There are few cases that present the spectacle of the foolishness of family court here in CT quite as effectively as the Mathew Couloute versus Lauren Haiden versus Stacey Blitsch cases.
Mathew Couloute, for those who are interested, is a native son, born and raised here in CT and said to be an associate of Gov. Dan Malloy. An attorney and formerly a state prosecutor, Mr. Couloute is a talented, intelligent, capable if not brilliant professional with some unfortunately fatal character flaws, one being an inability to maintain a steady and law abiding career path, and the other, a complete inability to maintain a decent and courteous relationship with the mothers of his two children currently aged 11 and 5.
These flaws have led to constant moves from state to state, several career changes, and more recently extensive and complicated litigation in CT Family Court including several custody evaluations conducted in Family Relations at both Hartford, CT and New Milford, CT, not to mention additional proceedings in other states, i.e. Florida, Georgia, and New York.
For those of you who are interested in knowing what this case all comes down to in a nutshell, I'd say it all comes down to character. It's so obvious, it flies right into your face and smacks you on both cheeks.
Now, I am not saying that the two ladies involved in this case--Lauren and Stacey--are so fabulous, because no they are not. They have gotten on my nerves many times.
Of course, all that adds up to is a bit of irritation.
On the other hand, Mathew Couloute? Here is a man who has demonstrated well into his forties that he is completely incapable of maintaining a relationship with a woman for any notable period of time. For his entire life up to this point, he has simply bounced from relationship to relationship to relationship. Any time it gets tough for him, he just leaves and goes on to the next one.
Of course, co-parenting children with the mothers of the children he left behind requires a little bit more "stick to it iveness" than Mr. Couloutte has been able to demonstrate thus far.
So where is family relations on this point?
What is interesting, of course, is that during all the family relations evaluations and court hearings that have taken place in this case, no one has actually focused in on this point, which is, of course, the most important point--the fact that Mathew Couloute is not capable of a mature, adult, respectful relationship with a woman on a long term basis.
Furthermore, on Mr. Couloute's part, there has been a lot of demonization of his ex partners, but no specific demonstration of any intent to work with them to raise their children.
For instance, I read Mathew Couloute's recent motions to the CT Family Court for sole custody where he goes into detail regarding his layman's understanding of Lauren Haiden's mental health condition. What he fails to mention is that, not only has he demonstrated his severely compromised mental health condition by his manner of living his life, which is pretty obvious to anyone, but also he does have his very own record of mental health problems which, since he is a highly capable and knowledgeable attorney, he has been able to suppress from the record in the case.
Unfortunately, this has been a big problem, i.e. the way in which Mathew Couloute has been able to play around with how the Court understands his case.
For instance, in the year leading up to his divorce from Lauren Haiden in 2015, he was supposed to be in therapy with a master's degree psychotherapist who was supposed to assist him in communicating more effectively with his ex wife. In the months leading up to trial, this therapist stated that Mathew Couloute had been highly successful in his therapy and that the work they'd done together was a big success.
But how could that therapy possibly be a success if Mr. Couloute failed to demonstrate in his life any concrete indication of improvement in his ability to communicate with the mothers of his children. In fact, the emails sent back and forth during that timeframe, many of which were provided to the custody evaluator, demonstrate clearly the fact that Mathew Coulloute speaks to the mothers of his children in a mean, vicious, cruel, and unkind manner and is, at this time, incapable of coparenting because, so far, no one has required him to.
Witnesses who have heard Mathew Couloute rant and rave on the phone to the mothers of his children have also stated that he is both frightening and abusive towards them.
So far the Family Court in CT and its family relations department have maintained the position in regard to Mathew Couloute that whatever he wants to do he can do.
For instance, it appears that up to this point Mr. Couloute has placed his son of 11 years old in 9 separate schools, almost one for each year of his life. Is anyone going to object to that? Several credible studies have linked school changes to serious psychiatric difficulties in children. See link:
Anyone with a fundamental understanding of child well being should.
Then there is the fact that when his son was four, Mr. Couloute was able to wrest custody from the mother who had been taking primary care of the child up to that point. You'd think he would then spend more time with the child. But no. Instead, he continued on with full time work and gave responsibility for the care of the child to his brand new 22 year old girlfriend.
Just in case you are wondering, I have met the boy's mother, Stacey, and she is a wonderful person, clearly perfectly responsible and capable of taking care of her child. In fact, the court pretty much said that at the time, prior to irrationally giving the child away to the father.
Anyway, not to take up your whole day with this, although there is so much more to say.
Right now this case is being wrangled between the State of CT and the State of NY and I receive frequent updates on the progress of the case.
Apparently, what led to this debacle is that after the divorce, Mathew Couloute failed to pay any court ordered child support for a year, and then last Fall 2016 he moved to Georgia, established residence, and enrolled his son in a private school.
After a few months, given that Mr. Couloute was no longer in the State of CT, Lauren Haiden gave a notice to the court that she was leaving the state temporarily because she had no money or a place to stay. Her father came and picked her up, along with their little girl, and they moved away to Buffalo, NY.
She then filed for sole custody in New York state even though the State of CT has jurisdiction. Now that seems foolish to me, but that's because I've been hanging around court systems for so long. Given that Lauren Haiden is a non-attorney, and unfamiliar with the Court, her actions should be understood as simply a product of convenience and not ill intended.
Nonetheless, in response, instead of attempting to work the situation out, Mathew Couloute returned to Connecticut from Georgia and filed a police report claiming that Lauren had fled the state with the child and that he was concerned about the child's wellbeing, blah blah. As a result, he was able to get her arrested. Of course, he knew she hadn't fled anywhere, but you know, if you can get away with shit, why not try? I guess that's what he thought, and he was right. The CT Family Court system was only too willing to snatch up the bait.
Anyway, so here we have more legal drama, more dysfunction, more hoopla, and who suffers here? The kids, you've got it.
The problem, as I see it, is where you give a fairly unwise and unstable individual complete authority and the ability to get away with any nonsense, while leaving the other parent helpless in the face of bad decision making and interpersonal bullying.
What is necessary for post-divorce tranquility is that there is proper cooperation combined with an equal balance of power between the parents in order to promote an atmosphere the children can thrive in. When you empower a bully, as the CT Judicial Branch seems readily prepared to do with this family, the spreading ripples of pain and destruction for this generation and the next are endless, and virtually unstoppable in the absence of common sense.
Would it be possible to order therapy for the parties based upon actual facts rather than Mr. Couloute's fantasies or the highly edited statements of mental health professionals who are so low on the professional totem pole they are vulnerable to coercion?
This statement here is not my standard approach to writing a blog. Usually, I like to have all my facts lined up in advance, and I only speak when I have everything perfectly prepared. But it seems we have an emergency, so I'm speaking up now while the CT Family Court system has time to correct its mistakes and resolve this matter in a way that benefits the children. I don't want it later said that I stood witness to this travesty and said nothing against it.
This is what I have to say to CT Family Court. It is time to stop the nonsense, to stop the politicking and grandstanding, and stop the hyperbole and do what is right for everyone concerned in this case, particularly the children. For the better part, this includes putting the brakes on Mathew Couloute's bullying. Enough already.