Family Court Ruling Continues to Traumatize Children

Is this truly in the “best interest” of the children? The judges in the corrupt Hennepin County family court, along with Guardian ad Litem Jamie Manning, have created a custody and parenting schedule that promotes parental alienation, and has continued to traumatize my children since its implementation.

This painful scene is becoming a common occurrence in my life…

I want to spend some extra time with the children for a family holiday. The alleged abuser, Martin Hegland, usually responds in the following ways

Mugshot Martin Hegland

1) completely ignores me, and will not allow the children to come home (also refusing to communicate, so he is the only one that knows what is going on, and will not tell you what that is)

or 2) will allow the children to visit but only after making things as difficult and painful as possible, because he has to flex his sole custody muscles, and show who is in control.

My first request for the holiday visit went ignored – meaning no response, no indication he even read my messages. He will not answer phone calls. A week later, I sent a second request, also ignored. Then, a few days before the holiday, Martin responds and asks if I want to see the children. Of course I said yes — forgetting that I am not talking to a normal human being, but one who has been diagnosed with a “personality disorder” by the very court that later awarded him sole custody. After I said “yes”, Martin will not respond to give me a time or a date for the proposed visit. Nor will he respond to my request asking for a time. Is it really that hard to answer a simple text message?

Not all abuse leaves bruises, and parental alienation is clearly abusive behavior. Martin did not want me to visit my kids at all. What he wanted was to offer then make things so difficult that I got mad and said “forget it” or gave him an ultimatum to respond, and if he didn’t I would cancel the visit. This way Martin could tell the children I cancelled the visit, and did not want to see them. He looks like the “good guy” and I look like a terrible mom. Well, I did not give in. I have a support system in place that is impenetrable. After almost 3 days of no communication, no response to one simple question on what time I could see the kids… finally at the very last minute…when all hope of seeing the kids seems gone.. Martin sends me a txt saying “He did not see my message” and then gave me a time to see the kids.

By then a migraine was forming but I did manage to get myself together, push past the negativity, and have a wonderful visit with my kids. Two visits in one month – amazing!

Then comes the painful goodbye. As I drive closer to the site of the exchange, my toddler begins to ask when can his siblings come home. When can they stay overnight. Will I ask “their dad” if they can stay overnight? Every time I said “no”, his voice got a little louder, more insistent.

When I got to the exchange site, I hugged my kids goodbye then instructed them to say goodbye to lil bro. My toddler did well saying goodbye to my older son but when his sister came to his door, he fell apart. Here is this little child, strapped in a car seat, stretching his arms out towards his sister, kicking his legs. Every instinct in him is to run after his brother and sister, but he cannot break free. He begins to cry, and beg for his sister to stay overnight. My daughter starts to cry too.

Then I look over at Martin – standing maybe 10 feet away – his face is carefully blank, emotionless. He acts like he cannot hear the crying, or the pleas. He sits in his car, staring into space, like nothing is happening. And he is the one inflicting this suffering on these children.

I hold back my tears because I need to be strong for my daughter. One final hug, and I gently push her back toward the dysfunctional life that is surely waiting for her in Martin’s household. Then I stand next to my toddler and kiss his forehead, doing my best to comfort him, as he grieves the loss of his siblings, and is forced to say goodbye. What can I say to make it better? There is nothing.

My daughter walks towards Martin’s car, head down, hair hanging in her beautiful face, now hidden in shadow. Tears line her eyes. As she nears the car, she deliberately straightens her shoulders, makes her face carefully blank, pulling her feelings so deep inside that there is no trace of them. Martin barely says a word to her. He does not console. He does not offer a hug. He is oblivious to her suffering. And I watch, completely helpless, as my little girl becomes someone else – I can see it in her face, in her body language and I feel it in my heart as she pulls away. My daughter has become adept at showing the world a mask, and stuffing her real self deep inside.

Parental alienation is child abuse. My children carry scars, that have been intentionally inflicted because their father is preventing them from having a relationship with their mother, little brother, and any connection to me.

My daughter is doing so poorly in her father’s home that Martin is now putting her on medication. What medicine is there for a broken heart?

~ “Emily Court”, 2015


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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13 Responses to Family Court Ruling Continues to Traumatize Children

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