N.M.

So happy to be a part of this group where our voices will be heard. On a sad note, there are far too many who are experiencing this in all parts of the country. What happened to the rule of law that a mother had to be proven “unfit” before her children could be “snatched” from her. This group will definitely make a difference. Let everyone hear the “cries” of the children.

B. and F., parents of N.M.

My daughter N.M. moved to New Jersey in August, 1999 with her children, after giving due notice to her former husband, M.M. In February of 2000, M.M. threatened to fight for custody of their son, then aged 9; N.M. and he agreed verbally that the son would have an extended visit with him until June of 2000, at which time the son was never returned. In August of 2000, M.M. brought a motion before the Florida court. During that proceeding Judge Lupo ruled that N.M. could return to New Jersey with her son.

Just before they were to fly out, she found out that her former husband had called the airport and told them not to let her on the flight, that she was kidnapping “his” son. She explained what had transpired and was told that since she had no written order yet, at the very least, there would be an unpleasant scene. To avoid this, N.M. cancelled her flight. The following day, my husband drove them half-way to New Jersey and N.M.’s husband had to pack up the other 3 children and start out on the journey to meet them half-way.

While they were enroute, an “emergency” hearing was called in regard to a year-old medicine issue. Because I was the only family member available, I was given 40 minutes notice to come and testify. I was mortified as I sat in the court room that day. Not only was N.M. not there to verify facts or to rectify the situation, but I caught them all lying. This did not seem to matter to Judge Lupo. In that court room, without N.M. being present, custody of her son was taken from her. She returned home to New Jersey to find that her son had to be flown back to Florida within twenty four hours, to reside with his father.

In one court ruling, her son was ripped from his home and his siblings, who ask to this day, “Why can’t he live with us?” We have seen that trauma being played out in all their lives—their destiny being decided by a judge who has no regard for what families mean. Judge Lupo was later recused from this case for unfairness regarding another matter, during which she would not even let N.M. speak, telling her she did not like the sound of her voice.

Since that time my husband and I, who were both very close to our grandson, have not been allowed to see him. Before, we had him one or two weekends a month. They have tried repeatedly to turn him against us in every way possible, telling him that we did something wrong. Well, thank God he is smarter than that and knows that his father lies. The sad part is that he gets away with it—dare I mention, his present wife was in law enforcement until a few months ago? This seems to be one of the common threads with many cases and needs to be addressed. The best interest of the children should be sought here, not who has the most money, or who has connections to the courthouse, or who keeps the frivolous motions going, to line the pockets of attorneys. Our grandson has been abused by this man. DCF has investigated only to find that the home is a very loving atmosphere for the child—despite bruises that prove otherwise. This just boggles my mind. And on top of that, they are allowing parental alienation. How sad. Our grandson is being disciplined for wanting to call his mother.

M.M. also owes thousands of dollars in back child support. The judge knows this and does nothing about it.

Addendum

On August 21, 2003, my daughter filed for a change in custody. Two days later, our grandson ran to our house, which is two blocks from his father’s, complaining about being abused. Our daughter was down visiting with her 3 other children. The police and DCF were called, but his father told them it was a custody battle, and they (DCF) backed away. The police ended up arresting us—me, my husband, and my daughter—because we resisted their warrentless entry into our home; charges were later dropped. Since 11 police officers were involved, it makes you wonder where their priorities are.

Soon after, the original DCF worker was removed because her report was blank; this is being investigated. The new DCF worker has visited us and will be going to our grandson’s school as well.

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