This is another example of a “spot-on” article from the blog Dastardly Dads and in spite of some unnamed divorce attorney’s claim that this sort of situation was “not common,” in fact, it happens all the time. Default custody rulings (without a mother being aware that an action has even been FILED) happen every day in courtrooms all across the US and obviously across the world.
Actually that’s how I got named custodial parent of my own infant over 25 years ago, (that shows how long this game has been going on). My now ex-husband (with no notification to me whatsoever) went down to the courthouse and filed for divorce. He also managed to get a temporary court order which named ME as temporary custodial parent of our baby.
I didn’t get so much as a phone call from the courts asking me what was going on.
The first I found out about it was when my husband turned up at my job to serve me the paperwork for the divorce and I noticed the form said “temporary custody of infant issue awarded to mother”…This, of course, was back in the days before high child support caused men to begin using all kinds of legal trickery to get custody of children away from their mothers.
So I and my baby got lucky.
Today I’m sure that default judgment would have stripped me of my baby (by naming my ex-husband as temporary custodial parent) and I would have had to scrap up a retainer and hire a lawyer to even get visitation. Who knows if and when I would have seen my child again? These default judgments are the equivalent of a judicially sanctioned kidnapping, as a mother has no recourse whatsoever to overturn it until the next scheduled court hearing. Which, by the way, can take weeks or months to arrange. Clearly once custody is ‘temporarily’ awarded it is now in the interest of everyone else involved (including your own attorney who gets paid by the hour) to delay a hearing on it indefinitely.
Now I don’t know the details of this particular case. Perhaps the custody decision made by the courts was the correct one, only the principals know for certain. But what I do know is that these default custody decisions (even temporary ones) should be made a violation of a mother and child’s human rights. As a child can be damaged psychologically (I won’t mention the emotional damage to a mother, as I know they don’t give a damn about those poor women) that can take place when men, trying to negotiate a better financial deal for themselves, are allowed to take our children hostage.
BTW, this can happen to single mothers as well, it’s not just married woman who can face this situation. You can have a recreational sperm donor, who has been out of your life for years, suddenly take it into his head that he wants ‘custody’ and he can get one of these default custody judgments as well. The first you hear of it can be when he shows up with the police to take your child or even has them removed from daycare or school without your knowledge.
Our own FBI statistics on abducted children show that men are more likely to abduct children BEFORE a custody order is established and that these abductions instigated by men end sooner then abductions by women (not that I recognize any law that makes it a crime for a mother to have her own children living with her without a court order. I consider these laws to be a violation of not just natural law, but a violation of the human rights of women and children as well). Anyway, I believe these abductions by men come to an end sooner because many of them result in default temporary custody orders (which usually morph into permanent custody orders at some point) and thus, the abduction is wiped from the official record.
This article is not about a fluke but highlights a steadily growing trend that mothers, especially of young children, need to be made aware of and protect themselves and their children against…Reading between the lines of the story: "Despite his lucrative business in the medical field, I did not want money other than help with our son's maintenance. All I wanted was my child and to close that chapter in my life," she says. I am guessing that it’s the common situation of disinterested father morphing into concerned father as soon as the possibility of a child support order rears its head. He appeared fine with their son living with his mother for years it sounds like (from the article) and then the possibility of ‘child maintenance’ suddenly changed his mind.
Anyway, thanks to Dastardly Dads at http://dastardlydads.blogspot.com/2010/05/court-decision-turns-woman-into-gypsy.html for this story.
Court decision turns woman into 'gypsy', as abusive father takes custody of her son (Malta)
These days, stories like this are heard all over the world, as abusive fathers become increasingly adept at stripping protective mothers of their children. The corruption and secrecy accompanying the family court proceedings also goes hand in hand with all this. This story is from the little island nation of Malta.
Monday, 10th May 2010
Court decision turns woman into 'gypsy'
Woman spends lonely Mother's Day
Lara* could not spend Mother's Day with her son yesterday because the court granted her child's temporary care and custody to the father who had walked out of their lives some years ago.
"I feel as though the court stripped me of my motherhood by allowing my child to live with his father and his lover. A part of me also feels betrayed by my son for accepting to be with him after I did so much for the child, including living in a violent marriage for years to keep our family together," she says, battling to hold back tears.
Lara explains how, throughout their marriage, she filed several police reports after her husband beat her. Policemen often turned up at her door, following her desperate phone calls, but she never followed up the reports in court because she ended up forgiving him.
"I wanted to protect my young son and wanted our family together," she says. As the boy started growing up, Lara realized she could not take the abuse any longer and the road to separation began. The introduction of domestic violence legislation helped her pluck up the courage she needed to say "stop".
According to court documents, the Family Court heard how, some years ago, Lara's husband left the matrimonial house and showed little interest in their son. Eventually, after producing her police reports against her husband in court, she got a temporary court ruling giving her care and custody of her son and allowing her to stay in the matrimonial home.
As mediation proceedings dragged on for years, the couple moved to separation proceedings.
"Despite his lucrative business in the medical field, I did not want money other than help with our son's maintenance. All I wanted was my child and to close that chapter in my life," she says. All seemed to be going well until the father started showing interest in the child again and demanding to spend more time with him. The boy's attitude towards his mother started changing as he spent more time with his father.
Then, a few weeks ago, court officials knocked at Lara's door to inform her she would have to leave the matrimonial house following a temporary judgment handed down in the separation proceedings. Her husband had filed an application asking for the house and custody of their son. Both requests were temporarily granted.
Lara has now appealed the court decision and is protesting about the fact she was not informed about the father's application. She is claiming the court gave its ruling without listening to her after the application was filed.
A separation lawyer explained that it was not common for this to happen adding that one had to keep in mind that the court may have decided on previously submitted documents and evidence.
"Suddenly, I ended up without a roof over my head and my son was taken away... I can only see him for a few hours on the weekend... Right now I'm so hurt and traumatized by the court decision that I'm unable to see my son. I have no place where I can take him because I'm living like a gypsy... But I know how easily my husband can manipulate people, so am not surprised that he managed to also manipulate my own flesh and blood against me," she says.
*Names and personal details have been changed to protect identities.