This past weekend I received emails from two mental health professionals who read my web content. For convenience I will refer to them as Jack and Jill. Jack's memo was relatively short. His message read:
"Hi Dan, thanks for sharing your story. I actually do hear horror stories from some of my clients who are going thru divorces and child custody issues so I know it exists and is heartbreaking. Look forward to your updates."
Jill took a different approach. Some of the things in Jill's message(s) read:
I don't think the approach of your website is the right way to go. I am a child psychologist and I know that fathers often get screwed in custody arrangements. I also think you were probably screwed. and treated unfairly. I do not think your website comes across the way you intend. When I read your website, I could feel your anger, which is justified. I felt a lot of bitterness in your statements and it seemed to me like you were feeling victimized. I don't think that's the tenor you want on a website trying to get your kids back.
Dan as attorney: You don't know who's in "bed" with whom else in family court. You have to play the game and not come across as having a chip on your shoulder and a bone to pick. The whole section reads as anger and sarcasm.
Cross examination- I'm not sure what the purpose of posting this is... the whole section on Dr. Connor sounds like a waste of your energy and like you are going after him-- psychologists generally don't question other psychologists since they weren't in the room at the time of the evaluation. You're more likely to get a diagnosis than support from posting this information.,
This really needs to be about how you are going to prove to the courts that your girls seeing you is in their best interest, not about how the procedure wasn't fair to you. That's what those reading your site will use to as additional "proof" the diagnosis of narcissism, fair or unfair.
Jack just offered a few word of support and wished me luck. Jill provided me with a lot of information in an effort to help me see my girls. Both messages were heartfelt, sincere, and honest, but Jill’s message is based on, as she stated, having “to play the game.”
This is the thinking that needs to be changed if there is ever any chance of reforming the family courts. I don’t want to play games with my children’s lives. I shouldn’t have to “play ball.” I’m not contending for a lucrative government building contract, I’m trying to be a father. She said that the section regarding Dr. Connor is a waste of my time and it sounds like I am going after him. She expressed concerns about my website making me appear paranoid, angry, and/or narcissistic because it could hurt me in court. The sad thing is, all of her concerns are very valid.
Let me give you a scenario. Let’s say that you had a drain line back up into your basement. You call a national drain cleaning service to fix the problem. While at your house, the workers were rude, tracked dirt across your upstairs carpet, and that was after they were four hours late for the scheduled time. When you got the bill for the services, they charged you twice of what they said they were going to charge. A few weeks later the drain backed up again. When you called about the “satisfaction guaranteed” clause of the contract, they said that they were not going to honor it. You decided to post you thoughts on the internet to tell people what happened when you used that particular company. You write things like:
“Those lousy sons of bi#$hes tracked dirt all over my house. They made me so mad I wanted to beat them senseless. The dirty pieces of S*@T would not honor their contract and left me in a worse situation even though they over charged me. Every time I see the stains in my carpet, it makes me want to punch them in the face.”
If you showed that to a social worker, psychologist, and/or judge, they would say, “There’s no way I would ever use that drain service.” But what if the story went like this:
“That lousy son of a bi#$h, Dr. Custody Evaluator, lied in his report. He made me so mad I wanted to beat him/her senseless. The dirty piece of S*@T would not honor his/her contract and left me in a worse situation even though he/she took my money. Every time I think about the evaluation report that contained ‘numerous errors and oversights’, it makes me want to punch Dr. Custody Evaluator in the face.”
Rather than say, “There’s no way I would use Dr. Custody Evaluator”, the social worker, psychologist, and/or judge may begin to think that the person who wrote the review is a danger to their own children because there is a lot of aggression. Dr. Custody Evaluator has been doing this for years so the person who wrote the spiteful web post must suffer from some sort of reality distortion. Feelings of wanting to “punch” or “beat” Dr. Custody Evaluator raise some real concerns about the person possibly posing a danger to his/her own children. I think this person is in need of anger management, an extensive psychological examination, and possible medication to help deal with the observed behavior before the parent can exercise any parenting time with his/her children.
No one has ever lost the ability to see their own children because they wrote an angry review of a plumbing company. Why should someone’s parenting abilities be questioned if they write an angry review of a custody evaluator? That’s what happened to me; except I have never written about any thoughts of causing physical harm to anyone.
This is what has to change in the system. The Indiana Appellate Court ruled
“Thus, although a court may modify a parenting time order when the modification would serve the best interests of the child or children, a parent’s visitation rights shall not be restricted unless the court finds that the parenting time might endanger the child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development. Id. (citing Ind. Code § 31-17-4-2). Even though the statute uses the word “might,” this Court has previously interpreted the language to mean that a court may not restrict parenting time unless that parenting time “would” endanger the child’s physical health or emotional development.”
Show me the studies that link negative consumer reviews to child abuse. There aren’t any; so why are so many people in the family court system trained to think this way? It’s because there is a giant snowball barreling down the mountain that doesn’t have any checks and balances. The snowball will run over anyone that stands in its path. The system is trapped in a box with its own methodology and science that it bewilders people on the outside. The first step in reforming the family court system is forcing the system out of its box.