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Thoughts of parents on EQUAL parenting.

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From: John Murtari (
Date: Fri Jun 18 2004 - 11:40:11 EDT

Good People & People of Faith,

I wanted to share a couple of recent messages from parents who had
lost custody of their children (after being the 'custodial' parent),
and wanted to "get it back!"  Leaving the other parent as the

If we want to see real reform happening and EQUAL parenting and
protection from Social Services interference -- we need to be able to
respond to these types of messages.  My remarks are below in ">" --
your FEEDBACK is welcome.

The most important questions is -- would you also be an EQUAL parent
with your former spouse -- even if at the moment they are not the
greatest parent in the world?  Even if the kids don't like them?

--- Carol Vargo <>

You can read her story on our Hall of Shame page (and you are also
welcome to submit yours):

I asked Carol a few questions and her replies are below:

> Carol,
> Just wanted to let you know that your story has been posted to the
> web site and is ready for your review:
> http://www.AKidsRight.Org/shame.htm
> Let us know if there are any updates (hopefully good news) or
> corrections.
> As I read your story I felt so bad for the tragedy you have all been
> through.  Especially the amazing bias, the lack of facts, and the
> money.  The conflicting "evaluations" and counselors who think they
> can determine the truth by just listening?  I almost cried when I
> read the scene about you being dragged from the courtroom and your
> son taken away.  What a perversion of justice and our rights to
> raise our own children.  I plan on focusing on your story (since it
> has so many of the bad elements rolled into one) in a future list
> message and would like to get your thoughts on the "solution."
> I'd ask you to read a DRAFT version of a Family Rights Act we have
> at the site, http://www.AKidsRight.Org/act.htm -- and how that would
> have effected your situation.  I want to use your reply and
> thoughts.  Here are some specific items:
> * Which parent the child "likes" should not matter? - Like your son,
> my son would MUCH prefer to be with me.  Should that matter?  If in
> your story below your son had said, "I hate my mom, she is too
> strict, I don't want to see her again.."  Would you just walk away?
No, I would not walk away.  I love my children, my son, and I would
always want to be a part of his life.  I think, if he really did not
want to see me, I would let him know that I was always there for him,
and that anytime he needed me, he could call me.  I would always leave
a door open, and pray.  I would wonder why he would hate me?  I would
try to correct any situation that I may have caused him to feel that
way, or express such anger towards me.

> * End the war of "evaluations" - Do you really think they mean
> anything?  For a moment let's just assume your former spouse was a
> GREAT parent, and you were just an average, or even poor
> parent. Should you end up just visiting your kids every other
> weekend?  Are you of less value to your children?
 You know, these evaluations are a bunch of garbage. The courts impose
 these evaluations on people, who have to pay for them, and what good
 does it do anyway.  When I was going through this, I just wanted the
 truth to come out.  I was not afraid of going to the court appointed
 evaluator, because he had no ax to grind, no ajenda, he was just
 looking for the truth, like me.  But, the court didn't really
 consider his report even though the court chose him.  Because after
 the first evaluation, I had to go through 3 more, the one my
 exhusband paid for, than a probation officer chosen by the judge, and
 the GAL chosen by the judge. All three of the last evaluations, sided
 with the judge, not the court appointed child custody expert
 evaluator who dealt with domestic violence and the dynamics of it.
> * A fair goal - I can see how tortured you are by the loss of your
> child and being a weekend visitor.  Can you grant that perhaps your
> former spouse loves your son also and does not want to become a
> visitor?  WHen parent's separate, does it matter who changed the
> diapers?  If it had happened that your former spouse was a stay at
> home parent, and that you worked -- does that make you a visitor in
> your child's life?  Is your court goal to be an equal parent?
 I think my ex-spouse had in mind to hurt me, first, by taking my son,
 my heart, away, and than to take my money. When we were together, my
 husband did not spend any time with Jon.  When I would ask him to
 take care of Jon while I went to clean houses, and he was not working
 that day, he would not take care of Jon.  He would tell me to take
 the child with me.  I am not sure if he loves our son.  He spends as
 little time as possible with the child, even though Jon lives
 there. Jonathan has recently told me that his father was screaming at
 him, in such anger, and Jon said all he did was turn off a light,
 that Jon said he called his friend to see if he could sleep at their
 house.  He has slept there in the past two weeks, at least 7
 times. My ex-spouse goes to work early and leaves Jon to fend for
 himself, breakfast, getting to school, etc.  Jon does not do
 homework, nor does his father require him to.  They do not go to
 church even though, my ex-spouse made a big statement in court how he
 wanted to tuck in Jon for bed, and take him to church.  So many
 things my ex-spouse has said that he wanted to do with Jon, that he
 does not do.  I don't mean to sound so negative, but I saw how my
 ex-spouse was while we were married, and he was very self
 centered. If he were a stay at home parent and I worked, I would
 definately spend time, as much as I could with the kids.
> * The draft Act calls for equal parenting, unless it can proven by
> unanimous verdict of a jury that you were a demonstarted serious
> threat to the safety of your children. Somehow, I didn't read
> anything that rose to that level, what I saw more was TWO parents
> fighting over the kid and doing whatever it took....  What if Jon
> had equal weekly contact with both of you and you with him? Instead
> of this whole mess here?  He would see different parenting styles
> and both of you would also be changed by your contact with him.
 Equal contact I think would be good for Jon.  He seemed more alive
 when I had more contact with him.  I do call him every day, in the
 morning and at night, but it is only for a few minutes, and I hardly
 get a glimpse of his day.  I think if there was not fighting, and no
 pulling the child one way or the other, it would be much better for
 Jon.  The hard part is that whenever I have tried to communicate with
 my ex-spouse, he starts yelling at me, talking down to me, and hangs
 up on me.  There really is no communication.  I was also considering
 going to counseling with him and Jon, to find some medium ground to
 deal with all of these things.  My ex-spouse refused to go.  I did
 fail to tell you, however, that the latest judge did order my
 ex-husband to go to "anger management", but he only went twice and
 forced Jon to go with him, blaming Jon for his anger.  Jon would not
 speak to the counselor.
> * Perhaps you chose badly in marriage?  Perhaps your former spouse
> chose badly.  We shouldn't force you to live together, but you are
> still an equal parent to your son?  

 You hit the nail right on the head.  I chose badly and maybe he chose
 badly.  Maybe he thought I was something I was not.  When I met
 Mickey, he said he was a Christian, we went to church together, he
 purchased me a Bible.  As time went on, I could see he talked the
 talk, but did not walk the walk.  As I grew in the Lord, and the Lord
 showed me many things, I could see how my ex-spouse was not what he
 said he was.  He was a very angry man. By this time, we were already
 married.  I, of course, being a fixer, thought I could love him
 enough to help him.  I was wrong.  I tried so hard to be a good
 Christian wife and mother, but I could not live up to his standards.
 The more I tried, the more angry he got, and the more abusive he
 got. I think that God wanted Jon here, because he is here.

> PLEASE understand I have been through this with my son and former
> spouse.  He hates being there.  He is treated as so much baggage
> (since about 3rd grade, he gets up all alone to go to school in the
> morning. She doesn't even wake up! Every time for the last 9 years
> when I have returned him to her after visits with me he cries).
> She is a chronic liar and perhaps I could go on and on. But is she
> actively and with malintent trying to hurt him, No.  For better or
> worse, she is his mother, and you don't get to pick your parents,
> and that is a part of life.

> If you had it all to do over?  Would you agree to equal parenting or
> just fight the battle again?


 To do it all over again, I would definately try to have an equal
 balance if possible with Mickey.  I never really wanted to fight any
 battle.  I just wanted the abuse to stop.  When we first separated,
 all three kids went to visit with him.  He always screamed at my
 daughter, and she always cried.  He kept badgering her to say that
 she was on his side, but she couldn't because she saw the abuse
 also. Finally, she told him she didn't want to visit anymore.  The
 two boys went together for visitation, until my ex-spouse decided he
 didn't want Josh anymore either. Jon was still little, and he didn't
 understand any of this and he became afraid.  He was afraid of my
 ex-spouse always calling the police.  He really didn't know his dad,
 because, as I said, his dad did not spend time with him to bond.  I,
 as a mother, started to try to protect my son.  I knew he was afraid.
 Jon would visit with his dad in front of the house, but he was so
 scared to leave with his father, and I did not force him to go. Now,
 when I look back, I was protecting Jon as a mother would, from this
 man who hurt my other two children, and myself.  I never stopped Jon
 from visiting with his dad.  Jon was so very afraid.  I tried to
 reason with my ex-spouse but there was not reasoning, only hate and
 anger.  The more Jon was timid to go with his father, the more angry
 his father became.  

 My ex-spouse would come to the house with his own father to try and
 intimidate me, many times. At night, he would go to the neighbors
 across the street, sit on the front porch and stare at the house.  He
 banged on the windows in the night.  He followed me in the car.  He
 told one of the people I knew that "he was going to burn the house
 down."  This person did not want to get involved with the whole mess
 and would not testify on my behalf.  My ex-spouse poisoned my
 garden. He would call on the telephone at least 5 to 7 times a day,
 or leave messages, angry messages.  I was afraid of him.  I was
 afraid he was going to kill me.  He said to me that he was going to
 take all of the children away from me.  He told me that I was a
 danger to the kids.  The friend who gave me money for an attorney
 worked for the telephone company for 25 years.  My ex-spouse tried
 and nearly succeeded to get him fired from his job.  I just wanted
 peace, but there was no peace.  There was no reasoning.

 I really wished it would have turned out different for Jon, for
 everyone, but it didn't.  I never really wanted the fight.  I guess
 that is it.  I think that I was looking for the truth and justice.  I
 didn't find either.  I think if my ex-husband was any other kind of
 man, maybe we would still be married.  He could never see past
 anything other than what he wanted.  He hurt alot of people, but
 mostly, he hurt himself.  He is the one turning his own son against
 himself. Sorry for the long winded responses, I hope they help.
Carol Vargo
 Thanks John... 

---  Jan <>

 I have a Motion hearing for a 450 to get my 14 year old returned as
 he is downspiralling behaviorally with the father after this awful
 judge took both my kids from me last year in May and said he would
 reevaluate in one year.  My now 14 year old is doing poorly and is
 poisoned against his mother. Just because a kid wants to go and can
 be bribed to go as they are used to a play dad for 12 years while I
 was a single parent does not mean that moving is in the teens "best
 interest." Also the Judge who hates me simply moved the children over
 to the x who is abusive and gave him SOLE custody.  This Judge
 desrves to be stuffed with his own black robe.
 We are both pro ses and my hearing date in NJ is June 18.
 I still have a reply to my motion and the x has not responded and
 will not until he is OUT OF TIME.  The judge who likes himi will
 allow it as he always does.
 Do you have any words of wisdon for my oral argument coming up?  Bad
 school grades, bad behaviorally all year. Bad school grades all year
 and he refuses to see me ALL YEAR.  The Judge could care less about
 the latter but he cannot fight with the school results so WHAT CAN I
 Also does anyone know how to go against this Judge in Federal Court?
 I am fed up with him after 9 years of ALWAYS SIDING WITH HIM ON EVERY
 SOmeone had to go against a judge in FED COURT (mine would be Trenton
 NJ) and have WON.
 Can anyone help on BOTH COUNTS??? 

> Got your message and VERY sorry to hear about how you got shut out
> of your kid's lives.  Unfortunately, you have no recognized and
> protected "right" to be a parent to your own children and the
> decisions can be quite arbitrary (as you have found out) -- and if a
> Judge doesn't "like you" -- you are done.

> As a group we are hoping that a right to be an equal parent to your
> kids is recognized to avoid these one-side situations.  I would
> welcome your comments on our Family Rights Act at
> http://www.AKidsRight.Org/act.htm

> As I read your message I don't sense your former spouse is actively
> trying to harm your children, and I think it would also be true that
> however bad the decision sounded that separated you from the kids --
> that you are trying to harm them either.  I'd assume that a Jury
> would return "not guily" if either of you were to be tried for being
> a serious threat to the kids -- so you should have always been equal
> parents with equal time with the kids so they can be raised by both
> of you?

> VERY sorry to hear about the alienation.  How screwed up can our
> system be when a child doesn't want to see their parent -- the
> decision should not even be theirs to make.  You don't get to pick
> your parents.

> I encourage you to keep the Faith and not to give up your right to
> be an equal parent and maintain contact with your kids as much as
> possible.

I am not finished John - I am now trying to find out how to take this
judge to task in Federal Court with a huge monitary suit for doing
just that.  I want my young son returned on the basis of factual
information and will appeal it although we are in a joke with the
appellate division

Yes this Judge cant stand me and I only have the AOC nad people like
the ACJC who call the Judges up and tell them who is complaining about
them that contribute to the problem.

I hate this judge so much I puke at the site of going before them and
am always sick when I am in court.  Nonetheless he has damaged me
physically adn I am going to try to sue himi for mental and emotional
and physical harm.

Your ideology is altruistic at best. You cannot have equal footing
with both parents when they are at war and not over kids but when one
is dooing anything he can to lie about you and try to get child
support back which is to get the kids returned to him. He does not
even stay at home and the children are left home alone to drink and
take drugs and have women over as one is 18 and the other watching is
14.  The Judge knew that the children he took from me to give to my x
spouse who was abusive would cause life damages.

He needs to pay for what he did.

Jan in NJ

                                       John Murtari
Coordinator                            AKidsRight.Org
jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org                "A Kid's Right to BOTH parents"
Toll Free (877) 635-1968(x-211)        http://www.AKidsRight.Org/

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