Connecticut Attorney Sharon Dornfeld troubled by comments from Parent

In Maine last year the Judicial Branch set up two committees similar to the Task Force that is exploring issues within the Connecticut court system. In both cases Guardians ad litem were the focus. In both cases we see the overwhelming use of stakeholders (judges, lawyers and other members of the divorce industry) and absent are those who suffer the abuse by the system – parents.

While this letter is regarding Guardians ad litem in another state what is being said can be equally applied to situations involving Guardians ad litem in Maine:

Hello Ms. Dornfeld,

I’m told that you are troubled by my observations of the system. As an expert in legal operations, legal e-billing and legal spend management, I would again extend to you the invitation to meet with me at your convenience and at any time to discuss your perspectives and concerns, as well as to share mine and those of many other legal professionals equally as fed up with what our family courts have become and how they operate.

I was in the courthouse in Hartford today and saw many of my family attorney friends and contacts there. Two of them approached me and asked to meet with me next week – as they are considered testifying as to how bad the situation has become and how dramatically it has impacted them and their clients.

Veteran family law attorneys – one of whom wrote the attached letter. This would bring to 12 the number of family law attorneys I have organized and who will also speak out as Attorney Rutkin recently did, when the time is right and they no longer have to worry about retaliation against them.

And what does that say and reflect in regards to what our family court system has become, and the powers-that-be have created and perpetuated – when family law attorneys themselves are afraid to speak about their own industry for fear of how it may personally impact them?

Once again – the world has changed and the genie is out of the bottle. “The system” is no longer able to threaten and intimidate parents and attorneys into silence, social media has changed that forever and good riddance. And this is true not just here in Connecticut, but nationally and even internationally as well.

No parent or citizen should EVER have fear the Judiciary or suffer retaliation for speaking their opinion – EVER in the United States. That is not why I and my family came here from a communist country to see and experience.

Once again – shouldn’t we all be ashamed of what our family courts have become and its complete lack of focus on families and children and abuses we have all suffered at the hands of the system?

The family court is supposed to be a source of resolution and closure – not open ended cycle and source and cause of abuse and therapy.

What’s happened to the basic principles of common decency, common respect, understanding and compassion?

If you are “irritated” by my commentary – then I’m afraid I can offer you no apologies, because I and the thousands of parents, children of divorce, grandparents, family attorneys and GALs who have been severely impacted and financially and otherwise devastated by the horrific perspectives and policies you and others have promoted, are not the ones who are fault for what is wrong.

* The problems in our family court were not created by parents or our fault.

* It is not what we are responsible for or what we created.

* It is not what we want for ourselves and our children and our families or our state.

* It is not parents who are blatantly violating the basic principles of due process, civil and parental rights, or the rights of child.

* It is not parents who are acting in an unethical, immoral and illogical manner.

* It is not parents who are willfully ignoring violations of court order or the abuses and neglect of children.

* It is not parents who are in Court perpetuating and promoting conflict to profit from it.

* It is not parents who are imposing draconian and devastating financial orders on parents to punish them for being in court.

* It is not parents who are forcing the liquidation of retirement accounts and children’s college funds and demanding payments from grandparents.

* It is not parents who jailing themselves solely because they have no means to pay.


And you do not use the same people who created a problem and who profit handsomely from it, to solve it.

It is perhaps most telling that after two months of hearings, and that as Chair, you have not called a single parent or child or divorce to testify – not one. And that every person who has been called, is a member of the divorce industry and someone who profits from and engages in perpetuating the problem. And no surprise – practically all of them members of FCC member, as you and Ms. Cousineau are.

* Which speaks volumes as to how co-opted and pointless the Task Force has become.

Task Forces are created by the legislature to solicit to hear testimony from people and citizens adversely impacted by a situation or problem – not those who create and profit from it.

It is equally as telling that we have not heard testimony from a single parent or child of divorce stating how wonderful the court system is, how much time their AMC/GAL spent with them to get to know them and how much they helped them, or how helpful a court ordered therapist was. And that any of this was worth the money taken from them or their parents and families. Why is that?

What the Task Force has become is like watching a home improvement show, where the focus of the show is to take pity on and only listen to shady contractor who did shoddy work and left the homeowner with a massive problem and walked away with all of their money.

Perhaps we should listen to the Chief Justice of Canada, who has publically come out and stated that family courts are beyond the point of repair, and need to be completely replaced with “something else.” As an expert in legal operations and legal spend management, and business process improvement expert, I couldn’t agree more. And applaud Attorney Rutkin for his recommendation that the state consider bringing in an outside management company to run the Judiciary and correct its operational dysfunctions. (I volunteer to help.)

Please let me know when you would like to meet and review the information I have to share with you and the Task Force. Most notably – an examination of the devastating financial impact the crisis in the family courts have exacted onto parents and families, and how many people it has thrown out of work, cost them their homes, and caused people to be unfairly jailed.


Peter Szymonik
Glastonbury, CT