After the fiasco of therapeutic visitations in 2004, I was out of option to see my daughters. I reluctantly accepted to have a few
“regular” supervised visitations with the girls at the end of 2004, pressed by the court attorney giving me the same crappy argument: I have to show my goodwill while my ex-wife, after two years of a child abuse trial, has not begun proving her accusations. Visitations were frustrating, for the girls and for myself. We were playing in public parks, because the girls would not go at my place, where they used to come before this farcical trial. They had told Traci Shinabarger, the social worker handling therapeutic visitations that they agreed to go back to my home for visitations. They were now telling the new social worker, Joel Roberts, that they were “uncomfortable” with this idea. Translation: Mummy was.
Some day in 2005, in family court, judge Sturm came up with the following proposition: Laura, my girlfriend, would chaperon the visitations. The social worker would be there half an hour at the beginning and at the end of the four- hours visitations, to assess it. The idea was not totally stupid. My ex-wife had indeed testified that the girls told her that weekends with me were boring except when my girlfriend was with me. Laura had rarely been with the girls and myself and never for an entire weekend, but enlightening the court with the truth was not my ex-wife’s point. The purpose of the statement was for my ex-wife to send the message: “I am cool, I am not mad at the guy, I am just objectively assessing his parenting abilities.”
After three years of a family court trial and your relation with your children degenerating with the goofy visitations regimes that the court have you go through, you start getting that you are playing Russian roulette with a fully -loaded gun. Yet you play it because something as precious as your relationship with your girls is at stake. Laura accepted her role of chaperon for five visits, no more.
The visitations were a disaster. The girls were properly framed to blow up the all thing. They had the mission to show their mum that like her, they did not agree with the process. As the first visitation started, my big one, Camille (then 9 years old), complained that “Laura was not a trained therapist” and that I had put the judge on my side for these visitations to happens. This first visitation lasted forty-five minutes instead of four. We tried to celebrate Chloé’s seventh birthday during another visitation in Battery Park City with a cake, candles, and games. The girls ostensively refused to be engaged in conversation or games, and stuck to reading the books they had brought. Only when they went to the bathroom was it possible to engage them separately and distract them from their state of mind. Another visitation was canceled at the last minute by the director of Comprehensive Family Services, the agency running the visitation, on a call by my ex-wife’s lawyer. Chloé did not want to come. My ex-wife was playing with the court order. The law guardian monitoring the best interest of the children in the story? hoops, gone fishing. The law guardian’s silence was deafening.
Judge Sturm’s final ruling did acknowledge the poisoning damage of my ex-wife’s alienation of the children. As something the court had no control on. Thats’s really too bad. As family courts stripsearch fathers, alienating custodial parents -mothers- rob the house.