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Showing posts with label PARENTING AGREEMENTS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PARENTING AGREEMENTS. Show all posts

Saturday, November 8, 2014


I was just talking to an attorney a few days ago about some minor legal work I need done.  He was really interested in moving forward, but he said, "We are going to have to wait until January because the Family Court is now dealing with litigants coming in with complaints. 

It seems that parents don't know how to divide up their time with the kids during the holidays.  As my attorney put it, "They [parents] say they care about the best interests of the children, but when it comes to figuring out on their own how to handle the holidays fairly, they can't do it!  And the problem is," he said, "We only have so many judges to deal with these issues, so they will all be too busy for the next two months."  I'm like, "Right, that sounds correct to me!"

What I don't mention is what I know to be a fact--that this is a standard tactic abusive fathers utilize to launch ongoing attacks against protective mothers. 

Let me tell you how it is all supposed to happen, but does not.  Once you file for divorce, you are supposed to establish a parenting plan without a few months of filing.  The form you should use to do this is JD-FM-183 and the link for that is below:

The form asks you to agree on basic issues such as who will have residential custody during the period prior to divorce (the pendente lite period), how visitation will be conducted, what are the drop off pick up arrangements, what will child support be, how will medical costs be paid, and how will you handle child care. 

Item #2 of this form specifically asks how the parents intend to handle holidays and school vacations. 

Still, despite the very clear mandate to settle the matter of how to handle holidays and school vacations, parents in high conflict divorce inevitably fail to answer that question and include it in their parenting agreement. 

So why does this kind of omission occur? 

Often, the attorneys involved deliberately omit the provision for holidays and school vacations as a way to stir up conflict and generate more income.  Attorneys get away with this because they will set up the agreement well before the holiday season or vacation, well before the people involved in the case begin to think about what is going to happen during the holidays and notice the omission.
So this particular kind of evil scheming takes considerable foresight and prior planning!   

More attorney's fees get generated by fights over who gets the children during holidays and school vacations than get generated by any of the more crucial matters such as who gets custody or who gets the mansion in the country. 

It is remarkable how many abusive men are able to dupe their ex wives into agreeing to parenting plans without holiday and school vacation provisions.  Then they will rigidly refuse to allow their exes to see their children during those times.  It is a way to exercise power and control over these mothers and imply to such mothers that father runs family court behind the scenes--which often they do.  This is how an abusive father will demonstrate to protective mothers how such mothers are completely powerless and will never have a chance to participate in their children's lives. 

You would think dealing with this kind of issue would be a no-brainer, and that the GALs involved in these cases would simply tell the offending fathers to do the right thing and arrange for their ex-wives to see the children, particularly during Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Instead,  the majority of them act dumb and say they have no power and can do nothing about it, despite the fact that they almost have sole decision making regarding who gets custody of the children and this  gives them tremendous moral authority, even though they may not be able to file motions with the Court. 

Routinely, litigants in family court see examples of how GALs, attorneys, and judges simply ignore a situation where abusive fathers deny mothers access to their children during holidays and school vacations and don't consider it of any consequence. 

I know you would think that judges seeing fathers refuse to allow the children to see their mothers during major holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas would automatically recognize that as abuse.  Instead, judges routinely ignore the underlying message of the abuse of power and control that underpins cases of this kind.  What is more, Courts appear to give fathers a free ticket to abuse further.

This is not say that women don't fight back because they do file motions asking for access during the holidays and school vacations.  However, the vast majority of attorneys will not defend a mother's right to see her children during these times.  And they almost knowingly allow the opportunity for action on provisions in regard to the holidays and school vacations to slip by them during negotiations over parenting plans. 

In my case, during the first year of my divorce, the attorneys gave my ex husband every last school vacation and every major holiday without any explanation and simply ignored me when I complained. 

I believe that if they actually did a survey, this happens to the vast majority of women in high conflict divorce and the quiet understandings that allow these situations to continue are part of the pro father environment in which such divorces take place.  

I am writing this blog now because I know that there are hundreds of mothers across the state who are facing circumstances like this. 

No, you will not be allowed to see your children at Thanksgiving or at Christmas.  Yes, this is a barbaric circumstance which exposes the stupidity of family court far more than any other example I could think of.  

It is ridiculous because how could any good father thinking about the best interests of the children perpetrate such wrong doing. 

It is ridiculous because how could any GAL ever imagine that denying children access to their mother over the holidays is in the least bit in their best interests. 

And it is ridiculous because attorneys and judges do not lift a finger to stop this situation from occurring. 

People ask me all the time how could this be?  They ask me why the local media doesn't expose this wrongdoing.  They ask me how a court system that is supposed to be about justice and the truth and the best interests of children could allow it. 

All I have to respond to such questions is a stolid silence, because the truth is that nobody cares at all. 

Attorneys make tons of money receiving and sending correspondence about the issue. 

Judges attend to the small minority of such cases that make it to court and clog the system during November and December.  Doing so gives them an excuse to tell State Legislators, "We have an enormous workload, and there aren't enough Judges available!"

But no one is willing to stop the money train and sanction attorneys who fail to fill out the paperwork properly; no GAL is willing to turn to a warring couple and say the parent who reaches out first and establishes a reasonable agreement regarding holidays and school vacations is the parent I am more likely to consider for residential custody of the children. 

If they did, this merry go round would stop immediately. 

As I was researching this topic, I looked up a few terms.  One of them I consider pertinent designates the Chinese form of execution known as "the death of a thousand cuts."  I can recall one of my attorneys had a flicker of recognition regarding what I was going through and used that term to describe my experience.

The death of a thousand cuts, slow slicing (or lingchi) is a method of execution in which slices of flesh are systematically removed from the body of the condemned.  For a protective mother, each vacation she misses, each holiday without her children represents another slice taken from her flesh. 

All it would take to stop this travesty from happening would be for the Family Court to enforce the law, for attorneys who are, after all, Commissioners of the Family Courts, to enforce the law.  So why aren't they doing so?