Sunday, January 27, 2013

Special Interest MEGALI proposing new Rules for Parental Coordinators to the Supreme Judicial Court

Original posting follows - Since this was originally posted the states Supreme Court has decided based on the recommendation and contributions of opinions by the public to not adopt the rules as presented by MEGALI. For the official ruling: ORDER ON PROPOSED MAINE RULES FOR PARENTING COORDINATORS We want to thank everyone who helped. Thank you for your efforts.

On January 10, 2013 the Supreme Judicial Court gave the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed rules for Parenting Coordinators. The deadline for those comments were on of before January 25, 2013. At the time that this is being written none of those comments  were posted and it is not know whether or not any will be posted.

We feel that it is in the public’s best interest to know what is happening and why. That the rules, as they were presented to the court, were drafted by the special interest group – Maine Guardian ad Litem Institute (the trade organization for Guardians ad litem). That Terry Hayes (a Maine Guardian ad Litem Institute member) has drafted legislation for Parental Coordinator to retain the position.  There are many people in the state that have been hurt by these unregulated officers of the court – much the same as with Guardians ad litem – which both Terry Hayes, Tobi Schneider and Toby Hollander (Maine Guardian ad Litem Institute President) are aware of. What the rules and proposed legislation appear to ask for are the same qualities that Guardians ad litem enjoy – thus ensuring what is in the best interest of the Parental Coordinator for a case and not what is in the child’s best interest.

Common Sense, a job description, protection for divorcing families from financial ruin and looking at child endangerment are issues that are not addressed with the proposed rules and legislation. The state cannot afford a carbon copy of what it has with the mess involving Guardians ad litem. The rules and legislation appear as nothing more than serving the self interest of those who call or would like to call Parental Coordinator their 'profession'.

The fifth in this series of letters is posted today. The previous four are presented after with links to pdf documents. Any names and personal information have been redacted:

It has come to my attention that there will be another hearing regarding Guardians ad Litum this

As I stated in my last email, I am a social worker and have worked on teams helping families who are going through difficult times. My team works primarily with children at risk of removal from their home. Many times, the underlying issue is the stress caused by the parents whether they are living as a family or have separated. There are always mental health issues, not only for the child being treated, but with the parents as well.

When parents who fought while they lived together separate, the issues become even larger. Often times parents use their children as a tool against the other parent (so they will WIN) and horrific allegations are made. Teasing through the truth is not simple or easy and certainly, attorneys or others who do not have training/education in mental health treatment are not qualified to make these assessments. The GAL might refer the parents, or sometimes, just one parent, for assessments but these assessments are not enough to see the issues clearly. Attorneys and judges are not qualified to interpret assessments or to dig a little deeper to find the real truths.

At the very least, GALs should be required to have supervision with a qualified mental health practioner. Otherwise, an inexperienced person with no mental health background can interpret information incorrectly. Often times, a GAL's personal biases will determine their final decisions. I have seen this happen too often.

It should not take months and months for a GAL to make a determination. Again, with the proper training and supervision, the truth will reveal itself. Dragging these decisions out only adds to the stress and and increases the cost of GAL services, often placing one parent in financial distress. . AND in the end, the decisions do not always benefit the child,

I am not an advocate of anger management therapies as these therapies address only one parent's issues. There are two parents involved and it takes two to fight. There should be a thorough assessment done on both parents to reveal the truths. Please take the time to obtain a Diagnostic Statistic Manual IV (DSM IV) and read the information on personality disorders. You will find the information enlightening.

Forcing just one parent into assessments, and having the information, right or wrong, included in GAL reports which are being read by people with no education in mental health assessment, is also a violation of one's civil rights.

I recently supported a friend through a hearing and when the GAL included new information about the mother, the judge did not listen to the GAL and ignored concerns about the mother that were presented. In this case, the mother has a serious personality disorder which affects how she is raising their child. The woman presents well, but a trained professional is able to uncover the underlying issues. The child has been "brainwashed" into believing his father will hurt him and the result is depression and anxiety. This benefits the mother as she can say the child's diagnoses support her concerns for his well being, and extends the separation of child and father.

The matter at hand is the welfare of the child/ren and it is certainly worth your time to educate yourselves. Problems in childhood carry on through adulthood and the circle of violence often becomes generational.

Thank you for your time,
Name Redacted LSW BHP MHRT/c

Previous Letters:
Public Comment 001
Public Comment 002 2013-01-29
Public Comment 003 2013-01-30
Public Comment 004 2013-01-31

If you would like more information on Parental Coordinators please contact us at: or feel free to comment.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Job Description – the Foundation of Accountability for GALs and PCs.

The “Judiciary” has created a class of person that has no job description and these people work as court officers with no accountability, management or direction. They make life altering decisions and often play God with your life and that of your child. If they make a mistake – the courts say they are protected by “quasi” immunity and for all purposes - untouchable. 

They are Guardians ad litem (GAL) and Parental Coordinators (PC).

With no job description it is impossible to say what a PC or GAL is supposed to do and if they are doing something they should not. Mission creep has set in so that now a GAL or PC can 'recommend' therapy and do so with no reason, end point or methodology. All of this from just 16 hours of training.  You resist and the courts will coerce you into taking this therapy under threat of jail time or loss of custody. Or a GAL or PC may not report neglect or abuse when common sense dictates that they should report to DHHS. With no job description – you – as a parent have no recourse on this persons job performance – how do you prove they are wrong? You can't. As a result any complaint against a GAL or PC will go nowhere. That is why in five years not one GAL or PC has been removed or reprimanded in the course of doing their 'job' when a consumer has lodged a complaint. This despite mounting evidence that would suggest otherwise – that job performance is lacking.

A job description is a foundation upon which a job can be built upon. No foundation or one that is not solid and the structure of that job will be weak and rotten (like what we have currently). We urge those in state government to look at creating a job description for Guardians ad litem and Parental Coordinators. This is a no cost method of providing oversight and accountability to a 'profession' that has none. Let our representatives know how you have been affected by this lack of a job description – write, call or email them with your story. Or email and we will forward your story on to those who should be concerned.

Judiciary Committee List:

Linda M. Valentino    D York County P. O. Box 1049 Saco ME 04072 (207) 282-5227
John L. Tuttle Jr.    D York County 176 Cottage Street Sanford ME 04073 (207) 324-5964
David C. Burns        R Washington County 159 Dodge Road Whiting ME 04691 (207) 733-8856
Charles R. Priest    D Brunswick 9 Bowker Street Brunswick ME 04011 (207) 725-5439
Kimberly J. Monaghan-Derrig    D Cape Elizabeth 6 Russet Lane Cape Elizabeth ME 04107 (207) 749-9443
Jennifer  DeChant    D Bath 1008 Middle Street Bath ME 04530 (207) 442-8486
Matthew W. Moonen    D Portland 17 Pine Street #2 Portland ME 04102 (207) 332-7823
Stephen W. Moriarty    D Cumberland 34 Blanchard Road Cumberland ME 04021 (207) 829-5095
Lisa Renee Villa    D Harrison P. O. Box 427 Harrison ME 04040 (207) 776-3118
Jarrod S. Crockett    R Bethel P. O. Box 701 Bethel ME 04217 (207) 875-5075
Michael G. Beaulieu    R Auburn 27 Sherman Avenue Auburn ME 04210 (207) 784-0036
Anita  Peavey Haskell    R Milford 17 Pine Street Milford ME 04461 (207) 827-7296
Stacey K. Guerin    R Glenburn 79 Phillips Road Glenburn ME 04401 (207) 884-7118
Wayne T. Mitchell    D Penobscot Nation 14 Oak Hill Street, Penobscot Nation Indian Island ME 04468 (207) 827-0392   

Contact the Governors Office:

Governor Paul LePage 

Office of the Governor
#1 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0001

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Guardian ad litem report abuse to DHHS – Ka Ching – Nope

Not your child's best interest

In any custody case where a Guardian ad litem of Parental Coordinator is involved they are supposed to report to DHHS (In Maine) if a “child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected, must make an immediate report to the Department of Human Services.” as stated in the Guardian ad litem Standards and Rules on the Maine Judiciary web site (look for 6.1 Mandated Reporting).

The reality of the situation that we have been made aware of is that Guardians ad litem rarely report abuse or neglect. How could this happen? Guardians ad litem are supposed to have the child's best interest at hand. Or is it maybe that Guardians ad litem have their own best interest. By reporting to DHHS such things as -

a child that was burned by a cigarette.
a child that went to bars late at night.
a child that was better off with a sex offender.
a child that was better off with a parent that had drug issues.

Ka ching – the cash register stops for the Guardian ad litem. The Guardian ad litem also ends up playing a marginalized and insignificant role in the childs life and the custody battle. The Guardian ad litem gives up control. People with any shred of common sense would question how a child burned by a cigarette is not considered abuse. Or that by placing a child with a known sex offender is safe and not a recipe for trouble. Yet when we are talking about these 'professionals' in the court system we look the other way. We are in a sense giving our approval for this continued abuse perpetuated by our courts and the divorce industry. Ka ching – it is about the money and not about your child.

Maine has received the grade of ( F ) by First Star  three reports in a row. Maine is criticized by the Center for Judicial Excellence for the issues within the system. Chief Justice Saufley in March of 2012 indicated that there were problems with GALs in the state. OPEGA in 2006 outlined problems with the system. The courts reiterated this finding in 2008. Yet the divorce industry has been satisfied with the status quo. “Make them pay” was the quote of one well established divorce lawyer during one of the committee meetings on GAL reform. Who really has the best interest of the child in any divorce? A stranger whose incentive is how many billable hours they can get out? Or the families that are thrown into a pit of insanity that we call Justice? You be the judge ka ching.

If your child(ren) have been abused by the system you are not alone. We are a growing grassroots organization that is fighting for reform please contact us at or like us on Facebook for up to date information.

If you want to let your Senator or Representative know what your thoughts are on the current broke system that the divorce industry and courts maintain contact us for their information.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Courts are Prescribing Snake Oil and Witchcraft in the name of helping Families

"Because my ex abused my son/ daughter, this stranger (GAL) is deemed a more capable parent than me"

Is it any wonder then why any parent when faced with a similar situation would feel anger towards a custody situation they find themselves in? Guardians ad litem and Parental Coordinators have been “prescribing” courses in anger management for quite some time. One Senior GAL is on record for recommending this because one of the parents was “caustic and controlling”. Are these parent(s) who are given this “prescription” by court officers really in need of anger management? Or is this the “prescribers'” attempt to control (and need to punish) the parent(s) as a result of an unfriendly or hostile interpersonal situation? The courts and court officers appear have not given much thought or “prescriptive” precision in recommending “anger management”.

Anger is an emotion and is not recognized as a diagnosable form of mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association. Anger is not a primary condition but is a secondary emotion and is a part of many situations. The courts order and or prescribe “anger management” without the knowledge, skill or professional experience to know what they are doing with this alleged “tool”. The courts and their officers (GALs and Parental Coordinators) are not clinicians trained to “prescribe” anything, they are reporters to the courts. In making these 'prescriptions' the courts and officers of the courts never describe the 'anger' as being mild, severe, appropriate, inappropriate, controlled or out of control. If it is secondary to psychosis, drugs or alcohol or whether the anger is threatening the safety of others. In 'prescribing' therapy the courts and officers of the courts do not set goals or an end point to 'anger management'.

So are the courts helping the parent(s) that are 'prescribed' treatment or are they delving into an area that they have no business being involved in? Causing more harm to the parent(s) in an attempt to control and manipulate them. It appears that the courts in 'prescribing' 'anger management' are doing nothing more than playing witch doctor in their pseudo-psychological, court 'prescribed' punishment for what is perceived as bad behavior. The reality is that the parent(s) are showing their frustration with a process that is so twisted and warped that it is devoid of any reality.

If you have fallen victim to court 'prescribed' therapy please contact us at for support or like us on Facebook for up to date information.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Guardian ad litem reform - "You've come a long way Baby"

As they used to say in the old ad, “You’ve come a long way, Baby!”

We are one year old today - and growing. And... what a year it has been! We literally started at “ground zero”, and it has been a year of vast growth and learning for all of us.  We started, as did most of our associates, with a series of bizarre custody rulings in an individual divorce case.  We were perplexed, confused, hurting and utterly frustrated by the seemingly unique irrationality in play. “This can’t be really happening.”  “There is something so very wrong with this picture; are we doing something wrong?”  As we began connecting with others in the same boat, it slowly dawned on us that there must be some “rogue” Guardians ad litem in the system.  Our view of the problem expanded when we read the famous 2006 OPEGA report, and started to work with OPEGA on an audit request. It expanded further when we experienced unsuccessful political attempts to derail this audit request. Involvement with the Judicial Branch’s attempts to reform the system with a majority of “divorce industry” players, as “reformers” added further enlightenment. And... we began to conceptualize a very dysfunctional, inhuman Guardian ad litem system, an element of dysfunction in the larger family court system.

Our growth has been energized by the several blogs we’ve created. These, in turn, have been moved by and infused with the ideas and problems experienced by those associated with us. We have been a mutual instruction program about GALs, courts, the law and political action.  We have attracted ever growing notice in Maine, both new friends and those more wary of us. It is said only slightly joking that we are now required reading for GALs and MEGALI, their trade organization. We have also attracted notice and had very interesting “conversations” with a great many lawyers, legislators and “civilians” in other states and from a number of people in common law countries, all of which, like us, are struggling with much needed GAL reform. Our several blogs give us a voice, allow for sharing of ideas and are an important educational tool.

Our aim in creating and writing the blogs has been to support individuals, like us, who have been caught in an irrational divorce/custody process with powerful forces, Maine's Judicial Branch- especially its family courts - and the wealthy, powerful members of the divorce industry.  We try to educate those who have been (or are) consumers, who are trying to understand the apparently irrational aspects of these two forces, and we try to offer non-legal help, support, and encouragement, where we can. We are not attempting to debate directly with either courts or the divorce industry about their merits (or faults). We are an educational service (supportive sharing) for the victims, not for the victimizers.  While we can offer a general acknowledgment that there are some fair GALs, we would still maintain that they are players in a totalitarian system with many defects (as we will continue to note).  Choosing to be an integral part of this kind of dysfunctional, oppressive system always carries the potential to taint all of its players.  We are admirers of Vaclav Havel, the Czech  writer and dissident, who approached parallel problems with a spirit of simplicity and universal brotherhood, while speaking his mind at the same time.  May we do half as well, as Havel!

As we turn one year old, we thank all of our friends and also our opponents; both have helped us to learn and, from our learning, to share what we know. May our coming second year bring us all equal growth!

Please contact us at or like us on Facebook.