Sunday, December 31, 2017

What You Should Ask Your GAL

Our court system has us believe that the role of Guardian ad litem is at least in theory a person who is the eyes and ears of the court offering a neutral and unbiased view of the divorcing family. In practice the person who operates in this role is anything but. The Guardian ad litem ’s personal values and agenda clouds the process and as a result this can be a source of conflict with you.

Ask yourself this:
How well do you know this person?
What happens if your values differ from that of this court appointed official?

Our Family Court system markets the belief that in the roll of Guardian ad litem we have a person who we are to believe is an expert in determining – where your child should live, the impact of divorce or domestic violence, visitation, custody, law, psychology and social work to name a few areas. This expertise comes from just a few hours of training with little or no focus. There is no test to determine whether or not this Guardian ad litem understands the material. There is no mentoring program after the Guardian ad litem completes training. To make matters worse - there is no oversight or management of this person in this role. Doctors, lawyers, judges, electricians, plumbers, nurses, oil burner technicians, chiropractors, social workers and dental hygienists have more training and oversight. In addition to the training and oversight we can ask people in these professions questions without the fear of being reprimanded for doing so.

You – as a consumer – need to inform yourself about the person who is being thrust into your life and making decisions which you have no control over. They should be asked before any Guardian ad litem has become a part of your life - chances are the Guardian ad litem is already wreaking havoc in your divorce/ custody. It is not too late.

These questions are being presented in no particular order or grouping. In most cases the answers will have meaning for you and should be used as a tool to help in understanding the Guardian ad litem. In asking any of these questions if the Guardian ad litem refuses to answer or gives a non-answer answer – that is a behavioral message and a clue as to the makeup of the person. The questions and answers should be entered in as evidence or asked in court of the Guardian ad litem . It becomes part of the record.

After going through this list if you can think of questions that may be appropriate to ask we would encourage you to share. A link will be provided to voice those questions.

Presented here are some basic questions (depending on the answer there may be follow up questions):

1. Do you have experience as a law enforcement officer in conducting investigations?
2. What is your actual field of professional expertise?
3. What makes you an expert in determining what is good for other people’s children?
4. What makes you an expert in determining how other people should conduct their lives?
5. What is your child hood family background?
6. What is your own family history as an adult?
7. What is your own marital history as an adult?
8. What is your own relationship history as an adult?
9. Why do you want to be appointed to this case?
10. What do you see your role in this case to be?
11. How do you separate your underlying professional behaviors from your role as Guardian ad litem functions?
12. As a Guardian ad litem going through training were you ever tested on what you learned?

     a. YES – What was the score you received?

     b. NO – How do we know that you understand the material taught/ discussed?

13. As a Guardian ad litem you are tasked as being neutral and unbiased in conducting your investigation and in making recommendations.

     a. How do you maintain neutrality during your investigation?

     b. How do you keep your personal bias and agenda out of the cases?

     c. Does the judge provide supervision and oversight when you are appointed to a case?

14. As a child did you ever experience issues involving the absence of one or both parents?

     a. YES – What was that experience like for you?

     b. NO – How can you understand what the issues are?

15. Do you have experience with research in dealing with child custody?

     a.  YES - What specific research can you sight?

     b.  NO – If not then please explain how you are able to conduct an investigation?

16. Please describe what was/ is the relationship you had/ have with your Mother?
17. Please describe what was/ is the relationship you had/ have with your Father?
18. Are there any ongoing issues with either?
19. Did you grow up in a divorced home?
20. Do you have siblings?
21. Do you have Grandparents?
22. As a child did you have contact with your extended family?
23. Do you come from a religious home?

     a.  YES – What is your religion currently?

24. Did/ do you come from a particular ethnic background?
25. We grow up with a belief system. It is a part of what defines us as a person.

     a.  Has your belief system ever interfered with an investigation?

     b.  Did/ will your belief system interfere with this case?

     c.  NO – How do we know?

26. Do you apply your own values in making recommendations to the court?

     a.  YES – Can you describe what some of your personal values (political, social as example).

            i.  If my values are different than yours how will that affect your perception of me as a             parent?

     b.  YES – As a neutral observer – why are your values better than either parent?

     c.  NO – How can we be sure?

     d.  NO – As a neutral observer – are you saying that your investigation is neutral with regards to the values you have?

             i.   If so then what test do you use to verify this?

             ii.  How can we be sure your values will not influence how you view this divorce/ custody?

27. In making your recommendations to this court please explain how you arrived at the following:

      a.  The visitation schedule?

      b.  Custody?

28. Have you ever been married?

      a.  YES – How many times?

      b.  NO – How are you able to understand the dynamics of married life?

29. Have you ever been divorced?

      a.  YES – How many times?

      b.  YES – Did you ever go through litigation?

              i.   YES – Did you have issues with child support?

              ii.  YES – Did you have issues with the custody agreement(s)?

      c.  NO – What experience do you draw upon in order to understand what a divorcing family goes through?

30. Do you ever refer cases you are involved in to Child Protective services?

      a.  YES – What are your criteria for such a referral?

      b.  YES – Is the claim of child abuse always a criminal claim?

      c.  YES – Should criminal allegations be removed from Family Court to an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office?

31. Which Judges do you frequently work with?
32. Which lawyers do you work with on cases?
33. How many of your cases have been appealed to a higher court?
34. Have you ever been sanctioned:

      a.  By a Judge?

      b.  By a Higher Court?

      c.  The result of a complaint?

35. How many cases have you been involved with as a Guardian ad litem ?
36. How do your clients respond to the work you do as a Guardian ad litem ?

While these questions should be asked before the Guardian ad litem has been assigned by the judge - quite often it will not be until after you recognize there is a problem with the way this person operates. It is never to late to start asking. Make the questions and answers for the record. If you have any questions which you think may be appropriate we ask that you follow this [LINK] to submit. We will maintain a running list of questions.

NaGAL is working for reform in our Family Court system. This includes the role of Guardian ad litem (court vendor), Parent Coordinator, Special Master and court evaluators. If you have issues we ask that you contact us at or find us on Facebook.

Felicity Myers

Sunday, December 24, 2017

You're A Mean One Mr GAL

You're a mean one, Mr. GAL.
You really are a heel.
You're as cuddly as a court room,
You're as charming as a court appeal,
Mr. GAL.
You're a bad banana with a greasy black peel.

You're a monster, Mr. GAL.
Your heart's an empty soul.
Your brain is full of nonsense.
You've got garlic in your brain, Mr GAL.
I wouldn't touch you with a
Thirty-nine and a half foot pole.

You can imagine how the rest of the song goes.

Unless you have a record of abuse - physical and or mental - there is little reason for a Guardian ad litem to make a "recommendation" to the court that you should not spend time with your child(ren). Guardians ad litem do not have the training that a psychologist would have ( as example ) in determining whether a child will be harmed or whether you should see your child. Unfortunately Guardians ad litem will use their position in the courts to influence a judge.

You are not alone in thinking that what you are experiencing is unfair and unjust. It is. You have to have strength to overcome this injustice. It will also take time to document in writing and other media what is going on. You have to look at what you are experiencing in the long term and realize that it will probably take time. Be patient.
NaGAL works to educate the public and our elected officials on the issues within the Family Court system. We concentrate on the court vendors - Guardians ad litem - as they bring little value compared to their expense to the table. If you have had issues with a Guardian ad litem we encourage you to contact your state representatives and find us on Facebook.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Is Junk Science used in Family Courts?

Junk Science -

is the name given to popular, unscientific concepts, consultants and practices used in some courts to defend and justify actions and decisions that might be hard to justify otherwise.

Commonly there is no form of testing to prove or disprove an idea or recommendation that a Guardian ad litem or Family Court is promoting.

Junk science by its ungrounded, unscientific foundation potentially corrupts the judicial process, and it is the source of much human pain and disillusionment, when it is used.  It significantly undermines public confidence in the intelligence and fairness of the judiciary and the courts.

When Guardians ad litem and lawyers make far reaching pronouncements about a child or a party with whom they have had little interaction and offer speculative opinions for which they have no scientific basis, this is "junk science".  When they project into the future (no one can foretell the future), this is pure junk science, when they label parties and/or their children with catchy syndromes that are unrecognized by leading national professional organizations in the field, this is junk science.  When they recommend or prescribe trendy treatments or counseling that have no recognized  scientific basis, this is prescribing "junk science".  When some courts force unwanted treatment or demand the release of privileged, personal therapy records in non-criminal divorce cases- using the threat of contempt- this can only be labeled as practicing  “junk science”.  It is totalitarian and it is destructive of human worth, dignity and human rights.  It ill becomes a democratic society.  When some courts duplicate and/or override the findings of Children's Protective agencies or highly qualified professional consultants, this is junk practice.

Junk science is an area of court usage that needs careful, undefensive review, data collection and high level behavioral medicine consultation to develop the best standards if courts are to correct a bad practice

NaGAL work to bring about change in the Family Court system. We would encourage you to become involved by talking to your state representative. Please find us on Facebook.

felicity myers

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

My Lost Love, My Lost Child - A Poem

A divorcing family is hard for everyone especially the child(ren). The following poem by Garrett W. Wheeler - My Lost Love, My Lost Child is a cry out for a child by a father. The poem could pertain to anyone - mother, father or the grandparent who doesn't get to see that child anymore...

My Lost Love, My Lost Child
I wonder what you’re doing
and how you’re living life
what new things did you learn today
and how did you sleep last night
did you feel raindrops on your face
or sunshine in your eyes
of all the questions left unknown
the biggest one is why
why can’t we be together
why can’t I watch you grow
why can’t I guide you through this world
this I just don’t know
but I promise we’ll be together
no matter how long it seems
just know your always in my heart
and always in my dreams

poem written by © Garrett W. Wheeler

NaGAL offers support to those parents who have little to no contact with their child(ren).

Felicity Myers

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Remember our Veterans

This weekend as we honor those who fought to help maintain the freedoms you and I have.

Remember that many veterans have returned from deployment only to be thrown into conflict for which they were ill prepared. Fighting in the arena of Family Court.

These veterans find them selves fighting a foreign war where their children are taken away from them. Their rights abused and ignored and they are left broken physically and in spirit - destitute and homeless.

Family Courts operate in an opaque environment - you can take the step to make it transparent. Become involved for the benefit of a veteran as well as yours. Call your state representatives and write to them about the problems and issues in Family Courts. Help a veteran - help yourself.

Does the Bar encourage false claims of Parental Neglect?

Several years ago the Family Section of the American Bar did a study that covered the issue of programmed and brainwashed children.

It was "discovered" that of those cases the Bar looked at - none - had any merit for litigation this despite claims of:

Abuse; parental neglect; alcohol and or drug use/ addiction and poor social and or physical environment - to name a few of many issues.

The Bar discovered that it was the emotional and social needs of the programmer/ brainwasher that brought about the aggressive conflict with the target parent.

Family Court has known about the issues you have been experiencing for decades - but has done nothing to minimize or prevent what you experienced.

NaGAL helps parents and others understand what is going on in our failed Family Court system. We would encourage you to let others know your story of being falsely accused. Become involved.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

American Bar Discovers Parents Are Being Alienated from their Children

During your divorce and after did you feel that your children were being alienated from your life? Brainwashed or even programmed?

Did anyone listen to what you had to say or were you told that you were just "sour grapes"

Well you should know that several years ago the "Family" Section of the American Bar did a study that concentrated on children being brainwashed, programmed and alienated from the target parent.

For instance the American Bar found that the parent who was actively brainwashing often rationalized what they were doing - and doing so "in the best interest of the child". Often claiming that they were the parent telling the truth.

The brainwashing parent used what ever means available to punish the target parent - often using the former couples children to deliver the message.

In over 20% of the cases studied religion was used to label the target parent as being "bad".

The Bar discovered that the programmers thinking was irrational.

The list goes on and as the targeted parent you could probably add to what was discovered by the American Bar. Yet the Bar has done little to shed light on the problems associated with one parent alienating another. This despite knowing how to detect and manage the problem in the court system.

One thing that you should do as the targeted parent is document every instance that alienation happens. Keep a journal, get a voice recorder and record what is happening to you. Otherwise it is your word against the brainwasher.

NationalGAL is for "Family" Court and Guardian ad litem reform. We do so by educating parents on how to protect them selves in "Family" Court. Please find us on Facebook or email us at

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Has Your Child Been Brainwashed or Programmed?

If you as a parent feel that your child(ren) is being programed or brainwashed by the other parent you are not alone.

In a study by the American Bar Association (ABA) Family Section some surprising facts came about.
  • Accusations made by the brainwasher/ programmer (Alienator) were never followed up upon by Guardians ad litem (court vendors), lawyers or others who were party to the case. Many Guardians ad litem - for instance - claimed that it was almost impossible to detect.
  • In the majority of cases - there was no history of abuse, drug or alcohol abuse or that the child(ren) lived in an environment that was poor and sickly. Yet when these types of accusations were made against the alienated parent they were rarely if ever followed up upon.
  • If you as the target parent of the alienation had moved on - career, new house or marriage - it was shown that the brainwashing/ programming only intensified against that parent.
 How did the children fare?
  • In interviews with the children - 80% - of them wanted the alienating process discovered.
  • That - 70% - felt some kind of relief when the alienating process was discovered.
  • It was discovered that many of the children would say what the alienator wanted - especially when that person was present. When in the presence of the other parent they would often display love and affection towards that parent.
  • Simple but specialized interviewing techniques would uncover this alienating behavior in the alienating parent.
As a parent it is hard to bear hearing some of the things that our child(ren) may say to us as a result of the brainwashing/ programming they are going through. You have to understand that your child is probably struggling and may feel powerless to do anything for fear of punishment. Talk to your child and ask if there was anything that may have upset or cause concern during your visit with them. Do this before they are brought back. If there is address it with them and if it becomes a problem later on with the other parent you can let them know that you worked it out with your child(ren).

Family Courts have known for years about alienating parents and the brainwashing/ programming that happens. Yet they have either chosen to do nothing or are ill equipped to do anything about it.

MeGAL provides support and education on the issues within the Family Court system. If you have or are experiencing problems please contact us at or find us on Facebook.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Programming and Brainwashing of Children by Another Parent

The American Bar Section of Family Law did a twelve year study on the issue of programming and brainwashing of children by a parent.

Some of the findings:

Those who were/ are a part of the case - Lawyers, Judges and other court vendors often knew of the problem but would do little or nothing because of the process involved with proving it.

Many Guardians ad litem (GALs) (court vendor) and mental health professionals were (and still are) ill equipped to recognize that programming and or brainwashing was occurring.

If you feel that brainwashing has been going on or that your child(ren) are being programmed - you are probably not alone in knowing that. There is a good change that the courts and their vendors also know - but choose to do nothing about it.

The courts choose to ignore.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

ME Judiciary Committee to Chief Justice Saufley on GAL Review Board and Complaints

In what was a surprise move by the Judiciary Committee - a letter was sent to Honorable Leigh I. Saufley, Chief Justice of Maine's Supreme Court regarding the Guardian ad litem Review Board and Complaint process.

The recommendations made - while they do not go nearly far enough in our opinion - is a start. It also shows that consumers of these services who spoke out or wrote in had an impact on the opinions of this committee. Below is the letter which was sent:

July 18, 2017

Honorable Leigh I. Saufley, Chief Justice
Maine Supreme Judicial Court
Cumberland County Courthouse
205 Newbury Street
Room 139
Portland, Maine 04101-4175

Re: Guardian Ad Litem Review Board and Complaint Process

Dear Chief Justice Saufley:

As you may know, the Judiciary Committee this session considered and unanimously supported LD 457, An Act To Repeal the Sunset Date on the Children Guardians Ad Litem Law. As the title suggests, this bill repeals the sunset provision in Title 4, Chapter 32, the comprehensive law enacted by the 126th Legislature to reform the statutes, rules and procedures involving the court-appointment, compensation, and oversight of children's guardians ad litem in guardianship, adoption, divorce, parental rights and responsibilities, and child protection proceedings.

At the public hearing on LD 457, we encouraged to learn from Chief Judge E. Mary Kelly about the reforms the Judicial Branch implemented after the enactment Of Title 4, Chapter 32: the development and adoption of the new Maine Rules for Guardians ad Litem governing the qualifications, standards of conduct, and appointment of guardians ad litem as well as the procedures governing oversight of guardians ad [item by the Guardian ad Litem Review Board, a new, independent unit of the Board of Overseers Of the Bar. We are satisfied that these reforms were necessary responses to address the concerns that led to enactment of Title 4, Chapter 32.

We were troubled, however, by the testimony we heard and received indicating that some parties in court proceedings where guardians ad litem have been appointed remain frustrated by the perceived lack of accountability enjoyed by guardians ad litem. Individuals who testified against LD 457 expressed confusion surrounding what they view as an overly complex and impersonal Guardian ad Litem Review Board Complaint system as well as dismay that the heavy representation of rostered guardians ad litem on the Review Board prevents complainants from receiving a fair evaluation of their grievances. We therefore respectfully request that the Judicial Branch and the Guardian Ad Litem Review Board consider implementing the following changes to the Guardian Ad Litem Review Board and the complaint process:

  • improve the balance in board membership between rostered guardians ad litem (currently 8 members) and members of the public (currently 4 members);
  • clearly inform complainants both on the complaint form and on the board's publicly accessible website that board staff are willing and able to assist complainants both with filling out the complaint form and with understanding the complaint process; 
  • remove question C. 1 from the complaint form, which inquires whether the complainant is aware of any past complaints against the guardian ad litem; 
  • require board staff to immediately acknowledge receipt of all complaints in writing; 
  • ensure complaints are processed in a timely manner, with periodic updates provided to complainants to keep them informed of the status of the complaint; and 
  • provide a written explanation to the complainant of the reason for dismissal whenever a complaint is dismissed at any point in the complaint process.

Thank you for considering these recommendations. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Senator Lisa Keim
Senator Chair

Representative Matthew W. Moonen
House Chair

To review a copy of the actual document please follow this link.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Change Takes Dedication and Perseverance

Family Court is one of the most in-humane institutions ever invented by humans. There is no quick fix to bringing about change. It takes education of those who can bring about change and there will be those (lawyers, Guardians ad litem and other court vendors) who will be there every step of the way to tell those same people that there is no problem.

For 10 years Peter Szymonik has been standing up to the Family Court system in Connecticut. It takes this kind of dedication to bring about change. On May 22 Peter went before Connecticut's Judiciary Committee to give testimony on the appointment of Barry Armata as a judge.

Please watch the video of testimony give by Peter:

Judiciary Committee Public Hearing on Judicial & Workers’ Compensation Commission Nominations Followed by Committee Meeting - Video

MeGAL has been working since 2012 to bring about change in Family Court system. We encourage you to be involved in the process by contacting your representative and start to educate him/ her with what the problems are.

 Guardian ad litem - Felicity Myers

Thursday, May 11, 2017

TN - Examined - A Parents Right to Free Speech

While this appeal does not center around a Guardian ad litem that has failed. It could have.

 In an unusual case the Tennessee Court of Appeals indicated that some of the restrictions placed on the Mother regarding communications were vague or broad.

As an example the Mother was restricted from mentioning the Father at all on social media. This meant that the most benign reference would land the Mother in trouble.

What is even more interesting is that this was a Family Matters case and the Mother was Pro se.

For more details please follow these links:

Herston Law Group - Parent’s Right to Free Speech Examined in Nashville, TN Child Custody Modification: Gider v. Hubbell


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ME - We Support Rep John Picchiotti's Bills For Kinship Providers

We strongly support all of Rep John Picchiotti's bills. All of them are very  much needed by those children who have been abandoned by parents, or whose parents are  determined to be "unfit". The bills fill a gap in healthy  support systems for children in the care of (non-parental) kinship providers. They also provide much needed public support to the dedicated kinship providers themselves. The bills address issues that have cried out for attention for a very long time.


LD 063 An Act To Ensure Complete Investigations by Guardians Ad Litem - Sponsored by Rep Picchiotti. This bill requires that a Guardian ad litem should do a complete investigation and report on standardized, court approved forms that list topic headings the GAL tasks to be investigated and outcome of investigation. Reports must be provided to both parties well in advance of hearings. Tasks assigned by judge must comply with GAL role. We do not support the aspect calling for removal of the SUNSET CLAUSE - in this bill, and Rep Picchiotti tells us that it was put there in error by the Revisor's office. He plans to explain its removal to the Judiciary Committee when the bill is presented on Thursday, March 23rd at 1 pm.

LD 363 An Act To Make a Child Living with a Custodial Relative Caregiver Eligible for State-paid Legal Services - Sponsored by Rep Picchiotti. This bill aims at giving children, living with kinship providers, legal protection and legal representation in custody disputes between parents and de facto parents (foster kinship).  Guardians ad litem do not provide formal legal court representation to children in litigation situations. They gather information for the judge.

LD 429 An Act Concerning Guardians Ad Litem and Determinations Regarding the Best Interest of a Child in Custodial Relative Caregiver Cases - Sponsored by Rep Picchiotti. Act considers when the child's best interest is reviewed.  Giving custody to a relative must be considered.

LD 147 An Act To Amend the Maine Parentage Act - Sponsored by Rep Picchiotti. This bill prohibits a child support order from requiring payment of child support from the 'de facto' parent to another parent of the child if the 'de facto' parent became a 'de facto' parent due to the unwillingness or inability of the other parent to provide care for the child.

LD 282 An Act to Support Caregivers when Children Have Been abandoned by their Parents - Sponsored by Rep Picchiotti. This concerns caretaker relatives who take custody when a child's parents have abandoned them without formal guardianship or power of attorney. 'De facto' parents may petition the court to be appointed guardian. The law would amend factors for the court to consider in the child's best interest: parental participation in child's life, parental capacity, disposition of parent to uphold a normal parent-child relationship

LD 362 An Act to Allow Relative Caregivers Standing in Court - Sponsored by Rep Picchiotti. This bill specifies that a relative caregiver involved in a child protective proceeding has an unconditional right to intervene in the proceeding.

From our perspective these several bills correct the severe legal disadvantages that dedicated kinship providers have faced in their efforts to provide good homes to the children of parents who are "unfit". Often these children are their grandchildren. That they have not been considered by courts as providers of child care "in the child's best interest" is hard to understand; that they do not have standing in court is another illogical injustice to them and the children they care for; that they might be "hit on" for child support is simply unbelievable; and that the children in these cases have no legal representation is a failing of the courts to protect these vulnerable children.

Representative Picchiotti and the Kinship Provider group deserve enormous credit for bringing these issues to public and legislative attention. We sincerely hope that the legislature acts in favor of these bills.

felicity myers Guardian ad litem

Saturday, March 11, 2017

ME - Empty Promises: The Dutremble GAL Law in the Hands of the Judicial Branch

When courts get involved with families about any aspect of child custody, it is always a high stress situation for all concerned. For families and children facing divorce action, child protection considerations or probate mandated custody, the circumstantial dynamics are already dire for children and their parents. Courts add yet another level of stress to these situations, just by being courts. The courts  use unfamiliar language, an unfamiliar 'modus operandi' and a traditional adversarial model of problem solving that is imposed on top of the unstructured, human adversarial conditions.

Courts will frequently add a 'Guardian ad litem' to this volatile mix, and the total picture can  disintegrate further. A 'Guardian ad litem' is usually a lawyer or mental health professional, who works for the judge in the case, collecting data about the case that may not be easily accessible to the judge, such as home circumstances, parenting skills, health, education and mental health issues. All of this is to be carried out "in the child's best interest". It is a delicate balancing act, actively scrutinized by all the players, and, the stakes are extremely high - the child or children, who are up for varying custody arrangements.

Families involved with GALs, as they are called, have been very vocally unhappy with oversight of the Maine GAL program for years. A nationally-respected, 2006 OPEGA Performance Audit of Maine GALs, did a careful analysis and made a series of recommendations aimed at program correction. It was largely tabled by the Judicial Branch. In 2013, Senator David Dutremble and many GAL victims decided to legislate reform of  the GAL program. They used the 2006 OPEGA GAL Report as the basis for Chapter 406, a law to improve the functioning of GALs with respect to children. It involved many willing workers who were GAL program victims and lots of bipartisan legislative support - all the way the Governor. There was huge excitement and a great sense of accomplishment on the part of everyone who worked for the bill/law. After the bill was signed into law in the late Spring of 2013, it went to the Judicial Branch for implementation.

In the intervening time since 2013, the rumors about the fate of 2013, Chapter 406 have not been reassuring. Serious consumer problems continue under the new law. As required by the law, an extensive report on the program's progress was given to the Judiciary Committee by Chief Judge, Mary Kelly about 2 weeks ago. This was followed promptly with an equally extensive rebuttal to the "Kelly Report" by Maine Guardian ad litem Alert (MeGAL).

Here are a few of the concerns in our report.

The recent  "Kelly Report" doesn't answer public questions: How are the various changes instituted by the Judicial Branch working? Are Consumers satisfied? Is there yet and oversight/ supervision of Guardians ad litem? If so, how? Is there any data to support public evaluation?

Judge Kelly's review ignores the important 2006 OPEGA Audit of Maine GALs, as a baseline measurement with which to gauge change.  OPEGA spelled out: "Here are the GAL problems - and here's what needs to be done to correct them!" To many consumers, the GAL problems in 2017 don't look too different from 2006. The significant issues for this program  continue to be the same: no managerial "oversight" of GALs., no enforcement of written changes dealing with the GAL role, no quality assurance and a complaint procedure that is not "user-friendly."

The cornerstone of the  recent Judicial Branch report is a detailed presentation of the new Guardian ad litem complaint procedure. This opaque, written procedure is handled exclusively by a mail exchanges of letters. It is the only avenue for enforcement of "oversight". It is coupled with a belief that judges appointing a Guardian ad litem exercise the best "oversight" of Guardians ad litem. It is a highly disputable concept, entangled in local Bench-Bar politics and power struggles - and it would require a judge to admit bad judgement in an appointment, calling attention to bad judgement in other decisions. Complaint procedures, which dismisses 100% of cases, seems highly suspect as oversight or quality assurance; particularly, when there is no other corrective action imposed. It raises the question: Doesn't the public deserve better? The complaint procedure is neither useful nor user-friendly.

It is time for the legislature to ask for an OPEGA audit, of the GAL program. An audit would analyze problems and lay-out a blueprint for change. Judge Mary Kelly could show leadership by joining in the call for OPEGA to evaluate her service.

Jerome A Collins

Friday, March 3, 2017

CT - Six On Judiciary Committee Vote Against Reappointment - Judge Wetstone

Today, six non-attorney members of the Judiciary Committee voted against corruption in our state's "family" court system. They did so by voting against the reappointment of Judge Wetstone.

Judge Wetstone is one of three "family" court judges in this state who ran the AFCC. A private corporation where these "family" court judges extorted and funneled MILLIONS of dollars from already suffering parents into the hands of a very small, select and secretive group of well-connected divorce attorneys, "therapists" and Guardian ad litems.

As they kept children from seeing their parents for no valid reason or cause.... other than to prolong cases and conflict - to drive up their billable hours and to essentially traffic in children in the name of attorney profit and greed.
These legislators are:

McLachlan (R), Gonzalez (D), Markley (D), Porter (D), Sampson (R) and Suzio (D)
If these are your legislators - PLEASE reach out and thank them!

They are the ones who are LISTENING TO THE PEOPLE of this state. Not the attorneys on the committee who profit from all of this and who have been outright lying to other legislators by claiming that "everything is fine!" in our broken and inherently corrupt "family" courts.
This means you Sen. Doyle (D), Rep. Tong (D) and Rep Rebimbas (R), and as you have KILLED every family court reform bill proposed by THE PEOPLE for the second year in a row.

Now Wetstone goes into front of the whole legislature for a vote. Let's hope she becomes the first "family" court judge held fully accountable for the lives of the children and families she destroyed.

As Judges Bozzuto, Adelman and Suarez should have also have been accountable for their misdeeds and violations of state and federal law and the Constitution earlier this year, but were not as evidence of their misconduct was excused away by these attorneys.

The above was posted on Facebook by Peter T Szymonik regarding the reappointment of Judge Wetstone. The fact that six representatives voted to not reappoint sends a powerful message that something is wrong with the Family Court system and the "court officers" which work in it. Get involved with your state government to bring about change. Educate those you meet as to the issues in Family Court, Guardians ad litem and other court officials.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Guardians ad Litem (GALs) Vendor Services Survey - Ending 2/15/2017

As part of LD 872 An Act To Improve the Quality of Guardian ad Litem Services for the Children and Families of Maine the Judicial Branch was required to survey consumers of their vendors services.

If your case is finished you have an opportunity to take this survey as a way to give the Judicial Branch constructive feedback as to how their GAL vendor did.

The Judicial Branch is requesting parents and attorneys in completed Family Court/ Law and child protection cases to answer a brief survey about the experience with the Guardian ad litem's service.

There are four survey's available. The majority of those reading this blog should take survey two. A link to the main survey page may be found here.

Guardians ad Litem (GALs) Services Survey

If you were a parent who was involved in a family law matter, please complete Survey Two entitled, "Survey of Parents Regarding Guardians ad Litem in Family Law Cases." - Survey Two

The Judicial Branch is supposed to be making a presentation to the Judiciary Committee on 2/15/2017. As part of that presentation we expect that the Judicial Branch will be showing what statistics they have collected on their vendors. The survey is 12 questions in length with opportunity to comment. It is an an anonymous survey.

MeGAL works to educate parents and family members as well as our representatives to the issues that infect our Family Court system. If you have had a problem or feel that something just is not right with your GAL or Judge we encourage you to email us at or find us on Facebook.

Friday, February 3, 2017

ME - The Re-Appointment of the Honorable Daniel F. Driscoll

Dear Members of Maine's Judiciary Committee,

Judges serve an important function within our society preserving the law. They do this by interpreting the law in a fair way and being consistent in that interpretation. The decision of reappointment should not be exclusive to lawyers, judges and assorted court officials as this leads to a legal professional perspective which does not take into consideration the real life experience of the public (consumers of judicial services). In re-appointing and doing so in a fair and equitable manner the views and experiences of the public (consumers of judicial services) of a judges service must be taken into consideration. Otherwise all we have is an “ole boy” network of approval. Every effort must be made to include the thoughtful input and experience of the people of Maine, who know from experience.

Without the actual human experiential dimension, any reappointment is just rubber stamping the judge back into the court. As our Judges are tasked with protecting and advancing our laws the current closed Judicial vetting system allows for the undermining of that task. Judges are not held accountable for their actions in this closed system. While it has been argued by the legal industry that complaints can be made against a judge by the general public. The process is alien and consumes a huge amount of their time and financial resources. The public (consumers of judicial services) is left with the feeling that their input is not wanted and it is better to leave things as they are out of frustration. Because of this dysfunctional system there is little recourse by the public to better the system. It results in a system that has and is slowly degrading, and judicial services becomes the tool of those who can afford justice over those who cannot.

Are our Courts and specifically our Family Courts a public service for everyone - including the 74% who are Pro se. Or are they a publicly supported workplace for the Divorce and Legal Industry?

We see evidence that our Family Courts in Maine have a few Judges of questionable character. To be exact, there are four judges in our Family Court system, for whom we have very grave concerns about how they conduct themselves in their courts. One of these Judges is before you today and asking to be reappointed. While the decision to reappoint the Honorable Daniel F. Driscoll may have already been recommended, we want to leave you with something to think about. Stop, look and listen then think:

If your decision is wrong, who will we (the public and your constituents) be able to hold accountable for the continued abuse, pain and suffering that families that we know, have gone through and will continue to go through?

Some before you on Thursday February 2, 2017 will be watching and commenting as the public and your constituents. They are risking much in being here before you.

Thank you for your time and efforts. It is time for an in depth audit of the Honorable Daniel F. Driscoll Family Court.

Paul Collins

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Consumer Survey On - The ReAppointment of the Honorable Daniel F. Driscoll

As a consumer of judicial services you have a unique opportunity to complete vetting of the Honorable Daniel F. Driscoll who is up for re-appointment. The Maine Judiciary Committee will be going through formalities Thursday February 2, 2017 at 2 pm in State House room 438.

The Maine Bar and Judicial Advisory Committee have sent out emails asking for the opinions of lawyers and have cleared the Honorable Daniel F. Driscoll for the Judiciary Committee. Consumers were left out of the equation. Your views as consumers of Judicial Services are just as valuable - if not more so - than those of lawyers. Otherwise without actual human experiential dimension any reappointment is just rubber stamping the judge back into court.

Our survey is one question - whether you believe the Honorable Daniel F. Driscoll should be reappointed. You then have the opportunity for comment before submitting. Wednesday February 1 2017 we will be submitting the results to the Judiciary Committee for consideration.

Our survey may be found here: Honorable Daniel F. Driscoll ReAppointment

NaGAL is bringing about change in our Family Court System through educating the public and legislative action.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Connecticut To Review Nominations Tomorrow - Act NOW

The Judiciary Committee in Connecticut meets tomorrow to consider the renomination of several judges.

Public comments, which are limited to 5 pages, may be submitted to: Anything you submit will be public and indexed by search engines. Testimony may be submitted anonymously - but in doing so the testimony may be given less weight.

Absent a Committee vote to the contrary, the judges will likely be considered in the order specified in the Agenda below. Note that Bozutto is second, Suarez is ninth and Adelman is tenth.
The CT Constitution requires judges be renominated after 8 years. For some judges (Not sure which ones), the 8 years expires as early as January 20th. Thus in all likelihood:
(i) the Judiciary Committee will vote to approve all of the judges listed below tomorrow night; and
(ii) the House and Senate will vote next week to approve all of these judges.

Thus, NOW is the time to contact your legislator about these judges.

Judiciary Committee
300 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
10:00 AM in Room 2C of the LOB


I. To be a Judge of the Superior Court

1. The Honorable Salvatore C. Agati of Watertown
2. The Honorable Elizabeth A. Bozzuto of Watertown
3. The Honorable Mary-Margaret D. Burgdorff of West Hartford
4. The Honorable Robert J. Devlin, Jr. of Shelton
5. The Honorable Kevin G. Dubay of Hartford
6. `The Honorable Bruce P. Hudock of Old Greenwich
7. The Honorable Corinne L. Klatt of Meriden
8. The Honorable Douglas C. Mintz of Redding
9. The Honorable Jose´ A. Suarez of Chester

II. To be a State Referee

1. The Honorable Gerard I. Adelman of Meriden
2. The Honorable Joseph P. Flynn of Derby
3. The Honorable Richard P. Gilardi of Stratford
4. The Honorable Flemming L. Norcott, Jr. of New Haven
5. The Honorable William J. Sullivan of Waterbury

Thank you goes out to Peter and Monica Szymonik for the Facebook post and letting us all know. For additional third party data visit - The Robing Room

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Pro se Civil Rights Abuse not Important Enough for Senator Susan Collins

In 2015 NaGAL approached Senator Susan Collins office for help in supporting the civil rights of Pro se parents who are being systematically abused by the justice system. It was pointed out that across the country over 50% of the "Family Court" cases are Pro se. Maine has the distinction of having 75% of court cases being Pro se.

As a Pro se litigant you are going into battle often knowing little or nothing about the rules of engagement. You are a caveman against a modern day soldier.

In June 2015 the process was started and in September of 2015 her office agreed to help and make inquires into this issue.

Almost two years later we are still being told that the office is working on the issue with the Department of Justice and that something maybe happening next month. This was the same canned answer given a month or so ago and the time before that. For all we know nothing has happened in the past two years other than being told that something maybe happening.

When pushed recently as to why Senator Collins did not go directly to Attorney General Loretta Lynch the staff person replied that the Senator only does that for "IMPORTANT" issues. Otherwise it is low level staff member to low level staff member for issues like ours. We asked if this meant that Senator Collins doesn't consider Maine and other families whose civil rights are being abused in Pro se "Family Court" cases as being important - we were told "Oh No. Every constituent is important! Everyone!".

Yeah sure they are Senator Collins.

That is why something is always going to happen "next" month.

NaGAL encourages you to contact Senator Collins to ask her why Pro se litigants whose civil rights are routinely abused by the system of Justice that should be protecting them. Why is this not important enough for her to pay attention to?

NaGAL is a grass root organization that is working for "Family Court" change and the management and oversight of court vendors like Guardians ad litem. If you are having a "Family Court" issue we encourage you to contact us at or find us on Facebook.

Senator Susan Collins may be contacted by filling out this form