I was recently interviewed by a reporter from the Daily Surge investigating my custody case, and all of the illegal abuses I have suffered from the local Ulster County, NY CPS and family court system for exposing their corruption to the world.
My interview was accompanied by many documents and videos that I handed over to the reporter, but the question and answer portion is illuminating, and it went as follows:
DS: How does it make you feel to be separated from your son like this?
It is horrible. I have had to compartmentalize my normal daily operating existence, since I have to deal with people in my day-to-day life.
I have to put my continuing angst, outrage and sadness aside to operate normally.
It was VERY hard at the beginning, but now after all these years, it is much like reaching the fifth stage of grief and I am reaching some kind of closure in recognizing my child was taken away from me, I will never get back the childhood growth time he went through as his parent and mentor and friend. We are almost strangers now, as I only see his ~ once a month for 40 minutes. He is now 12 years old, and I last had any real mother/child relationship with his when he was 7 years old.
Our relationship and attachment was rendered asunder for NO REASON. The senselessness and the destruction of a mother and son’s relationship make it all the more irksome.
Essentially the government, mostly instantiated in the form of an authoritarian family court judge, has taken sides and empowered my son’s father to simply do what he wants without a trial or due process — and that is to remove me from our son’s life. This is done at the point of a gun, because if I were to try to see or contact my son, I would be arrested by the police and sanctioned by the court with fines, imprisonment and complete loss of custody and contact of my child. The trial has been going on for three years under these conditions.
The sense of loss is very real and the uselessness and capriciousness of such a government action against an innocent citizen, totally callous to the pain and suffering it has caused, strikes deep to very meaning of life and living as a human being.
DS: Why do you think these officials treat you like a second class citizen?
This is a multifaceted answer to a single question . . .
First, it is because I am mother in family court, the father is the unofficially favored litigant in family court.
So with my first step made in family court I was already swimming upstream just to stay in place.
Without saying it, I was presumed to be wrong and I was on the defensive even when there was nothing to defend against. Just presumptively pigeonholed as suspect and at the ready to be dealt with for whatever was made up along the way.
All the reasons, history and facts that were easily proved showing I was a good mom were put into a provisional light and were treated as if it was possible, but actually dismissible as a matter of course.
On the contrary, all things that were alleged against me but not proven or even provable were taken as presumptively true.
This was the official attitude and approach from all the workers and agencies across the board: family court, guardian ad litem (in NY Attorney for the Child), county mental health dept, CPS, assigned evaluators, etc.
By the time whatever was resolved as true or not came about, there had been months of being treated that way as if true, upon the presumptions and allegations alone. That has an inertia of treatment and attitude that doesn’t stop, even when the official inquiry does.
Finally, I think the reason why they were harsher in treating me than usual, is that I would not take on the role they had predestined for me, I would not kowtow to their assembly line process of treating mothers as second class litigants.
I had taken the position of presumptive equality and of full knowledge of what my federal parenting rights were, as well as other presumptive civil rights.
I refused to hire attorneys and went pro se (self-represented), and litigated like a zealous advocate for my side, using all the tools that the law provides, which also irked them as it took them out of their comfort zone. They were not used to dealing with contingencies of the law that were in place but rarely used by the local clan of attorneys.
I also sensed they felt that money I saved going pro se, was being deprived of their local bar guild.
They did not expect this level of advocacy and didn’t expect a pro se litigant to know much — they were used to manipulating pro se litigants by exploiting their ignorance, and got a thrill when they could undermine a pro se’s efforts with technical procedural defects, yet they would repeatedly give a pass to the same or more fundamental defects made by the local attorneys.
I might add that I had legal background in paralegal practice and my legal submissions were always top-rate, whereas the other attorneys had sloppy, inconsistent and often systemically defective motions and practices (breaking court rules and standards, etc). But again, they would cite me for errors that did not exist and allow the other attorneys to violate the rules.
Basically I made them think, actually work and revisit what they were fundamentally there for. That made them uncomfortable.
And of course, later when they dealt with me more aggressively for things that were not even within their authority to question, I similarly responded as aggressively back; e.g. suing them in federal court, invoking my legal rights, exposing their actions to the world.
And that above all I believe is why they are treating me most harshly and literally punishing me by removing my son from me.
They do not care about a child not having a mother, which is completely secondary to their concerns.
DS: How does the system benefit from separating you from your son?
Retribution against a recalcitrant citizen who will not follow their edicts, irrespective of whether they are wrong or not, is their primary concern; to make an example so that nobody will be encouraged to maintain their rights or independent authority.
Also the state gets equal matching funds from the federal government, for every child support payment that is made within the state. It behooves them to give custody, on the average, to the parent that will receive the most child support from the other parent. This is generally the financially poorer parent and generally the father.
I also believe that although the tender year’s doctrine (the presumption that a father should have custody of young children) has been eliminated from our laws, the mindset and policy actions of the administrators of the system still mostly follow that presumption.
DS: When was the last time you saw him? Please send or resend last visitation order.
I most recently saw my son yesterday (~ in Oct 2015), for 40 minutes, at a fee cost of $150.
I can share with you some videos I recently posted to YouTube that shows what my fantastic little boy is actually like. It is clear that my son is neither retarded, autistic nor psychotic as he is being represented in court, and everywhere else:
This one was in 2011:
And this one was more recently in 2013:
It is also clear that he does not fear me, and actually wants far more time with me to do things outside of their fishbowl.
I say these things because that is the official stance his father is taking in custody court, in order to try to win custody.
The fact that I disagree with all of those things is being used to show that I am delusional as to the mental health of our son.
And yet it is clear that he is none of those things.
I might add, what was also interesting, was that I shared with his there several campaign flyers relating to my currently running for Town Justice of Woodstock, and he looked at me with wonder in his eyes, like a revelation had occurred.
He said, “But Mommy, how can you become a judge when they won’t even let me see you, and they say you are a bad woman who shouldn’t be alone with me? A judge is never like that!”
I told his that all those things they said to him about me being bad, or dangerous to his was nonsense and that it was just something they were doing to take us away from each other.
It was clear that he was just beginning to see the true light of what was happening, and all the lies he had been told about me.
DS: How has this custody affected your life, stability, and livelihood?
I cannot go to festivals or most events because I think of my son and the times we are missing together.
I cannot go to the places we used to frequent together and fun together at, because I am reminded of him and his non-presence.
I have lost clients who became aware of allegations against me, even though later completely disproved.
I spend about 25% of my time litigating or thinking about litigation, as I still am going pro se in a number of related cases against the county (I am now represented by counsel in the family court trial).
I am still in custody trial litigation, which started in July 2013 and is scheduled into March 2016.
There is a speedy trial law in NY on custody trials that mandates that no custody trial is to go beyond 90 days, but they have made mine last three years so far with no provisions made for any substantive contact with my son all this time. That is argument #3 in the appellate brief I have attached.
There is no way I can get granted custody when the court itself has skewed the facts of the case — no contact with the child is a significant factor in determining final custody.
DS: If you wanted to publicly tell your son something, what would it be?
I am restrained currently from all contact with him. I would be in violation of a court order subject to contempt. I can go to jail for just hugging my son, or even telling his I love him.
However, if I did not have that restraint, I would tell his that I love him and that all the things they have told him about me are untrue, that the conditions we see each other under for the last are not indicative of any danger from me.
I would also would like him to know and see all the things I done, said, written, litigated, created groups for and exposed corruption of, and campaigned unceasingly in order to get his back into my life and mine into his life.
I would very much like to tell his that him attorney is misrepresenting his wishes in court and is advocating the exact opposite of what he wants.
(This is malpractice I might add, and there may be lawsuit for that if I can ever let his know what is going on)
I want him to know that we should not be apart and that it just wrong for us to have been separated for years like this.
DS: Give me a direct reaction to the video of the case worker chastising you over a Coke, and how did he use that against you in court?
Do you mean a reaction by them, or by me?
As far as their reaction, the timeline was such that I had released the video about two years after it happened, because I was in litigation fighting their charges of emotional neglect against me, which I eventually won. I did not want to complicate those proceedings with the inflammatory occurrences taking place in that video until it was over.
However, when it was first released there was some uproar, and an attempt was made to get it removed from YouTube, as a violation of privacy of the social workers, and then a violation of my son’s HIPAA privacy, then some other various excuses. However YouTube did not remove it.
The video has been referenced numerous times now against me in my custody trial proceedings as a basis to deny me custody and to denigrate me as a parent, on a claim of showcasing our custody proceedings and as a demonstration of how I care more about activism than I do about parenting and any other number of some such nonsense.
It continues to be a thorn in their side and I truly believe that because I have shown the world what corruption they have done and how they operate, a phone call was made directing judicial decision makers in my case that in no way to allow me custody or visitation, and to punish me for revealing their behavior.