Augusta Court Fails to Allow Due Process: Children Gone

The rest of the story in this Augusta case is much darker that at first believed. It is also similar to other troubling stories, the damages revealed by families throughout this judicial circuit. When we contrast the order and beauty inside of Augusta National with what is Outside the Gates, it is for this reason: parents are set up to fail intentionally and children are being left in harm’s way, when there was evidence, testimony and opportunity to prevent poor outcomes. This reality is the opposite of what the world thinks of when they hear Augusta or think of The Masters Tournament. This case and others are pulling back the curtain.

Civil or Criminal?

At one time it appeared that Atlanta attorney Kathy Portnoy was properly advocating for her client, one who appears to have not gotten a fair shake throughout this case. The issue featured here in this news report?

A DFCS report was made available to the court by the father’s attorney and used by the judge in reaching a decision as he noted. The problem for the judge was that the report was not made available to the mother and her counsel so that she had a chance to cross-examine the report and be fully informed in her case. The report was never put into evidence and therefore was not supposed to be considered by the court.

If this report had been put into evidence, the guardian ad litem on the case would have been able to refute it, as she knew it was created as a part of the father’s legal team’s strategy to wrongfully cut the mother out of the lives of her children. This issue was resolved when the appellate court agreed that the judge erred in considering this report. [See VIDEO at the bottom of this page.]

The bad news is that it didn’t matter; the fix was in on this case, and the judge gave the father permission to remove the children from the state before notifying the mother. The mother learned her children were gone when they did not get off the school bus. They did not even get to say goodbye.

We now know this was not merely an “error,” and that it was intentional to cause the mother and children this unnecessary trauma. It was also intentional that this mother was not allowed to know what was being said or used against her, denying her right to a defense.

Have you been allowed to know what was being used against you, or to know that all available evidence is being used to support your case? The more news reporter Nick Lulli investigated, the worse this case looked as evidence surfaced – – evidence that was either not being used by the mother’s counsel, or was being ignored by the court.

This is an ongoing and larger story than we first realized, as the court is now expected by the father’s team to force an agreement on the mother, an agreement which is different from what she was considering, and one which she did not sign. Her attorney used up all of her financial resources and abandoned her. The timing on her withdrawal and how her presence was used to keep this mother in the dark is telling.

Court Watch on Augusta Family Court – April 17th – 9am. If the court refuses to allow a continuance as requested by the mother so that she can find counsel to help her navigate and defend her rights, it will become even more obvious that she was never meant to have a fair trial on these issues, or to have a fighting chance at parenting her children.
WFXG FOX54 Augusta – Your News One Hour Earlier
How can parents prepare ahead of time to learn the pitfalls in managing family disputes, especially involving children?

Request more information to learn about the hiring the best team for your needs. This case is another glaring example of what can go wrong when you rely on word of mouth and online marketing to make hiring decisions. There currently is no real accountability for attorneys who allow their clients to fail by withholding evidence and avoiding opportunities to prevail, or for others who use special relationships with judges to reach outcomes that are damaging to children and to good parents. This is just “normal” for Augusta and for other judicial districts.

Economic Impact: Reform Makes Business Sense

Business leaders and business press:

My Advocate Center has been tracking for several years the impact on each community, and on our state.

You’ve seen it in your firms and corporations: the lost time from work, lost productivity, higher levels of stress and inability to focus.  You’ve seen the increase in healthcare costs, and the time lost to moving to smaller homes and dealing with children who are not coping well.

Now it is possible to see how the bad practices in Family Court are feeding and escalating these issues, and on a larger scale than you might imagine.  You know the divorce rate in Georgia?  Across the country?  You also are aware of the foreclosure rates here as well.

There is a direct correlation between what we are measuring and reporting on, and the economic impact felt by both our business community and our citizens.  When you see the data it will be an easy decision to make.  Backing reform over how our families and children are treated as they work through legal conflict will become a priority.

If the economic impact is not a concern to you or your business, then think about what is happening that could also happen to your children and grandchildren.  As we are proving now, no one is immune.

On Twitter:

#ReformMakesGoodBusinessSense #AtlantaNews

#BusinessofDivorce #FamilyCourtReform

#LostRealEstate #EconomicImpact

LinkedIn:

Discussions are developing around the country between professionals, professionals and parents, and in the business and healthcare communities regarding why we should collectively address these bad practices, and how to help our families and communities recover. The numbers are too staggering to ignore any longer.  And now we have the data and the solutions.

http://www.linkedin.com/company/my-advocate-center-llc

New Series: What Lawyers Say

Day One:  Lawyer Quote #1

Social Media Rocks.  Why?  Good lawyers are getting the word out.  We are listening.

It is NOT all attorneys and judges involved in wreaking havoc on unsuspecting citizens.

This is anonymous for now, until we have permission to use his name:

“Reforms are definitely needed in [my state]. To establish reforms that benefit the parties will require the participation of family law lawyers who support certain changes, too many which can be listed here.  (MAC: we agree) That said, it’s no secret that the family law system is a business. Additionally, it should be generally understood that model does not serve clients well, unless a client gets lucky and hires a highly ethical and competent family law lawyer who is more interested in resolving the divorce as amicably and efficiently as possible, rather than generating the most billable hours. I’ve seen far too many examples of the latter.

I was told by prior employers that I solved cases too quickly, and that by doing so, I cost that employ tens of thousand of dollars that could have been generated from the case (had I not resolved the parties issues so soon). That’s the primary reason I decided to work for myself, so my hands would not be tied, in terms of helping people resolve their divorce without costing so much, and without the unnecessary generation of conflict.

To put out a fire, one should apply water, not gasoline. Many family law lawyers apply gas to increase the fire. The brighter and longer the fire burns, the more money they make. Of course, one who has a conscience (such as myself) finds this approach beyond deplorable.

Again, it’s no secret (at least within the industry) that most family law lawyers don’t bend over backwards to resolve conflict as quickly as possible, whether their reason is to generate more billable hours, or they lack the skill (professional/legal or interpersonal) to help parties resolve conflict in a competent manner.  (MAC note: why should this secret be kept from the public?)

Most lawyers are adept at conflict. Also, many get into family law for the wrong reason (because there’s plenty of work and it seems like an easy area of law, and it’s also easy to start a solo practice). Hence, parties are at high risk that once they initiate their divorce process and hire a lawyer, that their problems will escalate.”

* This is just one sample: lawyers all over our country are stepping forward to say they are OVER being labeled along with those who commit fraud, breach fiduciary duty, commit legal malpractice…or who are just plain lazy or greedy, or all of the above.

Keep it coming!

#Courage #ThrowawayClient

problem_solved

What many lawyers – not all – want you to do