The final installment in the appeal to Maine’s Supreme Court of Dalton V Dalton – Maloney response to Bixby.
III) BETH MALONEY’S REPLY TO SUSAN BIXBY
By our reading, the Maloney reply to Bixby’s response is a lot easier for a non-lawyer to follow and to understand. It is a coherent narrative. It tells a very sad story clearly. It is about how a mother has been strategically demonized by her opponents, and how the impact of this demonization has influenced the judge’s custody decision. It presents Ms Dalton as the victim of a “railroad job” with several of the court players appearing far from “impartial”. The brief offers examples of flaws in the information gathering process and of the Guardian ad litem (GAL) in this case operating outside of the boundaries of “Rules for GALs”. Maloney is knocking on the door of the court for equal parent time, which is a position that we, as family court reformers, endorse for every child custody case in a divorce, unless there is proven child abuse. They key word is “proven”. There is no proof that we can see in this family court case – for good reason. It would (or should) remove the case to criminal court.
We ask, “So why ever is a family court dealing with alleged child abuse? Isn’t it outside of their mandate, their skills?” Child abuse is a crime. A claim of child abuse should have a criminal investigation and be tried in a criminal court with a jury, if there is evidence. “Strategic” claims of abuse should be tossed out of family courts; particularly, if the criminal investigation of such claims has already yielded a big, fat “zero”! Without hard facts soft allegations of abuse constitute a cruel “witch hunt”. We also feel that various forms of court prescribed therapy and parental training, which are mostly without scientific grounding, ought to be tossed out too, as more beneficial to the service provider’s pocketbook that to the recipient of service’s psyche.
In Ms Dalton’s case, it is unclear whether anyone has actually diagnosed a problem for which – despite no diagnosis – she is nonetheless being treated? Nor does there seem to be a clear aim or endpoint which would say she has passed the test and can now be a “card-carrying” parent, So the court and the opposing lawyer keep the treatment for unspecified problems just rolling along – perhaps forever? Treatment for the “bad” parent, parent counseling for the “bad” parent, supervised visits for the “bad” parent are part of the family court and family lawyer’s strategic games that keep the process going on forever with no goals. All done in the name of “the child’s best interest”, until the money runs out! It is a cruel travesty that should stop.
Even Maloney in her response to Bixby bows to this hideous “game” when she says that Ms Dalton is “showing progress” with these junk therapy efforts. “Progress” in what, compared to what, to what end? As non-lawyers, who don’t have to play the courtroom game, we’d prefer to hit head-on this bogus therapy for an unspecified condition, with no visible end point. Ms Dalton doesn’t need any of it to rein in her imaginary alleged intense child abuse impulses. It is a disconnected prescription for therapy for no named condition “discovered” as an opportunity by an opposing divorce lawyer. And it is a stereotyped strategy used all over America. A lawyer spots a lucrative opportunity to get a client on a treadmill from which there is no exit. No end until the money runs out!
Reply brief of Appellant can be found here: Dalton v Dalton Final
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The first two briefs may be found here: