We’re taking a look back at some of the most impactful Family Court reform news stories and moments from 2022 (there are many more), which we believe was one of the most important years in this movement’s history to date.
This year’s momentum is a continuation of the global efforts in 2021 built upon the foundation of decades of tenacious advocacy and research by so many incredible humans. Folks can no longer pretend they don’t know our family legal system presents a global human rights crisis like they have been doing for over 20 years now (and maybe since the dawn of our civilization).
Indicators show that 2023 will be the year everything changes. Here’s a look back at an incredible year of impact and a glimpse of the potential to come.
We know it can be extremely challenging for everyone to navigate through our various systems in the extremely complex area of child custody/care and our goal is to provide all involved, including parents, educators, judges, lawyers, lawmakers, law enforcement, and concerned citizens, with the tools they need to best support the well-being and safety of children (based on the latest research), while also improving their own health and the health of the system as a whole.
When our systems at large support and protect victims-survivors of coercive control and all forms of abuse, they empower them, support their healing, the healing of children, and the healing of our communities in every way imaginable.
IN THE MEDIA
“It’s an absolute crisis." The woman who founded a national organization called Custody Peace told me. “Any type of abuse in your relationship reaches a whole new level when you get into the family court system – or can even start when abuse was not present in the marriage. What people don’t realize is you’re required to respond to what is often an abuser’s vexatious litigation within a certain time or you are held in contempt. That makes women’s lives like living in prison, constantly defending themselves in court.”
The founder of Custody Peace said Gisele’s case illustrates how important it is to have financial independence. “Most women are taught that marriage is the end goal but if it is — and that marriage goes wrong – there’s no place to go,” she said. “Financial freedom takes that element of control out of the equation and freedom is exactly what Gisele is asking for. Unfortunately, for women who don’t have millions, court becomes a nightmare that takes over their lives, wreaking emotional, financial and even physical damage.” - Story by Amy Polacko, The Independent (November 4, 2022)
More than 130 people, including Gloria Steinem, and organizations in the field of women’s rights advocacy and domestic violence and sexual assault awareness have signed an open letter to support Amber Heard, who lost a defamation suit this year brought by her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, for an op-ed in which she said she was a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”
The letter, which was exclusively shared with NBC News ahead of its public release Wednesday, was signed by groups like the National Organization for Women, the National Women’s Law Center, Equality Now and the Women’s March Foundation. It was written by a group of people who identify as domestic violence survivors and supporters of Heard.
They will use the systems intended to protect you, to control you.
As stated by Dr. Christine Marie Cocchiola:
“Coercive controllers very often seek out weapons to retain or regain their control. A choice weapon is the very systems intended to protect victims and survivors, such as the criminal justice and judicial system. The coercive controller weaponizes these systems to further inflict harm on his target. All too often, the systems themselves are complicit in this abuse, simply due to the patriarchal ideology in place. Systemic coercive control can be the most traumatic experience for individuals who have experienced abuse. When abusers use the system, with false accusations or to further inflict financial or legal abuse, victims trapped in this cycle of abuse, have no escape. Child Protective Services (CPS) is one such system, intended to protect children from abuse and neglect, is weaponized to further traumatize victims. Very often, coercive controllers will manufacture false allegations against a protective parent/coercive control victim simply for revenge. Revenge. It becomes the final weapon used by all coercive controllers. — ‘If I cannot control you, then I will use the systems intended to protect you, to control you.’”
The History of "Parental Alienation": The Go-To Defense Tactic of Abusers Since 1985
Together with advocates, victims-survivors and experts from around the globe, we have spent the last year raising awareness about the current underlying conditions and the consistent catastrophic outcomes in the global family court system and their impacts on the health and well-being of women & children around the world.
We are now shifting focus to raise awareness around solutions.
We are currently working on a book that outlines the trauma (and victim-survivor)-informed solutions currently available that will allow us to transform the Family Court System into a source of health and protection from harm, that cultivates responsibility and Institutional Courage. This book is for lawmakers, advocates, protective parents, teachers, legal professionals and anyone who cares about humanity, gender equality and the world's children. Coming 2023.
This article examines the findings from U.S. Congress, the Department of Justice, the California Judicial Council, the United Nations, and countless other researchers, along with the consistent underlying factors that cause the outcomes to be the same, regardless of the decade or the location of the courtroom.
We need to address the truth (and the solutions), together. It’s time to create conditions for safety, health, and healing for everyone involved.
JOIN THE ADVOCACY COMMUNITY
Throughout the world, unhealthy parents are using family court systems and their children to continue post-separation abuse with a severe lack of accountability — and safe parents (statistically, mostly mothers) are being punished (even losing custody) in their attempts to protect themselves & their children from abuse.
It is estimated that each year in the U.S., tens of thousands of children are court-ordered into the custody of an abusive parent. While this issue impacts parents of all genders and their children, current research proves that mothers are losing custody disproportionately, by as much as 73% of the time, when mothers allege abuse and the accused party responds with an “alienation” claim — sometimes even when the courts acknowledge that the father has abused the mother and the children.
Research also shows that a mother's chance of losing her child to the alleged abuser doubles with a crossclaim of "alienation." There is no comparable loss rate when men allege abuse and women cross-claim alienation illustrating the presence of clear gender bias which research also shows is exacerbated by court-appointed experts. (Meier, Joan S. and Dickson, Sean and O'Sullivan, Chris and Rosen, Leora and Hayes, Jeffrey, Child Custody Outcomes in Cases Involving Parental Alienation and Abuse Allegations (2019). GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2019-56; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-56. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3448062 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3448062)
“Parents who were abusive still have access to their children, THAT'S JUST A FACT. — @tvkatesnow @TODAYshow— custodypeace (@custodypeace) October 1, 2022
The Keeping Children Safe From Family Violence Act in #VAWA aka #KaydensLaw must be adopted in all 50 U.S. states. @safe_parents @nfvlcgwu @danielle2u pic.twitter.com/rHeymoeTvw
We hope that all of those who value healthy outcomes for our children will stand with us in this movement.
- Judges, legal professionals, our communities and elected officials are part of the solution to protect children from Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), a leading indicator of life-long health and well-being.
- Trauma-informed judicial practices are integrated into every courtroom.
- Legislation, based on evidence-based factors, is in place and enforced in all 50 US states and internationally to ensure children’s safety is the top priority when making decisions regarding child custody.
- Coercive control of safe parents and children is recognized as a form of domestic violence in all 50 US states and internationally.
- The abuse of a protective parent and its impact on their child are accurately correlated and met with appropriate safety measures.
- Judges, lawyers, legal professionals and child welfare services engage in mandated continuing education about the impacts of high conflict personalities in custody cases and are provided guidance for how to successfully navigate these cases with compassion and accountability in ways that mitigate conflict and protect safe caregivers and their children from all forms of coercive control and post-separation abuse.
Imagine peace, well-being and health for you and your children. This is our goal.
Custody Peace is Proud to be a Founding Member of the NSPO.
Stand up for the safety of children across the U.S. (and beyond). Let’s work together to get Federal #VAWA #KaydensLaw adopted in your state.
CUSTODY PEACE IS PROUD TO BE A HOST PARTNER OF THE ALLEN V. FARROW PANEL SERIES
REPLAYS NOW STREAMING
Confronting the Challenge of High-Conflict Personality in Family Court
Santa Clara Law
This empirical study focuses on family law cases that involve a litigant with a personality disorder and that drag on for years despite reasonable options for resolution. Informed by the relatively sparse literature on high-conflict personalities in the family law system, Professor Oberman and her co-authors interviewed experienced family law practitioners, family law judges, and a seasoned custody evaluator with the goal of increasing knowledge about the harms associated with high-conflict personalities in the family law system, the forces that perpetuate these protracted disputes, and possible means to ameliorate the problem. Professor Oberman and her colleagues report on the major themes that emerged from their interviews with family law experts and propose a series of reforms suggested by these findings.