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Domestic Abuse Victims Weigh In on Family Court Experiences

In Their Own Words... Connecticut Protective Moms Victims Weigh In on Family Court Experiences and Offer Solutions Welcome to our new CPM series on abuse victims' issues with family court experiences. If you are a CT domestic abuse victim and have anything to add or any solutions based on your own experience as a victim in court, please email us STOP Untrained Court Professionals NOT Trained in Domestic Abuse - Coercive Control. "My experience in family court has really crushed my faith in the judicial system because I still can not believe what happened to me and more importantly my children. We are dealing with people’s lives and rights - the details and accuracy should matter. I recognize there is broad discretion granted to judges, but how can we trust that discretion when those who are court appointed - GAL, Forensic Evaluator, Parenting Therapist - are not trained in domestic abuse and not qualified to be making life or death decisions the judge will rely on." "Do not court order a GAL in a contested custody case as these services should not be court ordered and contracted through the judicial system. Even so, most CPM moms are not receiving the approved "list” of GALs that they can choose from that was put into law in 2014. In fact, a dozen or so of the same cast of GALs are being "forced" onto protective moms by opposing council who have referral relationships ($$$) that go back a decade." STOP Court Ordered Private Pay So-called Experts "Psychologists should not be ordered to perform any evaluations or diagnosis, they are not medical doctors and NOT trained in domestic abuse. If absolutely necessary, a psychiatrist could be court ordered from Yale Childrens's Mental Health Services, NOT PRIVATE PAY." "The Connecticut Health Department handles all complaints for psychologists. They handle the complaint by sending the report to different psychologists every time for review. No one will see more than one complaint for a psychologist, which would lead to a red flag that there are issues. If no complaint for the court ordered psychologist..then it just disappears." "We had to pay $60,000 for 1 one but 2 forensic evaluations of our entire family because my ex dragged our court case out by not months, but years. An evaluation is considered "stale" by the court after six court ordered us to do another one. It is so invasive with interviews not only of hours and hours with me, but my 3 children alone in a room with him and were afraid of him, their school principals, head masters, teachers, guidance counselors, therapists, doctors ...not once but twice. WHY? For What? Because he claimed I was unfit emotionally to be a mother to our three children after 16 years as a stay at home mom...and piles of 16 years worth of mothers day cards and letters telling me how lucky our kids are to have me as a mom because I am such an amazing mother." STOP Reunification Therapy "Reunification therapy isn’t a recognized therapy and it needs to stop being ordered, it is traumatizing kids. It is not recognized by the APA, DSM-5, or WHO. It is actually against the code of ethics for a practitioner to “practice” something that isn’t recognized as “best practice,” with evidence based scientific studies to back it. Imagine witnessing a crime against your parent or being hurt by your parent and then being told you still have to see them while that parent (a victim) has a RO or PO in place protecting them. My children have personally asked me this. “If daddy can’t see you because he hurt you, why do we have to see him when he hurt us too?” STOP Nonpayment of Alimony, Medical, Insurance & Education Expenses "If financial orders are not being paid (including pendente lite, alimony and unallocated support, education, medical insurance) it should be addressed immediately and do not allow an abuser to ask for a stay of proceedings in order to stop litigation from continuing. The stay of proceedings is red flag of litigation and financial abuse... a red herring court pleading to continue not to pay victim. Including an appeal! It should be a law just as not paying child support is punished. There should also be a fund to assist victims and their children to receive support until paid. This would encourage swift action by courts to enforce their own orders." STOP Financial Abuse STOP Withholding $$ for Legal Fees for the Victim "There needs to be tougher laws preventing someone from draining all retirement accounts, stocks, and bank accounts. If a mother was prevented from working before the divorce, her partner should be responsible for her attorney fees as well. This would limit the high cost attorneys they acquire while rendering us unable to find adequate representation and forcing us into pro se litigation." STOP Hiding or Liquidating of all Marital Assets "Two months before we decided to get a divorce while seeing a marriage therapist, my lawyer ex-husband asked me to file for divorce and told me it would be so much better for me to be the Plaintiff, because he really did not want a "scorched earth divorce." While I waited and waited to file, asking him politely every few days..he told me "Ok you can file today." That was because he he had hired an infamous aggressive law firm and had been advised to move all of our assets out of bank accounts, which I had no access to during our marriage. I was stuck with $10 because I received an allowance. So..he had me file and wait so he could move all the money out and his first financial affidavit out of the gate show $0 assets. And all liabilities." STOP Claims of Parental Alienation "Allegations of parental alienation, formerly known as PAS, are consistently being used by abusers to gain preferential treatment by the court. It is consistently being used to explain why hte children do not want to be with their abuser. Easier to point finger at victim and say she is brainwashing the children and keeping them from him. This punishes parents protecting their children and attempting to advocate for what they feel is in the best interest of the children, especially when the children are afraid to be with their abuser." STOP Litigation Abuse "There should be more oversight on relentless filing of frivolous motions during a divorce and in post judgement. Monitoring of the courts to be used as weapons to further abuse. Causing loss of wadges relentlessly having to take time off from work to go to court, prepare motions, forensic psych exams. Stop a divorce case when it reaches 100 pleadings including post judgement where most of the abuse in court happens with medication of alimony and custody by the abuser. If a protective moms is filing motions...she fears for her kids safety and trying to do the right thing to keep them safe." Stay tuned for more...

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