By | July 6, 2011 12 Comments

RESOURCE PERSPECTIVES: After Casey Anthony, another view of Florida courts

Editor’s note: Resource Perspectives features articles written by members of Lovefraud’s Professional Resources Guide.

Rebecca Potter works as a licensed mental health counselor in West Palm Beach, Florida. She can be reached at: [email protected]

Advice, learned the hard way, for coping with Florida Family Courts

By Rebecca Potter

Rebecca Potter profile in the Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide

Marriage to a psychopath is similar to being in a war without any weapons. I tried to plan my escape from this man, and he was more experienced at turning my life into a complete physical and economical struggle. He has done this before, and he used to say to me, “Women are never the same after a relationship with me.” I left anyway and petitioned the Florida Family Court for relief from my six-year nightmare marriage to a psychopath. I knew that if I didn’t leave at that point, I would no longer be alive.

I did not understand that I could be murdered by the Florida Family Court System. I suffered more from the Florida Family Court than I did in my six-year nightmare marriage. I didn’t understand the same sickness, greed and corruption would be allowed in our Court system. My former husband turned on the charm and hooked the Judge, the attorneys, accountants and paralegals. He used slander and misrepresentation. These untrained court officials followed his every word. He was an airline pilot and I was only a psychotherapist. My former husband was allowed to buy this system and I was left victimized, broke, homeless, sick and with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Casey Anthony trial

I write this inspired by the outrage of the public by the Casey Anthony trial. I find it interesting that the public does not want to hear the pain that countless women have suffered by the Florida Family Court System. I am told so often, “Just get over it.” I consider myself lucky because I do not have a child with this man. He cannot inflict more pain on me by abusing a child. I could not imagine the pain and helplessness I would endure having to turn my child over to this man. The public shrugs off my denial of a fair trial and justice. I did not have Nancy Grace crying outrage. No one cared; I was just another betrayed woman. I should have known better and not married him.

The state of Florida chose to spend countless funds to put Casey Anthony away. They want you to believe they are heroes who diligently protect the citizens of Florida. I beg to differ with this picture of the Florida Court System.

I have been involved in the Florida Family Court System for six years. I am told that I have to hire an attorney. I have hired attorneys; they all take lots of money from me, do not follow standards of professional conduct and expose me to a system similar to quicksand. It is quicksand where you sink, and the attorneys buy homes in Palm Beach and live a life of luxury off from the pain and anxiety of victimized citizens. You never get to leave. You have lost your rights. If you have children, the state now becomes the parent, so you have lost your parental rights. I was recently told by an attorney that Family Court is Civil Court, but not really.

System to employ lawyers

I was forced to sign a contract to settle and my former husband did not follow the contract. I am now aware that the system is set up to employ lawyers. It creates chaos and drama that disables litigants who are forced to employ additional legal services. Family Court is civil court, but not really? The state has set up a special court with no enforcement power. It is simply a way to employ mass numbers of lawyers and attempt to put up a mask that the State cares for it citizens. We will allow you to leave your abusive marriage, but you must give up your financial freedom and your children’s mental health to divorce your partner. I hear attorneys constantly quote, “It doesn’t matter if he is a drunk and beats you and your children, the law does not say he has to be a good parent.” “He still has parental rights” “If you try to deny visitation, then you will be held in contempt.”

The State of Florida will not spend money to revamp this system. Their friends and families are employed by this system. If they were to protect the citizens of Florida, they would not be considered team players. They would be considered whistle blowers.

Strategies for your court battle

What would I recommend to a woman who wants to escape? I would recommend getting the facts and information. Gather as much evidence as possible. Let the tape recorder become your friend. Keep it on 24 hours and record the verbal and emotional abuse. When your psychopath goes to court, he is going to play the hero Mel Gibson role and without the tapes, who would have believed the director of “Passion of the Christ” would yell and scream, hit and cause such physical injury? Or often the thoughts are, “She must have been such an angry woman, that she pushed him to it.” You won’t be able to use it in court, but the court officials now know the truth of the situation and will not be inclined to believe the psychopath.

Here are more suggestions:

  1. Save as much money as possible, because the State does not care if you have children and animals that you must feed and shelter.
  2. Read the state statutes. Attorneys will use your ignorance and misinform you about your rights. The state bar will not impose restrictions on these attorneys. I would recommend purchasing the jurisdictionary study guide,
  3. Have a friend who will escort you to court, because the psychopath will be waiting for you.
  4. Work with a trauma therapist. Most therapists do not understand the torture endured when trying to leave a psychopath.
  5. Interview several attorneys and choose an attorney who will work with you and also an attorney who understands how the legal game is much different with a psychopath.
  6. Make sure that the attorney files a motion for temporary support before anything else is implemented. The psychopath automatically wins if you do not have funds to survive.
  7. Slow the process down. The court wants you to become tired and to just settle. You can heal and be more prepared to fight if you slow the process of the divorce.
  8. Insist on counseling for the children. A psychopath does not want to be monitored and if court ordered to one agreed-upon therapist, the therapist can assist with helping the children and reporting to the court. A guardiem ad litem is not trained with mental health issues and will not be able to understand the psychopath dance. Insist on first right of refusal.
  9. The psychopath does not want the responsibility of the children and will put them with babysitters instead of being burdened with child care. Insist on a nightly phone call and come up with code words that the children can tell you to let you know they are in trouble.
  10. Teach your children relaxation skills. Allow your children to draw in a notebook, feelings, fears and especially happy power thoughts they can concentrate on when they feel scared.
  11. Make sure that there is a court reporter at every hearing. Sometimes attorneys will not hire a court reporter, especially if they are negotiating with the psychopath’s attorney to settle.  Some court reporting agencies will allow you to hire them independently.  The cost is usually and initial $90.00 dollars, well worth the cost if you have to appeal the judge’s decision.
  12. When you are forced to sign an agreement, make sure that the agreement states that if any party has to return to court to enforce the agreement, the guilty party will pay all court, attorney and loss of wage expenses. I have found that your attorney does not understand how the psychopath will play the court system and drag you back and forth. Insist this statement to protect you from this legal abuse, as some attorneys are salivating because they know it is a high conflict divorce (divorcing a sociopath).

I hope that my pain and suffering will decrease the pain and suffering of other women (men) and children. Please understand that I am not an attorney and cannot give legal advice. I am a citizen of Florida who was forced into a Family Court System that exposed me to legal abuse. Perhaps my pain will give you some weapons to protect yourself, friends and family members who need to enter the Family court system.

Children suffer

Please share this with those men and women who seek freedom from abuse so that their children may experience some emotional safety, even if it is only 50 percent of the time. Had Cindy Anthony left her husband, would her daughter have had a chance to develop emotional stability? Would Caylee be alive?

There are so many children dying emotionally in the Family Court Systems. They suffer the invisible injuries that I suffer. They are forced to visit an unsafe parent with no protection. They have been thrown into a swamp to die also.

The invisible injuries manifest in their live in many ways: They are afraid of authority figures (the law of the land would not protect them); they trust people they shouldn’t (they had to rely on the abusive parent); they attempt to rescue others, it takes the focus off their pain; they are hypervigilent (over react to perceived danger) and they try to move on after being violated by a system that should have protected them. They are highly sexual, display behavior problems, and have multiple addictions.

These children have been abandoned by a nation caught up in denial, blame and judgment. So while the nation forces it population to endure a special court with no enforcement power, as a nation we are all being left in a Florida swamp, rotting and decaying, sinking further into the quicksand.

I ask each of you to become informed and assist those who must enter the quicksand of legal abuse in Family Court. Listen to them, attend court with them. Pass on words of wisdom, help share the burden. Keep sharing your stories, perhaps one day we will have a Nancy Grace who will televise our pain to the nation and rescue us from the swamp waters and quicksand of Florida Family Court. We are being ignored by the judicial system, the legislative system and law enforcement also.



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Rebecca – terrific advice for anyone dealing with a sociopath in court, especially if children are involved.


Wow, great article and advice. I don’t have any children, but this is making my heart break for all the children out there involved in these type of situations including the children of my X spath.

Ox Drover

Rebecca, Florida isn’t the only state with this kind of “family courts” but I can vouch for what you have said.

When MY Psychopathic son Patrick started his life of felony crime, we lived in Hollywood, Florida, and it was my first encounter with the laws and courts for juveniles….I cannot to this day believe how NUTS it all was. First they wanted the kid out of their hands… bail, just come get him Mom or Dad….oh, he cuts his leg monitor off and steals a motorcycle and goes to another state …don’t bother us with that information, when he doesn’t show up for court in 3 months, we’ll issue a warrant for him….in the meantime, we aren’t interested in where he is. Thanks for calling. If you want to hear this message in English please press #.

That was the second time he was arrested for a felony, and for stealing over $100,000 worth of equipment.

I didn’t just leave Florida, I actually felt like I ESCAPED from that state! I have some friends who still live there (not in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area though) but I can honestly say I never ever want to cross the border back into that state again!


OMG Ox right wording “Escaped” I view Fla as a waste land never to go back to, after living there 2 decades, its one state I dont care to ever go back to….

My mess happened in NY the laws kind of worked for me even though NY goes with the woman 92% of the time over custody, they did all see (including her lawyer) something they didnt like, but tried to RR me anyway, I didnt stand for it and had to go all in, its a check mate right now.

Searching for books and sites on the topic because #1 I needed to find out what to do to protect my son and his mind in all this and I needed to heal some how #2 I needed to know how to handle the situation

After coming back to lovefruad for 2+ years now and reading stories of others that happened acorss an SP this is the article that got me to signup….Powerful!

There couldnt have been any one on that jury that understood SP, casey was classic and I feel sorry for every one around her that has been burnt into the ground, but now she is going to feel like she won, and having all this media on her….she has to top that now so we havent seen the end of her.

And it hurts because there is a child involved in my mess thats only 3

Ox Drover

Well, welcome back Bobert, yea, I sure didn’t leave anything in Florida….and I did feel like I ESCAPED from the state….I felt like I was living in a war zone.

Well I hope that you get your kid’s custody straightened out and can, I also suggest that you go over to Liane Leedolm’s blog “parenting the at-risk child” to give you some more support specific for parents and guidance on how to cope. Good luck.

Remember Knowledge is our power, so keep on reading and learning! Welcome back.


When I had to help young chldren who were obviously victims of abuse, I advised them that they could use my coloured pencils and paper “as drawing pictures is not talking”.
I also told them that “sometimes things are so yukky that you dont want to talk about them, and sometimes things are too scary to talk about and you can be afraid to talk about them, but drawing a picture is DIFFERENT and is not the same as talking is it?”
This got around the verbal threats the children had been told.
They confided later that they had been told by their abuser that the perp had “magic from the devil and could see them all the time and would know if they talked”.
They were not afraid to draw, as children think literally.
They rationalised that drawing was not talking, therefore it was permissable, and the threats did not relate to them doing a drawing of what was too terrible to talk about.
They were told all sorts of horrific threats to make them not tell of their abuse. (This only came out after they began to talk about their experience with a therapist)
Encouraging them to express themselves with pictures resulted in graphic depictions of the physical torture they had been subjected to, and even sexual abuse upon them, or that they witnessed.
Those drawings set the children free as they were able to talk about the meaning of their drawings with a Clinical Psychologist who helped their mother.
It damages a case if you question the children. You need to put that sort of thing into the hands of trained specialists.
If a child discloses anything that is worrying. WRITE IT DOWN, RECORD the date, time, etc for use in Court.
Always record any disclosures a child makes, and who was present and heard it, or saw the aberrant or disturbed behaviour.
Dont show emotions like anger or cry etc if what the child is disclosing is upsettingm as the child will feel guilty for upsetting you and may not bring forth any more disclosure of their abuse.
If what a child says or does, is concerning you, seek expert help to find out if it is a symptom of abuse, emotional, physical or even worse sexual.
Children usually do not come out with sexual actions or language unless taught by someone.
It has been my experience that Sociopaths love to get away with abusing the weak and helpless, to make them selves feel powerful, and often children are easy prey for them.


Thanx Zoey, this helps so many people who try to protect their children in a systme geared to make money off from pain and struggle.

Ox Drover

Dear Zoey,,

Thank you so much for that GREAT advice to parents of kids and friends of kids who have been abused.

Dear Ex of an airline pilot, welcome to LF…can’t remember seeing you around, but I have CRS so maybe have and can’t remember. But anyway, welcome!

Twice Betrayed

I lived in Florida off/on for six years. I did volunteer social work with many families and what you say is true. Florida has sunshine, blue skies and fun things to do. But, when it comes to family laws they are seriously lacking. One of the most positive things, I can say I saw come from the court system in Florida, was the sentencing and execution of the psychopathic serial killer Ted Bundy [I lived there when that occurred]. *I do believe in the death penalty. From my own experience, living in Florida, especially in the larger counties; it helps to be either retired and rich or single with no children. [I found the public school system seriously lacking in help/concern for children-especially abused and neglected and the private schools seriously unregulated-think Jim and Tammy Faye Baker].

Twice Betrayed

Did anybody see the headlines on the starving python that escaped its container and killed a couple’s two year old? They were starving it and then only kept a quilt for a cover. It’s in Florida, folks.


Welcome Spirit – It seems that so often we are not believed. This is usually because spath has beat us to it and told everyone that we are crazy.

If you are able to get away RUUUUUN as far and as fast as you can.

From your comment “I was not even an adult” you sound ‘young’ forgive me if I have mis-read this. Could you go and stay with your parents/friends. It’s best not to be alone if you fear for your safety.

Even if the police do not want to know MAKE them file a report. It may be useful in the future.

Ox Drover

Dear Spirit,

I am so sorry that you were given the run around when your LIFE IS IN DANGER….I’ve been there and done that as well…..and dealt with the law in Florida and I am glad you ESCAPED Florida, I felt exactly the same way when I left that state that I had ESCAPED the LOONY BIN of EVIL.

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