Position Statement Related to Stories about Professional Conduct on Child Custody Matters

It is My Advocate Center’s position that the problems being faced by parents and children in Georgia Family Court cases are caused by certain attorneys, select custody experts and even some judges who appear complicit or cooperative in enabling foul play and manipulation of evidence, testimony and outcomes.

Thankfully, this is not engaged in or supported by all members of the Court.  However, if you look at the volumes of cases revealing unethical or even fraudulent patterns conduct and “cooperative” conduct – including where one professional lies to help cover up the conduct of another professional – you might see the challenge in overcoming the belief by many parents that this is “because the whole system, and all of these professionals” are practicing this way.

You might see that the easy take-away for the public is to not trust anyone in the court system, and that it is not safe for parents and children to be subjected to the legal process.  When so many cases are being led to the wrong outcomes, and so many parents are penalized for doing the right thing and for standing up for their children and for their rights, can you blame them?  These issues are dissolving the public trust rapidly, so we are asking other legal professionals and civic leaders to get involved, so we can shed light and influence improvements to our court system.

The better news:

There are a good number of ethical, talented and diligent professionals who do not condone the practices that are escalating conflict and leading to increased injury to children and losses to families.  There are even some professionals who have the courage to say they expect better.   A few have decided to help do something about it.  We commend them and expect that they will see their practices rise to the top and that their talent, integrity and strong legal arguments will be recognized.

Our mission is to raise up those professionals while improving the conflict resolution process for families, to allow them to transition more smoothly through and out of conflict.  Parenting should be their focus, and not abusive litigation or the defense against abusive litigation.

Children deserve the best that both parents have to offer (assuming both parents are safe for the child), so we are highlighting cases where apparent professional misconduct and violations of ethics rules are interfering with what is otherwise possible and necessary for the needs of children to be served.  In certain cases we investigate and provide intervention for, one parent is not safe for the child but the court and child custody experts are ignoring substantiated reports of abuse and the evidence.  Our position is that where the evidence and reporting dictate the child be protected, transparency and accountability should be inserted to ensure protections are put in place.  Where it is possible for the unsafe parent to be ordered into treatment, we would encourage the court to follow through in that regard as well.  Our system and legal process do allow for better outcomes in these cases.

We are also highlighting cases viewed as “turn around stories” or success stories, as it is important for the public to see outstanding and diligent legal and psychological work and how it benefits children and parents alike.

Please keep in mind that abusive litigation also abuses children.  Alienation tactics are abusive toward children.

Claiming that a parent is “alienating” a child from the other parent just because the accused parent is really trying to protect the child (where evidence supports this need) is abusive toward the children involved. Restricting parents from their children when it appears necessary to PROTECT the children…this is especially abusive.

Tactics that are considered “foul play” such as using custody experts to ignore and suppress evidence of violence or other abuse, or making false allegations against an innocent parent to create leverage or to intimidate, are also abusive of children.

If you as a parent are experiencing problems related to these issues, please send us your information via our Contact Us form.

Professionals who want to challenge and change these practices, who can show that you are the right professionals to improve and turn around outcomes of cases needing to be recovered, please contact us as well.  You can also contact us through LinkedIn and learn more on our Professional Group page, M-A-C Counsel for Change.

Why do we need a group discussion called “Counsel for Change” in Georgia?  Because parents are told by professionals that the “trends” in Family Court require that we accept outcomes that are damaging to children, and this needs to be changed – this practice of lowering our standards and ignoring the real needs of children.

There are many good counselors – from many professions – who are showing their support in correcting this “trend” so please let us know how you’d like to contribute.

In the meantime, if you are a legal professional and especially if you have parents and children relying on you, please take this rule seriously:

Georgia Rule of Professional Conduct (GRPC) 8.: “A lawyer having knowledge that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, should inform the appropriate professional authority.”

If the State Bar enforced this rule and if parents knew how to hold lawyers and custody experts accountable, there might not be such an enormous need for My Advocate Center’s work or for a film like Divorce Corp.