The Price of Bug Repellant

A father asked us recently, “What is a good way to explain to others what this family court trap is like?”

He asked for the best way to explain to his cousin what is happening with certain Georgia family law practices.  His cousin is interested in being supportive but he doesn’t “get” the legal world, let alone this divorce business.

Cousin Joe, however, lives in a big neighborhood and can’t stand the power-hungry HOA president:

You and your neighbors are going about your yard projects, and you get into an argument about a fence.  You go to the head of your HOA to help resolve the situation.  (You can’t stand your neighbor’s bad comb-over or his beer breath, but that’s besides the point.  He doesn’t want you to paint your fence!)

What you don’t realize is that “HOA Guy” has started selling products to deal with mosquitos.  “So what?” you say.

While trying to make your very important point about your RIGHT to paint your fence, with HOA Guy calmly listening, swarms of mosquitos start circling your head and attacking every body part.  Now you’re REALLY annoyed.  And really distracted, and you can’t function let alone work out an agreement with beer-breath.  …and to make things worse, beer-breath and HOA Guy are asking you what YOU did to bring on these nasty bugs.

Thankfully HOA Guy has a solution!

He rolls out the repellant and zapper equipment, and you quickly shell out $350.00 since that’s what he charges and you don’t see any other options at that moment. (These are BIG mosquitos & they feel like they are shredding your skin and going for your dog next.)

What you can’t see at this point is that he is growing those mosquitoes in tubs around the corner and turning them loose on you every time it appears your argument might be winding down.

This conversation is not only going nowhere fast, you and your disgruntled neighbor grow increasingly agitated – with each other.  You both give up in a huff and leave, but are told to come back the next morning (when the mosquitos probably won’t be so bad, HOA Guy calmly says.)

You’re so emotional and worried that you don’t realize the mosquitos are only going after you and your “difficult” neighbor…  The next morning you are relieved to learn there is a stronger version of the repellant you can now buy that he didn’t have the day before.  Another check is written, this time for $650.00, but you have hope you’ll get through the discussion this time.

And so on.

Before too long you’ve turned over your nice watch and your bank account is empty.  (So there is no money left for you to paint that fence you were fighting over!  Problem…solved.)

This is a silly and somewhat harmless picture, right?  Just bugs, an opportunist HOA president, a fight over a fence and a few bucks.

You get it now, right?

Or…not on board yet?  Not enough to go confront and oust HOA Guy and turn his tubs of mosquitos on him?

What if this were a true high-stakes game, and it involved losing your children, your home and your health?

If this were happening to YOU, could you explain that to someone?  Or would you be too ashamed to admit you couldn’t see it coming to be able to stop it?

Right now I bet you’re thinking that you would not shell out money like that for bug repellant?  No, we wouldn’t either, but we’re really talking about people who are told to fear they will lose their children and everything they’ve worked hard for…if they don’t “buy” and “just do what I tell you…”

When you’re under attack, and someone with authority – whom you voted for and therefore TRUST – lies to you and takes everything from you…you react and comply with what you’re told, because you are READY to be delivered from what is attacking you.

Yes, it is that simple.  If you get the wrong attorney, and they do not advocate for you with the Judge like you believe they will, and they tell you to hire the WRONG custody expert, there’s basically nothing you can do…

Or is there?  And is there something we can do together to help those who are being subjected to this?

If you understand this, then you can help us act on it:  this is the reality many parents around you are facing.

Imagine you are a loving parent who just wants to do right by your kids and your soon-to-be-Ex.  You hear about a “good attorney” from a friend, so you go ask for help and write a $4,000.00 check.

While promising to “help you through this tough time” this attorney, and then his preferred child custody “expert,” take a position of authority over you.  Now the judge, the attorneys and the custody expert are all selling you repellant to fight off the bugs they didn’t tell you about.   They will keep taking from you while putting you in a worse position, but you had no way to know this was coming.

This is the easiest explanation for why this continues, because it is so hard to believe…and it is happening in plain site.  As easily as the HOA guy who happens to have bug repellant handy when you come to him for help.  As easily as the guy who sells you the solution to the problem that he created.

Divorce is tough enough, without feeling the need to stay quiet because others know you are just going through an “ugly divorce.”  Can you see how this might be hard to explain, or to know where to turn and how to ask for help?

This is why we are asking you to learn and to offer support.

This is happening to so many around your community, and just like it is hard to avoid mosquitos, it is virtually impossible to stop what is happening to anyone faced with a legal conflict like this.  It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, or what kind of neighborhood you live in.  And, it can happen to you.

Some parents are in much worse shape, and are not allowed to nurture and provide for their own children.   This is the really tough part of this — that children are often a price or the “collateral damage” that you can’t even fathom.  Those situations require a higher level of support and commitment, but these cases range from simple to the extreme.

What is happening to good mothers is also happening to good fathers, and vice versa.  There have been enough tragedies coming from this scenario to wake us up and move us into action, as a state, as parents, grandparents and community leaders or professionals.

We just need to know what YOU can handle, and what you believe is right for you to do.

Whatever your comfort level is, just do something to help us get HOA Guy where he belongs?

 

Good Fathers Matter

It is taking a crisis in Georgia for many to get the difference between the good fathers (like those we are working with, the ones getting the raw deal in family court) and those who are being enabled as they behave badly.

But let’s put that mess aside, and help Georgia get “off the ice” now, and focused on moving forward!

This is what matters, this report courtesy of one of our legislators who is helping the public see the good in a crisis:

 “A father walked 6 miles in the snow to his daughter’s school so she would not spend her first night away from home alone.” #GoodFathersMatter

View on Twitter: pic.twitter.com/pNBAZjBZ0X

 

True Georgia story: a father walked 6 miles in the storm to join his daughter stranded at her school.  She did not have to spend her first night away from home...alone without him.

True Georgia story: a father walked 6 miles in the storm to join his daughter stranded at her school. She did not have to spend her first night away from home…alone without him.

From My Advocate Center:

To ALL the many fathers we know here in Georgia and around the country who are being put in a position to NOT be able to give to your children this way:

We recognize what is happening, and are as committed to you and to this problem as we are to others.

Stay strong and keep giving and doing what you know is right for your children, even when you are being held back. #NotGivingUp

Parental Alienation Syndrome: Real vs Misguided Use

Parental Alienation is something very real to many mothers and fathers who have been wrongfully cut off from their children.  We say “wrongfully” because the facts and evidence of the case did not support that loss.

The word “syndrome” was added for another purpose, however.  And this is where it gets difficult for many.

In family court when there is REAL abuse happening, and the perpetrator has the ability to influence the judge with special connections and money, they may refer to this “syndrome” or some other term (again, something that makes no sense if you look at the evidence) to justify punishing a good parent, and taking away a child.

This video helps explain some of what we are seeing in custody disputes where the evidence of abuse has been substantiated.  This includes the Fulton county case we have been following and reporting on.

 

Missing Parents

For kids who have missed out on a relationship with a mom or dad after divorce:

If you believe that your mom or dad did not choose to go missing on you, consider asking for some help with research.   You may see that parent occasionally and be unsure of why you have so little time with them.  Yes, sometimes it’s for a good reason, but not always.  These words are here to help you see that you can at least ask the questions and learn more now that you are older.

Your situation doesn’t have to be related to a divorce, but the reason our team is focusing on “Missing Parents” is that we have seen some bad decisions by judges and attorneys.   Sometimes the court can get in the way of what is really in your best interest, rather than doing what is right for you when it comes to time with your parents.  The problem is that people just don’t talk about this very often, and not where you can hear.

We are not saying we want to give you false hope.  Sometimes parents don’t know how to be parents and can’t cope.  But it’s worth checking to see if the court professionals working with your parents did something that didn’t make any sense.  If you want a relationship with a parent you have not seen much, but are afraid to ask, then let us know.

Sometimes a parent is just unhealthy and really can’t be involved, and that is something you can face and learn to cope with if that is true. Our hope is that even a parent who had some problems can get the right help and learn how to be what you need.

There are other situations, though, where the court decided to cut off a decent mom or dad, and for no good reason.

We know of parents who are fighting to earn enough money to afford help, or to find a way to deal with a wrong decision made by a judge.  

Sometimes parents wind up in front of a judge who maybe wasn’t paying attention to what YOU really need and want.  

Sometimes attorneys get lazy, and other times the “Guardian” can make huge mistakes in how they judge a mom or dad who was given bad advice by their lawyer.

There are different scenarios around attorneys and judges that can interfere with what you need and with what should happen with your parents.  It may not matter what the details are, but our mission is to create more resources that you can use to find answers – – answers that help you have what you need from both parents.

We have learned that there are decent parents who are not allowed to even contact their kids.

Unfortunately this separation can happen because an attorney or a “custody expert” decided to play games at your parent’s expense.  Really…at your expense.  That interference is what we are working to help correct, so if our work can lead you to get a parent back in your life who never should have been pushed away from you, then it makes all of our hard work worthwhile.

At least now there is a way to find out more information that can shed light.

You deserve the best that both of your parents have to offer you, as long as they are safe for you and not inflicting emotional or physical pain.

You may be old enough now to know the difference and to want answers.   First, we ask that you find an adult you trust through school, church or a counselor to help you as you ask questions and learn more.

It’s not right what certain professionals are doing for the sake of making extra money, but if you’re strong enough there may be a better way to deal with this than to worry and wonder.  For sure you should not assume that the parent you’ve been missing left you because they wanted to.

The hard part in answering these questions is that you may learn that the parent you’ve been living with had something to do with cutting out your other parent, and was using some kind of manipulation to make that parent go away.

If that happened it’s not right, but adults are not perfect.   Even a decent parent can have a bad idea.  Some make mistakes and don’t want to consider that they might have been wrong.

They’re human, so if you’re uncomfortable with finding out just how “human” your mom or dad is, don’t deal with this alone.  [We have good counselors who can help with these issues, so just ask.]   There is some risk involved in asking tough questions, and in facing the answers.  This is something you can prepare for, and handle as you feel ready.

Just know you aren’t alone, and that things are changing for the better.  

If you find out that a missing parent wants to see you, and needs support or counseling in order to have a healthy relationship with you, then ask for what you need to make it work.   That parent may be more scared than you are, especially if some time has passed and if you were given incorrect information about this parent.   You may learn that even if you missed valuable time together that you can make up for it as an adult, and find that “silver lining” that you hear about.

It’s there if you look for it.

Missing a parent?  Not sure what happened?  There may be more to the story than you realize.  Maybe it's time to ask, and ask someone who will not be mad at you for saying what you need.

Missing a parent? Not sure what happened? There may be more to the story than you realize. Maybe it’s time to ask, and ask someone who will not be mad at you for saying what you need.

 

Judges, Attorneys, Guardians and Custody Evaluators:  We hope that as kids become old enough to search on the Internet and to ask questions about why a parent suddenly wasn’t around much after a divorce, that a number of them will find their way here.

Please do what is within your power to stop alienation tactics and to restore balance in family conflicts.

“Parental alienation” is a term that kids do not understand and should not ever have to learn.

Our data shows that many alienation cases would NOT happen if certain court professionals did not encourage this bad behavior.  You see often enough the GAL who rewards a vindictive parent who will pay for the opportunity to cause misery.   It is YOUR job to use evidence and laws to protect children from losing good parents.

Court Humor

Tired of Resolutions? Try Laziness.

The actual headline of an Atlanta blog post.

True story.  Yes, our staff writer poked fun by sharing this with family court professionals.

It was aimed at social media fans in Atlanta, but with all the seriousness of our research and reporting we felt it was time to shake things up.

This may be our new theme.  Except when talking about the Boogy Man.  No “lazy” in those #shenanigans.  His clients get their {Big} money’s worth!

Divorce Corp. Inspired.

Testimonials from Supporters on Facebook

A friend knows you are going through a divorce and that you’ve been displaced from your home.

But you keep to yourself the gory details, as much of it as you can handle.  Suddenly he reads something online that helps him understand what you’re dealing with.  Betrayal and shame take on new meaning, but in a way that makes him reach out to offer support.   He gets it now.  This is not your issue that you created, and he sees that you had no way to know the trap you were walking into with this “family law” situation.

You were trying to make the best of things, trying to do right by your children, while actually being guided in a way that didn’t make a ton of sense… But who are you supposed to ask?   Now it appears you are being penalized for being honest, and for NOT trying to punish your spouse for leaving you.  What gives?

Thanks to news media and social media, people like this friend are saying, “Wow, what if that had been me?  Could I have seen a way to react differently?”  And, “That guy is one of the smartest and most well connected people I know…if this can happen to HIM, then it can happen to anyone!”

Social Media is allowing us to “change the game” being played at your expense.  This friend of a Buckhead business owner is a great example of how people are opening their eyes, and placing the judgment where it really belongs.

People around you likely think there must be something wrong with you based on the look on your face, or how you sound…or maybe because of your silence.  They have no way to know the shame, the fear, the uncertainty…or that dishonest professionals may be adding to what was a tough situation to begin with.

So if you share a post about our work to help promote awareness, do not be surprised if you see something like what this person wrote to a friend in this situation:

“…why on earth should a lawyer be allowed to strip a percentage of a family’s wealth and drag out a lawsuit simply to rob a family blind when they are already in distress. It is sickening.”

Because healthcare providers and media personalities like Dr. Drew are validating the impact – and that it is NOT just “something that poor guy brought on himself” – more people are willing to learn and to support parents and children caught in unnecessary litigation.

What can you do or how can you use your voice?

Stand by people caught in a legal conflict.  You may be the only one to speak the truth, or who can make sense of what they are dealing with.

Stand by people caught in a legal conflict. You may be the only one to speak the truth, or who can make sense of what they are dealing with.

Testimonials of Professionals

Professionals from several specialties are speaking out about what they are seeing in their practices.

Now they are responding to our work and to the news stories, so we are sharing excerpts while also maintaining privacy until we have signed permission to release names.

Excerpts will continue to be added in the coming days.

Psychologist:

“I just wanted to let you know I am encouraging some of the families I work with to email their stories to you, as well as use your website as a resource. It has been incredibly frustrating for me as a therapist to be so powerless in our court system. I WANT to ensure them that the system is there to protect children, but have learned through experience not to give them any false hopes.”

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.