Welcome to my blog, a dad’s attempt to connect with his children, Camille and Chloé Lacour, who do not know anything about me and how much I love them. They might one day visit this blog and feel the desire to contact me again. With this blog, I also want to connect with other dads, who like me do not see their children, are confronted to the indifference and inhumanity of the family court system that deprives fathers from their rights to see their children or sides with abusive mothers, who use the family court for that purpose.
I have been on trial for physical abuse from 2002 to 2008, for allegedly having broken the cochlear implant of my daughter Camille. On Sunday, April 22 2002, I went with my girls, who were spending the weekend with me, to the French Consulate in New York. It was the first day of the French presidential elections, and they looked rather bleak. My sisters had phoned me and told me that the polls predicted a runoff between Chirac (right) and Le Pen (extreme right). Jospin (left) was gone. Camille (7 and a half) and Chloé (almost 5) could not care less. They were having the best time running and hiding in the voting booths.
After having voted, I had to bring back the girls to their mother and we were likely to be late. As we were getting on the cab, the girls started fighting for a seat next to me. I sat in the middle of them but they kept fighting. As Chloé would not stop, I slapped her hand. This prompted Camille to say to me that she would tell her mom how I was treating them. She hit the sensitive cord: For several months, I had received numerous and pointless written complaints and threats of action from my ex-wife. The food I was giving to the girls was not good, the time they were getting to bed was not right, I even had Camille slept in my bed a whole night (ten minutes in fact while her sister was waking up). I seized Camille’s face with one hand and told her that their mom had nothing to say on this matter. At that moment, I deeply regretted to finish on this sad note what had been a wonderful weekend .
I did not see my girls the next two weekends I was supposed to, because my ex-wife had put unacceptable conditions for them to take place. First, no overnight visitation and only Saturday, because I was dangerous. I refused. If I was dangerous on Sundays, I also was dangerous on Saturdays. I wanted to see the girls the whole week-end. Second, my girlfriend Laura had to be there all the time, which neither her, not I, wanted. I had also visitation every other Fridays. I had my last unsupervised visitation on Friday, May 10 2002. on June 13, 2002, two cups knocked at my door with an order of protection. I was to stay away from the house where my girls lived otherwise I would go to jail.
In july 2002, Camille underwent surgery to have her cochlea implant replaced. I did not know it and would have liked to be close to her at this moment. When, in the beginning of the fall of 2002, I was made aware of it by my lawyer, I called the surgeon. Not the talkative type. He told me one thing:” the first implant did not move.” Not so curiously, he was never called to testify during the trial.
In july 2002 though, I received a visit at my home of an Administration for Children Services (ACS) social worker, who investigated the case. Her verdict was that the accusations of abuse were unfounded (click on the following link Notguilty). I thought the nightmare was over. In fact, it had just started. Family court would strip me of my rights to see my children in three steps.
Accusations were ACS-certified unfounded but it did not mean that I was going to get back my regular weekends with my girls. In fact, I was entering the wonderful world of family courts where you pay a supervisor to see your kids. Why? Since there is a complaint, there is a trial. Between the time of the complaint and the beginning of the trial, time has elapsed and mummy has whispered in the ears of our children that they don’t want to see me alone and at my home. That’s enough for the no-Einstein law guardian: supervised visits. The sad thing is that it will always be enough, even when there will be evidence of parental alienation.
Two-years of supervised visitations and a sloppy forensic evaluation report later, Camille, Chloé and I moved to therapeutic supervised visitations. One might naively presume that the sequence should be reversed: provided that there is some substance to the accusations of abuse and depending upon their gravity, one should start with therapeutic visitations. If therapy is successful, you see your kids normally. if not, therapy continues. Therapy was very successful and I thought my ordeal was over. The social worker had recommended the resumption of my visitations in a short transition of four visits (click on the following link spolingSV). It was without counting of the abdication of the whole system before a strong-willed alienating mother. Ex-wife asks for the head of the author of the recommendations, the director of the agency supervising visitations caves in, and the law guardian is gone fishing.
There should not have been a step 3. In the Spring of 2004, after the non-implementation of the recommendations of the social worker, I should have sent Manhattan Family Court to hell. Indeed, giving up these recommendations amounted to letting a free-pass to mum’s alienation. The judge orders “experimental” therapeutic visitations with my girlfriend as the supervisor. These visitations turned to be a disaster because mum wanted them not to succeed. For my girls, I had convinced the judge to order these visitations. In 2008, six years after the accusations, the verdict finally fell: I was not guilty of abuse. Yes, mum had alienated the girls against me but sorry, there is nothing we can do about it. Visitations? More of the same: Therapy for me and my alienated girls (click on the following link THE RULING). Have a nice day!
I would later realized that my story is not peculiar at all. It is sadly the basic cartoon of many non-custodial fathers accused of physical abuse. Family courts deprive you of your fundamental rights to see your children and never restore them. Family courts do not lift a finger to sanction parental alienation. There is only one thing that family courts consistently enforce: child support payments.
Given this state of affairs, I believe that it is counterproductive and wrong to cooperate. I did and many fathers do, because our relationship with our children is at stake and we are not used to be treated like criminals. Family courts rulings might be law, it is not justice.