Defending Dads

You're doing your jobs. You and your kids deserve better.

Tag: corrupt attorney

Leah Remini’s Scientology and the Aftermath

Leah Remini, best known for her portrayal of Carrie Heffernan on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens, co-produces and stars in the limited A&E series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.

The show documents alleged abusive policies and egregious misconduct by Church officials, including a practice known as “disconnection”, which dictates that active members of the church cut ties with family members who are not.

As Ms. Remini states in the premier episode’s introduction, she thought she would simply be “documenting stories of families that were torn apart by the Church of Scientology’s policies and practices”, but, she continues, what she uncovered was much deeper and darker than she ever expected.

Though the intro is compelling, I was into the show 10 seconds into the advanced promo I saw weeks ago. In that promo, Ms. Remini boldly stated her goal of exposing the church as a well-financed cult that, as cults are known to do, asserts control over its members by isolating them from their families.

Let’s see: A powerful institution purporting to be something it certainly is not that destroys families? The analogies between the Church and family court should be manifest to any alienated parent or divorced dad.

For your consideration:

I. The Self-Anointed Lording it Over Hapless Peasants

SCIENTOLOGY: Ms. Remini and former Church members allege that Church officials routinely abuse their authority and lower-ranking members of the Church, going so far as to commit acts of physical and sexual battery that go unpunished because they are never reported to law enforcement.

FAMILY COURT: Divorced dads and alienated parents express daily via social media our frustration with the monolithic, often corrupt family court system, the constituents of which routinely make formulaic, arbitrary and/or uninformed decisions on matters of custody and support that go largely unchallenged by victims ignorant of how to navigate the system.

PARALLEL: Some Church and family court officials suffer from the delusion that they have absolute power.

II. The Casual Severance of Family Ties

SCIENTOLOGY: Ms. Remini and former Church members allege that the Church destroys families by forcing active members to cut ties with relatives not involved with the church, including parents and siblings.

FAMILY COURT: Divorced dads, alienated parents and our children have for decades lost incalculable, invaluable time to thoughtless custody decisions. The resultant emotional devastation suffered by non-custodial parents and our children often goes unaddressed and contributes to the steady decline of the nuclear family and related values.

PARALLEL: Neither the Church nor family court demonstrates genuine regard for the natural family ties or long-term emotional health of the people over whom they hold dominion.

III. The Mainstream News Media Ignores Victims

SCIENTOLOGY: Ms. Remini and former Church members express that the media has underreported or ignored mounting evidence that all is not well in Gilman Hot Springs, California (Scientology headquarters), and its satellites.

FAMILY COURT: Divorced dads, alienated parents and our children suffer in silence as a Google news search for “family court reform” will show the lack of mainstream news media coverage of the growing outcry for exactly that.

PARALLEL: The Church and family court officials have long enjoyed the luxury of acting in a media black hole.

IV. Conclusion

Ms. Remini has taken a step that we divorced dads and alienated parents have not yet managed: She brought her fight to network television. She has done so with the spirit of a street fighter outnumbered, outgunned and determined to go down swinging. But unlike that street fighter, she’s got resources: She is savvy, has credible allies and the backing of a network.

Ms. Remini’s direct involvement in telling the stories of ex-Scientologists is an indictment of the news media’s continuing failure to expose major social injustices taking place in plain sight. Unwittingly, she is blazing a trail for those of us living under the heel of a terribly flawed system that affects too many and is called to task by too few.

I have no idea how to make inroads to network shot callers, but there have to be alienated parents or divorced dads who do. People, what are we waiting for? let’s take our fight Hi Def.

 

Six Degrees…and 96 Pages

I went through three divorce lawyers. Attorneys 1 and 2 were rather ineffective and Attorney 3 is a promising relative newcomer. Attorney 3 eventually went to work for the office that employed Attorney 2. While Attorney 3 represented me, however, it was from this gentleman’s office:

(EMILY PAINE / MORNING CALL FILE PHOTO)

(EMILY PAINE / MORNING CALL FILE PHOTO)

Pictured is Mr. David Tidd, Esquire, former Saucon Valley District Judge for Northampton County, Pennsylvania. Mr. Tidd resigned his seat under fire this past summer. It seems Mr. Tidd’s conduct as a judge was egregious enough to warrant investigation by the Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania.

A month after Mr. Tidd stepped down, the Board “filed a 96-page complaint replete with references to the F-word and other vulgar language, demeaning descriptions of defendants before him and allegations that he cut plea bargains in traffic cases behind the backs of the police officers who wrote the tickets.

The complaint charged that Tidd retaliated against staffers who documented his behavior, showed improper demeanor for a judge, had conflicts of interest and put his private practice ahead of his public post” (Riley Yates of The Morning Call, August 26, 2016).

To suggest that Mr. Tidd’s alleged behavior exemplifies what I observed during my brief contact with the judiciary of Northampton County would be an exaggeration, but that might only be a matter of sample size.

What I have observed is documented in this blog and in itself unsettling. Though not guilty of or even charged with any crime, the two Northampton County judges before whom I stood found occasion to evict me from my home and even jail me under highly questionable circumstances.

In what is by no means a happy coincidence, as detailed in the Board’s complaint, Mr. Tidd’s conduct was formally addressed as early as August 11, 2011 by Judge Kimberly J. McFadden, the very judge who ordered me barred from my home three years and three days later!

It would be irresponsible of me to impugn the reputation or motives of every judge in the county based solely on Mr. Tidd’s alleged behavior and my negative experiences. It is fair to say, however, that Mr. Tidd abused his authority as a judge. It is also fair to say that Mr. Tidd could not have compiled such a résumé of recalcitrance in a less tolerant atmosphere. Doubtless, he got away with plenty before he was checked, and by then, he had likely run out of friends willing to look the other way.

I have lived in Northampton County for five years now. I fell in love with the Lehigh Valley from the vantage point of Pop’s Kitchen and Taproom’s parking lot off I-78 on a sunny day. I relocated here from New York City with the intentions of raising my kids in a wholesome environment and making a positive contribution to my new community. That dream has become a nightmare due in no small part to the depraved disruption of my life by two Northampton County judges and, including opposing counsel, four attorneys, one of whom worked for Mr. Tidd, then went to work at the office that employed my second attorney.

A reasonable person might ask how I happened to come in contact with these legal eagles and their complex relationships. What could I have done to bring about such catastrophe? If, as I’ve stated, I am neither accused nor guilty of any crime in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, why would I be standing before hostile judges and requiring the services of three attorneys?

I was sued for divorce.

Six degrees of separation from 96 pages.

Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to Ms. Hillary Clinton

Dear Madam President:

Read More

howigotcustody.org — Check it Out!

Jail for Justice — An Open Letter to the Media III

Imagine going into a court of law in the United States in response to a petition secure in the knowledge that opposing counsel was in collusion with the sitting judge.

Imagine court officials of such a base nature, they would play God with the life of a person about whom they know only what they might have heard from a biased attorney and what they’ve surmised after skimming over a case file riddled with lies.

Imagine that such persons were so intent on teaching you a lesson, they had little to no consideration for the peripheral damage their actions might cause.

Imagine being advised by your own attorney, who did not attend the hearing, to make a show of being respectful of, even awestruck with people you would avoid like the HIV virus under any other circumstance.

That’s what I faced Friday, July 22, 2016.

I don’t care what any God-awful lawyer or pompous county judges think of me, nor do my children or the people who know me. I do care that I am only one of many casually shafted by such people who make snap judgments not out of any sense of justice, but as the result of shameless, rampant cronyism within a government agency. It’s wrong and it needs to be addressed.

For your consideration:

  • The hearing held July 22, 2016 was the culmination of a petition for contempt of court originally filed March of this year alleging that I failed to comply with a property settlement agreement entered into July of 2015, to wit, I did not sign paperwork related to the division of my retirement plan;
  • It was known to all involved parties that I was not represented when presented with said paperwork;
  • I advised all involved parties that, prior to retaining new counsel, I would not sign any paperwork pending review by said counsel;
  • Regardless, opposing parties filed a petition for contempt of court on the grounds cited above and advised me of same;
  • Acting pro se, I communicated to opposing counsel my unvarnished observations of him, his behavior and my utter relief that he would soon be a distant memory to me;
  • Upon securing counsel, at a subsequent hearing which I did not attend, I was not found in contempt of court, however, the presiding judge still imposed upon me a $600.00 fine;
  • Already under considerable financial strain, I could not pay such fine;
  • Opposing counsel, whose implications that I had been less than a loving, devoted and supportive husband despite abundant evidence to the contrary absolutely litter the case file, seemed to take offense to my calling him out, here and via direct communication;
  • When I failed to remit payment within the time prescribed in the standing order, opposing counsel renewed his petition for contempt of court, demanding even more money though he was well aware of my financial responsibilities and that I was no longer employed;
  • At the July 22, 2016 hearing, acting de facto pro se, I offered valid arguments to which the presiding judge demonstrably turned a deaf ear; and
  • I was found to be in contempt of court, opposing counsel was granted his fee and I was ordered incarcerated for 2 months or until such time that the imposed fee was remitted to the county court’s administrator’s office.

For your further consideration:

  • The considerable financial demands made of divorced middle class fathers, including child support, car payments, auto insurance, mortgages, groceries, kids’ activities, entertainment and sundries, render absurd any order that I pay opposing counsel $600.00 for a petition that was denied;
  • Opposing counsel, while adept at smearing my name to suit his nefarious purposes, is paradoxically thin-skinned;
  • I have never seen a government agency act as a bill collector for an attorney in private practice;
  • Had I remained incarcerated for the duration of the two-month term imposed, I would not have been able to earn the money to meet critical financial obligations (I could have lost my home and car) including the fee imposed by the court; and
  • The psychological impact on my children of yet another unwarranted, court-imposed separation would have been cruel, unfair, incalculable, and for those responsible for such a circumstance, unconscionable.

The only conclusions to be reached are that opposing counsel and an elected county judge, both members of the Pennsylvania Bar Association expected to uphold the standards of that organization not to mention honor the public trust, were of the conviction that collecting $2,400.00 from an unemployed father of two was of far greater importance than anything going on in my life or those of my children, and failing that, I should spend two months in jail.

Really?

Learn more…

Jail for Justice — An Open Letter to the Media II

Bodhan Zelechiwsky and his cronies at the Northampton County, Pennsylvania courthouse are about as predictable — and interesting — as a bus route. I appeared there for a hearing July 22, 2016, a week ago today. As expected, the narcissistic Zelechiwsky flitted about the courtroom like a peacock, so desperate for attention, I thought he might trip over his own feet. As the presiding judge was clearly working by his own clock, we peons waiting for hearings scheduled for as early as 9:00 AM had to endure a 2-hour delay before he appeared. That a person so inconsiderate of the time of others could be either fair or impartial was a dubious prospect. When His Honor at last deigned to grace us with his magnificent presence, I could tell by the way he walked out of chambers how the day would go for me. I was prepared.

When I was finally called to stand before the judge, things went as I knew they would with two notable exceptions: (1) though I was visibly trembling with revulsion at having to play a role in that farce, I was able to make valid and coherent arguments (which were, of course, dismissed out of hand by His Honor) and (2) I was awarded an all-expenses-paid, all-inclusive weekend getaway to commence immediately!

It was all so convenient: A deputy opened a side door in the courtroom and escorted me through a labyrinth leading to the spa. At the front desk, I was asked to check in my street clothes and issued a fashionable jumpsuit of the finest fabric. I wish I had pictures, but possession or use of electronic devices by guests was against resort policy. Fortunately, there was a photographer on duty. She took three pictures of me, forward facing and both profiles. Apparently, the shots were so good, the resort elected to keep them.

Once settled in, I took a group tour of the grounds. There wasn’t much to see and the food wasn’t fit for sale at a truck stop, but the conversation was fantastic! I was enthralled with the backgrounds of and tales told by my tour mates. The last time I learned so much, I was in a classroom. The most important lessons were that the challenges I face dealing with Northampton County’s courts are staggeringly common and that short-sighted, desensitized divorce attorneys are merely a symptom of larger, systemic problems.

The prevailing sentiment among my tour mates is that the laws governing divorce and child support in the state of Pennsylvania are needlessly punitive and unfavorable to working class men inexorably dragged into the system by thoughtless, vindictive and/or self-centered spouses. As hostile as these laws are, those charged with enforcing them apparently do so with a heavy hand, destroying the quality of life for men who had the temerity to marry and father children.

Then, there were discussions of certain lawyers and judges so high off their own vapors that they seem to think themselves above the law. I heard many stories of men gifted vacation packages like mine, but for longer durations and under more absurd circumstances.

When my sojourn was over, any doubts I may have had about the course of action I’m taking were gone. Families are being demolished and the lives of hard-working, dedicated fathers are being ruined. How is this beneficial to the innocent kids caught up in post-divorce dystopia?

Learn more…

Jail for Justice — An Open Letter to the Media

I have forwarded versions of this letter to several media outlets. Please share if you care to.

To Whom it may Concern:

It is time for divorce law reform in the state of Pennsylvania. To bring attention to the clear bias the courts show against fathers, I am surrendering myself to the Northampton County Sherriff tomorrow before I pay another nickel to my ex-wife’s attorney, Bohdan Zelechiwsky.

Opposing counsel has a documented history of employing sleazy bait-and-switch tactics to not only separate me from my children for over a year, force the sale of a marital property at an irresponsible loss, but to evict me from my home on four days notice, all with impunity. Regardless of this scandalous behavior, the like of which might otherwise earn him a profile on American Greed, each time he files a motion, the court orders me to pay him.

I am already reeling from the costs associated with divorce and must continue to support my children. How does bankrupting and jailing a single father benefit the kids? If I feed, tutor, clothe and nurture them, provide them with a good home, make support payments and never once stood in the way of my ex-wife living as she pleases, why am I being punished?

In the end, my kids pay the price to boost the self-esteem of a bully who tries to do with paper what he could never do with character. Opposing counsel has done everything he could to defame me, dismantle what I tried to build for my children, plunder their college fund and haul me into court any time he knows I am not represented. Once we are in his playpen, he is free to say and do as he pleases. The judges, with whom he likely lunches on occasion, rubber stamp the boiler plate motions he files whenever he sees a sliver of opportunity to make a quick buck. Meanwhile, I have to stand mute as he lies, pontificates and pretends to be an esteemed officer of the court. If I so much as roll my eyes, I’ve found myself rebuked, insulted and even shouted at by the bench, then stared down by a team of deputies. Bohdan Zelechiwsky is nothing but a well-connected, long-entrenched shyster. Before I cleaned up my life in service to my family, I was a crook. I know one when I see one.

It is high time the media brings to light the plight of fathers routinely raked over the coals by unethical divorce lawyers such as he: Those who abuse the system, those who do the least to earn their fees and the judges who allow these shameful practices to continue. No responsible father, regardless of his past, should be forced to watch a slug hiding behind a law degree and connections destroy the dream he has for his children.

I have bent over backwards to support my family. Despite living for a time in another state, I have been active in my children’s lives. I never abused my ex-wife or broke my marriage vows. This is expected of me as a man and I have accepted those responsibilities, but I am truly perplexed that Northampton County courts seem determined that I end up bankrupt and in jail for refusing to be party to a corrupt system. It is time for change.

Learn more…

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén