Thursday, January 26, 2012

Child Custody and School Teachers

During a presentation to teachers in Houston, Texas Charlotte Hardwick author of the “Win Your Child Custody War” manual and six other books on child custody, addressed the problems that school teachers encounter when a student is the object of a child custody case.

What's happening? 
The affects of child custody battles on children and their school performance, behavior, and morale, are increasingly apparent. As the new school year starts a child entering your classroom may introduce himself as a previous student’s younger brother, and add the information that the older child now lives in a different home because of a divorce. An accomplished student’s grades take a nose-dive, and you find out that she no longer has the advantage of a two parent home, and her remaining parent must be absent from the home to work additional hours to make ends meet. Verbal and physical confrontations between parents, in the presence of the children at parent-teacher conferences, school functions, drop off and pick up from school to facilitate parental custodial visitation have become more common in recent years. 

The long term ramifications for the children, parents, teachers, schools and administrations are so dire that it's best for teachers to have an action plan.  Professionals wonder about an appropriate level of involvement, how to protect themselves from legal entanglements, and how to keep the stress of the situation from impacting their classroom time.

Most of all, how can teachers help the child? 
First of all, it's best to be proactive.  Be sure you have a clear understanding of your school's and districts’ policies regarding the handling of custody disputes from within the classroom and when things require the input of your supervisor.  If you know these procedures before the situation arises, you have a better chance of avoiding missteps that might jeopardize your employment. 

When you suspect a custody dispute in the life of one of your students, inform your supervisor, principal or school counselor.  Keeping everyone on the same page will help everyone to do their jobs more effectively. 

It's possible that one parent or the other may ask for your support in the legal fight.  It's best not to take sides.  Your district may have specific policies regarding what you can and cannot say and do, but in general, it's best to avoid supporting one parent or the other with letters or opinions in any way. 

If you must become involved, attempt to keep your input professional and child-centered. The books Win Your Child Custody War and Child Custody Letters have examples of letters teachers have written to the court.

Sometimes teachers are subpoenaed into custody hearings.  In this case, stick strictly to the facts of your observations of the child at school and your personal interactions with the parents.  Leave out anything that gives opinions or could be construed as hearsay.  Be truthful, but remember that you do not have to volunteer any details that you are not specifically asked to address.

On the practical side, custody battles can make daily classroom life difficult.  Be sure you understand who actually holds legal custody of the child, and release the child only to that person or with that person's permission.  Get administrative support if a noncustodial parent tries to pick up the child without permission.  In situations with joint custody, try sending duplicate copies of school announcements, newsletters and the like to the parent having visitation rights.  Inform the parent with primary custody that you are doing this.  Invite the correct adults to any official school meeting, such as a parent conference or IEP meeting. 

If parents are feuding to the point of not being in the same room together, try to facilitate some sort of alternating privileges at school functions to avoid scenes.  Of course, you cannot deny a parent the right to attend the play or game, but you can suggest taking turns or sitting apart from each other to keep the peace.  It does no one any good to have emotional or angry scenes in public over whose turn it should be to watch the show.

Helping the child is perhaps the most difficult part of the equation.  Children caught in the middle of custody battles often experience strong emotions that they don't know how to handle.  Keep the parent with current legal custody informed of your observations and actions.  Be sure to help the child access school services, such as counseling, as needed.  Watch for signs of emotional turmoil, such as changes in behavior, falling grades, social isolation and so forth and take action immediately if you notice them.  Watch for signs of depression, anger management issues, or even excess stress, such as lethargy, changes in eating habits, decreased emotional control, and so forth.  Be a good listener, and remember to nonjudgmental.  Provide the child with appropriate avenues for self-expression, including art, puppetry and music.

With your guidance and sensitivity, hopefully you can avoid or minimize confrontations between feuding parents on school property.  With your sharp eyes and compassionate observation, you should be able to monitor the child's well-being.  You can guide the student into improved self-awareness and self-expression.  You just may be one of the few stable points in the youngster's life, and that alone is worth a lot.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Proving Parental Alienation Syndrome

Proving Parental Alienation Syndrome

Proving a true case of PAS or trashing False Accusations of PAS is difficult, but with
Win Your Child Custody War  you can identify the problem and take the necessary steps to help stop it and stop your child's is suffering.
Learn how to properly identify and document the emotional and psychological abuse associated with a true case of PAS or a False Accusations of PAS  and its specific effect on your child.
A custody battle can be confusing. Don't let the other side get an unfair advantage. Don't be caught off guard.
If the other parent has dragged your child to this point, you will face more challenges, Win gives you the tools to help you achieve victory in your child custody battle. Learn and prepare yourself for your child custody war.

What is the best weapon against PAS?

What is the best weapon against PAS?

The best weapon against PAS and other lies is documentation. We are here because when we were forced into our custody war by lies, kidnapping and PAS. In 1991 we could not find anyone who understood what was going on or anything to help us. Often we spent months focused on assaults from the other side that the court didn't feel had any bearing on the welfare of our child. The Win Your Child Custody War, manual will help you sort out the incidents that cause you pain. Some do have direct impact on your child and must be documented. It is critical that these incidents are removed from 'hearsay' that the court will not consider to 'documented hard evidence' that the court will consider. Some do not have any real impact on your child. You must learn to deal with those incidents in a manner that will minimize the pain you feel from them.
As we learned about PAS we developed a process to make what was happening documentable, visible and acceptable as evidence to the court. We began to help others in the parents' rights group we belonged to. Within the first year we were receiving calls from all over the United States, Canada and Northern Europe.
Since 1993 we have worked with a network of professionals and lay persons all over the world who are interested in doing what ever it takes to help the children survive.
As we worked with parents and professionals they would tell us what they needed. We kept researching and expanding "Win Your Child Custody War" to include the requested information. At one point the manual had over 1700 pages. We reduced the size of the print and triple columned the text to decrease the page count of the manual to its present size of 744 pages.
It became evident that some topics required a book of their own and our other books reflect our efforts to meet the needs of parents who are facing the hardest longest battle of their lives.
Finally, if custody decisions were only a question of law, hundreds of thousands of families would not be in emotional limbo and under horrific financial stress. But it is much more complicated than only a question of law. Yes, you can get answers for the legal questions from any attorney in your state, what you can't get is someone to tell you what is really going on. The information we offer is a compilation of experience from children, parents who have battled successfully and unsuccessfully, attorneys, judges, mediators, and grandparents. Learn from our experiences and share yours with us.

Parental Alienation Syndrome

What is Parental Alienation Syndrome?

Although all of these may be elements of PAS they are not in and of themselves PAS. It becomes Parental Alienation Syndrome when the parent brainwashes the children long enough for the children to actively participate in negative verbalization and actions toward the other parent. To further aggravate the problem many professionals, rather than learn about the problem encourage the courts to exclude PAS testimony. They see PAS as a theoretical disorder in children that arises almost exclusively in child custody disputes. In most PAS cases it is claimed that one parent (usually the one with custody) encourages the children to hate the other parent - often leading to false allegations of physical and sexual abuse. They say this assigns blame in an area that psychologists and courts recognize as extremely difficult to prove.
These professionals feel there is no observational, factual data or direct sense experience as evidence supporting the PAS theory. Because PAS has not been subjected to long term extensive meaningful peer review or publication the professionals are reticent to offer you help. In fact, some experts in the field have discredited the theory.
They argue that PAS is dangerous because its rapid wide dissemination in the family law legal community, is lending an questionable aura to the theory. They seem to feel that any disorder identified in some other profession has little validity. It is as if we the people on the front line of the battle are too stupid to correctly identify what is happening to our children.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

About Child Custody MythBusters

Articles and Concepts to help Parents.
Parents involved in child custody disputes are so hungry for information they are willing to accept lies, myths, exaggerations and marketing designed to scare them into buying products and services. This is especially true if the information offered reinforces ideas, and decisions parents have made, and want to hear and believe. Here we bust up those myths, and reveal the truth so parents can get the results their children need. We accomplish this by identifying what is happening in child custody disputes, and how the information could affect your case.  

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Your comments and opinions are invited and encouraged. Just identify them as such.
Postings identified as deceit, deception, fake, fraud, humbug, imposture and sham will be deleted.