Even a baby knows injustice… the heart breaking separation of my children due to an unjust family court ruling. This happens almost every time the visits with my older children end, and they are returned to a home of alleged abuse and dysfunction…
A shrill, desperate scream tore through the night – causing owls to take flight from their perch, watchful eyes swept across dark skies. A shiver raced through my body. My pulse quickened and with another cry, my heart broke into a thousand pieces that could never be put right. I hold my son, a toddler, in my arms as he screamed for his sister—his chubby hands tore at my neck as he struggled to break away, to run to her bright pink jacket disappearing into the night. “Sissy!” he screamed over and over again.
My son cried and fought as I struggled to carry him back into the house. Once inside, we collapsed onto the couch. I held his wriggling body against me as he cried, stroking his golden curls.
Finally he said, “Sissy, I love you” then fell into an exhausted sleep.
Though I was conditioned to remain silent through the threat of abuse, and then legal intimidation from family court, I felt the same…my beautiful little girl was leaving again, after a wonderful visit home, to be returned to an alleged abuser, his dysfunctional living situation, that I believe is not safe.
This heartbreaking scene is repeated each month, a result of family court injustice. Without justification, and blatantly breaking the laws meant to protect, Family Court gave full custody of my two older children to an alleged abuser and wanted fugitive, “Mr. X”.
The injustice I have experienced is beyond comprehension—the Guardian ad Litem Jamie Manning refused to interview witnesses or consider medical evidence and instead began to make up stories, which she reported to the judge, who blindly believed her. The bias and preferential treatment Jamie showed the Mr. X included offering him legal advise, overlooking instances of child abuse that occurred in his home, and refusing to contact me when I reported concerns.
State laws regarding custody and parenting time were not followed, and hearsay relied on when evidence was ignored or dismissed. When I raised concerns, even with real evidence, I was punished by the Court—intimidated by it’s officers, and told in numerous ways to be silent even as abuse was happening. When I filed for a change of custody due to endangerment, Judge Robben simply decided he would not consider the evidence I presented, and awarded attorney’s to Mr. X stating my suit was “frivolous”. I was never allowed an evidenciary hearing.
Another time, I could not attend a hearing due to a medical emergency and Judge Robben went forward with the hearing anyway; which meant I was not privilege to what was occurring inside the courtroom. I could not respond to arguments. I had no knowledge of what was said. And no ability to defend my case.
Not to mention the absolute horror of losing custody because I could not afford legal help, and was forced to fight this case on my own without any legal training, any knowledge of the law or having the means to provide an adequate defense. I was re-traumatized, and forced to confront my abuser who continued to exert controlling and emotionally abusive behavior throughout the legal proceedings, and now was using my own children as a pawn in his war against me. All of this—and much worse—was happening in a so called “court of law” and a “family justice center”.
Now my children are being emotionally tortured and their love for each other put to the test, as my family is forcibly separated. Even worse, Judge Robben had given sole discretion to “Mr. X”—the man who had stolen years of my life with threats, intimidation, severe controlling behavior at times physical abuse—to decide when and if I would be allowed additional visits. The efforts I took to escape the abuse had resulted in Family Court sanctioning Mr. X to continue his controlling and abusive behavior—the children, suffering the worst, from not only abuse but having their loving mother and baby brother forcibly removed from their lives, and legally prevented from having a meaningful relationship with their family, a relationship they had enjoyed all of their lives until the custody dispute began.
In those few visits with my children… We laugh. Grow close again. Go to church. Visit relatives. Play games. Visit museums and parks. Learn about their multi-racial heritage and other family history. And begin to sever broken bonds…only to be separated again, with little or no contact for another month. This is traumatic and inhumane. Every time it happens, my children suffer. So we are left with this.. tears, lingering memories, a cry for justice that goes unheard.
Emily Court/M21, Jan 2014
One Mom out of countless forcibly separated from her children due to family court injustice…