- You hire an attorney and think you are protected. You went into the hearing thinking the attorney was going to convince the judge that there was no reason you couldn’t have equal time with your child, but instead the judge says that because you and the other parent cannot agree that you will have every other weekend. You feel punished and confused. How is this right? You feel banished and like the truth didn’t matter. You wonder what did you do to make the judge not like you, to make the judge think that you shouldn’t be with your child more? You have this sinking feeling that things will never be normal again and you are wondering what your child is thinking. You feel like you should do something different. You feel like the way your attorney didn’t work and there must be a better way.
You go onto Facebook and YouTube and you see lots of parents complaining about the same thing happening to them. You find parents complaining that they found caselaw that says that they have rights, but they get ignored. You tell your attorney about this and he shoots you down. Your attorney says that your rights don’t matter to the judge. Your attorney tells you that these parents are just unhappy that they lost. And your attorney assures you that this is not how things will be for you. That your case is different and that as long as you do what they say, you’ll be fine. Your attorney suggests that you ask the court to appoint a Guardian ad Litem. You knew you shouldn’t have gone along with this, but you did anyway.
You Have to Learn Your Rights to Know When they are Violated
As long as you don’t know what your rights are or how they are supposed to be protected, you won’t know when your rights are violated. You won’t know when you are being asked to accept something you really didn’t have to accept. You won’t know when you are giving in when you really didn’t have to give in. It is much easier for attorneys to have ignorant parents. This way they can tell you what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, without being questioned. They can spend your money how they choose, and you wouldn’t know whether you had a different option or not. It’s much easier this way for them.
Your Attorney Did Not Learn How to Apply Your Rights in Family Law
When you hired your attorney, you thought they were going to protect your rights. That’s not what it feels like you got unless you were picked as the primary parent. Your attorney and the court believes that when two parents are getting a divorce or separation and are in disagreement about what is best for the child, that they are competing for the same rights, and therefore, the court has to break the tie. They do this by requiring that you go to battle against the other parent. So they have to make up a game for you to battle in. This becomes the battle of the “better parent.” Each court and each judge sets their own rules and has their own idea of the criteria. The judge doesn’t tell you what this criteria is and in fact changes the criteria and the rules along the way. The judge changes the rules according to which parent they want to choose. At some point in time, you will feel like the other parent can do no wrong. This is because the court made a choice and it doesn’t really matter what you do anymore. They let you keep playing the game as long as you can pay.
So your attorney makes suggestions based on what you can pay. They might tell you to ask the court to order psych evals, custody evals, an Amicus, parenting coordinators, counseling, drug testing. Whatever they think will make you feel better and make you feel like something is being done. This keeps you feeling like you just might have a chance if you can prove X. The attorney gives you that if/then scenario. This keeps you hoping. If you can prove the other parent is narcissistic or bipolar, then the court has a reason to flip custody. You trusted your attorney because, they are an attorney.
Eventually you figure out that this is going nowhere, your children are getting older, and might even be alienated at this point. You have run through all of you attorney’s options and look for some new options. You find us. But then your attorney tells you that he won’t consider the option of arguing for the protection of your parental rights.
We work with many attorneys who believe in what we publish and who use what we publish in filings for their clients. There are good attorneys out there. However, the majority of attorneys are still unwilling to perform their fiduciary (legal) duty to you by fighting for your constitutional rights. I have seen attorneys post on social media that they did what they thought to be in their client’s child’s best interest and were bragging about it. When I ask them why they are bragging about violating their fiduciary duty to their client, they disappear quickly.
Your attorney knows that if they try to make these arguments now they are going to look bad to the court, not you look bad, but them. They had the duty to inform you that this was an option. So by trying to turn you on the option, scare you from using it, make people who teach about rights look bad, they don’t have to face you and explain to you why they failed you. The attorney failed to provide for you what you paid them to do in the first place. If your attorney had used your rights, the other side would have the burden to prove why they believed they had what it takes to interfere with your rights. You would not have had the stress, expense, or burden of proving that you are a better parent than the other. You wouldn’t have had to do anything actually if they did not have what is required to justify the use of state power to take your rights to equal time and equal rights to your child.
How do My Rights Protect Me?
You don’t feel that you were protected at all. You weren’t actually. You should have been protected from the court trauma in the first place. You should have been protected from the burden of litigation. The Supreme Court found that litigation itself is a burden on your rights. You didn’t know this. You had a feeling something wasn’t right. You ignored that feeling and you went along with the attorney. Now the court is spending your money at a pace that is going to drive you into bankruptcy. The judge has appointed a Guardian ad Litem. You don’t know where you are going to get the money to keep going like this. How can you afford to keep fighting for your rights to your child.
Your Rights Protecting Your Identity
You haven’t been fighting for your rights. You have been fighting to prove that you are better than the other parent. You have been fighting to get permission to be evaluated by the court. Your attorney tells you to ask for evaluations not for protection of your rights. This opens you up to broad exploratory searches. This is unconstitutional in any situation.
Your Rights Protect Your Privacy
You pay for hearing after hearing, evaluation after investigation, and still you are not getting your time back with your child. You are just going more in to debt. Your First and Fourteenth Amendment rights protect you by protecting your privacy. If you knew that you had a privacy right and that the court had no business making you prove that you qualify to continue to be a parent, then you would have known to say “no.”
Your Rights Protect You from Searches
You paid your attorney a retainer and so you go along with them in hopes that this payment will buy you what you need to win. You don’t know what else to do. You feel so powerless. You keep asking your attorney to come up with something that has better odds. Your attorney says that the court is going to decide what’s in your child’s best interest if you and the other parent cannot come to an agreement. You don’t know that best interest of the child doctrine is another broad exploratory search. The First Amendment protects you from this broad exploratory searches. The Fourteenth Amendment protects you from having to qualify your parenting. The Fourth Amendment protects you from unwarranted searches.
Your Rights Protect You from Unnecessary and Burdensome Litigation
The attorney and the judge spends your money when you don’t know your rights. The attorney will suggest you ask for court-appointed experts and other discovery. The judge will happily appoint these expensive experts. As you run out of money, your attorney encourages you to give in to the other parent and just accept things as they are. Your attorney tells you that you might be able to get more time if you just cooperate with the other parent and tries to convince you that the other parent might become more reasonable when you are not fighting them in court. It feels like your attorney has flipped and has become an advocate for the other parent. You feel pushed to give in. What your attorney is telling you is that you don’t have the money to fight anymore and they are done with you. You have no options left, you didn’t argue your rights, so that is not preserved, and you are out of money, so you cannot air your complaints to the court anymore. After it’s too late, you realize you could have gotten the same result without the expensive hand holding of an attorney.
Your attorney has refused to use your rights to protect you. You feel abused and lied to. You are feeling like you won’t ever get away from the control and demands of the other parent. Now you feel like you paid all this money to this attorney for nothing. Now you are not just feeling hopeless but helpless too.
Your Rights Protect Your Choices
Your rights protect your privacy. You didn’t need to concede to those expensive investigations. Your rights protect you from senseless litigation. You didn’t need to prove that you were better than the other parent. Your rights protect you from the state interfering with your relationship with your child, your beliefs, your values, and your matters of conscience. You didn’t need to ask for that expensive guardian ad litem or amicus. Your rights protect you from the state discriminating against you just because you got divorced or separated from the other parent. Your rights are not tied to the relationship with the other parent. You didn’t know this and let the attorney control the framing of your case. Your rights would have helped you establish boundaries for the judge, limit the judge’s discretion, and protect you from bias, prejudice, and marital discrimination.
It was never your attorney’s job to do what they think is in your child’s best interest nor was it the judge’s job. You were lied to in order to get you to concede and agree to do things their way, the expensive way. You have paid emotionally and physically. You didn’t follow your instincts that you have rights. It is your job and the other parent’s job to decide what is best for your child, not the amicus, not the courts. You didn’t learn about your rights, otherwise you would have understood that divorce or separation was not a proper trigger to change your rights. You didn’t know that the state has to prove that one of you is unfit in a proper fitness hearing following proper constitutional review and clear and convincing evidence before your rights can be less than equal.
When you tried to bring up wanting rights protections, your attorney made all sorts of excuses about why they don’t do it that way. You were made to feel like you were stupid or that you believed something false. Your attorney even made you feel like the people you are getting information about your rights from have no idea what they are doing because they are not attorneys; and, in fact, would just cause you more harm than good. When the truth is your instincts were right all along, you needed to fight for your rights, and your rights protect you from the abuse of government power. Your rights protect you from other people’s biases and from having other people including the judge’s idea of how it is best to raise your child. Your rights even protect you from being told how to raise your child by the other parent.
Your attorney tells you to turn into someone the judge will like. You aren’t allowed to be you anymore. Your rights protect you to be you.
The only reason attorneys get away with not applying the constitutional protections that you are entitled to is because they have tricked generations of parents before you, created an unconstitutional practice and precedent. Judges receive immunity. The attorneys use up your resources so they don’t fear being sued. You couldn’t afford to sue them and they know it. And besides the way they argued your case makes it look like you asked the court to ignore your rights.
Your attorney’s job, fiduciary duty, is to fight for your legal and constitutional rights. Your judge’s job is to apply well-established rules of constitutional law to adjudicate your rights and your ex’s rights. Your judge’s job is not to determine what is in your child’s best interest. When they do so, they are acting unconstitutionally in a corrupt system. When your attorney does their job, you are able to do your job and focus on raising your child. Your identity is wrapped up in your parent-child relationship. Your rights protect this bond, protecting your identity.
What if My Attorney Refuses to Protect My Rights?
What should you say to your attorney if your attorney denigrates the idea that you have constitutional rights that deserve protection by denigrating our work? I would recommend that you immediately start searching for another attorney who is willing to fight for your rights and not just hold your hand while you get screwed by the system like everyone else.* Once you have a better attorney lined up, I would say the following to your bad attorney:
It is my contention that my child and I have fundamental rights to share intimate and expressive, close family, parent-child speech, association, worship, and family privacy that are protected at strict scrutiny and which may not be infringed based on the exercise of a constitutionally protected choice regarding marriage or because two parents have a disagreement regarding matters of conscience in child-rearing. The First Amendment absolutely protects our right to disagree and not be punished by the state for that disagreement.
I do not believe that the constitution allows a sole government official to infringe my parental rights based on the judge’s viewpoint regarding matters of conscience in child-rearing or based on a disagreement between the judge and me on matters of conscience in my life choices.
The judge may not like my life choices but the judge lacks any legitimate authority of any kind to punish me for my otherwise lawful and constitutionally protected privacy choices or to classify me and my child as undeserving of constitutional protections for our fundamental rights simply because my child’s father and I never married.
You were unwilling to perform your fiduciary duty to protect my fundamental rights and so you are fired!
My Attorney Says Parental Rights Advocates are Just Angry Parents
There are attorneys out there who will tell you that people who are teaching you that you have rights are just angry, that they never got past their anger, and they should get counseling to get past their anger and move on to something else in life. These same attorneys will tell you that even though the system is broken, that it is the best system and that it is what you have to work within. It is true we have the best system. How do you think we got the best system? From people who were willing to fight when they discovered injustice. This does not mean that every practice in the system is proper or just. Just like Toyota did with Kaizen, when a part of the process is broken, it needs to be corrected. Toyota actually stopped production and corrected the flaw before resuming production, lessening their long-term costs. You need to do the same in your case. No matter where you are in the trial process, you need to pause, get in touch with us, and find out what options you have for re-framing your case. Do not wait until an appeal. You will have nothing to appeal. You don’t get to appeal the discretion of the judge once you failed to challenge it during the trial.
Attorneys are Limiting Your Sphere of Information
Attorneys teach you not to trust anyone else because they are comfortable with the process they have learned to thrive in. They are threatened by parents who fight for justice. They are content with working within the broken system. Attorneys like this are also threatened by you learning your rights. Because you don’t know your rights are violated if you never learn them. If the BAR association can control the sphere of knowledge, they can keep the same “cash for kids” racket going in child custody family law suits.
When a process or system is corrupt, bad, or broken, it is the individual people who challenge the system who restore justice and who change the bad behaviors. Somebody has to stand up to the bad actors to make the government stop mistreating people and abusing their power.
And the people who stand up to civil rights violations do get punished, intimidated, bullied, beat up, arrested, sanctioned, burned, and killed. These fights are legally expense. But after someone succeeds legally, these expenses go away. Abuses become the exception and not the norm. Think about it, this happened in other civil rights movements. Rosa Parks was arrested and had an expensive legal battle. How many people get arrested and have to fight to sit in the middle or the front of the bus based on color now? How many people have to challenge the police to vote just because they are a person of color. They no longer have to be subject to extortion or beg someone to sponsor them so they can exercise their right to vote. Women are no longer threatened to have their children taken, thrown into a sanitarium, or arrested for trying to vote.
The lunch counter sit ins were conducted in waves. When one group of people were arrested, beaten, had food thrown at them, and burned, another group of people were bussed in and took their place. Every movement has had people replace people to continue the fight. Cesar Chavez also employed this method with the first person arrested after the court issued an injunction with a gag order, was his wife. None of the people that these movements represented have to fight the same fight anymore.
Thankfully there are people who have resisted and rejected these attacks on civil rights fights. If you compare how people were treated in the lunch counter sit ins, the fight for women’s right to vote, and the bus boycott after Rosa Parks defied the law, and the fight to remove the requirement for blacks to have a sponsor to register to vote, you will see the correlations with the fight to protect and exercise the rights without burden.
Parental Rights is the Right Fight
Attorneys might tell you that your argument is not how they do things in family court. You might think you need to change your argument to not include parental rights arguments. How can you ever prevail if you do not make the arguments?
When you believe you have rights and you have the strongest and best argument you know, you stick with this argument. Think about all of the rights we mentioned earlier that you would not have today if those trying to keep the injustices in place had convinced them they didn’t have those rights. Zero!
You will never get parental rights respected in the family courts if you continue to pay attorneys who refuse to fight this broken system. Appellate courts will not even hear the argument if you did not make it at trial.
Education is the Key
If you do not know your rights, you will not know when they are violated. If attorneys keep a monopoly on teaching rights, it is much easier for them to hide the violations. You wouldn’t know you were even entitled to any rights so you wouldn’t know that you deserved protection. Thomas Paine taught us that we were entitled to be free from the king. We are teaching you that you are entitled to be free from the courts, that you have rights already, and that you are being lied to and tricked out of these rights.
Government run systems will always try to hide that you have rights. They can create an entire scheme to benefit the government and make money off of you, so why wouldn’t they? They have to keep you ignorant to do it though. Just as government attempted to keep blacks and women from voting by putting extra requirements on them before they could exercise the right, the courts do the same through imposing guardian and litem’s, child attorneys, child custody studies, psych evals, and supervised visitation.
Learning your parental rights creates a wave of people to continually replace the ones who pass through the system, whose children age out. You have to keep fighting for your rights like others before you fought for theirs, and eventually parents won’t have to fight anymore.
Legislators do Not Hold the Key to Your Fundamental Rights
Your state may or may not have an equal parenting law specifically passed by the legislators. That does not mean that you are not entitled to equal parenting time with your child. This has already been decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. What did they decide? The Supreme Court decided that the way the constitution is interpreted is that you are entitled to be free from unwarranted government interference and when the government can justify the interference, it must be the least restrictive. This means that you start with equal. The legislators do not get to authorize the judge to violated your rights. This means you can challenge any statute or code in your state that is used to infringe that right.
Parents are not told this by family law attorneys, so they go through the family court process with nothing more than what their attorney tells them. How many of you would go to your family doctor before researching what you think you might be ailing you? Medical information is easy to find and get now, legal information is not, especially information about your rights. More and more advocates and activists have been filling that void and providing parental rights education to parents. Unfortunately, parents don’t tend to look for this information until after they have lost.
Your Rights Protect Your Parent-Child Bond
* You need to be aware that attorneys have a job protection racket going where you may not be able to talk to a new attorney about representing you until you fire your existing attorney. They often will ask you if you are currently represented and may even look up your case online. You may need to enlist the help of a friend to interview attorneys regarding their stance on protecting their clients constitutional rights in family law to get a short-list of possible replacements before you let your current attorney go. Pay close attention to where you are in your case and how your interests may be damaged by releasing one attorney without having another ready to step in. This system is not designed to protect you, it is designed to protect them, much like labor union rules.