In what the Judge recalled as the “worst case of parental alienation” she had ever seen, a Judge in Michigan found the parties’ three children in contempt of court for failing to have lunch with their father, and remanded them to juvenile detention where they have been for the last two weeks.
It all started when the parties decided to move back to Israel that the Mother decided she could not stay there and moved back to Michigan with her three children. According to the Father, the Mother engaged in tactics that were aimed at turning the children against the Father. For example, the mother would not take the children to their visits, or would try to sabotage the visits by staying close by, often provoking more arguments that the children use against the Father.
The Judge had warned the Mother several times about her behavior, such as stating that the children would be there for the visits and then saying they wouldn’t. The Judge requested that the children be present for the next court date, where she asked the eldest child who is 15 why they would not have lunch or communicate with their father, to which the eldest responded, “I have a reason for that and that’s because he’s violent and he, I saw him hit my mom and I’m not going to talk to him.”
The Judge replied: “[y]ou’re very defiant, you have no manners. … There is no reason why you do not have a relationship with your father. Your father has never been charged with anything. Your father’s never been convicted of anything. Your father doesn’t have a personal protection order against him. Your father is well-liked and loved by the community, his co-workers, his family (and) his colleagues. You, young man, have got it wrong. I think your father is a great man who has gone through hoops for you to have a relationship with you.”
When the Judge asked the eldest if he had anything to say, he asked when his father would face punishment for allegedly hitting his mother.
The Judge then remanded the 15-year-old to juvenile detention. The Judge asked the other two children if they would rather communicate with their dad or join their brother in “jail”. The two other children chose to join their brother in juvenile detention. The Judge remanded the two other children, who are 10 and 9, to juvenile detention as well although the siblings are to be kept away from each other as much as possible. The Mother is also banned from having any visitation with her children.
This is definitely one of the most extreme actions I have seen taken by a Judge in response to parental alienation. The Mother was the first to feed her side of the story to the media, and the social media response is staggering. If the Mother wanted to put political pressure on the Judge, she may have gotten it. A group of supporters for the children have already gathered today to protest their detention. The Father finally spoke out to tell his side of the story and how the Judge made the right decision after years of parental alienation.
Nevertheless, it seems that the Judge’s decision, no matter how bad the alienation, was too severe. I have seen one Judge order the children to stay at a rehabilitation facility away from both parents where they would obtain counseling before being given to the Father, who was the alienated parent, with supervised visitation for the Mother. That setting seems more appropriate in trying to help the situation instead of forcing a child to visit with a parent he or she does not want to see.
The parties have a status in September as to whether the children will be removed from the detention facility.