Dear Rep. Vargas and Mr. Szymonik:
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.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
March 25, 2014
Dear Rep. Vargas and Mr. Szymonik:
Dear Rep. Vargas and Mr. Szymonik:
This is just to let you know in advance of the NPR program that Attorney Jeff Mickelson was the Guardian Ad Litem in my case from 2007 to the present (since they never get removed from a case!). He only met with my children one time only and yet he charged us $25,000. During that time he allowed my ex husband to medically neglect my children in multiple incidents by allowing my ex to take the children who have albinism and are sun sensitive out into the sun without sunblock or proper sun protection. As a result, they ended up with serious sunburns, in one situation to the point of painful blisters. The children lack the pigment required to protect their skin from the sun and need repeated applications of sun block when they go into the sun.
A nurse once told me that denying my children sun block is the same thing as denying a diabetic insulin.
Attorney Jeff Mickelson never reprimanded my ex for these incidents, never contacted him about these incidents, never lifted a finger to see that the children were properly protected, and never informed the court that there was a concern. In August 2010, my ex husband decided to take the children, who are medically at risk if they are exposed to the sun, down to Florida when the UVA index was at 11+ indicating extremely dangerous conditions. Again, Attorney Jeff Mickelson did nothing to inform the court that a trip of this kind would put the children at risk medically, exposing them to health risks such as cancer, immune deficiency diseases, facial disfigurement, and cataracts, etc. Now he has apparently decided to step down from several cases. He should. He is incompetent and negligent.
I could go into more detail regarding other areas of concern, but this is the one that concerns me most.
I would say further that Attorney Jeff Mickelson actively engaged in advocating on behalf of my ex husband, appearing to receive direct instructions from the opposing attorney in my case.
At one point in the case, for months Attorney Mickelson insisted upon having me participate in Dr. Elizabeth Thayer's Peace Program with my ex husband even though my psychologist specifically stated that this program was not called for and could be damaging to me psychologically, particularly since my ex husband was refusing to adhere to the requirements of the program.
According to the policy of The Peace Program, both parties are not supposed to engage in litigation during the time that the parties are participating in the program. My ex husband and his attorney refused to stop litigation during the time we were supposed to participate in the program and I expressed fear that anything I stated during counseling would then directly be used against me in court during that litigation and that Dr. Wendy Habelow (an associate of Dr. Elizabeth Thayer) would be called in to testify against me.
It was in Attorney Jeff Mickelson's power to intervene and request that my ex stop litigation according to the requirements of The Peace Program, and he could have taken action to protect the confidentiality of The Peace Program sessions. Instead, Attorney Mickelson insisted that I participate in The Peace Program despite the fact that my ex refused to comply with the non litigation requirements of the program, and despite the fact that I was denied my right to the protection of my confidentiality.
I would also like to state that Dr. Wendy Habelow did nothing to insist that my ex comply with the requirement of the program that he cease litigation during the time we were receiving treatment. It is important to know that The Peace Program will not accept insurance and will only accept cash for its services.
Essentially, Attorney Jeff Mickelson set me up to fail in the program and I was denied access to a conciliation program that might have been of great assistance in resolving matters. I believe this was done to incentivize further conflict so that the attorneys in the case, including Attorney Mickelson, could continue to charge major sums of money for their services. Again, this is negligent, incompetent, exploitative and not in the best interests of the children.
Monday, October 18, 2010
One program lawyers, custody evaluators, GAL's often recommend in the face of high conflict divorce is The Peace Program in Avon (or the equivalent). This program is not counseling and is not covered by insurance because it is not treatment. You have to pay for it in cash, around $200.00 a session, I believe, and who the heck can afford that. It is intended to alert you to addictive behavior patterns which keep you in conflict with your ex, and also to assist you on negotiating visitation issues in regard to your children. It represents a kind of mediation.
I would not recommend this program. And I have yet to meet anyone else who would recommend this program either.
The counselors in The Peace Program know absolutely nothing (are clueless) about domestic violence--verbal, physical, or economic--and they are unable to handle it. I have spoken to women whose ex husbands threatened them in the waiting room of The Peace Program in advance of a session and there was nothing they could do to stop it. Also, mediation is not recommended in situations of domestic violence because of the automatic power imbalance.
There are also problems with how The Peace Program works. What you do in The Peace Program is discuss an issue with the counselor. Then the counselor reports the results of the session to the GAL and also to the Parties' respective lawyers. You are not supposed to be in litigation when these sessions take place, but people often are. The result is that if anything happens during the session or if the counselor observes mental health issues regarding you that concern her, she could end up on the stand testifying against you, or her report could be used against you. Trust me, this is something you don't want.
Every time you see another therapist, that is another layer of often confusing documentation regarding who you are and what you have done, all of which has to be sorted out and interpreted at the expense of thousands of dollars, and you simply don't need it. All you need is your own therapist who will (I assume you will make sure of this) always speak well of you.
If, for some reason, you are not able to avoid The Peace Program, tape record or write detailed notes about every session. After you leave, write up a quick summary of your version of what went on in the session and send it to your lawyer for documentation purposes only, so your lawyer doesn't charge you for reading it. Then if the counselor shows up with an unacceptable version of what went on during the session, you have a tape recording to prove her wrong, or your detailed notes of the session.
I think the real problem with these people is that they are burned out and have had enough. After all, how much of this marital conflict can you stand! I totally get that, actually. Plus, the counselors simply have no skills or maturity.
On a positive note, the program has a book "The Co-Parenting Survival Guide" which I think they make available, or else you can order it through a bookstore or amazon.com. Ask them about it. It is a really good book--the contents are valuable and I'd definitely recommend reading it. Yes, you can become addicted to arguing and fighting with your ex the same way you get addicted to alcohol or drugs. So deal with it for the sake of the children.