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Grandparent Visitation, Father/mother visitation — 2 links

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Here are two links, one showing (in considerable detail) that, whether father or mother has visitation issues, the bottom line is, at least one parent’s $$ bottom line is going to drop — as evaluators, therapists, case managers, and mental health professionals are called into make their expert opinions known.

This first link discusses a case where the father first brought up parental alienation, asked for an immediate custody switch on that basis, and called upon the powers that be — including the (now deceased) Richard Gardner, M.D.  — whose theme song and swan song was parental alienation. 

This time, Gardner did NOT support the father, which obviously upset him.  A special case manager (a former judge) resigned after being threatened by the father, and so forth.  Sooner or later, the final of 3 children aged out of this childhood, or almost.

(1) Kansas Opinions   | Finding Aids: Case Name » Supreme Court or Court of Appeals | Docket Number | Release Date |  

No. 93,450


In the Matter of the Marriage of







This is just a sampling.  If you’re familiar with how some of these cases go (where there is some money in the family), you’ll recognize a few patterns, namely, that no matter what, SOMEONE is going to be in therapy, generally both parents AND the children.  SOMETIMES I think this need for therapy is directly generated by the court procedures, not the parents….

Also note (last sentence of expcerpt here), that the father does make some good points, regarding questionable reliance on expert opinion, and due process.  He is RIGHT about this.  However, let us all note who started bringing on the experts to discredit his wife….

I think this link is appropriate in that this is AFCC Conference month (one of many), which I have blogged on earlier.  This is a sampling of some experts that might get involved.  Remember what the JohnnyPumphandle post (Marv Bryer overview) reminds us: the court respects those opinions more than sworn facts or statements under penalty of perjury from non-experts who may be more familiar with the facts of the case.  That’s the nature of the beast.  Excuse me, system.

In July 2001, David moved to modify the 1996 divorce decree and for an emergency change of placement for Dylan and Evan. In his motion, David asked that he be given residential custody of Dylan and Evan, that the trial court order strict supervision of Janet’s contact with the boys, and that the trial court order a psychological evaluation of Janet, Dylan, and Evan to determine whether Janet was alienating the children from him. David maintained that Janet had “commenced a program and concerted effort to alienate the three children” from him and that she had interfered with his visitations and the parenting time and visitation schedule. At David’s request, these motions were dismissed in March 2002.

For summer 2001, the parties agreed to a split parenting arrangement where the children would essentially spend alternating weeks with each parent. In addition, the parties agreed to participate in psychological evaluations and testing. The agreed parenting plan was to continue until psychological evaluations and reports were completed.

Upon agreement by the parties, the trial court appointed Susan Vorhees, Ph.D., to conduct evaluation and testing of the parties and their minor children.

Who is Dr. Vorhees?  Well, here’s a Google result:

{NOTE:  I didn’t read of any accusations of abuse or Domestic Violence in the case at hand in this link, .i.e., the parents of Dylan, Anna, and Evan…  I am simply curious about Dr. Vorhees…as the trial court recommended her to evaluate}:

Quoting Dr. Vorhees:  (NOTE:  court syllabus spells last name “vorhees”.  This summary below is from Shawnee, KS area…)

Put another way, people minimize boys as victims of sexual assault when the perpetrator is an older woman, said Susan Voorhees, a doctor of clinical psychology whose patients include child victims. People smirk when word gets out an underage boy had sex with an older woman.

“Everyone has their fantasies,” Voorhees said, as in, ” ‘It would have been nice to have had some older woman teach me the ways of the world.”

n sentencing Liskey to probation, Shawnee County District Court Judge Jan Leuenberger said there was no evidence the victim suffered in the relationship. The judge also said the youth is “dealing with the situation fine,” and concerns by his parents that he might “crash” in the next four to six years are “speculative.”

Sexual abuse haIs lifelong implications for the mental health of both victims and their families,” Voorhees said in a letter dated Sept. 14 to Chief Judge Nancy Parrish to express her “grave concern” about the Liskey sentencing.

“I’ve never heard in my 30 years working with sexual abuse victims of a victim doing fine,” Voorhees said. Noting Liskey was psychologically evaluated, Voorhees questioned why the judge didn’t seek evaluation of the boy.

Boys don’t just fly right through the aftermath of abuse, Voorhees and Stultz-Lindsay said.

“The impact may not hit him until he is able to move away from the relationship,” Voorhees said.

“These boys feel like they’re in love with their perpetrator,” Stultz-Lindsay said.

Often the perpetrator is a member of the family or someone trusted by the family, and for the child, the abuser “may be one of the kindest people in their lives.” In the Liskey case, there was a double whammy because she was a paraprofessional in the victim’s gifted education program at Robinson Middle School and the best friend of the boy’s mother, Voorhees said.

“It’s not the face of evil,” the psychologist said of abusers. “It’s the actions of evil.”

It is to bad the judge did not see it that way.



Although David later moved for a protective order to prohibit the dissemination of Dr. Vorhees’ proposed report, the trial court ordered that Dr. Vorhees’ evaluation be provided to the court. Dr. Vorhees’ report, which was filed in December 2002, indicated that David was alienated from his children due to his own behavior. According to Dr. Vorhees, “[David] is alienated from them by his own inability to accept that they and their mother are independent individuals, that they need and want a relationship with both parents, and that he cannot be in control of either of these relationships.” Dr. Vorhees indicated that David’s alienation from the children could be resolved by David trying to accept his children for who they are and by listening to his children.

The trial court, on its own motion, appointed retired District Court Judge James Buchele as the case manager in January 2002. The trial court’s decision in this case indicates that the parties had been voluntarily working with Judge Buchele since October 2001. Judge Buchele recommended in January 2002 that the children reside with Janet and that David’s parenting time be “as approved by the Case Manager or as ordered by the Court.” David moved for review of these recommendations and also for an order for family therapy and other relief.

In February 2002, Judge Buchele made additional recommendations, including that Dylan and Evan be with David on Wednesdays after school until 8 p.m. and on alternating Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Judge Buchele again made recommendations in March 2002. Judge Buchele recommended that David spend a week during spring break with Evan and that the parties participate in family counseling with Michael Lubbers, Ph.D. At that time, Dylan and Evan were seeing Dale Barnum, Ph.D., and Janet and David were each working with a mental health professional. David objected to both the February 2002 and March 2002 recommendations.

Brief search on Michael Lubbers, Ph.D. shows that a Michael Lubbers got his Ph.D. in 2005-2006 year from the

Dale Barnum, on the other hand, appears to have been around a little longer:

January 16, 2001
– SRS Secretary Schalansky appoints Dale Barnum, for 20 years area director in Garden City, as new director of Rehabilitation Services.
banner for Kansas department of Social and Rehabilitation Services
Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) Secretary Janet Schalansky today announced the appointment of Dale Barnum as state director of Rehabilitation Services, effective February 4, 2001.

Mr. Barnum has been the area director of the SRS Garden City office for the last 20 years, where he was responsible for program and resource management in the 25-county area. He oversaw a $10 million administrative budget and all SRS programs in the Garden City area, including services for children and families, adult services, rehabilitation services, child support enforcement, medical services, and economic and employment support services.





On June 12, 2002, Judge Buchele submitted his report and recommendations and also responded to David’s objections. In his report, Judge Buchele addressed David’s allegations that Janet had alienated Dylan and Evan. Judge Buchele’s opinion was that Dylan’s and Evan’s alienation from David was caused by David’s own conduct. Nevertheless, Judge Buchele was encouraged by the fact that David had spoken with Dr. Barnum and had agreed to work on a new approach to communicating with Evan.

In his report, Judge Buchele recommended modification of the existing parenting plan. Judge Buchele expanded David’s parenting time with Evan, setting forth specific times that Evan would spend with David. Judge Buchele’s recommendations assumed there would be some change in the status quo. Judge Buchele recommended that David’s parenting time with Dylan be “as they may agree.”

After David and Janet separately filed objections to Judge Buchele’s recommendations, Judge Buchele issued a supplemental report on June 27, 2002. Judge Buchele indicated that the brief attempt to expand David’s parenting time with Evan had been disastrous. Judge Buchele concluded that the problems in this case could not be resolved by additional time being spent between Evan and his father. Judge Buchele recommended that Evan be with David on Wednesdays from 4 to 8 p.m. and for one 24-hour period every weekend. Both David and Janet objected to Judge Buchele’s June 27, 2002, supplemental report and recommendations.

In November 2002, upon David’s motion, the trial court appointed Dr. Richard Gardner, M.D., to conduct a parental alienation syndrome (PAS) evaluation of the family. [[FOLKS< this is 2002!!  Still going on!!]] The trial court terminated its order for counseling with Dr. Lubbers but ordered Dylan and Evan to continue therapy with Dr. Barnum.   Moreover, the trial court ordered that the contact between Evan and David continue under the current arrangement and that the contact between Dylan and David be as Dylan desired.

Dr. Gardner completed the PAS evaluation and filed a written report in January 2003. Dr. Gardner found no evidence that the children were suffering from PAS or that Janet was a PAS alienator. Instead, Dr. Gardner indicated that the primary source of the children’s alienation from David was David’s own psychiatric problems, especially his obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and paranoid trends.

[[In which we see that this diagnosing one’s spouse in order to get even is a two-edged sword.  Names can be called either way…  And will…  Name-calling by experts are far more damaging to the situation than names called by mere parents, or children…]]


Dr. Gardner recommended that Janet continue to have primary parenting time with Dylan and Evan, that Janet have primary legal custody, and that the court rescind the order requiring Dylan and Evan to participate in therapy. Dr. Gardner indicated that the family could be helped with appropriate treatment given to David, Dylan, and Evan, but that such treatment should be on a voluntary basis.

[[UNDETERRED…]] In September 2003, David moved for the appointment of another case manager, for an order for the parties and children to participate in therapy, and for an order enforcing the joint decision making required under the parties’ joint custody agreement. Attached to David’s motion were letters from Nancy Hughes, Ph.D., LSCSW, who had conducted an adoption home study with David and his [[his NEW??]] wife, and from John Spiridigliozzi, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist who had been working with David for approximately 3 years. [[FYI:  Spiridigliozzi appears to work with people with addictions…]]  Both Dr. Hughes and Dr. Spiridigliozzi recommended the appointment of a case manager.

Obviously, both of them are working with David, not Nancy….

Moreover, Dr. Hughes indicated that she had read some of the file that David had compiled in this case and that it did not fit with her impression of David.

How comforting that expert professionals are brought in to give their “impressions.”

In November 2003, the trial court appointed William F. Ebert, III, as special master, whose duties included recommending therapy for the parties and their children as well as preparing findings of fact and conclusions of law for the trial court to review if the parties could not agree on child-rearing decisions or therapy.

Now who is William F. Ebert, III?   Any relationship to THIS one? (I do see an attorney in the Topeka, KS area…)  (THIS one is in Nebraska, and I note, no “III,” AND there are a lot of William Eberts around.  Kind of makes you wonder, though…)

William F. Ebert, appellant, v. Nebraska Department
of Correctional Services et al., appellees.Ebert v. Nebraska Dept. of Corr. Servs.,
11 Neb. App. 553

Filed February 11, 2003.   No. A-01-906.

INTRODUCTION    William F. Ebert was sentenced in July 1997 to serve 10 years on each of three convictions of second degree forgery and being a habitual criminal. Ebert brought a declaratory judgment action in the district court for Lancaster County against the Department of Correctional Services (DCS); Harold W. Clarke, the director of DCS; and Ronald Riethmuller, the records manager of DCS (collectively the defendants), alleging that his sentences were improperly calculated in that he had not been given good time credit. The trial court found that the defendants were entitled to summary judgment, based on statutory language mandating a minimum 10-year sentence on a habitual criminal conviction. The trial court further found that DCS was entitled to sovereign immunity and that the parties sued in their official capacities were entitled to immunity from Ebert’s request to compel them to credit him with good time. For the following reasons, we affirm.


    Ebert was originally sentenced on March 26, 1996, to a term of 4 to 6 years’ imprisonment. The nature of Ebert’s original offense is not clear from the record in the present case. On July 1, 1997, Ebert received sentences of 10 years’ imprisonment on each of three separate convictions of second degree forgery and being a habitual criminal. The offenses for which Ebert received these sentences occurred in January and February 1996. These sentences were to run concurrently with one another but consecutively to Ebert’s previous sentence. Ebert has not received any good time credit toward the service of his 1997 sentences.

    Ebert filed a petition on December 28, 2000, initiating an action under the Uniform Declaratory Judgment Act, see Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-21,149 et seq. (Reissue 1995 & Cum. Supp. 2002), to determine his rights and legal interests in relation to the calculation of his 1997 sentences.

WELL, no, must be this one:

Phil Lewis Medal of Distinction


J. Nick Badgerow, Martin W. Bauer, Patricia Macke Dick, William F. Ebert III, Hon. Jerry G. Elliott, and Carol G. Green

After meeting with the parties, reviewing the court file, which included the reports issued by the various professionals, reviewing email communication, contacting individuals identified by the parties, and discussing the case with the parties’ attorneys, the special master issued his written report in January 2004. In an order issued in February 2004, the trial court adopted the following proposed conclusions of law of the special master:

“1. If David Kimbrell genuinely desires to re-establish meaningful relationships with his children, it will be necessary for him to participate in individual therapy with a therapist who is knowledgeable about parental alienation syndrome and knowledgeable about parents who are emotionally abusive, especially those with significant psychiatric problems.

“2. If the individual therapy process with David is successful (i.e. if David can be helped to . . . appreciate . . . how he has contributed to the damaged relationships with his children and helped to understand how to modify his expectations and behavior accordingly) then the door should be opened to including Evan and/or Dylan in the therapy process, if they choose to participate (as per Dr. Gardner’s recommendations, §6, Pages 117, 118, Gardner Report).”

David moved for reconsideration of the trial court’s decision or, alternatively, to modify its previous orders. In his motion, David requested specific orders relating to the following: parenting time and visitation, exchanging information regarding the children, counseling, and terminating the special master’s appointment. In his motion, David argued that there could not be a therapy precondition to his contact with his children. In addition, David argued that the special master’s report was unreliable because it was factually flawed, placed undue reliance on questionable expert opinions, and did not comport with due process.

If so, those are legitimate complaints and concerns.  How can one have justice with factual flaws, undue reliance on questionable expert opinions, and violation of due process?  On the other hand, it does seem that he started that ball rolling to start with. 

In a memorandum decision filed in September 2004, the trial court granted in part and denied in part David’s motion. The trial court concluded:

“1. Based upon the case history, recommendations filed with the court, and the lack of any success with court-ordered therapy, the court will not order any of the parties in this case to participate in therapy. However, the court concurs with the special master’s recommendation that Respondent participate in therapy to attempt to gain some insight into his relationship with his biological children and that any of his children participate in that therapy as they would like.

“2. Dylan, DOB 09/05/86, is now eighteen. His parenting time is no longer under the jurisdiction of this court.


This one above, I actually read in detail, fine print and all.  I wish I’d been a fly on the wall on the case in point.  While readers are told of the various professionals involved, one wonders whether abuse was or was not, given the degree of control, and bittter anger.  s might do well to go through the case (as I did some months ago on the Oconto, Wisconsin case, listing the staggering amount of “players” involved).


 NEWMAN-13-1-A2-PV 3/15/2004 9:55 AM 


The second link (I confess — a referral) is a lengthy discussion about using the assumption of a model, functioning family as the basis for families going through the family law system, when in fact these are typically NOT the functional ones.  It comes from Boston University, and deals with the Troxel case.  I have only glanced at this link, not read it.











“In fairness, how much confrontation and litigation should a child be expected to bear?”







[[Or a parent, particularly a single custodial parent…]] [[note:  the quote below is a little scrambled — technical cut & paste issues on my part — but gives an idea of the issues raised. ]






Family law has made significant progress in the last several decades by gradually
discarding two models of “family” for legal decision making purposes: the
“conventional” family and the “well-functioning” family. In constitutional terms,
the conventional family’s monopoly on legal rights loosened considerably in 1972
when the Supreme Court, in Stanley v. Illinois, to maintain custody of his “illegitimate” children when the children’s mother died.
be unfit and made his children wards of the state. In subsequent years, a wide array
of state decisions conferred family recognition and benefits, in varying degrees,
upon families headed by single mothers, gay and lesbian couples, unmarried
cohabitants, and others who failed to fit the conventional mold.
In Stanley, The Court stuck down an Illinois law that presumed the unwed father to5
Grandparent visitation laws, the subject of this article, provide an example of the
law’s ill-advised use of the model of well-functioning family relationships



visitation with a child “at any time” if visits would “serve the best interest of the
child.” In Troxel, the Supreme Court confronted one of the most sweeping visitation15 Tommie Granville and Brad Troxel lived together and had two children.16
They separated in 1991, and two years later Brad committed suicide.
Tommie allowed Brad’s parents to continue seeing the children following the
suicide, but five months later she decided to adjust the visitation schedule, limiting
the Troxels to one visit per month.
Tommie for increased visitation, pursuing their claim through six and a half years
of litigation to the United States Supreme Court.


17 At first,18 Two months afterward, the Troxels sued19
The case generated six opinions from the Supreme Court. Despite the
controversial nature of the substantive due process doctrine, a clear majority of the
justices agreed that parents possess a due process liberty right to the care, custody,
and control of their own children.
Scalia would deny the existence of such a right.
Washington statute, as applied, violated the mother’s constitutional rights.
justice, David Souter, would have gone further and declared the statute
unconstitutional on its face, effectively making the plurality opinion the operative
constitutional ruling.
parents’ fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their children resolved the
existence of the right to parent.

20 From the opinions, it appears that only Justice21 A four-justice plurality found the22 A fifth23 Justice Thomas agreed that the Court’s recognition of24 Justices Stevens and Kennedy, though dissenting, also acknowledged the25


The plurality started its analysis by noting that the conventional family is only
one of many modern family forms. “While many children may have two married
parents and grandparents who visit regularly, many other children are raised in
single-parent households.”


According to cited census figures, some four million children reside in the household of grandparents, and a substantial minority of
grandparents act in a parental role, assisting single parents in performing the

“everyday tasks of child rearing.”


The opinion also made clear that it would not rely upon an idealized version of
family relationships:

In an ideal world, parents might always seek to cultivate the bonds between

grandparents and their grandchildren. Needless to say, however, our world is

far from perfect, and in it the decision whether such an intergenerational

relationship would be beneficial in any specific case is for the parent to make

in the first instance.


Tactfully, but unfortunately, the justices did not identify the realities that
contradict the classic stereotype of the well-functioning grandparent in the family

life of children. A more realistic picture of these grandparent visitation cases

would have emerged had the opinion acknowledged some of the ways in which

stereotypes involving grandparents sometimes fail. A mention, for example, of

situations in which grandparents are not doting, loving and helpful, but abusive,

demeaning, controlling, meddlesome or belligerent, would have placed these cases

in a more realistic light. In fact, the cases in the nation’s family courts regularly

feature such untraditional grandparents.

29 The only hint of such realities in the

“recognition of an independent third-party interest in a child can place a substantial

burden on the traditional parent-child relationship.”

plurality opinion is a possible inference from the Court’s observation that30





Again, my main purpose is to provide the two links, and a little commentary for those who are interested in the topic, and a sampling (as ever) of who ARE some of those professionals involved here (although, this time, I didn’t get much background on that…)

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