13 Nov Should I represent myself in family or juvenile dependency court and not hire a lawyer?
I don’t know. However, I do know Insider Magazine shared comments Nora Dankner (Tribeca Therapy) made about the movie “Marriage Story”. The background of the film is that Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) decide not to involve lawyers regarding their pending divorce for the sake of their minor son. But soon, Nicole gets a lawyer who makes Nicole think about herself and what she wants. Dankner applauds that action, stating that Nicole should get what she wants because otherwise Charlie would get what he wants. Therein lies the problem.
If you are a parent brought into juvenile dependency court, consider yourself Charlie. You are up against a lawyer who works for the State of California (or one of the counties in California) and who most likely regularly appears before your judge. From my personal experience, I know a family of five that took in another mother’s two youngest out of eight children but kept her involved. It was a juvenile dependency case because the mother had no resources. The court appointed attorney for the two foster children had to recuse himself from the case but the court didn’t replace the attorney, it replaced the judge. I am not kidding. Subsequently, the new judge, picked a new attorney for the two foster children. The judges rely on attorneys who work for the same California county as the social worker and develop relationships with him/her and not you. The foster parents saw this collusion in action. They were shocked and hired their own private attorney.
I think you should take this under consideration. We are advocating for #NoAFCC members to be involved in any family or juvenile dependency cases. The AFCC, or the Association for Family and Conciliation Courts is a network of colluding judges, attorneys, psychologists, therapists, custody evaluators, social workers, etc., the “AFCCnet effect”. The past presidents of the AFCC have been judges. However, this year that role went to a psychologist, Matthew Sullivan, PhD, worth millions. He was able to buy houses in Santa Cruz and Hawaii, in addition to his Palo Alto home, because of his AFCC membership and the business it has brought him.
If you are a parent involved in a family court, consider yourself Nicole and remember how incredibly precious your children are. Children are NOT resilient not matter what the AFCC has said for the past 50 years. The AFCCnet effect was wrong, everyone knew they were wrong, and no one said anything until now. In 2019, the president of the American Psychiatric Association, Altha Stewart, M.D., testified to Congress that “Children depend on their parents or other trusted adults for their comfort, safety, and support. Any forced separation is highly stressful for children and can cause lifelong trauma, as well as increased risk of mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, substance use, and post traumatic stress disorder.” She also testified that “Consistent exposure to this heightened stress and trauma changes their emotional, behavioral, and cognitive functioning”.
Psychiatrists, “MDs” (not PhDs) have finally stood up and emphatically told America that the AFCCnet was wrong. Children are not resilient because their minds are hardwired to keep living and breathing and can split in two when faced with a need for survival. You can lose the mind of the carefree child, able to thrive, forever, if his/her mind sends that child into survival mode. Trust is arguably more important than love to a child. The two don’t always go together. AFCC psychologists “PhDs” (not MDs) and therapists have been colluding with judges in order to able to charge tens of thousands of dollars per child to “evaluate” them, write a report to a judge, then walk away as a direct result of the AFCCnet effect. A psychologist’s goal and therapist’s goal is to stop seeing you and that is exactly what the AFCCnet effect thrives on because most likely you will soon run out of money anyways.