Archives for February 2014

Learning to Prevent Child Abuse: Voice Today

My Advocate Center is aligned with several groups around the country that each have a specific focus.  The more we all learn about different issues that affect children and parents, whether it involves our court system or not, the more we can bring awareness, solutions and change.

Voice Today is in Georgia but is educating the public on a national level about how to identify situations where children may be at risk, and how to respond and to prevent injury.

Please watch this video, share and follow Voice Today to learn more.  

Join the movement to help protect children, intervene to prevent these dangerous cycles from continuing, and support My Advocate Center as we address and correct the bad practices in Family Court that enable and cover up this and other forms of child abuse.  Our mission involves supporting parents as they work, oftentimes against difficult odds and unseen forces, to provide for and to protect their children.

Unfortunately child abuse is a growing problem that is exacerbated by how certain court professionals are ignoring evidence and the needs of children. Voice Today founder Angela Williams has witnessed this in our cases.  

Please also support the policy reform that both of our groups are working on, as these improve protections for children and help families recover from abuse.  

Angela Williams just testified at the Georgia Capitol on HB 771 to extend the statute of limitations on civil child sexual abuse cases, so please encourage your elected officials to support this bill and this improvement that will help drive positive change.

 

 

Center for Judicial Excellence: Coalition for Judicial Reform

Watch the videos on this page and when you are done understanding what is happening in Georgia, please visit the Center for Judicial Excellence to see how our cases and talking points mirror each other.

We have been supporting many groups across the country, and recently premiered the Divorce Corp. documentary so that our audience, including our legislators, could see that this is not just happening in Georgia, but that because of our reform initiatives, case studies and actions being taken here, we are positioned to help demonstrate to other states that it is possible to correct this situation and restore balance for families and children.

http://mac2014.wpengine.com/news/media-gallery/center-for-judicial-excellence/

Then visit: http://centerforjudicialexcellence.org

What CJE, Divorce Corp., Fix Family Courts, and My Advocate Center and other groups are doing is sharing information and helping each other leverage resources that we would not all have access to otherwise. This national coalition to bring Judicial and Family Court reform is gaining momentum. Get on board!

Learning about Our Right to Protest

What happens on the Courthouse Steps when you aren’t wanted there?

Concerned citizens around the country who are planning to demonstrate at the US Supreme Court are watching to see how this issue is handled.

Excerpt from this story:

The media stakeout on the U.S. Supreme Court plaza is a familiar part of argument day in high-profile cases. Lawyers and advocates go before cameras and microphones outside the court as soon as they finish arguing before the justices inside.

Now, that aspect of Supreme Court life is garnering attention itself, in connection with litigation over the constitutionality of a federal law that bans protests on the same marble plaza where the press conferences take place.

In a case challenging that law on First Amendment grounds, the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital is pointing to media gaggles or stakeouts as a fatal sign of inconsistency. The question posed: How can protests be banned, when court officials allow the plaza to be used for other clearly expressive activities protected by the First Amendment?

“Litigants and their advocates gather on the plaza to make their case to the public via the media,” the ACLU’s brief, filed Jan. 31 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, states. “Rather than seeing the court grounds as a sacred place of silent neutrality, the public is accustomed to images of the court grounds serving as an open forum, featuring this expressive activity.”

 

The Daily Report article can be found here.

Relating Bad Contractors to Bad Attorneys

Have you been asked to understand what parents are going through when trying to get through family conflict?   What happens when someone you know enters the legal system?

It’s hard to relate if you haven’t been through it, and you may not really want to know…but what is going on where you can’t see has led us into a crisis situation, so please see if this short story gives you some insight:

“Suddenly the weeds along the property line grew thicker and getting taller.  The two neighbors who had once worn a path bare between their back doors had stopped speaking.

Flashing back a few months David stared at the spot where they used to stand and talk about the market and their son’s game stats.

On this cold January day that spot was now shadowed by the cement truck backing up to where the foundation was being poured for the fence about to go up between them.  They decided it was time for some privacy.  The good times shared in open spaces were now lost thanks to an argument he could barely remember.

Pause here for a moment and consider how you handle “Let’s go our separate ways.”

You have options, just like David and his neighbor did.

David’s neighbor suggested an open fence that would create a boundary and give some privacy, but not block them from waving hello or throwing a ball back over the fence.

What happened next is that David considered his options, and went with the advice that matched his emotions.

Option A:

David listened to his neighbor’s advice and talked to the contractor who gave them a reasonable price on a lightly stained wood fence and some shrubs.  There were even a couple of trees mixed in that would bloom within a couple of years.

He could see them a year or so out, one sitting on the porch reading, while the other hummed that annoying song while grilling the same steaks as always.  Not so bad…

Well, that was wishful thinking.

Option B:

David also listened to the contractor who heard about their disagreement and saw that David was still fuming.

He validated David’s feelings of loss, but reassured him that once the concrete wall was in place that his neighbor would regret ever trying to “win” that argument.

David allowed the concrete wall to get poured, taking satisfaction in his neighbor’s shock and dismay.  He smirked.  So his red-faced neighbor brought in another contractor carrying that coiled wire to add to the top of the wall. To heck with the shrubs and allowing a baseball to get returned over the fence.  What ball?  There would be no more playing out here!

Within days their yards shrank in size and the concrete wall expanded.  The sharp wire atop the hideous gray wall sparkled in the sunlight as a reminder that there was no going back.  But David told himself that he was fine with that; he had gotten his point across, and his neighbor appeared filled with regret and confusion.  The bills kept coming but at this point David wasn’t sure what else needed to be done with the wall.  He only saw that more trucks and material kept showing up.  Contractor John repeatedly reassured him, as he patted David on the shoulder in a fatherly way, “Don’t worry, I’ve got your back…it will be the best wall you’ve ever seen.”

Nothing seemed to get better, only worse.  The bills grew while David felt smaller.  There was no end in sight, he still felt hurt and angry, and now there was no chance of talking to his neighbor about where to draw the line. David realized he was confused, even sick to his stomach.

No way, though, was David going to be the first one to call it quits!  He had gone too far to admit this overdone wall was a bad idea.  And besides, that barbed wire his neighbor wanted on top of the wall?  What an insult!

Months later David was jolted out of bed by flashing lights and sirens from the ambulance taking away his neighbor.   Apparently the stress had hit home, but David wasn’t informed about what was happening, and he was afraid to ask.  He did notice an opened envelope that had blown onto his driveway.  He read the note inside with a little guilt and dropped it when he saw that it was his neighbor’s writing, telling the contractor he was fired for putting up that barbed wire without permission.

Another few months went by, and the next thing David knew there were two For Sale signs out front.  The wall was still unfinished, and the contractors were nowhere to be found.  Only the debris was left.”

Please ask the person who showed you this story of two neighbors to learn what it can be like when two people turn to the wrong lawyers to resolve a family dispute.

This story just involved two people growing apart as neighbors, building a fence, hiring contractors, then realizing the damage done from their mistakes.  But did they make these mistakes on their own?  What if there were kids involved?  What did the kids see and how were they impacted? 

What if there had been the right mediator and counselors to help these parties see the best path – – how to make Option A their reality?