It was 11:00 pm East Coast time on a Sunday night when the phone rang. I said hello and addressed the caller by their first name. The parent said “I didn’t know who else to call.” The parent sounded relieved and not because I answered phone and called them by name. I remembered the circumstances of their last call, although it had been nearly a year since we had last spoken.
I get a lot of calls in the middle of the night. Calls aren’t limited to that time frame only. I also get calls as early as 4:00, 5:00 and 6:00 am during the week and weekends from across the country and internationally. This particular call I had been expecting. It was just a matter of when.
I had hoped I would be wrong. I always hope I’ll be wrong. It just doesn’t happen often. After 30 years of dealing with Family Law. 24 years as a law enforcement officer there isn’t too much I haven’t come to expect in Family Law. In and out of the courtroom.
The parent said their attorney didn’t see any risk. There was no reasons to put in special provisions in case of abduction. Even if a problem were to arise, the country involved was a Hague member, it would be a simple matter to retrieve the children. The Hague Treaty, for parents who don’t know, it is a treaty between some nations, not all, to return children to their country of origin if abducted.
I outlined the risk factors to the parent. The other parent traveled extensively during the summer for business. They had significant ties, employment and family outside the United States. They could easily relocate with minimum risk and maximum benefit, financially and otherwise. I explained that several specific levels of protection were needed and why.
The parent chose to accept the advice of their attorney in spite of their concerns/misgiving based on the assurances of their attorney. The parent was calling now because the children were missing, the police had been no help and their attorney although supportive had no idea how to proceed. Their attorney it seems had not worked a Hague case before. Clearly their attorney’s earlier advice was not based on experience or an expertise. Had the parent known that at the onset they clearly would have made a different decision.
Within hours, their court order had been read, verified and assessed. The parent had a contact number and significant name within the State Department. They had a list of information they needed to obtained from airlines and other persons/agencies. They had the name of an attorney in the other country with Hague experience, as well as the support of other persons, who could provide aid. Within 36 hours the necessary documents could be filed in the other country.
The key to success is often times based on who files first. And filing the correct paperwork to minimize costs, legal arguments and return of the children in the most expedient manner.
Just to be clear the Hague Treaty is only effective in approximately 27% of cases. That means the Treaty has a failure rate of 73%. Are you willing to gamble your future with your children with those odds!
This parent received help when they needed it most because in the middle of the night they could reach someone knowledgeable and qualified to obtain assistance using a network of resources built over 30 years experience dealing with Family Law. What telephone numbers do you have available to you?
To learn more go to CustodyCalculations.com or call for a free consultation on your specific circumstances and case call 702-675-5120.
When Divorce Corp premiered in San Diego on January 10, 2014, I was there as a guest of the director, Joe Sorge. I was part of three panelists presenting to the audience after the film on the impact of divorce. A retired law enforcement officer for approximately 24 years and now a Divorce Coach, I have been dealing with Family Law for 30 plus years
Joe does a great job with the film but this is just the tip of the iceberg. The impact of Family Law is so far more invasive affecting every fiber of our social structure; everything from financial markets, loans, credit cards, bankruptcy to police, schools, social services, real estate, hospitals, emergency rooms, workman’s compensation. Businesses are dealing with violence in the workplace, civil and criminal lawsuits related to the divorces/custody fights of their employees. These are just a few examples of the impact of Family Law and it is getting worse every year.
The percentage of crime in this country may be 25%. The homicide numbers alone are approximately 3,500 – 4,000 homicides a year related to Family Law. The numbers vary over a ten year period. From child abuse, domestic violence and children left at school, police respond. To verbal and physical fights in homes, streets, restaurants, baseball, basketball, football games on fields and at schools, police respond.
Only recently the parent responsible for the largest mass shooting in the history of Orange County distraught over a court ruling was sentenced. They had entered the place of business, a hair salon, where the other parent worked and shot and killed 7 persons. A parent attempting suicide despondent over their pending divorce/custody was responsible for a train derailment in Los Angeles. 15 persons lost their lives. The parent jumped clear of their vehicle just moments before the train struck them, but was unable to restart and move their vehicle from the tracks causing the derailment. They were convicted and the case is currently under appeal when last I checked.
As parents seek the ultimate retribution and revenge against the other parent children are being murdered by their own parents. One of the more famous cases is in Australia where the parent was dubbed the Facebook Killer. The parent bragged that about the killing their daughter and depriving the other parent of the child on Facebook. The other parent saw the posting and called police, but it was too late. Their young daughter was dead. There isn’t too much I haven’t seen or learned over my ten years of research or seen in the last 30 years.
Have you been
FALSELY ACCUSED OF CHILD ABUSE IN A
Or do you know someone this has happened to? Sometimes in contested divorce situations, one party will pursue a false child abuse charge in order to gain leverage in Court, custody disputes, and with the children. The International Support Network of Alienated Families* (ISNAF) is hosting a workshop to help these families deal with the issue of false allegations.
Saturday, May 4th, 1:00 – 4:00pm, El Segundo School District building on 641 Sheldon Street, El Segundo 90245.
Advance purchase price is $35 before May 1st. To register: www.isnaf.info/home/upcoming-events. $40 after May 1st and at the door.
Catherine MacWillie, a former law enforcement officer with in depth knowledge of Parental Alienation will be presenting a workshop on dealing with FALSE child abuse allegations in a divorce and custody situation. Some of the topics Catherine will address are:
How to defend/protect oneself from being FALSELY accused especially in cases of multiple or repeated allegations.
How to navigate the system during the investigation, law enforcement and DCSF interviews, court testimony and after, including implications of numerous FALSE allegations.
How to reduce/stop the accusers from filing FALSE child abuse allegations.
There will also be a Q & A and networking period.
Catherine began researching the issues when as a law enforcement officer she noticed the correlation between crime statistics, such as homicides, suicides, abductions, child abuse, domestic violence, violation of court orders, stalking and many other crimes and their relevance to Family Law.
Now retired after 24 years of service from the Los Angeles Police Department, she is able to bring a unique perspective to the issues of Family Law. The combination of her work experience as a prior first responder to child abuse investigations, working with detectives and patrols as well as her extensive research enables her to offer a very salient viewpoint to the divorce process that is different from other divorce professionals.
Catherine has continued to be actively involved in other issues related to Family Law including Parental Alienation, both as a prior board member of Parental Alienation (PAAO) as well as prior President of Stop Parental Alienation of Children (SPAC) in which she was able to assist families with alienation issues. She was also a presenter at the 2013 the International Support Network for Alienated Families (ISNAF) Conference on Parental Alienation.
Catherine MacWillie is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Custody Calculations, Calendars & Orders. A company that provides professional services to the divorce industry such as divorce attorneys, guardian ad litem’s, minors counsel, therapists, counselors, families and individuals.
*ISNAF is a non-profit organization with the mission of providing support, resources, and education to the community as well as promoting awareness and advocacy work. ISNAF believes “Every child deserve to love BOTH parents”. For more information on ISNAF please visit www.isnaf.com or contact George Ross, CEO, at (310)487-0881 or email@example.com
Here is a list of my recent postings on my Twitter account Thursday, February 07, 2013, Custody Calculations/CEOMacWillie
Atty said never worked w/Divorce Coach before. Said client would never have finished divorce or managed the case as easily without us.
Another attorney we are working with never heard of Divorce Coach. Said coordinating with parent on the case has never been easier.
Our Divorce Coach services may be the best thing that ever happened to law firms and single practice attorney.
Each hour client spends with our, Divorce Coach services, client saves $150-$250. Increases ability to keep/pay attorney on the case.
Interviewed by Wash lobbyist on the possibility, no fly list for children of divorce because of unique background, knowledge, resources.
Received call fm Europe. Parent dealing US courts where other parent/children now live. Confused by court system, already on second atty.
Newest client lives in the East, children West Coast.After 9 attys, parents working directly w/each other on custody/other issues w/our help
Here is something that you are never going to hear an attorney say to their client, “I want you to buy some big rabbit ears and a big red clown nose.”
The next time you speak to the children I want you to wear that clown nose and funny ears to make your children smile and giggle when you are speaking to them via Skype.” But that is exactly what we said to one of our clients!
Our client was struggling to keep their children speaking during Skype calls. The calls were getting shorter with each contact. The answers were down to one or two syllables by the children. The parent was becoming more desperate.
For the next Skype call, I had the client keep their cell phone on so that I could hear the conversation. I also had them wear an ear piece so that I could provide the parent with for the children questions and keep the conversation going. . . . positively.
The parent more animated, was able to hurdle some of the barriers placed in front of them by the children during the call. Not a lot of progress. But some. And the client. Well, the client got help in a way they never imaged.
The next call, the parent is going to wear the bunny ears and clown nose. The call after that something different. And ever so slowly the children and the client will rebuild their relationship, with humor and laughter and trust.
Custody Calculations. Divorce Coach, Divorce Workshops. We are different! Call for yourself. Consultations are free 702-675-5120.
Available most weekends and evenings. Retainers not necessary in a majority of cases. Flat Fee Programs and hourly rates begin for as little as $99.00 and hour.
Many times I have read the suggestion that we need to replace judges in Family Law with a jury? But what would this mean and what would the impact be? Better, worse, would all of the issues of bias, bad decisions magically go away, or would juries provide the same result with even more problems?
The criminal justice system is already impacted by the lack of jurors available. Given the additional burden this demand would place on the jury system could be enough to break the entire system, criminal and civil.
Lets say we did do go forward and convert Family Law to a jury system. What if to do this we said it would require every adult over the age of 18 would be “drafted” so to speak and serve anywhere from a month or more each year to serve in Family Law. This would be in addition to jury service in criminal cases. Would every adult in this country be prepared for this type of commitment?
Would families and individuals be in a position to obtain full time care for the children or other person in their care for that person to serve? Never mind the financial cost if that were necessary and what of the loss in income to serve as a juror at $15.00 a day in Family Law? How many families or individuals could take on this additional burden in this economy, where keeping a job is tough enough. Another issue I won’t at this moment touch upon. The impact to employers to keep job positions open when an employee serves.
What about transportation, how many individuals would have the ability to pay and/or bear the burden to transport themselves to court houses, hundreds of miles from their home every day to serve on a jury without reimbursement, food, housing etc?
A great many number of people, very committed people, who want to improve the Family Law court system have made this suggestion. But in their rush to put forth solutions the full impact of this suggestion is rarely recognized or discussed. The suggestions could result in an even worse scenario.
Already in criminal courts, attorneys try to identify bias in advance of the trial, ask about ability to serve etc. What would the impact be on these issues in Family Law. Isn’t it possible that a juror may feel the need to “right the wrong” done to them personally. Or correct a wrong to a family member, friend, coworker or to a particular gender or group in this format. Or the other side of the spectrum which exists for judges and juries, the possibility that they are blind to the fact that they have a bias.
Jurors may intentionally take action to punish a parent for the wrongs because of their sex, their perception of the individual in front of them, one versus the other. The way a Petitioner or Respondent may phrase their statement, dress, walk, speak, education, religion, culture, the list is endless. And the all important one which is how well an individual comes across. It will impact juries too just as it does judges! I won’t even begin to address the process of jury selection for Family Law. What delays that would cause.
Considered, if you will, that a majority of criminal and civil cases in which a jury is involved, there is still no level of comfort in the rulings? A number of headlines across the country frequently report the results of civil and criminal trials in which the country, community or families of victims have strongly spoken out with their dissatisfaction with the decision made by the jury.
But the harsh reality is that right now, the country is not in a position to scrap the Family Law Court System and start over, not financially, physically, emotionally on any level. What we need to focus on fixing the system that we have already in place. You know the saying, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know. Same applies here. We need to fix our already existing system.
Because we have failed to do it in the past, does not mean that we have/will fail in the future. The current economic crisis may in fact be the very environment we need to bring about change.
Please don’t misunderstand, I encourage conversation. Support the process of discussing what might be possible, to ensure no stone is left unturned. But I have been dealing with Family Law a very long time now as a police officer, nearly 24 years in all and now as a Divorce Coach.
As a police officer I witnessed the decimation of families on a level more violent, more deadly, and wider in scope unprecedented by the view of the public in most cases. All of which lead me to spend ten years researching the issues of Family Law on my own time and at my own cost. Seeking solutions that could be implemented now without the cost and time necessary to change the law in each state. This really is possible. Much simpler, and for far less than ever thought possible.
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