Tag Archives: family court system

Family Court Failures: Letters to the Media

Family Court Failures: Letters to the Media

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The recent story of “A” and Baby G is just another reminder of how deeply flawed the Family Court System is. As I mentioned this morning on Facebook, I would like to put together a stack of stories to mail to media outlets.  I want to show first-hand accounts of the failures in the Family Court System.  The Family Court System is not doing it’s job– which is to act in the best interest of the child.  My goal is to compile as many stories as possible and bind them together with a cover sheet attached.

This is exactly what I need from you:  A one-page word document telling your story.

1. At the top of the page, please list your name, the ages of your children and which court house (county and state) that your case presently resides in.

2. I know the reality of what I am asking– it is very difficult to tell your story in one-page.  I know this from experience– heck, I wrote an entire book about this topic!  We need to make each piece focused and to the point. Each of our stories are so different — but each story shares a similar thread: failure by the Family Court System to act in the best interest of our children.  If you personally find it difficult to adhere to one page, I suggest doing a summary in the beginning and then use bullet points to highlight specific incidences such as:

  • 2005- A 3111 (Custody Evaluation) was ordered which uncovered major issues such as a criminal record and alcohol infractions.
  • 2010- A CWS report was opened because XYZ left our child unattended in a car for 45 minutes.
  • 2011- Stalking charges were filed and a restraining order was issued.
  • 2012- Despite an extensive criminal history, the Judge ordered unsupervised, overnight visits 6 nights per month.

The key to this is to have as many stories as possible without overwhelming the media outlets with pages and pages of details.

3. Close by listing your contact information in case there are additional questions.

4. Email me the one-page document to Tina@onemomsbattle.com with the subject line saying, “Media Letters.”

Thank you!!!!  Let’s raise our voices together and get the media to begin focusing on these issues.  We can break the silence and demand change!  -Tina

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Divorcing a Narcissist: The Family Court System Needs an Overhaul

Divorcing a Narcissist: The Family Court System Needs an Overhaul

cryingNote from Tina: If I ever begin to question “why” I am doing what I am doing, I will re-read the message that I received this morning. The Family Court System in our country needs a complete overhaul. Literally makes me sick to receive messages like this. Sending love and prayers to “A” and her beautiful little girl ♥ Tina

Dear Tina,

I just read the Kindle version of your book. One of the therapists at the DV group I have been going to recommended it. It helped me to feel not so alone, and like it really “wasn’t me” and wasn’t my fault. It really is amazing how identical so much of what you wrote about is how my ex is, the same things said, the same words, the same mind games and manipulations, the same alcohol, the same twisted parents, I’d swear you were taking about my ex. I chose to message you instead of posting this on your wall because the ex has people monitoring my page and posts and everything.

I am so distraught and upset right now. You are so right about the Family Law system being screwed up. It is, and these guys use it for their own games using our poor children as pawns, nothing more than objects. I fled my home with my daughter after my ex made an attempt on my life and was nearly successful.  After many threats that our daughter (8 months old when I left) would be “motherless”, I filed for divorce in a neighboring state and was granted an emergency motion and temp custody. The court finally found it did not have jurisdiction and insisted we file in our home state. My ex beat me to it and the court made a decision based on his prejudgement filing alone, without a hearing, and granted him one full WEEK with him. I was notified mid-day on Friday and the visit was to begin 48 hours  later- on Sunday.

My daughter is still primarily breastfed- easily 80% of the time. She has never had a bottle, refuses breast milk from a cup and only wants to nurse- straight from me, her mother. She is allergic to cows milk, so she has not been on that or any other “substitute”. The longest she has EVER been gone from me is 4 hours, and she nurses right before and after. None of that mattered to the court. I was even able to get letter from her pediatrician strongly advising against such a dramatic change so quickly and asking that they please not unnecessarily traumatize our infant daughter, but my ex and his lawyer insisted. He even went so far as to say that he’d “just put her on formula” despite her NEVER having had formula and refusing a bottle.

Now my baby is 420 miles away, I am beyond worried, and don’t know what to do. I just don’t understand how the court can make such a major decision after only seeing one twisted side of the story which involved lies, and then claim it is in my baby’s best interest. I don’t know what to do next, how to get through this, how to help my baby. I feel so absolutely destroyed.

Your strength is encouraging to me. Though I also am a bit feeling like this is only the beginning of a long never ending road. It seems as though he is going to follow the same pattern that you went through. I pray for some of your strength. Thank you for writing this book and speaking out. “A”

“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter

Click the link to purchase Tina’s new book, “Divorcing a Narcissist- One Mom’s Battle.”  You will find insight, red flag reflections and strategies on how to survive (and thrive!) while divorcing of co-parenting with a narcissist. Tired of panicking at the site of a new email from the narcissist in your inbox? Learn how to decode the emails and see them for what they are. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.

 

Request for Order: The Outcome of Yesterday’s Hearing

Request for Order: The Outcome of Yesterday’s Hearing

I usually do a pretty good job of wearing the “fearless leader” cape but it’s hanging on my bed post as I type.  I am not feeling inspirational by any stretch of the imagination so please bear with me.

We arrived at the courthouse yesterday and I saw my x’s father walking with an attorney.  I instantly knew that they had retained counsel. Again.  Sure enough, I was handed the paperwork by his new attorney upon entering the courtroom.

Our court hearings are normally held in a packed courtroom first thing in the morning but yesterday’s hearing was scheduled for the afternoon and there was only one case in front of us.  I had been served papers by my x recent but I had a feeling that he had left some items out.  He is supposed to serve me with the exact documents that he presents to the court but that never happens.  Normally I have to go to the clerk and compare what they have on file to what I am served.  It’s frustrating to say the least.

One of the papers that he conveniently left out was a letter from his Aunt.  In the letter, she stated that she was shocked and appalled when speaking to me in 2009.  My exact words (according to her declaration) were, “If x gets any custody of the children, I will destroy him”.  It is such a blatant lie and it’s so absurd that it doesn’t even deserve a response.  Anyone who knows me can verify that nothing like that has ever left my mouth.  The discouraging part is that this woman actually works as a child advocate in the court system and the letter was on her company’s letterhead.

Our case was given a great deal of time by the court and for that, I am thankful.  My x’s new attorney started off by implying that I am a litigious litigant and the Commission defended me by saying that the claim was not true.

When given the opportunity to state my case I tried to explain that I am hardly an overprotective mother.  My children enjoy sleepovers with friends, play dates and other activities on a regular basis.  There is a difference between a play date with friends and a play date with their dad—play dates with friends do not cause the anxiety and stress that see in my daughters.   Something is clearly wrong with this picture.

The positives that came from yesterday’s court date:

  • A full-parenting evaluation was finally ordered.
  • The x was instructed that the girls are to have their phones in their possessions at all times.  The Commissioner expressed what I have expressed all along: why is my x so concerned about the phone’s GPS tracking?
  • Custody exchange takes place 25 minutes from my house versus the current 45 minute drive.

The negatives that came from yesterday’s court date:

  • x’s attorney brought up overnight visits and I know what the mere mention of that will do to our daughters.  I know that is what they are going to push for.
  • The Commissioner wants my youngest daughter to see a third party psychologist to determine why she wets the bed at night and has nightmares.  She is the sweetest, most golden-hearted little girl and the thought of her having to answer questions about this breaks my heart.
  • While I am the one who has pushed so hard for the evaluation, I hate what the girls are going to have to endure over the next two months of the evaluation.  They are so young and shouldn’t have to be in this position.
  • My x’s new attorney told me that my blog was “tragic” and I replied, “Yes, it is”.  It is tragic that I have to keep a blog.  It is tragic that I have content for my blog.  It is tragic what my children have had to endure.  It’s all tragic.

By November 1st, I have to file the following:

  • My list of concerns – what I specifically want the evaluator to look into.
  • I need to propose a psychologist in the area for my daughter.
  • My income and expense declaration to determine how much the evaluation will cost.  When we did the last evaluation in 2010, the cost was $5,000.  This part terrifies me.

I am completely drained.  I feel beat up and discouraged.  I question why I feel so discouraged when in all honesty; I got what I asked for.  I think that I am disappointed that there are actually people who would represent my x husband.  Maybe I am naïve and maybe it’s the exact reason that I could never practice law.  I couldn’t fathom looking at all of the evidence against my x and saying, “I’ll take that case!  I’ll help put children back in this man’s care”.  I personally couldn’t do it for all of the money in the world.  It makes me sad that there are people who place money and winning as a higher priority than the safety and well-being of children.

The anxiety of placing the girls’ best interest in the hands of an evaluator weighs on me.  I am hoping and praying that the evaluator will see through him.  That he will see the lies, the manipulations and that he will truly act in the best interest of our daughters.  I need to brace myself for the coaching the x will receive on steps to take, how to pump up the doting dad act, etc.  It is frustrating that I can see through it yet others can’t – or they don’t take the time.

I am going to wrap this pity party up and practice what I preach: focus on the positive and think of all of the things that I have to be thankful for.  Thank you for being in my court and for believing in me.  It means a lot and I appreciate each and every one of you.

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Divorcing a Narcissist: The Family Court Standard

Divorcing a Narcissist: The Family Court Standard

I was talking to one of my friend’s last night about her case.  Our stories are incredibly similar and we just so happen to be in the same county- and in the same courtroom.  We came together last year as a result of my blog.  Our x’s share many characteristics and our daughters are the same age- and experiencing the same things.  It’s almost uncanny.

She was able to eloquently express what she deems as a primary issue in our local courts and probably in many across the country: the courts have a threshold of what they deem as “acceptable” but as a mother, as a father, as parents and as a society– our thresholds should be much higher.  I share her frustration.  I sit in court and I watch people who are accused of selling drugs in front of their children.  I hear allegations of physical and sexual abuse.  I have witnessed parents who have disappeared from their child’s life for five years and suddenly reappear and want to pick up right where they left off.  I watch dead-beat parents of both genders as I sit in that courtroom.  As I wait for our case to be called, I usually have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach because I know that compared to what has been addressed before us- the Narcissist appears to be a welcomed relief in many ways.

Much like a doctor becomes accustomed to the cycle of life, our courts have become accustomed to abuse, neglect and abandonment.  In recent paperwork submitted to the court, minor’s counsel suggested something along the lines of, “I am beginning to wonder if the mother overreacts to the father’s parenting style“.  Those weren’t the exact words (and I don’t have the paperwork with me) but that is what he was eluding to.  If you consider emotional abuse a “parenting style” than I am guilty.  If you consider leaving a child unattended in a car for 30-45 minutes while you watched sports on television a “parenting style“- than I am guilty.  If you consider leaving two children who can’t swim alone in a pool without life jackets on a “parenting style“- than I am guilty.  If you consider telling a 4-year old child that you are going to lock her in a dark parking structure and make her sleep there because she is crying a “parenting style“- than I am guilty.  If you believe in bullying and scaring children a “parenting style” than I am guilty.

I think that this issue starts in the courtroom and trickles down to everyone who has a hand in the court system–including the very people (parenting evaluators, GAL’s, Child Welfare Services, etc) who are supposed to protect our children.  As a society, we should demand a higher threshold when it comes to our children.  It sadly comes back to parental rights and the fact that parental rights seem to supersede the right of a child to be healthy, happy and loved.

Something needs to change.

  • Going through a custody battle or divorce with a “high conflict” person?  Purchase “Tina’s Tips” for advice and insight to help with your battle and your peace of mind.

 

 

One Mom’s Battle Has Many Faces: #4

One Mom’s Battle Has Many Faces: #4

From Tina:Once a week, I feature stories from other women who are in this battle.  As I said before, One Mom’s Battle has many faces.  Part of my healing has come from connecting with these other women and sharing stories, giggles and tears.  I have found a tremendous support system through this blog and it has helped me to realize that I am not alone.  I call them the “Warrior Moms” and while I know there are also many men affected by Narcissists and Psychopaths, the vast majority of my interaction is with other brave moms.

This week, I am shifting the topic a bit to highlight Family Court corruption.  Many of you may have seen the NY Post article titled, “NJ ex-wives say divorce judge favors rich hubbies” which has created quite a stir.  I think that these women deserve a tremendous amount of support from everyone who is currently fighting this battle. Keeping these stories in the spotlight is incredibly important for ALL of us.  The fact that the NY Post has picked up this story gives me hope.    ###

One Mom’s Battle Has Many Faces –from all over the world.  This week’s warrior mommy is Patricia Pisciotti who’s story was highlighted in the NY Post article detailing the corruption at the hands of Judge Paul X. Escandon.

Here is Face #4- Patricia Pisciotti 

Tina – your blog has inspired so many women to speak up.  Thank you for giving women a forum to have a voice and to help facilitate some change in a system that is very broken.  

Please help me regain custody of my three children… who are now living with a violent, two-time felon, confessed killer, mob turncoat, Nicholas “PJ” Pisciotti, who refused the Federal Witness Protection Program after testifying publicly against Bonanno Boss, Vincent Basciano. In a private statement to the judge (my attorney and I were not initially privy to) he stated that he has not been sentenced yet by the Federal Government, and may still be called to testify as a government witness. My children are in danger.

In 2004, when my youngest was an infant, Pisciotti abandoned the marital home, and became addicted to illegal drugs, particularly steroids. He was arrested in 2005, along with his current live-in girlfriend, after brutally beating a man into a coma. He had beaten and choked me in front of the children one night prior. Our divorce was final in 2006. In 2007, Pisciotti was arrested again, this time by the FBI, facing 40 years to life in prison for drug trafficking, attempted murder and racketeering. This is when he made a deal.

In 2009, Pisciotti was released from prison, refused to continue in the Federal Witness Protection Program, believing he is invincible, and began a crusade to destroy me financially after I refused to bring the children to visit him in prison, while in protective custody at an undisclosed location. 

Pisciotti has waged his war on me with the help of an unethical attorney, Amy Cores, and Judge Paul Escandon. I have been harassed with unrelenting litigation and baseless appeals to render me destitute and defenseless in the system. I attempted to move within the state, as the law permits, to find work and be closer to family, and Escandon unconstitutionally imprisoned me in a house I could no longer afford, after Pisciotti began withholding support while simultaneously using the system to bankrupt me. I expressed my financial distress to Escandon on several occasions, often without an attorney, and instead of enforcing support, he reduced it, contrary to an appellate decision, and two orders from a prior judge. He then substantially increased Pisciotti’s parenting time, ignoring permanent orders just issued by a prior judge and provisions of a civil restraint order.

I plummeted about $100,000 into debt awaiting an appeal of the unlawful decision, for over a year. I maxed out my credit cards, was indebted to my attorney and others, and was selling personal items, so as not to default on the mortgage. I finally sold my house, my only remaining asset, and rented it back, so that I could rehire my attorney. I was told by many legal experts, and I believed as well, that the Appellate Court would overturn the decision, but it did not. I had tried to find employment for about two years in or around Monmouth County, to no avail, so I moved 37 miles instate, closer to the metropolitan area to find work, pursue a Masters degree and be closer to family, and lost my children as a result. Had I not sold the house and moved when I did, I would still be unemployed and in foreclosure. At the advice of my attorney, I appealed to the Supreme Court of New Jersey, and again was denied, with costs.

My rights have been violated on three levels of the New Jersey Judicial system. Not only was Judge Escandon’s unconstitutional order upheld, but the Supreme court refused to hear my appeal and ordered me to pay the legal costs of a man who physically abused me, then waged a war on me in Judge Escandon’s courtroom, with impunity, to financially ruin me. The three children I have cared for since birth, were taken from me and ordered to live in a $900,000 house purchased by Pisciotti for his former mistress, while claiming he could not pay child support and alimony. Pisciotti’s entire litigation has been based on fraud and malicious intent, and was not only allowed, but rewarded by the NJ Judicial System. Furthermore, Pisciotti is a resident of New York, has a New York driver’s license, and files taxes in New York.

Since Escandon was exposed in the NY Post, about fifteen more women have come forward expressing outrage over his abusive illegal rulings, violations of due process rights and failures to adhere to proper court procedure.

The Judicial System has failed me and my children. My parenting was never an issue, yet my children were taken from me, the one person who has cared for them their entire lives, and the only stability they have ever known, and placed with a dangerous man who was absent most of their lives. Please help me regain rightful custody of my children.
Click here to sign Patricia Pisciotti’s petition.

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Please submit your story (less than 900 words) to Tina@thePRdiva.com

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The Web of Lies

The Web of Lies

The web of lies is thick.  The lies are so engrained in him that I really think that he believes himself.  It’s hard to watch.  There are little white lies and half-truths and then there are blatant lies and elaborate stories.  I’ve had numerous people ask about the most recent lie in court and how he ended up with supervised visits.

On February 19, I went to the church that I’ve been going to for over three years.  I sit in the same section every week.  He brought my daughters to church that day but he paraded them through the main adult church instead of putting them in their Sunday School class.  He sat directly in front of me– on purpose or by chance– I’m still not sure.  The girls saw me and ran to me.  They didn’t want to leave with him and the end result was him screaming at us in the parking lot of church, my daughters both in hysterics and eventually, the police accompanying me to pick up my daughters because I was fearful of him and afraid of subjecting my daughters to another one of his tirades.  That is the short version.

In court on Wednesday, he spun his story and now it is a thick web that he can’t break free of.  In his version of the story, this was his church.  He attends this church every week and sits in the exact same spot.  I was there and I purposefully sat in his section.

I was dumbfounded.  I sat there listening with my mouth wide open.  I watched as the Commissioner raised his eyebrows in disbelief and the girls’ attorney shook his head in what appeared to be disbelief.  I couldn’t quite grasp what I was hearing.  There have been so many lies but this one was almost too hard for me to believe.  He was talking about my church.  He was lying about my church.  I was waiting for the sky to open and for lightening to strike.

He was talking about a place that has become a safe haven for me.  My home away from home.  A place where I am able to reconnect each week and find my strength.  These are the pastors who will pray for me on a random Tuesday morning if I send them an email about my struggles.  These are the people who have given me a bag of groceries when I was in need.  These people helped me to get into my first apartment after I left the women’s shelter.  These are the people who bought my daughters Christmas gifts this year when I discovered that my X had been fired from his job- again.

The judge pressed him further on the topic– he lives four hours away from the church yet he claims to attend every week?  I wasn’t the only one scratching my head.  He was evasive when pressed for the number of times he attends.  He was evasive as he always is when caught lying.  The judge stated, “I don’t care whether you go to church or not.  That is your business.  What I do care about is when someone lies in my courtroom”.  Then, the judge ordered supervised visits and set a new court date for April 10th.  He ordered the attorney to uncover the truth– if my X attends this particular church every week as he stated in court.  If he is lying, the order becomes permanent.

As suspected, my X called the church within minutes of court ending.  He wanted them to say that he is a member and attends regularly.  They can’t say that because he isn’t a member and he doesn’t attend regularly.  In fact, we estimate that he’s attended twice in the past year.  The people at the church know my story and they know the history.  They have been there since the beginning.  They know that I submit a written prayer request each and every Sunday– asking for them to pray for the protection for my daughters while in his care and praying that the Family Court System will work to protect my daughters.

They can’t do what he is asking because of one simple thing: it isn’t the truth. 


Feeling Re-Fueled- Today’s Court Date

Feeling Re-Fueled- Today’s Court Date

Today was my ex parte hearing. 

My request was to cancel all visits pending our next court date which was just around the corner- March 7th to be exact.  I was requesting this due to the events from last weekend.  The Commissioner granted my request.  I am thrilled.  I didn’t have to be in court today but I did have to wait all day for the Commissioner to review my paperwork and make a decision.  I found out at 3pm and I am breathing easier now.

I submitted over 20 pages of declarations and evidence.  It was very strong evidence and I felt hopeful.  After the paperwork was submitted, I prayed.  My friends prayed.  Some of them lit candles, some send positive thoughts & pixie dust and others showered me with text messages and phone calls.  I felt surrounded by positivity and love today.

I am celebrating the fact that we have a week of peace.  A week of stability.  A week where I don’t have to worry about whether or not my daughters are safe.  I am thankful to the Commissioner who took the time to read my paperwork and then acted in the best interest of the girls.  It is little victories like this that re-fuel me and fill my cup back up.  These little victories restore my faith in the system.  I feel hopeful again.

Someone recently said that they admire my drive and think that I am inspirational.  I don’t feel inspirational.  I am a mom and I am doing my job: I am protecting my daughters.  I can’t imagine not protecting my daughters.  The mere thought of not fighting is something I can’t conceptualize.  I will keep fighting with honesty, integrity and my daughters’ best interest at the front of my battle ship.  My children and all children deserve to feel safe, happy and secure.


Why Our Family Court System Needs to Change

Why Our Family Court System Needs to Change

I haven’t really posted anything this week because I needed a few days to gain control over my tongue and my emotions.

Quite frankly, I was afraid to write because I was afraid of what I would say.

There are some disturbing things that happened this week.  I find that I am still furious beyond belief but in better control of my emotions than I was a few days ago.

Our system needs to change. 

Our system needs to start protecting our children.  

My six-year old daughter told me something this week that made my blood boil.  Her father hit her over the weekend.  He has crossed a new line that frightens me to my core.

You see, I don’t believe in spanking my children.  I don’t want to start a discipline debate because I said, “my” children on purpose.  How you choose to discipline your children is your business.  I think there are many factors that play into this decision and I think that each family has the right to decide what works best for them.  I don’t disagree with spanking…I’ve just never had to resort to that with my own daughters.  I have found success in other forms of positive discipline that work for my family.

My daughter came to me and said that she wanted to talk about something that was bothering her.  Her father hit her over the weekend.  She’s never been hit and it was confusing.  It upset her.  It scared her.  It hurt her.

They had been on a hike with other family members.  She said that her dad acts different when people are around– he acts “nicer” but when they are alone he isn’t as “nice”.  She was getting into his car after the hike and she stepped on the seat of his precious car.  He yelled at her for it.  She got nervous while trying to navigate into her car seat and stepped on his seat again.  Her shoes were muddy.  He hit her on the arm.  I asked her to show me how hard he hit her and she said, “Mom, I can’t show you because I can’t hit that hard”.

He then proceeded to tell her that, what happens at his house stays at his house.  That is what he is accustomed to.  In his family; they play pretend.  They are masters at it.  They pretend to be healthy– they pretend to be normal.  They sweep issues under the rug.  The problem with that is actually unfolding before my very eyes– you can only “pretend” to be normal for so long before things start to unravel.  They aren’t healthy and they aren’t normal.

In my family, we address issues so they aren’t buried.  We deal with the good, the bad and the ugly…so we can be healthy.  We communicate and we are honest.  That is what I want to instil in my daughters.

My daughter told me the story and she told her therapist the story.  She cried hysterically in his car until they arrived at a restaurant in which he instructed her to stop.  I was told that my four year old daughter cried hysterically also– I asked her why she was crying and she said she was “very sad and scared for her sister”.  They couldn’t use their cell phone to call me because they didn’t have their phone (which is also against court orders).

My six year old daughter told me that she cried so hard that she couldn’t breathe.

My heart broke multiple times this week.

I called the court to put a new OSC on the calendar.  The court calendar is booked until the end of February.  The attorney who represents my daughters can not start paperwork until Monday or Tuesday because his calendar is booked.  We don’t qualify for an ex parte hearing because it isn’t a matter of life or death “according to the court system”.  Everyone agrees it is a problem yet no one can protect my daughters.  My daughter’s therapist agrees that it is a problem and while she has documented it, she can’t “report” it because there were no visible marks.

My daughter asked me this morning if she had to go back over there.  What do you say to that?  I know what I want to say and I know what my heart/gut/mind tells me to say.  I also know that the system tells me that I will be the one violating court orders.

What I do know: The system that claims it protects my children is broken.

My right as a mother to protect my children is overshadowed by a flawed system.

If anyone with a law background cares to share their advice, please email me as I am open to any suggestions.