The Long Con of Family Court

I’ve been doing a series on how family court in the US is a scam. My stated goal is to bankrupt the system by means of educating its litigants. Once people know that the system is a scam, they’ll avoid it. The system is filled with con men.

The problem here is that most men know the system is stacked against them, and most men who enter the system believe that they are good men and that the system will do what’s best. They know that the courts favor the mother yet still proceed anyway. I understand this fully. I believe that what these men do not understand is the extent that the system works against them.

Here’s my full story. I’ve tried to make it so that the items below are facts, not he said/she said type of things.

Round 1 – I file for custody of my daughter  – 2009-2010

  • Mother has pending felony drug charges against her. Facing up to 20 years in prison.
  • Mother has not allowed father regular contact with his daughter.
  • Mother lives in Mississippi.
  • Mother does not have a job and relies on public assistance.
  • Mother did not name father on birth certificate — she named another guy. I performed DNA test before court and was determined to be father. I wanted to be listed as father on birth cert. Mother decided to fight me on it, while also demanding child support.
  • Father claims residence in Tennessee but works in California as a contractor.
  • After phone visitation was ordered by the court, mother allowed only certain “contact times” that were never in court order and never agreed to by father. Father called outside of one of these contact times and defendant’s family had father arrested and charged with telephone harassment. These charges were later dropped.
  • Mother and father both take court ordered drug tests. Father passes. Mother fails, but it was due to prescription drug, she claims. Mother never shows source of her prescription, and for some reason my counsel doesn’t think this is worth following up on.
  • During the course of the custody trial, mother gets married and pleads guilty to felony drug charges. Gets 3 years probation with monthly drug tests.
  • Court ordered mother and father to jointly attend class about not putting child in the middle. Father attended class on agreed to date. Mother did not. She attended later class, alone. No penalty for her.
  • Agreed Order: Mother keeps custody. Father, however, received one week a month of visitation, and he can have that visitation anywhere he wishes. He is also to pay $885/month in child support. Father also received 2 phone calls and 1 webcam per week. Father also received 2 weeks each of visitation in June and July. Mother cannot refer to anyone else as being daughter’s dad other than me. Father is officially to be listed on birth certificate.

That Agreement came sometime around August 2010. Basically, because I lived between TN and California, and was likely to move to California, the court would not award me custody. In fact, I never got to testify and I was told that the judge did not want to hear this case. Since I was going to get a week a month wherever I chose, I was told by my lawyer that this was really a best case scenario. If I decided to not agree to these terms, I would risk losing them and getting “every other weekend” which was not feasible under my living and work conditions. Because I believed that seeing my daughter was better than not seeing her, I agreed.

Keep in mind that my entire case was never heard. I think we got to one witness. Everyone is part of the scam — including the judge. The judge “not wanting to hear the case” is code for, “If you exercise your rights, you will probably be punished.” After all, the system has better things to do than actually try your case.

In September of 2010, I tried to make flight arrangements to see my daughter and the mother simply would not work with me. In October, the only dates I could make work were over Halloween and I purchased plane tickets. The mother refused to allow me Halloween because she already purchased a costume for my daughter. Her lawyer talked some sense into her.

Also, according to the agreed order, I was allowed one week per month with my daughter. Because travel is a hassle and airline tickets cost real money, I wanted to hook my weeks together. For instance, the last week of May and the first week of June. I filed a motion for clarification. The ruling: Denied. I cannot hook my weeks together. There must be at least one week between visits. The system is actively working against my daughter having her real dad involved in her life.

By December of 2010 I had had it, and filed a motion for the mother to be held in contempt for not allowing me my phone and webcam visitation.

Round 2 – Contempt charges against mother 2010-2013

  • Filed contempt against mother for denying me access to my daughter. At one point I actually purchased plane tickets for daughter and self to travel from TN to California. Mother knew this and would not allow me to take daughter. I requested reimbursement for tickets.
  • Filed contempt against mother for mother referring to other men as my daughter’s “dad” or “father” (which goes against language in our agreed order).
  • Mother counter complained that father hadn’t paid her child support and wanted father held in contempt. Turned out that mother moved and did not tell father what her new address was.

There’s some other minor stuff, but the main point was I needed to hold the mother’s feet to the fire. Well it turned into:

Round 2+ – Contempt charges change into custody dispute  – 2011-2013

  • Mother accused me of molesting my daughter.
  • Mother accused a babysitter I used in California of taking nude photos of and molesting my daughter.
  • Mother contacted MS Department of Human Services (DHS) for assessment.
  • Mother took our 3-year-old daughter for 2 pelvic examinations. Both showed no evidence of abuse. Under oath, mother claimed that doctor told her there was evidence of abuse, but could not explain why doctor’s paperwork did not reflect that.
  • Court-ordered guardian ad litem (a lawyer himself) is appointed. He travels to California during a visitation to see how I live.
  • DHS testified that mother complained to them about all of the visitation time father receives. DHS also visited mother once per month. DHS did not visit father.
  • In January 2013 deposition, mother changes her mind and now says she doesn’t believe father molested her daughter.
  • In this same deposition, the mother said that she wouldn’t mind if the father called his daughter every day for phone visitation even though it wasn’t court ordered (and I have called nearly every single day since this she said this.)
  • The mother admits that our daughter calls me “da da” and her new husband “daddy.” Clear violation of our agreed order.
  • In court, sometime around April 2013, guardian ad litem says that he doesn’t believe that father molested daughter; he believes that mother made up allegations, but there’s not enough proof of that. He only has his “gut feeling.” Therefore, he recommends that mother retain custody. However, he believes mother should not be able to throw allegations like this without any proof. So in the future, he recommends that any allegations against father need to come with a $5000 bond, paid at the time of the allegation by the mother, for the purposes of father’s legal defense. He also said that this was a “very close decision. I’m talking the distance between my fingers close,” as he holds his fingers together.
  • Verdict: Judge allows mother to retain custody. Contempt allegations against mother are held in abeyance until we have review hearing in 6 months. The $5000 bond recommendation is not implemented.

At this point I’ve been going through legal action regarding my daughter for 4 years. The court has made it clear that the court does not give a fuck about me (and by extension my daughter). I’m done with court.

If there was some negative circumstantial evidence, I may have been denied all contact with my child and even sent to prison due to the mother’s lies.

Holding of abeyance means “we’re not going to rule on this for a long time,” which in real life means, “Go the fuck away.”

This is all the preamble folks, because the events that inspired this series of articles about the scam of the family court system come from Round 3.

Round 3 – I file for custody of my daughter a 3rd time – 2015-2016

Why on earth would I do this?

After Round 2, I determined that the system could simply not help me or my daughter. They didn’t give a shit. I never went to the review hearing with the abeyance contempt charges because I never scheduled it because the court and the people in it had wasted my time and the message was loud and clear — GTFO. The mother of my daughter, a convicted felon who accused me of sexually molesting my daughter with absolutely no proof, then changed her mind when questioned under oath, was determined to be the better parent. Fuck the court.

Then a perfect storm occurred. My daughter had about 60 absences from first grade. This falls under truancy laws which are punished under child neglect. In 2015, the school system filed charges against the mother for failure to get our daughter to school.

I purchased a house in TN and moved in with my fiancee, who was now pregnant. I work from home 80% of the time.

The mother separated from her husband, slept with other men (around my daughter), and moved in with her parents.

The mother was arrested for shoplifting. She pled guilty and paid the equivalent of one month of my child support ($885) as a fine. The mother brought my daughter to court. The mother also was teaching my daughter how to shoplift (though it’s very hard to prove something like this in court — my daughter did apparently mention this to the guardian ad litem).

Finally, my six-year-old daughter was approaching 100lbs.

I did not want to go back to court after the last time. I reached out to the guardian ad litem. He told me in January of 2015 that if I could prove what I was saying in a court, I would receive custody. He would eventually know that I was telling the truth, as he was in criminal court the day that the mother was there to plead guilty to shoplifting.

Finally, my daughter’s weight had become a huge issue for me.

  • October 2014 – Mother shoplifts from major store. Gets charged.
  • January 2015 – My daughter has her 12th unexcused absence from school. The school system files charges against her. A warrant is issued
  • April 2015 – Mother pleads guilty to criminal shoplifting. The warrant for the truancy charges is still not delivered!
  • May 2015 – School fails my daughter in 1st grade due to excessive absences, per state policy. Mother protests it and because my daughter is smart (and teachers and admins don’t like doing paperwork before summer vacation), the school passes my daughter.
  • May 2015 – I file for custody of my daughter once again.
  • June 2015 – The state attendance officer is out of town for a scheduled court date on the child neglect/truancy charges against mother. She asks the criminal court to not have the hearing without the state present. The hearing is had and charges against the mother are dropped. I later track down the judge and ask about this, and he told me point blank that even if the state had shown up, the charges would have been dropped anyway because the school passed my daughter. Because the school passed my daughter, that means no harm was done to her.
  • August 2015 – The mother denies having sex with other men (even though she’s still married, just separated). The mother denies that she actively shoplifted. She says it was a misunderstanding where she left the store boundary holding merchandise. The guardian ad litem tells my lawyer in private that if we can prove that the mother has lied, he will award custody to us.
  • November 2015 – A man testifies that he had sex with the mother. A representative of the merchant brings a video of the mother’s shoplifting and shows it to the court. The video directly contradicts the mother’s testimony, down to the details of the alarm going off. I marry my pregnant fiancee, which means I will also have a real stable family home for my daughter to come to.
  • February 2016 – My daughter’s teacher testifies that my daughter is smart and her mother packs her “healthy Lunchables” most days.
  • February 2016 – I testify and do a really great job. I had a fantastic mindset and didn’t have to resort to badmouthing or lying or anything else. I focus a bit on my daughter’s weight, and provide pictures. One thing I testify to is that every time I have my daughter her weight goes down, and every time she’s with her mother her weight goes up. I testified that my daughter weighed 125lbs, the mother testified that she weighed 120lbs. She hadn’t even turned 8 yet. Even under conservative estimates by the mother, testimony and court documents point to my daughter gaining 15-20 lbs during the course of the trial itself!
  • February 2016 – All testimony in the case is heard. The last to testify was the mother, who admitted she lied in August 2015. Her lawyer actually asked her, “You are aware if you retain custody this time that this is your last chance. If we’re back in this court, you are not going to keep custody of your daughter.” That was HER LAWYER.
  • February 2016 – The guardian ad litem makes his recommendation. In Mississippi, there are 3 tests to modify custody. There must be a substantial material change in circumstances. The guardian ad litem says that plaintiff proved that. The second test is adverse effect to the child, and because my daughter is smart, is doing fine in school, etc., that even with the shoplifting and everything else that has gone on, it was a very close decision, the space between my fingers close, but overall, the father did not prove adverse affect.

The defense had almost nothing bad to say about me. The big complaint they had was that I lived with my fiancee before we were married.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. The third time, though. Goddam am I speechless.

After reading all of this the main question is, what on earth does the mother have to do to lose custody?

I spent this past weekend with my now 8-year-old daughter. She now weighs 129.2 lbs.

I love my daughter tremendously, however I’m way past doing right by her. I’ve done right by her for these past 7 years. And my reward for it is to see this sweet girl who weighs more than some adult women I know, a visual reminder of how I don’t have influence over my own daughter and how those who do don’t give a fuck.

If the system doesn’t care, really, then, why should I?

My daughter may be a lost cause  but if you if you or someone you know is thinking about filing for custody of their children, please ensure they read this series of posts. I’ve spent YEARS and TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS and the system, for some reason, believes that a convicted shoplifter and drug felon who refuses to address her daughter’s health and admittedly perjured herself and actively kept her daughter out of school is the more worthy parent.

Me? I work hard, own my own business, and have never been convicted of anything except a traffic ticket, get lied to, chewed up, and spit out. Because I care about my daughter. In fact, having custody of my daughter would have made my life much harder, specifically as it involves traveling to my clients, but I’d figure that out. I always do. I haven’t even missed a child support payment.

The guardian ad litem also told the court that if he were in my shoes, he would have done exactly what I did by coming to court. In other words, he believed that I didn’t bring “Round 3” action because of malice or spite, but because I’m a concerned father. At the very least, I thought, that would mean that I’d get my legal fees paid for by the defendant.

Well, I didn’t. I basically paid $17k to determine that the mother of my child is a perjurer. My daughter had over 40 absences and 20 tardies. It was clear that the mom didn’t even want to do her duties as a mother. And it just didn’t matter.

Stay away from family courts. 

5 thoughts on “The Long Con of Family Court

  1. You’re not alone.

    Congratulations to you both on your marriage and new baby!

    Try not to think of it as giving up, rather that you’re building a new and functional family that your daughter can be a part of one day. You are still investing in her future. I feel very strongly she will be with you eventually.

    1. Thanks for your well wishes Kate.

      I hope you’re right about my daughter. I had her for the past summer and it’s good and bad. Good: she lost a little weight, ate healthier, read a couple of books, went to a summer day camp at a local church, and improved her hygiene.

      I just gave her back to her mother after two months, and it’s sad. All this work my wife and I have done to improving my daughter is just going to be lost.

      My daughter will either be 14 and pregnant or will be choosing to live with me when she’s 12.

      How are things with you?

  2. Things are going well, thanks. Our case has been resolved through a settlement which benefits Mark’s children. Still a long way from repaired relationships between them, but we’ll see what the next four years bring.

    Remember, what you do today is not for today but for many tomorrows from now. Pace yourself for the distance of the long war.

    1. A month ago I was awarded temporary legal and physical custody of my daughter. I went back to court, even after writing this series of articles. And believe it or not, it doesn’t make me a hypocrite. I’ll write about it when all legal issues are resolved.

      How’s married life?

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