Recently, a judge in Oakland County Michigan made national headlines for sending three children, ages 9, 10, and 15, to a juvenile facility after finding them in contempt of court for refusing to see their father.
In an ongoing custody battle, the children refused to see their father, despite Judge Lisa Gorcyca ordering them to do so, according to news reports.
Gorcyca said the children had been brainwashed and that the mother’s behavior was “unlike anything I have seen in 46,000 cases.”
The children were each appointed lawyers by the judge and were sent to Oakland County Children’s Village where they were ordered not to have communication with their mother or each other. They were not staying in the facility with criminal defenders, but in short-term housing on the campus, Gorcyca said.
On July 10, the judge lifted her contempt ruling and allowed the kids to go to a two-week summer camp, the Detroit Free Press reported. It’s unclear what will happen after that.
This case is shocking to many (including me) because of the judge’s actions. I certainly do NOT want to see children sent to jail for refusing parenting time, but I DO sympathize with the judge’s frustrations. Parents who would NEVER think of letting a child “refuse to go” to school because they “don’t want to” have no problem letting their children throw court orders out the window and “refuse to go” to court-ordered reintegration therapy or even when it is court ordered “because they don’t want to.”
There are many reasons why parenting time may not be a good idea or at least needs to be supervised (for example, in cases of abuse.) The lawful remedy is to hire an attorney and GET A SOLID COURT ORDER restricting or modifying parenting time. It is NOT okay to encourage your child to throw court orders out the window. This can get everyone in trouble and sends children the wrong message.
And if you are the parent unlawfully shut out of your children’s lives, I can help you with that too. Again, the court has a remedy for inappropriate alienation.
I have several cases on both sides of this issue — those concerned about the harm of inappropriate parenting time and those shut out of their children’s lives. In all situations, I help my clients do things the RIGHT way and, by doing so, get a healthy, lawful result.