Therefore, the client’s interests subordinating to the directives of the court, namely the judge, control the status not only of the attorney’s license but of his income.
The attorney’s relationship with the judge and other court actors, particularly in family court where it is largely controlled by judicial discretion, are joined by the hip and the wallet to family court judges where relationships, negotiations, and back bench dealing with the intimate and the most critical decisions related to your family, your marital assets, and the custody of children are directly controlled by your attorney in the contract that you’ve signed with your attorney.
Reading the fine print, you need to understand that your attorney is your spokesperson and your representative to the court. The judge deals with your attorney and the statements and directives of the attorney, not you. Therefore, when there are confidential documents making confidential statements that involve evaluations and contracts related – again – to critical elements of your life (finances, marriage, children), it is the lawyer that defines the terms of these relationships and interactions, financial and otherwise.
You can be excluded from viewing evaluations of yourself, documents that should contain facts and revelations about your character and mental state, judgment, and decision making, whether impaired or not, whether you are a drug addict, alcoholic, or threat to the community, or other critical elements such as your mood and mental state that define your reality testing.
Incredibly, intimate decisions that involve a third party discussing you and working with the knowledge that they have of you may be critical to decisions around custody, protective orders, capacity to engage in legal activity on your own behalf – all fall under the aegis of your attorney. Confidentiality imposed by the court may restrict your access to facts, forms, and various kinds of communications which suddenly all go through your lawyer and are the province of that lawyer’s decision making. You are in fact excluded from a process that you need to be completely aware of, totally informed about the content, activities and statements made about you. You also need to be aware of what commitments are being made in your name that you will be subsequently subject to possibly for the remainder of your life.
As family court plays fast and loose with the law, it is prone to abuse of due process, is loath to properly conduct pretrial discovery so that you and your lawyer are fully aware of what testimony will be present to the court, and your ability to come to court and correct infractions and/or inaccurate material. You find that you are locked outside of the process by your lawyer who acts in place of the client.
Aghast and unnerved, many clients are shocked to learn of the depth and breadth of the power and authority of attorneys taking over your case and working out outcomes with whatever judge, guardians ad litem representative of the children, are in fact recognized as legitimate controllers in taking over your own United States Constitutional right to representation as opposed to a process which eviscerates the litigant’s role and capacity to act on behalf of his children.
To give the reader an idea of how cases in family court go awry, the FCVFC will be presenting requests we have received.
This is one that we received via email:
Subject: Please help my little girl
I am in desperate need of help for my [very young] daughter, who is a victim of the corrupt family court system in [redacted location]. It has been two years since this began and the narrative explained on your website is exactly what is happening to my daughter and myself.
My now ex-husband / her father abused me physically and psychologically during our marriage and I divorced him once he started doing it in front of our daughter. He is now abusing her. She has reported and shown obvious evidence of physical, psychological and sexual abuse thus far. There is a rape kit that remains untested by the local police as her father is an attorney and a local EMT and very well-connected. The alleged perpetrator was his good friend and actually reported in our legal custody evaluation that the “police never questioned him because they are his friends.” Not a single person in the family court system has batted an eye at this despite my begging, and pointing it out, repeatedly. There have been two allegations of sexual abuse in the last year and a half , most recently, [redacted date], both which were deemed unfounded by local authorities. I am now being painted as a liar that coached my daughter to say these things.
Let me point out that the claims and statements of this litigant, we would suggest, are entirely accurate and that the failure of proper forensic evaluation when the process of evaluation of children is very well known and well established and credible when dealt with by the experts by the Foundation, our referral of these cases to the authorities (which includes the FBI) has been a source of tremendous help to our clients.
Last week my attorney dropped my case one day prior to a hearing, and I had no counsel but attempted to file a counter claim and request for continuance, pro se. Two hours after the scheduled hearing was to start, I received a message from whom I thought was my prior attorney, asking where I was …. He stated that the judge would not allow him to withdraw his appearance. Despite my best efforts, The hearing was held without me and my ex-husband was awarded sole custody. A mental health evaluation by a professional of his attorneys choosing was ordered by the court for me. He picked my daughter up from school early that day, and has blocked all contact ever since. I have not even been able to speak with her in over a week now. My heart is completely broken and our lives are in shambles.
I am attaching a statement from my daughter after I had to tell her that her father was allowed to see her again. She expresses fear that he will be able to sexually abuse her again as well as fear of repercussions for talking about it and telling people. Please please can someone help us?
Many more articles to come will demonstrate not only liability but the lies and larceny that accompany retaining family court attorneys who are more likely to lie, cheat, and steal client assets and betray the interests of children via the willingness to advocate for custody transfer from the protective parent into the isolation of an abuser parent.
This practice is unconscionable and unacceptable, and we will continue to write about these cases for the public interest.