Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?…' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

WHY Family Court (let’s get honest) “matters” to us all…

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…Even if you’re not inside the doors. . .

…Even if you have your “act” together — 

…Even if you’re not IN any marital or intimate partner act.  Or relationship.

 

You are probably living with, next to, or in association with someone who has been.  At least one of the people who go behind those doors into this family law / let’s mediate / co-parent / share custody / just get along (adversarial) system is going to be traumatized.  

 Another will be probably robbed.  A third will be shocked.  A fourth will be rewarded.  A fifth will be back for more easy victories by hearsay accusations the next time he (or she) has a grudge.  A sixth will be forced back to negotiate with the abusive partner she (OK, now you can argue:  \”or he\”)  was attempting to separate from   — and will be lectured, after having worked up courage to do this — not to upset the children by showing anger, or conflict, because in this YOU-topia supposedly conflict never happens — or at LEAST never between parents.  

This belief, along with Santa Claus, according to the same logic, is going to set your children on a good path for life.

A seventh will have been raised by one or more of the above.  An eighth will be teaching (or in class next to) one of the above. 

For a take on the intergenerational, societal transmission of trauma, see “www.sanctuaryweb.com

 

Get real   – – – and

 

Let’s Get Honest.  Without hate.

Let’s look at the script (and playwrights) in family law.

Let’s look at the off-stage directions and who takes cues from whom.  And let’s begin to understand that this is not a game, it is real people, real lives, and in some cases, physically “lost” in the drama.  

Let’s ALL consider the profit/loss ratio in this endeavor, family law, family court services, custodyh evaluations, mediations, court-appointed guardians, and attempting to, through this process and under cover of “law”, force divorcing parties with enough anmosity they couldn’t work it out separately to come seeking a higher authority to punish the ex somehow, or extract children, or money from her or him, and on what basis.  Personally, I (sarcastically) feel that both these words:

FAMILY COURT“”

are accurate.  The trick, like in any new culture, is to understand the idioms — usage — nuances.  The “nuance” in this case is, assume the exact opposite is meant.  Supposedly this is about “family,” and to help them.  Supposedly courts, in the USA (and elsewhere) exist for the purpose of determining truth and dispensing justice.  The words “public servant” possibly come to mind.

COURT:  Go back a few hundred years, and think “court” again.  Try Henry VIII or Louis XIV.  Think about what takes place in the halls of a palace, and who gets to be there?  How did one get an appointment at a palace?  How did one, having obtained it, REtain it? There, that’s a little better, you’re getting warm…  . . . Also, did you know that any attorney is considered an “officer of the court.” (not of you…) (I THINK).

FAMILY:  The “Family” in question is less likely your own (which will be devastated, most likely, one way or another), but the true “FAMILY” here in are the professionals, and so-called experts that know they will be dealing with each other on an ongoing basis, referring business, exchanging pleasantries, and in some cases referring cases (translation:  Jobs).   “Good” for them actually could mean keeping a family IN the system.  “Good” for the family biological generally means getting themselves OUT of the system and back to life as almost paranormal — or at least work, and sleep.  Perhaps the words “fealty” or “feudal” are closer to the truth.  I do not denigrate ethical, honest, overworked, and noble judges attorneys, or (well, I haven’t met such a mediator).  I’m sure they exist, and among the approximately seven judges I’ve stood before in this case, some more than once, only the 3rd one would I characterize as ethical and having a reputation of actually having read the paperwork before him prior to ruling on it.  Unfortunately, he quit family law, but I have been to date unable to.

The “COURT” does indeed hail back to royalty, and I think that is the most idealized among us that are going to lose in court.  We have believed (prior to baptism by fire) that this system, while we weren’t in it, somehow existed, in ether, and would protect the innocent and help the falsely accused, if only the truth were at.

I tried that for many years with a man that, in about the 8th year of this “just trying to get along” (survive, from my standpoint), was offended, again, by a minor perceived provocation.  I turned the music down, which was earsplitting and had just been turned up to make a point that the conversation was over.  We had small children at this time.  I reached over and turned a radio dial.  Next thing you know, I had been grabbed, hurled, and landed on my chin in literally another room.  Teeth were knocked loose.

I didn’t learn til many, MANY years later, that this was felony level domestic violence (serious injury caused) or that even a difference existed between the civil and criminal system existed.  Why would I?  I had prior to then inhabited churches, schools, parks (raising kids) with playgroups, and concert halls.  I did not think that a DETAILED awareness of how our criminal, civil, and other justice system works, let alone knowing the laws of my state (and federal) were important to my safety and wellbeing.  NOW, I think that at least the ability to navigate them, including what is the flowchart of a basic lawsuit (which is not that complicated…), should be required for high school graduation.  Unfortunately, it appears that in too many US schools, we are still working on the ability to read.  Period.

In other places, this may be called “DOMESTIC RELATIONS” or something similar.  The same interpretions apply.  Get your head out of the clouds and understand who is cozy with whom, and that it’s relationships, not evidence (in practice) that counts, in most arenas.  THAT is the problem, and like the beginning of our country, principles count and are worth fighting to preserve, or restore.  However one may bash “Dead White Males who owned slaves, or that it took women even longer to get the vote, the fact remains that  that Constitution exists, as do the Bill of Rights.  Like laws, muscles, or any other talent, they mean nothing without application towards the goal, and where these count is, they are that ideal.   Or, should I yet say “were”? – –  Use it or lose it. . . .. 

 

 

Let’s consider

what kind of emotion drives people even showing up, via an Order to Show Cause requesting a Motion to MAKE THAT WOMAN  (or MAN) stop, pay, or give me (back) my children.  Think about it, and about the logic of any authority (which these courts are, in fact that is primarily what they are, order-makers)  then telling both parties — when only one initiated the motion —  (this is now the script) that “conflict” is bad for kids, so pretend you don’t have any, or no more contact with your kids.  And let’s compare that with things such as, the state laws, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and so forth.. . . . MANY of these families, with kids, ended up there precisely because of out of court conflicts that had almost gotten lethal, or had hurt someone.  The basic premise of any legal motion is that some “wrong” happened ( “tort” = “wrong” — and believe me, I didn’t learn that term even 3 years into the system), and therefore the court should redress it.  However, in entering the halls, when kids are involved, thinking goes haywire, and despite the system of “tort” “redress” (etc.) on which law is based, the judges, and associated employees of the court, or an affiliate of it, then all communicate clearly that BOTH parties are wrong, since they couldn’t settle their own differences without court help.  They are presumed needing a sound lecture of some sort, and of course therapy, if possible.  The general idea of the process is DUE process.  However, the general idea of the family law system as it now exists is virtual behavioral modification, and through this, I say, social engineering — mass scale.  JUST REMEMBER “COURTS” // “ROYALTY.”  Where do the allegiances typically lie? It often gets down to simply the character of the individual judges.  

 

The desired result of a hearing in court is called and “order.”  Contempt of it can (doesn’t often, but CAN) end one in jail.   In the mythic interpretation of the process, which those of us without prior connections probably held going in, the order comes from a judge who is more noble and neutral than either of you, will hear EVIDENCE impartially, and in a manner coherent with the rules of court for the jurisdictions, and judicial ethics, as listening to attorneys (if any) who also abide by their professional codes of ethics, etc.

 

Like I just said above, about Santa Claus — –

 

How does this relate to you, if you’re not a denizen (making a living at this) or someone who went IN, but hasn’t been able to get OUT of the system yet?

It being a stressed, fragmented world, in general, I imagine that you figure it’s “not your business.”

How about if I said, it’s your money, though, as a taxpayer? 

How about if I said, it MAY just relate to the statistical probability of someone you know being a bystander of an irate spouse that took the law into his (and yes, it primarily IS “his” so, or the major news media AND USDOJ are both run by radical feminists, and censor mothers wiping out fathers, kids, bystander and a cop or two, and themselves because they were publicly humiliated, or just bitter, and couldn’t help themselves — and knew how to use a gun, or a knife, or a club, or tie a knot, etc.).

 

I’m WAY newer to blogging than to Family Court.

On the other hand, unlike FC, my blog doesn\’t imply that it\’s saving families, or even serving them (as in \”Family Court Services.\”  Nor do I hope that somehow this will orchestrate a brave, new world.  In fact years ago, when I was hauled in (no, it wasn\’t voluntary), my venues were limited to, and my focus on:  my immediate family, profession(s), colleagues (when I still had them), and the communities I lived and worked in.  I got on-line to email some friends from time to time.  I wasn\’t fighting to find out where my rights went, and (because I wasn\’t in the habit of breaking laws or court orders to get my way in life) I wasn\’t desperately trying to search what my state code called that last despicable act.  Or how come it only took 20 minutes to change my kid\’s futures, that had been set since an early age towards college, with scholarships, ANY college they set their sites on, within reason.

I would like to talk about what some of these myths do, that allow decent upstanding law-abiding, non-wife-beating, hard-working parents (and individuals) to keep clear of these halls and not trouble their sleep about what happens inside them .  Let’s Get Honest about what the myth that justice is happening in behind these closed doors  is costing the country, and your communities, overall.  

Recently (Spring 2009), the US closed lots of schools in a panic over swine flu.  Clearly someone understands the concept of “quarantine” for the general public safety.  Then they decided to open them again.  How about opening some of the closed doors in courtrooms?  The people’s changes and humiliations / /wins / losses //responses to these (trauma, or as it sometimes, I”m sorry to say, turns out, kidnappings // femicides/homicide/suicides // poverty afterwards is already in public view.

So, “general public,” gentle readers, the family court leper colony is not working — for the family, or for the general public.  However, it IS working quite well, thank you, for the type of personnel who designed it to start with (primarily, in the USA, in Southern California).   And YOU (if you are Joe common bloke, Ann single working woman, or Mrs. Joe & Ann Smith, gainfully employed.    Or (I hear now Maine is the 5th state in the US), Mr. & Mr. Joe and Harry Blow and Ms. & Ms. Ann and Sydney BestFriends.  It may not really be about gender, only, in the courts either.  I was a Mr. & Mrs., and prior to separation, we paid too, unaware of others’ trauma.

Any effort to reform it, should this be the goal, will have to address for whom this venue IS working just fine.  To track this, try some of my links, or do your own research.  I wouldn’t suggest calling all men bad (OR good) or all women, and the culture in general, a bunch of femininazi, male-bashing, sex-deprived (or sex-crazed, as case may be) misfits.  That’s generally speaking not helpful.  

What may be more helpful is to realize that large sectors of populace do actually believe those things.  Some of them say it with Ph.D. language (“fatherlessness” — a.k.a. single mothers, case in point — are to blame for society’s ills.).  Can you recognize the same talk, said in “expert” language and footnoted with a bunch of experts who believe the same thing?  Then you’re getting a handle on the picture.

NOTE on TONE:  “Related Blogs,” to left, some of them have a different tone than I want here.  But they ALSO still have facts (news reports, laws, cases, etc.) there too.  And they have a right to respond as expressively as they want to.  Many or all of the bloggers there typically, lost custody of children to a batterer or a child-moleester, and sometimes as a direct consequence for having reported it.  Some of them, as I heard, have been in jail for failing to be able, after that, come up with enough child support (we’re talking women).  Some of the women I’ve met recently have gone to international courts for safety, and they/we are also aware of other groups going to the same international courts for different purposes.  

So they have a right to be pissed off and say “forget you” or “I’m pissed off” or THIS (see image) is what I think of that group of demagogues.   The point of my blog is dialogue (hopefully) and taking a close look at the players who are laughing the way to the bank (metaphorically) while the cats and dogs are spitting, hissing, biting, and scratching in the dust.  I hope to keep the intensity level just enough to keep you (meaning “us”) VERY uncomfortable with inaction, but not so lit up that only discharging emotion action takes place.

Speaking up IS action, and particularly if one has been subject to violence already for doing so.   

Identifiable causes, and identifiable solutions exist to the problems of familycourtmatters.  These solutions are emotionally painful and would require some businesses that profit from our pain to find another source of referral, or another line of  work.  I suggest they be required to work with tangible production, who have manipulated people as if they were putty to accept the dysfunction — but let’s hope do not require bloodshed.  And bloodshed IS already happening as a direct consequence of the hostility, lack of personal restraint, and level of frustration (BUT, it’s still the lack of restraint, I say) that is stirred up in these venues.  So, see some of the “related blogs” to left.   These women have been at it longer than me, and they have done their homework and I believe lived it too.  I’m talking being stripped down naked when they went in for help.  The problem is international in scope.   

I was a hardworking (female, single mother) bloke, too, until I attempted to renew a standing domestic violence restraining order, simply in order to participate better in the “hard-working parent” part.  I held no personal animosity against my children’s father, I just was unreconciled to the battering, abuse thing.  Other than that, he was allowed to see his children quite frequently, just not continue to assault me, in front of them.  I’m no criminal, and wasn’t a bitter, etc., etc. Mom.  However, I had recently and VERY belatedly gotten some legal help setting boundaries, obviously an issue where there has been violence, and there was a major amount of cleanup and rebuilding.  I needed my personal space for sure. This is a little hard to establish when one’s partner is more focused on his “manhood” than your “person-hood.”    

Now I have been in the courts, shortly here, ALMOST as many years as I was in in-home, upfront abuse.  I think this perspective should be discussed.  I also want to speak to some of the noble people who have kept their noses clean by leaving justice to the experts, and mythically believing that, even if it DOESN’T happen, it’s not going to affect them personally.  

It already has.

BUT — can we talk, blog, comment, post links, favorite books, and simply converse, without the  skip the hate talk, pompous vague assertions, and ex-spurt** opinions, but

just see if (or is it \”whether\”)? there are still a few good men, women,

 – – and children (children can blog, right?) —  

who can  skillfully toss out some metaphors, paradigms, puns, and maybe whimsical analogies

for me (and y\’all) to juggle around, look at them from underneath,

see if they have some weight, or bounce, or whether they dissipate into thin air under

their own hot, gaseous contents.  This might even be fun.

 

Venom is not welcome.  Biting sarcasm is fine.  Insults too (it’s hard to be sarcastic without insulting SOMEone), but no threats, no advocacy to violence OR any illegal activity (I LIKE my blog, thank you!).  Name-calling should be fleeting, at least skillful, and only, if a tall, as a lead in to something worthwhile to say.  Remember, I moderate the comments.

Get personal — and speak for yourself:  I FEEL, I\’VE NOTICED,  I BELIEVE, but not personally nasty.  Don\’t behind behind the curtain of plurals, vague assertions that can\’t be disproved, pronounced with a finality.  This is not the place for the Wizard of Oz, but a bunch of Totos.  We will bark back and expose your backside.  Take credit for having a genuine personal experience apart from the gang you happen to belong to.  I\’ll do the same.   

**Ex-spurts are known by that action — spurting forth publications, opinions, pronouncements (DVDs, Conferences, and more).  Did a conference save a life?  Maybe.  I’m generally a little wary when the people pronouncing on families can afford the DVDs and conferences, and the subject families, after having been “fixed” by the same bunch, can’t.  Where’s the due process in THAT?

Forming organizations, alliances, and nonprofits to stop what the other nonprofits are doing wrong, or compensate for whatever government isn\’t doing to their pleasing.  

The real experts have had the experiences BEFORE they start publishing, promoting, and starting branches of study that didn\’t exist before a pet pre-occupation became a profession.  I\’d rather SEE an expert (at his or her work) than HEAR one any day.

And I do music. . . . . or Did.  My music survived only XX years parallel to lawsuits, accusations, family rifts, threats, stalking etc.  I’m here still at XX + about 2 years post-music, and still sweeping up.  Like any Mom who has better things to do with (what remains of) her time, and always did, I am interested in stopping the mess-making at its source.  

I plan to do plenty of spurting forth of words here — but unlike those in family court (I mean, the denizens, not the nomads passing through),

I am not trying to use these words to separate you from your children — or your money.  Just maybe some of your time.   I have no style sheet.  Remember the advice of Tim Ferriss — you can get ex-spurt status on any number of things in under 4 weeks — it\’s more a matter of credibility.    On the other hand, you can say the same thing for a decade or two,

I have no outline.  I simply intend to talk, promote my links and books, and see what\’s around the bend here.  Don\’t be too rigid except where it counts — (no, fellas, not that part!) — on civil rights.  On matters of law, and fair play.  And on the facts.  There are plenty of ways to skin a cat, but whose idea was that to start with?  

There are also many ways to abuse – – very few, that I\’ve found, to stop it  — but \”family court\” sure doesn\’t appear to be ONE of them.

Possibly removing the financial / emotional incentives for continued abuse.  

What do you say?

Please make fun of some euphemisms.  Speak in short words.  Or long words.  Just don\’t bore us with something we\’ve already been drenched in – – like \”alienation,\” or insult my intelligence by pronouncing a truth that is your personal truth only as if it were one of those universal ones, like (at least to date), water is essential to life.  Having two parents in the home, I\’m sorry to say, is not, not always.  I know plenty of very, very dysfunctional two-parent homes.  I came from one, and so did my erst-while, ex-cohabitant spouse.  I\’ll verify he\’s got some severe issues, and I\’ve read in my pleadings, this is also held to be true of me.  So, one exception disproves a universal rule, let\’s get (real).

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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?...' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

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