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Showing posts with label PAS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PAS. Show all posts

Friday, July 12, 2019

PROF. JOAN MEIER TALKS ABOUT THE MISUSE OF PARENTAL ALIENATION THEORY TO ATTACK DV VICTIMS IN CUSTODY MATTERS!

Testimony Regarding How Child Abuse Allegations are Ignored in Family Court and Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is used as a Rationale to Award Custody of Children to an Abusive Parent

Joan Meier, JD
Professor of Law, George Washington University
Founder, DV LEAP
February 4, 2019

My name is Joan Meier, a law Professor at George Washington University and Founder of DV LEAP, an advocacy group for expert appellate litigation to reverse unjust trial court rulings and to protect the legal rights of women and children victimized by family violence. We would like to take this opportunity to testify and express our concern for current legislation being introduced to promote the use of Parental Alienation Syndrome as a tool to abuse domestic violence (DV) victims in family court.


Dr. Joan Meier









The Problem

“Protecting our children is one of the most important things that we can do for society. Unfortunately, some courtsare overlooking potential signs of abuse and are relying on scientifically unsound factors to make decisions that impact a child’s life.” Congressman Ted Poe

Despite numerous legislative and policy reforms designed to protect DV victims, many survivors and their children are denied legal protections in family court. Expert commentators assert that family courts are awarding unfettered access or custody to abusive fathers, and increasingly cutting children completely off from their protective mothers. This has been observed especially where mothers allege child sexual abuse. Studies show that an abuser will invoke the “alienation” defense, accusing the mother of trying to turn the children against him, rather than the court acknowledging that his abusive behavior has driven the children away. 

Studies also have identified a trend toward favoring fathers, in contrast to widespread assumptions that mothers are favored in custody litigation. The findings reveal a pattern of family court failures to consider evidence of intimate partner violence, disrespectful treatment of battered women, gender biased treatment of mothers, and granting of physical custody to perpetrators of intimate partner violence.  One study found that court preferences for joint custody and the “friendly parent” principle outweighed judicial consideration of abuse claims. More in-depth empirical research has examined the lack of expertise in domestic violence and child abuse—particularly child sexual abuse—among forensic custody evaluators, who are relied on heavily by the courts. 

IN CUSTODY CASES WHERE MOTHERS AND CHILDREN REPORT THE FATHER’S SEXUAL ABUSE OF THE CHILD, THE COURT SIDES WITH THE FATHER 81% OF THE TIME.

EVEN WHEN FAMILY COURTS ACKNOWLEDGE THAT A FATHER HAS BEEN VIOLENT TO THE MOTHER OR CHILD, THE COURT SIDES WITH THE FATHER 38% OF THE TIME.

A primary mechanism giving evaluators and courts a quasi- scientific rationale for rejecting or ignoring abuse allegations is the theory of “parental alienation (PA),” originally called “parental alienation syndrome (PAS),” and also called “child alienation,” or simply “alienation.” PAS is a construct invented and promoted by Richard Gardner to describe a “syndrome” whereby vengeful mothers employed child abuse allegations in litigation as a powerful weapon to punish ex-husbands and ensure custody to themselves. Gardner claimed that child sexual abuse allegations were rampant in custody litigation, and that the vast majority of such claims are false, designed by the mother to “alienate” the child from the father and drive him out of the child’s life. Gardner also characterized PAS as profoundly destructive to children’s mental health and as risking their relationships with their (purportedly falsely accused) fathers for life. Recommended remedies to PAS were often draconian, including a complete cutoff from the mother in order to “deprogram” the child. PAS quickly became widely incorporated into custody litigation when any abuse—not just child sexual abuse—was alleged. 

The Solution

On September 25, 2018, The U.S. House of Representatives passed H Con Res 72, a concurrent resolution urging state courts to determine family violence claims and risks to children before considering other ‘best interest’ factors. The resolution, backed by dozens of organizations advocating for protection of women and children*, encourages states to ensure courts rely only on admissible evidence and qualified experts, and adopt qualification standards for third-party appointees.  It also affirms that Congress is prepared to use its oversight authority to protect at-risk children. The resolution also asks for   strengthened evidence admissibility standards to help ensure only scientific facts or qualified expert testimony are used to prove or disprove child abuse allegations.

It urges Congress to:
  • identify child safety as the first priority in custody and visitation adjudications, considering it before all other interest factors;
  • allow only qualified scientific evidence and certified expert testimony to be introduced in cases involving child abuse claims; and
  • mandate Congressional hearings around the practices of family courts when handling family violence allegations.
DV LEAP also partnered with the Dept. of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women on a 2-year cooperative agreement to improve the family court system’s ability to protect children in custody cases involving domestic violence or child abuse. The agreement has concluded but great accomplishments and resources were achieved. In partnership with the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence, we provided education on critical issues that often determine case outcomes, such as the misuse of flawed parental alienation theories and failure to consider evidence of abuse. One particularly powerful aspect of the Project’s work was the development of a unique database of cases that have “Turned Around.”  These are cases in which the initial custody order placed a child (or children) in dangerous contact with an abusive parent and a subsequent order protected the child. Analysis of these cases provided valuable understanding of how and why custody evaluations so frequently fail to identify or predict actual risk to children who are victims of family violence.

As as result of this Cooperative Agreement, DV LEAP and the Leadership Council produced a number of written tools and resource materials to assist professionals working in the family court system.  Links to each of the documents are provided below.

I. Resources on the misuse of Parental Alienation Syndrome/Parental Alienation

II. Resources for attorneys and advocates representing protective parents

III. Research Summaries

IV. Other Resource Materials
Critiques and Case Reports of GALs’ Failures to Protect Children in Custody and Abuse Cases

Data on False Allegations in Custody Context.  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ehdOb-hS0v0Ot_rIoK_wc6QYySRtLPV6/view

We respectfully suggest that any family court legislation involving custody, PAS, allegations of child abuse and  DV be thoroughly vetted by experts in the field of Domestic Violence.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit this written testimony. I can be reached with any questions at jmeier@law.gwu.edu

*The list of organizations that have been advocating for passage of H. Con. Res 72 includes Advocates for Child Empowerment & Safety (ACES); California Protective Parents Association (CPPA); Center for Judicial Excellence (CJE); City of Covina; Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP); ACTION OHIO Coalition For Battered Women; Azusa City Council; Battered Mothers’ Custody Conference; California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV); Center for Child Protection and Family Support; Child Abuse Forensic Institute (CAFI); Child Abuse Solutions, Inc.; Child Justice; Child Protection Institute (CPI) at Liberty University; Child USA; Children’s Civil Rights Union (CCRU); Children’s Justice Fund; Coalition Against Domestic Violence – Lynchburg VA; Courageous Kids Network (CKN); Darkness to Light; Distinction in Family Courts (DFC); Families Against Court Travesties; Family Violence Appellate Project (FVAP); Futures Without Violence (FUTURES); Incest Survivors Speakers Bureau (ISSB); Joan of Arc Lawyers Foundation, Inc.; Justice for Children; Kids Are Human; Legislative Coalition to Prevent Child Abuse; Legal Momentum; Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; Lundy Bancroft; MassKids (Massachusetts Citizens for Children); Moms Fight Back; Mothers of Lost Children; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV); National Coalition for Family Justice (NCFJ); National Domestic Violence Hotline; National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV); National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS); National Organization for Women (NOW); National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence (NPEIV); National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence; Peace Over Violence; Piqui’s Justice; Senator Ed Hernandez; SOAR for Justice; Stop Abuse Campaign; Support Network of Advocates for Protective Parents (SNAPP); Talk About Abuse to Liberate Kids (TAALK); The Hofheimer Family Law Firm; The Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence; The Nurtured Parent; and Wings for Justice.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

NEW STUDY INDICATES THAT THE USE OF PARENTAL ALIENATION THEORY RENDERS ABUSE INVISIBLE IN FAMILY COURT!



"This Article provides a brief literature survey, focusing on the theory of “parental alienation” which operates as a primary vehicle for making abuse invisible in custody litigation. This Article reports on the co-authors’ pilot study, which begins empirically mapping family courts’ uses of this theory. These pilot results provide preliminary empirical support for the critiques from the field." 

For more information on this issue, continue reading the article at the link below:

https://scholarship.law.umn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1576&context=lawineq

Friday, September 7, 2018

ABDUCTION CLAIMS IN THE KARIN WOLF CASE ARE ABSURD!


As many people know, the charges of abduction against Karin Wolf are totally absurd.  Below is a picture of Karin Wolf and her daughter at a police station in Virginia where the two went to confirm the child's well being.  As you can see, both are perfectly well and enjoying each others company. The question is, why does a corrupt judge and family court in New Jersey seek to interfere in their relationship in violation of the law.  Another picture below shows Karin's daughter perfectly happy and excited to spend time with her mother.  





KARIN WOLF AND HER DAUGHTER ENJOYING TIME TOGETHER!


KARIN'S DAUGHTER, GLAD TO BE WITH MOM!





Thursday, September 6, 2018

KARIN WOLF IS NOT GUILTY OF CHILD ABDUCTION DESPITE ALLEGATIONS!

Karin Wolf, Director of WCLU

By Elizabeth A. Richter

Before I proceed, I just wanted to mention that I grew up in New Jersey and that I lived in Princeton, NJ for most of my life.  I am also a graduate of Princeton High School, Class of 1974.  So I have deep ties to New Jersey which have led me to see fit to respond today regarding the charges against Karin Wolf.

To be upfront, I also do wish to mention that I am on the Board of Directors of the Women's Civil Liberties Union, an organization Karin Wolf founded.  

According to a recent article, Karin Wolf was arrested a few days ago and charged with "abducting" her 14 year old daughter from Glen Rock, New Jersey.  I don't know why the authorities call this abduction since it is pretty clear to me that the child involved came along voluntarily.  After all, Karin Wolf is her mother.  

The article continues on to state that Ms. Wolf is currently being held in a correctional facility--York Correctional Institution in Niantic, CT.  From what I have heard, she is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail, which I consider an absurd amount of money.  That's enough money to secure the appearance of a murderer, and Karin Wolf is far from being that.  On the contrary, she is a loving mother, a victim of family court injustice, who simply wanted to be with her daughter; she is absolutely, by no means, guilty of child abduction.

It troubles me, therefore, to see that so many articles on Karin Wolf and her child published in New Jersey newspapers fail to mention essential facts pertinent to the story which would clear her of these charges. For instance, none of them mention anything in regard to the background when it comes to Ms. Wolf's case.  Let me take this opportunity now to fill you in.

Like many who are victims of domestic violence, in Family Court Karin Wolf lost custody of her children in a rigged court proceeding where she was denied the funds to pursue her legal case, denied the representation of an attorney, and denied the due process right to present evidence to the Court and have sufficient opportunity to prepare her case.  Further, like many Family Court victims, when Karin Wolf attempted to obtain relief from the Federal Court system, her case was dismissed on shaky and illegal grounds.  

Some articles mention that Karin Wolf was accused of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), a quack theory developed by one of New Jersey's own--the late Dr. Richard Gardener.  PAS is widely disregarded by the vast majority of mental health professionals, and is a standard response abusers provide when they are caught in their wrong doing.  In short, there has been no commonsense basis ever for denying Karin Wolf access to her children, and yet she was denied access simply because she didn't have the financing, the influence, or the ability to rig the system that her ex had.  

In addition, Family Court systems across the country, including that in New Jersey, have a mandate to show preference to fathers in cases where custody is in dispute.  That is the context within which I think it is important for you to understand Karin Wolf's case.  It is also important for you to note that today the problem of injustice and corruption in America's Family Court system is a widespread issue and that millions of people throughout the country have been protesting and speaking out against the wrongdoing they have experienced in Family Court, particularly abused women, including Karin. This is why the rights of women and enforcing laws against discrimination play such an important role in the mission of the Women's Civil Liberties Union.

I also note that articles on Karin Wolf did not mention that the father of the children involved in this case is dead. They don't disclose that the children were placed in the custody of the non biologically related step-mother in a hearing Karin Wolf was never informed about, and where she never had an opportunity to present her case for taking custody of her children.  

When Family Courts act illegally and seize children from fit parents, it is a travesty for them to subsequently jail these parents when they attempt to defend themselves and their children. The corruption, injustice and--let's face it--outright misogyny towards women cannot be cloaked by terms as misleading as "abduction."  Karin Wolf didn't abduct anyone; she restored her daughter to her rightful place in her mother's arms.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

CT VICTIMS OF FAKE ACCUSATIONS OF THE QUACK, UNSCIENTIFIC THEORY OF PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME AND ITS VARIANTS!



Let us today remember the victims of the fake diagnosis PAS or PA or "alienation" or however father's rights people choose to designate it. 

This is often designated "the mental illness that HAS NO NAME" because judges who know that it is illegal to seize children from fit mothers based upon this quack diagnosis simply state on the record that the mother has a mental illness but they don't know what it is.  We know, however, exactly what they mean.  We know that such judges are committing fraud against mothers, many of whom are victims of abuse, or their children are victims of abuse. 

These mothers who were falsely accused have often lost all access to their children, were bankrupted, or had their reputations publically slandered and attacked.  In many cases the children were placed in the hands of their abusers.

See below for names of the CT victims of this travesty:

Susan Skipp, Falsely accused
Angela Hickman, Falsely accused
Kathi Sorrentino, Falsely accused
Maureen Strathearn, Falsely accused
Sandra MacVicar, Falsely accused
Sunny Kelley, Falsely accused
Mia Farrow, Falsely accused
Karyn Gil, Falsely accused
Leslie Cox, Falsely accused
Carol Krukiel, Falsely accused
Marlene Dybek, Falsely accused
Jane Doe 1, Falsely accused
Jane Doe 2, Falsely accused
Jane Doe 3, Falsely accused
and many more!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

JUDGE JANE B. EMONS CAUSES FAMILY COURT VICTIM HARM AND DAMAGE IN RELOCATION CASE!

Reappointment for Judge Emons
I do not support reappointment of Judge Emons due to my personal experience which has been far from the best interest of a handicapped child, and has left the child to continuously be psychologically abused for years and the custodial parent unable to provide safety from this abuse for the child.
In a case with blatant incidences of negligence of the family unit and the child’s best interest by the non-custodial parent, Judge Emons ignored all the clear evidence of Domestic Abuse, Parental Alienation and Coercive Abuse throughout the unnecessary 2-1/2 yrs. of court process.  

Monday, October 24, 2016

A MOTHER'S TEARS MATTER: HOW FAMILY COURT BULLIED PROTECTIVE MOTHER, PAIGE STVAN, AND CUT HER OFF FROM THE DAUGHTER SHE LOVES, PART II!

What we have here is a tragic situation where a mother has been separated from the child she raised for 12 years based upon unsubstantiated and untrue representations of mental illness.  Meanwhile, questions regarding her ex-husband's bipolar disorder remain unaddressed.  

Subsequently, Judge Adelman acknowledged that the representations regarding Ms. Paige Stvan's mental health weren't sufficient to justify keeping Paige away from her daughter.  At that juncture, he then claimed that there were other serious allegations that her child had raised which now justified separating Paige Stvan from her daughter. What were those serious allegations?  To be honest, I couldn't see anything in the many documents I reviewed that would explain it.

The allegation the child made that the judge cited in his memorandum as a basis to stop all visits was that Mom was making visits with her uncomfortable.  As Ms. Paige Stvan explained it, she was allowed visits with her daughter once a week for an hour standing in the corridor of a local mall.  To start with, that's a pretty difficult way to conduct a visit.  Next, Ms. Stvan stated that during these visits the father would remain in the sidelines monitoring the entire visit and at the least sign of trouble advise his daughter to simply leave.  As a result, under the pressure of essentially being put between two parents, the child would terminate the visit within ten minutes.  To Paige Stvan, this was simply a situation where the father was using the visits to drive a wedge between herself and her daughter.

Attorney Rosa Rebimbas, the GAL in the case, reported the situation somewhat differently.  She alleged that Paige Stvan insisted upon talking to her daughter about the case during the visit.  But what does that mean "talking about the case?"  Does that mean Paige tried to explain to her daughter what was going on and why she couldn't come home to her Mom?  Was it something else? Attorney Rebimbas didn't specify; she just used trigger words with the judge which she knew would elicit a negative reaction.  Keep in mind, we are getting this testimony from the ex-husband and a biased GAL who appear to be willing to do anything they can to justify a complete no contact order. I also think it makes no sense to have visitation with a child standing up in a crowded corridor in a mall.  What's that all about?

Repeatedly, the opposing attorney in this case, Attorney Nancy Aldrich insisted that Paige Stvan's daughter didn't want to see her Mom, so therefore she shouldn't have to. Attorney Rosa Rebimbas emphasized that the daughter didn't want to see her mother and indicated her belief that the daughter had the right to refuse to see her mother.  Judge Gerald Adelman reported in his Memorandum of January 8, 2016 that "the child was extremely resistant to any contact with her mother" and implied that this justified denying Ms.  Stvan access to her daughter.  However, this is not how state law works. According to Connecticut law, at any age, a child's preference is never the only criterion for making a custody decision in a custody proceeding.  What counts is what is in the best interests of the child.

Further, I am wondering how a 12 year old child who had never before reported being unhappy with her mother, all of a sudden, within two months of being totally cut off from all access to her mother, becomes extremely resistant to seeing her mother.  Keep in mind, these words never came out of the child's mouth directly, and were simply what biased individuals with ulterior motives chose to report. I am also wondering why a 12 year old child has the authority, not only to choose the time and place of the visits, but whether they take place at all.  I don't know of any other case where a pre-teen was given such extraordinary power.  

Perhaps the answer to this lies in observations that Dr. Linda Gunsberg reported on at the time these events were taking place.  In a letter to the court dated January 26, 2016,  Dr. Linda Gunsberg described hearing a conversation that Page Stvan had with her daughter over the phone.  She described this conversation, which took place on November 2, 2015, in the following terms: 

"The most incredible phone conversation occurred when Ms. [Stvan] called [her child] during the court ordered parent telephone access to speak with her.  I asked Ms. [Stvan] to put [the child] on speaker phone so that I could listen.  [The child] was very warm towards her mother, was eager to share with her mother information about projects she was working on for school, and actually wanted to remain on the telephone longer than Ms. [Stvan] could...It was a normal parent-child conversation."

However, Dr. Gunsberg reported that "By December 31, 2015, [the child] was telling her mother either in a telephone message or text that she never wanted to speak to her mother again."  Dr. Gunsberg attributed this dramatic change in the child's attitude towards her mother to father's campaign of parental alienation.  Keep in mind that by December 31, 2015, the child had been separated from her mother and her hometown and friends for three months.  

Again, it is remarkable that Judge Gerald Adelman supported this 12 year old child in making the decision not to see her mother again. A 12 year old child doesn't have sufficient cognitive ability to make such important life decisions.  In fact, you would hardly believe that this Judge Adelman is the very same Judge who, in the Sorentino case, put a mother in jail to force a 15 year old boy to live with the father he adamantly didn't want to live with.  Yet, in the Stvan case, when a 12 year old girl refused to see her mother, that very same Judge Adelman appointed two attorneys to defend her right to exclude her mother from her life?  

How is that OK?  

How come  Judge Gerald Adelman found a 12 year old's decision more credible than that of a 15 year old? 

Do any of you recall how, when Kathi Sorrentino cried at the thought of having to go to jail, Judge Gerald Adelman derided her and made fun of her, calling her tears "crocodile tears"? Why do judges in the State of Connecticut, such as Judge Adelman, only use PAS to deny mothers their parenting rights while excusing fathers who are equally culpable?  Protective mothers in the State of Connecticut would really like to know!  We need a new campaign in this State with the slogan:  A mother's tears matter!

WITH A NOD AND A WINK: HOW CT FAMILY COURT BULLIED PROTECTIVE MOTHER, PAIGE STVAN, AND CUT HER OFF FROM THE DAUGHTER SHE LOVES, PART I!

On September 25, 2015, Paige Stvan was hospitalized for a few days to address negative side effects she had to a new medication she had been taking. Meanwhile, since she was dealing with these medical problems, in a very responsible way, Ms. Stvan asked her ex husband, Thomas Stvan, to care for their 12 year old daughter temporarily. He agreed to do so. However, instead of just taking care of the child as agreed, Thomas Stvan used the incident as a excuse to file an emergency ex parte motion in court granting him full custody.  That motion was granted.  As a result, since that time, except for a few brief encounters at a local mall, Paige Stvan has not been allowed to see her daughter.  

Why?  

Paige Stvan had been taking care of her child for 12 years, and the child was happy and healthy, well fed and with a roof over her head, as well as successful in school. Nonetheless, family court, in a series of dirty tricks and maneuvers, effectively assisted her ex husband in excising the child from her mother's life with the collusion of a CT State representative, Rep. Rosa Rebimbas.  

Now remember, this is the same judicial system which gave career criminal Joshua Komisarjevsky full custody of his 5 year old daughter just weeks before Mr. Komisarjevky participated in the triple slaying of the Petit family.  In Paige Stvan's case, this was a woman who had done nothing other than be an excellent mother to her daughter for twelve years. Still, the Court saw fit to cut her off entirely from the child she had been bringing up so successfully.  

We all want the reason for that, don't we?  Just so you know, you would have no basis for knowing the reason had Ms. Paige Stvan not requested one because, unlike in every other custody case I've ever seen, originally the Court didn't bother to provide a memorandum of decision stating the legal basis for its decision.  

But here we go, I have before me a January 8, 2016 Memorandum provided by Judge Gerald Adelman explaining his decision.  This is what he says.  

The ex parte was granted (see p. 3 of the memorandum) because "it was represented to the court that the defendant had a history of mental health issues which had previously required the plaintiff to temporarily assume primary or sole custody of the minor child, due to the  defendant's inability to care for said child."  Yes, but these, to my knowledge are and were simply representations without evidence.  To this day, I not seen any documents that can back up these claims.  

Not only that, in these documents there was no mention of the fact that the Plaintiff, Tom Stvan, was represented to have a bipolar disorder.  Why?  Because the ex parte hearing only heard one side of the story at that time. That is why the law requires another hearing 14 days later--so that before anything is finalized, you have a fair hearing where both sides have the opportunity to present their arguments.  Mysteriously, in Paige Stvan's case, although such a hearing is required by law, it never occurred.  This is just the first of the kinds of procedural flaws that have plagued this case from the beginning.  

It is also important to note regarding the term "it was represented" that anyone can "represent" anything to anyone in this world. Eventually, in a court of law, you have to come up with proof.  At no time that I have observed during the many hearings that were held in this case was there any kind of legitimate evidentiary hearing in which allegations of this nature regarding Paige Stvan could be either confirmed or denied.  Futhermore, from all the information I have in front of me, there is no evidence at all that Ms. Stvan had any such history.

How can any judge possibly justify removing a child completely from a mother's life based upon "representations."?  

Meanwhile, I have in front of me a letter that Dr. Linda Gunsberg, Paige Stvan's psychotherapist, wrote to the court.  In this letter, Dr. Gunsberg stated that Ms. Stvan has "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of domestic violence within the marriage, after the marriage, and as a result of constant, continuous litigation brought against her by Mr. Thomas Stvan, her ex-husband."  

Dr. Gunsberg also stressed that Paige Stvan is a competent primary caretaker and mother to her child and that the child flourished under her care.  She also stated that the father's behavior of cutting Ms. Stvan off from all access to her daughter constituted parental alienation.  Of course, everyone knows I'm not a fan of PAS theory, but I just point it out for what it's worth. Again, as I've said before, when a mother points out PAS or PA whatever you want it call it, judges couldn't care less.  PAS only matters if a man complains about it.

I also have a letter from a social worker who also provided treatment for Paige Stvan in which she stated, "I can confidently state that...it is apparent that Ms. [Stvan] does not present with psychological deficits that would compromise her ability to care for her child. Furthermore, Ms. [Stvan] has been highly motivated to take advantage of the services that have helped her to gain an understanding of her current circumstances, while seeking a path towards betterment as an individual, as well as a mother."  In addition, on Paige Stvan's behalf, LMFT Linda J. Gottlieb took the time to provide an extensive explanation to the Court regarding the phenomenon of parental alienation and how to identify it.  I think it says a lot for Paige Stvan that three well qualified mental health professionals took the time to speak up on her behalf.

I would also like to point out that Paige Stvan has always been honest and straightforward to her ex husband about any medical issues she has and has always taken responsible steps to address them.  The result has been successful, and it appears as though she is being punished for that very success.

I understand that two sides in a legal case can end up interpreting data differently which is why you end up in Court anyway.  That is the reason why a case like this would end up in family relations for a custody evaluation to determine whether testimony one way or another is credible.  What is striking about this case is that despite the dire consequence where a Mother has been entirely cut off from any communication with the daughter she raised for 12 years, there was no family relations report, no custody evaluation whatsoever, indeed, no investigation whatsoever.

How is that possible?  I have no idea.  

Next, if you have serious allegations regarding a parent's mental health status--i.e. as in this case, that father has bipolar and mother has depression--the most logical and just outcome would be a psychological evaluation conducted by a court approved psychologist qualified to do the job.  Remarkably, there was absolutely no psychological evaluation, no psychological assessment by a legitimate professional in any way whatsoever.  

I just do not understand that.  

When issues were raised in my case regarding my mental health, I ended up having two psychiatric evaluations and one psychological evaluation.  What happened to me was pretty excessive and is testimony to the extremely damaging impact accusations regarding mental health status can have.  Still, the idea that you could cut a mother off from her child based upon allegations regarding her mental health status that have yet to be proved, and, as you have seen from the testimony I provided, have actually been soundly refuted, appears absolutely outrageous and represents a tragic miscarriage of justice for this mother and her child.  

You cannot simply point at people, call them crazy, and use such unfounded and unproven claims as the basis for denying them their parental rights.  

As the General Statutes Section 46b-46(c), which is the basis for all custody decisions, state, the mental and physical health of the parents involved is a factor in custody decisions, however, the "disability of a proposed custodial parent or other party, in and of itself, shall not be determinative of custody."  Furthermore, under Title II of federal ADA law, disability based discrimination is against the law in this country.  Certainly, the issue of disability should not be determinative without a fair and just evidentiary hearing where there is an equal playing field.  

However, what it looks like is that the judge and the attorneys in this case think that they can deny Paige Stvan her legal rights by nodding and winking and sweeping everything under the rug, simply by virtue of the fact that they think she has a mental health disability.  Likewise, they think they can smooth over and ignore father's possible bipolar disorder.  Trust me--that's not happening.

More on this case in Part II.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

MICHAEL VOLPE COMMENTS ON THE INCOMPETENTS INVOLVED IN THE TSIMHONI CASE!

Michael Volpe of "Communities Digital News" reports as follows:

"WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2015 — The individual chosen to implement a five-day reunification therapy in an explosive Michigan custody case had little more than a high school education, was working with a suspended psychiatrist and revealed an inherent bias toward the father.
A Michigan judge ordered three Tsimhoni children to engage in controversial “reunification therapy” after they refused to spend time with their father, Omer Tsimhoni. Judge Lisa Gorcyca of the Oakland County Family Court had previously sentenced the children to juvenile hall after refusing to have lunch with their father, who they say has been repeatedly abusive toward the children.
CDN has now learned that the three Tsimhoni children completed the five-day reunification therapy with Dorcy Pruter, who runs the Conscious Co-Parenting Institute. Pruter stated in a Wyoming deposition for another case that she ran the Tsimhoni children’s reunification therapy, despite statements on her web site that “this is not therapy.”.."



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