Law guardians are lawyers and “officers of the court,” appointed by the court to represent the child interests without being bound by the child expressed preferences. I guess this is where the line separating efficient and inefficient law guardians lies. Good law guardians look beyond “child expressed preferences,” which might not be his or her but those of an alienating custodial parent. My girls, Camille and Chloé, and myself got the bad type.
In September 2002, after the trial of child abuse initiated by my ex-wife had started, the law guardian Garline Octobre was unequivocal. According to her, my girls were not “comfortable “with unsupervised visitations, period. I argued that before the trial and the restraining order requested by sicko ex-wife, my girls were perfectly comfortable with unsupervised visitations. This discomfort was not the girls’, it was sicko’s. It was like talking to a wall. Verdict: relation in jail. Supervised visitations for an indefinite period of time, without any consideration for the harm it might cause to the relation between me and my children.
Garline Octobre’s monitoring over the first twenty- three supervised visitations ran by “Comprehensive Family Services” revealed totally inexistent. The relationship between a non-custodial father and his children was in the hands of a private business, and Octobre was nowhere to be found. I suppose her policy was the “let’s just pray for the best” type.
Garline October’s interest for the welfare of my children did not increase a bit when sicko-ex wife turned therapeutic supervised visitations into a fiasco, in the Spring of 2004. After five therapeutic supervised visitations, unsupervised visitations were next. Yet, the nocuous influence of the mother had to be kept in check, said the social worker Traci Shinabarger in a letter to law guardian Octobre. Garline Octobre’s reaction when Traci Shinabarger is taken off the case by Spitzer and the plan of resuming unsupervised visitations is off: resounding silence. Octobre did not step in; not a call, a reprimand to the mother, who was free to alienate at will.
In my case, and perhaps more generally for the sinking family court system, the law guardian is the weakest link: biased, unwilling to monitor the work of an incompetent agency and the influence of an alienating mother, and therefore detrimental to the children’s interests she was supposed to serve. The great State of New York should dispose of them or train them.