Social Media on Divorce Corp.

Sometimes people just make sense, including bloggers!

Diana Mercer, co-author of Divorce Works, shared this perfect example on HuffPost:  Link to full article here.

“You don’t have to opt into the litigation system. You don’t have to roll the dice on the judge you’re assigned to, the custody evaluator appointed, and having to pay fees upon fees. You can opt out. And it’s not difficult to opt out. There are lots of choices.

But divorcing people are scared. They’re scared of the future, of the unknown, of the things that their spouse might do.

What most don’t realize is that they really have nothing to fear but fear itself (and maybe litigation lawyers). When a gladiator lawyer says,“I’ll protect you”, the temptation is to believe it. And while I still believe most lawyers really mean that, the truth is that divorce is a business, and lawyers can’t keep their offices open when clients can’t pay. And almost every client runs out of money eventually. Even the wealthy McCourts ended up in bankruptcy after their LA Dodgers-centered divorce fight.”

Another excerpt:

“I finally saw Divorce Corp. Finally. After much banter on Facebook, a barrage of emails, aNew York Times article, and the Huffington Post’s own Paul Raeburn’s review of the film, I finally saw what all the fuss is about.

Finally someone is shaking the snow globe.

Is everything in Divorce Corp. indicative of how litigation works in every case? Of course not. But it does illustrate that when you go to court you take your chances. Are the judges biased? Are they corrupt? Probably not, but you never know. Is your child custody evaluator an extortionist? Probably not, but maybe. And you won’t find out until after the fact.

MLK Day: Join the Movement

Join Parents & supporters of the civil rights that are being denied in Family Court.  Continue this movement.

Join Parents & supporters of the civil rights that are being denied in Family Court. Continue this movement.

“What are YOU doing for others?”  This was the premise behind founding My Advocate Center, and asking more parents, professionals, policymakers & civic leaders to get involved.

Join the group of parents and concerned citizens who are voicing the urgent need for Family Court Reform.

Children are missing good parents.  Parents are being denied the right to care for, nurture and protect their children.

This is not necessary to allow this to happen – not according to our laws, our constitution, and based on the facts and evidence of these cases.

Help these families recover while we work to prevent more of the same.

We can’t think of a better way to honor the memory of the ultimate “Game Changer” in the history of Civil Rights.

Thank you for your support, and for using your voice in a non-violent way.

Please see our Facebook event page for details:  https://www.facebook.com/events/640934305968467/

Then subscribe to receive the newsletter about this Rally on MLK Day 2014, Atlanta, Georgia.

Why Should You Know More about Attorneys?

What should you know before making a decision about your legal counsel and the team coming together around you to help you through a conflict?

Because it is more than just their reputation and promoted success rate that will determine the value you get for your money.

Depending on whether or not they choose to be honest and loyal to you, it will not only impact your finances, your home, your ability to co-parent effectively, but it will also impact your mental health.   Most of all, it will impact your children.

Our case studies illustrate how families and children have been affected – harmed – because parents and others in the community were not aware of how to truly vet counsel to ensure a proper outcome.

We are smashing myths because dozens of parents are reporting that what they believed to be true about their attorneys and the highly regarded custody experts they paid, is simply NOT true.   The simple answer is that the Value just isn’t there.  Value, in our dictionary, has a lot to do with honesty and loyalty.

A big myth being turned upside down is that if you have money or status, that you can buy loyalty and influence.  The myth that “mothers always get custody…or good mothers” flew out the window, but so did the one that says, “If a father has any power, owns a big company, or knows the right people” that he will prevail.  If it were this simple, My Advocate Center would not be fielding so many calls and emails.

Parents are finding out too late that even after they have sought referrals from local, well-known sources like a non-profit organization that promotes a select few experts, that there was actually no assurance that their interests or their children’s interests would be taken seriously.  There currently is no oversight of services and no guarantee of loyalty or honesty even when you accept referrals through most other sources.  My Advocate Center is working to change this.

As we work with press, law enforcement and legislators, more case studies and reports will serve to provide clarity to the public about the due diligence needed when hiring professionals – especially those serving family law.

For now, learn as much as you can, work to understand the process and how you can be your own best advocate – in hiring, in preparing and in making informed decisions.

When you are ready to assess your own strengths and weaknesses, and how to best empower yourself to work with the right team, let us know.  That is your best starting point.

The Hostage Child, Fiction or Non-Fiction?

An unfortunately accurate title.  So what do we do about it??

In 2013, in Georgia, there was a hearing that was a continuance of an “Emergency” hearing that had been scheduled for over a MONTH where a teen girl has been begging the Court for relief.  Not because she was yelled at…because she was being tormented & cut off from the help she needed, to the point where she became desperate and even suicidal.

It was outrageous and worth revealing to the public because most of us believe that when children are in danger that the court would respond quickly and efficiently to help save a life.  Too often that just isn’t the case.  This is one of the reasons for sharing stories from across the country, and asking our leadership to work on changes that will better protect kids in these situations.

Is it really necessary to make a child wait like this after so many outcries for relief?

@MyAdvocateCentr reports that her affidavits made jaws drop and eyes become shiny with tears.  Not one affidavit…several.  These were filed in Forsyth County to ask Judge Bagley to please pay attention, to please give her the freedom to say “Stop.”

Please stop here and watch this video.

Back to Georgia:
The father decided to retaliate against the school counselor who has worked to give the teen relief from oppression and duress – so the father tried to have him fired.  Is this community going to stand behind a courageous girl & the school counselor?

A bold attorney actually found visible evidence – the morning of the first part of this hearing – of the very comfortable relationship between the Judge and the father’s attorney.  Seasoned professionals approached & thanked her for speaking out & revealing the truth.  Of course, the Judge saw no reason to recuse…so maybe he believes he can rule properly on this evidence?

Update:  Judge Bagley did, in fact, see reason to grant this girl’s request and restored balance to her life with both parents.  He also prevented the father from sending her away to another “camp” that the father insisted she should attend since she was indicating she wanted more time with her mother.

Why send a child away, getting LESS time with her, just to keep her from having time with her mother?  Whether it is this camp he mentioned or the previous one he used, why do that at all?

The father’s attorney actually put in writing that she not only recommends the Rachel House in Texas on cases like this one, but she also said this judge would help support another judge sending children there.

Do you know what the #RachelHouse (aka #RachelFoundation) does to children?  Do you realize the purpose behind sending children out of state and isolating them?

Please join in, and do report cases here where a #Judge has worked with the #RachelHouse to tell children that abuse is OK.

#NeedsofChildren #GAFamilyCourt #DomesticViolence #StopChildAbuse

 

Please see our Facebook post about The Hostage Child book for more detail on purchasing this book, or learning the reality for many children who make outcries to the Family Courts in Georgia.  

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.