A.S.

I was a stay-at-home Mom with two precious children, ages eight and ten; they need me but I can only see them at supervised visitations held at the court house every other Sunday from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. We have been going for two years now. My son said that he loves me and wants to have normal visitations and he does not like going to the courthouse. My kids need my love, my home cooking and my special attention. They need their Mother.

My divorce was final in April 2002. The judge refuses to allow me to speak to my children on the telephone and I am only allowed these supervised visitations because my then husband, his mother and her boyfriend accused me of domestic battery October 7, 2001; they were each other’s witnesses.

While I was in jail I was served with a restraining order, which kept me from seeing my children for another two weeks. At the end of the two weeks I thought, “I’ll go to court, the restraining order will get dropped, and I will be with my children again.” But that never happened. The judge extended the restraining order for another six months and at that time the divorce was already in process.

These charges of domestic battery were false, but I had little money and so I took a guilty-in-best-interest plea, for a Withhold Adjudication; and this April, I completed probation (early term of one year).

Please know that the domestic violence allegations against me were false and I was the true victim.

The judge used the criminal information and denied me alimony, ordered me to pay child support, and gave me shared parental responsibility. However, I am only permitted supervised visitation.

My complaint is that this judge cares nothing about my children but is punishing us by refusing me contact with them and them contact with me. He refused them a Guardian Ad-Litem although they come to the visitation dirty and with bruises. They are left with a babysitter from 7:00am to 2:00am (19 hours a day) because my ex-husband’s work schedule as a Chef is 11:00 am till 2:00 am and he earns over $70,000.00 a year. He pays his lawyer $300.00 per hour. Since I could not afford a lawyer I filed motions to (1) find out who the baby sitter is; (2) if there was a criminal check and references on the baby sitter; (3) for a social investigation; (4) for appointment of a guardian ad litem; (5) daily telephone contact; and (6) requests to write letters and send gifts to my children.

Each motion was denied and in January 2003, the judge rudely told me to get out of his courtroom, that I was “banned” from his courtroom and I was not permitted to have any further Motion hearings in his Court because I was not coordinating them with the opposing lawyer. But the Judge’s staff said that was not required! He is biased.

The judge entered an Income deduction taking over 60% of my net pay for child support. I was evicted, my car was repossessed, and I lost my job; and then I was found in contempt and now face jail. Without the help of my church and my friends I would be homeless. Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach has helped me as an indigent person to get a free lawyer who amended my petition for modification to have normal visitation.

I have worked in the Medical field and I also received some therapy at my church to overcome my grief and pain in the loss of my children. I MISS them dearly. What this judge is doing to us is inhuman.

If I was an abusive mom, then I could understand. But I have never abused my children. But for my former husband’s false accusations, there is no reason to prohibit us—my children and me—from speaking daily on the telephone and resuming a normal life. This was just a divorce. The ex-husband is now using the system to punish the children and me, and the Judge is enabling him. This Judge treats me with disrespect and disdain. He demeans me and, I understand, he demeans other women. He is causing long-term emotional harm to my children; this is child abuse.

Judges who do not understand children’s emotional needs should not be in Family Court.

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