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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Stewart-Williams, MDR

The Horrors of Family Court: St. Louis

Updated: Jan 24

I decided to start this a weekly series called "The Horrors of Family Court." The reason of such a feature is because I do not believe people who are beginning the process of dealing with Family Court really understand how this can go left and expensive quickly. I hear all the time, "The Judge will hear me..." or "I think I can get more if we go to court..." and my favorite, "...Wait till the Judge sees this, I believe Justice will be served..."

First "Justice" does not exist in Family Court because Family Court is a court of discretion and it exist for 2 purposes: (1) to "settle" disputes (2) "division" of property. In dealing with settling disputes, disputes are not settled according your desire or what is best interest of your child(ren), it is based on the perception of who is on the bench, the agenda of the county/state, and/or the political influence of the area or parties. So this means Family Court determinations can be vastly different and shocking, which brings us to St. Louis, Missouri. Parents have gotten together and are boldly revealing what is going on in their cases in Family Court.

Many families have experienced so much unnecessary heartache and pain through this court system. If you would like to read more you can go here to PJMedia. Family Court determinations have the potential to leave you penniless, childless, and years of pain because it can operate perpetually. Many of these parents had attorneys, but again Family Court is not based on procedures but based on discretion. The reason why Family Court Ombudsman was created was to assist families as much as possible in navigating the court process to avoid and limit the time within the Family Court System.

I believe in most insistence people do not realize how interconnected agencies such as Police, and Child Protective Services are directed by Family Courts. The Court can squash anything that is revealed or found by these agencies. (One day I will go over why this dynamic exist.) So even if there is history of abuse or presence of violence within the family, many times that can be ignored, just like what many St. Louis families were discussing and revealing.

This is a whole working system and if you do not understand the interconnection of the system, many times in your case, it can cause harm especially if you are forced to fight within the system. Many of these families would be considered safe parents are punished (Moms and Dads). They have no findings or legal determinations on why there children were removed from them except but a discretion by the Court. The kicker is Family Court Judges and support systems have complete immunity. You can not sue a Judge for their discretionary decisions.

You do not have to navigate the system alone. Many St. Louis parents coming out discussing such determination, will be retaliated against but we are so glad that they came together and were bold enough to share their stories to help and warn others. Family Court Ombudsman is here to try to assist in avoiding such chaos. If you are making the decision to divorce, going through child custody, or need a court modification, please do not hesitate to establish a plan that includes dispute resolution solutions that can limit issues and conflicts whether personally or through court.

As always, Be Blessed and know you are never alone!

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