When the cost is not high enough judges and attorneys are not going to respond either. They will continue to operate on the premise that they don’t have to worry about how parents feel about what they are doing. Judges and attorneys do not see themselves as “lawbreakers” even though it essentially has the same effect when they continue to subject you to state statutes and practices that violate their oath to uphold the supreme law of the land, your constitutional rights.
You have to make it personal for the judges, attorneys, and all others working to come between you and your child. And, by personal, I don’t mean that you post their home address or that you make threats or do anything illegal. Many parents think the only way to get personal is to try and get the judge recused. They think the judge will care. Other parents go for the threat that they won’t get elected again and expect that they will get a response out of that. Where the parents have failed is that they have not made themselves “legitimate.” You have not proven “that those who give orders are acutely vulnerable to the opinions of those whom they are ordering about.” (Gladwell 2013 p217)
This applies not just to the attorneys and judges but also to the mental health experts, GALs, mediators, social workers, anyone that is participating in these conflicts. Sometimes it takes strategists like me and my husband to help you figure out the creative ways available to you. This will get easier as more parents stick to it and succeed. The mother that is currently sitting in jail who refused to give in to the judge after he used all his might made the decision that she was going to make herself “legitimate”. This judge had nothing left that he could do to this mother. She had called his bluff. This is one tactic, one of the most successful that has worked for many others in the past, this worked for Alice Paul, this worked for Rosa Parks, this worked for many slaves, and many other heroes in the past. This can work for you too. You just have to decide whether what you will lose if you don’t call their bluff is worth it. And you have to come to terms that they are going to cause you long-term pain if you don’t.
Why aren’t more parents fighting back? They don’t understand which suffering is better. They get stuck and don’t understand that they are choosing between two bad options, and that’s part of what makes this difficult. This causes a parent to doubt their gut and fall victim to taking the chance and trying to go along to get along to see if they can get them on their side. Most parents don’t see that calling their bluff and risk being threatened with going to jail for not giving in is almost always better.
Once parents are no longer in fear of being jailed for standing up for their rights, what does a judge really have left to use against that parent?
How many people do you know historically that won because they showed no fear of incarceration? We could list so many.
The majority of the time when a parent is respectful and knows how to properly plead their objection and stand up to the judge with legal reasoning don’t get thrown in jail. Most of the judges also are not willing to suffer the consequences of making a parent a martyr either. Most of them know that when they throw someone in jail unjustly it causes a big stir and sometimes even an uprising, just like the recent stir with the mother in Fargo ND, Katina Tengesdal. How much legitimacy and respect do you think Judge Herman has?
“…when the law is applied in the absence of legitimacy, it does not produce obedience.” (Gladwell 2013 p222).