It seems like the Michigan courts achieved exactly the opposite of what they were supposed to achieve in the case of one teenager caught between warring parents.
Rather than helping her find stability, the court acted in a way that disrupted her entire life — forcing her to ultimately live with friends in an effort to avoid a father that she finds abusive and to protect her mother from jail.
A judge called the teen’s feelings toward her father “parental alienation syndrome” and abruptly gave him sole custody and permission to yank the 15-year-old teenager from her life and force her through a “reunification program” in a camp run by a psychologist who has since had his license revoked.
Court records do show a bitter custody battle between the parents, but the teen clearly preferred her mother’s care. She claims that she tried to tell Child Protective Services that her father was putting on a show for them and that he was neglectful and emotionally abusive. Nobody listened.
The day she was grabbed and sent to the reunification camp, she believed she was going to finally get to tell the judge who she preferred to live with and why — instead, she found herself abruptly silenced. She stayed silent, too, because the camp officials and her father threatened to put her in a facility in Utah until she legally an adult if she didn’t go along with their program.
After she got back to Michigan, the teen waited until her 17th birthday, left her father’s house and hasn’t looked back. Acting on legal advice, she sends her father a monthly email so that he can’t report her as missing or a runaway. She’s refused any requests to meet with him, fearing she’ll be abducted again to another camp. While she yearns to return to her mother’s home, she keeps her visits to the court-mandated weekends her mother is allowed because her mother might otherwise be jailed for contempt.
Amazingly, her father still says that the reunification program helped. For her part, the teen just can’t wait until her 18th birthday to move back home with her mother.
Cases like this illustrate how a custody battle can lose sight of the most important person: the child. For help with your own custody case, talk to a family law attorney today.
Source: www.wzzm13.com, “Taken from mom, teen flees dad and waits until 18th birthday,” Lisa Roose-Church, Sep. 04, 2017