“Deadbeat Parent”, definition: “Deadbeat parent is a pejorative term referring to parents of any gender who do not fulfill their parental responsibilities…” (Wikipedia)
The court ordered custody and parenting time issued by Judge Patrick Robben (Hennepin County, Minn.) has removed a loving, stay-at-home from the lives of the children, and has legally made me a “deadbeat parent”. The court order does not even meet the bare minimum parenting time outlined by state law, nor does it serve the best interest of the children, rather it is an example of how judicial abuses of power can destroy families, and encourage parental alienation.
I have been forcibly separated from my children by court order, and further separated by an abusive parent engaging in estrangement (who has been enabled by the court). It is not my choice to be separated from my children.
The inspiration from this article came from a friend, who commented that only a deadbeat parent wouldn’t be involved in the life of their child, if given a choice. My friend went on to say that society looks down on people who do not take care of their own children. How, then, can it be legally acceptable – and deemed in the “best interest” of the children to remove a parent who has been involved in their child’s life, and who has been a primary caregiver since birth? Judge Robben has given my abusive ex the power to determine if and when I receive any additional parenting time – and basically has told me that if Martin doesn’t approve, then he will not agree to any additional parenting time. Any effort I make to increase parenting time or custody, and to be more involved in the lives of my children, is rejected by Judge Robben.
My children have been taken for no justifiable reason – there never have been any abuse allegations raised against me, I have a “squeaky clean” background. In fact, I am successfully raising another child, and volunteer with children and families in my community. My children want to come home, they want to be with me – and their sibling. The grief and loss my family has experienced is beyond measure.
An average non-custodial parent would have regular visitation, regular communication with the child and have some form of legal custody or ability to participate in the child’s daily life…I don’t have any of that. I have been court ordered to be a “deadbeat parent”.
Litigation has continued for more than 10 years. This is a comparison of my life with my children before family court … and after… This is the destruction of a family.
BEFORE FAMILY COURT
What I Used to Do for My Children,
Stay-at-Home-Mom and Primary Caregiver:
- Wake up with my children each morning, make breakfast, assist with getting ready for school or planning a daily schedule (when kids are not in school).
- Make after school snack, go on a short adventure (the kids love exploring parks and nature trails!) or do homework.
- Weekly Bible club. The church would have dinner that night and we’d spend the evening visiting with friends and enjoying worship before the kids went into their lessons. Before my son was taken, Bible school included a music lesson taught by a Blues player. My son built a cardboard guitar and just learning how to play when he was taken, and music lessons ended permanently. Year later, my son asked about his guitar, but was too overcome with emotion to say much more…he still feels the loss.
- Make dinner. My daughter had her own area of the counter to help cook, she would stand on a stool, and I’d give her a project. Spending time at the dinner table was special for us – we’d share a family prayer then spend time talking about our day or listening to music.
- Doing educational or religious lessons at home. My son enjoyed science experiments. One of our experiments involved making edible play dough with peanut butter (teaching what a compound is – grin). My daughter enjoyed writing, poetry and art projects. At age five I was teaching her how to write Haiku poetry; those lessons permanently when she was taken but she still enjoys writing, and is advanced for her age.
- Spending time with extended family. My kids have now forgotten the names of relatives they once played with.
- Learning about their family history, culture, and heritage – impossible now. I feel like Judge Patrick Robben has white-washed my biracial children. They have lost so much –it scares me that my children could become part of the lost generation.
THE RESULTS OF FAMILY COURT
-Pray my children will come home.
-Pray my children won’t forget me.
-Pray my children are safe. Live in fear that talking about concerns could result in further harm to my children, and I. At same time when concerns arise, where do I go for help? How can I ignore what is happening? How can I stay silent?
-Pray my children know how much they are loved. And know that I did not leave or abandon them. I had no choice. We are the mercy of a court that has taken the law into its own hands, and twisted justice beyond recognition.
-Stare at the phone, willing it to ring. Silence. Phone calls I initiate to my children are never answered, never returned or acknowledged.
-Write an e-mail or letter and hope it will get to my children.
-Request additional parenting time or overnight visits from Martin. Usually there is no response, no communication. When he does respond, requests are denied 95% of the time. I have also witnessed Martin doing things to make my children fearful or not want to come home.
-Request to be present at doctor appointments, or ask for notification about medical issues and updates. No response, no communication. My child came home with a medical concern and I don’t even know if it is being treated… or who the provider is (if I push the issue legally because father will not communicate).
-Request updates on the children, denied most of the time. Refuses to communicate. Judge Robben actually told me that I do not need to communicate with Martin but rather, I need to address these issues with my own children and speak to them directly! Since when is it a child’s job to facilitate adult communication? Both of my children have special needs, and have communication issues. For Judge Robben to demand this is absurd.
-Abusive ex refused to tell me where the children are attending school. State law says that I am allowed to have this information, and allowed to attend school conferences and receive report cards. I had to call every school in the area to figure out where the kids attend school. Spend hours writing letters to the school, making phone calls, citing state law, sending copies of court orders, and waiting for the school to consult their attorney and get back to me… Explain to the school that my children do have a mother, no I can not explain why the father did not notify you of my existence, yes I do want to be involved in any way I can… And hope for the best. Repeat next year.
-File court motions as allowed, by law. Consult with attorneys in legal clinics. Conduct legal research. Draft motions. Attach evidence. Seek support. Wish I won the lottery so I could afford an attorney. Face reality. Attend court hearings only to have requests for relief denied by Judge Robben – who does not even hide his contempt for me, and obvious bias towards Martin. Wait for months for a ruling, which comes in at the very last minute. No surprise, Judge Robben will not increase parenting time or allow me to participate in the lives of my children. Try again next time.. and again… here I am 10+ years of trying…not even close to giving up.
-Enjoy short visits with the children, only to experience the pain of their loss… again and again….
–The absolute sense of nothing… I remember my life with my children. I cherish our memories. And then there is the nothing, the blackness, when your children are taken from your arms.. and you have no idea what their life is like. Your involvement is removed. The communication ends. And there is nothing.
This is what it is like to be a court ordered dead beat parent.
~Emily Court, October 2016