desperate ploy of establishing a fake justice index indicates that the Connecticut Judicial Branch and its judges are feeling the heat from several Federal and State ADA Lawsuits which have been filed against it within the last two years for non-compliance with the comprehensive civil rights mandate of the ADA.  My response is only to say one day we shall overcome, we shall overcome.

Monday, November 17, 2014

CT SWAT TEAM STORMS HOUSE, REMOVES LEGALLY OWNED GUNS FROM TED TAUPIER, A FORMER BANKER WITH NO PRIOR CRIMINAL RECORD!

Journalist Raquel Okyay reports as follows:

"A Connecticut gun owner told Guns and Patriots that his civil rights were stripped from him by an anti-gun judicial branch and a soon-to-be ex-wife who is uncomfortable with him owning guns.

“This high risk SWAT team rolls in and takes all my guns,” said Edward F. Taupier the respondent in a two-year divorce action that has escalated to an all-out war. “It took two armadillo armored vehicles, 75 officers with weapons drawn, and 45 minutes to raid my house.”

For more information on this outrageous situation, please click on the link below:

http://humanevents.com/2014/11/17/nutmeg-state-swat-storms-gun-owners-home-seizes-firearms/

BEFORE THEY SHUT OFF THE LIGHTS: HOW TO DEAL WITH THE ELECTRIC COMPANY WHEN YOUR EX STOPS MAKING COURT ORDERED PAYMENTS! PLUS UPDATE!

I am lucky that my divorce situation is mostly in the past, but sometimes one of my kids will start talking about the old days.  For example, recently, my son said, "Oh, so when we were playing that game of using candles to light the house, it wasn't actually a game!"  I was like, "Now that you mention it, you are right."  This comes up because I still continue to advocate for people in divorce and the kids see me researching topics. 

Last week, I ended up researching the issue of the electric company, Connecticut Light and Power, when a young lady going through the pendente period called me to say her ex had not paid the electric bill which he was court ordered to do based upon their financial agreement.  She stated that the electric company had cut off power to the house and refused to turn it back on even though she was living in the house with an infant.  The next week her ex cut off fuel deliveries to the house and so it went. 

I had the exact same situation happen to me during the pendente period in my case.  Ex-husbands regularly fail to obey the financial agreements they signed and which became an order to the Court as a means to coerce and harass their ex wives. 


Unfortunately, as in my case, the Court often fails to enforce these agreements and when protective mothers go to Court to obtain some kind of relief, Judges will often imply that such concerns are trivial.  Of course, I'd like to see how some of those Judges would feel if they couldn't have a bath before getting in their cars to go to Court, or how they'd feel if they couldn't review their documents the night before because they couldn't switch on the light!

In fact, they are absolutely not trivial, particularly when you have children who are suffering along with you, as with my friend. 

So what can you do in a situation like this?

One, you can file a motion for contempt in family court.  The problem with this approach is that it often takes weeks before the motion actually comes before the court.  And, as I have said, Judges are likely to blow them off.  Meanwhile, you are sitting around your house without any electricity. 

The second thing you can do is negotiate with your electric company and try to get them to turn the electricity back on.  

Before I tell you more about that, let me answer the question that must be foremost in your mind.  Is it legal to shut off the electricity when there is an infant or a child under five living in the house? 

Yes, it is legal for the electric company to shut off the electricity under those circumstances.  

So, what can you do when it comes to negotiating with the electric company to get your electricity back on?  As far as the electric company is concerned, there are two primary issues that are in play when you have an outstanding bill with the electric company and cannot pay it:

1.  What is your income? Are you struggling with economic hardship? And

2.  Do you have a life-threatening medical condition that could put the life of an occupant of a house at risk should the electricity be shut off? 

Now, I personally think that placing an infant in a situation where he or she has no electricity is life-threatening, but that is just me! 

Here are some considerations to keep in mind when you are negotiating with the electric company.  For instance, if you are renting your home, the electricity service cannot be shut off because the landlord does not pay the bill.  If it is shut off, you should contact the police and the utility company.  The landlord must find a way to restore service to your home.

If the bill is in your ex-husband's name and he does not pay that bill, it is true that service can be shut off from your home.  However, there is a caveat to that, which is that if the family court judge provides you with an order stating that the electric company cannot shut off service to your home if the bill is not paid, then the electric company cannot not shut off service. 

The service representative I spoke to at C, L, & P stated he had never seen such an order in all the time he had worked with the company, but that does not mean you  could not ask for such an order or get one!  There is always a first time!

Another recourse that you have is that if you transfer the electric bill from your ex's name to your name, you then have 90 days from the date you ask for service in your name before the electric company can shut off service.  In addition, if you have a court order stating that your ex is supposed to pay the bill, you can then add an additional 90 days before the electric company can shut off your electricity. 

So that gives you a total of 180 continuous days where you can be safe from a shut off and resolve the problems, and that should not be sneezed at.  By then, you might even be divorced and the issue will be moot! 

Ok, maybe not in one of those high conflict divorces that last for years, but I am trying to stay positive! 

The primary point that the C, L & P representative made to me is that decisions regarding shut offs directly relate to income.  You could be eligible for energy assistance and protection from shut offs, particularly during the winter months of November 1 to May 1, if you qualify based upon low-income or slightly higher income. 

To find out if you qualify, call 211 and they will assist you in filling out the paperwork and once it is completed they will automatically send your application to the electric company.  You can also go to town social services where you live and do the same thing.  If you are determined to be eligible for one of these programs, the electric company cannot switch off the electricity to your home during the winter months, but they can switch off electricity during the summer if you are unable to straighten out your bill.

There are other special programs.  For example, you can also sign up for a payment program and agree to make regular payments to catch up with your prior balance.  The only problem there is that if it turns out you can't make those payments and fail to make them, the electric company will drop you from that program.  They will then demand the immediate payment of the entire balance and if you don't pay right away, shut off the electricity to your home immediately.  Often, they don't care how high or impossible that balance is; they still want their money right away or else.  Take it from me, because I have already gone through this.

This leads me to my other point about payment plans, don't agree to make payments you are unable to make.  Don't give in to pressure or agree to something you know you can't actually do when it comes down to it.  Instead, try to get the service representative to agree to payments that you are able to afford. 


Aside from payment plans, C, L, & P also has a matching payment program where you pay a portion of the bill, energy assistance pays a portion of the bill, and the electric company pays the rest.  The company also has forgiveness programs where they discharge some of the debt.  Again, this is based upon your income, and you would have to negotiate with the company to obtain the best possible program available for you.  

You can also obtain protection from shut off if you or someone else in your household, for instance, your children, would be in danger of a medical emergency without electric service.  To obtain this protection, you have to ask your doctor fill out an online form certifying the nature of the condition and confirm that electric service is essential for that condition.  This certification from a doctor must be submitted every year. 

The doctor has two options he can check off, i.e. 1. that you only need electric coverage for the winter months of November 1 to May 1, or 2. that you need electric coverage year round. 

The advantage for you of being on this coverage is that if the electric company anticipates any interruption in your electric coverage, they will notify you by phone call in advance so that you can make alternate arrangements to make sure your medical equipment is operating.  This is a big advantage for parents and children with disabilities who require ongoing electric service. 

Keep in mind, however, that just because the electric company cannot shut off your electricity because of an outstanding balance, this does not mean that you are not responsible for paying the balance, because you do still remain responsible.  This issue will have to be worked out in Court eventually if your ex refuses to follow through on making the payments he agreed to make. 

One question I posed to C, L, & P is the following scenario which has relevance to all protective mothers.  What if you have a couple that has filed for divorce.  The ex-husband earns $70,000 per year and Mom is an at-home mother with children who is court ordered to receive child support, but father is not paying it.  The father is no longer in the home and is court ordered to pay the electricity, but refuses to pay it.  In a situation like that, would the mother be entitled to participate in the energy assistance program based upon a lack of income, or would she be considered at the same income level of her ex, even though she has no access to it. 


The service representative at C, L, & P was unable to answer that question and transferred my call to a Community Action Agency for more information.  Unfortunately, all I got was an answering machine with a promise to call me back if I left a message.  I still have not yet received my return call. 


The next place I turned to was the 211 number.  When I dialed that number, a recording told me they were truly happy to receive my call.  However, they told me that there were nine people already in line waiting to receive assistance.  That number was reduced slowly until it was just me and then I was connected to an answering machine that asked me to leave my name and telephone number and someone would call me back.  I did that, but no one has yet to call me back. 


After that, I scoured my head for someone else to call and finally came up with the idea of calling town social services.  I then dialed them up and again obtained an answering machine that assured me that if I left my name and telephone number someone would get back to me shortly.  Again, no one has yet to call me back. 


So bottom line is, I do not have an answer to my hypothetical.  Once I do, I will report the answer to my question on the website.  I do think it is a problem that any woman who calls to obtain information or support will most likely end up with answering machines, unanswered phone calls, and a general lack of vital information.  This situation cannot help but be tremendously discouraging to people is distress.


Clearly, when an ex husband refuses to pay for electricity, fuel, cable, and telephone which he agreed to do and which he was required to do by an order of the Court, this is pure harassment.  There is no doubt that it happens all the time, that attorneys, judges, and mental health professionals under contract with the Court are quite familiar with this behavior, and that they are aware that the men who indulge in this behavior are jerks.  All that it would take to stop this behavior is a decision on the part of the attorney and judges, let alone the mental health professionals, to refuse to tolerate it.  Thus far, they have not made such a decision because they prefer to perpetuate the abuse.  Then they say no abuse exists. 


Among those of us seeking to find positive solutions to the complex problems of family court, eliminating the way unethical men abuse women by shutting off court ordered utilities is on the top of the list of essential reforms.

Update: I received a phone call late in the day from town services in response to the message I left on the answering machine.  Again, I posed my hypothetical which is what if there is an at home mother with a husband who makes $70,000 where father agreed to court ordered child support, and agreed to a court order to pay for utilities, but subsequently refuses to pay.  Now you are a mother with no source of income, young children, and your electricity has been cut off--what do you do?  Does the fact that father makes a high income prevent you from obtaining fuel assistance and other kinds of relief? 

The town social services representative told me that this mother should, indeed, go to town services and apply for relief.  Town social services will investigate the situation and connect the mother to whatever is necessary to make sure that she and her children are safe in their home, particularly during the winter months.  As long as the mother can verify her circumstances town social services will do whatever they can to help out.  This is includes referrals to the broad range of supports that they have available.  Often, town social services can speak directly to utility companies and work out a sensible solution.

The town representative told me that the theoretical peron I described should definitely be working with Interval House or the Susan B. Anthony House or some other domestic violence shelter to obtain guidance in regard to how to manage her circumstances.  She also suggested that mothers in this situation check in with The Connecticut Woman's Educational and Legal Fund.  The link to this organization is below:

http://www.cwealf.org/

The town services representative stated that for some women it is very hard to acknowledge that they are in trouble and need help.  Many such women have always taken care of themselves and paid their own bills.  For them it is tough to recognize that they have to reach out and let others support them.  What is important is that such Mothers accept the situation and recognize there is no shame in needing help.  This could happen to any person any time and anywhere.  So definitely take that first step to give town social services a phone call and set up a time to meet.  Don't wait until you have put yourself of your children at risk, particularly in regard to young children.

Still, despite these safeguards, there will be some women who fall through the cracks and end up being victimized by their ex-husband's refusal to live up to the responsibilities he took on to pay utilities and fuel.  That is, ultimately, what happened to me and it will continue to happen to other women. This is one of the most common forms of economic abuse that men get up to during divorce with the collusion of the family court system.
 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

THE SILENT EPIDEMIC: TED TAUPIER'S DEVASTATING ENCOUNTER WITH THE CORRUPT CT FAMILY COURT SYSTEM!

From "The Rebel Pundit", see the report below:

"Up until two years ago, Ted Taupier didn’t spend much time thinking about the meaning of his first, second, eighth, and fourteenth amendment rights, but as he’s watched all those rights disappear along with his parental rights, Taupier tells RebelPundit he’s had a first hand look at the cruelty of an unchecked and unaccountable court system."

For more information on this situation, please click on the link below:

WIDELY USED FAMILY COURT PSYCHOLOGIST, DR. DONALD HIEBEL, ACCUSED OF AFFAIR WITH CLIENT 30 YEARS YOUNGER, ACCEPTS MASSAGES FROM ANOTHER!

In a complaint filed on November 3, 2014, Dr. Donald Hiebel, a psychologist and a major proponent of a controversial theory known as Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), is accused of conducting an affair with a female client 30 years his junior. 


Dr. Donald Hiebel is affiliated with Roeder and Polansky Family and Child Associates located in Middletown, CT  and also has a private office in West Hartford. The client, designated as "Jane Doe" received psychotherapy from Dr. Donald Hiebel from January 21, 2013 until approximately July 9, 2013.

According to the Complaint, from January to July 2013, Dr. Donald Hiebel provided psychotherapy for Jane Doe in order to assist her in obtaining shared custody of her minor son and to help her with emotional and psychological problems.  Then in the summer and fall of 2013, Dr. Hiebel and his patient, Jane Doe, began to spend a considerable amount of time together.  Dr. Hiebel told Jane Doe that he intended to divorce his wife so he and the client could be together.  During that time they had several sexual encounters in Dr. Hiebel's West Hartford office, at Heibel's homes and also other locations. 

Further, according to the complaint, Dr. Donald Hiebel advised Jane Doe to break up with her boyfriend at the time who was paying for her apartment, her mental health fees, as well as her attorney fees.  Then Dr. Hiebel borrowed $5,000.00 from a friend and used that money to pay all of Jane Doe's living expenses.  This money was funneled through his company, Roeder and Polansky Family and Child Associates checking account and corporate credit card.  When Jane Doe considered having therapy with another mental health professional, Dr. Hiebel advised against it.

As a consequence of this alleged inappropriate sexual relationship, Jane Doe is claiming that she has suffered various damages including "shock, mistrust of medical professionals, extreme emotional disturbance, hospitalizations, instability, humiliation, emotional devastations, and extreme emotional disturbance."  She also ended up losing custody of her son.  As a result, she complains that she will be "forced to expend sums of money for additional custody litigation and medical care."

Even more shocking is that Dr. Donald Hiebel's business partner, Dr. Keith Roeder, was aware of this relationship and advised Jane Doe to hide relationship from the father of her child.  The Complaint alleges that Dr. Keith Roeder "advised Doe to show the child's father a former apartment rather than her current apartment that she shared with Hiebel."  Eventually, in January 2014, when Dr. Hiebel decided to return to his wife, Jane Doe became extremely upset and was eventually hospitalized. 


Dr. Donald Hiebel's wife, Navarre Hiebel, apparently filed for divorce in May 2014, but withdrew the complaint, possibly when it became clear that the affair was truly over.

A consultant hired to evaluate the case records regarding Dr. Donald Hiebel and Jane Doe provided an initial opinion that there "appeared to be multiple gross lapses of professional judgment and standards of care on the part of Dr. Donald Hiebel and his associate, Dr. Keith Roeder" in the conduct of psychotherapy with Jane Doe.  This includes on Dr. Hiebel's part a lack of proper documentation of Jane Doe's record, concealing the fact that Jane Doe had a history of substance abuse, as well as possibly filing fraudulent reports to the Court in regard to her custody matter.

Another troubling aspect of the relationship Jane Doe had with Dr. Donald Hiebel is that apparently Jane Doe assisted Dr. Hiebel in his practice typing his reports on other patients, noting down his voicemail messages, as well as other tasks.  In fact, during her meeting with the consultant, Jane Doe stated that "she still had a box of records from [Dr. Hiebel's] office in the trunk of her car--including the records of an individual who had sued Dr. Hiebel..." 


The Complaint also details a relationship Dr. Donald Hiebel maintained with another woman, a friend of Jane Doe's, and a former patient of Dr. Hiebel, who provided massages to Dr. Hiebel in exchange for coaching assistance in her custody matter.  The consultant report states that Dr. Donald Hiebel and this friend "vacationed together and spent some holidays together as well (Christmas)."

Jane Doe is currently being represented by Attorney Leslie Gold McPadden of Biller, Sachs, Raio & Zito in Hamden, CT  06518.  Clearly, Attorney McPadden has the strength of character and toughness required to take on this most difficult case.

Dr. Donald Hiebel is one of the most beloved, trusted, and highly respected psychologists in family court today.  In fact, when Jane Doe was advised to work with Dr. Hiebel, she was told that he "is like a God before the Court." Judges and attorneys have regularly requested Dr. Hiebel's services for co-parenting management as well as custody related mental health treatments and evaluations.  They have done this despite the fact that multiple family court litigants over the years have complained vociferously about his unprofessional behavior and incompetent treatment. 

Further, Despite the fact that many of these litigants have submitted formal complaints to the Department of Public Health, these complaints have been consistently ignored and summarily dismissed.  One can only speculate what harm and damage might have been avoided for many current and former clients of Dr. Hiebel had the Department of Public Health taken these complaints seriously. 

In this past year, a considerable group of family court litigants gathered together in a reform movement to fight the corruption and fraud they experienced in family court.  Reporters who then spoke to attorneys, GALs and Connecticut Judicial Branch representatives were told that the problem was that these litigants had mental health issues. 


This case of Dr. Donald Hiebel, which represents only the tip of the iceberg in regard to the complete lack of professional ethics among family court professionals, really forces us to raise the question:  When it comes to family court who really has the mental health issues?  Certainly not the mothers and fathers or children who have been the victims of these kinds of predators. 


I also think it is important to reflect on how the Family Court in Connecticut, let alone elsewhere, is understanding information provided by psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals.  These people are certainly well educated in the field of behavioral health, but they are by no means Gods, not a single one of them.  They themselves, if asked, and that is the crucial factor, i.e. that they ARE asked, will acknowledge that the field of mental health has many limitations and they have very little ability or qualifications to make definitive statements about the family court litigants they evaluate.  Until family court judges and attorneys fully grasp this fact, they will continue to harm many parents and children by subjecting them to  corrupt mental health professionals who arrogantly go well beyond their professional knowledge in making statements to the Court regarding these folks for which they have no basis in either fact or science.


Monday, November 10, 2014

DCF SNATCHES CHILDREN AND WON'T GIVE THEM BACK: THE STORY OF THE THE FOY FAMILY!

As a child, I recall reading with intense fascination some of Grimm's fairy tales where a King would, upon pain of a beheading, send a suitor out for his daughter's hand in marriage on a quest to, for example, empty out a great lake with a sieve or something of that nature.  There was also the tale of the miller's daughter who had the impossible task of spinning a room full of hay into gold by the morning or else the king would cut off her head! 

Stories like this used to scare me to death. 

Now imagine you were a parent in the modern day and DCF sent you out on a similar task just so you could get your three children back.  This is exactly the same dilemma that the Foy Family of Avon, CT faces right at this time.  

This is what happened to them. 

On March 20, 2014, DCF removed the Foy's three children from their home on an Order of Temporary Custody because Eric and Lisa Foy had been arguing.  The children were then placed in foster care. 

On April 4, 2014, there was a hearing on this case before Judge Elgo in Middletown to determine whether the children should remain in DCF care.  After some negotiation with the opposing attorney and the Guardian Ad Litem, Attorney Susan Cousineau, the Court decided to continue the Order of Temporary Custody for the children.  

Still, the expectation was that DCF's custody of the children was only going to be short term.   

However, on September 29, 2014, the Court ruled that the children were neglected and ordered that they remain in the care and custody of DCF. 

In response, the father, Eric Foy, requested that the Court consider using his extended family to care for the children as an alternative to foster care, however, the Court refused to do so based upon their determination that a placement like that would be "biased" in favor of the father. 

Another option the Court could have considered would have been to have the children placed solely in the care of one or the other parent, a possibility which the Court again declined to consider. 

Instead, the judge ordered the parents to participate in reunification therapy with a qualified therapist in order to facilitate the return of their children. 

This is where the situation goes array. 

Even though the parents have now approached four individual qualified psychotherapists, these therapists have refused to engage in reunification therapy with the parents and so the parents are unable to obtain the reunification therapy they have been court ordered to obtain! 

The mental health professionals involved here who have refused to provide services are as follows: 

1) Dr. Howard M. Krieger, Ph. D.;

2) Dr. Sidney S. Horowitz;

3) Dr. Robert Horowitz; and

4) Dr. Bruce Freedman. 

Dr. Krieger specifically refused to provide the reunification therapy because he felt uncomfortable with the father's attorney--Attorney Norm Pattis.  Attorney Pattis was recently involved in a ground breaking case with Mr. Mark Sargent in which a plaintiff had a GAL removed from a family court matter for the first time. 

Dr. Robert Horowitz demanded quasi-judicial immunity before he would agree to provide any therapy.  I have a feeling that he already has that, if only simply by virtue of the fact that no judge would allow him to be prosecuted, but I could be wrong!  It appears that these  psychotherapists are unwilling to work with a client who chooses to use Norm Pattis as his attorney.

In essence then, the father has been placed in the untenable position of having to choose between the attorney he believes will advocate most effectively for him and the reunification therapy the Court has ordered him to obtain in order to get his children back.  As long as the parents are not in reunification therapy, they are, in essence, in violation of a court order--not a good situation to be in!

Meanwhile, it is now November and Eric Foy has not seen his children since July of this year.  This means literally seven months during which he has not been able to see his children or communicate with them in any way. 

This is unconscionable! 

In the face of this unacceptable dilemma, on October 28, 2014, the father, Eric Foy, submitted to the Court a Petition For a Writ of Habeas Corpus challenging both Joette Katz, the Commissioner of DCF, and DCF itself. 

All of this is in the wake of the recent DCF controversial decision to terminate the parental rights of Mr. Joseph Watley and his former partner Ms. Karin Haseman, the misguided decision in the case of Maria Gonzalez, and also in the wake of the nationwide Justina Pelletier DCF controversy.  We will continue to scrutinize this case very closely. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

JINGLE BELLS AND PARENTING HELL: DIVORCE DURING THE HOLIDAYS!

I was just talking to an attorney a few days ago about some minor legal work I need done.  He was really interested in moving forward, but he said, "We are going to have to wait until January because the Family Court is now dealing with litigants coming in with complaints. 

It seems that parents don't know how to divide up their time with the kids during the holidays.  As my attorney put it, "They [parents] say they care about the best interests of the children, but when it comes to figuring out on their own how to handle the holidays fairly, they can't do it!  And the problem is," he said, "We only have so many judges to deal with these issues, so they will all be too busy for the next two months."  I'm like, "Right, that sounds correct to me!"


What I don't mention is what I know to be a fact--that this is a standard tactic abusive fathers utilize to launch ongoing attacks against protective mothers. 

Let me tell you how it is all supposed to happen, but does not.  Once you file for divorce, you are supposed to establish a parenting plan without a few months of filing.  The form you should use to do this is JD-FM-183 and the link for that is below:

http://www.jud.ct.gov/webforms/forms/fm183.pdf


The form asks you to agree on basic issues such as who will have residential custody during the period prior to divorce (the pendente lite period), how visitation will be conducted, what are the drop off pick up arrangements, what will child support be, how will medical costs be paid, and how will you handle child care. 

Item #2 of this form specifically asks how the parents intend to handle holidays and school vacations. 

Still, despite the very clear mandate to settle the matter of how to handle holidays and school vacations, parents in high conflict divorce inevitably fail to answer that question and include it in their parenting agreement. 

So why does this kind of omission occur? 

Often, the attorneys involved deliberately omit the provision for holidays and school vacations as a way to stir up conflict and generate more income.  Attorneys get away with this because they will set up the agreement well before the holiday season or vacation, well before the people involved in the case begin to think about what is going to happen during the holidays and notice the omission.
 
So this particular kind of evil scheming takes considerable foresight and prior planning!   

More attorney's fees get generated by fights over who gets the children during holidays and school vacations than get generated by any of the more crucial matters such as who gets custody or who gets the mansion in the country. 

It is remarkable how many abusive men are able to dupe their ex wives into agreeing to parenting plans without holiday and school vacation provisions.  Then they will rigidly refuse to allow their exes to see their children during those times.  It is a way to exercise power and control over these mothers and imply to such mothers that father runs family court behind the scenes--which often they do.  This is how an abusive father will demonstrate to protective mothers how such mothers are completely powerless and will never have a chance to participate in their children's lives. 

You would think dealing with this kind of issue would be a no-brainer, and that the GALs involved in these cases would simply tell the offending fathers to do the right thing and arrange for their ex-wives to see the children, particularly during Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Instead,  the majority of them act dumb and say they have no power and can do nothing about it, despite the fact that they almost have sole decision making regarding who gets custody of the children and this  gives them tremendous moral authority, even though they may not be able to file motions with the Court. 

Routinely, litigants in family court see examples of how GALs, attorneys, and judges simply ignore a situation where abusive fathers deny mothers access to their children during holidays and school vacations and don't consider it of any consequence. 

I know you would think that judges seeing fathers refuse to allow the children to see their mothers during major holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas would automatically recognize that as abuse.  Instead, judges routinely ignore the underlying message of the abuse of power and control that underpins cases of this kind.  What is more, Courts appear to give fathers a free ticket to abuse further.

This is not say that women don't fight back because they do file motions asking for access during the holidays and school vacations.  However, the vast majority of attorneys will not defend a mother's right to see her children during these times.  And they almost knowingly allow the opportunity for action on provisions in regard to the holidays and school vacations to slip by them during negotiations over parenting plans. 

In my case, during the first year of my divorce, the attorneys gave my ex husband every last school vacation and every major holiday without any explanation and simply ignored me when I complained. 

I believe that if they actually did a survey, this happens to the vast majority of women in high conflict divorce and the quiet understandings that allow these situations to continue are part of the pro father environment in which such divorces take place.  

I am writing this blog now because I know that there are hundreds of mothers across the state who are facing circumstances like this. 

No, you will not be allowed to see your children at Thanksgiving or at Christmas.  Yes, this is a barbaric circumstance which exposes the stupidity of family court far more than any other example I could think of.  

It is ridiculous because how could any good father thinking about the best interests of the children perpetrate such wrong doing. 

It is ridiculous because how could any GAL ever imagine that denying children access to their mother over the holidays is in the least bit in their best interests. 

And it is ridiculous because attorneys and judges do not lift a finger to stop this situation from occurring. 

People ask me all the time how could this be?  They ask me why the local media doesn't expose this wrongdoing.  They ask me how a court system that is supposed to be about justice and the truth and the best interests of children could allow it. 

All I have to respond to such questions is a stolid silence, because the truth is that nobody cares at all. 

Attorneys make tons of money receiving and sending correspondence about the issue. 

Judges attend to the small minority of such cases that make it to court and clog the system during November and December.  Doing so gives them an excuse to tell State Legislators, "We have an enormous workload, and there aren't enough Judges available!"

But no one is willing to stop the money train and sanction attorneys who fail to fill out the paperwork properly; no GAL is willing to turn to a warring couple and say the parent who reaches out first and establishes a reasonable agreement regarding holidays and school vacations is the parent I am more likely to consider for residential custody of the children. 

If they did, this merry go round would stop immediately. 

As I was researching this topic, I looked up a few terms.  One of them I consider pertinent designates the Chinese form of execution known as "the death of a thousand cuts."  I can recall one of my attorneys had a flicker of recognition regarding what I was going through and used that term to describe my experience.

The death of a thousand cuts, slow slicing (or lingchi) is a method of execution in which slices of flesh are systematically removed from the body of the condemned.  For a protective mother, each vacation she misses, each holiday without her children represents another slice taken from her flesh. 

All it would take to stop this travesty from happening would be for the Family Court to enforce the law, for attorneys who are, after all, Commissioners of the Family Courts, to enforce the law.  So why aren't they doing so?