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.  

Improving the Divorce and Child Custody Process: What Matters?

A conversation for professionals and for parents interested in contributing to Solutions.

Solutions related to child custody disputes -including policy revisions & upholding fiduciary duty:

We hear that the Court is supposed to help parents arrive at something that is “in the best interests of the children” but that often is miscontrued.

It is most often just a notion that sounds good on paper or rolling off the tongue of a member of the Court.  It causes GOOD parents to assume that there is really nothing to worry about, that surely the Court will see the obvious…and the evidence…and allow them to continue serving their children well.

Sadly that is a myth. Actually it is more of a Trap than a myth.  Myths usually do not cause real, lasting harm.  A trap is something you are not meant to get out of.  Not in one piece anyway.

Disclaimer:  When we at M-A-C say, “Good parents” and “best interests” that can be applied to mean either Mother or Father;  this is not a gender issue.   Remove bias & restore accountability for Fiduciaries, ensure that laws & guidelines have ‘teeth’ and we can make rewarding progress.  For all parents.

Progress means getting rid of what merely sounds good, or lip service, and doing the hard work of helping parents resolve conflict, and getting help with dysfunctional behavior that led to the divorce or custody dispute.  

That statement is a big part of the solution:  proper counseling.

We have, at least in Georgia, some incredibly talented and effective healthcare and law enforcement professionals who are capable of amending and improving relationships between “high-conflict” parties.

These are resources that go largely untapped due to how the legal process is manipulated and controlled by a few who are not focused on “doing the right thing” — simply because it is assumed that it is harder work for less profit.  For certain Fiduciaries managing these cases, that is.

If you know how to identify legal professionals who will uphold Fiduciary Duty and apply their talent and experience to reach the best outcome for the family, then you have the best of all worlds:  the best legal minds doing legal work, the appropriate psychological or healthcare providers, along with law enforcement where called for.

So our mandate is to shift the focus to be: “Your bottom line as a professional improves as you Do the Right Thing, and uplift the Real Needs of Children and good parents.”   The guidelines and protocols are there to follow, which demands proper counseling — and parents are asking for it, children need it desperately, and it just isn’t that hard.

“Good parents” do not destroy children by undermining their needs just to get at, restrict or punish the other parent.  Period.  You don’t “split the baby up the middle” – you straigten out the parent willing to use the child as a pawn or weapon.

What currently exists in Family Law matters is something that is less about reality, or the REAL needs of children and parents, and more about doing favors and manipulating parties and litigation tactics to wear one party down, increase profits for the professionals, and reach an outcome that rewards the other party for being abusive.   That hurts good parents – no matter whether the “caregiver” and nurturing parent is the mother or father – and especially hurts the children.   Everyone who is owed a duty of loyalty and honesty here LOSES.   Unless they know how to prepare and avoid the traps…

Children & parents who have experienced trauma are counting on us. 

 We are determined that “Divided Families do not have to become Destroyed Families” as we are seeing in the current standard being set by certain practitioners of law.

WE CAN SAY THIS FIRMLY BASED ON CASE STUDIES WHICH WE WILL BE PUBLISHING SOON.

If you would like to receive white papers and case studies – or briefs related to cases involving misconduct – then fill out our contact form on www.MyAdvocateCenter.com.

You can also follow us on http://www.linkedin.com/company/my-advocate-center-llc.    If you decide to engage and contribute on this topic, joining the M-A-C Counsel for Change on LinkedIn may be your next natural step.

Simple ways to see our updates and excerpts of cases studies: Facebook.com/MyAdvocateCenter — @MyAdvocateCentr on Twitter

 

Most people agree, parent or not, professional or not, that children deserve the best that BOTH parents have to offer, right?   Sounds better than the “best interests of children…” whatever that might turn out to mean to someone focused more on profit than on helping children.

Children cannot get the best of both parents when both parents are left in a worsened state, often both emotionally and financially, and even physcially if home loss or medical conditions/illness result.

Children – tens of thousands of children each year – are experiencing more violence, addictive behavior, stress and uncertainty, as well as critical time with parents being lost…all due to an intentionally escalated and prolonged process.  More children turn to unhealthy coping skills as they react.

Want to interrupt cycles of violence and addiction?   Address what is happening in throes of legal battles.

Why is there so much trauma?   It can be due to the improper handling of Domestic Violence issues, or the loss of parenting rights, financial resources and homes, and sometimes due merely to the lack of honesty and loyalty from counsel.     All of these things destabilize parents and exacerbate anger, confusion, depression, anxiety…and all of this is absorbed by the children watching their parents and getting caught in the middle.

Who is watching these children to see what the effects on them are?

Teachers, healthcare workers, school directors, neighbors, family members and too often law enforcement as the dysfunction leads to juvenile delinquency.   But these people are not involved in the legal process and have no control over curbing the manipulation that is worsening the situation.  They feel their hands are tied.

Know that our perspective & value come from the collective strengths of many who have experienced loss due to breakdowns in communication, transparency & accountability around this legal process governing the division of children and other “property.”

What can you do?

Join us in contributing to the conversation about raising standards to mean something for children around how these cases are handled and governed, and do what you can to strengthen a parent who may be vulnerable in a “high conflict” legal matter or co-parenting.

Empower someone who needs to know how to better prepare and manage, and confront and hold accountable one willing to do harm.

 

Please spread the word that if someone is exploiting another who is in need of help and protection, and/or is disabled from PTSD or other qualified disability under the ADA, that ability to profit from their weakness is coming to an end.


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.

Golden Rule or Gold Rules?

You already know the answer.  When you choose how someone should treat you, it’s the Golden Rule.

But what about in a contest, especially in a high stakes contest such as in a divorce or in a child custody dispute?

Should the truth count – because that is what the children are counting on, so that they benefit from all both parents can give them?   Or should it be a matter of who is able to wield the most influence, especially the most HIDDEN influence?

What about loyalty and honesty toward clients – especially clients who are focused on protecting and providing for children?

Should Fiduciary Duty be expected, and if that duty is absent, should it be looked at closely?

This is just a sampling of what is being revealed about our Family Court system, as investigated by My Advocate Center and an ever-increasing number of parents and interested reporters.  Our work continues this month surrounding the fallout for children caught in this gap between truth and “other” influences.  The case studies resulting from this work are compelling, so please schedule time with one of our advisors if you would like to learn more.

Then, please turn to the children of the parents in these case studies.  Understand what this means for them when family conflict is handled poorly, or when loyalty and honesty are withheld from parents in high-stakes disputes.

Let’s ask that more professionals apply the Golden Rule around upholding duty, applying their best effort to helping children receive the best that BOTH parents can give them.  WHY would you NOT want to allow that to happen?  

Where we see that this is not happening, and children are being damaged, we are simply inviting these professionals to join us in shifting this problem.  Because it IS a very large, very high-impact problem.   It is time to do better here, and it is possible to be both successful, profitable, influential…AND to uphold the real Needs of Children.

We are here to guide Parents, Professionals and Policy Makers for the benefit of families who are transitioning through and out of conflict.

Let’s work together to ensure that the family’s resources go toward helping their children.

Isn’t that the BEST use of the Golden Rule?