Teri Lucille ‘Yaki’ Cahoon lives in South Windsor, Connecticut. She is a chaplain for “Protective Parents” and “Erased Moms” and is a victim of the family court system. Teri told her story when speaking about coercive control in support of the passage of Jennifer’s Law, a Connecticut law that expands the definition of domestic violence to include “coercive control.”
While living in Virginia, Teri married a woman and for several years they discussed having a family. They agreed their marriage must be permanent if they were ever to take responsibility for raising children. They agreed that young children need a parent at home and that Teri would be the primary caregiver, while her wife worked. They discussed how the children would be educated, and agreed that their children must always have a two parent home. These were discussed time and again through the years. In Teri’s mind, these were intense agreements made before starting a family.
They adopted two sons in 2013. The intense discussion was reaffirmed again before Teri agreed to be inseminated. She became the biological mother of a daughter in 2014.
Teri stayed at home taking care of the children. She wanted to get a college degree. Her wife, who controlled the income, refused while she in turn paid off loans for her master’s degree, obtained a second master’s degree, and started on a third.
Then came the sexual and personal degradation; disapproval of Teri’s domestic talent, criticism of her culture, intelligence, and religion. When Teri defied her, her wife mocked any attempts she might take to protect her children in a court of law, saying she would win everything if Teri tried. She was right.
By 2016, Teri was thrown out of their house in Virginia and denied contact with her children. She experienced the same plight that stay at home mothers often experience. The working spouse controls the money and money drives family court. Teri went into debt for $50,000 – hardly enough to fight a fight in lawyer-rapacious family court, if the conflict is high – an amount easily consumable by lawyers gobbling away at $300-$500 per hour, hours they monitor themselves.
Her wife sold the house and moved to Connecticut which gave another disadvantage to Teri, the claim of spousal abandonment. Teri moved to CT in September 2019. She sought an attorney to get help, and she learned that physical abuse went on by her wife against her daughter; it escalated to sexual abuse allegations, confirmed in 2019 by CT Dept. of Family Services.
But the money was against her and money alone drives the vicious lawyers, and especially the children’s plunderers – the guardians-ad-litem, the scourge of the whole earth. Teri was unable to raise enough money to fight the fight to redeem her seven year old daughter out of an environment of plain and notorious abuse.
It’s the old story. Down here in Connecticut all the lawyers know. No contact for the poorer parent. Teri has been denied contact with her children, including her biological daughter, for two and one half years.
Your article Connecticut Family Court Hands Children to Stepmother Instead of Real Mother When Millionaire Father Dies was fantastic and highlights many of the challenges law-abiding parents face in this country. You truly encouraged many parents who are struggling after judicial abuse; it blew up several closed Facebook groups that I’m a part of.
The story you featured represents thousands across the nation, and I am one of them. It took three traumatizing years to build a meager life after being thrown out of my home; it took only a moment for the court to sanction the move of all three children seven hours away from their mother. There was no testimony, no witness, no evidence.
I never knew this happens in the land of the free and the home of the brave to law-abiding citizens, full-time parents, even military veterans. I am all of these and add that I am LGBTQ+ “married” before the Supreme Court ruling. I still have the birth certificate showing me as the only parent of my biological daughter. You can’t believe it, ‘till it happens to you.