Sunday, May 18, 2014

Maine - An appeal to Maine's Supreme Court: Dalton Vs. Dalton CUM-13-521 - the Final Dance

The final installment in the appeal to Maine's Supreme Court of Dalton V Dalton - Maloney response to Bixby


By our reading, the Maloney reply to Bixby’s response is a lot easier for a non-lawyer to follow and to understand. It is a coherent narrative. It tells a very sad story clearly. It is about how a mother has been strategically demonized by her opponents, and how the impact of this demonization has influenced the judge's custody decision. It presents Ms Dalton as the victim of a “railroad job” with several of the court players appearing far from “impartial”. The brief offers examples of flaws in the information gathering process and of the Guardian ad litem (GAL) in this case operating outside of the boundaries of “Rules for GALs”.  Maloney is knocking on the door of the court for equal parent time, which is a position that we, as family court reformers, endorse for every child custody case in a divorce, unless there is proven child abuse. They key word is “proven”.  There is no proof that we can see in this family court case - for good reason.  It would (or should) remove the case to criminal court.

We ask, “So why ever is a family court dealing with alleged child abuse?  Isn’t it outside of their mandate, their skills?” Child abuse is a crime. A claim of child abuse should have a criminal investigation and be tried in a criminal court with a jury, if there is evidence. “Strategic” claims of abuse should be tossed out of family courts; particularly, if the criminal investigation of such claims has already yielded a big, fat  “zero”! Without hard facts soft allegations of abuse constitute a cruel “witch hunt”. We also feel that various forms of court prescribed therapy and parental training, which are mostly without scientific grounding, ought to be tossed out too, as more beneficial to the service provider’s pocketbook that to the recipient of service’s psyche.

In Ms Dalton’s case, it is unclear whether anyone has actually diagnosed a problem for which - despite no diagnosis -  she is nonetheless being treated?  Nor does there seem to be a clear aim or endpoint which would say she has passed the test and can now be a “card-carrying” parent,  So the court and the opposing lawyer  keep the treatment for unspecified problems just rolling along - perhaps forever?  Treatment for the “bad” parent, parent counseling for the “bad” parent, supervised visits for the “bad” parent are part of the family court and family lawyer’s strategic games  that keep the process going on forever with no goals.  All done in the name of “the child’s best interest”, until the money runs out!  It is a cruel travesty that should stop.

Even Maloney in her response to Bixby bows to this hideous “game” when she says that Ms Dalton is “showing progress” with these junk therapy efforts.  “Progress” in what, compared to what, to what end?  As non-lawyers, who don’t have to play the courtroom game, we’d prefer to hit head-on  this bogus therapy for an unspecified  condition, with no visible end point.  Ms Dalton doesn’t need any of it to rein in her imaginary alleged intense child abuse impulses.  It is a disconnected prescription for therapy for no named condition “discovered” as an opportunity by an opposing  divorce lawyer.  And it is a stereotyped strategy used all over America.  A lawyer spots a lucrative opportunity to get a client on a treadmill from which there is no exit.  No end until the money runs out!

Reply brief of Appellant can be found here: Dalton v Dalton Final

If you have had problems in Family Court with a judge or Guardian ad litem please contact us at of find us on Facebook.

The first two briefs may be found here:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Maine - An appeal to Maine's Supreme Court: Dalton Vs. Dalton CUM-13-521 - the Lawyers Debate

We welcome this chance to publish the final two steps in an appeal to Maine's Supreme Court, the Dalton vs Dalton case. Step II, which follows here, is attorney Susan Bixby's reply to Beth Maloney's original brief.  Maloney’s brief, published here earlier, got the appeal process started. Step III is Maloney’s rebuttal of Bixby.

Along with our presentation here of the final two steps, we offer our layman’s observations and reactions to the 'arcana' of legal strategy used by these lawyers for a family court appeal.  Our non-expert, "grass roots" response to both pieces of writing is philosophical and common sense - not legal.  The philosophical flaws we see in both documents are about the basic human assumptions, the investigative process and the judicial decisions behind the  classic lawyerly strategies for how the "contentious divorce” (and its appeal) gets played.  For what it's worth, here is our personal take on the final two lawyerly exchanges in the Dalton v Dalton debate:


As we read it, Ms Bixby uses an all too common divorce strategy: to communicate by strong  inference that suburban housewife and mother of three children, Sarah Dalton, is a dangerous woman around children.  You may note that Bixby carefully comes close to the line of actually charging child abuse, but doesn't ever  cross it.  In her well designed response to the Maloney brief, Bixby strongly hints that, if Ms Dalton were left alone with her kids, God alone knows what bad - but unspecified - things might happen.  In tone it is all very subjunctive, speculative and scary.  She never crosses the line dividing hints of possible abuse from actual charges of abuse - for good reason.  It would end the family court hearings and - after investigation, might place the charge in criminal court, where a trial by jury would probably clear Ms Dalton of the "hints" of abuse issue.

Clearly, Ms Bixby's client , Mr. Dalton, is indirectly represented as wanting an “exclusive” - all of his children all of the time. No sharing. No concern about the children's need for a maternal parent. It is a hardball, legalistic "abuse game" right out of the movie, "Divorce Corp". Take no prisoners! The Bixby presentation raises the question in this reader's mind: "What exactly makes Ms Dalton 'unfit' as a mother , and after all of these years as a mother is she suddenly ‘nouveau’ abusive?"  And, another puzzle, why is she presented as, so far, being  immune to corrective therapy?  It is so stereotyped a legal strategy of demonizing a custody opponent as almost to be out of the tabloids!

Bixby, by her numerous claims that Maloney has ignored the "Rules of Evidence" more than implies that her legal opponent is dim and ignorant of how to use the "Rules of Evidence".  Tut tut!  As non-lawyers, what can we say?  The always meticulous, compulsive, detail-oriented Maloney, it is implied, needs to go back to the "Rules" book and bone up!  There is also an unmistakable hint from Bixby that Maloney needs lessons in legal etiquette and propriety. "Aggressive lawyering" is the operant phrase but there is more innuendo of absent professional refinement.

But read Part II, the Bixby reply and see what you think: Dalton Vs. Dalton CUM-13-521 Bixby's response.

To read the initial brief that was filed in February 2014 please follow this link: An appeal to Maine's Supreme Court: DaltonVs. Dalton CUM-13-521.

If you have had problems in Family Court with a judge or Guardian ad litem please contact us at of find us on Facebook.

gal, Guardian ad litem, family court, Dalton, child abuse, lawyers debate, divorce corp, jury