Guardian ad Litem Complaint – Jamie Manning (4th Judicial District, Hennepin County, MN)

Jamie L. Manning was appointed on my case as a Guardian Ad Litem in Hennepin County frpm 2007-2013. In my opinion, throughout her appointment, Ms. Manning has failed to perform the statutory responsibilities of a guardian ad litem, described in Minnesota Statutes Section 518.165. I have documentation to support my claims, which I will share on this blog.

It is my belief, based on personal experiences and observations, that the actions of Ms. Jamie Manning have not only compromised the safety of my children but contributed to actual physical and emotional harm done to them.

2012- I had a meeting with Jamie and reported that I felt my children are endangered in the care of their father. I gave several specific examples as well as collateral contacts. I watched Jamie take notes. Jamie refused to look into my concerns. Jamie never did a home visit, and has not observed the children in over a year. Jamie told a third party that my concerns about the children being abused are not valid, and I need to learn “not to speak negative” about their father. This is after my oldest child came home with a bite mark on his neck, and you could see the teeth indented into his skin! 

When I contacted Jamie by phone and e-mail, she did not return my calls for several months–even when I called her to report an emergency with my children. Instead of focusing on valid issues, Jamie began to target me as the problem!

Due to Jamie’s recommendations, my parenting time with my children has been wrongly taken away. There has not been any proof, evidence or complaints against me to warrant this. In fact, all observations of my parenting, and my interactions with the children have been positive. Despite Jamie’s numerous recommendations in favor of the allegedly abusive father, my children are still reporting abuse in their father’s home, and still suffer from behavioral problems that cannot be attributed to me because my contact has been so greatly restricted.



This is taken from a 2010 complaint I filed with the Court, and with the Guardian ad Litem Program Supervisor Laurie Kusek (who never responded to my complaint).

When responding to my complaint, Judge Ivy Bernhardson praised Jamie and told me that I have “too much of an emotional connection with my children” to understand what great work Jamie is doing for the courts.

Judge Bernhardson read this quote to me in court after I filed a complaint against Jamie Manning…and used it to justify dismissing my complaint and request for removal

Judge Bernhardson openly praised Jamie, and drew upon her close relationship with Jamie to deny my complaint, and never looked into the merits of the complaint or the supporting documentation.


Jamie L. Manning, Guardian ad Litem, 4th Judicial District (Hennepin County):

 Ms. Jamie L. Manning has acted both unprofessionally and unethically, and caused irreparable damage to family.

Further, Ms. Manning contributed to mental, emotional and physical harm to my children in the following ways: 

Ms. Manning has violated every aspect of the rules of  procedure.

State of Minnesota in Supreme Court CO096-1475 states: (l) The guardian ad litem shall   comply with all state and federal laws regarding the reporting of child abuse   and/or neglect.

Ms. Manning has ignored serious allegations of child abuse, and failed to contact witnesses and professionals who had information and/or knowledge about  neglect as well as the physical and emotional abuse of my children.

– I provided Ms. Manning with credible information that my children are endangered in the care of their father, not only did she ignore the information I presented, but also told me I need to “focus” on my children, and not share concerns about physical or mental abuse, even as the abuse continues to happen. As a result of her actions, and failure to follow up on complaints, my children have suffered actual physical, emotional and mental harm.

Ms. Manning ignored the very real effects of abuse, and the medical evidence stating my children were suffering from abuse and/or trauma and instead, blamed me for causing all of  my children’s problems. I later obtained a forensic expert report from a firm specializing in high conflict custody cases with allegations of child abuse, which clearly showed I am not a risk to their children—but their father is.  Ms. Manning refused to consider this important piece of evidence, and its implications on the safety and well-being of my children in her reports to the Court.

Rule 8. (d) The guardian ad litem shall complete work in a timely manner, and advocate for timely court reviews and judicial intervention, if necessary.

Ms. Manning did not prepare and submit her reports in a timely manner. She would contact me a day or two before our scheduled court appointment, often calling late at night to gather information. She also has written reports the same day as our court hearing, and served me with papers minutes before I enter the courtroom.

Ms. Manning refused to contact important witnesses then wrote reports and recommendations to the Court without knowing all the facts. Witnesses include: therapists, police reports, daycare providers, doctors and family members.

Rule 8. i) The guardian ad litem shall treat all individuals with dignity and respect while carrying out her or his responsibilities

Ms. Manning has showed bias to the other party, and held different standards, and gave legal advice to the other party which gave him an advantage in court.

Ms. Manning threatened, on multiple occasions, that if I did not do what she wanted, she would recommend to the Court that I lose custody and/or parenting time.

Ms. Manning has changed Court orders, on a whim, to give unsupervised parenting time to the father—who was in supervised visits at the time. I was told if I did not comply, I was told that I would lose custody of my children. After one visit, which Ms. Manning forced, my child was screaming and crying uncontrollably for 20 minutes.

Due to domestic violence, I am enrolled in an address confidentiality program in which my home address is to be kept confidential, and not released to my alleged abuser. Ms. Manning has compromised my address, and has pressured me into revealing my home address to the abuserWhen I told Ms. Manning about a threat of physical harm the abuser made to me, Ms. Manning took the abuser’s side, and said his remark was “understandable”.

Ms. Manning gave false and misleading testimony to the Court, including telling the Court that my participation in an address confidentiality program is a sign that I am “keeping secrets” from the abuser, which caused me to lose custody. Ms. Manning also based her testimony and reports on herasay information from the abuser, rather than collecting information or documentation, or interviewing contacts.

Another example of bias is that Ms. Manning has ignored serious concerns with the other party including: outstanding arrest warrants, a report by the court psychologist stating he has a personality disorder, history of various chemical addictions, and numerous allegations of abuse towards the children.

Jamie Manning

Jamie Manning

While ignoring these concerns, Ms. Manning has greatly exaggerated concerns with me, who has been the primary caregiver of both children since birth. I have no criminal or civil history. I hold a steady job, volunteer in my community and have completed several classes in parenting and domestic violence education. My efforts to provide a stable, nurturing home for my children have been substantiated by reports from providers and people who have worked with my family, all of which should have been considered when Ms. Manning made her reports.

The Court has refused my motion, on two separate occasions, to request another guardian ad litem. I believe my children are currently endangered due to the reckless disregard for the safety of my children demonstrated by Ms. Jamie L. Manning.

 –Emily Court

About Emily Court

It takes "Just Us" To Fight Injustice in Family Court. I blog to raise awareness about problems existing in the family court system, and use my own story as a personal example of how the systemic failures in family court, and the Guardian ad Litem Program, affect families, in an effort to encourage needed reform. Written by a survivor of domestic violence and homelessness working to create a better life for her children, in a stable home free of violence. In her efforts to rebuild her life, she has not only encountered harassment and intimidation from her alleged abuser but faced systematic failures in family court that have empowered her alleged abuser and put her children at risk. She is now fighting to keep her kids safe, and bring them home. Through writing and blogging, FCI is working to raise awareness about domestic violence, and the urgent need for family court reform. She is currently working on a memoir titled "'Til Prayers Are Answered".
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5 Responses to Guardian ad Litem Complaint – Jamie Manning (4th Judicial District, Hennepin County, MN)

  1. Candice says:

    Are you still going thru this? I am going thru the same exact thing right now. Is there any way that i can contact you. I really need some advice. Ive hired the best attorney in my area and i still feel like I’m losing.

    • Emily Court says:

      Hello Candice-

      I am so sorry for what you are going through. You are not alone. Family Court and Guardian ad Litem failures have been reported by protective parents from every state of the U.S. and even internationally (Britain and Slovakia are both receiving media attention for their family court issues, and children are being unjustly taken from fit, loving parents).

      My experiences with Guardian ad Litem Jamie Manning working alongside several family court judges in Hennepin County has been horrific. I thought that when I fled the abuse that I would be able to keep my children safe, and make a better life for us. I assumed the family court system would protect my children, and understand how the abuse has hurt them. Instead the abuser was enabled, and given special treatment by the family court. I was told not to talk about abuse. Told that my fear of the abuser means I am an unfit mother. And told that it was wrong to get help for my children who are suffering severe psychological and behavioral problems, a lot of these issues stem from trauma and abuse.

      There needs to be an audit of family court, as well as serious measure to improve accountability, and other reform.

      I will keep you in my prayers ~ Emily

      djfund @ live dot com

  2. SK says:

    I’m begging for help I live in Will County Illinois and I’m going through a divorce and a child custody case but he left us for two years and then came back around and they hired a guard Atlanta was appointed by the judge and my children are taken away and allegations and never prove and I was never given a hearing or trial and begging for someone to help my children and I get through this and be reunited again someone to help my constitutional right the 14th Amendment I’m begging for help anyone that’s interested in a corrupt system to please look through my documents

  3. BPA says:

    My grandchildren and daughter are going through the very same thing right now. My daughter has sole custody of her children and Ms. Manning is recommending shared custody. The father is abusive, neglectful and has committed fraud. These children are special needs, and they need to be with their mother. Is there anything that can be done about this?

    • Emily Court says:

      I can’t give legal advice but I can give you an idea of what I have learned based on my experience with Manning, and in family court. If you don’t have an attorney, I can give you some resources on how to find one.

      — File Complaint MN State GAL Board:
      The State GAL Board has a complaint form on the website that you can fill out, and when returned they read & investigate. Honestly, I wouldn’t expect much. Many parents also report retaliation after filing complaints. The State GAL Board is well aware of numerous complaints filed against Jamie Manning and has not investigated or taken any action. I have only heard of one complaint filed against a GAL that resulted in a finding of misconduct but there was no disciplinary action taken.

      -You can also file a motion and complaint with the sitting judge on your case and ask for Manning’s removal. Generally, from what I have seen, removal of a GAL is very difficult. Most judges overly rely on GALs, and have formed close relationships with them, and will not remove them from cases. This may also result in retaliation against the filing parent.

      -“Impeaching a guardian ad litem who’s gone (too) rogue” by Gregory S. Forman, P.C.

      – Laws regarding change of custody/modification can be read at:

      -It’s also very important that when you meet with a court professional or go to court, remain calm and professional. Be on time for all meetings or hearings. You will be judged if you appear to be emotional, and it can work against you … don’t expect the court to understand or even care about your situation or reactions. If it helps, bring someone with for support.

Comments are welcome on FCI. We appreciated thoughtful and respectful comments/feedback that offers a variety of views. Any view or opinion represented in the blog comments are personal and belong to the respective commentor. This blogger reserves the right to moderate comments for suitability and may remove or edit comments that contain abusive or offensive language, images, links or accusations. Comments may also be removed if they contain personal information, identifying information or sensitive details about your location, case, minor children, those involved in your case. Please do not post full articles from other sites, as it could be a violation of copyright or intellectual property laws. Thanks for visiting!!

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