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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

MORE RESPONSES TO NEWS THAT FAMILY COMMISSION IS DISBANDING, RETREATING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS!


Here is my favorite Munro story: 

The psychologists that were big into the "custody study" business realized that it if they actually had to write a custody study, someone might actually read it and realize that there was no scientific, psychological or other basis for anything in the report. 

So Horowitz & Krieger perfected the art of delaying, deferring, demanding "feedback sessions" and other dirty tricks to avoid ever having to issue the report. 

Of course, they still got paid for their work but they'd try to make the case settle without having to write anything for which they could be held accountable. The other psychologists started to copy their methods. Then the game became how to bill the greatest number of hours and make life as difficult as possible for the parents to force the family to settle (or just let the crazy people kill each other or the kids) and never have to issue a report. 

However, in some rare cases, they actually had to write a report, which some logical litigant might actually read. 

What to do? 

Answer: get the judge to order that the parents not be permitted to read the report. You make up some reason like the parents might release the report to the public in a manner that would hurt the kids. 

(Remember, in family court fantasyland, the PARENTS are bad for the kids, while the DIVORCE INDUSTRY is good for the kids.) 

Thus, in a Stamford matter, Munro ordered the parents to take the kids to (I think) Horowitz, pay him whatever he asked for, then Munro ordered that the parents not be permitted to read the Custody Evaluation, and then she started issuing orders based on the Custody Evaluation that she had forbade the parents from even reading. At this point, the ultimate goal has been realized: the parents role has been reduced to simply writing checks to the divorce industry. 

True story. This is due process in Connecticut family court. You get to write the check, or you will lose custody of your kids and be incarcerated.

2 comments:

  1. Denying the parents access to the Custody Study is a common and old scam. Here's a paragraph from the minutes of the January 21, 2015 Family Commission meeting which deals with the issue:

    Item 01-06J concerns Practice Book Section 25-60A. The request is that any private evaluation not be given to the parties or any attorneys in a case without a court order regarding the report’s dissemination. The members of the Commission discussed whether or not the ADA preempts Practice Book Rule 25- 60A. The members of the Commission agreed that once an evaluation is marked as an exhibit at trial that the Confrontation Clause and Due Process Clause of the Constitution would require that the evaluation be made available. Concerns were raised about how a case can be resolved without knowing the contents of an evaluation. Another consideration discussed by the members of the Commission involved trying to protect children from the contents of the evaluation. Evaluation contents have been known to turn up on the internet and on social media where children and even the public can see it. The Commission will ask the Legal Services Unit to research the issue of whether the ADA preempts Practice Book Section 25-60A. Judge Dranginis, Steven Dembo, and Thomas Parrino will work on draft language for the members of the Commission to consider at the next meeting.

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  2. The general idea is to make the parents pay for a Custody Study and then allow the judge to base orders on the Custody Study without revealing the contents to the parents. The Family Commission minutes suggest that once the study is marked as an exhibit at trial, the Confrontation Clause and Due Process Clause require it to be made available. This discussion shows how little constitutional law family law judges and lawyers know. The Confrontation Clause is part of the 6th Amendment to the US Constitution. It provides that in all CRIMINAL matters, the accused has the right to be confronted with witnesses against him. I'm sure that parents may feel like criminal defendants in family court, but the provision does not apply. The 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause does apply, and it applies much more broadly than the Family Commission minutes suggest. In fact, parents have a constitutional due process right to see the report before the judge uses it to justify any action. Moreover, since they paid for the report, the parents may very well own it. It is their report. By denying them access to it, the court violates their liberty interest in their own property. Of course this latter issue is present every time the a family court judge orders parents to pay the divorce industry. In short, Connecticut family courts just blatantly violate parents' constitutional rights as a matter of practice. The January 21, 2015 Family Commission minutes are interesting in that, for the first time ever, the judges and divorce lawyers actually purport to address a constitutional issue. And of course their analysis is horribly wrong.

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