Here is an example of how you can lose your child and a GAL or an amicus can make you too broke to continue to fight to get your child back: Your ex can report false allegations to CPS. The ex then uses this report to CPS as a basis for asking the court to change custody. The ex can also be using teenage angst in this process to inflame the judge to further support their request. The ex can bring an emergency ex parte request to the court for a temporary restraining order and emergency temporary orders and use that CPS is conducting an inquiry into the allegation. The court can make an order that suspends your visitation/parenting time with your children and appoint an amicus or a guardian ad litem, all without a hearing. Then on the emergency temporary orders hearing the court can still make an order that continues a restriction on your time and rights with your children pending evaluations and interrogations now conducted by an amicus or a GAL, even though CPS completed their inquiry, decided that there wasn’t enough there to bring charges, and closed the inquiry.
You might think that the court will apply due process that will protect you from false allegations, or that the court will end the taking of your child as soon as CPS drops the case. That isn’t usually the case though. Family court judges have been appointing a GAL or an amicus in situations where there wasn’t enough to bring criminal charges and turning the situation into a civil matter where they can conduct exploratory searches to justify the taking of your child and more of your money! Courts have also been known to threaten parents to consent to an amicus or lose rights to see their child so that the court does not have to justify anything. Once you consent they can proceed without further explaining themselves. You don’t get to challenge later in an appeal like some attorneys tell parents. Most appellate cases that we have read say that if the parent didn’t raise the issue in the trial court that the issue was not preserved.
Why would the family courts do things this way you might ask?
FIRST, the courts know that you are afraid of losing time with your child.
SECOND, by forcing you to pay for an amicus or a GAL right away, you will have less money to fight the courts. Parents who cannot even afford to pay for an attorney for themselves are being forced to pay for an amicus or a GAL (and these are usually attorneys charging attorney rates).
THIRD, the family courts have enjoyed being able to do as they want, especially when they hold the threat of being able to take your child from you and force you into a battle that can last for several months to several years. Children develop and grow so quickly that their childhood is lost in this amount of time. Parents, in the past, have not had any way to successfully fight the abuses of the family courts, so they tend to make deals that they otherwise would not make. Parents do not have protections that they should have so they give in. Parents do not have the money that it takes to fight the abuses so they are forced into living with bad orders.
FOURTH, parents have difficulty finding an attorney who will fight an amicus or a GAL. The courts know this so they feel comfortable bullying you by demanding that you agree to an amicus or a GAL.
All of this can happen at any age in your child’s life. As long as your child is under 18, you are subject to this kind of legal abuse. An amicus or a GAL can cost you thousands of dollars more than you thought you were going to spend in your divorce or child custody battle. The amicus and the GAL will participate in every hearing, can call their own hearing with the court, and will conduct discovery and investigations on their own, all at your expense! And there may be nothing you can do about that bill. There is also nothing you can do to restrict how much bill they run up. You may be threatened that if you do not pay the bill that the court will hold you in contempt and may even threaten to throw you in jail! You may even have an amicus ask the court to restrict you from seeing your child until you approve the amicus and pay them.**
If you find yourself in a situation where you are being taken back to court under these conditions, consider fighting back using declaratory judgment relief.
- Insist that the court provide you with guidance on what process is due your specific case and what statutes are being used to deprive you of fundamental rights.
- If you believe that your state’s statute authorizing the court to appoint an amicus or a GAL in your state is unconstitutional, you would find the rules in your state for making a constitutional challenge to a statute, and follow those. Some rules require that you notify the Attorney General in your state.
- Consider filing a request for a protective order quashing the order for the GAL/amicus, and ask for an emergency hearing on the matter since it is immediately depriving you of the use of your own money. (This is an important concept to understand when you are making a constitutional challenge on deprivation of your property.)
- If the court denies you the ex parte motion and denies an immediate quash of their own order, try a request for a STAY until you can have it run through the appellate courts on a mandamus (or whatever mechanism that you have in your state to be heard on an interlocutory or temporary order)***
- File declaratory judgment relief in your trial court in addition to the above and ask them to rule before your next hearing. (We made this easy by providing samples on our motions page.) If the court denies the motions, fails to rule on them in a timely manner before your next hearing, and you believe that you are facing deprivation of fundamental rights, and that the amicus/GAL is a violation of your constitutional rights contact us so that we can assist your attorney evaluate the rest of the process and find what is right for you. www.fixfamilycourts.com/contactus
- Learn your fundamental parental rights and the argument behind them. You will need to know the arguments to help your attorney protect your requests. You can attend the online course here, “Protecting Family Rights,” and get started right away.
Do this or be forced to play along and hope that the GAL or amicus and the court side with you, and hope that you don’t run out of money before you get there.
Playing along is very risky. You could end up in situation where if you don’t please the GAL then you don’t get your kids. This isn’t just a feeling by the way. A GAL has the power to ask the judge to completely cut you off from seeing your children if you are not doing as they say.
A GAL can do all of this without the court ever providing you with a process that would protect you and your child from abuse of power or justice.
If you are going to fight back, make it meaningful. If you do not preserve your rights, you will have a much more difficult time with an appeal. Preserving your rights is not just for an appeal, it also puts pressure on the court by letting them know that you are prepared to challenge any abuse of power and can make the court more cautious. In many situations where parents have filed these motions, the courts have decided to restore that parent’s time with their child, have denied requests for psychiatric evaluations and custody evaluations, and have imposed fewer burdens on parents who show the ability to fight back effectively.
We educate you and make it easier for you to preserve your right to challenge abuse of power. If you are going to be forced into a fight anyway you might as well know all of your options.
You can contact us here: www.fixfamilycourts.com/contactus to get information that you might not be provided otherwise.
*We are not attorneys and do not practice law. Any information from this blog, this website, and anything that you get from us is not a practice of law. You are advised to seek the advice of an attorney regarding how to implement the information from this website.
**All ideas in this post are general and not specific to any particular case. The authors of this post have no way of knowing the nuances in your case so you must seek the guidance of an attorney and anything you utilize from this website you are responsible to research yourself. The authors are not responsible for any consequences or damages you may experience. You use information from this website at your own risk.
***Every state is different. Make sure that you find out if orders for an amicus or a GAL are interlocutory or final orders. This determines how you challenge that order in the appellate courts. An interlocutory order is not appealable, but can be brought up through mandamus. If your state does not have mandamus relief you might have to consider other options. Contact us if your attorney is running into barriers that you cannot overcome. www.fixfamilycourts.com/contactus and let us know the challenge that you are having.