The Murder of Christopher Mackney

[Although this story has been covered by other outlets it is so poignant that no introduction to family law can be complete without including it. Chris lived a life that was eerily similar to so many, for his children to end up fatherless is a tragedy. We recommend reading the entire series that AVFM did over the years to get the full story, including the ex-wife’s attempts to silence Chris after the grave by claiming copyright to his suicide note. RIP Christopher, may your children one day see you for the man you were.]

[Update 10-30-2020 – The irony here is beyond reproach. Apparently Dr. Samenow wrote this article in 2019, somehow acting to be in the interests of alienated parents.]

RIP – Christopher Mackney – 11/29/2013

The pain from the emotional abuse, psychological abuse, parental alienation and legal abuse has been unbearable. My children and I were abused and when spoke out and no one did anything. No one. Not the attorneys, doctors or Judges. They all recognized the patterns of behavior and the source of conflict and turned a blind eye and then blocked me from bringing in a third party or Guardian Ad Litem to identify the abuse. At any point throughout this case, if the Court had ruled in my favor on any of my motions, the outcome would have been different. At any point, if my ex-wife had shown ANY kind of act of good faith, the outcome would have been different. The facts are that not one of my motions was ever granted by the Court and my ex-wife never once acted in good faith.

Judge Randy Bellows did not like my explanation for the conflict and chose to ignore the evidence contradictory with its views. He did not want to admit that he had been so easily mislead. There is nothing I could do to end the abuse or change the view of the Court. As long as I was the problem, there was no reason to consider an alternate narrative.

I had no power or control in my marriage and I had even less when the divorce began. It was not an accident that I ended up with no visitation with my own children and no ability to monitor their emotional welfare. It was orchestrated by attorneys who were paid not to settle and insisted on litigating every single issue without discussion. It was all done to increase the stress and pressure. Nothing I said mattered. My rights as a parent did not matter. They had the power, control, money and the kids and they were not negotiating. Even after I gave my ex-wife full custody, just to appease her. She insisted on litigating visitation, asking the Judge for “no visitation” even though there was no abuse. She also asked for all the assets in the marriage. I got absolutely nothing and I had to pay her legal bills.

The decision was made to eliminate me from my children’s lives the day I discovered that my ex-wife had hidden her father’s murder conviction, on June 23, 2008. The very next day, her father hired two attorney’s who advertise that they are ‘not the type to settle, so have your wallet open’. Their job was to “get orders” as Jim Cottrell described it in Court and keep the legal and financial pressure up as high as possible.

Make no mistake, this case was never about money or the children. My ex-wife’s multiple requests that I leave town and give up my children is evidence of that. It was about a pathological need for control and domination. I saw behind the mask and the facade and I needed to be eliminated, just like Sam Degelia needed to be eliminated for discovering Pete Scamardo was trafficking heroin. The plan was to have attorneys negatively interpret anything I say or do and then litigate every issue. I needed to be portrayed as the source of conflict, so the legal and financial pressure could be applied. With no money, I could not afford an attorney to protect me. By denying access to the Children, they would use any reaction from me to distract from the real problem. My reactions to being abused, controlled, bullied and alienated were not the source of conflict. When I spoke out or asked the Court for help, I was ignored and silenced. The patterns of high conflict behavior exist throughout my ex-wife and her family’s past. I only pointed out how the pattern seemed to match the patterns also found in ‘high-conflict’ divorce.

Refusing to negotiate or resolve differences outside of Court and then paying attorneys over $1 Million in legal fees does not lead to peace. But, that was the point. I never wanted to speak out and cause any embarrassment to my children or my ex-wife. I swear I didn’t. I only wanted to be away and free from my ex-wife and be the best father I could be. I made countless offers to settle and asked what they wanted to keep us out of Court. I never received a response to any of my requests or proposals. Actually, I did get one proposal the night before our Division of assets hearing, that was completely in bad faith and unlivable. It was not a ‘good faith’ effort.

They finally told my attorney in 2011, that if I left town and gave up all efforts to see my children, that would end the conflict. I wanted so much to be free of the litigation and the madness that I did just as they requested. I left town and moved to Dallas, TX, thinking I would never see my children again, but at least the nightmare would be over. it broke my heart and my spirit, but at least I didn’t have to worry about going to jail (or so I thought). I got a job and started going to the gym, trying to get healthy again. The first month I was in Dallas working, my ex-wife tracked me down and had Child Support Enforcement come after me. Now that I was in Dallas, I would have no ability to go to Court to change the order. When I appealed to my ex-wife’s attorney, requesting that they voluntarily lower my child support, they refused to respond. I had no leverage, so I said that if they do not voluntarily agree to a reduction, I would have no other choice but to speak out about the abuses. They decided that I was trying to extort money from them, even though I left town, as requested, and took my emails to the Commonwealth’s attorney to have me arrested for attempted extortion.

The Commonwealth’s attorney had me arrested in Dallas and extradited back to Virginia, where I was put on trial for a felony. I begged the Commonwealth’s attorney and my ex-wife to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, as I did not wish to risk a felony conviction. They both refused. This was also confirmation that my ex-wife did not care about the money or the children. So, we went to trial and I was found not guilty. I did not ask for any money from her and the child support I owe is to my children, not my ex-wife. The Jury saw that my attempts to reduce my child support were not an effort to obtain money at all, and the law supported the verdict. It was a clear effort on the Commonwealth’s attorney to silence me for threatening to speak out about the fraud of Dr. Samenow, one of their star witnesses, and the Cover-up by Judge Randy Bellows. Why else wouldn’t they accept a plea to my first criminal charge, ever? When I was released from Jail again, I asked my ex-wife’s attorney, again to voluntarily reduce my child support or to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem for the children. Even after they put me in jail and had me tried for a felony, they refused to show any good faith. I got no response from my ex-wife’s attorney. My child support was still far beyond my ability to pay and now I was without a job.

It was obvious to me a long time ago, that I would be ‘bullied until eternity’, as I wrote my attorney in 2008. For them to come after me again after leaving town, refuse to let me plead guilty to a lesser charge and to refuse to voluntarily reduce my child support, it was even more obvious that the only objective was to keep the legal, financial, and emotional pressure on me. I was being bullied to death.

I never wanted to speak out about any of this. All I wanted was a fair and reasonable child support, fair and reasonable visitation with my children and be free to move on with my life. The only reason I chose to write this blog and speak out about the abuse was because I thought it would give me some kind of leverage, as I had none. I made it clear to my ex-wife’s attorney that the Court was not allowing me to change the orders, I had no information about my children and my child support was far beyond my ability to pay. I was hoping for some act of good faith to let me know that they wanted to reduce the conflict. It never came, not in 5 years. I felt that my only recourse was to speak out about the abuse and injustice in order to get the legal and psychological help I needed to manage the conflict, so that we could both parent our children. I reached out to my ex-wife’s attorney again to ask for ANY other alternative. They offered none, so I started the blog. Even after I started the Blog, I reached out again to tell them I would take down the blog if a Guardian Ad Litem could be appointed. They never responded. Dina knew this would be the outcome and didn’t care. As long as I was gone.

In hindsight, I recognize that my reactions to being bullied, abused and denied access to my children gave my ex-wife’s attorney the ammunition they were looking for to bring me into Court, but nothing I said or done would have made a difference. I was powerless. I thought that at some point a third party would be involved that would recognize that my reactions were from the emotional abuse; being denied access to my children and bullied in Court. The Court refused at least 6 requests for third party intervention. All of the research said that a third party was the recommended course of action in these situations. A third party was the only way to truly understand the conflict. I was not the person being portrayed in Court. I had no control over anything. The Court would only listen to my ex-wife’s attorney granting all of their motions and agreeing to all their “over-reaching” remedies. When I read online about the patterns of behavior of high conflict divorce and how my ex-wife was the one blocking access to the children and negatively interpreting everything I did, I spoke out and tried to address the source of conflict. No one would tell me I was wrong, but no one would speak out about the abuse on my behalf, not the Doctors or attorneys.

Experts in psychology have called it abuse, but none would make such a ‘diagnosis’, which I could then take to Court to obtain relief. As long as the pattern of behavior was not called ‘abuse’, my reactions would not be viewed in its proper context, by the Court. The way I looked at it was that if I remained silent, the abuse would continue. It did. When I finally decided to speak out, they didn’t care. They didn’t care about how it would affect Dr. Samenow, Judge Bellows, our children, themselves or anyone else. They were not going to take their foot off the back of my neck. They were fully invested in having me out of my children’s lives, permanently.

Bullying and parental alienation are all forms of emotional abuse. Psychopathy is an emotional dysfunction. People with psychopathy are identified by how they handle conflict. It is the disturbing lack of empathy, guilt shame, remorse that give them away. They are completely unaffected by the distress of others. As long as they get what they want, you may never see that side of them. If you are in a position of power or status, you will probably not see that side of them either. However, people that are close to them or are of little value to them, will eventually see the pattern. They will slowly begin to realize they are being controlled manipulated and ‘gas lighted’.

Without even realizing it, you learn to go along to get along. If you break from this, you will experience their wrath. I remember on Memorial Day 2008, when I went to pick up my children for lunch at their grandparents house, Pete Scamardo came outside to confront me. I looked at him and said “Pete, you are nothing but a bully.” He responded “That’s right, and I love it!’ He said this in front of Dina, he wife and my children. When I got in the car to take my children to lunch, my son asked me “Dad, what’s a bully?”

Pete Scamardo and Dina Mackney are the most ‘successful’ father/daughter psychopaths ever to fool the Court. Pete Scamardo has over 100 lawsuits in Fairfax County alone. The litigants in these cases can confirm the patterns. The entire Scamardo family was accused of fraud by Maryland National Bank for $80 Million. Pete and Dina also circumvented the Thoroughbred Ownership licensing laws of Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia. One of her friends from college now refers to her the ‘c’ word after seeing the real Dina, after working with her. Most of you will not see that side of her, unless you run into conflict. While I am the one that took my own life, this was a murder conceived and financed by Pete Scamardo who hired Jim Cottrell and Kyle Bartol the day after I discovered he was a murderer, and then paid over $1 Million in legal fees to make it happen. People ‘targeted’ by psychopaths call it ‘murder by suicide’.

I was a good father to my children when I was in their lives. No one can dispute or deny that. Dr. Samenow even admitted under oath that I had a ‘palpable’ relationship with my kids. I know I was an extremely loving and positive influence on their lives and it kills me that I even feel like I have to defend my parenting. My children were the only source of joy and happiness in my marriage. For the Judge Bellows to deny parents and children a ‘palpable relationship’ and each other’s love is corruption. He did not want it to be known that Dr. Samenow committed fraud or that Judge Terrence Ney had a ‘close relationship’ with a convicted murderer or a parental alienator.

The love that my daughter and I shared was truly special. She is a such a sweet, kind and gentle spirit. I am so sorry that I will not be there to see her grow into a beautiful woman. It absolutely crushed me to not be in her life over the last three years. I worked very hard as a father to build her confidence and self-esteem. She is smart, funny and considerate, but she didn’t know it yet. I pray that she realizes her strengths and her confidence in herself will continue to grow. I love you dearly, Lily.

My son Jack was just entering Kindergarten, when I lost access to him. He is gregarious, outgoing and a great athlete. He is smart and fearless. He could have just as much fun by himself as he could with other kids. Even the older boys in our neighborhood wanted to play with Jack. It absolutely breaks my heart that I will not be able to help him grow into a man. I love you to, Jack. I miss you both so much.

My identity was taken from me, as result of this process. When it began, I was a commercial real estate broker with CB Richard Ellis. I lived by the Golden rule and made a living by bringing parties together and finding the common ground. My reputation as a broker was built on my honesty and integrity. When it ended, I was broke, homeless, unemployed and had no visitation with my own children.

I had no confidence and was paralyzed with fear that I would be going to jail whenever my ex-wife wanted. Nothing I could say or do would stop it. This is what being to death or ‘targeted’ by a psychopath looks like. This is the outcome. I didn’t somehow change into a ‘high-conflict’ person or lose my ability to steer clear of the law. I’ve had never been arrested, depressed, homeless or suicidal before this process. The stress and pressure applied to me was deliberate and nothing I could do or say would get me any relief. Nothing I or my attorneys said to my ex-wife’s attorney or to the Court made any difference. Truth, facts, evidence or even the best interest of my children had no affect on the outcome.

The family court system is broken, but from my experience, it is not the laws, its the lawyers. They feed off of the conflict. They are not hired to reduce conflict or protect the best interest of children, which is why third parties need to be involved. It should be mandatory for children to have a guardian ad litem, with extensive training in abuse and aggression.

It is absolutely shameful that the Fairfax County Court did nothing to intervene or understand the ongoing conflict. Judge Randy Bellows also used the Children as punishment, by withholding access for failing to fax a receipt. The entire conflict centered around the denial of access to the children, it was inconceivable to me that he would use children like this. This is exactly what my ex-wife was doing and now Judge Bellows was doing it for her.

To all my family, friends and the people that supported me through this process, I am so sorry. I know my reactions and behavior throughout this process did not always make sense. None of this made sense to me either. I had no help and the only suggestion I got from my attorneys was to remain silent.

At first, I did what I was told, remained silent and listened to my attorneys. Then after I had given my ex-wife full custody to try and appease her, I learned about Psychopathy and emailed Dr. Samenow about my concerns and asked him for help. Of course, I was ignored. As the conflict continued, I was forced to defend myself. When that didn’t work, I thought I could get the help I needed by speaking out. There is no right or wrong way to defend yourself from abuse. Naively, I thought that abuse was abuse and it would be recognized and something would be done. I thought speaking out would end the abuse or at least get them to back off. It didn’t. When no one did anything they were emboldened.

I took my own life because I had come to the conclusion that there was nothing I could do or say to end the abuse. Every time I got up off my knees, I would get knocked back down. They were not going to let me be the father I wanted to be to my children. People may think I am a coward for giving up on my children, but I didn’t see how I was going to heal from this. I have no money for an attorney, therapy or medication. I have lost four jobs because of this process. I was going to be at their mercy for the rest of my life and they had shown me none.

Being alienated, legally abused, emotionally abused, isolated and financially ruined are all a recipe for suicide. I wish I were stronger to keep going, but the emotional pain and fear of going to court and jail [because of exorbitant child support] became overwhelming. I became paralyzed with fear. I couldn’t flee and I could not fight. I was never going to be allowed to heal or recover. I wish I were better at articulating the psychological and emotional trauma I experienced.

I could fill a book with all the lies and mysterious rulings of the Court. Never have I experienced this kind of pain. I asked for help, but good men did nothing and evil prevailed. All I wanted was a Guardian Ad Litem for my children. Any third party would have been easily been able to confirm or refute all of my allegations, which is why none was ever appointed to protect the children or reduce the conflict.

Abuse is about power and control. Stand up for the abused and speak out. If someone speaks out about abuse, believe them. Please teach my children empathy and about emotional invalidation and ‘gas-lighting’ or they may end up like me. God have mercy on my soul. Chris Mackney

Where is the outrage? Where are the domestic violence groups coming to a victim’s aid? Where is the media coverage? Christopher’s plight was entirely his own. Had he not written this eloquent note, had the other “fringe” outlets not reported on this despite the wife’s legal threats, his story would forever be buried, that of another–“deadbeat” dad.

George Floyd

In May of 2020 an event shook the country where a man was brutalized by the police and killed as a result. While the racial and political nature of this event is beyond our scope, the moment is not lost on us.

In 2019 I had to take my turn in court to face a contempt charge on an illegal support order, and despite pending appeal, the county insisted on making the full weight of the law evident for me. I was sent multiple mailings, text messages, and phone calls. All to remind me that should I fail to show, I will have a warrant issued for my arrest. The day comes and I show up to court, immediately being handed a slip that clearly bans all recording devices and anyone not party to the case from the hearing. No witnesses to record their abuse of power. I am taken to the office where I am told that I should hand over any money I have, preferably at least $500-$1000, to show that I am working towards paying more. My wallet is emptied. I am then taken to room to have my mugshot taken, despite having committed no crime, no arrest warrant, no due process.

Myself and the other “deadbeats” are taken outside the court room, where an armed bailiff awaits the judge’s entrance. We are shuttled into the wooden pews, a grand courtroom exhibiting the opulent architecture of a government with no restraint. As I sit towards the front, a young black man, maybe 25 years old is brought forward first. The child support officer reads out the charges, he is behind $2500 in child support, and was not able to pay his $250/month support order. He just spent six months in county jail and was released just a couple of months before. Unable to secure work with a criminal record, he was brought back in front of the judge for contempt for non-payment. The judge asked him why he did not pay, his answer was “I’m trying, I just can’t get a good enough job to pay enough.” Callously she looked at him, told him to empty his pockets because he “is coming here to pay, and if you have anything you need to hand it over now.” They search him but he has no money. The judge then orders him handcuffed and incarcerated for another six months. Six months of life for $2,500. Now the county has another “employee” for six months, where the meager amount paid for prison labor will go right back to the county when they garnish it for support. He will again emerge in six months to stand in front of the judge, unlikely to elicit any further sympathy.

I did not know his name, but his life too is taken by our justice system. Just more slowly. By the corrupt judges, attorneys, and the police who support this theft of our criminal justice system in the name of profit. These are the institutions that should be dismantled. This is what represses young black men more than anything else in today’s society. And while covering all of these issues the media has glossed over an important detail, that George Floyd was a father who was paying child support, having recently lost his job as a security guard due to the lockdowns. He still had no choice but to pay the support, can you blame him for passing a bad $20 when faced with fate of the gentleman above?

RIP George Floyd.

A Front Line Opinion on the COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Lockdowns

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

[EDIT-09-01-2020: Our site was blocked from Facebook for sharing this opinion in May of 2020. We took it down so that we were not censored, however, once censored by Facebook it is all but impossible to get off of their naughty list. With that in mind, we are republishing this article. Of note, much of what we projected back in May turned out to be true now in September. COVID-19 has become a political tool, and with open ended “quantitative easing” the greatest wealth transfer in US history has occurred, voices questioning it silenced from mass media. If you search for our website you’ll find the site at the very top of every search engine except–Google. Censorship is very real, and although we are not yet at the level of some, it is a slippery slope that we are all headed down if it remains unabated.]

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Benjamin Franklin

This quote resonates with countless social media posts and a preponderance of news outlets tilting the discussion left or right. The context behind the quote is actually quite different and almost runs contrary to the implied meaning. But nonetheless, the message it conveys at face value does indeed lend itself to a good deal of debate among the two camps.

Firstly to answer this question we need to look at what we know about the Coronavirus/COVID-19. Although I am not a physician, my training is in medicine and I do have good deal of education in the field. That and the twenty years of experience in medicine helps to cut through the mud. But let’s face it, most physicians do not have the training in this field either, save those in epidemiology or infectious disease. But even then, our knowledge is entirely limited by the fact that we cannot effectively test. Without testing we have no accurate representation of incidence and thus no calculation of an actual fatality rate. Regardless of that fact here’s what I can tell you as fact. Most ICUs I have been to, ranging from one of the biggest cities in the US to some outliers, are at no more capacity than before, most are actually less acute/less occupied. This is my experience in a few dozen ICUs. Each one has had maybe one or two COVID patients, and very few deaths. The ones that have been particularly sickly have significant comorbidities. This is fact. While NYC is an isolated case, I will contend that it is due to the incredible proximity that people live in in NYC, that I can attest to having lived there myself. A confluence of the density and timing of the infection spread give it a higher peak, though likely much higher herd immunity.

My sources for writing this essay are from direct experience of not just myself, but the dozens if not hundreds of other healthcare personnel throughout the country who have shared their experience with me. The long and the short of it is this–outside of a healthcare facility you won’t catch me wearing a mask unless I am asked or required. Why? I am not afraid. I have been watching CNN feverishly in my travels, watching the body count rise from 2400 at the start, to 80,000 or so now in the US as the months go by. And although I used to trust CNN for unbiased coverage, it has become clear that it is not the place to get it anymore. Don Lemon, Andrew Cuomo, and nearly every talking head on the channel is working to instill fear. Why? Mr. Cuomo himself recovered and is now back in the studio. Mr. Lemon, though much older since the last time I had regularly watched cable news, is furious at those criticizing the lockdown. They Fear. And I do not mean Don and Andy, I mean They. They who set the agenda.

Most ICUs I have been to, ranging from one of the biggest cities in the US to some outliers, are at no more capacity than before, most are actually less acute/less occupied. This is my experience in a few dozen ICUs. Each one has had maybe one or two COVID patients, and very few deaths. The ones that have been particularly sickly have significant comorbidities. This is fact.

I watch these opinions in disbelief, because here I thought I was in the US of A. ‘Murica. The land of the free. And now we’re in a protracted lockdown. Shutting out political opposition with the rabid opinion of a journalist with an agenda. Mocked by the public at large. How is this possible? I’m not afraid of COVID. I’m not afraid of choking to death from a virus. Because I know I probably already had it being a frequent traveler in the hotspots long before the quarantines started, having battled my own virus that went through my family at a breakneck speed, but left nobody permanently harmed. But what I fear is our government, the same government that gave us family court and indefinite confinement for the indigent, to have the power to choose which segments of society can continue to operate. This is exactly what our founders had feared, irrespective of the context of Ben Franklin’s quote.

Dr. Fauci actually wrote the book on medicine.

I have a great deal of respect for Dr. Fauci. He is an exemplary human being who deserves every rung on his career ladder. But I value his opinion as a physician, not as a politician. I do not disagree with the risks he presents, I disagree with the risks a government having total control presents.

Let’s examine the economic impact of the COVID pandemic and the resulting lockdowns in the US. Small businesses are all but shut down. Most have laid off or furloughed their staff, and realistically that means they are going to go under or perform very poorly in the coming year or more. These business are not publicly traded, their impact on the economy is not directly reflected by the Wall Street indices. While the extent of this will not be known for quite some time, preliminary it is not looking good. Next up we have the ones who these businesses are indebted to. Most of these will be landlords, insurers, and employees. The employees obligations have been mostly discharged through layoffs. Now paying rent/mortgages on some of these large properties with no income? Who suffers there. Now we’re to the landlords and the banks. These entities are wealthier and have much of their wealth tied up in equities, bonds, and other investments. And then you have the top 1% and above, whose value rests entirely on the value of their assets, not their productivity. These people can furlough themselves as much as needed, they are not reliant on income, just protective of their portfolios. So where have the bailouts been focused? Not where it is needed.

The last twelve years the stock market has been in a bubble unknown to history. Near zero interest rates have caused massive debt, and although middle class salaries have not moved much, actual inflation has very much happened. The price of gold had more than doubled, the cost of living (real estate, produce, gas) have all gone up substantially. And although relative to other currencies the US dollar has remained stable, relative to a middle class income, it has gone down substantially. But when you look at those who hold investments, their wealth has gone up massively. “But Mr. MAS, I benefit too, my 401k is also up!” Dear reader, if your 401k is anything like mine, you have seen moderate gains, but nothing of the sort that your fund manager has. Those fees you pay? You are absorbing all the risk, but only getting a portion of the gains.

I have a great deal of respect for Dr. Fauci. He is an exemplary human being who deserves every rung on his career ladder. But I value his opinion as a physician, not as a politician. I do not disagree with the risks he presents, I disagree with the risks a government having total control presents.

So the bailouts/CARES act/HEROES act…let’s look at those. The CARES act provided $1200 to some families, plus $500 per kid or so. Unless you’re behind on child support. It also provided SBA loans that would turn to grants if you did not lay off your employees, but again, not if you’re behind on child support. Oh, and if you happen to live in a high cost of living area such as San Francisco or NYC, where a six figure salary can mean poverty, you don’t get anything either. So where did the majority of the funds from the CARES act go? You can read it here and many other sources. But basically a whole lot went to pet projects of the various politicians. Where did this money come from? You and your children. Although unlikely to actually be paid, it will instead manifest itself as inflation. But we’re not done. Our Federal Reserve has a lot of friends in the banking sector. What do those people have? Investments. When the economy faces collapse not only did the politicians nefariously make some trades, but they ensured that the man running the ship would not let these failing business do what they should–fail. Thanks to Jerome Powell’s Money Printer, the stock market has been profoundly manipulated. While those soon to retire may appreciate it, this again will set the stage for massive inflation, and gives those on the inside an ability to structure their assets in a way that we will socialize their losses. So regardless, ourselves and our children will be the ones to pay.

A lot of people die every day. Sometimes good, young people, and for no reason. Those who work in end of life, intensive care, cancer centers, hospice, and similar fields can tell you that is just how it is. While no doubt the COVID pandemic has killed many people, the response can never be that the government can solve this problem. In 1917 a very talented and well spoken individual by the name of Vladimir Lenin had an answer for the problems the society faced, and twenty years later his successor had enslaved a massive swath of the world and killed millions of dissidents. We live with this false notion that another Stalin or Hilter can’t exist, but it just isn’t true. Humans will be just as gullible today as they were only a hundred years ago for Russia, only 80 years ago for Germany. We watch this amplified in social media, where there is no penetration of either bubble. It can happen again, and I will argue that it can happen just as easily now as before. With the arsenal of surveillance that our agencies have it will only take one bad actor to fill the top with untouchables. And if we allow this apparatus unquestionable authority in the name of “safety” when we do not even know the true danger of our enemy, then we are only making it easy for the taking.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

MARTIN NIEMÖLLER

I want to finish this article with the above quote, because this will hold true no matter the era. Those of us in family court who have been robbed of our families and our future already know that it can happen, and it happens on a massive scale daily. The only question is when, who is next–and who is last. We’re actively throwing away the very thing that had made this country a promise of something great to so many seeking relief from repression. And yet we are handing it on a silver platter to those who seek to take it away from us. We are human. Many of us will be killed by viruses, car accidents, diabetes, and afflictions of all sorts. Our government can help, but should never be allowed to utilize these trials of life to usurp authority, and shape the economy in favor of the oligarchs. As we allow these chips off our freedoms as we have with the Patriot Act. Stop the madness. Let nature take its course, it has a far better track record than authoritarian regimes.

Thank you to Anna for providing the header image used for this article.

The Victims

RIP Ken Paton

The last words of Ken Paton:

I am the DAD that used to be,
You were my world, and you loved me
but mom said no, that’s how it has to be.

Love you forever and ever,
but your mom stopped that cause she’s more clever.

I’ll see you on the other side, and for now I’ll swallow my pride,
and do what I have to do, to make the world have a clue.

I am a Dad, YOU LOVED ME AND I LOVE YOU,
but mom says we are not allowed to.

NO seeing each other, no being a dad,
because that makes mommy really mad.

I hope you see this in due time,
that what mom does is a crime.

Canadian Father’s Rights Movement

Ken is just one of thousands, many of whose stories are forever buried in the forgotten dockets of their respective family courts. While suicide is not the answer and will not help to solve anyone’s problems, these victims should not be forgotten.

https://www.fathersforlife.org/suicides/men_who_broke.htm has a comprehensive listing prior to 2011, though not updated since. Read those stories, and know that in nearly each one of those cases, there used to be a loving father who would one day be fishing with his grandchildren–had family court not ruined their lives.

Chris Mackney is yet another victim, please visit to learn more here.

Walter Scott, an innocent man shot to death fleeing arrest over child support payments.

A Note About the CARES Act

In the last week or so we have been hearing more and more about the stimulus payments, the CARES act, and the much needed SBA loans that are promised to the public. But what about those who have been harmed the most, the non-custodial parents? Well, the more badly you need the funds, the less likely you are to get them. But who will profit? That’s right, the state.

In the legislation several members of our esteemed federal government had ensured that no parent who owes child support receives a portion of this stimulus. Instead, it goes directly to the custodial parent, and thus reflecting as money paid in support that the states then profit from via Title IV-D. So who is the stimulus for exactly? Those who actually need it? Or fattening the pockets of the state?

There isn’t much to add about this in the interim. The various news outlets have reported on this (admittedly very sparingly) but one facet not covered generally is the fact that SBA loan eligibility also removed from those in arrears. That means should the principal of a company (or any principal within the company) be in arrears, that automatically disqualifies the business from being able to apply for a loan to keep up payrolls. This harms not only the employer, but all those in employ of that company as well. And who does that benefit might I ask? ‘Murica!!!

For further reading please also visit the NPO (National Parents Organization) who did a very well written article on the subject as well. https://www.nationalparentsorganization.org/blog/24577-eternal-verities-in-a-time-of-change

The Legal Precedents Against Non-Custodial Parents

This article is intended to rebuke some of the most common arguments against child support. There are many people selling motions and arguments claiming you can use them to prove child support is illegal. These are all scams, and will only hurt your case in the future. While it is our belief that the current child support system is fundamentally unconstitutional and violates basic human rights of fathers, the current precedent in the United States has failed to preserve the civil liberties of non-custodial parents. We do not agree with them, but we feel you should understand what you are up against if making an argument on a federal level.

Misrepresentation of Interest

A point of contention regarding the impact of family law on constitutional rights is frequently cited under “deprivation of rights under color of law.” This is actually a federal law, a penalty for which is as harsh as murder in the first degree, including death. Essentially it is applicable when a law is passed that seeks to deprive and individual or group of basic civil rights as defined in the constitution. It’s punishment is purposefully stern, the ability to pass laws that interfere with basic constitutional rights essentially nullify what our country was founded upon. This necessitates a punishment that would ensure it would never happen.

So let us take the example where a child support order is issued to a non-custodial parent. In many cases the state passes additional laws that cause the non-custodial parent’s income to be incorrectly inflated (i.e. failure to take into account taxes or expenses) or the custodial parent’s expenses are exaggerated. Now we have a situation where an individual is unable to pay the support amount, and then faces a contempt charge for which he or she may be incarcerated for. Normally when charged with a crime one would be entitled to due process, a court appointed attorney, and the general protections one receives in criminal court. But here in civil court you do not get said protections. So how do they get around it?

Let’s take a look at another situation. The rights of parents are clearly defined in that the state shall not take away the parent’s rights to be in their child’s life, shall not interfere with their ability to parent. This is a fairly fundamental right, after all, we wouldn’t want to be in a dystopian 1984-esque society where the government can just come in and take your children to raise as they wish? Otherwise you would be re-living the Hitler youth, or the orphanages shortly after Stalin’s time full of future servants of the state.

While both of these things make perfect sense (as they should) the courts have found ways around it. In Troxel v. Granville (2000) Washington State introduced the notion that a state defined “best interest of the child” supersedes parental rights that were held by prior precedent. Unfortunately the Supreme Court agreed and allowed the ruling to stand, thus ensuring the state can tilt the tables in its favor. Once we go down that slippery slope, all the state has to do is then act as though the interests of the state are actually the best interests of the child. So what is in the best interests of the child? Is it two parents in conflict while living with one parent 80% of the time? Or is it living under a shared parenting arrangement in a calm and safe environment? It does not matter what the science says, because the Supreme Court says the state can define it. The state needs not justify as to what the best interest is, only state what the best interest is. This tragic manipulation of the law has remained in place without effective legal rebuttal and unfortunately at this point the only way to change it is through legislation.

There is no mistake about it, the state’s sole interest is in generating SSA Title IV-D reimbursement from the federal government. So is it a surprise that we find the majority of cases having a winner and a loser? No, unfortunately there are no surprises here. Family court is consistently predictable, and in the most unfortunate ways. And while the legislators are there to govern and represent the populace, they are not going to wean themselves off of the government subsidies without a fight.

Wrongful Application of Law

Now going back to our first argument, the way to get around that one is a bit more complex. First there is the issue of the amount. As the states have added more and more complexity to these laws, they have made it more and more arbitrary as to what counts as income. So for those of you out in Arkansas that travel to California for work and suddenly have to pay triple to eat (reimbursed by your employer) you’ll suddenly find that attributed as income. Do you have a work vehicle or get reimbursed to use your car? That can count as income. Do your children go to school, but it is just easier for the custodial parent to get help during the day? Sure! No problem, that is allowed. Would you ever do it if finances were tight while married? Absolutely not. But the state has discretion to inflate these figures, and gets paid directly as a result. The most important question that remains is that of incarceration. The key to allowing this to happen while depriving you of rights is to say that you willingly caused an inability to pay. So if you were a construction worker and injured your back, they can say you willingly stopped working and used the pain as a cover for reducing your income. While there are protections that you can try to invoke (i.e. disability) the road to getting that is incredibly arduous, and the expense of securing a favorable judgement using an attorney will be out of reach for many. So once you are found to be doing anything voluntary, they are able to cite you for contempt of court and take your rights. Due to the Bradley Amendment the arrears that are then created are non-modifiable and cannot be altered. This means that for the rest of one’s life, one is under threat of incarceration by the state or other parent.

You might ask yourself, but these judge’s wouldn’t do that, right? Well, let’s talk about another concept.

Judicial Immunity

In the United States, judges are essentially free to do ANYTHING from the bench. In Mireles v. Waco (1991) a judge in Texas issued a warrant for the arrest of an attorney who failed to show up, and instructed the officers to “rough him up a little.” After taking the appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, not surprisingly, the cabal of peer judges refused to find any liability and ensured that judges can do anything while they are on the bench and acting in the capacity of a judge. So while they cannot just pull out a firearm and execute you on the spot, should they issue an illegal order, it is of no consequence to the judge as issuing orders is a part of their function. Very rarely is judicial misconduct punished when it happens in the court room, the only recent exemption to that was the “Kids for Cash” racket in Pennsylvania where the judges actually sold children to private juvenile detention facilities. Anyone who has known those in power long enough will know that they seek a powerful office with the least accountability. Many politicians come to mind for most, but in actuality it is the judges we have to fear.

When you combine these misrepresentations of a “child’s best interest” with the overlapping state interest, add in a dash of conflict of interest, and then polish it off lack of accountability; you end up with what we call family court in America. The last vestige of slavery in the United States.

The most important question here is how do we change it. Judicial immunity is here to stay. The only individuals powerful enough to right this wrong is the Supreme Court, and no group of judges will limit the power of their peers and branch (and themselves.) The next approach would be to limit the fictitious accounting that is commonly used in family courts to secure more Title IV-D funding at the expense of the non-custodial parent. The approach to this is to ensure shared parenting is the norm, and reduce child support orders to realistic amounts, mostly doing away with them in cases of shared custody. The ideal way is to remove Title IV-D funding entirely so that the state laws are no longer perverted by vested interest in perpetuating the miscarriage of justice.

The final step is to remove the teeth from the punishments. This part will again be incredibly difficult as the courts have dug in on the notion that the rights of the child outweighs the rights of the non-custodial parent. But this notion must not be allowed to continue. At no point should one’s liberty be exchanged for the sake of another without that person causing harm or acting in a criminal way. Though a child is helpless in the situation, the courts have failed to maintain their best interest by acting in a manner to restrict the parent’s ability to pay, such as in license suspensions and incarceration. Once an entity has proven itself to be counterproductive in the very mission it uses as justification for its actions, it should cease to hold the capacity to carry out what is in the true best interests of the child. In simple terms, if your doctor has a track record of giving you poison for a higher commission, it is time to revoke his medical license.

All of these changes will come from the legislative end, and must begin with a grass roots movement that exerts pressure on the politicians. The family court industry has run amok and taken the good will and public perception along with it. All those afflicted by the malady of institutionalized indebtedness must make their cases public so that the judicial misconduct can be seen and voted out of their position. It is not in our children’s interest to continue to persecute the parents, fueled by a winner take all mentality that serves to only enrich the politicians.

Politics & Title IV-D

“Those socialist democrats are at fault! The republicans created this!” (what the Facebook feed screams daily)

Title IV-D is not a partisan problem. Though it was originally passed by republicans (Ford) to reduce welfare spending, it has grown into a problem exacerbated by both parties over time. The right argues against it in that it is more bloated government, democrats are appalled about the encroachment of civil liberties (via incarceration) and equality, while the libertarians have a fundamental issue in that government has absolutely no place in family–it is a community issue. We all agree on the solution. We even agree on most of the methods of getting there. So when I read my colleagues in the fight against this proclaiming that a party is in a certain position for or against it, it is disappointing as it only serves to isolate and polarize the remainder of the community. Title IV-D is not a partisan problem. Both parties have failed to pass any meaningful reform in the last several decades.

In 2018 president Obama enacted an executive order that sought to limit child support based incarceration. When president Trump came into office, he was swift to remove as many of those executive orders as possible, but did in fact leave that order alone. In all fairness, for a politician to secure office they are at the mercy of the public at large and the opinions of the masses. Politicians will not touch this issue due to the effectiveness of the lobbies that actively promote monikers such as “deadbeats” and women’s groups who seek the ability to have men incarcerated without evidence. The attorney lobbies (the bar) have made this even more problematic, while the psychologists who greatly profit from this continue to support the current inequalities as well. This is what is preventing progress, not the political parties themselves.

In reality Title IV-D has spiraled so far out of control that no rational individual can support it given all the facts. A republican should be appalled at the amount of federal spending to support these state efforts, that serve no economic purpose in the grand scheme of things. No democrat would support mass incarceration, especially that of minorities, based on inability to pay. And certainly no libertarian would ever support this level of encroachment by the government into the family. No reasonable person ever should.

With that said, reach out to your local representatives, regardless of party. Hold each one accountable. Go to the town halls, present the issue and elicit a response. Do not let them avoid the question. Make appointments with their staff, sit down for one to one meetings and discuss your case, and how their role can impact change. For state level reps discuss state level issues, for federal level officials discuss Title IV-D and judicial accountability legislation. This is what we desperately need, not to be standing in our own way, isolated on our political islands.

The Case Against Marriage

What They Do Not Teach You in Pre-Marriage Counseling

First off, this is not a conspiracy theory. This is my life and that of tens of thousands if not more, I just happened to have documented it more thoroughly, and have done my best to attribute and support my assertions for this article. A skeptic myself, my attention would have been hard to grab with anything akin. Let’s start by looking at the odds. What has a 50% chance of failing, 15–30% chance of bankrupting you, a very real chance at making you want to commit suicide with many doing so regularly? Nope, we’re not talking about drugs! We’re talking about, you guessed it, marriage! A tradition born in a very different society, it has now been reshapen by the state into a social welfare program. While the touted tremendous benefits of marriage, such as a slight savings in car and health insurance might seem tempting, the reality is you can achieve nearly all the supposed benefits with a simple power of attorney or a contract. You can even be on the same health plan in most cases without being married if you cohabitate.

Though most have had some kind of sex education in school, few have any clue about the state of family law in the US and in fact, now in most of the world. Pre-marriage counseling in my case was the usual reiteration about not going to sleep angry, but let me tell you, that won’t mean much when you’re living in your car, your bank accounts frozen, your paycheck seized. But how can this be? What in the world happened? We’ll get to that shortly.

First, let’s look at this map:

If you are not in a dark blue 50% state, you are almost certainly going to lose your children in the divorce, no matter how much you spend, and no matter how evil the lower income spouse is. Maybe you’ll get lucky and the judge presiding over your case will care, but as someone who has been entrenched in this community for three years now, I can tell you that it is the exception. The biggest thing that gets factored in when it comes to the reality, is how much you make, and how much the state can collect in support. That’s right, how much the state can collect in support. You see, like-minded skeptical reader, when the Social Security Act was passed in the 1970’s, they inserted Title IV-D which basically reimburses the states nearly dollar for dollar for every penny they collect in support actions. In the 40+ years since, this has been perverted to such a degree that the states have hijacked the intent of the law (supporting the children,) and created their own laws around this which now skirt the constitution and civil rights in general. Why? Because they can use the federal incentive money on other budget shortfalls and pet projects. Debtors prisons outlawed? Not in family court. Accusations with no evidence? Not in family court, here you’re guilty until proven innocent. And if you can’t be proven innocent, then you’re just guilty. Never mind that it is impossible to prove a negative. Evidence? No need. Testimony is all that matters. Judges are the “fact finders,” their assertion of the truth trumps any recording you might have.

I am not a republican, I am not a libertarian, nor am I a liberal. I enjoy shooting on the weekends, think all races should have equal access to society, that public healthcare is better than private (I’ve lived under both) for most. I am a veteran who once was proud to serve his country. You don’t have to agree with me on all counts. But I think we all agree on the value of the constitution and its intent: Freedom of speech, trial by jury, innocent until proven guilty. But in family court this is not the case. Although not in the constitution, the Sherman Act of 1890 was established to prevent an entity from seizing full control over an aspect of the economy. But the states themselves have gotten around this by forming a vertical monopoly when it comes to funding itself. In the US the state writes the laws regarding custody and support and the formulas used to establish the amounts. The state then enforces it, and directly profits from it. Even in states that have been successful in establishing 50/50 custody guidelines, the higher earning spouse still has to pay child support to the other parent, frequently 30% of the difference in income in most states. Even Kentucky, which now has one of the most robust shared parenting bills, still has not addressed the issue of support properly. Child support has become a disease, a cancer. What was once a normally functioning part of an organism has turned rogue, and the immune system tasked with protection has itself been hijacked by a profit motive. Freedom of speech? Nope. I can’t use my real name here, because of a judicial order, as many of us are gag ordered. For me each court appearance includes a slip that bars anyone not a party to the case from entering. No witnesses to the corruption, except those powerless to change it, silenced by the courts.

Power corrupts, plain and simple. Once judges are elected they are almost impossible to get rid of short of a major controversy. Media will not touch them, politicians will not either, after all, you never know when it will be your turn in front of their bench. While not all corrupt and certainly none see themselves that way, many are emotionally fatigued and have Title IV-D quotas to fill as a part of their duty. The same politicians that help them with their election benefit directly from these added federal funds. As a result, they do what they want to do, and have judicial immunity in all but the most heinous of cases. But for simply ignoring a higher state or federal law and subsequently ruining you and your children’s lives, there is no punitive action you can take. Want to appeal that illegal order? No problem, $12,000-$50,000 and a 5% chance that the superior court will reverse it. That is if you’re right. Judicial complaint at the state level? In the trash. Want to represent pro-se because you don’t have the tens of thousands? Good luck, your 5% chance is now near zero percent. This is the state of things in America. We have allowed a family court industry, comprised of attorneys, judges (former attorneys,) so called “experts” to hijack the moniker of “what is best for the kids.” And while it is known by the medical/psychological community that the best thing for kids of divorced parents is a no-conflict shared parenting arrangement, this $50 billion a year industry has become so brazen that they will go on the record promoting the use of the “silver bullet” as well as clearly admit that they do not want to change the custody laws to maintain this source of revenue. In Pennsylvania an attempt to reform the law has been stalled, the hearing comprised mostly of attorneys and women’s rights groups who are afraid to lose the leverage the children provide, and the attorney fees from high conflict divorces.

Child’s Drawing During the Divorce

Now of course the democrat parents blame the republicans who passed Title IV-D so that the government doesn’t have to pay assistance to these fatherless families. But then you have democrats who have pushed the laws which allows almost any woman to get an order of protection with no evidence, colloquially known as “the silver bullet” which will almost certainly cause the father to lose custody. In the end, it is a bipartisan problem. The only real progress in the last several decades was president Obama signing into law provisions designed to limit incarceration, as prisons were becoming more and more full of fathers who cannot pay outlandish orders. But I can tell you from personal experience, the local judges will still rule to jail you until you can prove yourself innocent. There is no disincentive for them to act immorally and contrary to the law. There’s no scorecard kept, no punishment. So with that said, even if your future spouse seems like the perfect person, the risk is impossible to outweigh with the meager benefits of marriage. Most of us thought the same of our spouses and as we now know, they can hide this for years or simply exhibit it out of nowhere after pregnancy.

RIP Ken Paton — Facebook

I am the DAD that used to be, 
You were my world, and you loved me 
but mom said no, that’s how it has to be.

Love you forever and ever, 
but your mom stopped that cause she’s more clever.

I’ll see you on the other side, and for now I’ll swallow my pride, 
and do what I have to do, to make the world have a clue.

I am a Dad, YOU LOVED ME AND I LOVE YOU, 
but mom says we are not allowed to.

NO seeing each other, no being a dad, 
because that makes mommy really mad.

I hope you see this in due time, 
that what mom does is a crime.

Canadian Father’s Rights Movement

Some states such as California have gone even further. You might think you have a happy marriage for ten years to your sweetheart you’ve known since high school, but if you are in CA then it is possible for you to get hit with lifetime alimony. So at the age of thirty, your sweetheart you married at the age of 20 has a choice. Maybe you put on a few pounds, maybe its been rough for you the last few years, maybe you’ve grown apart. Now does she leave you while taking the kids and your paycheck, or stay married to the man you have become? Free pass to cheat, lie, steal, and do whatever nefarious things she wants. Maybe it will happen and maybe it won’t, but the law gives the judge the entirety of the discretion. They simply need not like you — no need to justify any legal basis to award it. Only if you appeal do they have to write an opinion, for which you’ll have the tens of thousands right?

Undoubtedly many might see this is as a men’s rights article, and though it disproportionately affects men, there are many women who are estranged from their families and children due to the same laws. Take the case of female physician who works sixty hours a week while her husband is a stay at home dad. Who do you think will get custody in a state that doesn’t do shared custody? There’s more than a small handful of women who are also alienated from their kids, it is real, and it happens. You just need to be at the wrong end of the luck equation, the tables already tilted against you when the interests of the state and the judge are to award custody to the parent with the smallest income.

Ten years ago I was completely unaware of this issue, and until the last few years was quiet about my divorce. But it was only when I began to speak out about it and share my story that I came to the stark realization just how many people have had their lives upended by this. Not just middle aged men, but their parents, new significant others, their children and the children who grow up in these broken, often fatherless homes. We worry about the COVID-19 deaths, a mere fraction compared to those who have lost their lives at their own hands, or at the hands of poverty, substance abuse, and disease resulting from the economic disadvantage or subsequent PTSD. We spend millions on lobbying gun control. And while events like Sandy Hook are beyond reproach, the sad reality is that many more children end their lives due to growing up in these broken homes, parents turned toxic by financial incentive. Many of these children die by their twenties, overdose on opiates to dull the pain. This has to stop somehow. For your sake and that of your children.

What the Law Should Look Like

The current laws are set up to disincentivise shared parenting and create a situation where there is a custodial parent and a visitor. The reason for this is that SSA Title IV Part D specifically rewards the states based on how much support they collect, matching up to dollar for dollar. This means that the money we all contribute towards OUR social security, is being funneled to the states. While there needs to be some incentive towards enforcing support in cases where a parent chooses to entirely leave the family, the following elements would make the law more just while making the sure that it really is set up with the interests of the children in mind.

Custody:

  • Shared parenting is the default regardless of prior arrangements, unless a parent does not want their share, or has a proven inability to do so (severe mental illness, substance abuse, violence etc…)
  • Anything less must meet the same burden of proof as criminal trials, as constitutional rights should only be able to be taken away in criminal cases. Contempt proceedings can trump those rights currently, thus anything leading to contempt must meet that standard.
  • Right of first refusal should be by default and irrevocable. Barring anything in paragraph 2, there should not be resources utilized to care for the kids if the other parent is available and willing.

Support:

  • Caps. No more than fixed percentage of income, and no more than a specified amount per child (whichever is less) as appropriate for the geographic region. A spouse is not a retirement plan nor an insurance policy.
  • Accountability. Child support should be audited to ensure that the parent is spending the money on the children.
  • Penalties must be addressed. License suspensions must be removed as the possibility of incarceration. Adding another mouth to feed in the prison system while removing an individual from the workforce does nothing to help the children nor the state. Those pathological enough to choose this alternative over receiving what support they do get, should not be the ones allowed to dictate their children’s future.
  • No payment in alienation cases. Should a parent be found to be alienating the other parent, support should be removed.
  • Income calculations must be capped at a 40 hour work week, exclude overtime, and based on actual income and not hypothetical income. Currently the law allows for courts to make up their own numbers without the need for any evidence.

Other Factors:

  • Penalties for false domestic violence/abuse accusations. This does not mean that every case where abuse is unproven has the tables turned on the other party, but should there be evidence (i.e. a recording of threats of false accusations) then the other party should serve and equal or harsher penalty for making such accusation.
  • Remove Title IV-D funding from sates not compliant with the basic outlines.
  • Substantially limit child support amounts in shared custody cases. Several states that do have shared parenting, have created child support guidelines that still maximize transfer of funds from one party to the other with the goal of collecting Title IV-D funding. Being divorced should not be a taxable source of revenue!
  • Reform family court procedure. An individual should be able to navigate this arena without the need for a costly attorney, therapists, expert witnesses, GALs, and many others. This alone will reduce a massive financial burden in our society, and pass that on to our children. A social worker should be appointed instead of a GAL. We do not need lawyers deciding what is best for children, but those who actually know mental health and families.
  • Jury trials. Currently the same judges who benefit from the Title IV-D revenue are the ones deciding the cases. This is a clear conflict of interest. An impartial jury would be removed from these incentives and best able to rule on the matter.