|King Solomon, two mothers and a baby|
Then two women called upon Solomon, asking him to determine which of the two of them should be awarded a disputed infant. Both mothers claimed to have given birth to the baby. Since they couldn't decide, Solomon came up with what sounded like a logical idea. He suggested the baby be cut and split between the two women. When one of the women immediately understood that the beloved child would be killed, she no longer cared whether she got to raise him. All she wanted was that he be safe. The other potential mother didn't care: she wanted her piece. Solomon decided the real mother -- or at least the one who should be the real mother -- was the one who would rather give up her child than see it be destroyed. (About.com)
The failure of two Maine Guardians ad Litem to act ethically or professionally deprived my son of equal access to his mother and father, deprived me of countless opportunities to mother my son, and deprived our family of a quarter million dollars--my mother's legacy to her only grandchild. The combined effect of these so-called professionals on my son's life, and mine, has made me wonder whether I should have acted at the first sign of trouble as the "real mother" in the story of Solomon's Judgment. Newly proposed Maine laws LD 872 and LD 975 could help; LD 522 will ensure more families share my bitter experience, maybe worse. Our State Judiciary Committee votes on them soon, maybe this week.
It appeared to my attorney, and to the magistrate, that Myers needed to manage the tests seen by the attorneys because my husband's psychological evaluation had been scored "invalid." In psychological testing parlance, this does not actually mean it was invalid. In fact, this score can show everything from criminality to sociopathy to personality disorder to extreme fear about the testing process. This score demonstrates my husband's tendency toward "faking good," and it contained several unflattering at best, dangerous at worst, psychological indicators, all of which pointed to my initial complaint, that while he appeared polite and aw-shucks-Ma'am humble, he was in truth, threatening and violent, and I wanted any protection the court could offer for myself and our not yet two year-old child. One section of the test is designed to enumerate a person's chances of abusing children. Possibly because my husband failed to earn a passing score on this section, Myers instructed her friend to give him another whack at the test, presumably after some helpful coaching.
Psychological evaluations are not the SAT; they are not designed to be taken until the subject likes his or her score. Scores like my husband's first test are meant to be considered as part of a constellation of other information like violence in the family of origin. The second test, where my husband scored super-normal on everything, complicated the whole picture and led Knox County District Court Judge William Anderson, despite my testimony that my husband had told me before we were married that his father had "pounded" my husband and his eight siblings and broken his mother's collarbone in the kitchen in front of the children, to take a pox-on-both-their-houses stance regarding all testimony about violence. My ex's history of violence towards me and testimony from a local business woman about his threats and intimidation held no weight, as the GaL report said there had been no violence.
Since our 2005 divorce, my ex-husband's multiple incidents of contempt of court and his attorney's ninja ability--or back room connections--that enables him to evade any consequence, means I have never regained equal parental footing with my ex-husband, and I am now tens of thousands dollars in debt. Eight years after our initial divorce judgment, my ex-husband continues to manipulate and threaten me while flouting whatever court order is currently in place. Currently, I have not seen our boy, a funny, smart, adventurous, soon to be 12 year-old in over a month, when our agreement says he and I are to spend three of every four weekends together.
There is much more to this sad story, saddest for our son who has been prevented from developing a complete attachment to me. Practically from the first weeks of our son's life, his father was threatened by any sign of maternal connection. Once our son was past early infancy, his dad would do anything he could to distract our nursing baby, or frighten me, in an attempt to curtail a tender moment. This Viking-esque man buried in the trash a hand-me-down bib decorated with faded blue cartoonish lettering that said, "My Mommy is the Best." Lately, he has rewarded our son with gun and NRA paraphernalia, and the promise of pistols on his upcoming 12th birthday for refusing to come see me. If our son, who has--despite the challenges of a social life limited to weekends--developed friends and hobbies, including riding horses, here at my Alna farm, ever demonstrates any desire to spend time with me he is ridiculed or punished or both. Used as coin of the realm in his father's family, humiliation and shunning can make for a brutal abandonment. I know from hard experience. Beginning late in my pregnancy, any time I displeased my husband, his litany of threats always included some reference to his making sure I would be, "on the outside looking in." I understand completely how desperate our boy is to avoid ending up like his mother, driven from the muscular arms of a powerful clan, where all hands seem forever closed in fists.
I have had no recourse regarding the mega-wrongness of our family's initial judgment. Fraudulent trial testimony served only to galvanize the lies contained in the GaL report. Only now, nearly 10 years later, can I say I am recovering from what Michaela Murphy called the "savaging" of my personal and professional reputation engendered by the Guardian ad Litem's lack of accountability. My husband and his family made perfectly clear their complete inability to cooperate as adults responsible for our son's life, yet they gained influence and most importantly time, time that my son and I may never regain. Only major changes to Maine's family court, specifically oversight of the Guardian ad Litem program and solid recourse when GaLs cross ethical, professional lines will make it possible for others to avoid familial train-wrecks like mine. LD 872 and LD 975 help make GaLs accountable to the families who pay them, not the lawyers, the so-called divorce industry, or their own wallets.