Unrealistic Expectations

I couldn’t stop shaking.  I knew that every word coming out of my mouth would likely not make any sense.  This was the last time I would testify in an attempt to save my son’s life.  As I walked to the stand, I felt as if my legs would buckle beneath me.  Judge Algeo watched me closely and I knew this was going to have to be the show of my life.  Sadly, no matter how much I tried to “keep my emotions in check” as I had been coached many times by my attorneys – this was my son I was fighting for and I couldn’t shut off my maternal instincts.  I hadn’t eaten in a week, hadn’t slept in days, and probably should have been on some sort of anti-depressant medication (if, in fact, there are meds that can help a mother not feel as terrified as I felt in that moment).

My testimony went by in a blur.  Everything I had planned to say didn’t come out right.  I begged Judge Algeo to wait until Prince was old enough to speak before he would consider unsupervised  visits.  As I sat there terrified and shaking, Luc sat back and smirked.  He knew he had checked all of the boxes (or at least lied his way through the court’s tests) and he appeared to enjoy my very visible pain.  Prudence Upton, Luc’s very aggressive attorney, seemed to also enjoy my suffering.  She spent a considerable amount of time chastising me for not making plans for Luc to spend time with Prince at chuck -e- cheese on his first birthday.  I remember thinking to myself, ‘seriously woman?  You are worried about chuck-e-cheese and I am worried about my son living to see his second birthday.’

Unfortunately it appeared as though Chuck-e-cheese was a bigger deal than I thought it was.  Judge Algeo and Prudence seemed to expect that it was my job that week to make sure that Luc didn’t have to lift a finger in order to spend time with his son.  I was supposed to contact the supervisor and request more time, plan for a party that Luc would enjoy, and make sure everything was rolled out on a red carpet.  Luc never lifted a finger nor requested extra time outside of court.  That day, however, Luc was the calm and collected father who could shed a controlled tear on the stand and I was the mother who had been painted as a basket case – a scorned woman – and over dramatic.

 

A reflection of myself:

 

A couple of nights ago, I received a frantic phone call from a mother who is going through a terrifying custody case with an abusive (soon to be ex) husband.  She has a two year old son whom she is fighting for.  As I spoke to her on the phone, I thought to myself, ‘this woman sounds like a basket case.’  After our conversation was over,  however, I realized that I may as well have just been speaking to myself  about seven months ago.  This woman had a right to be frantic – act crazy – be terrified – or whatever emotion her body allowed her to have.  She was in the fight of her life struggling through a thankless and helpless system that fully intended on harming her son for the sake of “parental rights”.

 

To give you some background, the father in this case had assaulted this two year old boy and this abuse was documented by Child Protective Services.  In fact, the CPS worker came into court to testify in the hearing when this mother tried to get a protective order against the father for her son.  After hearing the testimony of the abuse, the judge denied the protective order calling the bruises found on the boy “merely negligence” vice abuse.  The judge admitted that he called it “negligence” because he did not want to end all visitation.  This judge chose to  protect the father over this two year old little boy.

 

Upon hearing that the protective order for her son was denied, and visits with the abusive father would begin, this mother broke down crying in the courtroom.  The judge reportedly called her out publicly and told her to “put on [her] game face.”  He continued to tell her that he was watching her every move and that this sort of “behavior” would be used against her in his future rulings.

 

Unrealistic expectations:

Ever since I have gone through my own Custody War, I have learned many tough lessons.  One of the toughest lessons that I have learned is that the courts have turned into a war zone.  In this war zone, women are expected to stop being mothers who worry about their children.  In fact, showing fear in the courtroom could be one of the very things that will label you as a “parental alienator”.  We are supposed to forget about having been abused, turn our children over to men we know have abused and will abuse again, and we are supposed to do all of this enthusiastically and with a smile on our faces.

 

To expect a woman who has lived through the chaos created by a psychopath to “remain calm” in family court as the abuse continues, and while she is trying to protect her innocent child, is asking her to leave her humanity at the door.  Any woman who could walk into family court when the stakes are that high and remain calm – I would question her mental state.  I have heard that the family court used to be slanted toward women.  I sure wish I had been going through the system at that time. When I went through, I experienced what seemed like a war on motherhood.  I was told I wasn’t allowed to be a mother to my son, but that I was required to make sure that Luc could be his father despite what he had done that proved he was not capable of being a real father.

 

As absurd as it sounds, I am still waiting for the day when I get a call from my family attorneys telling me that Judge Algeo has requested that I provide Luc with some time to visit Prince’s grave.  I can also imagine that in this same phone call I would be asked to provide Luc with a car, since he doesn’t have one, and a packed lunch for the long trip.  Some of you might be thinking that sounds absurd, but not as absurd as the moment when I stood over my son’s dying body listening to nurses discuss how they wanted to create a hospital “visitation schedule” for the man who had just murdered my son.

While nurses were discussing allowing this man to visit, I was told that if I said a word to Luc that I would be taken to a psychiatric ward and kept away from my son in his final hours.  That – ladies and gentlemen – is the state of our society.

Comments

  1. What a bunch of morons. Family court isn’t a game of poker. How does this get fixed?

  2. Take it “One Day At A Time” and you will be just Fine!! Praying for you Everyday that justice be done for your Precious Prince!!

  3. I did remain calm on the witness stand. I did follow my attorney’s instructions, to the letter. I did appear calm, cool, collected, and confident. In the end, it didn’t matter. Because of everything I did to protect myself and my children, I lost custody. My children now live with the man who tried to kill me, the man who abused them, the man who didn’t care about them because they got in the way of his drugs and alcohol. That man is now raising two innocent children to be the abuser he is.

    • cappuccinoqueen says:

      Melanie, that is terrible. I am so sorry. You are right, however, that sometimes it doesn’t matter how calm you are – fighting to protect your children might actually still be used against you. You SHOULD fight for your children. I will never understand why this is used against us. We SHOULD want them to be safe.

      • how awful for you to have to feel that alone and pleading when the man who is a psychopath has the courts eating out of his hand…i feel that the women who manipulate the system out of jealousy and lie about abuse are the reasons its so hard/impossible for the true victims..i think when a women lies and immediately drops her charges or is caught in a lie she should be held accountable and given a charge to deter the many crazies out there

        • cappuccinoqueen says:

          Ginger you are totally right about the people who lie being terrible on the system. The trouble is, though, that the courts don’t care enough to take the time to determine who is telling a lie and who is telling the truth. So the end result is that they treat us all like we are liars regardless. It’s a double edged sword if you report abuse. You should report it to try and keep your child safe, but if you do you run the risk of the judge using it against you and believing that you are making it all up. I had a police officer come to court for me and testify against Luc. She came from an entire different district just to try and help stop him from getting unsupervised visitation with Prince. She and I were not related and we are not friends. She was the officer who had been assigned to the first murder case in which he was a suspect. That alone should have been enough but even after that the judge felt as though I didn’t have hard evidence. The officer even brought a police report in that showed how Luc had been arrested for assaulting his older son. The judge threw out the evidence. No matter what you bring into court….it doesn’t matter because all the court cares about is giving parents access to their children regardless of the consequences. Judge Algeo believed that whatever Luc had to offer my son was worth risking his life. I wish I knew what Judge Algeo believed Luc could have given my son that was positive because he certainly didn’t present anything in court that proved any positive contribution.

    • This is just so wrong. Women are being penalised for having feelings. I’d be more concerned if a parent WASN’T emotional about their children. I hope the court does see sense and gives you your children back.

    • thats horrible to hear and just what do the courts expect from women a motion picture of the abuse how many defendants would let that happen after all they do do this when no one is looking ,i have a brother like that and what he did to his ex’s and the disturbing condition his kids are in due to witnessing this their whole lives is sickening and he prances around like a show pony never once taking responsibility or feeling any kind of remorse or guilt just keeps blaming everyone else..i even went to court against him and called c.p.s. and the law guardians who did less than nothing and i had a right they were in my temporary custody…for 3 years i have made reports to many offices for investigation of these agencies to intervene and still all they do is cover it up so now i have a ghost writer who is writing this nightmare for all the world to know i tried to find a lawyer for years all of them cowards scared of the work and all i can say is his karma so im told by a nun i speak to almost daily has arrived and is only a preview of where his soul is going

  4. Your words are all too familiar and all too accurate. My daughter and her son–and all of us who dearly love this little boy–are living a nearly parallel experience to what you describe in your blog. Regarding CPS, how can this agency ever hope to meet its charge of protecting children when judges adjudicate with complete indifference to the physical and emotional harm? When my daughter went into court recently with clear evidence of the physical abuse (he had already ignored the emotional disintegration in an earlier hearing), the Montgomery County Family Court judge dismissed the bruises, abrasions, and split slit with the flippant remark, “well, he didn’t go to the hospital!”

    • cappuccinoqueen says:

      Joyce, that is terrible that it would take a hospital visit from the abuse being so bad to actually bring the abuse to the level where the judge cares. My son ended up in the hospital…but sadly, it was enough to kill him. We didn’t have the “in between” visit.

  5. With every word I read my heart aches and breaks again and again. How many time I have been in court over custody of a child or several children. NOTHING as horrible as what you went through.. just dumb stuff between bickering parents playing the power game. The worst one was for a 3 yo boy who was the child of a half brother/ halfsister. She was 12 he was 16 at the time of conception. The girl was clearly incapable of being a mother, with the mentality of a 10 year old ,,, the father was just dumb kid who with raging hormones. (Ten years later, The Mother by the way is still in an institution for the mentaly handicapped) The Dad married and has six children. The little boy was was placed for adoption in spite of his Father wanting custody and the mother wanting only to not have to be responsible for him. I had a strong relationship with this little boy and it tore my heart out that once the judge denied the Dad custody he was swiftly taken from the court room by CPS and I never saw him again. Anyway… The courts have operated this way since day one.. PARENTAL RIGHTS.. either you have them, or you loose them.. and the child has NO RIGHTS.. Family court should be about the child and the child’s rights. Judges are supposed to follow the LAW.. and their personal views are not supposed to be a part of what they do.. but it always is and they always hide behind the law while they make their decisions based on HOW they see it.

  6. sandy pasquale says:

    Hera, I had court yesterday in regards to my ex husband attempting to deny my parental right to visitation. The GAL is blatantly biased and in favor of my ex who has a lengthy history of DV, a CHARGE for Domestic Battery and Invasion of Privacy (he threatened my life over the phone and arrived at my residence while a Protective Order was in effect). He got away with murder for hire in 2007 as no CHARGES were ever filed. I requested to move out of State with my 3 children d/t continued stalking and intimidation that was relentless, he was handed custody. He has utilized the system in his venture of trying to maintain control over me since his removal from the residence which is when false allegations of abuse started to surface, one of which was incredibly “substantiated” with 3 conflicting stories and a dime size bruise on my daughter. I requested an Administrative Review of their decision as it was credulous to substantiate such a thing, it was ignored. I have contacted numerous authorities (police, school, DCS, doctors) to report both physical abuse and neglect of my 3 children all of which conveniently “unsubstantiated” due to complete negligence and lack in assessment skills. My daughter advised that she was forced to ride in the cargo area of her fathers jeep cherokee (my son referred to it as the “trunk”) on one of the hottest days last summer (it was an hour and a half ride) she was complaining about the heat, her father removed her from the vehicle on 465 and spanked her (witnessed by 4 other people and corroborated by my childrens testimony). Later that evening, she received a large bruise (the size of a 50cent peice) on her hip from being pinched for complaining about her drink while out at a restaurant (there was never a picture taken by DCS) then forced into a mens restroom and “pushed up against the wall and shoved in her stomach several times” (she has ulcerative colitis) the incident lasted “5-10 minutes” The perpetror even admitted to pushing her against the wall in the mens restroom. I labeled these actions as CONFINEMENT and a means of abuse/control which is against the law, DCS labeled these behaviors “unsubstantiated”. I represent myself (ProSe) and with every fiber of my being stayed strong and did not break down crying until I was able to testify on my own behalf (for my children). I advised it is not an easy task to collect evidence and create documents to file in court to substantiate that this man has done everything in his power to destroy me and utilizing my children as pawns to be able to do so, I feel as if i’ve been persecuted over and over again. Nobody cares to learn the truth, I was construed as an instigator of sorts attempting to interfere with my childrens lives by creating chaos for their father…I am trying to protect my children from a lifetime of abuse and neglect but not “viewed” as such. The GAL recommendation was to have a psych evaluation and get counseling in the State of Indiana (I reside in Illinois), terminate my phone call priviledges with the children and supervise my visitation which is completely unwarranted. I requested (prior to hearing) that she be removed from the case for several reasons but most importantly she was not in favor of “best interest of the children”. I begged the judge to (personally) do an assessment in both homes with my children, he refused and stated that is what the GAL was hired to do. I advised that an in home assessment with the children was completed at his home but NOT mine (twice-during her first appointment and the second) which is blatantly biased. The Judge didnt care what I had to say about her and allowed the so called “evaluation” to be entered into evidence in favor of the perpetrator of violence. I advised that I was not going to subject myself or my children to unwarranted supervised visitation and there is nothing wrong with me, I’ve been evaluated twice by Psychiatrists only to be told that I was a perfectionist. If perfectionism is a bad thing than guilty I am but if you continue to ignore the red flags and deny my rights to visitation/communication you are placing my children in the most horrifying and dangerous situation as his actions against my children would remain clandestine. I was ridiculed for the way I “present” by my actions during hearing and was basically told it would be my choice whether or not I choose to continue visitation or get the Psych eval. There was no decision made but I’m sure it will once again be in favor of an abuser and my children will continue to suffer. This is the most horrifying experience I have ever encountered, this tops even murder for hire in which my life was at stake…now its my childrens’ and nobody seems to care. How the term “justice” system came to be one will never know because they are sure not serving any. I can only pray that my outcome does not turn out as yours but fear it may, its a paralyzing experience as well you know. Thank you for being the voice of reason, I truly know how hard it is to face an abuser especially in court. God willing, the laws will be changed to parental rights not superceeding history of violence.

    • I am so sorry you are going through this. I know it won’t bring you much comfort, but I’ll be praying for you and your children. Praying that the judge finally sees sense and returns your children to you where they belong.

  7. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m a PHD student working on a dissertation project about how battered mothers are treated in custody court. I’d love to talk more with you…I’m in the process of getting my human subject approval and please be in touch you (or any other mother) who would consider sharing her story via a survey. I’ve been working with this issue for years and been shocked by how clueless some people are about what’s happening in America’s family courts. Ignorance is bliss for those people, I suppose.

    • Donna Harden says:

      I have another horrific story of denied custody and child sent to dad even after DCF had been called three times and he admitted hitting child. He has attorney adn I do not. This has destroyed my life. If Laura P. wants a different story about the abuse of family court, i would love to talk to you.
      I have to say, when I found this website I emailed Herra directly and within the hour received a beautifl response. she continued her support. Thank you for this blog.

  8. And if you take a child to the doctor or hospital to document the injuries (physical) then you are on a witch hunt.

    My daughter did’t take her child to the hospital, she called the cops and said what do you think I should do… The cop looked at my grand daughter and said to my daughter “COME with me.. I am taking this child to the hospital” and he did and he stood guard to make sure her abuser did not show up at the hospital. Then he had my daughter get a motel room and had me take the girl there to hide out until he could file the paperwaork to keep the bastard from ever seeming her again.
    For once CPS DID its’ job and the court did theirs, but the little girl wore layers of bruises for weeks from just below her shoulder blades to just above the backs of her knees. We knew something wasn’t right, but until she finally told us there was nothing we could do but guess. She is 17 now and a page in the Iowa House of Representatives. She has enough credits to graduate now, but has elected to remain with her class until they graduate. She takes college courses to pass her time.
    Her Father was granted custody of her when she was five. I am thinking she was about 8 when she ran away from him, hitch hiked 15 miles to get to where we were..

  9. Here’s another unbelievable family court outcome. An acquaintance of mine just went through the family court nightmare. She has two daughters a year apart in age. The eldest (age 10) reported sexual abuse and both girls were examined by psychologists and a parent investigator who substantiated her claims. The father is being investigated by both Social Services (CPS) and the police department. Despite that, the judge ordered that the eldest girl does not have to visit her father but the younger one has to visit him every single day after school and three weekends per month!!!!! Why? Because she doesn’t complain that she’s traumatized, but the older girl does. She’s probably just too scared to talk, or the dad only victimized one daughter at a time. She’ll probably be next. Can you believe that? We have Meghan’s law to protect the public from pedophiles in our neighborhood, but children are forced by family court to spend time alone with their pedophile fathers!!!!!!

    • cappuccinoqueen says:

      OMG Christine, where is THIS case? I have heard things ridiculous pertaining to siblings. For example, when CPS had a finding of abuse against Luc they actually were not sure they could take the older son out of the house. Even after basically saying that Luc’s abuse killed Prince, they had to convince a judge that Luc was also likely to hurt the older child. So a case could be made that if the parent just LIKES one child more and doesn’t want to kill that child….he can still keep custody.

      • That is outrageous. After I learned of Prince’s death my thoughts immediately went to any other children Luc may have had (I didn’t yet know he had another son). In my mind it’s a no brainer; if a parent is a danger to one of his or her children, he or she is a danger to all of his or her children.

        Hera, I’m sorry but I’d rather not say here where this case took place because I still live in fear of my ex and I will until the day one of us is dead. Hopefully it will be him first.

        I have another acquaintance whose son is made to spend weekends with his dad even though the kid has no bed, is forced to sleep on the floor, is not allowed to bathe or change his clothes the entire time he is with his dad (including three 7 day visits), is left home alone even though he’s afraid, and is only fed one meal per day when he is there. At one point they went back to court because the dad was hitting the boy and the stupid judge ordered more visitation because he said that if the dad had more time with the boy he’d probably bond with him more and hit him less!!! This is why so many mothers keep their mouths shut and avoid family court like it’s the kiss of death, because all too often it is.

        • cappuccinoqueen says:

          Christine, I completely understand your concerns.

          That is really sad about that boy. I can’t understand why so many judges misunderstand abuse. Someone who abuses their child is not going to get better over time or with more bonding. With that stupid logic, one could argue that if Luc had spent more time with Prince maybe he would have bonded and not killed him. Um, no…the only thing that would have done is ended my son’s life sooner. I blocked access from Luc for nine months and held off unsupervised visits for as long as I could before the judged rolled over (after a seriously flawed psych eval). I fully believe that if I had given Luc access to Luc when he asked for it when Luc was three months old (a month after Luc took out the policies), my son wouldn’t have made it to see his first birthday.

  10. SMH..our legal system is a complete joke and in my experience lawyers and judges are some of the most morally defunct people on the planet. Crooks, cowards, and cops love to hide behind the law. Keep pushing back!! He will get what is coming to him, in this life or the next. You can’t hide from God.

  11. It tears my heart to pieces every time I hear about Prince’s last hours in hospital. It fills me with rage that the Drs and nurses were so blinded by Luc, that they couldn’t see what is so blatantly obvious to everyone else that Luc wanted to hurt you Hera, not visit with his dying son. I hope the Drs and nurses now know the truth, and I pray they always remember Prince. Maybe next time, how I wish there would never be a next time, they will remember Prince and open their eyes. I am, as ever, in awe of your dignity, strength, courage and faith. Prince would be so proud of his mama. As for Luc, I truly hope his life is filled with utter terror for many, many years and then he burns in hell for all eternity.

    • cappuccinoqueen says:

      Tessa, my mother actually went to speak to the hospital after Luc had been arrested and to my knowledge they were apologetic and talked about looking at their practices to make sure something like this wouldn’t happen again. While the majority of their staff was hideous, there was one older male doctor who did eventually make Luc leave the hospital. He knew when he saw Prince that something was not right.

  12. When you face him in court again (if you can stop yourself from going after him), stand strong. I doubt that he will be able to look you in the face. He is defeated, thanks to you, Prince’s MAMA. I’ll be at the pre-hearing.

    • cappuccinoqueen says:

      I’ll see you at the pre-trial! I look forward to seeing you there. And don’t worry Auntie, I will be staring him down as he stands there with grey hair (no hair dye in prison) and looking like Bubba has just had his way with him. What I am looking forward to actually, is encountering Luc’s supporters. I wonder if they will have the courage to show up to defend him – especially Luc’s boyfriend. ;)

  13. I can promise you that men also suffer the same injustices. Its not a male/ female issue.

    In my opinion, the Judges view these cases as a nuisance and simply want them out of thier Court. Most of their rulings are designed to get them out of court and off the docket as expeditiously as possible. ALL the research into high conflict divorce shows that there is a ‘severe psychopathology’ involved in cases where the parties can not agree on visitation, which is less than 2% of all divorce cases. Yet, psychological evaluations are not mandatory and even when they are done, Judges do nothing to safeguard children.

  14. This is very true. And the fact is that if you try to prove or argue psychopathology in a custody case, in most cases it will be used against you.

  15. Christine, I was so damn mad at my daughter for ignoring what was happening to her daughter and I would demand she DO SOMETHING.. her respnse was.. “Mom, I cannot PROVE anything”! When the child finally ran from her father and carried with her layers of bruises, my daughter called Law Enforcement and elected to have the cops take the child to the hospital. She made a good move.. The girl NEVER has to see her father again as long as he lives.

  16. Your daughter is so right. Without proof you only further endanger your children by telling the truth trying to protect them.

    • cappuccinoqueen says:

      But see that is what is scary because there are times when the “proof” isn’t bad enough until the child sustains life long damage or death like Prince. Before Prince died, he didn’t have a broken bone or come home with bruises. Sure we had loads of evidence but to the judge it wasn’t enough….until he died.

  17. Yes, that’s what I meant to say; without “proof which satisfies the judge” you are further endangering your child by complaining or trying to prove abuse or neglect. I don’t know what it takes… but I know it takes way too much to convince some judges to protect children. I just don’t know what we can do to change things, but I am so thankful that you have the courage and the fortitude to try. I pray for you often, Hera.

  18. I am also a veteran of a custody battle – with an abuser – and everything you say about being required to dehumanize yourself to get through another hearing – is exactly right on. I lost.

    You do a very good job of verbalizing the experience; thank you. I wrote too, but have kept it pretty much to myself, until just a few days ago put some of it up on Kindle.

    • cappuccinoqueen says:

      Kathy, I checked out your book on Amazon. I haven’t taken a look at it, but I will do that for sure. Congratulations on sharing your story and not being afraid. :)

  19. Madmacks says:

    So, I had Court today. I filed my 5th petition for a Guardian Ad Litem because I have not heard from my children (8 and 10 years old) in 2.5 years. I have written them cards, letters, and sent them presents and I never once got a response or letter back. This is extremely unusual because I had what two doctors testified was a strong and “palpable” relationship with the children. My argument was to appoint a GAL to find out why the children had not responded and make recommendations as to how to preserve the relationship. I said that this was disturbing to me and that it appeared that the children were being alienated.

    Not only did the Judge deny the petition for a GAL, she ruled that my case was frivolous and that I now have to send future motions to the Court for them to review before they will put them on the docket.

    There have been 53 hearings in my case in 4 years and my ex-wife has refused to negotiate or discuss any ways to stay out of Court. She has spent over $1 million in legal fees and pays two partners to go into Court each time, so that when I lose I have to pay her legal fees.

    I have pointed out numerous times that my father in law was convicted of murder (which my ex-wife and her family hid from me for the entire marriage) and has over 120 lawsuits in the DC metro area and a well known reputation as “a bully”. In my opinion he could be one of the most ‘successful psychopaths’ ever to fool a court. I also pointed out that my ex-wife, who also has the same emotional dysfunction, had a traumatic brain injury and was diagnosed with cognitive issues. Yet, the Court is refusing to order her to have a psychological evaluation or appoint a third party into the case because the patterns of behavior of psychopathy are so blatantly obvious. Instead, they continue to turn a blind eye.

    There is a cover-up of psychopathy in Fairfax County Circuit Court. The Court was fooled into believing that my ex-wife was the victim and is now doing everything it can to keep me out of Court. When none of the doctors or lawyers involved in the case would point out all the lies, inconsistencies and abuses of my ex-wife I began to point them out to the Court myself. It became pretty apparent to the Court that it was being mislead and rather than bring in a third party like a parenting coordinator or GAL, the Court chose to bully me into silence and submission. As a result, I now have no visitation with my children, even though there were no allegations of abuse, I was never found to be an unfit parent.

    From my experience, the Courts and even the Doctors refuse to do anything about Psychopathy, even when it is clearly the source of conflict.

    The victims/targets of psychopathy need to be heard and Hera’s case is a huge step in getting the Courts and the psychological community to take psychopathy more seriously.

    • cappuccinoqueen says:

      Madmacks, I am sorry to hear about your struggles…but I must say that I am a bit confused by it. I am actually down right stunned and wonder if I have the whole story. You see, I just read a case in CA where a father had been convicted of assaulting his ex wife (landed in jail on a felony for several years) and when he was released all he had to do was to go into court and claim he was a changed man and talk about how he wanted to be part of his children’s lives. He then went on to gain custody of the children and murder the youngest one with a hatchet. (See my Facebook page for a link to the full article)

      I say this not to demean your situation, but only wonder what the reason behind blocking access is. Have you been convicted of child abuse? Other than that (and even despite that in some cases), there is little it seems the court can do to block access from a father who wants to see his children.

      Don’t get me wrong, I know that both men AND women work hard to manipulate the system, but I often find that no matter what sort of abuse a person claims against the other, it usually falls on deaf ears in Family court. In fact, I have seen that by claiming that someone is abusive, it is often used more against the victim than the actual abuser (even when there is evidence of abuse).

      I am sorry MadMacks, but your case baffles me because it appears to go against everything that I have learned happens in Family Court.

  20. Just wanted to send you a note that I was thinking of you today. Anytime I see on the news a case about child abuse or domestic violence you come to my mind first thing. Unfortunately we see things like that everyday. I would like to see your case get as much publicity as you possibly can. I read your Facebook page through my daughters, I don’t have one because of the ex. Your posts on Fridays about your memories are very moving. The one about the beach trip made me cry.

    I have never met you but I can tell you that my heart aches for you and Prince. It’s such a shame that your sweet angel was taken from you by a monster and enabled to do it by “the powers that be” in the court system. I cannot begin to imagine what you are going through. I hope you continue to have the strong desire and fire in you to make a change to the system so other people in your situation, like me, won’t suffer what you have been through.

    • cappuccinoqueen says:

      Thank you for your support D. My son’s memory keeps me going. He was and is a very special little boy. Don’t be sad for me though…I am truly blessed. I got to be his mother. It was too short and we deserved more time together, but I enjoyed the time I had. The 15 months was difficult. I was afraid every single day for him and I gave it my all trying to make his fate different. In the end, I could not win in this broken system. Despite the pain, I know that my son was here for a reason. He was sent to protect and save many children who would come after him. Sadly, I also have been very attuned to the many senseless murders of young children. There are too many. One would be too many but this country has way more than that. As I sit here and type my heart breaks thinking about all the mother afraid for their children, all the children living in fear of their own parents, and all those who have died at the hands of their own disordered parent. It’s terrible what happened to me, but I want people to be sad for those who are still living the nightmare of trying to protect their children from an abusive parent in a system that is broken. I am sad for them every day. :(

  21. Madmacks says:

    Hera,

    I can totally understand your confusion. My case baffled me to until I came to understand psychopathy. As you know trying to explain how psychopaths manipulate and abuse can be very difficult, especially in writing.

    No, I have never been convicted of child abuse , nor were there any allegations of abuse in my case. That is what makes the whole case so strange. When my ex-wife asked for ‘no visitation’ at our Custody hearing, the Judge even said, after a full day of testimony from all of their witnesses ‘the only time I can recall being asked to give that kind of relief is in situations where there have been evidence presented to me of abuse, almost always involving physical abuse. Now I haven’t heard the whole evidence today and maybe there is something that rises to that occasion in this case. I’m not prejudging any issue, but I think that is where we are.’

    In my opinion, what happened is this. My ex-wife and her father were motivated to destroy me and keep me from the children after I discovered, two weeks into the separation, that she and her family had hidden from me for 8 years the fact that he was convicted of accomplice to murder, for hiring a man to murder his friend and business partner. He fooled the Jury into sentencing him to probation, instead of the death penalty sought by the prosecution, after he stood up in Court and exclaimed “But I didn’t do it. I didn’t.” The details of the murder are disturbing to say the least and the evidence shows he was 100% responsible.

    The day after I read about the murder on the internet and told my ex-wife, her father switched from the number 1 divorce firm in the area to the most aggressive attorney in the area. First she began denying access to the children and then would go into Court making all kinds of allegations, in order to get orders against me. I was without an attorney so I was powerless to stop them. I knew I was overmatched and literally begged them to send me a piece of paper I could sign to end the legal battle and stay out of court. They refused any and all efforts to negotiate or settle. When I ran out of money and my attorney had to withdraw from the case he wrote “Why it is necessary to torment Mr. (Madmacks) is mysterious.’ He also called my ex-wife ‘way over-controlling’ and wrote to a doctor in the case ‘she makes a pretense of accomodating you while all the while making things as difficult for you as she can.’

    When we got to the Custody hearing where my ex-wife asked for no visitation, the Judge was so confused by all the he said/ she said testimony that he ordered me to obtain a psychological evaluation. At that time, I had also been researching ‘high conflict’ divorce and personality disorders. That was when I realized that all the conflict of the marriage, the divorce and her father’s reputation and murder conviction were all consistent with the patterns of behavior used to define psychopathy by the PCL-R Checklist. I also recognized the emotional dysfunction.

    During the evaluation, I told the doctor all about the conflict and my concerns about psychopathy. After hearing all the reasons for my concerns, he reported to the Court that there was ‘no reason’ why I should not have visitation with my children and that my cognitive abilities and perception of reality were normal and that I was ‘able to interpret the actions and motives of others with reasonable acuity.’ He also mentioned three times that there was ‘no severe psychopathology’. He was basically telling the judge that maybe I was not the problem psychologically.

    When there was no abuse or psychological reason why I should not see my children, I began to point out to the Court that it had been fooled and that my wife was simply negatively interpreting all of my actions in order to deny access to the children. I also pointed out that she and her father have undeniable patterns of behavior that are consistent with psychopathy. It was at this point that I think the Judge realized that he was being manipulated. However, rather than order a psychological evaluation or bring in a third party, such as a guardian ad litem, as I had proposed and was recommended by the experts, he chose to bully me into silence and submission. He denied 3 separate show cause motions against my ex-wife and found me in contempt of court for not including a actual receipt with a copy of the lease I was ordered to fax to my ex-wife’s attorney. His final custody orders were that I was to have no visitation because I ‘could not follow his orders.’ The reality wasn’t that I could not follow his orders. It was that my ex-wife was lying and her attorney kept bringing me into Court for altercations manufactured by my ex-wife.

    I have petitioned the Court 5 times to bring in a Guardian Ad Litem specifically to represent the best interest of my children and each time my ex-wife’s attorney has argued against it and each time the Court has denied the petition. It is extremely unusual to not bring in a GAL or parenting Coordinator.

    My case has been described as ‘kafkaesque’ by a board member of the Fairfax County Bar Association. When I later asked my attorney, who witnessed the ‘duping delight’ of my ex-father in law, why he did not bring up the psychopathy, he said “because I don’t want to embarrass the Judge.”

    This may or may not make sense. If not feel free to ask.

    • cappuccinoqueen says:

      Sounds like you need Judge Algeo. I bet he wouldn’t have a problem allowing visitation no matter what went wrong in your past. I’m sorry Macks, but it still doesn’t make a lot of sense. This seems like a situation in which you need an attorney to go through the court transcripts and see where things went wrong for you. The problem I am having wrapping my head around is that my ex claimed that he had no issues either. I have found that women don’t just block access from a man for no reason. Most women, in fact, want their children to have a relationship with their father. I would have loved it if Luc had not been dangerous. I would have even fostered a relationship between him and Prince if I hadn’t been terrified of what he was going to do to Prince. I have heard many cases where men are not happy about the limited access they have been given, but yours is the only one that seems to be NO ACCESS. I am not saying it can’t happen, but I am having a hard time understanding how a judge in these times of “father’s rights” would be able to get away with blocking a father’s access with no cause.

      If my ex hadn’t been given unsupervised visits (which he fought for so that he could have a way to kill Prince for some damn insurance money), he would have headed straight to a father’s rights group who would have probably ended up falling for his “sad story” and fake tears and helped him find a free attorney to fight it (not that he needed a free attorney because Prudence Upton was doing a damn good job fighting for him to get access and who knows how he was paying her).

      I guess what I am saying is that your story doesn’t match what I know to be happening in the courts. Courts are not about children – they are about parents. So no matter what he judge doesn’t like about you (and I am sure it is more than just that your wives family hates you), I am baffled that this trumps the court’s precedent of father’s rights before the rights of children.

  22. Mind BLOWING… Well, I know it isn’t much of a consolation, but unless you fear for the lives of your children I can assure you of one thing. These kids will grow up hearing what a BAD GUY you are, and for now they will buy it.. but at some point these kids will begin to see what their mother and grand father are and will seek you out and make their own decisions about who is good and bad… I would suggest never speaking to the kids about the behaviors of their mother or grand father unless they bring the subject up and ask your input.. even then becautious about what you say.. I’ve lived this scene… THANK God all of my children found their own truthes, and I have a strong relationship with them. Day before yesterday my son who is a semi driver laid his truck over… He called the law, called his Boss, called his wife and then called me… Later that day I asked if he had called his father yet. He hadn’t. My other son calls, and I go see him as often as I can, but he hasn’t spoken with his Dad in nearly two years. They don’t hate him, but they have distanced.

    • cappuccinoqueen says:

      Marica, you make a good point here. So often parents feel the need to bad mouth the other parent or “point out the crazy.” Kids are really good at picking up on the crazy on their own eventually. I don’t ever advocate lying, but I think sometimes its easier for the child to realize it for themselves (assuming they are safe). I often thought about how I would deal with helping Prince make sense of the crazy. Instead of calling his father a liar, I think I would have said something like, “Oh Prince…that is excellent news about him opening for that famous musician X. How about we surprise him and go to the concert to see him?” Then, Prince would be able to see that he wasn’t there and that he was a liar. I know this might sound harsh, but I always said to myself that I would not help Luc deceive my son the way he deceived me. Sadly, Prince never got the opportunity to even care about his father enough to wonder or see the signs.

  23. It usually doesn’t take long for children to pick up on these things.. Unlike adults who tend to overlook/over think. Kids Sense what we ao often miss until it is too late. My Grand daughter is going through a divorce. She has a girl 3 and a boy 2. The little boy already doesn’t want to GO with Daddy. The little girl asked my son if her Daddy “loved her”. Something is happening that causes these kids to question the love of their Daddy. He isn’t a violent person, but he is vendictive. I am fairly certain he keeps his visitation times just to deprive my grand daughter of the kids even for a few days a month. I serouosly doubt once he has the kids that he spends any quality time with them. At least not what they get from their Mommy and her family. He now has a new woman in his life so maybe she will become his first priority. I pray no one ever leaves a mark on my babiesm because if that were to happen my son would be in prison for homicide.

    • cappuccinoqueen says:

      It’s so sad how many children out there become pawns in custody wars. It is terribly sad that this little girl is already questioning if her daddy loves her. She should have no doubt….in a perfect world. :(

  24. Madmacks says:

    Hera,

    The rulings in my case make no sense to me either. This whole process has been maddening, which is why I keep asking the Court to bring in a third party. I may not be explaining the situation very well, but I have no history of violence or legal involvement before my divorce. Nothing. Ever. I also still have relationships with all of my old girlfriends.

    My ex-wife never speaks to her old boyfriends, has never had a job for more than a year, her father is convicted of murder, admitted to heroin trafficking, has over 120 lawsuits in the DC metro area, and has a very well known reputation for bullying and litigiousness.

    My ex-wife played the victim and the Court believed her. The Court had ruled against me so many times by the time I realized what was happening that when I finally started explaining that she was manipulating the system in order to deny me access to the children, the Court simply did not wish to change course or acknowledge that it had been so badly fooled. That is why it keeps denying my requests for a GAL. The Court knows that a GAL would instantly see the patterns of alienation and emotional abuse.

    On Friday, I was in Court and made the argument that I had not heard or spoken to my children in over 2.5 years and that I had sent them cards, letters, and presents and gotten nothing in return. I explained that this was extremely unusual in that I had what two doctors told the Court described as a very strong and ‘palpable’ relationship with my children. I asked the Court to appoint a GAL to find out if the children had received the presents and letters and why they had not responded to any of my letters. The Court denied the petition for a GAL.

    The Court is not protecting children. It is protecting itself and the abuser that fooled the Court. That is the only reason that makes any sense. The Court could easily appoint a GAL or even order her to get a psychological evaluation and put all of this speculation to rest and prove me a liar if it wanted. The Court and my ex-wife know what a GAL would find. That is why they refuse to agree to appoint one.

  25. Debbie Wilcox says:

    I am following this case and this blog on a regular basis and all the stories are heart-breaking. I really think that Prince is reaching out to so many people across the world and I think Hera should be on National TV talking to the likes of Oprah or Dr Phil about this dreadful experience as I think it would resonate with so many people who are going through the same type of crisis. All of this has to be for a reason and the information should be ‘out-there’ as I am sure there are alot of people thinking ‘it’s only me going through this’ – when clearly so many are suffering and women and children are getting hurt because of the Authorities attitude towards abusers

  26. Christine says:

    Yes, they do figure it out on their own. Just weeks after my ex moved out my eldest started crying (that’s putting it mildly) about having to visit her dad and she began saying things like, “He’s not like other people” and “He’s really a bad guy pretending to be a good guy.” She complained about his “fake talk” and his “big, fake smile.” HOLY COW!!! She picked up on his psychopathic facade all on her own.

  27. sandy pasquale says:

    Madmacks, I am dealing with a very similar situation. My ex has a history of domestic violence and charge for Domestic Battery. He got away with murder for hire 3 years later (I was his intended victim) he was never CHARGED for the crime. He was granted supervised visitation with our children who were in protective custody @ the time. I was Ordered to transport the children 5 hours for a 1 hr visit every other saturday. My name was conveniently removed from our savings, my only source of income as I had quit my job and relocated. I was granted $100 weekly child support/maintenance to live , feed myself and 4 children. I ended up returning and have been literally paying for it ever since I returned. When I filed for divorce (I was granted full custody) the judge refused to remove him from the residence for 14 months, I was denied a protective order countless times. He was under investigation for suspected poisoning and has gotten away with endless intimidation and stalking measure. Eventually people get caught…he pled “guilty” to Invasion of Privacy for threatening to burn my home down with me in it, was charged with 6 months probation. I filed petition to move out of state with the children, he in turn filed for custody and the judge granted it (while on probation). I am dealing with a Narcissist, BPD who I truly believe is a Psychopath in the literal sense. He projects everything he is guilty of onto me and people fall hook line and sinker for his facade. He “appears” in a favorable light while I’m being construed as “Crazy” court ordered to have a psych eval which was performed that indicated No diagnoses and that my visitation should be unrestricted in any way… it was deemed “inadmissible” by the Judge. My children are not allowed to visit with me out of state. My ex has been neglecting and abusing my children which I have reported to DCS who do nothing to protect them. He has been stalking us during my visitation so I filed a complaint with the police, weeks later he filed to terminate and or restrict MY visitation rights. He even got the kids counselor to write a letter to the court suggesting this take place. I am the victim and being treated as a criminal. The GAL is NOT in favor of best interest of children but in favor of whatever the perpetrator wants plain and simple, I requested she be dismissed from the case due to blatant bias and prejudice against me along with several other reasons relating to sheer unprofessionalism. She titled her recommendation GAL “home” study evaluation and there was never one done in my home, incredible! In court she recommended not only should my visits be supervised but that I should have no phone contact with my children. I begged the judge to meet my children and assess the home they live in which is filthy. He advised this is why the GAL was appointed and that he would not. I advised that I will not subject my children or myself to unwarranted supervised visitation which is what HE once had due to criminal activity and is now trying to punish me with it while I’ve done nothing but try to protect my children. The judge made a comment about the way I “present” and suggested it would be my decision whether or not I “choose” to visit my children. I advised I have been persecuted over and over again, its never ending and that my children are suffering at the hand of this monster and nobody wants to believe it. If he so chose to grant the request, my children would be suffering the worst possible scenario imaginable. The matter is “under advisement” as of last tuesday, my children’s lives are at stake and no one cares. Perpetrators of violence seem to overpower the court somehow via manipulation tactics like none seen. I often say “history remains unchanged and often repeats itself, this is the pattern of an abuser”. The “system” is broken and needs great reform… yesterday, because tomorrow is too late.

  28. Madmacks says:

    Sandy,

    Wow. I totally believe you Sandy. The Courts, the lawyers and the Doctors are all in denial about psychopathy. They will turn a blind eye to the red flags and patterns of behavior of psychopathy and then pretend that your reaction to having your concerns ignored is the problem.

    Was your ex ordered to have a psychological evaluation to or just you?

  29. sandy pasquale says:

    Madmacks, the ex has been diagnosed with BDP, Narcissistic Traits, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Depression & Adjustment Disorder. He scored high in narcissism, aggressiveness,compulsiveness and 9/10 in CONTROL which has been the MO and ongoing theme of this perpetrator. Per the GAL report, his eval was “nothing out of the ordinary” which was quite the contrary (as you said “turn a blind eye to the red flags”). My children have been systematically programed via use of projection and parental alienation tactics of sorts, they now act no differently than he. He even admitted (per one of the DCS reports) that the children are disrespectful towards me “but she deserves it” came straight from the horses mouth. I was the only one ordered (at present) to be evaluated, I suggested the GAL delve further into his history which she refused. I was told that I “chose” to marry him, suggesting I deserved the abuse I endured. An Amicus Brief that Parental Alienation is Child Abuse was filed on behalf of my children and was “stricken” from the record. I can assure you I am in NO need of an evaluation and am not “crazy” but can attest to the fact that “professional” POSERS are trying their damndest to drive me there by violating our constitutional rights to Life, Liberty and Happiness. My children are victims in all this chaos and “system” could care less what happens to them. Its a sad world we live in that someone needs to pass before addressing how dangerous abusive people truly are, this sickens me to no end.

  30. Madmacks says:

    Sandy,

    Your story is not surprising considering that I have basically gone through almost the same thing.

    From my research, I have found that this is a common pattern. You are being labeled as the problem in order to silence you. If you do not accept their findings then you are clearly disordered and not perceiving reality clearly. They can then use the kids as the carrot and the stick to control you. Your feelings and concerns do not matter.

    I totally understand your frustration and pain. Psychopaths are all about control. My ex and her father have spent over $1 million in legal fees to keep me from my children. They are actually exploiting the legal system to keep me from the children and the Court is letting them. In October, my ex-wife’s attorney argued against my 4th petition appointing a GAL on a Friday. The following Monday, my ex-wife filed for a protective order. When I asked her on the stand where the ‘act or threat’ of violence is, she cited a letter that I had written to another Judge 6 months earlier that contained no threats whatsoever. The Judge still granted the protective order.

    From yours, Hera’s and my experience, it is quite apparent that the Courts do not understand psychopathy or they just don’t care to do anything about it to safeguard children. The victims and targets of psychopathy have to continue to speak out.

  31. sandy pasquale says:

    Courts DO understand psychopathy, they blatantly refuse to address it and would rather add insult to injury by condoning the behaviors and BLAME their victim for the way they “present” as if were in the wrong for trying to protect ourselves and our children. My ex is a dangerous individual with lengthy history of mental diagnoses and pattern of Domestic Violence/Stalking, he solicited and conspired with someone to kill me for God sakes and the Judge handed him custody of my 3 children when I requested to move out of State to protect us. I’ve been denied Protective Orders countless times, including the day before the last one expired…he was on Probation for violating the one currently in effect at the time for threatening my life (once again), he pled “guilty” to evade other charges for tampering with my phone yet it was still DENIED.

    We had court last week regarding terminating MY visitation…Yeah, uhhh I’m the victim. I represent myself in court and got to question the ex (who for some reason couldn’t look at me directly…go figure) regarding both neglecting and abusing the children. Our eldest is allergic to smoke and pet dander-he lives with his mother who smokes and owns a dog which has been an ongoing issue for my daughter with respiratory issues/skin conditions secondary to both. Just one week prior to the court appearance my children advised there was blood on their front porch and the dog turned up missing. In court I asked about the dog, his response “what dog”, I again asked about the dog which he alluded he knew nothing about. He was reminded he was under oath and disclosed “the dogs been missing for about a week” my next question… “did you kill the dog?” response: “what” I again asked “did YOU kill that dog?” response: “no” to which I responded “I think you did”. Immediately after line of questioning the Judge excused himself briefly as the ex removed himself from the court. The judge returned, his attorney went to get him and advised “judge we will have to continue without my client. Some may think I was cruel to ask about the dog in such a manner but I know what he is capable of…this is not the first dog to turn up missing, shot or poisoned (all owned by his mother) coincidence? I think not, I can read him like a book…the “system” refuses to acknowledge the Red Flags. He is truly a nightmare, my children and I know…AND so does his mother who raised him. I fight like hell for my children to no avail, there is no justice when dealing with a corrupted “system” just clocking in to get paid. My greatest fear is being unable to protect my children, the courts have literally taken that ability away from me rendering them completely helpless. It should not take an act of Congress to recognize the difference between a perpetrator and victim…God help us all because apparently it does.

  32. Christine says:

    YES MADMACKS!!!!!!!! That is what my ex did during the entire marriage (if you can call it that) and during the divorce proceedings; he used the kids (and threats to paint me as insane in order to gain full custody) as the carrot and the stick to control me. It worked. I stayed in an abusive marriage for 12 years and lost nearly everything (financially) in the divorce in order to protect my children. He’s a psychologist, knows the judges in town, and labeled me as “dysfunctional” and “rageaholic” “psychotic” among other things in order to SILENCE ME. It worked. I kept my mouth shut and let him have everything he wanted so I could keep my kids. It’s so hard for people to understand this. I’ve given up trying to explain it to anyone. But MADMACKS, you seem to get it.

    To Hera and anyone reading here, I found this fascinating study recently posted at lovefraud dot com It highlights and confirms the problem of abusive parents being given custody and/or unsupervised visitation mainly because judges, GAL’s, psychologists, etc are not trained well enough in domestic violence and many believe women are lying about the abuse.

    http://ssw.umich.edu/about/profiles/saunddan/Custody-Evaluators-Beliefs-About-Domestic-Abuse-Allegations-Final-Tech-Report-to-NIJ-10-31-11.pdf

    • cappuccinoqueen says:

      Christine, you are so right about judges and how they react to abuse allegations. It has become an environment where lawyers will actually warn women NOT to bring up abuse because they will be accused of making it up and painted in a negative light for the rest of the trial. I just court watched in a case where the judge threw out testimony from a CPS worker and decided that the mother made the whole thing up. It has become like reporting rape – immediately the woman is suspected as lying instead of getting to the facts and discovering what happened. It’s so disgusting.

  33. Christine says:

    This is exactly what happened in my case. I was warned that it would likely harm my case to bring up the emotional abuse and neglect, and I was encouraged to accept that the judge would order an equal split financially and joint custody nearly 100% of the time. I spoke to no less than three attorneys and they all told me the same thing; the judge will not give a rat’s ass that my kids are emotionally abused and neglected by their father. He would get free reign anyway. Of course my ex knew this because of his work but he also knew that I didn’t know, so he played me and the lawyers like an online role playing game and he won because he’s brilliant and I’m a fool.

  34. Madmacks says:

    Christine, Sandy and Hera,

    All of you are 100% correct. There is a willful negligence on the part of the Courts and the psychologists. Psychopathy exists and is ‘well known’ according to the FBI’s 2012 bulletin about psychopathy. Dr. Hervey Cleckley who wrote the book ‘Mask of Sanity’ referred to the failure of the Courts and psychologists to take psychopathy seriously as a ‘conspiracy of silence’ in 1982.

    One of the leading experts in ‘high conflict’ divorce wrote in 1994 that there is usually a ‘severe psychopathology’ involved in one or both parties. However, BPD is the most common diagnosis in Court ordered psychological evaluations in custody cases. People who are ignored, dismissed and emotionally invalidated who stand up for themselves will often present with traits of BPD. The reality is that our reactions are actually considered normal if viewed in that context. Our reactions are a viewed as the problem, instead of a symptom of a much bigger issue.

    For example, in my psychological evaluation, my evaluator did not even tell the Court that I believed that my ex-wife was a psychopath or that I was being emotionally, psychologically and physically abused. He didn’t even talk to anyone that knows me. He just took my reactions to being dragged through the legal process, after discovering that my children’s grandfather was a convicted murderer, and called it BPD. If he had bothered to contact anyone that knew me prior to the divorce, he would have realized that my ‘reactions’ and how I was presenting was conditional and specific to a very unusual and abnormal situation, not a personality disorder.

  35. sandy pasquale says:

    Madmacks, the psychologist utilized “Projection” and labeled the behaviors of the perpetrator onto you. BDP’s are notorious for utilizing projection and it truly works, while they “appear” in a favorable light, you are left in the darkness and despair they created trying to explain exactly how you got there.

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