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When Family Courts Can Do This, why even Bother to “Fix” them?”

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I hope this article will show (and people’s attentions will hold long enough) that it’s time to focus on the structure and institutions of the courts, which have been long neglected by the very groups proclaiming (self-proclaiming) decade after decade to be sticking up for women.

Terrifying to anyone who believes in personal rights and autonomy

It’s Thanksgiving.  I’m not getting my technically complex post up.*

The above link symbolizes the situation we are in, and why half-assed “reform the courts” measures simply are inappropriate.  The system removes personal autonomy from MOST women who decide to become mothers, not just unwed ones.  Anyone who doesn’t stay married is at risk from this situation.  Any woman who becomes pregnant and delivers a baby is at risk from this situation.

[*Note: Blogger has added Day-After (Thanksgiving) Post updates on this very disturbing article, including extensive quotes and commentary.  I attempt to somewhat color-code them by source.]

It is being framed as a womens’ rights to personal life autonomy issue, which it is. I hope, however, it will also call attention to what a very real threat the family court system is to biological mothers’ personal autonomy and, when combined with the child support factor as well, also to their fathers’. It is at this point a public hazard and a contributor to public debt, that these things are even being hashed out in family courts at all.

The above link symbolizes the situation we are in, and why half-assed “reform the courts” measures simply are inappropriate.  The system removes personal autonomy from MOST women who decide to become mothers, not just unwed ones.  Anyone who doesn’t stay married is at risk from this situation.  Any woman who becomes pregnant and delivers a baby is at risk from this situation.

Actually, it’s from Care2.com and this is the title, and credits:

Pregnant? You May Need the Baby’s Father’s Permission to Move
by Robin Marty
November 27, 20131:00 pm


A man and woman meet, go on a few dates, have sex, but then decide they are incompatible. She gets pregnant from this brief relationship and decides to move to a different state to pursue a college education so she can better care for the child, whom he says he has no interest in. Now, the child is born and the man marries someone else. Oh, and then he decides to sue for custody, claiming she stole his child by leaving California while pregnant.

A New York court has agreed, and has allowed him to have the child.

This nightmare scenario has played out in the case of Sarah McKenna, who briefly dated and got pregnant by Bode Miller, an Olympic skier. Miller began dating someone else, whom he married, and a few months into the pregnancy McKenna chose to leave California and move to New York to go to college with her GI Bill, the New York Times reports. Miller decided to file for paternity and custody in California, and a New York judge declared that the California legal filings superseded McKenna’s filing for custody of her own child in New York. The infant was taken from McKenna and given to Miller and his wife, instead.

According to the New York family court, McKenna’s “appropriation of the child while in utero was irresponsible, reprehensible.” However, that leads to the logical question: what other options would that leave a pregnant person?

Read more:

In this case, another woman was involved. The father impregnated one, then went and dated another, married her, and tried to get that kid away from the woman he impregnated, doing so successfully. This should tell us that women — not just men — have a serious issue with single motherhood. Look in the mirror and ask why. Especially with celebrities, but not only, there is generally going to be another woman around, who can play the assigned role: helping Dad get his kids away from Mom #1.

This second woman may be a wonderful match for Bode Miller, but I believe it shows lack of judgment to marry someone whose baby by another woman has just been born, or is about to be.  He just ditched her; marriage or no marriage, he could ditch you too.. and fight you for custody.   The woman is being used and possibly played by her young man (all parties seem fairly young), on the surface.

UK article (Jan. 2013, pre-birth  of the little boy in question here) shows he has yet another paternity suit and possibly 4-year old child.  It appears this gentleman prefers blondes.  Anyhow: “Olympic downhill skier named in two paternity suits as his wife loses baby.” DailyMall.co.UK, Jan. 19-20, 2013, John Clarke (only 1 comment showing):

News that downhill racer Bode Miller was named in two paternity lawsuits comes as his wife Morgan Beck tragically lost their unborn baby. Beck, a professional volleyball player, announced that she miscarried via Twitter, but that is far from the end of her husband’s baby drama.

One of the suits involves a woman named Sara McKenna, who is currently pregnant and due in February. Miller is seeking joint legal and physical custody of the soon-to-be-born boy.

The other suit involves a woman named Chanel Johnson, who has a 4-year-old daughter. Miller claims to be the father of the girl and is hoping to establish joint and physical custody, as well as child support payments. According to a report from TMZ, the Olympic skier and gold medal winner from New Hampshire has filed two paternity suits to establish custody with the two women.


…I have said many times that motivation is a key trait for me when it comes to my racing — I am super motivated to do great things next year.’

Miller has been so successful by doing things his way, on his terms.
That gambler’s mentality has served him well in his career, leading to five Olympic medals — including that elusive gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games — four world championships and 33 World Cup wins, which is an American men’s record.

Read more:

New York Times article:  “Custody Battle Raises Questions about the Rights of Women.”  by Eric Eckholm, 11/23/2013:

When Bode Miller, the Olympic ski star known for daring Alpine racing, met Sara A. McKenna in San Diego last year through the high-end matchmaker Kelleher International, they were both professing interest in finding a marriage partner, she recalls.
c
The relationship did not last long — but she did become pregnant. And now the skier, 36, and Ms. McKenna, 27, a former Marine and firefighter who is attending Columbia University with G.I. Bill support, are locked in a cross-country custody fight that has become not only tabloid fodder but also a closely watched legal battle over the rights of pregnant women to travel and make life choices.

In December, when she was seven months pregnant and already sparring with Mr. Miller about their future relations, Ms. McKenna moved to New York to start school. Mr. Miller accused her of fleeing to find a sympathetic court, and a New York judge agreed, castigating Ms. McKenna for virtually absconding with her fetus. This allowed a California court to subsequently grant custody of the baby, a boy, to Mr. Miller and also set off alarm bells among advocates for women’s rights.

But on Nov. 14, a five-judge appeals court in New York said Ms. McKenna’s basic rights had been violated, adding, “Putative fathers have neither the right nor the ability to restrict a pregnant woman from her constitutionally protected liberty.”

Infants need their mothers unless their mothers are abusing them.  Not having a biological father in the home is NOT a form of abuse!

I should also point out that San Diego in far-southern California is a hothouse of family court protests, programs, the home of the Family Justice Center Alliance; it has been called “Enron by the Sea” and appears to be interestingly conservative….  It is also the home of a group Children’s Advocacy Institute (or similar name) which with another group “First Star” (Washington, D.C.) is supporting the concept (also supported by the group “NACC”) that there should be a child counsel in every disputed custody case.

Thanks to coverups and intentional censorship of some of the policies turning the clock backwards for mothers (who, what, when, where, how and why) — including by feminists — it appears Ms. McKenna was (like I was, like most are) completely unprepared for how the New York Court would handle her case.

[From the NYT article]…Once the boy was born, Ms. McKenna filed in New York for temporary custody. But on May 30,[2013 must be…]  a Family Court referee refused, rebuking Ms. McKenna for “unjustifiable conduct” and “forum shopping” and making the unusual decision to leave the case in California even though the baby was born and lived in New York.

A few paragraphs later, it tells (?) the name of this particular mind-reading judge, to whom it didn’t occur that a young woman made a change in career plans, and had put time and effort into setting them up, involving third parties and negotiating a cross-country jaunt.  Or that as a Marine and fire-fighter, she very likely already had significant ability, intelligence, and circumstance-related decision-making skills.  As to getting pregnant, the woman is 27.  With or without contraception at this age, it can happen, at which point a decision will be made whether to keep the baby or not.  This woman opted for LIFE — not terminating the fetus’es life.  As a result, she may be sacrificing her own future, in the current climate.

While Ms. McKenna “did not ‘abduct’ the child,” the court said, “her appropriation of the child while in utero was irresponsible, reprehensible.”

(It took reading several articles to find out WHO uttered the scold.  It turns out the moralizing judge was a woman:  Judge “Fiordaliza Rodriquez” Few articles mention her name, or that this was a woman.

Hardly unique for woman judges or attorneys (or “Special referees”) to fight for fathers’ rights.  This NY attorney even lists it on her areas of practice.

Judge Fiordaliza Rodriguez ruled that the Olympic medalist’s custody battle with former girlfriend Sara McKenna belongs in California, where it started prior to McKenna moving to New York to attend Columbia University.
[NYDailyNews May 30, 2013, under “entertainment/gossip” Barbara Ross, Bill Hutchinson]


Referee Fiordaliza Rodriguez slammed Miller’s ex-girlfriend, Sara McKenna, for moving to New York while pregnant and as custody proceedings were underway in California. . . .

McKenna, an ex-Marine who relocated to New York to attend Columbia University on the GI Bill, called the ruling “misogynistic and patriarchal.” She vowed to appeal.

McKenna, 27, showed texts from Miller, 35, indicating he didn’t want her to keep the child. Miller purportedly tells her in one text, “I’m not going to do this with u Sara. U made this choice against my wish and gave me no say. U are going to do this on your own.” McKenna had the baby, Samuel Bode Miller McKenna Jr., on Feb. 23 in New York — three months after Miller filed court papers in California. [note the baby was called “premature” in another article/LGH. So he moved fast…I am no sports person, but notice that the article links to news that Bode’s younger (age 29) snowboarding brother had been found dead (possibly from seizures from earlier head injury in motorcycle crash) in just April, 2013. Article also profiles the amazing family of championship athletes… Perhaps Bode was wanting more family, having just lost a brother…]

Miller, a five-time Olympic medalist, was not in court Thursday. His lawyer declined to comment after the hearing. “How can an unmarried pregnant woman be penalized for moving from California to New York to attend an Ivy League school on the GI Bill?” said McKenna’s baffled attorney, Kenneth Eiges. [*that’s his Linkedin I added/LGH]

Read more: 

[Eiges & Eiges law firm; he’s skilled mediator and litigator, high-profile sounds like.  He has been a court-appointed attorney (for children)]

Children are abducted by separated parents.  It’s an issue and it’s a felony.   Mine were.  No one said the father was reprehensible at that time.  In California, we had a father abduct a toddler whose mother was employed in the District Attorney’s Office.  BECAUSE he was a parent, the Amber ALert was delayed beyond the time in which, it was belatedly discovered, that little girl had been killed, by her father, who also killed himself.  This is almost routine — and for a judge to lecture a woman for leaving pregnant, while judges throughout the country allow paternal abductions, and many obstructions are in the path of custodial mothers who attempt to prevent this, or prevent this even in the context where a murder/suicide has been threatened, is outrageous.  It is also a signal.  Don’t ignore it!

The Family Court in San Diego proceeded to grant primary custody to Mr. Miller. On Sept. 4, as Ms. McKenna described it, choking up, Mr. Miller and his wife came to her apartment, “took the baby out of my arms, dropped it in a car seat and drove away.”

Is this judge aware of Mr. Miller’s prowess outside of the snow slopes and attempt to claim custody rights for two children outside marriage (without apology to the trouble caused anyone else), while accidentally injuring his new wife in the face with a golf club?  (above UK article).  And then tweeted the photos of it (below?:

Miller has had his share of drama away from skiing. In December, Miller accidentally hit his wife in the eye with a golf ball. Later, on Twitter, he posted, ‘Hit wife w golfball. (hashtag)worstfeelingever.’

[Caption & descr. of photos below:]

Gruesome: Bode Miller tweeted a graphic picture of his wife’s bloodied and bruised left eye as she was being treated for her injury, left. Another picture posted later shows Morgan Miller after her face was cleaned up   Photos of his wife last month showed her left eye completely closed and badly bloodied. She ended up getting more than 50 stitches.

She later posted: ‘I’m not feeling so hot. Line drive to the face today with a golf ball from my darling husband. I still love.’

Read more

These are his new wife!

Gruesome: Bode Miller tweeted a graphic picture of his wife's bloodied and bruised left eye as she was being treated for her injury at a San Diego hospital Hurt: Morgan Beck Miller nearly lost her left eye when husband and ski champion Bode Miller accidentally hit her in the face with a line drive while the two were golfing

By contrast, before coming pregnant, the mother as a Marine and firefighter had risked her life to save someone else’s child (not steal the child from another mother) (The original article (blue-background) has links to this and the following, light-green background):

Bode Miller’s baby mama once risked her life to save a child

Sara McKenna with her son, Samuel Bode Miller McKenna (photo: Chad Rachman, NYPost) [DNK what the current name is; Dad wants to fight on that issue also].

NY Post 5/31/2013, Julia Marsh, “Bode Miller’s Babymama one risked her life to save a child

The woman fighting Olympic skier Bode Miller for custody of their baby was a “Hero of the Year” firefighter who risked her life to save a child.  Now Sara McKenna, 27, is deeply in debt, struggling to raise her newborn and attending Columbia — all while fighting the millionaire athlete in a costly legal battle.   McKenna was serving in the Camp Pendleton, Calif. fire station in 2011 when she won fame for battling a house fire. . . .

McKenna, honorably discharged as a Marine in 2011, received her “Hero of the Year” award from the Defense Department that year. This was before she met Miller and became pregnant.

Miller, who initially wanted her to abort the pregnancy, changed his mind and is fighting her for custody of Samuel Bode Miller McKenna, who was born February 23.

McKenna moved to New York to study pre-law at Columbia under the GI Bill, while Miller waged his legal battle. “I gave up everything in California,” she said.

She went through premature labor because, a doctor told her, she was under intense stress.  Now she says the pressure, from the court case, motherhood and her education, is huge.

“I’m up at 3 a.m. trying to breast feed and write a research paper, in tears,” she said. “All I want is an hour of sleep and a shower.”


“My whole experience of the beginning of motherhood was ruined,” she said. “I couldn’t enjoy any of it because I was so stressed out.”
“It’s literally the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life,” she said. “I don’t know what’s gotten me through it. It must be sheer determination.”
Now, $35,00 in debt, she faces a new hurdle: fighting the custody battle back in California. A Manhattan Family Court referee agreed to move the case back across the country, at Miller’s request.

{who?}


Is it better if one marries and stays in the same locale? Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes abuse kicks in when she gets pregnant. Happened with me (second pregnancy). Despite the happiness and yes, joys, that motherhood brings, the normal stresses of motherhood (which is a natural event) cannot be compared with motherhood + abuse, or Motherhood + being under the threat of losing one’s baby… To do this in addition to work and/or school, and with the cost… Unbelievable.

Baby returned to mother — but is told she has to fly back to California in a week or so, and Dad wants to take his son to the Olympics, in Russia, next February:  (11/25/2013, NY post, photo Gregory P. Mango):

The case (11/25/2013) is back in New York, but even though Mom temporarily gets to hold her child again, continued holding or raising is dependent on a family court referee.

Ms. McKenna has seen him for a total of 10 days since the handover, said her lawyer, Naved Amed, and is scheduled to have him over Thanksgiving weekend.

This month, in its scathing reversal of the May decision, the appeals panel in New York rejected the suggestion that “the mother needed to somehow arrange her relocation with the father with whom she had only a brief romantic relationship.”

Ms. McKenna and Mr. Miller have been ordered to appear in New York Family Court on Monday, where Judge Adetokunbo O. Fasanya will revisit the question of temporary custody and visiting rights.

This judge got his B.A. in Nigeria! and was admitted to the Appellate Dept. in NYS only in 1992 (shortly before welfare reform).  I don’t know the situation, but shortly after September 4th, 2013 (removing a YOUNG child from its birth mother) a hearing is being held on the fitness of two judges (including this one) on their fitness for “Interim Civil Court Judge”  [Published at “nyc.gov” and  in NYLaw Journal, 9/23/2013, “Mayor’s Panel Schedules Hearing on Judge Picks   “Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary has scheduled a public hearing to consider the fitness of two nominees for Interim Civil Court Judge: Tracey Bing and Adetokunbo O. Fasanya. The hearing will be held 9 a.m. Oct. 1 at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, 40 Rector St., 6th floor ”  Question:  how quickly was Ms. McKenna’s and Bode Miller’s  news out, and who publicized it?  Did anyone aware of the situation submit testimony?  On further (simple name-searches on the judge) it appears that he was only very recently (2013) switched from Civil Court to Family Court:  “Changes to the 2014 New York Lawyers Diary and Manual (r)” [Search the name. “The following material supplements the information in the 2013 edition, and includes both election-related changes and other changes and corrections to the 2013 edition:’]

OVERALL:

How is this not a form of violent and coercive control of, potentially, ALL women?  Yet while this situation is becoming standard fare in these courts (it can go against the fathers too — the wide “discretion” and the money to be made ordering reunification, parenting, co-parenting, etc. services, plus for the lawyers when parties can afford lawyers to fight are significant incentives to forget about personal autonomy or individual rights, human rights, civil rights, any kind of rights.

What this is really about is the courts’ ability to, whenever ANY child is involved, say what’s right — and to do so arbitrarily.

MEANWHILE, the two allegedly antagonistic (but in truth, collaborative — with each other that is, not with the public’s best interests, or kids’) groups of “fatherhood practitioners” and “family violence (child abuse) preventers” (represented by the domestic violence industry) — continue unabated to talk as though the family courts and these major, multi-million dollar, and in some case, multi-BILLION-dollar institutions, did not exist.  Just like the tendency of covering up the elephant in the room when it is abuse (including substance, child, wife, husband, incest, you name it) — the DV agency in particular simply “does not want to discuss” the presence of the entire apparatus of welfare-reform diversionary programs, and how this affects the courts, particularly when child support is involved.

A few paragraphs on the “Holiday” theme which to me, now, means nothing.   It’s like you can give the downbeat — but I do not respond. I can’t fake it and am not interested in doing so either.

My simple holiday philosophy, after years of enjoying them pre-abusive-marriage, and the many celebrations associated with them (family or otherwise, festivities, meals, community type things):

1.  When you’re in a survival-style marriage, holidays are some of the most dangerous times.  One never knows what may explode — or fall flat.  We had holidays of “nothing” (sitting around) and others of physical violence. We had holidays, along this, of the “pretending” (I called out for help at plenty of them after incidents).

2.  Afterwards, except for a real brief period (pre-family court) we seemed to do the sharing thing OK, alternating.  I had full custody and never prevented him from seeing them during a major holiday whether or not it was “mine.”

3.  From “Family Court Wars” forward, there was not a peaceful one.  My profession entailed extra work and responsibilities during some of the major holidays.  Incidents were scheduled appropriately.

4.  About halfway through the post-separation years, as readers of this blog know, my ex stole the children (illegally), with his new girlfriend (probably chosen for the purpose) overnight on a court-ordered visitation.  This was enabled by the law enforcement “supervising” the exchange, which makes me wonder what the words “law” and “enforcement” have to do with that crowd.  Despite no accusations of abuse, a play was made to call in CPS and presumably get the kids into foster care because Mom and Dad had a dispute (specifically, Dad had a “dispute” with the concept that court orders were to be obeyed, including the one that said where the children live and who is their primary caretaker, i.e., Mom).

5.  THEREAFTER, without exception — I NEVER had a major holiday time (Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, New Year’s Eve) or significant MEAL or EVENT with my own children.  EVER.  In fact, there were some years where I didn’t even have a glimpse of their face.

6.  After a while of finding substitute ways to sublimate this — eat with others (who know I had nowhere to go), eat with or help with the homeless (cf. Glide Memorial Church in SF is serving around 5,000 meals, the TV tells us), or do something remotely connective to remaining family, or community — write a letter, greet people, call people)…  After a while of that, there is a flat nothing inside, and most years I just treat it like another work day to be lived through.


Today, and yesterday, I have been in the middle of a long and involved post, very technical, on some of the DV cartel, and specific access/visitation grantees which have filed under religious-exempt status, the “shell game” of “can you find who we are THIS year?” — and these are obtaining prominent and consistent contracts with the courts, and/or managing grants from two streams at least of the Federal Government, plus state — and funneling some of the grants (not much) to much smaller shelters, or DV Services nonprofits.  In short, these people are sometimes serving as the “fiscal agent” of other groups (well, at least the grants distribution gateway), while themselves unable or simply uninterested in “keeping it together” as an actual corporation.

Generally speaking, the help they provide, or want to focus on providing, is “technical assistance and training.”

It’s not logical to believe that all of our government employees (say, Boards of Supervisor, Dept. of Public Health, and the Courts) simply “Don’t know” that they are funneling millions (or in some cases, hundreds of thousands) of dollars to groups which do not exist, or, if they do — don’t have very regular “above-board” habits, and wouldn’t probably pass an audit.

I think it’s intentional. One or two particularly egregious situations are in San Francisco area, which happens to be where the “California Judicial Council” makes its home.


Anyhow, I am having some formatting struggles and also the usual struggle of saying too much. So that post isn’t going out today.

However, a friend of mine who’s aware of this situation forwarded me the following article I think (she) was a little shocked, but given the field, I am not. We are in an age of unbelievable backlash to the concept of women’s rights, even as some of the top feminists (so-called) are consolidating their stranglehold on the “DV” field, and its funding (both public and private) while covering up the horrible situation in the family courts, along with its most obvious possible causes.

Inbetween all this, there are homeless women, women I have lost track of, and who are simply drowning in paperwork, legal actions to protect their kids, and surviving after the professions, sometimes businesses, they lost in the process, have gone down. One person I was worried about contacted me has been struggling with forced reunification with a (batterer, religious, etc.) father from prison and the associated trauma, the daughter being forced into this is an adolescent. We’re talking second-generation domestic violence, sometimes, the mother had been previously sexually assaulted by her father, and Mom covered it up.  Or, daughter, experiencing molestation from one of the other family member, set out in life on their own at a very early age, and now is stuck in the family courts with their own children.

In this context, please be aware:  Women are being used as sperm-containers and incubators (again, still) — and as this article says very appropriately,

Pregnant? You May Need the Baby’s Father’s Permission to Move

A man and woman meet, go on a few dates, have sex, but then decide they are incompatible. She gets pregnant from this brief relationship and decides to move to a different state to pursue a college education so she can better care for the child, whom he says he has no interest in. Now, the child is born and the man marries someone else. Oh, and then he decides to sue for custody, claiming she stole his child by leaving California while pregnant.

A New York court has agreed, and has allowed him to have the child.

This nightmare scenario has played out in the case of Sarah McKenna, who briefly dated and got pregnant by Bode Miller, an Olympic skier. Miller began dating someone else, whom he married, and a few months into the pregnancy McKenna chose to leave California and move to New York to go to college with her GI Bill, the New York Times reports. Miller decided to file for paternity and custody in California, and a New York judge declared that the California legal filings superseded McKenna’s filing for custody of her own child in New York. The infant was taken from McKenna and given to Miller and his wife, instead.

According to the New York family court, McKenna’s “appropriation of the child while in utero was irresponsible, reprehensible.” However, that leads to the logical question: what other options would that leave a pregnant person?

The precedent set by the family court’s ruling are both undeniable and disturbing for those who support women’s rights. In essence, the court is arguing that once a person is pregnant, she no longer has any right to make any decision about her own future, even if it will affect the future of the child, without the consent of the person who got her pregnant. That rule would apply even in cases where the father of the child no longer has a relationship with the person who is carrying it. It would provide the person who got her pregnant with unlimited control, with her unable to take a new job, return home to a family for assistance, or make any other life change involving a different state even if those changes would be in the best interest of her and the baby.

Should the ruling stand, the courts would literally be saying that once you are pregnant, you have lost the ability to make life decisions without the consent of the person who impregnated you. The idea is terrifying to anyone who believes in personal rights and autonomy.

Please do read the rest of this (and the related article) and think hard about the situation.

Be thankful if you lived during a time when there was personal autonomy and some freedom of movement.  More later.

Here’s a recent (11/26/2013 coverage — showing that the fate of this boy is still up to the family court, not either parents.  Again, claiming custody of an unborn child still in a woman’s belly who has not agreed to be someone’s surrogate, is to me an outrageous concept, particularly in this case.  It could go any way, and that mother isn’t going to have much sleep or peace in the near future. This next quote shows on “Reuters…”

 

Baby stays with mother for now in custody fight with Olympic skier
BY VICTORIA CAVALIERE
NEW YORK Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:20pm EST

A New York City family court referee sided with Miller in May, lambasting McKenna for leaving the West Coast before co-parenting details could be worked out. Court Attorney Referee Fiordaliza Rodriguez of New York County Family Court sent the case back to California where a judge gave Miller and his new wife, pro-volleyball player Morgan Beck-Miller, custody of the baby boy.

McKenna’s attorneys appealed, and a five-judge panel ruled on November 14 that McKenna’s rights had been violated and that jurisdiction belongs in New York because the baby, born February 23, was a resident of the state. The decision effectively kicked the case back to the courtroom of Rodriguez, where a hearing was held on Monday.

At the court appearance, Rodriguez scheduled a new custody hearing for December 9 to give the parents and a court-appointed lawyer for the baby time to prepare. Until then, Rodriguez ruled, McKenna can keep the baby with her.

McKenna said after court that she was “just happy to be back with my son.”
Though both McKenna and Miller say they are seeking a co-parenting agreement, each side claims to be better equipped to offer full-time care for the boy.

McKenna’s lawyer said his client had seen her baby only for about 48 hours over the past two months and argued that Miller’s busy travel schedule was not suited to raising a young child.

Miller’s attorneys countered that before he was given custody, he had been granted very limited time with his son, and they said both father and stepmother have the time and money to fully care for the child.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Bob Burgdorfer)

Either way, the federal policy in place says (even though this is not a “TANF” family — yet, as to the mother’s side) that it’s better for children to live in two-parent families, and the SYSTEMS should be reflecting and promoting that. However, even in cases where there are four parents involved, the biological mother is going to face the courts’ cultures which are going to be affected by the economics of ALL their parents, not just the well-to-do ones. And in that matter, they have spoken through policies and laws upholding that policies.

Written by Let's Get Honest

November 28, 2013 at 6:59 pm

5 Responses

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  1. You are right that the Courts are broken, but men do have rights to. The court is preventing my children from having an attorney and covering up parental alienation.

    I am now detailing the corruption and coverup on my blog. Goodmendidnothing.wordpress.com

    Please comment.

    goodmendidnothing

    November 28, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    • It being this weekend, this response is a quick (not “in-depth”) response. I’m interested in part because you mentioned your wife had a head injury. At least two people (one of them my ex) I knew suffered major head trauma, my ex while we were engaged, and also after married. He was, however, pretty controlling with or without that injury and I did not know the red flags in time to — well, not get married. Having had children, whom I love, I can’t regret it, but it has brought a lot of grief for sure. I also would characterize both individuals (who ahd the head trauma) as definitely psychopaths or sociopaths, and suspect that people who would resort to assaulting their spouses regularly, probably have some of this characteristic (another reason I think “batterers intervention” is a racket).

      I can’t take on researching someone else’s case or situation. Perhaps i this blog (including “look it up” page) you’ll be able to research your own case to see if there has been the racketeering element or, more specifically, what IS the racketeering element in the case. This would entail not just individual players, but the relationship between them. For example, you’ve listed a judge, a chosen evaluator (Samenow) and a parent coordinator (Van Sykle,) and that your wife moved for the parenting coordinator to have delegated privileges in arranging custody and visitation (at one point). The puzzle is, what’s the relationship between them — and that is an association, corporation situation, probably (where’s the money, etc.).

      Family Courts are not where “EVIDENCE” rules and so evidence does not hold the day People are losing contact with their kids without having committed crimes, sometimes or even of having been accused of committing a crime. This is why I want the psychologists OUT of there. I believe they were brought in originally to help “reframe” crimes as something else, particularly crimes against children.
      = = = = = = = = =

      To clarify, I am not saying the courts are “broken” and have a number of posts protesting that labeling. I think they are doing exactly what they were designed to do, and that the “Our Broken Courts” folks (who have names, associations and interests, sometimes, conflicts-of, in this field) are less than honest in saying so. However, I expect you probably used the term generic.

      OK, I just read your blog (started Nov. 2013) and as best I could, the uploaded scanned documents. It appears you married into quite the family; a message to us all that we’d better get our family genealogy or background checks, perhaps, in advance!

      I see your wife issued a restraining order of sorts ca. 2008, which she claims you violated, then tried to call in a parenting coordinator (Guy Van Syckle) who I’d definitely look up,and moreover, that somehow a man whose practice formerly included working with psychopaths, interviewing a renowned serial murdered (2010 article), and spent time working at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for the Criminally Insane (where poet Ezra Pound was incarcerated for a while, and from which he commissioned, looks like, a young man to research the history of the U.S. dollar (Currency matters).

      Anyhow, what is this Dr. Stanton Samenow doing in the family courts business? I don’t know except that the business of the courts seems to have been started in part by people with a background in prison psychology, like Meyer Elkin. I’d be very disturbed if this person were anywhere near my custody case.

      I particularly liked this “Psychopath or Secret Controller” post:
      http://goodmendidnothing.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/psychopath-or-secret-controller/
      asking why Stanton used one term in a certain context, but switched for others.

      “The psychological construct of Psychopathy is not new. Dr. Hervey Cleckley’s book Mask of Sanity, considered a seminal work and the most influential clinical description of psychopathy in the twentieth century, was published in 1941. From 1970 to 1978, Dr. Samenow worked as clinical research psychologist for the Program for the Investigation of Criminal Behavior at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C. Dr. Samenow effectively studied psychopaths.

      Even after Dr. Hare published Without Conscience in 1993, Dr. Samenow attributes the conflict created by psychopaths in divorce, to the ‘controller personality’ in his 2002 Book In the Best Interest of the Child:”

      [Random search of Samenow shows his high-profile career started with degrees from Yale in _____?and Ph.D. UMichigan in psychology.]
      http://www.shrinkrapradio.com/238.pdf

      2008 article may be a source of help, re: Samenow and other judges declaration him unreliable:
      http://stopsamenow.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2008-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&updated-max=2009-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&max-results=3

      March 2010, “Jury rejects Samehow’s lone insanity opinion”
      http://forensicpsychologist.blogspot.com/2010/03/jury-rejects-samenows-lone-insanity.html
      (this was a young man who murdered a cabbie, and had no prior history of mental instability).

      Another reference:
      Yochelson, Samuel, and Stanton E. Samenow: The Criminal Personality
      Mirlinda Ndrecka
      http://knowledge.sagepub.com/view/criminologicaltheory/n286.xml

      Before formulating their approach to correctional treatment in The Criminal Personality in 1974, Samuel Yochelson and Stanton E. Samenow worked with correctional populations for a period of about 15 years. Unfamiliar with treating offenders, but armed with a curiosity about them and a desire to contribute something of value to society, Yochelson abandoned his private practice and focused his attention on treating offenders. After working with criminal patients for about 6 years, he noticed that the results of therapy with criminals were very different from the ones he observed with his non-criminal patients. He decided that criminal individuals were inherently different from non-criminals and sought to find the causes of these differences (Yochelson & Samenow, 1976). The opportunity to do such a thing was presented in Washington, D.C., at Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital, where Samenow, whom he had known for some years, joined him. St. Elizabeth’s Hospital offered an excellent opportunity,

      etc.

      Let's Get Honest

      November 29, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    • (first comment got long, so this is a continuation. I am seeing Van Sykle’s name come up as opposed to a mother, which tends to give me some credence that in your case, you may not have been that abuser. I do know that I’ve had a professional (in the ‘child abuse prevention’ business, working with the family courts) tell me that it’s routine to, when one parent is clearly safer than the others, put the kid in the bad parent’s home, so the other one will fight for custody. More business for the courts, justifying cries for expanding services, etc.

      Heres’ that quote. Of course what’s said as anecdotal is anecdotal, but this is a mother’s story (see context: search van Sykle’s name on the link), Date is December 2008:

      http://mommygobyebye-virginia.blogspot.com/2008/12/batterer-puppet-guy-van-syckle-phd.html

      In July of 2009 there was to be a hearing in Fairfax County Circuit Court. For the first time in 6 years of litigation, I was ill and could not appear in court. I called judges chambers in advance to let them know. The father appeared in court with a paid “expert witness” by the name of Guy Van Syckle who testified that I didn’t show up because I was mentally ill. My medical condition is well documented at Fairfax Inova Hospital, and my physical illness was real. As I didn’t have anybody in court that day to represent me, the court ordered that deputies come to my home to forcibly remove my children. All because I was sick one day out of 6 years.

      I was in bed when the deputies came, and devastated when they took my children and searched my home.

      The father put the two girls with his mother, who speaks broken English and does not drive. My son was put with his friends in Bethesda, and the father went to New York City. My home was empty, my children gone. I scrambled furiously to find a forensic psychologist to testify, and the next week I got my custody restored, but not before the children and I had been put thru Hell.
      = = = = = =
      Here’s another one where the father used him against the mother, and therapy information (against her) was used without her permission in court. It was reversed. But again, the key question is — who is this guy and what’s he doing getting so much business with the court? Does everyone need their head examined when there is a divorce?

      http://www.mhlrt.com/personalservices/articles/pdfs/Coughter-SchwartzVSchwartz.pdf

      Father offered the testimony of licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Guy Van Syckle. Mother objected to his testimony under Code $ 20-124 .3:l because that statute “states, No mental health provider shall testi$ on behalf of or against a pareni unless they have advanced written consent by that party.” Father responded that Dr. Van Syckle was not the mental health care provider for either parent. The trial court overruled mother’s objection, stating, “He’s a mental health care provider for the childrèn. The best interest ofthe children still prevails as a standard ofthis Court.”
      Dr. Van Syckle testiflred that the parties were referred to him “by their attorneys . . . at the beginning of April [2004].’, When asked, “And did you then become the therapist for the children?”, Dr. Van Syckle responded as follows: “I became what was called a co-parenting coordinator, co-therapist for the parents with the understanding I would eventually meet and work with the children.” He was “not retained to do a neutral custody evaluation” and testified he was not at the show cause hearing to render “an opinion or recommendation regarding custody and visitation.”

      (etc.). I have four (at least) posts on “Parenting Coordination.” When a parent coordinator is called in, sooner or later he or she is going to call “parental alienation” probably on the mother. (There is coaching and rehearsal on how to do this). however, I can see if the abuser were the other parent, this might also be reversed.

      Here, Van Syckle is coming out against a remarried mother whose husband had returned to Arizona (From Virginia). Notice they both agreed to him coming in as psychologist (ca. 1999) and he was treating (?) the youngest child once a week. Sounds like good business….

      http://courts.state.va.us/opinions/opncavtx/2525004.txt
      Testimony also established that in November of 1999, the
      parties agreed to send Sydney to a psychologist, Dr. Guy Van
      Syckle. Dr. Van Syckle treated Sydney as often as once a week
      from November 1999 up to the time of the hearing. He testified
      that he observed Sydney to be a confident and well-adjusted
      child. He further stated that Sydney wanted to spend more “fun

      time” with her mother, that she wanted to spend more time with
      her father, and that she is “well-attached to both parents.”
      Dr. Van Syckle opined that it would be easier for Sydney to
      relocate when she got older and testified that Sydney “wants to
      stay here.” He stated that he felt if Sydney was relocated, she
      would feel like no one had heard her and that this would
      “depress her.” Finally, Dr. Van Sykle opined that a mere
      physical separation between Sydney and one of her parents might
      “potentially” hurt the bond between her and that particular
      parent, but that it might not affect the relationship at all.
      He further conceded that he had not completed a custody
      evaluation, that he had no direct observation of the different
      home situations, and that he had observed interactions with
      Sydney and her parents on few occasions.

      (obviously this is just scrounging the web for articles). Van Sykle and his wife, partner? co-owner, in 2005 made Great Falls Real Estate news selling their 1993 colonial home for over $1 million (to a NY attorney):
      http://www.washingtonlife.com/issues/2005-02/realestate/

      “In the Allegro community of Great Falls, 730 Forest Park Road, has changed hands. Built in 1993, the spacious Colonial has classic moldings and hard wood floors in the public rooms. The large eat-in kitchen contains a walk-in pantry, a center island and a built-in office work station. Two sets of French doors lead from the kitchen to a screen porch and a sunken family room. A library/ music room is also situated on the first floor. Upstairs, the master bedroom suite includes a sitting room and there is even a second floor laundry room and two-zone heating for added convenience and efficiency. The sellers were Karen Kay Keegan and Guy W. Van Syckle, Jr., a child psychologist whose areas of expertise include parenting issues, family conflict, divorce and separation, and custody litigation. The buyer is Joseph G. Krassy an attorney from New York who spent $1,119,000 for his ol’ Virginny home.”

      – – – – –
      Here’s a 2000 appeal (by a mother) whose 14 yr old son Ryan wanted to live with her; the boys had lived with their father since 1995. In reading it, I see that the children had been in treatment by Van Sykle SINCE 1995.It looks like she got over-ruled in that one, and her own re-marriage, and a 14 yr old’s wanting to spend time with his mother was not a “material change of circumstances.” Note, 1995 is about the time welfare reform passed (see blog)..Van Syckle was the only witness the father called.

      http://www.romingerlegal.com/va_caselaw/virginia/0258004.html

      The trial judge met with both children in camera. At that

      time, Adam said he would not like to be separated from Ryan. Dr.

      Guy Van Syckle, a child psychologist who had worked with the

      family since August 1995, testified it would be “terribly damaging

      to both boys if they were separated.” He stated the boys “look

      out” for each other, support and defend each other. Dr. Van

      Syckle testified that the boys describe themselves as “tight.” He

      also stated the level of physical fighting between the boys had

      diminished over time. Dr. Van Syckle testified he believed Ryan

      feels pressure to please his mother and that Ryan feels “very

      comfortable” living with his father. Dr. Van Syckle stated the

      boys’ condition has “dramatically improved” since father gained

      custody of them. He also opined that father and his wife have

      “done an excellent job of raising the kids.”

      Although mother contends the boys fight while living together

      at father’s residence, the trial judge stated he did not “get that

      impression” from the boys’ evidence “other than the normal sibling

      type of things that go on.” Dr. Van Syckle’s testimony also

      supports this finding. ”

      Parents sued (in pennsylvania — also a commonwealth) and protested, for some reason, by Administrative Rule, parenting coordination was suddenly shut down.

      (samenow strikes me as someone with a very large ego, i.e., the expert on hand. There are lots of them around the courts…http://www.samenow.com/bio.html. Here’s a horrible case involving a very angry grandmother who killed her own granddaughter. Samenow, however didn’t say she was insane, but it was treatable, and she simply was very angry.
      http://vienna.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/dela-rosa-an-angry-woman-psychologist-says
      )

      I see Judge Bellows is Harvard Law School, and has been on the bench (at least there) since 2002, and has ruled in some high-profile cases (this, re: struggle over church property: Episcopals versus more conservative breakaway congregations).
      http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-01-11/local/35438180_1_national-denomination-truro-church-episcopal-church

      Anyhow, here’s the VA corporations search page. Which organizations (search key phrases of the providers) are involved, and are there any conflicts of interest, I mean obvious ones? What about the judge’s disclosure statement (and fact-check that, etc.)
      https://sccefile.scc.virginia.gov/Find/Business

      Thanks for commenting on my blog anyhow.

      Let's Get Honest

      November 29, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      • Wow. You really did your homework! I admire your curiosity, as well. Dr. Van Syckle was involved in the case, but I was not involved early enough or long enough. He only heard about the chaos and barely witnessed the chaos before they found Dr. Samenow to manipulate. Dr. Samenow had the opportunity to step in and help narrow down the source of conflict, but he chose to do nothing. He remained silent, as I was continually denied visitation for reasons given by my ex-wife, that blamed me for the problem. After 3 holidays, he was out.

        The ‘bad actor’ here is Samenow. He KNEW psychopathy and did nothing. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was giving him all the red flags for psychoapthy. I was describing situation after situation that demonstrated a severe absence of emotion. His books described exactly what I was describing to him Only later, after I discovered Psychopathy did the ‘patterns’ appear. As soon as I realized what to look for, it became apparent that Dr. Samenow was hiding the pattern from the Court. The legal bills of my ex-wife show that he was in communication with my ex-wife’s attorneys over 50 times.

        He was paid to write a report consistent with the narrative given by my ex-wife’s attorney.

        If you wan to have fun looking people up, you may want to look up the lawyers for my ex-wife. They are notoriously antagonistic lawyers in the Fairfax County Legal Community.

        The real reaon behind the cover-up has not fully come out yet. That involves another Judge, who has stated his ‘close relationship’ with my ex-wife and her family. So, you can imagine. The Court does not want it to come out that a sitting Judge on the Fairfax County Circuit court was not just fooled by a psychopath, but has a ‘close relationship’ wih one. Furthermore, Dr. Samenow committed fraud and Judge Bellows covered it up.

        Unfortunately,. I now need to argue psychopathy in Court. It is the only explanation for my ex-wife’s behavior AND my reaction to their behavior. The Court is going to have to rule on this issue.

        Thanks agins for looking into this stuff for me! Find more about Samenow, Bellows, Jim Cottrell and Kyle Bartol

        goodmendidnothing

        November 29, 2013 at 5:19 pm

  2. I was looking up Judge (Court-referee?) Fioradaliza Rodriguez on-line. Her linkedIn shows a NY degree, and this is another short summary showing prior background, plus a Masters in the New School for Social Research:
    http://www.rodriguezandfuentes.com/fiordalizaarodriguez.php

    [AP follow-up article]
    http://wowway.net/news/read/category/sports/article/ap-skiers_custody_case_becomes_womensrights-ap-2

    “McKenna “is absolutely thrilled and relieved” by the developments, her lawyers say, and her advocates are delighted by the broader legal message.
    The reversal “unequivocally affirms a pregnant woman’s right to travel, relocate, and benefit from equal protection while making life choices without interference from presumptive fathers or the government,” attorney Naved Amed said. His firm, Amed Marzano & Sediva PLLC, is representing McKenna for free.

    [[I’m sure a good move for the firm!
    http://newyorkappealslawyers.com/index.aspx?TypeContent=ATTORNEYPROFILE&Attorney_ProfilesID=1216. I see they have experience in “matrimonial appeals” also]]

    Miller’s lawyers say he never wanted to prevent McKenna from moving and is just pursuing involvement in his child’s life.
    “She had the right to make any life choice she makes, but her life choice impacted her child because he’s now 3,000 miles away from his father,” said one of his lawyers, Jill Zuccardy.

    … (another publication. “abcfoxmontana” has finished the article):
    “The case has become a commentators’ conversation piece. To Slate magazine editor Emily Bazelon, it’s a sign – of fathers’ rights taken “way too far, to the point of dangerousness.” To Barbara Walters on ABC’s “The View,” it shows “that fathers are interested.” Legal experts, meanwhile, say the case highlights the complexities of custody when parents move far from each other.

    “You could say that as much as it is about women’s rights and their autonomy … at the same time, there’s a countervailing interest of the father’s rights and the father’s access to the child,” said Kevin Noble Maillard, a Syracuse University law professor who has written a book about nontraditional families”

    New insight into Judge Fioradaliza Rodriguez’s initial scold. Although she was PREGNANT at the time, this woman credited her from having moved to New York because child support payments last longer there than in California !!! (typical FR rhetoric; mothers want custody just because they want child support payments):

    “McKenna filed for custody in New York. But Manhattan Family Court Referee Fiordaliza Rodriguez ruled that the case belonged in California. She suggested McKenna had chosen New York because child-support payments generally last until a child is 21 here, compared to 18 in California”

    Again:

    His father had wanted abortion, and when couldn’t get that, wanted custody. He has a new wife, and can literally go on making babies if he wants. The emotional attachment of this one, I have to question, in light of simple selfishness. Suppose McKenna had hung around and tried to soak him for child support? Instead, she went back to school and re-arranged her personal life to accommodate the responsibilities of having a child.

    His father was also something of a gigolo, it looks like, and has already seriously injured his own wife in the eye, and posted the injury. What does that say?

    Let's Get Honest

    November 29, 2013 at 2:13 pm


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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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