Naming Names – Help for Parents Caught in Conflict

You’ve now seen through press coverage of specific stories that certain judges are being influenced – in an inappropriate way – by certain attorneys and custody experts.  Many of you are asking, “So who are the others doing this?”

Obviously, as your comments reflect, there are more than a few people engaged in misconduct and in covering it up, or these actions would not be so blatant, and so profitable.

EXTRA NAUGHTY LIST 2013

This “hidden influence” is leading not only to financial and emotional damage to good parents, but also leading to physical and emotional damages to children.

The impact on our community is tremendous – and virtually no one is immune to what is going on.

But we should all be putting our foot down collectively over the damages to our childrenWe are seeing children develop severe, long term medical/emotional problems that would not be occurring otherwise.

This trauma is leading to drug problems, truancy, jail time and even suicide.

That alone is worth naming names publicly of those contributing to or benefitting from the court-related misconduct, and working toward transparency and accountability.  (Yes, we are inviting discussion with these professionals, asking for help in restoring health, peace & support for these families and children.  It is the ONLY right option, and it’s not too late to shift gears and help rather than harm.)

Please feel free to submit via PRIVATE email here on this website or via PRIVATE message on Facebook the names of professionals who have conducted themselves in similar fashion. 

The best means of sharing information is to Contact Us HERE.

We don’t need a lot of detail for now, just enough to know that a bad/harmful outcome was obtained because professionals ignored or suppressed evidence that, if the laws and ethics rules were being followed, would have been used to provide protections and support.  Should you want to discuss your case or situation further, let us know and we will provide you with our Intake Form.

Any and all legal advice must come from an attorney licensed in the State of Georgia, so please note that submitting information – while we treat with all possible confidentiality and view submissions as sensitive – is not considered “attorney-client privileged.”

We are not attorneys but do have legal, financial & psychological advisors on stand-by and will help inform you so that you know you are in the right hands going forward.  (If you have peace of mind about those supporting you, you’ll make better decisions..meaning your children will be better cared for.)

Information can be shared with our Resource Team and advisors by telephone or in person if digital/email communications are not appropriate for your situation.  You can also submit evidence directly to contacts with press or law enforcement, and we can arrange to help you with that if appropriate;  just get the information where it can be followed through on.

At a minimum, and for starters, if you have a case where you can show what appears to be professional misconduct, you should immediately call the State Bar and request a grievance form.  We’ve been told, “If people are being harmed, then WHY are they not filing grievances with us?”

So, please do ask for those forms, fill them out, send them in on a timely basis.  (If you need assistance, we have good malpractice attorneys available to consult with you on this process.  Note that this is hourly fee-based work, but worth it if you can afford to pay it.)

The more information that comes to light about misconduct and cases being mishandled, the better our community can be served.

*Our job is NOT to act as law enforcement or reporters, but our mission includes informing and empowering those entities responsible for reporting and protecting.

Professionals: if you are committed to upholding laws, ethics rules, fiduciary duty and the needs of your clients – and especially their children’s needs – please let us know if you would like to help with these cases coming in.

One part of our mission is to help the State Bar fully realize the nature of the misconduct and the extent of the damages, and to influence this conduct to cease.

Give parents and children a chance to recover, so that they can thrive as they would be doing but for the interference, misconduct and hidden influence as described in the press coverage.

Going forward, we are working hard to help families transition through and out of conflict faster, to support children in receiving the best that both parents have to offer, and to allow the family’s resources to be preserved for the benefit of children and parents.

Children deserve to be healthy and supported, in the care of loving and available parents, and they deserve to see their parents thriving in this role.  Anything else is not natural, and does interfere with the child’s development and future.

Sometimes it’s OK to be seen as controversial, or even “radical” as certain guilty parties like to say… But here goes: Shame on you if you disagree with this, or if you stand in the way.

If you are a parent who has hired and used professionals engaged in these tactics… aimed at harming the other parent, please know that there is a way to correct your situation without making things worse.

We are especially asking you to reconsider this situation.  You’ve probably already done enough harm to the other parent to feel that sick sense of satisfaction…not that it’s ever enough when your temper is raging or when you are feeling wounded.

Just know this: There is a way to meet in the middle, better serve your children, and allow your family to move forward with less conflict, expense and stress.  For sure, having a conversation about options will not do you any harm. (We won’t tell if YOU won’t!)

Thank you for your trust and your support.

Wake Up Georgia: Solutions to Preventing Tragedy

According to The Violence Policy Center, Georgia ranks 10th in nation for domestic violence related homicides.

The Kristofak murder in Marietta is a much needed wake-up call.

M-A-C is asking all professionals involved in high-conflict cases to handle each aspect of these cases with the utmost care and to intervene early with the proper counseling on BOTH sides of the equation.

Protocols & the RIGHT kind of help for mental health instability, violence and conflict management do exist here — they just aren’t always being followed or used effectively.   It is past time for all of us to ask questions and follow through, taking it more seriously than before, because the Needs of Children dictate that we do this.

What can be done to dial back the conflict and discourage & prevent more violence?

Can we make better use of the laws, protocols & intervention programs that we have in place?   How strongly are we holding people accountable, and what about inserting more transparency onto high-conflict cases?  (Please note that Men / Fathers are also victims in a number of these cases.  False allegations of abuse DO impede solutions, wasting time and resources, which are needed for better/faster resolutions.  All of this negatively impacts children, parents’ ability to work together, drains family resources and harms our communities.   Just Don’t do it…)

Can we make better use of our healthcare system and law enforcement professionals?  Of course, the answer is a resounding YES on all of the above, but how?  Where do we start?  With whom do we start?

Prior to this disaster unfolding, we created the M-A-C Counsel for Change to address these issues and help interrupt the patterns that lead to this kind of loss and tragedy.   We did this based on actual case studies done on past and present/pending cases.   Yes, there are other pending cases needing intervention, so we are working with several alliances to change these outcomes so that the Needs of Children and good parents are better served.

To join in this thought leadership discussion, if you are a professional engaged in these matters or in a position to contribute to Solutions and Change, please email CFC@MyAdvocateCenter.com.

Parents & anyone needing guidance:  If you are not sure where to turn for intervention with anger, violence, or are caught in a situation involving mental health disorders or addiction (any dysfunction affecting the well-being of your children and peace in your home) send us a message & we will help guide. Resources@MyAdvocateCenter.com

Please engage with us on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn to contribute to solutions and follow our development on these case studies and on improvements being made.

Here are a few of the links to the most recent – and preventable – loss experienced by children in the Atlanta, Georgia area:

AJC, by Bill Torpy:  http://www.ajc.com/news/news/crime-law/slain-woman-predicted-her-own-death/nTgj4/

11Alive News, by Rebecca Lindstrom: http://www.11alive.com/News/Crime/269855/445/Domestic-Violence-advocates-call-Marietta-murder-a-wakeup-call

East Cobb Patch, by Wendy Parker: http://eastcobb.patch.com/articles/donna-kristofak-feared-for-her-life

Perryville News, Obituary of Donna Kristofak: http://www.perryvillenews.com/archive/article_ba8feb62-53a8-11e2-991d-001a4bcf6878.html

If you are aware of or producing another piece on this story, please email Press@MyAdvocateCenter.com.

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The Kristofak boys have now lost both of their parents, but thankfully have the care and protection of other family members.   They deserve all the help we can give them, so please send contributions to:

Harrison & Zac Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 70091, Marietta, GA 30007-0091.

The Looking Glass: How Children See Themselves

Why the focus on children for My Advocate Center?

Check out this video, then keep reading and join in on this event to learn more!

This is important for both parents and professionals.

We do what we do because that is what is missing from too many legal disputes related to divorce and child custody matters.

There is an enormous gap in how cases are handled that allows the needs of children to get dropped from the discussion.   Yes, it sounds good enough that the law says we are to decide and act on matters based on the “best interests of the child,” but what does that really mean?

Can you think of many examples where that was carried out in a way that meant something positive to the child involved?

Chances are, what you recall from your own case or that of someone you know is that your children lost out in more than a couple of ways.  That is sad given that the parties and the professionals claim to be working for the “sake of the children.”  Please consider this:

“Children get their earliest, most lasting impressions of who they are from what is reflected back to them by their parents.  These impressions become those ‘records’ in the jukebox of your child’s brain.”  This is the Looking-Glass-Self principle provided by psychotherapists to describe what happens, and you can read about more examples in the Parenting Roles section on the Focus on the Family website.  Please read their articles about both the Real Job of Mothers and the one linked here for Fathers.

Can you imagine what children are seeing in this looking glass – this mirror that IS the faces of their parents during a time of extreme tension, conflict, uncertainty, hostility, fear, duress?

If you care about children, then your focus should be on improving what is being reflected for children.  If a parent, especially the main caregiver is made to feel fear, then the child absorbs and learns fear – and there is no way around it…the child learns to see himself as fearful.  Anxious, Uncertain, Sad, Pained.  Naturally this leads to a greater need for attention, for self-soothing, and affects sleep, focus and relationships.  Not what you are going for?

If you are a Parent currently embroiled in a custody dispute, ask yourself & your spouse what your children are seeing, hearing, feeling.  Is it necessary?   Are you willing to change the dialogue & your actions to be geared FOR your children rather than just ABOUT your children?  If you aren’t certain how to have this discussion or what to do about increasing conflict, let us know.  The professionals we are aligned with get this.

The time to insert common sense and reason – on behalf of children – is before conflict starts to escalate.  Parents on both sides, as well as the professionals, need to consider what they are willing to risk around the child’s well-being before they go down the wrong path.

We have found that this is missing in the process, so everything we provide to parents, professionals & policy makers comes back to this one point.

The truth around Family Court practices – what our case studies show – is that too often the wrong outcome is being intentionally created, causing the children to experience the worst of both parents, rather than what is best.

If the process and attitudes remain as they are in the legal arena involving divorce and child custody matters, then too many thousands of children will continue to be sacrificed for the sake of something much less important.  They are being sacrificed for the profit of a few.

If you are not willing to allow this to continue – if you want to be a part of the Solution and not a part of the Problem, then please connect with us and  help continue this discussion.

A Father’s Rights

Have you heard?

Good fathers are sharing experiences of finding out the hard way that they don’t stand a chance of getting a balanced/fair custody schedule or equal say, unless they play dirty, and spend a fortune if they have it to spend. Even then…it is very hard to prevail through mystery & uncertainty.  Hundreds of examples of cases resolved in an unfair & unbalanced way exist right here in GA, so chances are you’ve heard of a few or experienced this yourself?

Yes, men do believe they are being discriminated against when it comes to the legal process and custody issues.  More & more are reaching out to us, asking for answers, even though we don’t promote “Father’s Rights” specifically.  We vet each case regardless of whether the mother is being targeted or the father, and work toward restoring balance for the person who is being destabilized by foul play and illegal tactics.

Why are fathers calling M-A-C?  Because we are not here to advocate for one type of person over another, but to be the Voice of Reason.   We help to take out the emotion and injury, and replace faulty reactions or strategies with what makes sense.  It is easier for men to avoid loss in business than here in the family court process, because business practices are more transparent, more accountable, and often follow logic.  What is happening with certain family court professionals goes against all logic – – and, yes, even againt the law, the facts and evidence of the case, and against the needs of children.

We look at the reality and truth for the children involved – what type of parent are you and how do you work with the other parent to do what your kids need.

Are you managing to provide the best of both parents to your children?  Do you support the other parent as much as you should?   Do you support as if your children were able to tell you what they need and deserve from you both?  Do you conduct yourself as if your children are watching?

Guess what:  they ARE watching.  Even if they are very young.   They are absorbing what is happening, and this sets them up to fail both in their youth and later in life.  So take it seriously, and work on yourself first.

Appearances DO matter, but not the way we are often taught to think in this process; what matters is what our children are seeing in us, as well as how our cases are managed related to their care and emotional well-being.  Examples to clarify this point are available.  This is simply about child-centered common sense as it relates to achieving your desired outcome.

Mothers vs. Fathers:  Bad behavior and abuse happen on both sides of the aisle.  The wedding aisle, not just the political aisle.

We are here to help all types of parents look in the mirror and consider how to be better – before divorce (avoiding it if possible because it IS bad for children, and for you), during divorce and after – because that is better for children.  It really is very simple.

So, regarding “Fathers’ Rights,” are you ready?  They should be the same as a mother’s rights.  Your children deserve the best of both – if you are capable of cooperating in that effort, then that is what should happen.  Please look for more specifics in later posts or email us for faster answers.

My Advocate Center exists because we’ve seen the impact on children and know that during this process, around divorce and custody conflicts, is where some of the worst damage is done to children.   It has to change, and if you consider yourself a good parent, or project as a professional that you are here to serve children/families and claim you have talent and are successful, then use that to improve outcomes for children, rather than for your own bottom line.   The bottom line SHOULD be how children fare in this – what are they left with when the arguing is done, and how will they manage through the aftermath and into adulthood.

As you learn about My Advocate Center please do not focus on our posts about female victims of family violence and assume that we are here because we only care about supporting women, or that our main focus is on violence although that is a driving force & controlling influence in many cases.  We have heard and seen as many examples of poor case management and outcomes for fathers as we have for mothers.  Poor judgment by professionals or judges is not aimed at one gender or the other.  But it always hurts children, so that is what drives our work and research.  We will address family violence, abuse, foul play and related topics in another post.

For now we ask that you consider that much of the conflict does not have to do with discrimination against male or female parents, and that our mission is focused on how children are impacted when the rights of a good parent and caregiver are taken away or diminished.  Much of our work & research involves balancing results for fathers, especially for fathers who are acting as the primary caregiver in their family unit.  You might not be the “stay at home dad,” but you can still be the one emotionally connected to your children and ensuring their overall well-being.

If you are not in control of your situation around child custody, and believe that the lack of fairness is hurting your kids…if you want to learn the real reason why and then do something about it, let us know.   Ideally you are reading this before it’s too late and can work with us to PREVENT this from happening.  However, most parents do not question until after damage has been done and they realize that improving the situation is next to impossible.   We are here because we believe in “possible” and you are reading because you do as well.

Join us knowing that we exist to help you learn and benefit from our experience, insight & resources.

Your children are asking this of you, even if they are silent.

The Court Discriminates, but Not Like You Think

Mothers, even good mothers, do sometimes lose their children in the legal process involving custody matters.

Fathers claim the Courts are biased in favor of mothers.

Both sides fight back, and not always fairly or with an eye on their children.

Minorities want Favored Minority Status because it is the only way in their minds to protect against discrimination.  Domestic Violence victims hear that the Court doesn’t care about family violence, or are afraid they won’t be seen as a “good enough victim” to get protection or support from the Court professionals.

Groups who do not belong to or follow the Mainstream want their rights upheld, and justly so.  Some are afraid to be seen and then misjudged for not fitting a mold we believe the Court wants upheld.

The Court is not designed to protect one gender over another, or one ethnic, religious or societal group over another.  But somehow most of us fall into the trap of believing this is true, so that way it makes more sense if we don’t prevail.  If we can make sense of it, then we know what we are up against, correct?

What actually prevents us from succeeding is information and preparedness.  Who is responsible for helping us prepare?  WE are.  We must identify resources, make the right choices for our unique situation and location and political environment, and then use those resources wisely.

It is just not as simple as “I am a Woman, so therefore I must hire this strong male, or that female bulldog of an attorney.”  That is a rumor.  An uninformed one at that.  Just like the one that states, “If she lost her children, then there must be something wrong with her.”  Or the misperception that, “He only sees his children 30% of the time, so therefore the mother prevailed,” or “he is just a so-so dad.”   Write down your beliefs and the rumors you are allowing to guide your decisions.  Don’t just Gut-Check them; FACT check them.

The brief point to our initial blog post here is this:  things are not always as they seem, and they are not always as they should be.  So get your head in the game, clear your thoughts, and learn.  If you are not sure where to start, just send us an email.  That part is simple.