As someone who has been working for almost 20 years to help parents navigate the very choppy waters of family court, I get a fair amount of calls and emails from parents who feel overwhelmed with how off track their case has become. High conflict cases snowball into unimagineable craziness and parents desperately want […]
After years of parents trying to expose the detriment to children in the Family court System, the news media is finally willing to cover this! I reached out to the news media after my own abusive case, but the media said, “This is not news”. Luckily, I proved my case in court.
Many other parents (moms and dads, I might add) have also tried to get media coverage, to no avail. I am not sure why the media is finally covering abuse and parenting consultants in the past year or so, but let us thank God for the blessing of exposure now!
Excerpts from http://www.safekidsinternational.org/
This nonsense of the legal community demonizing parents who want a chance to have their day in court, has got to stop. There has been enough of this nonsense in recent years.
Any time a parent has legitimate concerns about the welfare of their children in a shared parenting situation, that parent is demonized, and their life and the lives of the children are put through hell for daring to question the legal community and their effort to bring joint custody everywhere.
In the past, custody determinations were based on what was best for the children. Even though we have family court laws that are based on the “Best Interest of the Child” standard, the courts frequently push the parents to share custody because the legal community has determined that is what is right for parents. It is all based on a gender equality agenda, and there is no consideration really given to the child, when that consideration would throw a monkey wrench in the agenda.
The reason I bring this up is because my youngest son recently moved out, which has given me the custody of my basement back! I am going through the junk that has been acquired over the years and going to do a cosmetic makeover of my entire basement.
The other day, while cleaning, I came across the nonsense bullshit that I had to deal with when I separated from my Mixed Personality Disordered (proven in a psych eval) spouse. I don’t bring this up very often because I no longer allow his mental strangeness to infect my life, and my children have learned exactly who their dad is and what he is all about. It doesn’t mean that they don’t spend time with the man, and it doesn’t mean they don’t love the man, it only means that I do not. There is no reason for me to have anything to do with him. When it comes to him and I, the relationship is toxic to both of us, and I will not engage in the toxicity. I did not want to engage in it back then either, but the court coerced and threatened me when I tried to disengage.
So back to the bullshit I found in my basement. When my husband and I separated, the man did some really freakish things. I knew he was an alcoholic. I knew that he was abusive to me, and the children, for that matter, but I became very concerned when the threatening phone calls came at all hours of the day and night from pay phones near where he lived, and the mysterious letters, and a package that I received in the mail started coming. The man actually stalked me for a summer. It was all very frightening.
He lived an hour away from me, yet, he would show up near my home, in places that did not make sense for him to have driven an hour to, and to be “coincidentally” there at the same time I was.
I received letters implying that I was a lesbian, with flyers from lesbian groups. I one time received a metabolife brochure, after my ex’s girlfriend had told me how fat I was (I weighed 135 at the time). I also received an odd joke printed out, something about a person who is lazy and can’t stand on their own two feet. The package though, that was the kicker. The package had deodorant, mouthwash, tampons, soap, etc., and it contained a note about what a filthy, smelly person I was and included a comment about me at “that time of the month”. I was very frightened to open that package. I seriously thought it might have a bomb in it.
There is much more to this story, and much I can tell you about why there is no doubt in my mind that my ex was behind all of this, but it would take a very long time to tell the story in full. One day I plan to tell this at a training event, but what you need to know now is that I did involve the police. The police did very little. They really did not care about it, or the fact that I was scared, or the fact that I was stalked by my ex husband. They told me flat-out that they could not really do much unless he injured or killed me. Isn’t that comforting? This is what Domestic Violence victims live with all the time, especially if they have children, and are going through family court.
Anyway, in the end, I could not prove that it was him. It might have been his girlfriend, I was told. True, but again, all of this gave me reason to be concerned about my children spending time alone with their dad and/or his girlfriend, but to bring that up in court, no one wanted to allow it, not even my own attorney, who I paid a sizable retainer to be an advocate for my children and I. As a matter of fact, this attorney told me not to include any of this in my affidavit because it would make me look stupid for having chosen such a man to marry.
The problem with not being able to have my day in court on the matter is that my ex’s bad behavior continued, and even got much more disturbing, as time went by. After hundreds of thousands of dollars, and eight years, I finally had to have my day in court anyway. Once I was able to prove my case, I won sole custody, which I should have had all along!
I find it deeply disturbing that family court and the legal community do everything in their power to keep parents from having their day in court and to explain why they should be an exception to the joint custody rule. It creates a hellish childhood for the children in these families, and it prevents the entire family from moving on with their lives and accomplishing their dreams.
We demonize any parent who doesn’t readily embrace joint custody. Why the need for such demonization? We don’t demonize mass murderers, but we will demonize a parent who just wants their children to be safe???
Back in 1993, a man opened fire on the Long Island Rail Road. There were dozens of witnesses. Passengers held him down until police arrived and handcuffed him. There was no question that he did it. Still, he was entitled to his day in court. No one was demonizing him for pleading not guilty and wanting his day in court. No one. He had his trial, represented himself and was found guilty. Justice worked, as it should have.
Why then, do family courts try to deny parents their day in court and to raise questions important to their child’s future? Why does the legal community treat a mass murderer with more respect than they do a parent in family court? It doesn’t make sense and it needs to stop.
And by the way, this is not only happening to parents who experience domestic violence. There are many parents who know that their children will not be taken care of by the other parent for numerous reasons, not only suspect, but know it. They should have a chance to be heard and a chance to present evidence to back up their claims. That is our right here in America. We need to fight for it.
Let’s take the Family Courts back to the rule of law and the role they are really supposed to play, and kick them to the curb on pushing their activist agendas on our lives.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
When I created my first website, I had a page called, “Rate Your PC”. My plan was to collect information on all Parenting Consultants in Minnesota so we could find out if there were any good ones, and keep the good ones in business while weeding out the bad ones. At the time, my attitude about being a PC was, “Hell NO!” I NEVER wanted to inflict that kind of damage on a family. Period.
After working as a coach, it turned out that most of my clients came to me for help dealing with their parenting consultant and hostile co-parent. I blogged about PCs and people would find me because of that. After a while, I decided that I really needed to write a book because all of the questions were the same: “How do you get rid of a parenting consultant (coordinator)?” “Why won’t they do something about my ex?” “How did I become the bad guy in all of this?” “Can you file a complaint against a PC?” All of these questions and more are covered in my book, “The Parenting Coordinator and Consultant Survival Guide”
As part of my research for the book, I attending the training to be a Parenting Consultant. Don’t think for a moment that my stomach wasn’t queasy. It was. I attended the Parenting Time expediter training as well, even though it was facilitated by my former PTE and PC. I think she was much more intimidated than I was. Because the training was pretty good, I did decide to offer these services. It’s something I struggle with all the time. Is it the right thing to do? If you have any feedback on the question, I hope you’ll either comment after the post, or send in a contact form through my website. Many clients tell me they want me to offer those services because I “get it”, but if I am their coach, I cannot be their PC. I think parents greatly benefit more from coaching than PC work. So keep that in mind. Anyway, having attended the training, and offering PC services, made me rethink that “Rate your PC” page. Not because I felt hypocritical in collecting the data, and not because I have become “one of them”, but because I realized it was not giving me what I was looking for.
Being a support person to parents who deal with high conflict co-parenting situations is not easy. I can help you with many things, and I have succeeded in empowering people into making the system work better for them, but I cannot make the situation go away completely. If you have a co-parent who is always on the attack, they are going to stay on the attack. However, if you are empowered, their interest in you tends to decrease significantly. The less reactive you are, the less they continue to try. So I have had to rethink and shift gears as I learn more about the issue from the viewpoint of the parenting consultants or parenting coordinators, and what works for you and what doesn’t and have changed my approach somewhat. I decided to stop collecting that data and had good reasons to stop collecting it.
One reason was that I did not get any good reviews. If anyone has had a parenting consultant or parent coordinator on your case, that makes sense. You would not expect to find anyone who knows how to manage these high conflict cases. But are there really no good ones? Typically, people are willing to take time reporting a negative, but rarely will report a positive. I’d like to find out there are some good ones available, but it did not look like anyone would let me know that aspect of the role.
Another reason I quit collecting data is because people are afraid. They are not going to turn in that information unless they know me and trust me. Let’s face it, those of you in high conflict cases involving a PC just do not trust anyone. You end up wondering where the information goes and who does it go to and worry that you may not stay anonymous? My clients do learn they can trust me, and that I am not “one of them (PCs)” so through my daily work I can learn who the good and bad PCs are. Again, no good PCs to report, but if you had someone who actually decreased the conflict, why would you be looking for a website, blog or coach to tell that story to? Most likely, you would just go about living life, quite happily, I might add. I still like to hold out hope that there are some out there.
Since I no longer collect information about PCs, I want to share with you a website where you can write a review of your parenting consultant, parenting coordinator or parenting time expediter. It has been around for a while, but the owner of the site is not really going through those court issues anymore, from what I understand, and so I don’t think the owner does much with the site anymore. That makes it harder to find when searching on the internet. You can help move it up in the searches by adding reviews. The reviews are listed as a Parenting Time Expediter directory, but most PTEs also work as PCs.
For anyone who wants to write a review of their court professional, please do so on that directory site. I think it would be an excellent resource for parents who need to choose a PC or PTE, whether the first time appointing one, or if the old one has left the case and they need to appoint someone new. If you have anyone to report on, please do it at:
I hope that we can raise awareness about that site so that people can come away with options for who to appoint and not to appoint. Remember, it is important to share who the good guys are. It’s not just about the bad guys!
UPDATE 2019: Unfortunately, mnparent.org is no longer operational. The parent who ran that site no longer deals with family court because his child is grown. If I find another or if you one of you decides to start a review site, please comment and I will update this post with the information.
One caution on review sites: If you do not understand the role of a parenting consultant (or parent coordinator, as they are called in other states), you may be creating a hellish situation for yourself or having unrealistic expectations. No PC is a miracle worker. We cannot change people, especially those coming to the process in bad faith. The role is not an easy one, but it can help parents who understand the purpose and power of a parenting consultant (or coordinator). Remember, help is available for that. You can contact me or the good folks at High Conflict Central.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Ever thought you might need to get a parenting consultant or parenting coordinator appointed to your high conflict custody case? Do you wonder what a parenting consultant or coordinator is? What they do? Would you like to hear from people with first hand experience in utilizing someone in the role of PC? How much do parenting consultants charge? Can you get rid of a parenting consultant? Why does the parenting consultant hate me?
All this and more can be answered if you attend my web even Q & A about parenting consultants and coordinators. If you have read my blog and considered conflict coaching, but were a little leery of this person who also offers services as a parenting consultant, now is your chance to check me out. At a cost of only $10, you can get a sample of what I offer to my coaching clients. Many of my clients deal with a parenting consultant or parenting coordinator and have learned how to turn things around. If you were to spend 3 hours coaching, you’d pay $150, which is still a great deal. Consider how much a retainer for a lawyer might cost, or how much a day in court will cost you? Maybe coaching can help, and save you money in the process. But on January 11th at 10 AM, you have a chance to ask your most pressing question about parenting consultants/parenting coordinators and you can also hear questions from the other participants, too.
I have scheduled this event for 3 hours so that every participant should have time to ask a question or make a comment. If by chance, we run out of time, I will have a way for you to ask a question behind the scenes.
I hope you’ll join me for the first Q & A about parenting consultants/parenting coordinators. Remember, I also have a book out called, “The Parenting Consultant Nightmare” so it is fair for me to say I wrote the book. I have utilized a parenting consultant with my own family and have trained as a pc who tries to do it better. Let me know if this is something you’d like to see offered on going, or make suggestions for future web events from Life’s doors Mediation by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buy your ticket now!
Ever wanted to see what my coaching is all about and if I really understand your situation? Join me for an online sample with my Eventbrite event! Check it out below!
I have been waiting for a while to be able to announce this. It is finally here! The home site for the High Conflict Diversion Program has been revamped. This is very exciting! It should be much easier for people all across the USA find an instructor. Check out the new website and sign up for a class! Start the new year off right. Sign up now to put a stop to the on-going co-parenting conflict. Your kids will thank you for it!
Also, let me know if there are other nights, times or areas of the metro where you’d like to see classes offered. We are currently working on getting new instructors trained and having classes offered through out the metro and possibly in the Duluth and Mankato areas. If this interests you, please send me an email. My new High Conflict Program email is email@example.com. I cannot wait to hear from you. Here is wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, with a new start from highconflict.net and Life’s Doors Mediation.
I know that there is often more to a story, a you tube video or a court action than meets the eye, but at some point, parents have been stripped of their rights. It falls under a guise of education, coparenting, family courts, child protection, and many other terms created by people who think they “know better” than you do. I have the unpleasant task of sitting with professionals who think they know what it is like to have your children withheld from you and who think they know what it is like to be told, no, to be court ordered to “coparent” with an abuser, who really have no understanding what it is like whatsoever. Still, they are “professionals” who have “degrees” and learned from “educators”. Well, these systems are quite sick and drunk with power, exactly like the Student resource officer seen below. Parents, it is time to stand up and say, “I have had enough! These are my children and unless you can terminate my parental rights by taking the steps you can under the law, you have no business telling me when I can and cannot have my children.” How do we stop this sickness. People have experiences, not text books when living life.
If you have children in this school, pull them out. Enroll them in another school or decide to home school them. My son excelled at Minnesota Virtual Academy. Home schooling can now be done with that type of a program. Find a school that is not on a power trip.
For those of you “coparenting”, let’s strategize what you can do to stop the systemic sickness building to rob children of their parents. Most importantly, never give up your role as parent voluntarily. Never. Stand strong like this dad:
I have long said, and I know I am not alone in thinking, that the problem with our Family Court System is that it is a system that polices itself. Justice is neither swift nor just most of the time, and I caution anyone planning to tread there. Those who know my story know that I did fight the beast and win, only to have it kick my ass again when things should have been long laid to rest. Bad advice from an attorney was mainly the reason that happened, all because I did not want to pony up the dough to retain the brilliant lawyer I had when I went for sole custody in 2006. Times have changed even since then. It has become too risky to try for sole custody. The law has changed and is not as clear about reasons to change joint legal custody and shared decision making is not as clear as it used to be. Joint legal decision making is the rebuttable presumption in Minnesota. You can read that under the best interest standards in Minnesota statute 518.17, subdivision 2 in the paragraph under (d), here. You are up against massive group think when you enter the Family Court arena with your child and without knowing ahead of time just how upside down that world is, the very core of your being is shaken. It truly is astonishing that any of us make it out with our sanity intact. This post isn’t about joint legal, but it was worth mentioning because of my case and the people I work with and the despicable people they try to co-parent with.
The problems in the Family Court system involve much more than custody. There is at least one parent who becomes the bad guy, but sometimes both parents are victims of unscrupulous judges. You will often hear about “gray areas” in family law and “judges discretion”. These terms are just excuses for bad behavior, and the reason that Family court has become so broken.
Which brings me to the point of this post. I thought the following video is informative for my readers and could be important to anyone who had judge Caroline H. Lennon on their family court case. Even if she was not your judge, John Myser’s story might send you to do a little bit of your own research. Watch the video and share with anyone who might be interested.
Here is a sad story that shows just how crazy the court thinking is about custody. Parents should not have to lose custody because they are ill. Please read the story from, Lyn, author of the Family Court Injustice blog and you might want to book mark that blog and watch Lyn’s personal struggle after divorce from an abuser.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net