Saturday, October 13, 2018

Did the Guardian ad litem get it right - Former Meth Lab

Years ago we often ran pieces asking the reader for an opinion.

Well we want your opinion - Did the Guardian ad litem get it right? What would you do?

The parents are going through a divorce and the child ( who is three years old ) they share is with one parent ( primary ) most of the time. The other parent ( secondary ) has the child most weekends from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. One weekend a month the child goes for an over night to the parents( grandparents ) of the primary caregiver/ and the balance of the weekend the child stays with the primary parent. The parents for the most part get along despite the separation/ divorce.

The Guardian ad litem has met with both parents as well as the grandparents. These meetings have been at both the residences as well as at the office of the GAL. The child is allowed visitation according to the previous schedule mentioned above.

The secondary parent has voiced concern about when the child visits with the grandparents. The grandparents recently moved to a house that they were given. This house was a former meth lab and there has been no real rehabilitation to the building. The child has visited the grandparents at this house several times. It is reported by the secondary parent that the outside of the building is run down with junk in the yard. That there is a shed that is over flowing with garbage.

Is this a safe environment for a child to visit? Did the Guardian ad litem get this right?

NaGAL is working to bring about change to the broken Family Court system with a focus on Guardians ad litem. We encourage you to get involved to bring about change.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Can Family Courts be Fixed?

Do you believe that having cameras in Family Courts would increase court accountability?

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.