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Representing children in custody and visitation proceedings: Do children’s lawyers really protect them?

Many people who write us have children who have their own attorneys because in difficult cases the court assigns and pays for them. We have heard many stories now and sadly it seems unusual that parents say these attorneys have helped protect their children.

It’s nice to know that the legal profession is also concerned that children receive ethical and competent representation. There is actually an American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) that developed in 1995 Standards for Attorneys and Guardians ad Litem in Custody or Visitation Proceedings. These standards have recently been revised and there is considerable debate about just what the role of children’s attorneys should be.

In 2003, the American Bar Association developed its own standards, and in 2006, the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) (formerly the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws) released a draft of its Model Act regarding children’s attorneys.

The heart of the debate is whether it is ethical for an attorney to formulate his/her own opinion about what would be best then argue for that opinion before the court.

In an important article, The AAML’s revised standards for representing children in custody and visitation proceedings: the reporter’s perspective, Martin Guggenheim, (Fiorello LaGuardia Professor of Clinical Law, New York University School of Law), argues that children’s attorneys should not be allowed to advocate for their own personal opinions. He states:

It is one thing to want to hear from a neutral investigator who has spoken with the child in an extended way. It is another entirely to empower this investigator to try to ensure that the case comes out the way the investigator wants. The one adds to the case the findings of the investigator but leaves the case in the hands of the court and the adult parties to debate how much the investigator’s views and opinions ought to matter. The other contaminates the proceeding by adding a forceful and skilled advocate who is now advocating for the outcome s/he has selected. This is not only dangerous; it is unnecessary.

Professor Guggeinheim argues that the court needs neutral trained experts that can assess families, report to the court and be subject to cross examination. A layers job is to advocate for what his client wants, Guggeinheim concludes “I hope others in the field of custody and visitation disputes who are interested in improving practice will build off of the (AAML’s) Standards by supporting efforts to limit sharply the use of the term “children’s attorney.” If we could agree to call someone a child’s lawyer only when we expect him or her to advocate for the objectives sought by the child, we can then work on the rest of the issues plaguing the field.”

The problem with lawyers formulating their own opinions and arguing for them, is that they are subject to being deceived by the sociopath and may not even know that psychopathic personality traits are something they should watch out for. I agree with Professor Guggeinheim in that allowing these lawyers to only represent the child’s wishes prevents them from having undue influence over the outcome.

Recently someone told me about a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) who tried to convince a child to see the psychopath parent saying “children are better off when they have relationships with their parents.” Thankfully the child now a tween is wise enough to understand that this dictum does not always apply.

In hearing these stories in the last 2 weeks I came to a realization. There has really been a great deal of research done regarding what factors help shape development in a positive way. It is only natural that clinicians, academics and others would want the family courts to utilize this information to help children. The problem is that clinicians are trained to understand and interpret the data that comes from these kinds of studies. They are also trained in how to apply that data to individual cases.

For example an oncologist reads about treatments for cancer. He knows that these treatments do not work 100% of the time. He also knows that there are certain characteristics of tumors that increase the likelihood they will respond. He then looks for these characteristics in individual patients and can predict how likely it is the patient will have the outcome suggested by clinical research. Clinicians have a natural understanding of percentages and variability in people.

The legal profession has an opposite mandate. Lawyers and judges ignore individual differences and try to treat everyone the same, equal justice under the law. Therefore, I conclude that it is impossible for a lawyer or judge without specialized training to understand how to apply clinical studies to a legal setting. We have to do a better job in the process of going from study to practice in the courtroom.

Please comment on your GAL experience in the comment section.

Addendum: Thanks to everyone who has written in response to this issue. I am working on getting back to you all! Everyone has very important insights to share.


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36 Comments on "Representing children in custody and visitation proceedings: Do children’s lawyers really protect them?"

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Not having a GAL experience, none-the-less, I do totally agree with you concerning the family court systems. It doesn’t I think matter if you are trying to protect your child from a psychopath, or if you are (as I was) trying to protect your elderly parent from a psychopath–courts just do NOT get it. Her attorney (heavily narcissist himself and universally personally disliked by almost everyone) fought for her “right” to have the 3X convicted pedophile sex offender in her house as her live in caregiver and to allow her to give him all the money she wanted to…come ON! What reasonable person would think that this was BENEFICIAL to her, even if it was what she wanted? Her attorney didn’t do her any favors that’s for sure!

I have worked some with the CASA (court appointed special advocates) for foster kids and observed the LACK OF KNOWLEDGE of mental illness and personality disorders in both the attorneys, judges and the advocates as well. Many times the social workers assigned to the cases also are without a clue it seems in dealing with not only the children in foster care but with the parents as well. It seems to be the focus is on “uniting” the family, even if one of the parents is a psychopath.

Dr. Leedom, A more timely article cannot be found. In the last couple of weeks, I have learned that my ex spath, who doesn’t pay child support that was ordered by the court has the gall to take me to court for visitation. Let me preface this by saying that when my 11 yr. old son was 2, I did go to court for sole custody of our son. The ONLY thing his father was ordered to do was pay medical and dental, the reason for this being that the spath is diabetic and I knew he wouldn’t be without medical coverage and therefore his son wouldn’t be either.
That was my thinking THEN.
TODAY is a different story. My son does not want to be alone with his father. He doesn’t even want to TALK to his father. The last time my ex actually took our son somewhere, he stopped at a drug dealer’s house on the way and as they had gone to a football game, my son told me he had been freezing but his father had ignored that and not taken him to a warm place until the game was over. It is this kind of behavior that my ex exhibited on more than one occasion that proves he is not a rational person and my son neither trusts nor believes his father. His father has broken too many promises.
THIS person is entitled to visitation rights? I think not. I hate that the idiot is doing this. Common sense would tell you that he is not fit to be alone with this child. I know my son will be questioned and I hate to think of him having to go through this.
My concern is exactly what you’ve written about. I am concerned that my son will have a GAL who will be snowed by my ex spath and the B.S. that comes out of his mouth.
My ex is pushing all of this because he is moving out of state as soon as all of his legal problems are taken care of, which will be in a couple of months and he wants to know his child will be forced to fly across country for holidays and summer vacations, etc..
He is NUTS, NUTS, NUTS.
The greatest blessing in all of this is that my son is nothing like his father. He is a very caring person who thinks of others first and I am happy to see that he has none of the characteristics his father has.
I can take this in court. I can go to court and I know I can handle myself. It’s my child I am concerned about.
After reading your post, I agree completely with you. It’s also my greatest concern.

Dear Dr. Leedom,

As Cat says, “a more timely article” for me right now. We are dealing with “The GAL from Hell”. She is young, super impressed with her legal brilliance and does not know poop from applesauce about children in general, let alone neurologically and emotionally impaired children. She speaks to my grandson’s therapists, never really listens and reports what SHE feels are the problems.

I will write more when time allows. My time is so limited right now because I am dealing with a child who is going through an emotional spiral thanks to the decisions this woman is making.

Best interest of the child – what a joke!!!

Dear Milo,

Thanks for checking in. God bless.

Oxdrover-I can’t read the most recent post that you directed to me. My computer won’t open the thread-I think because it’s too long.

Ox-I was able to read your post and it all makes sense. I shouldn’t have responded like I did to Katydid. On Friday when I got her questions asking about my motives in being the other woman, it was too hard for me to deal with. I learned to stuff that pain. guilt and humiliation down deep because it was too painful to me. I felt so exposed. I am never going to be able to forgive myself for what I did. My head knows that GOD already forgave me when I asked him to but myself won’t let me believe it. I can’t forgive myself. All I can think about is what kind of horrible person does what I did, by being with him. I never thought I would ever be the one to do that and I let myself down.

I went from what I always thought to be a good person to a very bad person. I can’t even imagine the pain that I caused his wife and I know what kind of pain I caused his daughter. I despised myself before but now it’s infinitely worse. I let everybody down. I have hardly any friends left in my life because of what I did. My siblings won’t speak to me. They don’t want anything to do with me. A lot of people who liked and respected me think I’m trash. I feel like my ex narc was right when he discarded me-he said I was trash.

When I’m not at work, at the shooting range, at they gym, or riding my bike, I lock myself inside my apartment and I don’t come out unless I have to. I feel like if I do then everyone will see and know what I am. I didn’t want to respond to all of Katydid’s questions because they hurt so much. Part of my emotions/behaviors I blame on my head injury because I have been crying nonstop since it happened. I finally got the nerve to answer the questions and be completely open and honest about my whole story and I just felt like it wasn’t good enough. My openess and honesty didn’t matter. My feelings were hurt so bad and I lashed out.

I wish you could understand how much it hurts to live with the fact that you were with someone who wasn’t yours. To do something that terrible and wrong. I feel like I won’t ever get past that.

Dear Erin72,

Okay, I’ve heard a lot of excuses in your above post about how you can “never forgive yourself”—that is CARP—you CAN when you get ready to.

Then you give me a list of all the NON PRODUCTIVE AND COUNTER PRODUCTIVE things you do–“lock myself in my apartment” ya da.

“I blame my head injury” BULL CARP!!! You were acting and talking this way a LONG TIME BEFORE YOU BONKED YOUR HEAD…so quit laying blame on something outside yourself.

“I can’t quit crying”—OKAY, SO CRY til you stop–it’s good for you.

You lashed out “because my feelings were hurt”—that’s another excuse—-so quit lashing out!

Sugar, I’ve been where you are—hurting and lashing out, and feeling sorry for myself, but it is time you stand up and pony up and start taking responsibility and become accountable to yourself.

1) YOU ARE NOT POWERLESS, however, you ARE giving your power to circumstances to control your life.
2) YOU ARE NOT ASSUMING RESPONSIBILITY for yourself, you are giving that to “circumstances”

QUIT BLAMING your emotions on “head injuries” or feeling bad because you made a bad choice, or feeling like trash because of a bad choice you made……take responsibility for yourself.

Go read the “Blue Bird of Happiness” article that EB dug up, and the posts she made to it at the bottom, she has some good points there and things that YOU need to recognize and start doing.

YOU ARE POWERFUL if you choose to be. YOU CAN GIVE AWAY that power if you decide to, or you can use it for YOURSELF.

I know I am being hard on you Erin, but at the same time, I know that you KNOW I care about you—just as if your problem was booze and I didn’t say anything but “there there darling, all your problems are because of that nasty whiskey” I would not be doing you any favors. It just so happens that right now your “problems” are from shifting blame for all your unhappiness to others and situations, and you need to pony up and say,

“Hi, my name is Erin, and I’m a pity-a-holic” So sweetie, I ain’t gonna give you no more pity, any more than I would go buy you a bottle of vodka if your problems were booze. No matter how much you whine for it, or cry for it, tough titty Kitty!

Now if you had the smarts and gumption to get through nursing school, you ought to have enough gumption and smarts to stand up and be counted for ERIN! OK, you’re not perfect, so get over it for fracking sake! Quit whining about it. OK you got involved with a married freaking psychopath, so quit beating yourself up about it and quit using that as a freaking excuse for being a whiner! FORGIVE yourself already!

None of us have to be perfect, and if we did, I would fail that test for sure—but I do think I am a pretty good old battle ax! I’m smart and feisty and uppity, and have a lot of different talents. I also have CRS and a short term memory like Swiss cheese, and my biological kids are both a POS, but I’m STILL OKAY!

And you know what, Erin, you can be okay too, if you will LET YOURSELF. I have never ever boinked anyone on the head as hard as you have boinked yourself, and I always did it with a purpose to get their attention—like the joke about the mule! But you know, I’m tired of hearing you whine about how bad your thumb hurts while you are pounding it with a freaking hammer!

NOW BE GOOD TO YOURSELF OR ELSE!!!! (((Hugs)))

E72, “I wish you could understand how much it hurts ……”

Whatever you put at the end of that sentence … if anyone understands how much it hurts it’s people here. Thank goodness for others who empathise because they’ve lived it as well. So you have validation for your pain and now you have to take responsibility for your life.

It’s the hardest bit for me, forgiving myself. Being with the man who brought me here made me into a DISGUSTING person. I was so sexually addicted to him that I made my daughter almost nothing. I compromised my values, spent money I needed for more important things on him, defied my friends, acted like a skank, told lies, turned myself into somebody despicable in order to keep him with me. I was addicted to him because of the abuse. Very strong trauma bond and he knew exactly what to do to keep me there. He had done it before and knew the mindf***ing tricks and went at it HARD. I’ve verbally attacked him now. I’ve judged, blamed, name-called and spat venom and once I’d finished doing that I had to look at me. I can only change me, and I really, really needed changing.

I have always wanted to be seen as a good person because of wanting to lose my childhood label of ‘mad’, designed by my dad to scapegoat me. The recent man brought out the ‘mad’ big time. I saw my shadow. Didn’t know she was there and she is horrible! I am only glad that I had brakes stopping me from doing what I really wanted to do when it was over, because if my revenge had been carried out I don’t know what might have happened. I shudder at who I turned into.

You did something you’re ashamed of. So did a lot of people here. So you admit your wrongs (you’ve done that now and can stop) and then spend some thought and time on what you can do to make sure it never happens again and turning yourself into the person you want to be instead of the person who was vulnerable to a spath. Or you will just make yourself and anyone who has to listen to it sick. I did that.

Self-pity is what I felt for a long time, and self-respect is the cure. Give yourself respect, not punishment. You are heavily into punishing yourself right now. I have done it and it achieves nothing. Pick yourself up, tell yourself you’ve done something arsey but that you knew no better or didn’t have the skills to override your impulses or the attractions of a manipulative man, feel compassion for yourself that you had to go through this, and then find out what it would take to get self-respect. I’m nearly 50 and I had none! Just wanted love and attention from other people because of the mess of my childhood. I had no clue.

You only wanted to be loved so give yourself a break. You know better now so do better. Once you start to do better you will feel so much stronger every day and in every situation. Self-pity will keep you stuck but compassion for yourself will move you forward. Suicide isn’t the answer. If you even keep yourself ALIVE when you don’t want to you’ll get self-respect. I have that. I wanted to give in but I was strong enough to keep going and I am proud of me for that. I feel a lot of pride these days and dropping the self-harm of self-hatred is a great thing. You have to stop the abuse, not pick up where spaths or damaging parents leave off.

I’m writing this for me as much as for you.

Something which helps me every day is thinking about ‘responding’ and not ‘reacting’. Complex ptsd, and we’re all in some sort of trauma here, makes us react emotionally. The child part gets activated and we just turn into toddlers and noise comes out. I’ve done it too much and want to stop now. So I try to slow everything right down, including my response times if possible. I think more about every emotion I feel, see if I can work out what’s triggered it, where it comes from, get myself into what I consider an adult frame of mind and theeeeeeen … respond. It is really improving my life and my relationships so much. I don’t want my poor little inner child to lose any more self-respect.

Dear Verity,

Good thoughts! (((Hugs))))

Helloo Verity

How’ve you been doing lately.

Good to hear from you back on the board.

Delta 1 x

Hey Oxy and Delta *hugs both* Today I have vertigo and it’s knocked me down but I’m able to type now so I came to see what was happening.

When I was in my big anger just recently it was half killing me and I was getting triggered too much and taking it out on people here and at home and I knew I had to think about positive things instead of focusing on how much he hurt me and what was the matter with him that he could do it without seeming to care.

A friend sent me words from Susan Elliott of Getting Past Your Past to make me smile:

“Read ‘Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them’ because I can tell you (I would bet my house on it) your exBH is a woman hating low life std carrying sociopathic narcissistic misogynist fuckface.

You are choosing to give your precious self to this miserable son of a bitch. And you aren’t getting jack shit in the bargain. Yes he wants to crush you like a bug. He hates women and he probably hates the no boundaries, no standards,” just come and fuck me” women the very most (that would be you).”

That was me. Not actually, but it’s what I did. Never again. Learning to stop hating myself for who I’ve always been because of my childhood is my full time occupation now. Childhood abuse is the reason and NOT an excuse. Can’t excuse myself any more. I made it too easy for him to do his thing (exploitation) with me.

Don’t want to talk about him any more. Hooray for me for changing! 🙂

Dear Verity,

TOWANDA!!!!!!! Good for you! Great rant, I love the “you are choosing to give your precious self……etc” quote GREAT!!!!!

Yea, you’re on your way skipping down the road toward healing! We’ve all been CRAWLING on that road, but when you get to the point you can skip a while (before you fall into the next hole!–boy am I a pessimist! ) it feels great!

I’ve got to quite reading and get back up and get back to work! I’m really really REALLY gone this time….for a while!

We actually had a GAL who was decent… a little full of her self as well as most of them are. She did want what SHE thought to be best for my child… and WAS slightly snowed by my ex sp. (well until the end of it all and she realized when he never showed up for court that she WAS NOT getting paid by him!) BUT the worst issue I have as far as GAL and our case was that at one point, we had a Commissioner who actually DENIED our GAL the opportunity to speak when the decision about UNSUPERVISED Visitation was being made!!!!! NOT ONLY that but she denied my atty, the GAL and the PSYCHOLOGIST with a diagnosis of ASPD in his hand the chance to speak in her “3 hour hearing” that lasted 20 minutes because she was running just a “little behind and didn’t want to be bothered with all this” She only wanted to hear from the supervisor of the program that provides the Supervised visitations (a trained monkey could have appropriately played with my very small child in this setting.) She said her “philosophy was for both parents to get along and share the kids and be happy” & she ‘didn’t want to hear what happened in the past” (she didn’t care that what happed in the past was a CONTINUAL happening)!!!!

What do we do to get this into the heads of these attys & commissioners that what they are doing to these children is NOT OK??? We are in a vicious cycle that is creating MORE and MORE of these S/P because they get away with ANYTHING THEY DARN WELL WANT!

I agree with the overall feeling expressed about this subject. Having been a member of LF for over 3 years, watching, reading, learning and occasionally participating, I have taken GAL training, but refuse to go to work “for” the courts, until I have practical experience in my hands (per se).

I have received several inquiries through my listing as a resource on LF; and I appreciate the opportunity to help people who have ongoing custody issues with AsPD’s, S’s, P’s and NPD’s. I am listed as a “Child Advocate” and that is WHO I advocate for…short and long term.

I hate how the courts assign (at present & locally) too many cases to be adequately and competently handled by the available GALs. Having taken my training at the 8th largest family court and learned their guidelines for case processing – I have learned that MOST GALs take their own sweet time in ‘getting around to the investigation’ part of the equation. My time-guide is 60 days, from initial contact to resolution – (on my part) – I can find info, process it, make recommendations, and write court papers in that 60 day period; however, I have done so in the past, and people either DOUBT the potential effectiveness ‘IN THEIR CASE” and don’t utilize the documents; they are too busy trying to second-guess HOW the court will take the info or they’ll take it to a LAWYER (sry Matt! lol), who then tells them, “well, it’s a good start but I’ll have to re-work it, and that’ll cost ya another $1,000. for my time….”

People who finally DO find me thru LF – are broke, broken and need the type of help I can provide ~ they have been kicked around enough ~ and some can barely pull themselves together long enough to provide me with a CONCISE and COHERENT history of their case and the issues.

Those who do get me their case information, and who are willing to communicate with me in ‘almost real time,’ have found a measure of comfort and solid help, through what I do.

I said all of that to say this: There are GALs and CASAs out there, for whom this is their BUSINESS – as I one day hope it to be mine. * But there is a need for MORE certified para-professionals to undertake this type of case “pro bono” simply for the reason that I have: to actually HELP children, and the NON-disordered parent, in the fight to free themselves from the AsPD, S, P NPD’s out there.

I do not believe that children are happiest in situations where the disordered parent continues manipulating the situation/s, and the children, and the former partner ~ but I also don’t believe in indiscriminately advocating in the dark. I like to SEE ‘both sides’ of the situation, and recommend accordingly ~ Judges do respect that.

Dear Jewels

I work as a CP social worker in the UK and am familiar with the system here but not in the USA so much.

Are GALS the equavalent to what we have ‘Children’s Guardians’ in the UK – or otherwise? I don’t want you burden you to lots of time posting – but is there a link you could signpost me to?

Ta

Delta 1

Hi Delta1,

Here’s a link to “WA state” info about GALs, primarily the process involved in becoming a Guardian ad Litem. As I trained in Washington state, it is here that I am certified. However, I do know how to find information in other states, and work within those time-guidelines, where indicated.

http://www.courts.wa.gov/committee/?fa=committee.home&committee_id=105

To answer your question, I believe the positions are equivalent.

Before I go on about my current “horror story” as it relates to GALS, I must mention that 5 years ago when we were awarded custody of my then 4 year old grandson, we had the GAL sent straight from Heaven. This woman interviewed the “S/P” daughter for the first time, went to her car and called Protective Services. She saw through the manipulation.

Upon our first meeting with her, she told me how much my Grandson talked about us and how much he loved and needed us. She was there for HIM and took the time to check into every detail.

When we physically removed him from a domestic violence incident which had him in great danger, she made a trip to our house (1-1/2 hour drive) to make sure he was OK, then personally contacted the Magistrate and demanded immediate action be taken so he would not have to return to the situation we had removed him from. Up until that time, the court refused to see any urgency or seriousness in his situation.

Now, 5 years later, she is a Magistrate in JV Court. She is one of the few “good guys”.

The legal system terrifies me as far as going to court against my sociopath. I had a horrific experience when trying to divorce my psycho, and honestly, I believe the PTSD I got from this whole experience had a lot more to do in the betrayal of the justice system than from my actual spath.

My ex had a lawyer who I believe is also ASPD himself, and I honestly feel the magistrate may be one also. I have been to court around 28 to 30 times because of him, and even when my lawyer and I felt we had done really well, many times the judgments went against us.

I have a 12 yr old with this individual, and she really needs to get away from him. She does not want to see him, she can’t handle the lies and neglect, the verbal abuse and mind-control, he forgets to give her medicine, refuses to take her to the doctor, for the longest time did not allow homework to be done on “his” time, and also does not allow her to see friends on “his” time. He uses her as a control mechanism only.

However, knowing how this court works, going back for full custody could actually result in me losing custody (as I know he would file for full custody also, he wanted it originally so he would not have ot pay child support but could not get it because of his work hours.) He has since quit his job, so now he does not have to worry about his job hours impeding him.

I have chosen to just keep her in counseling and do my best to mitigate the damage, as my lawyer has seen how this works also, tells me that for some reason she can’t understand the magistrate does not seem to like me, and so until my child is old enough to go in and tell her story and have the judge listen to what she wants, or this magistrate retires or has a heart attack or something, we are just dealing with his manipulations as best as we can.

Although I am going back to school with the purpose of getting into the system and trying to make some changes, and help other victims.

Dear Stillinshock,

Sounds liek you have a reasonable plan given your “choices” and the situation. God bless you and give you strength! Thanks for sharing. Glad you are going back to school!

oxdrover – Thank you, and thank you for understanding that I cannot go back right now for custody….everyone keeps telling me to go and get custody, as she is being verbally and emotionally abused (with minor physical stuff), but I can’t seem to get anyone else to understand that this is not a cut and dry thing, and that the courts don’t always work the way they should. And having 60% custody right now is better than taking the chance on losing most custody to a sociopath who would NOT have her best interests at heart.

My sister, who works for the government, keeps telling me no judge in their right mind would give custody to someone who does the things he does, but she isn’t understanding that not all judges are in their right minds, and a talented sociopath and his lawyer can say almost anything in court and be somewhat believable.

Dear Still in shock,

If you have not read the book in the LF store about Legal Abuse Syndrome, you should! It addresses this abuse and it is as bad or worse than the abuse you get from the X. I kinow your sister has good intentions but she does NOT apparently understand that there is NO JUSTICE IN COURTS, oh, sometimes there is, but most times not in family court. Judges can be influenced, bribed, or just be stupid or opinionated and can even be psychopaths themselves or hate women. So it is not LAW it is OPINION OF ONE MAN/WOMAN. Stick to your guns. You have made the best possible decision that you know is not going to be worse for now. Keep her in therapy and do the best you can. Hopefully she will see the light eventually.

Also, go to Dr. Leedom’s “raising the at risk child” blog (there’s a connection here on LF. She has some amazing information and support. God bless you and I do think for what my opinion is worth that you are making a reasonable choice given an unreasonable situation. Hang in there. (((Hugs))))

Dear Stillinshock,

I understand completely your reasoning behind not wanting to go back into court for sole custody. I think that you are doing just the right thing. People who have not been through “the system” believe it works the way IT SHOULD WORK. It very seldom does, we who have been there understand that all too clearly.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the “no judge in their right mind” from family and friends. They mean well, they just don’t understand that most judges apparently are not in their right minds.

Keep up the therapy with your daughter and giving her all the love and support you can.

Best to you.

Dr. Leedam, you are spot on. My children have an attorney assigned to them. This same attorney really beleived the story my ex husband and his wife spun, she attacked me.

I told her that there had been physical abuse in our marriage and in his current marriage. The kids have been there a few times when the police have been to their home. She told me that it is OK if their dad hits their stepmom as long as he is not hurting the girls. WHAT!?!?!?! It is in the best interest of the girls for them to be in a home where there is violence?

She was also suppossed to be there to inforce the court order, yet I called her, she was not available. I left a messages
and she never called back. My ex husband does not have to abide by a court order because she would not do anything about it. My attorney threw her under a bus with this info. and still, nothing happened. In fact, she has never called to see how the girls are doing, how the the court order was being followed or anything. She dropped out of sight.

Did I mention that this was the 2nd court appointed attorney? The first was really good at protecting the girls, she did her research, she spoke to teachers, therapists, the girls and had to deal with my ex. She recommended that I have full custody and I was granted that, temporaily. Until, she changed her mind. Come to find out, she had “personal” business with my ex’s new attorney. She was released from the case due to conflict of interest.

The court system is a joke in this county. This county has a reputation as the worst county. Other attorneys make comments that it is like going to another planet when coming out to this court, Riverside Family Court.

There is a web site, and I wish I could remember what the name of it is (maybe someone else here will remember) I have CRS, but it is for reporting courts like that and judges in a forum of how you were dealt with there. You might want to see if you could find it and put your judge’s name and the court up there for the world to see. Good luck and God bless you, sounds like you have a hard row to hoe! (((Hugs)))

This just in – letter from P-daughter’s attorney to our attorney – my client wants to see her son before custody might be further pursued as opposed to a visitation schedule at this time —–

SHE WANTS TO SEE HIM BEFORE SHE DECIDES IF SHE WILL PURSUE CUSTODY ???????

Does she want to check his teeth and see if he is lame ???????

This from a mother (and I use the term loosely) who has spent the child’s life neglecting and rejecting him.

Knowing our GAL, she will think nothing of this remark.

MiLo, darlink! You must quit expecting either the GAL or your P-daughter to think with common sense. They are neither from this planet!

Maybe she does want to check his teeth or see if he is big enough yet to wait on her hand and foot like a little house slave.

Grrrrrrr! (that’s the sound of me grinding my teeth!)

Oxy –

BANG – BANG – BANG – That is me banging my head up against the wall.

Love MiLO

Milo:
Passing the ice pack your way!

XXOO

Dear MiLo, All I can do is to shake my head and “stress laugh” over it. I know it isn’t funny, not a “funny laugh” but a laugh to keep from jumping off a tall building or hitting myself in the head with a hammer. It is just one of those things that are so hard to comprehend even though we KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON.

For the GAL to be that dense, stupid….fill in the term….is just beyond comprehension.

Oh, the GAL – first conversation I had with the woman – she told me to be quiet and listen, that she was trained in handling hostile people like me. Thing is, I hadn’t said anything yet!!! I kid you not. When I tried to ask if she was aware that my grand had neurological and emotional problems, she said, look you don’t run this show any longer. She said, if I were to believe you, that sounds serious. Does he see anyone for all of these so called problems. I supplied her with a list of medical professionals he had seen or was seeing, complete with addresses and phone numbers. That was 5 months ago. She just motioned the court to order me to supply her with medical records by the end of this month.

She also motioned the court (and was granted) to keep me from discussing “the case” with grand, to quit talking negatively about Mom in front of grand, to quit discouraging grand from speaking freely to GAL, to quit discouraging grand from talking to Mom. Ofcourse, I was doing absolutely NONE of this, but that didn’t matter.

I just received her first invoice, over $5,000. She charged $160 each (x2) for two unscheduled phone visits she attempted to place to my home while I was gone. This invoice was interesting – it showed she spent longer talking to P’s therapist than grands – she spent 4 hours interviewing the P (before ever meeting us or grand) – she spent 2 hours interviewing us and grand – she spent 2 1/2 hours reviewing records she now claims I never gave her – AND SO ON

She talked to grand’s therapist then LIED to the Court about what the therapist said.

When I told her grand’s reaction to hearing his Mom wanted to start visits (building a hiding spot out of a box and stating “she’ll never get me here” and furnishing it with a survival kit” her reply was “Isn’t that cute”

I will finish later – grand want his bedtime snack and story.

Well, the only thing I can see for you to do MiLo is to get the therapist there in PERSON in court to show the GAL lied….God bless you MiLo I will keep you in my prayers. ((((Hugs))))

I second that suggestion! BIG TIME!

Thanks guys, as always your support and understanding help deal with the “unthinkable”.

Dr. Leedom – I think that there is a bottom line here, Children’s Lawyers are just that LAWYERS. They may know the law, they may know family law or juvenile law. They may take training courses on children, but they are not therapists, counselors, psychologists or psychiatrists. Therefore, are LAWYERS the professionals that should be advocating for the children?

Also, on another blog, false belief about psychopaths, we are all very disgusted and horrified about the judge’s remarks and wonder why people in these positions do not receive better training and correct knowledge. But, how much training has the average “Joe Psychologist” had regarding psychopaths? Why does this seem to be something that is very often “off their radar”.

While in my grandson’s psychologist’s office last week, I was glancing through one of her “trade journals” (I don’t remember the name of it). It had many articles on many different disorders and mental illnesses, everything from obesity in children to treating people who are now addicted to medical marijuana. There was page after page listing different conferences and training seminars for mental health professionals. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on sociopaths/psychopaths.

While false beliefs about s/p’s is so very dangerous, how in the world do you go about changing something that very few want to talk about?

lve2laugh – “”I told her that there had been physical abuse in our marriage and in his current marriage. The kids have been there a few times when the police have been to their home. She told me that it is OK if their dad hits their stepmom as long as he is not hurting the girls”” No no no! In some counties now (more and more) it is considered abuse to the child if they are witness to abuse to a parent. Check in your county…..it is absolutely ridiculous that they will grant a P.O. to a parent for actual abuse but still give the abusive partner unsupervised visits of the child.

My GAL experience,
Paid alot of money to have the children represented by a young, nice guy who DID NOT GET IT. When their Dad had his redneck buddy build a virtual dirt and log barricade to block routes on our farm during the divorce..the GAL wanted me to tear it down with our tractor ….hey whats the big deal momma!!And of course, half his bill was paid for by the ex.

Only one of the many crazy situations and how he handled it. Good ol boy lawyerin’ I guess.

During mediation he did NOTHING to advocate for the children. Seems he didnt have the small town connections to matter. Or maybe he was planning on riding that tractor or fishing or huntin when it was all over..

In my situation, small town good ol’ boy ties, outweigh any justice. Time for change folks..and I am ready to help but I need to know what to do.

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