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Small Town Corruption in Family Court

This piece was submitted to our 100K STORIES PROJECT by an anonymous protective mom.

I divorced my ex, also the father of my three children, in 2011. He was very abusive to the children and me. He has been arrested several times for domestic assault and for violating orders of protection. He has a history of becoming suicidal and threatening to kill the children and me. I got awarded the kids in the divorce, he got every other weekend visitation.

My ex never exercised his right to his visitation. From 2010 through 2015 he saw our middle son 42 days a year at the most. Our oldest and our youngest, he only saw 20-30 days per year.

I started dating in 2012, and I remarried in 2013. My husband has raised the children and has even carried them on his insurance through his work all these years. We’ve never asked anything of my ex. We’ve let his contempt (of 18 different things) slide because we wanted peace. Any of you know, if a sociopath is confronted or exposed they become unstable.

My husband and I were overly nice and very civil to him and his girlfriends to keep him from blowing up and dragging the kids through mud (he was labeled bipolar and a sociopath by a Ph.D.). All was going great until…

… On May 22, 2015, the State of Tennessee filed contempt charges on my ex for failure to pay child support. My ex immediately filed to modify his child support, and for full custody of our three kids. He’s claiming me to be unfit due to me letting my youngest drink coffee and for homeschooling, which he agreed to. It has been a living hell since. My ex has our Family Court judge and GAL in his pocket.

My ex immediately started forcing the kids to visit him on his every other weekend visits. The kids barely knew him. What they did remember of him was all PTSD trauma from the abuse. They started mentally and emotionally breaking down. I got them in counseling; they were in therapy for PTSD. I invited my ex to attend, which he refused and never did.

Our children had to spend time in mental facilities due to suicide attempts (ages 12, 10, and 8). The children were so depressed, defeated, and felt hopeless because the “system” was failing to protect them.

There have been five DCS investigations against my ex for child abuse since 2015. He choked our middle son twice. He’s left bruises all over our other two. I have documentation of everything including pictures of the bruises.

We had several Dr’s (even from East TN Children’s ER), counselors, and caseworkers testify that visits with dad need to be stopped. At that hearing, the Judge gave my abusive ex an extra weekend visitation per month and ordered me to stop homeschooling and to put the kids in public school or he would put my kids in foster care.

I did everything I was told to do. In late Oct 2016, I called DCS about another round of bruises on my 8 yr old. This DCS worker turned on me, never investigated my abusive ex. She ran straight to the corrupt, bought-off, guardian ad litem. I was served with a Temporary Restraining Orde and had my children taken away from me on December 2nd.

The GAL is claiming that I have been mentally abusing my kids because I’ve taken them to so many counselors. The GAL is also claiming parental alienation. I have never kept the kids from my ex. I have so much proof showing I’ve never alienated him, emails and phone recordings galore. I documented everything over the past few years.

I was served a restraining order against me on December 2nd at 7pm. My attorney was faxed the order on December 5th at 8:45am. The hearing for the emergency custody restraining order was on December 5th at 2:30,, the same day my attorney got notice. The guardian ad litem had spoken with my attorney and knew she would be out of town til December 6th.

The guardian ad litem and the judges chambers told my attorney there would be a conference call (since my attorney was out of town) to hear the motion to set aside or to continue hearing which my attorney hurried and filed.

During that “conference” call, the other side had a full blown hearing. The judge transfered custody over a “conference” call. We weren’t even there. The DCS worker and GAL were lying like dogs. DCS admitted to never investigating my ex, but testified that I had coached my son because I told him he needed to tell her what happened. She said that was pushing and coaching him.

We had a hearing on January 4th regarding child support. He is now over $20k behind. It got postponed. We had a hearing January 17th. I got 2-hours-per-week supervised visitation which I have to pay for, and each of us is ordered to have psychological testing done. The next hearing was supposed to be March 31st, which the opposing council has already postponed to April 17th.

I have emails I have sent out. I have call recordings of the kids screaming for me, and begging to come home. I also have recordings of the children saying my ex is telling them about court and all this being my fault.

I have been a stay-at-home mom since my first child was born. My whole life has been my children. My ex was never involved even during the marriage. I have so much hard evidence against him, but can’t get anyone to look at it. He has worked for cash for three years and makes a killing but is on food stamps and was receiving unemployment benefits at one time. I have his bank statements to prove everything I say. He was putting $9,000 cash in his account but drawing unemployment and couldn’t pay child support. I just want my children home and away from his abuse.

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16 responses to “Small Town Corruption in Family Court”

  1. CA Bushnell says:

    I don’t talk about my case anymore. Its my way of staying alive. I’m sorry for your pain.

    • Justiceformybabies says:

      Your story sounds sadly close to mine. Don’t give up fighting! I’m praying for your family, mine, and all of the other corrupt and unjust situations like this! Continue exposing the truth and never stop fighting! What state did this occur in if you don’t mind me asking? I’m in Tennessee.

    • Glen says:

      Bless you for fighting for your children. You are their savior.

  2. Thank you for sharing that and exposing the treachery and corruption in our “family courts today” I am praying for you. Please consider contacting Barry Goldstein and alerting your attorney to the ACES childhood study on StopAbuse.org as part of your defense.

  3. Jessica Spenneberg says:

    This situation is extremely real & unfortunately very common. Our Kentucky courts & small town of Carrollton decided that my nephew belonged with the man/child’s mother, who actually killed his mother & sister. Mostly because they said we were crazy & angry over our lose & she was on zanex & was calm as a cucumber. She also enabled her son to not only be a murderer but a drug addict as well. He was never charged in her or my neices death. So our little town thought it was better to let a woman who enabled the murder of this child’s mother be his new mother since her son had killed his instead of his mothers family. Oh did I mention she works for the ky correctional system. Coincidence? I think not. She had the Guard ad litem in her pocket as well. Your story is a nightmare and I think you should be compensated for the life this ordeal took from you. There is so much more to tell of ours but I have no heart to even tell it anymore. It’s so unbelievable.

  4. Alice Giordano says:

    I have a very similar case here in Portsmouth, NH. Don’t hide, come out. We need to ban together and get public on this. Please contact me

  5. Mom2four says:

    I wish I knew what part of TN, I’m in East TN and something similar is happening to me right now.

  6. Monica Townsend says:

    This is so much like my case I’m so sorry I know that pain agony and heartbreak you are experiencing

  7. Jan Elliott says:

    Same is happening to me in Steuben co. NY my kids were given to my ex despite abuse, to punish me for protecting my kids.

  8. Kimberly says:

    Dcf and Gal r brutal!
    I have a horror story my daughter went through that would take an hour to tell.
    Long story short the baby is finally home.
    All I can tell u is fight like hell girl and Never give in or give up!

  9. Ashley says:

    The only thing that truly scares them or puts a stop to their shit is to go to the media. Social media, newspapers, tv news stations, literally anyone who will listen. Be sure to take all your supporting evidence with you. Cause a stink about it and give them hell. I’m in a similar situation in East Tennessee and it’s been going on for 7years. But in my case the mother is the abuser and they won’t give custody to the father. If you are in East Tennessee and get a guardian ad litem with last name Mahar, run away screaming and demand a change because she is very bias and believes bullshit without proper investigation. Good luck

  10. Chrissy says:

    Thank you for sharing, I am currently going through a very similar situation in a small town in eastern Tennessee as well. The guardian at Leitem believes that I am poisoning my daughter and a third been parental alienation. I fled the home I shared with my ex and my daughters father in 2016 afterHer father choked me up against the refrigerator in front of our daughter. I filed an order of protection and was granted it. A few months later I enrolled my daughter in counseling where she made a disclosure that her father had been abusing her as well. There was a DCF investigation and it was substantiated. When her father found this out he hired a Criminal defense attorney and appeal to the DCF decision. The Department of children services change the substantiation to unsubstantiated with verified findings. My ex has dragged me through court for 3 1/2 years and is petitioning for full custody and is claiming parental alienation. My daughter Has had no protection from the legal system, G AL or counselors. My daughter was diagnosed with PTSD and now is being forced to have visitation with her father. My daughter is over at her fathers house he refuses to allow her to call me or have any communication with me . My ex has utilized the court system to further abuse me and our daughter.

  11. Cassandra Wilson says:

    Hi my daughter has been fighting 3 long years to get her babies back. 3 yrs ago the gaurdian ad litem told us either to give the baby to the father or the state. My daughter was breastfeeding. her son was only 3 months her first child. The father called dcs on us on. The Guardian ad litem knocked on our door at 11:25 pm on a Friday. I remember because after reading the Papers the sound. My daughter made as her n the baby slid to the living room floor I will never forget that sound she made. Anyway I took the Paper and said…. OooOh this is a easy fix don’t worry baby we can fix this. I ask the gaurdian when will we be drug tested and told her she was welcome to walk through our home she played with lil man we showed her his medical records. She told us to be in court Monday morning it was the weekend so no lawyer. Long story short. My daughter choose to temporarily let the father keep the baby remember we were told it was either him or the state. There was no investigation done no one was interview. We were given 3hrs to go home any pack the baby up and be back to hand lil man over to a stranger.It say the babe was removed from the home because of no running water. It was January our water was frozen. The gaurdian lied told the judge lil man was bottle fed. everything they have ask my daughter to do she has done it. They said she had to get her own place, dump her boyfriend and she did. She pasted every test and evaluation. she is a great mom. Now I’m jumping to the present. Little man is still with the father. But they have another son. See my daughter moved in with the babys father trying to work things out. Trying be a good parent. The father turns into a complete control freak and one day she showes up bruise and pregnant. We call the gaurdian trying to report what happened and maybe get a lil advice on what my daughter’s next move should be. We were told she couldn’t take lil man because the father had hit her not the child therefore he posed no emanate threat to the child, she also told her she had violated the court agreement by moving in with the father which scared the he@@ll out of her. This wasn’t the first time We said something to her about the father, but she never showed up for us never investigated or followed up. Well my daughter had another son Our lil guy. My daughter died twice giving birth. Found out He had been kicking her in the stomach while she was pregnant. We almost lost my baby girl that day.
    3 months later, The father and the Guardian ad litem sent dcs to inspect the new Apartment basically made the same accusations. Dcs said they could find no fault. We were all drug tested and evaluated passing wit flying colors. So we went to court excited thinking we were finally bringing lil man home not knowing the gaurdian ad litem had already had a hearing without my daughter being there and they had signed papers again giving the father temporary custody and my daughter supervised Visit twice a week. They took lil man over a supposed roach infectation. Again we had evidence.we had the apartment inspected by a exteminator so we had the documents with the results,including pictures
    ,But again there was no investigation and the promise that the gaurdian would be out for a follow-up and inspection . We didn’t even get to go in the court room. They just brought out the Paper work for her to sign. On this day her second child was taken from her again at 3 months old and they slapped her with a child support payment That cost more than rent. It’s gotten really hard to keep fighting. Guardian fees1200 lawyer fees 1500 Now child support 645 a month. The last 3 court dates they have gotten continuenc. With excuses like wanting her to get a syc. Evaluation done calling her mentally unstable. the father is now pressureing her, telling her if she wants her kids back all she has to do is come home kiss n make up . We’ve tried to report it to the Guardian but we never hear from her. We have another court date next mouth because the gaurdian ad litem couldn’t make it to court last week. I been telling my daughter everything is going to be ok pushing her to keep fighting. We do what we can to help her stay on her feet.
    My daughter is working to jobs and going to school online. Her babies are her life. She’s a good mother. A great person to be around. Never been in any trouble. Am I setting her up for failure. I mean how are we supposed to fight them. They have money we don’t. They are white n were black. I just don’t know how much more my daughter can take. I actually thought about contacting our governor. Maybe putting her story on tv. I don’t understand how someone can get away with this. I use to have faith in the courts….. What would u tell her. What can we do. Well if you Made it this far thank you for at least listening to our story. I would love your feedback. We go to court next month.

  12. Mandy says:

    Same for me in Okla. I ended up with felony chid abuse charges, and lost everything in a day…my kids, my home, my job (I worked with school children at a museum), my freedom, my 18 year marriage, and even my dog. And thanks to the small town/county bs, I had the same judge for my divorce AND my felony! AND a public defender who knew my mother in law “for years” and couldn’t bother to talk to me until 10 mins before the plea hearing she screwed me on. I know your pain, and I’m praying for each of you!

  13. Jamie says:

    A good attorney and joining with a non-profit to help you can make all the difference. I would start a go-fund-me and get a new attorney and sick them on this case. Do not accept a court-appointed attorney. Ask around and interview attorneys and get the best you can find with recommendations. Then start the fight. It will be slow, but you will get your day. Complain to the CPS ombudsman in your state. Go to journalists, if you can and have your points organized and evidence to show them.

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