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Domestic Violence INDUSTRY Awareness Month — let’s boycott!

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I’m short of time. Let’s keep this simple: STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN….

“Ye shall know them by their fruits. “

(notably absent — stoppING domestic violence.)

Excuse me, scratch that —

Ye shall know them by their “-INGS”,

WritINGS often have titles end in -ING and are (thus) UnendING, which tells you the process (and deaths/destructions from this) never stop…

One prime indicator you are in this industry is any word ending in “-ing” in the title. Last post, I gave you the newest, latest, “Defending Childhood” initiative. Other times, it’s Explicating Domestic Violence, and of course the latest is along the lines of “Rethinking Domestic Violence.” Even if ALl these systems fail, or if people die as a result, it’s still possible to write on


“UnderstandING System Failure” (see my post).

Apologies in advance to any expert, and diligent writer/researcher, possibly very nice individual I will insult in this post. I do mean this. Your writings are interesting, and some of them hold some water.

Please bear in mind, I looked for help the past 10 years, which was unwise. In that time, I could’ve passed the Bar, earned another degree, or probably passed three self-defense courses, which might have been a better use of my time than attending conferences on DV or reading the literature, or expecting anything funded by U.S. or (my state) taxpayer dollars — extracted on the premise that these taxes are for helping people to handle certain social ills, so the taxpayers wouldn’t have to, personally — and could continue working and paying more taxes…while organizations that DON’T (or, are funded by foundations that don’t) transform society and policy….

Here’s a sample of the “-INGS” that indicate participation in the Domestic Violence INDUSTRY, or in the backlash to it, the Fatherhood (i.e., “ParentING” literature, by its real name) Industry.

(I obviously don’t mean “parenting” literature by married or cohabiting parents, but in the context of family law — see blog title…)

My sarcasm about the industry (well-merited) doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the points raised by people in it (well, many of the points raised by people in it). What I protest is the SILENCE on the points rarely raised — which are the crux of the matter, and we poor slobs stuck in the system deserved to know earlier. Serves us right for following industry leaders before doing a background checks, or having ever become distressed — at all — in life… or having been raised in trusting nonviolent family environments, which fail to tell us how the world works, or at least the economy and the government. To this day, a real good (if uncomfortable) life consists of straining out myths. I hope my blog helps with some of the worst..

Redefining Harm, Reimagining Remedies and Reclaiming Domestic Violence Law


Margaret Ellen Johnson
University of Baltimore – School of Law

UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 42, 2009

University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-4

Abstract:
Civil domestic violence laws do not effectively address and redress the harms suffered by women subjected to domestic violence. The Civil Protective Order (“CPO”) laws should offer a remedy for all domestic abuse with an understanding that domestic violence subordinates women.
{{WE WANT LAWS TO UNDERSTAND SOMETHING? OR TO OFFER A REMEDY BASED ON SOMETHING?}}
{{Rather, I suggest we start with an acknowledgment that they aren’t enforceable, anyhow, at leat not for long……As such, and per se, they endanger women unles respected by the person who got the civil PO. See Castle Rock v. Gonzales — isn’t this a lawyer or law prof. writing??}}
These laws should not remedy only physical violence or criminal acts.
{{Well, as practiced now — they often don’t remedy anything, though initially they do save lives (case in point). They are also considered less severe than criminal when kids get involved, though family law judges are notrious for ignoring criminal pasts in custody cases anyhow…Lord help the [yeah, woman , and especially any mother,] who didn’t know this, and press charges from day 1….}}
All forms of abuse — psychological, emotional, economic, and physical — are interrelated. Not only do these abuses cause severe emotional distress, physical harm, isolation, sustained fear, intimidation, poverty, degradation, humiliation, and coerced loss of autonomy, {{TRUE — in fact sounds like a good description of slavery, which supposedly was outlawed...}} but, as researchers have demonstrated, [***] most domestic violence is the fundamental operation of systemic oppression through the exertion of power and control. Because CPOs are effective in rebalancing the power in a relationship and decreasing abuse, this remedy should be available to all women subjected to all forms of domestic violence. This Article proposes recrafting the civil law to provide a remedy for all harms of domestic violence and its operation of systemic power and control over women. Re-centering the narrative of domestic violence on this oppression rather than merely physical violence and criminal acts underscores the critical role of women’s agency and autonomy in legally remedying domestic violence. Too often, outside actors choose to save women’s lives to the exclusion of effectuating women’s choices about their abusive relationships.

Keywords: Domestic Violence, Civil Protective Order, Civil Law, Women and the Law, Feminist Legal Theory, Gender and the Law

JEL Classifications: K19, K39, K40

Accepted Paper Series

Date posted: November 19, 2008 ; Last revised: August 16, 2010

Suggested Citation

I’m not going to fully engage with this article sounds interesting, eh? See my What Decade Were These Stories post, though — civil or criminal, the duty to enforce does NOT create a right for the protected party to demand enforcement. Bet they didn’t tell you that one at the local Family Justice Center.

Speaking of which, for CreatING Family Justice Centers — see my post “District Attorney Dubious Doings”

Speaking of which — and this is timely — see JUSTICE WOMEN.ORG (N. CA. based — same as Dr. Kelly, below — although I doubt the nonprofit organization founders can afford to fly around the country conducting trainings, like those in the industry can. And do….

Research can “demonstrate” anything, which I’m about to demonstrate.

To make my point, I’ll source another nice seminar held at this same Univ. of Baltimore School of Law, recently ….

ParentING Coordination:

HelpING High Conflict Parents Resolve Disputes**

{a word about those phrases, below….}

>December 7th – December 10th, 2009 – The University of Baltimore School of Law Center for Families, Children and the Courts, in partnership with the Association of Family Conciliation Courts, sponsored two two-day workshops. Dr. Joan Kelly presented Parenting Coordination: Helping High Conflict Parents Resolve Disputes and Ms. Mindy Mitnick presented Advanced Issues in Child Custody: The Child’s Perspective.

Key phrase: high-conflict (reframes DV/CA issues), “parenting Coordinatrion” and “HELPING parents.” Yeah, right…
<a href=”http://law.ubalt.edu/template.cfm?page=1408” rel=”nofollow”>SOURCE: University of Baltimore Law School.</a>

That this is a marketING phrase can be seen by searching on the title — it shows up as a TrainING seminar out of — “suprise!” – afccnet.org, which I don’t feel like downloading here: (note: try search yourself, in quotes, if my link doesn’t work)

Parenting Coordination: Helping High Conflict Parents Resolve Disputes

Or, I could search this by the Presenter, following the same Title, and trace it back to Northern California..She happened to also teach this at Baltimore School of Law.

FEE: $495 (Early Registration: $435 if paid by 10/21/10; $465 if paid by 11/4/10). 

CE CREDITS:

MCLE & BBS (12 hrs.); MCEP (13 hrs – to be submitted for review to MCEPAA for approval, Provider #NOR045).

DESCRIPTION:
Parents with continuing disputes and litigation about their children following divorce present a difficult problem for courts, lawyers and mental health professionals, and increase their children’s risk of adjustment problems. For parenting coordinators, Special Masters, mediators, custody evaluators, lawyers, divorce counselors, therapists and other professionals who work with high-conflict families.

Participants in this two-day workshop will:

  • Understand the most recent empirical and clinical research on high conflict parents and their children and what makes these parents so difficult;
  • Understand the hybrid nature of the parenting coordinator (Special Master) role that includes parent education, mediation, and where authorized, arbitration, and how the parenting coordinator process helps reduce parent conflict and address children’s needs;

THESE NEEDS WILL MOST DEFINITELY INCLUDE A NEED FOR TWO PARENTS — MOM AND DAD — IN THEIR LIVES, EVEN IF DAD WAS A BATTERER AND HAS A CHILD MOLESTATION RECORD. IF IT’S TOO OVERT, THEN THE SUPERVISED VISITATION PEOPLE CAN BE BROUGHT IN…

  • Understand the distinctions between serving as a Special Master and therapy, custody evaluation, child representation or representing parents;
  • Learn about parenting coordinator objectives, types of disputes settled, best practices, models, and critical elements in court orders or parent consent agreements;
  • Understand the technical, ethical, clinical, and personal issues in serving as a parenting coordinator (Special Master);
  • Learn from case examples, group exercises, and practice dispute analysis and decision-making.

About the Instructor:

Dr. Joan B. Kelly, a research, forensic, and clinical psychologist, was Director of the Northern California Mediation Center for 19 years. Her research, writing, and practice have focused on children’s adjustment to divorce, custody and access issues, using child development research in parenting plans, divorce mediation, and Parenting Coordination. She has more than 85 publications, and a classic book, Surviving the Breakup: How Children and Parents Cope with Divorce. Joan is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, was recently appointed to an APA ask Force to develop guidelines for Parenting Coordinator practice, and previously served on a similar AFCC task force. She is a frequent presenter and speaker in the United States, Canada, and abroad.

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Co-presenter (at Baltimore School of Law training, anyhow)

Ms. Mindy Mitnick

Besides having a very unique name, especially preceded by “Ms.” —

which may (or may not) explain why she present with Ph.D. (just kids — but seriously, in the INDUSTRY, Ph.D.’s count. Being a street-savvy litigant, even with a Ph.D. in something else does NOT — as Dr. Amy Cabrillo (pediatrician) learned the hard way when she begged a judge to listen to her high-conflict, uncoordinated parent self in NOT letting her suicidal and already troubled “ex” take three children on a weekend visitation. As we know (and wasn’t THIS in maryland also??) her plea was ignored, and her three children were drowned in a bathtub. Apparently their father was indeed coordinated in some matters, such as drownING his kids. This FYI, is called a “dispute” and “high conflict,” squarely blaming Dr. Castillo 50% for not holdING her marriage together, although certainly she was complyING with court orders… …Street savvy, educated, observant, alert, honest, etc. or not — you will be cut down to size by these professionals….

(is on the Board of Directors of AFCC, who helps sponsor these trainINGs.)

Mindy F. Mitnick Ed.M.
Edina, Minnesota

Mindy Mitnick is a Licensed Psychologist practicing in Minneapolis. She received a Master of Education from Harvard University and a Master of Arts from the University of Minnesota. She specializes in complex custody cases, working as an evaluator, therapist and parenting consultant. Ms. Mitnick has trained professionals throughout the country about developmental issues in parenting schedules, effective interventions in high-conflict divorce, assessing allegations of sexual abuse during divorce disputes, and the use of expert witnesses in divorce cases. She has been a speaker for the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, National Association of Counsel for Children, the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse, the Ontario Office of the Children’s Lawyer, and numerous statewide training conferences. Ms. Mitnick served on the Minnesota Supreme Court Task Force on Parental Cooperation and the American Bar Association working group to update guidelines for child witnesses in criminal cases. She currently serves on the AFCC Task Force on Court-Involved Therapy and is a board member of the Minnesota Chapter of AFCC.

In the training phrase above, from Univ of Baltimore School of Law:

December 7th – December 10th, 2009 – The University of Baltimore School of Law Center for Families, Children and the Courts, in partnership with the Association of Family Conciliation Courts, sponsored two two-day workshops. Dr. Joan Kelly presented Parenting Coordination: Helping High Conflict Parents Resolve Disputes and Ms. Mindy Mitnick presented Advanced Issues in Child Custody: The Child’s Perspective.

These are the key concepts to understande, as well as how the title itself is REPACKAGING and MARKETING CRIMINAL MATTERS {typically child molestation or battering, domestic violence, and/ or in some cases stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment and in general other pretty nasty stuff that society doesn’t like — or at least says it doesn’t} AS PARENTAL” DISPUTES”
:

December 7th – December 10th, 2009 – The University of Baltimore School of Law Center for Families, Children and the Courts, in partnership with the Association of Family Conciliation Courts, sponsored two two-day workshops. Dr. Joan Kelly presented Parenting Coordination: Helping High Conflict Parents Resolve Disputes and Ms. Mindy Mitnick presented Advanced Issues in Child Custody: The Child’s Perspective.

We have here a prominent psychologist and educationist trainING a host of others how to view parents with a dispute. Keep in mind that some of the leading bleeding headlines you see also characterize the problem as a “dispute.” Some dispute!

The chief thing to understand about BOTH parents in any of these matters is that they can’t walk and chew gum unless a psychologist and/or divorce expert tells them how to, for a fee (see above…). Pretty soon, from what I can tell, that definition is going to expand beyond the about 50% of couples that divorce, to most of the population — except thsoe in the business of supervising them, and training others how to do so, whether this supervision is at the K-12 level, pre-school, prison, batterers intervention, supervised vsitation, fatherhood practicing, marriage-promoting, ABSTINENCE-promoting or Restraining Order Issuing level — or simply being a working PERSON FUNDING THESE EFFORTS. ….

I know we can’t “walk and chew gum” without help (although some of us were formerly surgeons, teachers, factory workers, business owners, stay-at-home Moms, working Moms, or functional in many, many other areas of society outside this world of family law…….) – because we need COORDINATION — right?

THAT link is at the CFCC level. I keep tellING people, including women in my situation, that this is the key to the puzzle, at least a major key. ….

Take a look at the -INGS in this California Courtinfo site — linking to the CFCC

Center for Families, Children & the Courts Logo Image

Their program page includes this:

The Center for Families, Children & the Courts is involved with many projects related to family, juvenile, child support, custody, visitation, and domestic violence law and procedure. Click on the title below to find out about a particular program.

Access to Visitation Grant Program

The Access to Visitation Grant Program — I think it dates as far back as 1995 or 1996 at least — is a function of PWORA welfare reform, fatherhood promotion, and forced shared parenting concepts. It’s one of the best kept secrets around. I you read about it, you will see why there is an ongoING need for thes eprofessionals in the courts, and how YOU are (probably) paying for this, to the tune of (at one time) $10/million per YEAR, nationwide.

OK, OK, I’ll spell this out, right here now:

Overview
The Judicial Council is charged with administering and distributing California’s share of the federal Child Access and Visitation Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement. These grants, established under section 391 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Pub.L. 104–193, 110 Stat. 2258)—title III, section 469B of the Social Security Act—enable states to establish and administer programs that support and facilitate noncustodial parents’ access to and visitation with their children.

The congressional goal of the Child Access and Visitation Grant Program is to “remove barriers and increase opportunities for biological parents who are not living in the same household as their children to become more involved in their children lives.” Under the federal statute, Child Access and Visitation Grant funds may be used to support and facilitate noncustodial parents’ access to and visitation [with] their children by means of activities including mediation (both voluntary and mandatory), counseling, education, development of parenting plans, visitation enforcement (including monitoring, supervision and neutral drop-off and pick-up), and development of guidelines for visitation and alternative custody arrangements.

The use of the funds in California, however, is limited by state statute to three types of programs:


  • Supervised visitation and exchange services;

  • Education about protecting children during family disruption; and

  • Group counseling services for parents and children.

The primary goals of California’s Access to Visitation Grant Program are to enable parents and children to participate in supervised visitation, education, and group counseling programs—irrespective of marital status and of whether the parties are currently living separately permanently or temporarily—and to promote and encourage healthy relationships between noncustodial or joint custodial parents and their children while ensuring the children’s health, safety, and welfare. The overarching goal of the grant program is to increase noncustodial parents’ access to and visitation with their children through accessible and available services statewide for low-income families who are now or have been in family courts.


Aimed at low-income families, ostensibly, it affects ALL families. particularly ones where some wealth exists are going to get soaked.

This is the best kept secret around and should be “outed” during Domestic Violence INDUSTRY Month — because the domestic violence INDUSTRY leaderes never talk about this, or a whole damn lot of other key factors at play in the c ourts.

Why should they — and ahve to go find another job? ?? What, you got to be KIDDING!

Yesterday’s post cited an article in a Northern California area (Marin County) that is getting high press, and some organizations around it (one called “Center for Judicial Excellence.”) and an upcoming audit of the family court system, supposedly. Who’s kidding whom? The eXISTENCE of this CFCC and its role in the courts, and the Access Visitation funding is not even mentioned (by name) in ALL of the comments below, which span many categories. Moreover, the ONLY reference to AFCC (and some indications a woman had actually read Marv Bryer,Idele Clark – one of the cases involved, I believe — and others) — she reads like a madwoman.

HEY — when you type on a computer, are you constantly aware if it’s DOS or WINDOWS or Apple based? (obviously that’s not my field of expertise)? Are you translating binary code? Probably not –right? But how would it work if someone hadn’t designed that to start with?

Now let’s talk about the INDUSTRY. It’s SELF-REPLICATING THROUGH UNENDING TRAINING, enabled in great part by this wonderful INTERNET.

Them that can, DO. Them that can’t, teach it’s said. Well, there’s SOME truth to that ..

Trust me (or don’t) — it’s important to understand this system — and it’s a model for other similar ones.

Remind me, some day, to publish my English to ING-lish guide to these marketING systems posing as “help” to uncoordinated parents in a dispute, or the restrainING order mills.

Don’t get me wrong — I wouldn’t be alive today without one. But it most certainly upset a LOT of people, and (except that I’m still alive typing) they have more than gotten even for the indignity…

EVERY balance sheet has a + and a -. But a business sense says, that in relationships, your – may very well be my (or my cronies’) +. Failure to realize this is setting onesself up. When it comes to altruism, it may be a factor, but I’d bet it’s generally not the primary one in most ongoing relationships. Self-interest is part of human nature. Most people, nowadays, in the US (probably safe to say) do not raise their own food or defend themselves. So, what fields is everyone going to?

And where are the intellectuals going to make an honest — scratch that — make A living?

We don’t have royalty over here, so one has to go somewhere… Social Sciences, Psychology, TeachING . . . .CoordinatING, managING, etc. Where is the endless supply of customers coming from?

What better database than people who get into troubled relationships (domestic violence) and try to get out (divorce) but have children before they do (parenting). It takes a global village, right?? ThinkING — now that’s got to be taught also…

Did I mention PublishING? that’s a prerequisite for Ph.D.s, isn’t it? At least to get started, and retain a reputation.

The question with any policy ending with the word ING is — who is between and among?

Uniformly, almost, I find it is between or among professionals in one field (or another) getting their act together about how to describe and deal with People who are Not Present. In otherwords, the US’es in any field discuss the THEMs. In this way, groups that were formerly an Us/Them dichotomy (the most obvious being the Fatherhood/Domestic Violence groupings) pat themselves on the back for collaborating — on how to scam the new “THEMS,” which is, as I again say, the poor slobs who still think that law means law, and not psychological therapeutic jurisprudence for fun (theirs) and profit.

And we indeed are a consumer society — or else the sky will fall. How can and who can be forced into consuming psychological, parenting, and other counseling they neither need, want, nor are going to follow? Only someone in severely compromised situations. Voila, Family Law System. ….

HENCE, the FINANCIAL balance sheet often reveals much more than any custody evaluation. I’m all in favor of it, when it comes to reform. Personally, though I’d favor boycott where possible, and watch out, where not. Women’s groups should learn from men (but not forget that gender issues remain, and always have been there) and men should learn from women when we’ve had enough; you are going to be out on your ass, and if these policies keep up, up until the invention of the artificial womb or human clone, we are going to recommend our daughters stop giving birth; except that we love them, some of us sometimes regret that we did, to spend an entire childhood like many of them have had to — half in abuse, and half (possibly still in abuse) in the income-draining court system.

(I love you, girls… . . . Love, your real Mom…and you are why I ever bothered with this blog. I wanted you to know what was, and what wasn’t certain people’s fault — and NONE of it was yours, ever. I also want to warn you what’s ahead if you don’t gain your own wisdom about your own past someday, I hope soon — or when you’re ready to. Sorry I can’t mention you by name, but I bet you’ll recognize my writing style….)

Lies are always wrong, and intentional deceit. The largest lies were not from either parent (though I DID NOT!) but from the policymakers in washington, D.c., and others who framed legislation to make a joke out of the court process, and for their own pocketbooks…If I had left earlier, given these policies, I likely would not have even seen you grow half up…

Make SURE you know your travelling companions in life, and choose the best ones you can in any situation. Never take things for granted, and try to study the wider systems you are in. Specializing is rewarding (and builds good discipline and attentiont o detail), but professions change rapidly. As women, you need to know some feminist roots, and where feminists have forgotten the “fundies,” and both, fighting, have forgotten the history of this country and the world.

ALWAYS, always, the love of money is the root of evil, and generally speaking, highest emotions in life are about that, and possibly social status and access to sex (which money, plenty of it represents). Remember that the net time some legislator or anyone else (such as a preacher) tries to lecture you about your personal habits. . .. Don’t go into marriage if you do, defanged. it’s just not wise! That man needs to know he respects you or you’re gone, kids or no kids. Respect comes first, and equal access to finances to take off if you need to (that was my mistake, daughters).

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  1. OK, one reason I need to get out of this commentary business is that, whether stress, carelessness, age or lack of appropriate nutrition, i.e., some of the healthy oils, PTSD, or simply fatigue. Or, sloppiness . . . . . I re-read the post (after publishing — naturally!) and saw, besides typos and an incomplete sentence or so (which comes from too many parentheticals — let’s see if I can complete THIS sentence, though), and some “word-os” (switched words — “kids” for “kidding.”) and even — which is inexcusable, considering how well-known this name is among noncustodial mothers — Amy Castillo (first usage “Cabrillo.”)

    But I do continue to learn, and bet there are few good concepts in there, despite very poor presentation of them.

    I looked up Mindy Mitnick again. There are plenty of references. However, if you google this one, in which she was one of several professionals involved — it’s informative of how the courts deal, and how judges think. This was between two parents, married 1990-1999, and the mother was a stay at home Mom, and the father wage-earner. I wonder why they separated …

    Seeing as she was the primary caretaker tos tart with, it seems they went right to joint custody with an overnight midweek. No mention of child support is in the file (like that’s never an issue?). .

    Ms. Mind in this case, along with other professionals, cast doubt on the father’s parenting skills, and several professionals agreed with her. A judge saying, their credibility was compromised, the woman was “lobbying them” and gives an unpublished opinion, goes with a different professional in the matter.

    My question is — with one wage-earner, only and no allegations of violence, at least in this record — why so many professionals involved? Why would a woman who divorces after so many years, insist on email correspondence only? (possibly for safety, or non-harassment issues).

    I just believe there’s a lot to learn from this case, as an example of how judges think and rule. Again, I didn’t see any DV or CA allegations here, and the children involved were adopted:

    “2005 Minn. App. LEXIS 219,*

    In re the Marriage of: Karin Lesley Ackerberg, petitioner, Appellant, vs. Stuart Ira Ackerberg, Respondent.

    A04-1645

    COURT OF APPEALS OF MINNESOTA

    2005 Minn. App. LEXIS 219

    March 8, 2005, Filed

    NOTICE:

    [*1] THIS OPINION WILL BE UNPUBLISHED AND MAY NOT BE CITED EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY MINNESOTA STATUTES.

    PRIOR HISTORY:

    Hennepin County; Hon. George F. McGunnigle, Judge. District Court File. No. DC 256353.

    DISPOSITION:

    Affirmed; motions to strike portions of respondent’s brief and for attorney’s fees both denied”

    As of this ruling (2005) — the case had been in litigation half as long as they were married. This was a traditional marriage — exceptionally so. Apparently she was the primary caretaker and the parents were both complimented for their ability to work things out (why did they divorce??) . . . . .

    But this initial ruling by a Magistrate just doesn’t make sense to me – is the mother now working? IS Dad going to hire someone to care for the kids while he is? Look:

    “UNPUBLISHED OPINION

    GORDON W. SHUMAKER, Judge

    In this custody dispute, appellant-mother argues that (a) the parties’ inability to communicate and cooperate regarding the children should have precluded an award of joint legal custody; (b) because this case lacks exceptional circumstances, joint physical custody was inappropriate; (c) the district court should not have awarded mid-week overnight parenting time on this record; [*2] and (d) the custody re-evaluation clause improperly precludes application of Minn. Stat. § 518.18 (2002) in deciding whether to allow custody modification. Because the district court did not abuse its discretion, we affirm.

    FACTS

    Appellant Karin Ackerberg and respondent Stuart Ackerberg married on December 23, 1990. Thereafter, they adopted two children. The Ackerbergs had a “traditional” marriage, with appellant as homemaker and respondent as wage earner. They separated in October of 1999, and appellant started this marriage-dissolution proceeding in April of 2000.

    The parties stipulated that a consensual special magistrate, William E. Haugh, would preside over their dissolution proceeding. After a trial and two amendments of the findings of fact and conclusions of law, Magistrate Haugh awarded to the parties the joint legal and joint physical custody of the children; ordered a parenting-time schedule that provided a mid-week overnight stay with respondent; and established a “custody re-evaluation” clause that could be invoked by either party one year after the entry of judgment. Appellant challenges all these rulings on the ground that they are [*3] the product of the clear abuse of the magistrate’s discretion.”

    A certain “Dr. Stageberg” (chk Sp. below) changed her opinion of 2000 in 2002, and indicated safety concerns. It seems to me that this judge’s ruling, here, questioned the motives (despite other professionals saying similar things) and the issue of “safety” having been brought up. . . .As follows:

    “During the nearly five years that this case has been in litigation, the predominant issues in contention have related to the legal and physical custody of the children and respondent’s parenting-time schedule. To help resolve these issues, the parties enlisted several professionals.

    In extensive and detailed findings of fact, Magistrate Haugh reviewed and evaluated the observations, opinions, and recommendations of the professionals, the most prominent of which was Dr. Jane McNaught Stageberg.

    Dr. Stageberg was retained to serve as a neutral custody evaluator. She made a temporary recommendation on July 26, 2000, and a formal recommendation on February 1, 2001. In both, she recommended that appellant be awarded sole physical custody of the children, that the parties share joint legal custody, and that respondent be allowed a parenting-time schedule that would permit him to remain close to the children and be involved in their lives.”

    An AFCC member (she has a website) and with specialties in Forensic issues and child abuse-related issues, the curriculum reads:

    JANE K. MCNAUGHT, PH.D. Licensed Psychologist, Fellow, American Board of Forensic Examiners PROFESSIONAL LICENSES AND ORGANIZATIONS: Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) Minnesota Psychologists in Private Practice American Psychological Association Division of Law Society Division 39 Invited Participant: Minnesota Permanent Families Project, Supreme Court of Minnesota, 1985 Advisory Committee, Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, 1985 Chairperson, 1987 Annual Meeting, Minnesota Psychological Association American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children Minnesota Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, Charter Member Children and the Law Education Committee, Hamline University Children’s Justice Act State Task Force, 1993 Board Certified Forensic Examiner (BCFE) Fellow of the American Board of Forensic Examiners Society Psychoanalytic Study, Division 39 Representative Minnesota Supreme Court Advisory Task Force on Visitation, Child Development Expert, December 1997 Psychoanalytic Foundation of Minnesota

    And one blurb from it, thus: …..

    “11/80 – 1/83 Psychologist Michael J. Shea and Associates 1219 Marquette Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55403 Supervisor: Michael Shea, Ph.D. As a full-time psychologist, I performed forensic and therapeutic services within the context of this private practice. I conducted therapy with children, adolescents, families, and adult women. A large part of my practice included working with victims of incest and their families. Consequently, I was often called to testify as an expert witness in such matters and conducted numerous custody evaluations, as well as psychological evaluations to address more generalized mental health problems associated with the populations described. I also participated in bi-weekly, multi-disciplinary staff meetings while at Shea Clinic, in addition to receiving weekly supervision from Michael Shea, Ph.D. 1/79 – 1/81 Psychologist Washington County Human Services Woodbury, MN Supervisor: Miriam Shark, Ph.D. As a part-time counseling psychologist working approximately ten hours per week, I had the opportunity to conduct therapy with children, adolescents, families and adults. As an outgrowth of co-leading a group for women who had been victims of incest, children who had been victims of incest were frequently referred to me for evaluation and therapy. I frequently worked with the resident psychiatrist and other psychologists on staff, as a co-therapist, and participated in staff meetings. ”

    Interesting that her concern for those kids’ safety was eventually overturned on these bases…

    This title: 36 Fam. L.Q. 195 (2002-2003)
    Post-Divorce Visitation for Infants and Young Children – The Myths and Psychological Unknowns; Younger, Judith T. mentions work with Ms. Mindy

    HERE from (the site reads McKnaught — but I believe its the same person: Guess Stageberg is married name?)

    “High Conflict Divorce
    Although the incidence is relatively small, high conflict divorces create significant challenges for the family court system at the time of divorce, as well as subsequent to the decree. High conflict divorces often include one parent trying to emotionally alienate the child from the other parent. ***Unfortunately, too often, false allegations of physical and sexual abuse occur in these high conflict cases. Furthermore, in the majority of the high conflict cases, one or both parties have a personality disorder that significantly impairs their communication and relationship with the other parent as well as their children. *** Doing custody evaluations in the context of a high conflict divorce requires the forensic expert have significant expertise and experience in a variety of areas.”

    See the key phrases there? At the bottom of THIS page:

    “Dr. McNaught also provides reunification therapy where allegations of physical or sexual abuse have/or have not been substantiated. Reunification between separated parents and children, where allegations of physical, psychological, or emotional abuse have occurred, is an area where particular expertise is required in a number of areas. Dr. McNaught’s training and experience in treating and diagnosing child physical and sexual abuse enables her to be particularly effective in reunification involving such issues. Developmental and safety issues are strong considerations in reunifying estranged parents with their child or adolescent. Dr. McNaught has also done reunification work with young children and adults, where allegations of abuse have been made, but not substantiated.”

    {{By the way — whether or not child abuse has occurred CANNOT be determined by any psychological test…}} In this description, as well as having a link for “Munchausen’s by Proxy” and “False Allegations” on the site, she would seem to be as father-friendly and straight down the party line, when it comes to AFCC — which makes this judge’s reversal of her recommendation all the more unusual…

    One point the judge (Shumaker) raises is that the court indeed has broad discretion, and will exercise it, too….

    If this divorcing couple was so great a communicating, and no allegations of abuse anywhere, not even emotional abuse, then why did they need a parenting magistrate to start with, eh???

    She is an Educational Psychogoist (covers both fields) and would seem sympathetic to the fact that abuse does actually occur. I still say, cobblers see shoes and psychologists see personality disorders….

    “Dr. McNaught has presented numerous workshops for psychologists, social workers, physicians, attorneys and judges on clinical and forensic issues. >>>Dr. McNaught was one of a few psychologists chosen to be an invited Expert on the Minnesota Supreme Court Task Force on Visitation. <<< She has also been invited to participate in State and County Policy Making Boards related to sexual assault as well as divorce custody issues. Dr. McNaught is regarded as a state and national expert in the areas of: Sexual Assault, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Divorce related issues."

    (And works in several states, incl. WI, Colorado, and Calif….)

    @@@BACK TO THIS PARTICULAR CASE/OPINION (at Appellate level):

    "The other professionals in the case also emphasized deficits in respondent's parenting judgment and ability. Mindy Mitnick, the neutral parenting consultant, testified that the parties were in the highest possible degree of conflict; that they had not been able to resolve major issues; [*5] and that she was concerned that respondent put the parties' daughter in unsafe situations by allowing her to ride on an ATV without a helmet and letting her ride in the back of a pickup truck, and that respondent put the parties' son in danger by not securing him in a car seat in respondent's motor vehicle.

    Dr. Susan Phipps-Yonas was the parties' daughter's therapist. She felt that appellant had considerable parenting skills but that respondent did not know how to take care of the parties' son and that respondent put the daughter in the role of a parent who needed to nurture respondent.

    The guardian ad litem, Candace Barr, assessed appellant's parenting abilities as excellent but felt that, in some respects, respondent's skills and judgment were lacking. Additionally, Ms. Barr was concerned about the children's sleeping arrangements in respondent's home and complimented appellant on providing a child-centered and childproof home environment.

    Despite the negative opinions of these professionals toward respondent, Magistrate Haugh awarded joint legal and joint physical custody. His reasons for doing so are set forth with clarity and particularity in his findings of fact and will be [*6] discussed below."

    Trying to even the odds? ????

    I just am curious about the background of this case. It sounds to me like the mother was penalized for complaining which was highlighted, and because she complained so much, the professionals were considered biased. . . . . .

    I think a real good case could be made for primary caretaker STAYING primary caretaker after dissolution. Dad's are disturbed enough at the divorce, their lives are disrupted, and in such very traditional marriages, they are not ready to right away start being both wage-earner and parent, while still possibly pissed off that she initiated the divorce (at least in this case). What would cause a woman who had invested 9 years in a relationship to leave it?

    Well, I better quit this. Again, it sounds to me like the court set them up from the start for difficulties. FAMILIES _- stay OUT of family law system and figure it out. You'll get soaked sooner or later anyhow. …You really want all these professionals in your case? Good ones or bad ones??? Wrong ones or right ones? I wonder why these two adopted, also . . . which one couldn't go make more kids (obviously together they couldn't– or just felt that there are kids in this world needing homes already….)

    So, this Mom took it to appellate level, and lost. We can learn something from the cases cited, though…

    familycourtmatters

    October 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm


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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

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