Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Surviving the Family Court System

Family court is unique among its other variants (criminal, administrative, etc.) in that the rules of evidence may be applied variously in deference to what is best for the children. This has the effect of making any outcome in any Family Court vulnerable to manipulation and misrepresentation. In cases where Parental Alienation is present, this vulnerability is routinely exploited, making the parents status in this scenario especially precarious. For example, when the court is faced with an allegation that one parent has abused a child, and this allegation is not carefully critiqued, the system opens itself up to limitless distortion. I have personally witnessed countless examples of innocent parents being treated by the court as being abusive, when this was simply not the case. As any of these parents will attest, once this label has been acquired, it is very difficult to erase it in the eyes of the court. The abuse allegation may be ruled as being "unfounded," however the cloud of suspicion will probably remain, causing the court to hesitate to allow more time between that parent and that child. Any parents who have experienced this are nodding right now.

One of the most effective, yet still the least used strategies to correct this, is to "litigate the false allegation." By this, we mean that the unjustly accused parent must do more than merely show that they did not commit the abuse. They should then go on to affirmatively argue that the making of the false allegation of abuse by the other parent, is itself evidence of pathological parenting. They should then go on to show that this spurious misuse of the system is designed to actually remove the child from the accused parent for purposes of gaining advantage in the custody dispute. This "second step," the litigating of the false abuse allegation is rarely pursued however. The omission of this step often spells the difference between the truth being revealed, or it being obfuscated.

4 comments:

Kimberly said...

this second step is often not pursued because the accused parent is usually suffering from Post Traumatic stress (or simply just in shock) and can't afford to go back to court. It comes down to money more often than anything else.

Anonymous said...

Do you filing recommend a counter-suit, such as one for libel or slander?

Anonymous said...

Do you filing recommend a counter-suit, such as one for libel or slander?

J Michael Bone, PhD said...

While it is very costly, I believe and have seen that if it is properly handled early in the process, that much of this can be avoided. Unfortunately, attorneys, even the best Family Law attorneys, are inclined to handle these cases much the same as they would handle a non parental Alienation Case. This is a serious mistake. Cases with significant elements of false abuse allegations, must be approached differently. The false allegations must be litigated, and not just defended. There are many other areas that must be dealt with differently. I would seriously suggest considering taking my new and upcoming course on Family Law for more on this.

As far as suing for libel or slander, I have never really seen this be very effective. It is my understanding that these lawsuits are very difficult
to win. It is also my understanding that such actions are quite expensive.