PLEASE NOTE: This blog is a bigotry free zone open to all persons, regardless of age, race, religion, color, national origin, sex, political affiliations, marital status, physical or mental disability, age, or sexual orientation. Further, this blog is open to the broad variety of opinions out there and will not delete any comments based upon point of view. However, comments will be deleted if they are worded in an abusive manner and show disrespect for the intellectual process.

Monday, October 16, 2017

O'BRIEN V. O'BRIEN: YES, GUYS, THE AUTOMATIC ORDER THAT PROHIBITS PARTIES FROM DISPOSING OF MARITAL ASSETS APPLIES TO YOU!

I feel somewhat out of my depth when it comes to discussing divorcing couples who deal in millions when it comes to their Court matter, but I will try in my modest way to draw some parallels between my case and that of the O'Briens.  I can't imagine having so much money to play around with and fight over!

It may surprise you but I wasn't really serious about getting a divorce.  What led me to file for divorce was the fact that I was receiving notifications in the mail that my ex husband was selling considerable amounts of stock.  I had been told that the automatic orders would prohibit such sales.  Filing for divorce was my way of putting a stop to those sales until I could figure out whether my ex husband was having some kind of nervous breakdown or not which was leading him to mishandle our finances.  

However, surprise surprise--yes ladies, you will understand my sarcasm--even after I had filed for divorce and the automatic orders kicked in, my ex husband continued with these ongoing sales of stock and my attorney did nothing to stop him.  In fact, when I brought my concerns up with my attorney he pretty much stated the equivalent of "boys will be boys" and men have to be able to manage their accounts without inference from the little woman.  

By the time he was finished, my ex had literally disposed of approximately $300,000 or so of our assets which I never saw again, despite the fact that the automatic orders do state that parties are not allowed to sell or hide assets. I pointed that out to my attorneys repeatedly and they took no interest in that issue whatsoever; they were too interested in threatening me with the loss of the custody of my children in which they were busily colluding with the opposing attorney.  

The bottom line?  

How dare women have the nerve to think they have any right to the marital assets they played a major role in accumulating? That's how the vast majority of legal professionals feel about women and money in family court.  For the better part, how attorneys conduct the legal process that results in divorce is ultimately informed by the attitude that women should put up and shut up and that the outcome that results from the legal proceedings should benefit fathers considerably. It is not surprising, then, that this is the attitude that pervades the discussion of the O'Brien v. O'Brien case in the August 3, 2017 CT Law Tribune.  

I want to preface this commentary by discussing the title of this CT Law Tribune article, i.e. "Millions at Stake in Quarrel..." How come the author of this article, Michael Marciano, refers to this matter as a "quarrel" as if it were a mere quibble, a kitchen controversy, or a matter of some trivial or foolish import?  I am fairly certain that were this not a family court matter that the legal issue here would have been referred to in more masculine terms as a "dispute."  But this is how the legal profession tries to imply that the issues at stake in a family court matter are just silly beyond words. However, I am sure that if an attorney were owed millions in legal fees from an uncooperative former client, he or she would never refer to his claim as a quarrel; I have no doubt in my mind it would be called a dispute. As we all know, matters that affect attorneys are significant, while those that affect mothers and fathers, are not.

What was at issue here in the O'Brien contretemps?  In this case, Mr. Michael O'Brien was accused of being in contempt of a provision of the automatic orders as follows:


(1)]Neither party shall sell, transfer, exchange, assign, remove, or in any way dispose of, without the consent of the other party in writing, or an order of a judicial authority, any property, except in the usual course of business or for customary and usual household expenses or for reasonable attorney's fees in connection with this action. 

What were Michael O'Brien's actions which led him to be accused of violating this provision?

According to Mr. Marciano's article, Mr. O'Brien "sold 28,127 shares of company stock and exercised options to liquidate another 75,000 shares" which amount to $2.5 million worth of transactions between 2009 to 2012.  

Ok, now that seems like a direct violation of the automatic orders to me.  What does it say in the automatic orders?  It says, "Neither party shall sell..."  What did Mr. O'Brien do?  Mr. O'Brien "sold" stock.  This seems like an open and shut case of the violation of the automatic orders to me and apparently all seven of the Supreme Court Justices of the Supreme Court agree.  That's seven pretty smart people who agree with me!  

Attorney Gary Cohen challenges this conclusion stating that such an interpretation of the automatic orders would hamstring litigants who are conducting transactions to maintain their financial portfolio.  But this is comparing apples and oranges.  For example, before he started conniving in preparation for our divorce, my ex carried out the kinds of transactions Gary Cohen uses as an example, i.e. selling stock in some companies and buying others on a regular basis and consulting with his stockbroker in order to make the best decisions based upon the market. This kind of transaction is the kind that the automatic orders are addressing when you talk about "the usual course of business".  They essentially maintain the health and viability of your portfolio and are in accordance with ongoing practices.

As long as such transactions were consistent with the kinds of transactions conducted in the past and continued on in the manner anticipated by the party's financial planning with their business advisor, this would have been perfectly in accordance with the provisions of the automatic orders. However, Michael O'Brien's decision to sell company stock subsequent to filing for divorce was a dramatic departure from his previous actions and the outcome of those actions was the loss of $3.8 million in additional value that the stock might have eventually had were they not sold. A decision of that magnitude, that was a departure from prior actions, quite reasonably required the consultation of the Court and the opposing side and the idea that this is not so is nonsense.  

Another argument that is nonsense is the idea that consulting the Court in such matters would "further clog an overburdened court system."  

No it would not.  

The provision prohibiting the sale or disposal of marital assets is only about those situations that are outside the ordinary course of business.  Such transactions are not frequent enough to become a problem unless, of course, the attorneys want it to be. This quarrelsome case, for instance. Think about it. When seven justices vote unanimously that the original trial court decision was correct, this tells you that the entire appeals process which ultimately arrived at the Supreme Court, and is now being continued with a motion for reconsideration, and which probably cost the parties multiple thousands and thousands of dollars in attorney's fees, was a complete waste of time because the original decision was solidly based in the law.  This is where attorneys are making a financial bonanza, in appealing a decision that is not appealable because it is right and they all know it!

Finally, let's talk about the issue of contempt.  Apparently, both sides agreed that "Michael O'Brien appeared to be acting in good faith when he exercised his stock options, and showed no intention towards depleting his or Kathleen O'Brien's marital assets."  Apparently, you can only be held in contempt if you took action while not acting in good faith.  

I find such a conclusion laughable.  

I am assuming that Mr. Michael O' Brien who makes a salary of $1.2 million a year is a reasonably intelligent man.  I am assuming that Mr. O'Brien can read the automatic orders the same as you and I.  I am assuming he is a native English speaker. Again, what do the automatic orders state?  "Neither party shall sell...any property..."  If you are driving a car and you know that the traffic rules state, "You shall not run through a red light" nonetheless, you run through a red light, is it intentional?  I leave the conclusion up to you, my readers.  At the very least, if you have the slightest bit of doubt, you should consult your attorneys.  Perhaps what this case requires is a complaint for attorney malpractice!

A note to Mr. Michael Marciano, our new Chief of Bureau for the CT Law Tribune who wrote this article.  If you have attorneys coming to you and whining--attorneys such as Daniel Klau, Gary Cohen or horror of horrors Attorney Campbell Barrett--seriously do not pay any attention to them.  Their attitudes are drenched in male privilege.  As for Klau and Cohen, my best guess is that they are trying to placate their client for his defeat and their wasting his attorneys fees by giving him a pat on the back in the pages of your Tribune.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

HOW CONSERVATIVE ATTACKS AGAINST SINGLE MOTHERS AND FEMINISM HAS IMPACTED FAMILY COURT!

On February 26, 2010, several CT State Agencies came together to sign a multi-agency agreement to coordinate efforts to further the interests of fathers over that of mothers. These Agencies were the Department of Social Services, The Department of Children and Families, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and the Department of Public Health. The beginning of this agreement made several statements in order to justify this promotion of father's interests over that of mothers in violation of the CT Constitution Article I, Section 20 which forbids discrimination based upon gender. One such statement was as follows, "Children who grow up in families headed by single mothers are five times more likely than two parent families to live in poverty." Subsequent statements continued on to blame single mothers for a high percentage of high school drop outs, juvenile delinquency, drug use, teen pregnancy and mental illness. 

If this is what they are being told, no wonder America hates single mothers! Conservative scholars and politicians are pretty much blaming single mothers for poverty and for every other social problem that exists!  In other words, they have taken one of the symptoms of social and economic injustice, and turned it on its head and made it the cause.

What I would like to know is where is the research these conclusions are based upon? How were these studies able to zero in with such exactitude on single mothers as the source of the problem without regard to other factors such economic policies and social injustice. Personally, I doubt that this is possible because such issues are so interdependent, and my guess is that if you investigate these studies further, they will be found to be flawed. I suspect they were conceived and formulated by conservative think tanks much as the numerous fake news articles we saw in the last election. As we all know, correlation cannot necessarily be taken as cause and effect. Further, did researchers consider the problems caused by motherlessness? I'll bet you that they didn't because from the look of the rhetoric, such as that in the multi-agency agreement, the misogynist minds behind the push to slander and devalue single women don't believe a mother's love is at all valuable.

In the age of outsourcing, globalization, and mass incarceration, it is just false and misleading to place the blame for all the social ills of society on single mothers who are among the most vulnerable citizens in our nation. Yet one of the most sweeping social re-engineering programs in the US today which is costing taxpayers billions and billions of dollars — the fatherhood initiative and the Healthy Family and Responsible Fatherhood program — does just that. Based upon such theories, the federal government distributes these funds through the Department of Health and Human Services to assist men in their custody battles in family court and to provide housing, employment, and counseling services. If you are interested in the extent of the fatherhood funding here in the State of CT, please look up the John S. Martinez Fatherhood Initiative online. Take note that there is no such thing as a Motherhood Initiative. Why? Because why help mothers, even though 70% of the people who live below the poverty line are women and children?

In my view, the attack on single mothers is an attack on women as a whole, and is integrally connected with an attack on the African American community and the Hispanic community as well. It is the result of political conservatives and the religious right carrying out a strategic initiative to roll back the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement and Women's Liberation as well which they blame for low marriage rates and number of other ills. It is an attempt on the part of these conservative and religious groups to reinstate the status quo of the 1950s where few people divorced, women were silent about domestic violence, father knew best, and African Americans knew their place at the very bottom of the social and economic totem pole. In short, it is a massive backlash, and I am here to say that it is absolutely unacceptable.

Instead of challenging the discrimination against women that relegates them to the lowest paying jobs available, instead of challenging the fact that women make only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, instead of ensuring safe and inexpensive daycare as well as parental leave, conservatives have decided that the way to solve the problem of poverty is to forcibly restore the two parent family. The primary area where conservatives have waged the war to reverse the achievements of feminism is in family court where funds that are provided to the fatherhood initiative to support fathers have been used to fund father’s custody battles and motivate legal professionals to favor the interests of men. This has gone as far as carrying out numerous custody switching schemes in which mothers are forced out of the lives of the children who are then given to abusers. According to the most recent estimates from The leadership Council, up to 58,000 children per year are handed over to their abusers.

The attack on single mothers originated from the Moynihan report published in 1965. Ironically, the Moynihan report, entitled "The Negro Family: The Case For National Action" was written by a political liberal, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who worked under President Lyndon Johnson. Mr. Moynihan concluded that in the Black community the high numbers of families headed by single mothers put the entire community at risk. He drew a direct link from women headed households to welfare and stated that as welfare expanded, divorce rates expanded because mothers relied upon the government for financial support and didn't feel they needed to remain married to the fathers any longer. He then associated single parenthood to a broad range of social ills including crime and poverty etc. while concluding that African-American couples who remained in a traditional marriage did not face these problems. Since this report was published, single parent families headed by mothers have risen in all ethnic and racial groups, although it remains highest in black families.

Moynihan stated that the problems in the black community were not caused by social injustice, but instead were caused by inherent flaws in black culture starting with the matriarchal structure of the black family. He felt that mother led households weakened the ability of black men to function as authority figures. As a feminist, my question is why should men function as authority figures any more or less than females should? The entire concept underlying the Moynihan report and all such theories, i.e. that women's self actualization and empowerment is, in some way, a threat to black masculinity and all black men as a whole, I find offensive. It is also important to note that in any culture, not just African American culture, where political and economic oppression exists, many communities end up being female dominated. For instance, Russian society to a certain extent, and also Irish Catholic society is traditionally matriarchal.

In 1986, Bill Moyer's television program entitled "The Vanishing Family -- Crisis in Black America" repeated the same conclusions as the Moynihan Report. It condemned Black society for being matriarchal and, therefore, the program concluded "rootless." But why? Why is a matriarchal society rootless? While these ideas were originally spoken of in connection to the black community, they quickly spread out into the overarching American society. Based upon these two reports, unfounded theories disrespecting single mothers spread rapidly and it soon became the norm for people to state that a mother can't possibly bring up her children properly without a father, that leaving children in the care of a single mother consigns them to a fate worse than death.

In this way, the misogynist drumbeat began that has fueled the backlash against women in the last few decades. It is this philosophy that has been used to justify the expenditure of billions and billions of dollars in the fatherhood initiative for the purpose of switching custody to fathers, or enabling abusive and controlling fathers to bully and torture their ex wives and children for years to come. In essence, conservative politicians and the evangelical right are using children within family court to coerce and blackmail women to relinquish their newly won civil rights. It is the inevitable culmination of the backlash which Susan Fahludi described so eloquently in her 1991 book “Backlash”. Religious organizations have been accessing this kind of funding through faith based initiatives since 2003 to the tune of approximately 2.2 Billion dollars a year.

Since 1996 when funding was shifted from feeding, housing and clothing poor women and children and poured into fatherhood programs, what has been the outcome of promoting traditional marriage as a panacea for poverty? For the better part, these programs have failed miserably. Why is that? Because despite what conservative politicians and religious leaders have said, the problem here has nothing to do with single mothers. The reality is that it all boils down to jobs. Studies indicate that men are considered more eligible for marriage, and are more likely to stay married when they have a good, steady job and can provide for their families. However, starting in the 1960s (yes the same time as the Moynihan Report), American Corporations began to outsource blue collar jobs abroad, for instance to Mexico, and in subsequent decades decent jobs with decent wages dwindled considerably. Manufacturing jobs were increasingly replaced with service positions. Then in the 1990s white collar jobs began to be outsourced abroad as well, and this trend became more pronounced with the passage of NAFTA in 1994.

Along with that the Republican party led an attack on the Unions beginning with the death of the Labor Reform Act of 1978. Then in 1981, when President Reagan took power, he launched the conservative attack on Unions, starting with the Air Traffic Controllers Union. Since that time, Union membership has been cut in half. The rich have been getting richer and the poor have been getting poorer. Instead of a good, decent paying Union job, many American workers have been forced to settle for working at two or three part time retail positions for minimum wage at a place like Walmart which doesn't give them any benefits. So the problem of poverty is not about single mothers; it is about economics, but the power elite want to distract people and blockade them from realizing the truth by playing upon their prejudice and hatred of single women. This is not only sad, but unethical.

Bottom line: what is the point of counseling fathers to be good role models when they can't even get a decent job with a sufficient salary to support their families?

In the Black community, not only is social instability caused by a lack of jobs, it has also been caused by Mass Incarceration. Currently, the U.S. has 5% of the world's population, but has one fourth of the worlds prisoners. Why is this? Because since 1980 when Ronald Reagan came into power, under the banner of enforcing law and order, our government has been rounding up massive numbers of men, primarily minorities, and incarcerating them. Thus, while in 1980 the Nation's prison population was around 300,000, it is currently at 2.2 million. Numbers like this represent a 500% increase in prison population from the 80s to the present.

The increase in prison population is not the result of an increase in crime rates, but is the result of the alteration of policies and legislation. An example of this would be President Reagan's Anti-drug Abuse Act of 1986, and get tough on crime legislation including zero tolerance policies and mandatory minimum sentences, etc. These policies disproportionately affect African-American men and Hispanics. In addition, there is the increasing militarization of law enforcement which has impacted Black men more than any other group. Currently, statistics indicate that one in five black males faces incarceration at some point in their lives. These kinds of numbers cannot help but influence the stability of the African American family. Thus, it isn't single mothers who are the problem; it isn't the matriarchy, or feminism. It is the outright attack of the American government on the African American community as a whole, and the targeting of African American men for take down.

While Corporations and the privileged 1% continue to push the racist and misogynist idea that single mothers are the cause of the breakdown of society, the reality is that it is the economic elite who actually bear responsibility for this state of affairs. These are the folks who have been exporting jobs, drastically cutting salaries and benefits for the remaining jobs available and conducting an all out attack on the Black community through mass incarceration. The solution to this problem is not to scapegoat single mothers or unnaturally shift the balance of power into the hands of men. The answer is not to waste billions of dollars on placing highly expensive fatherhood ads on television celebrating fatherhood, spending massive sums of money on unsuccessful efforts to return women into traditional marriages, or giving money to corrupt attorneys and mental health professionals to fund custody switching schemes that transfer abused children into the custody of their abusers. The answer is to restore the economy, to promote the return of decent paying jobs to this country, to provide safe and high quality child care for families, and to support the career goals of every American, not just men.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

LINDA WIEGAND'S LEGACY OF LOVE LIVES ON!

I was driving around my neighborhood, and I happened to see the truck you see above in this blog. I immediately jumped out of my car to take a few pictures.  

You may think what you want about Linda Wiegand, but the fact is that no matter what has been said about her, she has left behind a legacy of giving that says volumes about the kind of person that she was.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

WOMEN'S COLLEGE GRADUATES: DO THEY BEAR RESPONSIBILITY WHEN INTEGRATED APPROACHES TO HEALTH CARE PUT MOTHERS AT RISK IN FAMILY COURT!

As a feminist, there is nothing worse in my mind than a situation where women do not support other women.  This is particularly true when it comes to the Protective Mothers who are the victims of Family Court.  Let me tell you how this impacted me recently.  

On March 13, 2017, I received an email from the Three College Luncheon organization inviting me to a luncheon where guest speaker Attorney Kathy Flaherty, Wellesley Class of 1988 and Harvard Law Class of 1994, was going to make a presentation about her service on the Governor's Sandy Hook Commission.  She is currently the Executive Director of the Connecticut legal rights Project, Inc. a State funded non-profit agency which provides legal services to support the rights of low income individuals with mental health disabilities.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

ANONYMOUS MOM REVEALS SOME IMPORTANT HOME TRUTHS EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW!

I obtained the following list of facts from an anonymous mother on the internet.  I don't know who originated the information, but it is all profoundly true. See below:



1. Women do not have an advantage in court. That is a lie. Long ago yes - now NOT AT ALL. 




*Quit the lie. Statistics show in cases tried in court, women lose 82 percent of the time.




2. Don't leave an abusive marriage if you have children. I'm serious. Don't. Until there are changes in DV, society, etc it is too great of a risk.




3. If a parent - man or woman has stayed home for years - giving up careers etc to raise the kids- then damn right they should get alimony. I suggest NEVER give up your career. Too great of a risk.




4. The truth is NEVER told in court and no one is punished for lies and NO ONE cares. Colleagues, friends, everyone will let you down in court because suddenly they don't want to be involved. Promise. You remind them of incidences and they are afraid. Don't expect help from your church either. They will probably suggest you pray more as though you haven't been doing that for years.




5. People don't care about your struggle. They don't really believe the system is crooked and assume you did something really wrong.....promise.




6. Lawyers do NOT care about you. They instigate and they are friends with opposing counsel and the judge. They talk about your case outside of the court. Promise. They are friends in Facebook, instagram.




7. A settlement, divorce agreement - its merely paper."

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

JONATHAN P. WIEGAND, DEAD AT 31.

It is with sadness that I have to report the death of Jonathan P. Wiegand who died suddenly on Friday August 11, 2017.  See link:  

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/middletownpress/obituary.aspx?pid=186388780


During the 1990s, as a child of 4, Jonathan was in the center of an extremely controversial custody case in which his mother, Linda Wiegand, accused the stepfather, Thomas Wilkinson, of sexually abusing his stepson, Jonathan, and their younger son, Ben (3).  At one point, Ms. Wiegand fled to Las Vegas and two years later was discovered and charged with custodial interference.  

Jonathan P. Wiegand
This case set the stage for future custody switching schemes in which protective mothers in the State of Connecticut have lost custody, and indeed, all access to their children who are then transferred into the sole custody of the fathers who abused them.  The players in her case subsequently went on to become involved in other cases where good parents lost custody of their children.  This includes Judge Herbert Barall, Dr. Kenneth Robson, Attorney Louis Kiefer, and Dr. James C. Black.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

HAVE YOU BEEN HARMED AND DAMAGED BY CUSTODY EVALUATOR DR. JAMES CONNOLLY? WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

For many years now, there have been many complaints from protective mothers in regard to custody evaluator Dr. James Connolly.  Are you one such victim?  If so, this website would be interested in hearing from you.   

If you believe that Dr. Connolly invented the information he placed in your custody evaluation, if he misrepresented the facts in your case, if you discovered he deceived you into believing you had his support when you did not, if he charged you large sums of money for his work and did not deliver, if he failed to adhere to the APA standards for custody evaluations, if he inserted quack science such as parental alienation syndrome (PAS) or its equivalent in your evaluation, if he allowed your ex to put your children at risk of injury and did nothing about it, or committed any other malfeasance of this kind, please let us know.  

We can be contacted at the following email address:  Slopercathy@gmail.com.

All communications will be held strictly confidential. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

YES, IT'S TRUE. A BUNCH OF JUDGES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FACT THAT HARTFORD IS THE CAPITOL OF CT AND NOT NEW HAVEN!

LOCATION OF THE JUDGES' CAVES IN WEST ROCK, CT
Since Hartford is currently the capitol of Connecticut, it must appear to everyone that it was inevitable that it be so.  

Yet this was not always the case.  

Originally, New Haven was the center of a much more prosperous and more powerful colony and by rights appeared to be the one that would be favored with the title of State Capitol.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

NEW STANDING COMMITTEE ON GALs AND AMCs IN FAMILY MATTERS TAKES SHAPE!

The April 2017 Addendum on the Judicial Branch Family Court Initiatives reported that the CT Judicial Branch would establish a Standing Committee on Guardians Ad Litem and Attorneys for the Minor Child in Family Matters. The Committee is the result of a change to the Connecticut Practice Book dated June 24, 2016 listed under Sec. 25-61A.  For the exact wording of this section of The CT Practice Book, please see the link below:

https://www.jud.ct.gov/Committees/GAL_AMC/PB25-61A.pdf 

Recently, I was taking a look at the CT Judicial Branch Website and found out that the Committee has now been established.  Its first meeting was held on Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 95 Washington Street.  According to the information provided on the CT Judicial Branch Website, the purpose of this Committee is as follows:

Friday, July 21, 2017

WHAT HAPPENED TO EVERYONE? HOW ABUSED WOMEN IN A DIVORCE END UP ISOLATED AND ALONE!

Three or four months into what I now routinely call "the divorce from hell" I woke up and said, "What happened to Everyone!!!" I mean, what happened to my family, my friends, and all the other people I used to know, because suddenly they weren't there any more. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

THE ROLE OF SOME JEWISH PEOPLE IN FAMILY COURT ABUSE. HOW CULPABLE ARE THEY?

In a recent inquiry, one reader asked the following question, "Elizabeth, why do you promote an anti-semite like Paul Boyne? Your father was a Holocaust survivor. Shame doesn't begin to describe what you should feel." That is a good question for Elizabeth, although Cathy will be the person on behalf of the "Divorce in Connecticut" blog to respond, particularly since she formulated the "bigotry free" policy that is fundamental to this blog.