In Montgomery County Pennsylvania Family Court, there is no transcripts of proceedings, no swearing of oaths, no outside persons - related or unrelated to the case - are permitted to witness the session. They are making decisions which last a lifetime for children and families affected in complete secrecy. Only the party who feels unfairly treated will complain, and that will be dismissed as he's complaining because he lost. Even when it is his child and family who lost.
I filed an appeal to have a custody hearing on December 26, 2007, and it has yet to be scheduled. When I contacted the scheduling office, I was informed that it may not be scheduled until May or June 2008. So I discover after losing another month with my son, that I must file for an emergency hearing. People do not go through this process often in life. And until they are immersed in it, they have no idea how horrible a system the family courts can be. And once you are in the system, everyone just assumes you are complaining because you lost something. And you did. Your family and your rights as a father were lost at the court door.
2. Brennan shall use best efforts to telephone Father on a daily basis.
The first thing I noticed about this was that it placed responsibility firmly on the shoulders of the 16 year old child. So, without any benefit of discussion with his father, or anyone else, he is assigned the ability to decide or change his own custody.
His Mother sees fit to making
sure he never has an opportunity to see me or to speak with me face to
And it wasn't HER doing, if Brennan didn't have any time for his father. He's already got plans for Thanksgiving. And the weekend is booked. Schoolwork after school keeps him busy. By Christmas the phone call has done it's job - you aren't even speaking. You won't see him at all over the Christmas holiday - even though he is off school. And by the time school begins in January there is no contact at all... because you filed a protection order against his mother on another matter. Bad Father - you can't do anything right! And you are frustrated with your son because he can't explain why he would deny his father any access and have no time for you. This was a situation poised for the destruction of the father-son relationship. And there is no repairing it when he can avoid you entirely. It is exactly what Sonya and her lawyer wanted. The Mother Wins... The Child Loses!
I effectively lost any rights to be Brennan's father, and he gets to
have the ability to decide who is his parent.
IT'S ALL HIS FAULT. And 10 years down the road he may
feel bad when he realizes, but you've lost years with him that you
can't ever get back.
LOST OPPORTUNITIES: 16 Years Old. Learners Permit. and you haven't even watched him drive a car yet.
You are already losing out on lifelong memories in a situation where if you try to change it will make you look like a guy trying to take 50% away from his mother's 100% time with him.
The phone call was going to destroy any chance of a healthy relationship. And trying to enforce it, would only make him hate you more. And you try, and it only makes you fight about it. This is no surprise - it is human nature.
I did sign the agreement, I wouldn't want to, or feel I had to, mandate my son's attention. I failed him by letting this responsibility rest on his shoulders. At least I demonstrated that I had trust in him. Sometimes trust works against you like that.
Trust the Professional. The Custody Master who drafted the agreement seemed to think it appropriate - and she was supposed to be acting in Brennan's best interests.
Sara Goren, Malpractice, Incompetence, or Stupid?How could Sara Goren, the Custody Master, permit such an agreement when it was clearly not in the child's best interests? Experience and human nature would clearly indicate that she failed in her responsibility to look after the child's best interests. There is no way she didn't know it would lead to the end of their relationship. She also knew it would take a long time to get it before a judge if the agreement was signed. By the time it goes before a judge, the relationship will be so over that when the child tells the judge that his father was upset on the phone one time, the father will be denied any access to him at all. Or maybe he'll win that one last week before the child turns 18 and can make the call himself. Too Late - the relationship is destroyed.
AND TO MAKE SURE THAT THE CHILD DOESN'T change his mind, his mother additionally cuts all ties with anyone who offers a suggestion of fairness. So because his mother decided to divorce his father, Brennan lost his entire extended family. And has lost close relationships with his cousins that he had all his life. He hasn't spoken to his grandmother in months. BUT HIS MOTHER ISN'T RESPONSIBLE. IT WAS HIS CHOICE. That she would put this on him is a disgrace.
I don't imagine anyone would question why I would like to see this agreement changed. But not just for ME, for Brennan. It is a bad agreement. And it should never be his fault. And this document is not about about including his father and mother. It is about excluding his father. And it's not his mother's fault at all. BULLSHIT!
He has additionally ignored his grandmother, his Aunt Joanne, and his Uncle John & Family. No explanation of why they are ignored, however they have been the people who have assisted and supported his father. In the case of his Uncle John & his family, Brennan's communication ceased when his mother was finally asked why she was going to such great lengths to hurt me and prevent me from having a relationship with my kids.
I frequently hear that my mother, a stroke victim, under great stress called the children to correct the children for being so disrespectful to their father. In the frustration and emotion of the moment she miss-spoke that she didn't want to see them again. But not to Brennan, she was speaking to his older brother. Sonya has reinforced that statement again and again as justification of Brennan's not communicating with his grandmother. Problem is, that happened long after he stopped communicating with his grandmother. The pattern of applying recent events as the reason for actions initiated months prior seems to cross all subjects. It takes a good memory to be a good liar, and perhaps a calendar also.
Taking the advise of counselors, I did give Brennan 'space' in the summer/fall of 2007. That 'space' was interpreted as me ignoring my son by the Custody Master, Sara Goren. When I pointed out that had I arrived at the barn in Quakertown where Brennan was staying the police would have been called, not for cause, but simply to create the appearance of something wrong. Miss Goren chastised that claim dismissing it because 'You are his father, why would they call the police on his father'. Brennan himself confirmed that oh yes, the police would have been called immediately - but never offered why. It was of no relevance that while I was allowing him the space, I was also filing the paperwork to initiate the custody process because he suddenly was having no contact with me at all - and without explanation. My wife was not agreeing to any access to my son in any mediation or meeting without explanation of reason or cause.
Miss Goren went into a detailed rebuke of my absence from Brennan's soccer games. She went further into instruction of how I could use the North Penn High School web site to find out when and where he was playing soccer and go and attend his soccer games. She was not aware that the District Attorney's Office had just given a presentation at Montgomery County Community College on internet safety which clearly indicated this was a method by which child molesters were finding their targets. It was also of little necessity to indicate that my son did not play for the high school. It was apparently not even a relevant point. Needless to say, my wife and her attorney didn't correct Miss Goren's flawed assumption.
Perhaps October 27, 2007 was Sara Goren's first day on the job dealing with families in crisis. She appears to have an incredibly naive view of divorce, human nature and the family dynamic when going through a divorce. She is definitely not qualified to look after the best interests of the child. She seems to look after the simple wants and needs of the mother.
The Child's Rights
We the children of the divorcing parents, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish these Bill Of Rights for all children.
The right not to be asked to "choose sides" or be put in a situation where I would have to take sides between my parents.
The right to be treated as a person and not as a pawn, possession or a negotiating chip.
The right to freely and privately communicate with both parents.
The right not to be asked questions by one parent about the other.
The right not to be a messenger.
The right to express my feelings.
The right to adequate visitation with the non-custodial parent which will best serve my needs and wishes.
The right to love and have a relationship with both parents without being made to feel guilty.
The right not to hear either parent say anything bad about the other.
The right to the same educational opportunities and economic support that I would have had if my parents did not divorce.
The right to have what is in my best interest protected at all times.
The right to maintain my status as a child and not to take on adult responsibilities for the sake of the parent's well being.
The right to request my parents seek appropriate emotional and social support when needed.
The right to expect consistent parenting at a time when little in my life seems constant or secure.
The right to expect healthy relationship modeling, despite the recent events.
The right to expect the utmost support when taking the time and steps needed to secure a healthy adjustment to the current situation.