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Showing posts with label LEGAL ABUSE SYNDROME. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LEGAL ABUSE SYNDROME. Show all posts

Monday, December 3, 2018



Dr. Karin Huffer passed away peacefully at her home in Colorado surrounded by family and loved ones on October 24, 2018. Born October 18, 1941 in Pocatello, Idaho to the late Adolph and Jane Pearson and raised in Shoshone County between the towns of Wallace and Mullan. 

She received her bachelors in Psychology from the University of Idaho, her masters in Psychology from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and her Doctorate of Counseling and Forensic Psychology from Kings University. Dr. Huffer was most proud of her advocacy work which drew upon her forty years of experience as a counselor in Clark County, Nevada behavioral schools along with her private practice which focused on the recognition of post trauma stress and the use of ADAAA accommodations as a means of intervention. 

Karin was the beloved wife of the late James ("JD") Huffer. She was preceded in death by her grandmother, Karin Ingeborg Johnson; grandfather, Peter Adolph Pearson; and dearly beloved dog, Hudson. Karin is survived by her sons, Jason Huffer and Jordan Huffer; and dear friends, Billi Gremain, Jorge Medina, and Meryl Lanson. 

Those who wish may donate in Karin's name to Equal Access Advocates Scholarship Fund. The memorial service will be held at the South Florida National Cemetery at a time to be announced followed by a celebration of life for all who wish to join.

Sunday, October 21, 2018


Mary Lee A. Kieman, YMCA
"Domestic violence is a crime that affects people of all races, genders, religions and income levels. It is also a crime that often doesn’t end when the victim leaves the abuser. Taking the step to leave an abuser is monumental for a victim, and leaving is when violence is likely to escalate. The reasons for staying are complicated, which is why it often takes many tries before a victim can leave.
A cruel turn of events often happens after the victim leaves the has had the courage to leaves the abuser: Abusers often continue to assert power over victims by using civil and criminal court systems to their advantage through threats, intimidation, and using legal maneuvers to maintain control. Legal abuse happens whenever an abuser misuses the legal system to re-victimize his or her partner.
Victims quickly discover the complexities and challenges of the legal system. While the system is set up to be impartial, receiving the best representation is often based on the ability to pay for a lawyer. Since abusers often control the family finances, they are often able to obtain experienced legal representation, while the victim is self-represented or less well-represented by legal counsel.
In addition, the abuser continues to assert power and control over the victim by manipulating the court system in their favor using tactics like:
Refusing to agree to reasonable custody agreements or dragging out court battles. Abusers can suddenly show interest in parenting when they had not been involved with the children in the past.
Abusing the right to file motions to keep the victim tied up in court and exhaust the victim’s financial resources with legal fees.
Applying for restraining orders without the threat of violence from the victim.
Refusing to comply with court orders, forcing victims to spend time and money enforcing the orders.
Portraying the victim as an unfit parent and/or making false reports to Department of Children and Families (DCF).
Claiming the victim abuses drugs or alcohol and using this claim against the victim.
“Shopping around” for attorneys, thereby creating a conflict of interest for attorneys and preventing these attorneys from representing the victim.
Requesting continuances to prolong proceedings and/or not showing up to court for scheduled appearances, when the victim has had to arrange child care, call out of work, or pay her attorney.
Not only are these tactics costly, but they also cause additional emotional stress for the victim. In fact, according to Dr. Karin P. Huffer, a marriage and family therapist, the consequence of being abused through the legal system can cause a condition known as Legal Abuse Syndrome, a form of post traumatic stress disorder caused by the continued abuse of power, betrayal, or fraud within the legal system.
What can we do to address legal abuse?
First, we need to continue to raise awareness that abuse of the legal system is a powerful form of domestic abuse that enables an abuser to retain power and control over the victim.
Second, better education and training about how abusers use the legal system to continue to victimize their partners must be provided to judges, lawyers, court advocates, police officers and other professionals who treat victims of domestic violence.
Third, victims of domestic abuse also need advice and counsel on how to determine the best representation for themselves, including interviewing multiple lawyers, finding a lawyer who has experience in litigating domestic violence cases, and finding a lawyer who will take the time to deeply understand the full history of the victim’s abuse, so they can best represent the victim’s interests.
Earlier this year, YWCA Greenwich announced the opening of the YWCA Greenwich Civil Legal Clinic. The clinic, run by two YWCA volunteers who are attorneys, is providing consultations for YWCA Greenwich domestic abuse clients who need help filling out legal paperwork; help with court documents; assistance creating financial affidavits; advice on motions that they need to file; and educational consultation advice on what to look for in a lawyer.
Abuse of the legal system is another “hoop” that victims of domestic abuse often go through to be free of the abuser. Join YWCA Greenwich in raising awareness about this powerful form of abuse and supporting victims of domestic abuse in our community. To provide financial support for the Civil Legal Clinic and the work of YWCA Greenwich Domestic Abuse Services, donate to the Purple Purse Challenge at All of all funds raised this month will go to support the work of YWCA Greenwich Domestic Abuse Services.
If you, or someone you know, is in an abusive situation, contact YWCA Greenwich Domestic Abuse Services at 203-622-0003. All services are free and confidential. You don’t have to fight abuse alone."
Mary Lee A. Kiernan is president and CEO of YWCA Greenwich.

Monday, July 25, 2016


Here is a comment I made elsewhere on the blog which I think would benefit from wider coverage.  It responds to the question of why CT family court has high numbers of legal abuse cases.  See below:

I think to put some perspective on this. Up until around 2000, based upon statistics provided by the CT Judicial Branch, each year there were approximately 30 or so high conflict custody cases. 

Around 2000-2001 the Governor's Commission on Custody, Divorce, and Children was established and went around the State holding hearings in regard to custody and financial issues in CT's family courts. The Commission consisted of some of the currently most notorious names in the corrupt CT family court system. 

After the Commission had completed its mission and published its report, high conflict custody cases steadily rose to the numbers we have today which are at approximately 3,600 or so each year. 

I would suggest that family court conflict, at least in the State of CT--I can't speak for elsewhere--is a family court industry generated problem. 

As always, there is a solid group that simply works out its differences with or without support as you mention. But the remainder, and the stats back this up, are victims of a family court professionals' scheme to defraud and exploit vulnerable family court litigants who rely upon them for support and guidance. 

These family court professionals deliberately generate conflict and legal difficulties for money. It is as simple as that. 

The mental health professionals, of course, are trained at manipulation and psychological torture, and so they are particularly at fault here, which is why they are often called "Whores of the Court". But blaming the victims here, by calling them litigious or saying they just don't know how to resolve problems by negotiating in a reasonable way, is uncalled for when it comes to family court. In my case, for instance, attorneys never let my ex and I stay in the same room because they knew that we'd resolve matters quickly if we did.

The family court professionals who are involved in this scheme are highly trained, very intelligent, well connected individuals who have translated their exploitative schemes into a fine art that few are capable of even beginning to understand or resist.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


For those of you enduring legal abuse syndrome, there are some options available to combat the problem.  See the Guidebook in the link below written by the Panama Publishing Series:

"Legal Abuse Syndrome:  Utilizing a Tort Action in Family Law Cases"

Saturday, January 7, 2012


The emotional and sexual abuse of children always seems difficult for Family Court in Connecticut to handle.  We saw that in the Wiegand/Wilkerson case.  Recently, this issue came up for me again.  While doing research on other matters, I came across the case of Paula J. Fish v. Andrew J. Fish, Jr.  Let me know what you think of this case 

I understand that when I summarize a Court's Memorandum of Decision, the entire piece of writing could be a work of fiction, but on face value, this is what we have.  In the words of the Court, here is a rundown on the story. 

The Parties in this case were married on June 21, 1985 and then had a child, a little girl, in 1989.  The marriage lasted for around eleven years or so and then was dissolved on March 5, 1996. Both parents shared joint custody including an evenly divided parenting arrangement.

After the divorce there was ongoing tension between the Parties, ie. arguments over tax issues, over tuition for the Child's private school, as well as child support--your general money issues. 

The child was often caught between the warring parents and the Plaintiff Mother constantly asked the child for a detailed report of what happened when she visited the Father. So it is not surprising that in June, 2001, Attorney Emily J. Moskowitz was appointed as the Guardian Ad Litem for the little girl later taking on the additional role of Attorney for the Minor Child. 

Then in May 2002, the Defendant Father filed a Motion to Modify custody in which he requested sole custody of the child with supervised visitation for the Plaintiff. 

This is where I get to the point of saying, you've got to be kidding me.  This is how the Court describes this man.  He is a person who "failed to provide a clean and appropriate home for the child" one who "demonstrated inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature in the child's presence", i.e. walked around with an open bathrobe exposing his genitals to her.  Not only that, he "kept a dangerous dog in his home." 

Ok, now I get why the Plaintiff was asking her daughter for detailed information regarding her visits to the Father's house.  If I were this child's mother, I would be going out of my mind knowing what was going on and not being able to do anything to stop it. 

Perhaps someone can tell me why the Defendant Father's inappropriate, if not criminal, behavior was reported in a Supreme Court Decision and there is no mention that this Father was arrested for child abuse for doing this to his daughter.  If the Defendant Father went to a local park and did this he would be in jail for indecent exposure, but guess it is OK if you do it at home to your daughter.  Please, someone, explain why this is not a criminal act.  All I can say is that my heart goes out to the Mother. 

Ok, back to Dad and what he has been up to.  The Memorandum of Decision continues with the Court stating that at the Defendant's house, the child "has been exposed to a filthy and unkept environment, with multiple cats, cat feces and urine odors throughout the home."  Aren't we talking another criminal offense here?  Aren't people who keep multiple cats and don't know how to care for them ordinarily brought up on charges of animal abuse? 

But let's not stop, there is more.  According to the Court, when the Defendant got angry, he would lose control of himself, hit himself, and run up and down stairs.  Furthermore, he drank wine every day which made him extremely unpredictable.  And the Court stated, "The child was adamant in her desire not to stay at the defendant's house overnight and expressed no desire to live with him." 

Meanwhile, in 2002, when the proceedings in the Trial Court were underway, the Plaintiff Mother had just had a double mastectomy and was undergoing chemotherapy.  Please, if I had this to deal with I would have a lot more than just cancer!  But getting down to it, come on, THIS is the time when the Defendant Father decides he is going to Court to take the child away from the mother.  Wow, what a guy!  No wonder his daughter doesn't want to have anything to do with him. 

And guess what!  Who do you think the Defendant hired as his attorney?  Our friend, Attorney Louis Kiefer who represented Mr. Tom Wilkinson in the Wiegand/Wilkinson case.  Ahh!  Ain't it nice to see old friends again!

The final determination of the Trial Court which was affirmed upon appeal by the Appellate Court was an arrangement in which the Plaintiff Mother, Paula J. Fish and the child's paternal aunt, Barbara Husaluk, shared joint custody, and the child's primary residence was in Aspen, Colorado with the Aunt. The Defendant Father was to be included in all major decision making, as was Plaintiff Mother, with the paternal aunt, Barbara Husaluk, making the final decisions.  Both the Plaintiff, the child, the Attorney For the Minor Child, and the Custody Evaluator, Dr. James C. Black agreed that this was the best arrangement.

So does the Defendant Father just shut up and let everyone be happy?  No, on he goes to the Supreme Court.  After all, litigating is so much fun! 

On the Supreme Court level, the Court reversed the decision and remanded the case to the Trial Court for further proceedings based upon a legal technicality.  The Supreme Court's decision is sixty seven pages long, and I have to admit, I didn't have the patience to plow through the entire discussion.  But this is the gist of what I understood. 

As far as Supreme Court was concerned, the primary question at hand was what burden of proof did the Plaintiff have to meet in establishing that the Defendant was not a fit parent so as to justify denying him parental rights.  Did it have to be the standard of clear and convincing evidence as determined in Roth v. Weston, 259 Conn. 202, 234-235 or did it merely have to be that of the best interests of the child standard as delineated in Connecticut General Statutes 46b-56b.  

In this case, since custody was handed over to a third party who was not a parent, the Supreme Court determined that the standard must be one of the fair preponderance of the evidence.  Since both the Trial Court and the Appellate Courts in this case wrongly based their determinations on the "best interests of the child" standard, rather than the standard of "Fair Preponderance of the Evidence", their decisions were overturned.

Ok, I'm a joker, does anyone know if there is a difference between preponderance of the evidence versus fair preponderance of the evidence?  Does anybody care?

Do you get what I am trying to say?  We have a suffering child here, who is being abused by a drunken, emotionally and sexually abusive father, whose mother is dying, and all the judicial system is able to do is argue over the standard of evidence for sixty seven pages?  Give me a break! 

And I want to stress for you how seriously the Supreme Court took this situation.  At first the case was only going to be argued before a panel of judges, but then the Court decided to give far more weight to the case by having the case heard en banc thus adding on two additional Justices.  Not only that, not only did you have counsel for the Plaintiff and the Defendant arguing the case, three additional Attorneys--Attorney Campbell D. Barrett, Attorney Steven R. Dembo, and Attorney Justine Rakich-Kelly filed a brief for the Children's Law Center as amicus curiae (Friends of the Court) regarding this case. 

So there is no doubt that, judicially speaking, the Court worked hard to address the concerns raised by this case.  Still, despite all these resources, I cannot help but think that justice was not done, not for the Mother, and certainly not for her little girl.  They should have been protected and defended, but they weren't, by a system that was fully operational, but, simply put, maintained a focus that was sadly misplaced.  In other words, I'm not saying that the judges were evil or ill intentioned, or that the attorneys were heartless and bad people, I'm just saying that the legal system, because it is structured the way it is structured at this time, caught these people up in a judicial process that extraordinarily failed to address the pressing needs of the victims in this case.  In a day and age where we have skyping, we have cell phones, we have cars, and modern medicine, and live in what we hope is a reasonably efficient democracy, failures of this kind are no longer acceptable.

As a final note, the Supreme Court's decision in this case came out in 2006.  This  means that by the time the Supreme Court arrived at its decision the child was 17 and could pretty much decide for herself where she was going to stay.  This litigation, which lasted around four years, must have cost thousands and thousands of dollars of taxpayer money and have cost this mother and her little girl untold suffering. Talking about legal abuse!

And who is laughing?  Who was able to abuse and harass his dying ex-wife and get the whole legal system churning away on nonsense for years at the taxpayers expense?  Guess Who?  Our Defendant Father--that's who. 

According to the Court, "both parties had put their own interests before the child's well-being."  Really.  Both Parents?  And mother was bad because of her attempts to make the child feel guilty about visiting the father.  Oh, really?  And the parents "battled".  I wonder why.  I mean, God forbid Mom ask Dad to put his pants on when his daughter is in the house. 

This father didn't want to pay child support, didn't want to pay for airline tickets (so the daughter could visit her Aunt in Colorado), didn't want to pay for school tuition, didn't want to pay for taxes, but he did want to pay multiple thousands of dollars to harass and bully his dying ex wife and child through the Court System for years and years?  And the Court System let him do it?

The way it looks to me, the Court System is so unwilling to hold an abusive Father accountable for his behavior, no matter how reprehensible or criminal, that such a Father can pretty much exploit the judicial system, manipulate it at will, use it as his own personal playground to torture his child and ex wife in until he gets bored and decides to move on.  That isn't right.

Thoughts anyone?

Monday, February 28, 2011


The interview with Dr. Karin Huffer remains on the top spot this week.  If you have experienced legal abuse and are looking for ways to fight it, clearly many of the readers of this blog have found the interview useful.  Make sure to watch it at:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011



For those of you who have read earlier material I've written on this blog regarding Legal Abuse Syndrome (click on legal abuse syndrome under labels below), you may be interested in reading further about Dr. Karin Huffer of Legal Victim Assistance Advocates, LLC.  

Dr. Karin Huffer is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist and author of the book "Overcoming the Devastation of Legal Abuse Syndrome" which is available for order on her website.  She has done extensive work in order to have legal abuse syndrome recognized as a form of post traumatic stress syndrome and thus eligible for accommodation under Title II and Title III of the ADA.  

Furthermore, not only has Dr. Karin Huffer personally experienced the devastation of an extensive and destructive legal case, she has devoted over 20 years to researching, diagnosing, and treating PTSD and other trauma disorders.

According to Dr. Karin Huffer Legal Abuse Syndrome (LAS) "is a form of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  It is a psychic injury, not a mental illness, so if you are experiencing something like this, you as well as your friends and family should understand that it doesn't mean that you are "crazy".  It is a personal injury that develops in individuals assaulted by ethical violations, legal abuses, betrayals, and fraud."  

She continues on to say that this syndrome has developed because the "abuse of power and authority and a profound lack of accountability in our courts have become rampant."  The syndrome is particularly harrowing for those who were already suffering from post traumatic stress disorder prior to going to court and for those who are already victims of domestic violence, as are many of the readers of this blog.  

So how can Dr. Karin Huffer help?  She is available to assist litigants in developing and obtaining from the Court a program of accommodation which can reduce the stress for litigants as they are moving through the Court system.  She is also able to assist litigants in doing some of the planning for their court case so that they can avoid some of the pitfalls of pursuing a court case in our corrupt legal system.  Her organization can provide advocates, consultants and expert witnesses for those who are  or who have suffered from legal abuses and require assistance in resolving those problems.  

I was also interested by the courses Dr. Huffer offers for those interested in this area of law which assist people in become certified ADA advocates or forensic disability specialists.  

For those of you interested in learning more information about Dr. Karin Huffer, look up her website at:  

I can't say that I have personally experienced Dr. Karin Huffer's work, but the material she has posted on her website makes a great deal of sense.  I certainly believe in pursuing the option of reasonable accommodations through the ADA in Court and have advocated that approach here on my blog.  

At the very least, there are several helpful articles available on Dr. Karin Huffer's website as well as sensible and intelligent commentary which could help you formulate your ideas and is, therefore, quite worth your time.  

For any of you who follows through and decides to work with Dr. Huffer or her associates as a result of this blog, please get back to me regarding the experience in the comments section below and we'd be delighted to hear from you.  By "we" I mean not only me as commentator on this blog, but readers as well who are looking to expand their options.  Remember that my motto is:  this is your blog, what gets said here is primarily for your benefit, and if it doesn't help you, I don't want it out there. So help me help you with your feedback! 

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Many of you undergoing high conflict divorces in family court may not know it, but you are experiencing what is defined as "legal abuse syndrome", i.e. the physical and emotional health consequences of ongoing legal battles.

What this means is that going to court on an ongoing basis can literally make you sick by causing headaches, exhaustion, numbness, depression, flashbacks, weight gain, high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks. Anyone such as crime victims, witnesses, litigants, and attorneys who has had to go to court and face the legal system has the potential to experience this syndrome. What it adds up to is an illness which is very similar to post-traumatic stress disorder which strikes people who undergo extremely damaging life experiences.

Frightening experiences such as car crashes or being mugged cause changes in the production of chemicals in the brain leading people to be jumpy, irritable and numb. The same thing happens when you face the legal system. However, when you are involved in the legal system, the situation just keeps on dragging on and on for years, making your brain produce these chemicals over a long period of time. After a while people feel sick just being near a courthouse or seeing the opposing attorney in the case.

There is nothing that scars the brain more deeply than legal injustice. The end result is frustration, hopelessness, and exhaustion as people realize that the truth has no value in a court system where both the judges and the lawyers are corrupt. Is there any kind of solution to this?

There are many possible solutions, and I would be interested in hearing what yours are. One solution I'd suggest is to be more realistic about what you can achieve in family court, i.e. "Accept the things you cannot change" and pace yourself accordingly.

Another solution is to work for change and take pleasure in whatever successes you can achieve. This will give you the opportunity to bond with others who are enduring the same kinds of abuses. It is immensely uplifting to know that you are not alone, that there are others who stand with you, and support what you are doing.

For more information on this subject, google the term "legal abuse syndrome" and also check out the work of Dr. Jeanne King at