A Primer on Corrupt and Loathsome CT Family Court

If there was truth in advertising required of the judiciary in Connecticut, notice would be required to be displayed prominently, like it was said Dante displayed at the gates of Hell: Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate Tribunale di famiglia di Connecticut. [Abandon all hope ye who enter CT Family Court.]

Likewise, CT attorneys should be required to advise clients about the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem, an attorney who will be said to represent the best interest of the children but will commandeer the case.

Attorney Gutman: I’d like to give you a word of advice about the Guardian ad litem.

Client Spade: Go ahead.

Gutman: You’ll give her some money, but if you don’t give her what she thinks she should have, be careful.

Spade: Dangerous?

Gutman: Very.

With that advisory, meant for those not particularly obtuse, here is a primer on CT Family Court.

‘High Conflict,’ a Term of Art

The two words “high conflict” is one of the sweetest sounds in the English language when spoken by or to family law attorneys, especially those lucky lawyers appointed as Guardians ad Litem [GAL], a lawyer appointed to protect “the children’s best interests.” 

Attorney Jocelyn Hurwitz can make hundreds of thousands of dollars as a GAL on a single case.

High conflict is a joyful noise for a collegial group of therapists, who serve at the behest of the GAL, to look out for the best interest of children.

High conflict means the parent with more money usually gets custody, but not before an appropriate percentage of marital assets has been paid to lawyers, the GAL, and therapists.

High conflict means the parents, or at least one of them, has money.

If neither has money, it is handled differently. In CT, the poor, and the lower middle class, who chose to divorce and fight, just like their betters do, are sent to the Department of Children and Families [DCF] and taxpayers pay for bureaucrats to sort it out.

High conflict means the affluent get to retain the crème de la crème, family law attorneys, and therapists, who assist clients and stoke conflict when parents contemplate settling too soon.

The Custody Evaluator

Among the professionals, one stands apart for the obfuscation of her true role. The custody evaluator [CE] is given a presumption of omniscience, an anointing of infallibility, for optics require her to possess that greatest of all knowledge: the best interest of children.

She is actually retained to deliver the greatest of benefits to lawyers. Make no mistake, those of you who are not overly dense: This is her role. Nothing else. Never.

The CE’s job is to make a Custody Evaluation Report wherein she recommends the best parent for custody of children in high conflict divorces.

The report is kept secret. Parents are not allowed to keep a copy, sometimes they are not allowed to even see it. Like the Bible in Medieval times, which could only be interpreted by prelates in the getting-to-heaven business, only professionals know how to use these reports in the children’s best interest.

Other states have realized that CEs are corrupt to the core. Movements are afoot all over the nation to eliminate CEs, whose work is based on the fallacy that a psychologist can interview divorcing parents and their children for a couple of hours, and then decide the fate of the entire family.

Other states recognize that CEs are dependent on referrals by GALs and lawyers for their livelihood and are, therefore, subject to monetary influences. They recognize that CEs use discredited weapons such as the Parental Alienation Doctrine to remove one parent from the children’s lives, usually the stay-at-home mother, who generally has less money than the working father.

They recognize that CEs, though not legally authorized to diagnose anyone since they are not physicians, and the families she evaluates are not her patients, or even clients, regularly report findings of mental illness of one parent, usually never previously diagnosed as mentally ill, usually mothers, to support the extreme measure of removing the children from that parent’s life, or vastly reducing the role that that parent historically had in their children’s lives.

The CE can be ruthless and create grief and trauma for children but, because she is presumed infallible, the nightmares she causes by ripping from children’s lives their primary attachment figure in case after case are presumed by the judge to be in the best interest of the children.

Jessica Biren-Caverly is a Custody Evaluator. Her job is to decide custody for divorcing families. Her word is near-absolute in most courtrooms. She is the expert on children’s best interest and her knowledge is considered superior to the judge, who is only trained in law.

Ironically, in the high conflict business, the CE makes the least money per case. She makes it up in volume. These are the checks and balances to preserve the business. Though considered the supreme authority on the best interests of children, the CE is dependent on referrals from the GAL and attorneys. They keep her in check.

This is business, nothing personal. For the CE, the children’s best interest is usually whatever the GAL says it is.

Symbiotic

The GAL needs the CE too. Why would anyone think that attorneys, such as the GAL is, should know what is best for children?

The GAL uses the credentials of the CE, an expert on children’s best interests, to give cover for even the most outrageous decisions on custody, including frequently the exclusion of one parent from the lives of her children.

It is no exaggeration to use Russian Roulette imagery to teach dull witted or gullible spouses headed for CT Family Court. Once a CE is retained, she becomes the judge, in effect, and can summarily decide that one parent should have no contact with her children and the courts, who are not experts like she is, invariably go along with her findings. For additional optics, the CE recommends a cadre of therapists needed for the high conflict family.

Therapists, who report to the GAL, reinforce the recommendations of the GAL and the CE. 

Dr. Robert Horwitz, a ‘reunification therapist,’ is  selected by the GAL, and can be counted on to endorse whatever she wishes in the best interest of children, even if it means traumatizing and terrorizing children by isolating them from their mother.

 

Deborah Gruen, another psychologist available to make findings for hire. She works for the GAL to examine children and will endorse isolation of the children from one parent or the other depending on the recommendation of the GAL.

 

Bill Horn, psychologist, will work not only in high conflict cases, but will take on conflicted roles as therapist for a parent and for a child, and be counted on to endorse custody for the parent who pays him. If you’re a parent who wants to remove the other parent from your children’s lives, hire him, but do it quickly before his license is revoked.

Using the same tools as the CE, the therapists come up with the same determinations for custody as the CE and the GAL. If they please the GAL, they get to keep high conflict, affluent family members as long-term clients, for the GAL will insist that custody is contingent on ongoing therapy.

Imagine the collusion: Every expert and the GAL all pointing to the same conclusion – all of them using their credentials, all saying the same thing – who could withstand it? No one knows how the GAL orchestrates every bit of this and that no one will be referred new clients who do not cooperate. The therapists can be likened to a wolf pack led by the GAL, an attorney.

A GAL

In every facet of the case, the GAL plays the pivotal role.  But there are checks and balances even on her.

Just as the CE is dependent on the GAL, the GAL is dependent on high conflict lawyers who refer cases to her.

It is the lawyers who put her in command of a case. Everything goes through her. She reports to the court, who invariably side with her, since she represents the best interests of the children.

But in reality, the GAL reports to the lawyers who refer her.

It is she who appoints the therapists and designates a case to be “high conflict.” She then rules the fate of the family. She must be the type who will do what the lawyers who referred her say, or they will never give her another referral.

The GAL’s role is to protect the parent who is to ultimately get custody, and spin a narrative that that parent is the victim of the other spouse.

How They Determine Custody

Most lawyers in the high conflict game know the game and know each other. If they want to stay in the game, they have to get along, which means custody is decided in advance, and the GAL and the CE are retained afterward to support it.

The plan is simple: The attorneys evaluate the net worth of combating spouses, then decide how much they can get from each, then they decide which GAL to select.

To maximize billings, the case may have to be active for three or four years. There are tools to keep conflict going, including letting one side win something, then the other side.

High conflict lawyers know that in the end whoever has the most money wins.

Described by his critics as a ringer – attorney Edward Nusbaum works for the wealthier parent, no matter who he claims he represents. He has been accused of, while charging his clients $750 per hour, conspiring with the opposing attorney to sell them out.

 

Richard Callahan, one of the least sought after lawyers in the high conflict game, he can be retained for as little as $300 per hour. He’s eager to get in the game and if you are going to be sold out, at least it will cost you less money.
Attorney Nancy Aldrich bills at $650 an hour and works closely with GAL Jocelyn Hurwitz. She will deliver custody to any parent who chooses to retain her. The cost is about $1 million for sole custody. Above she is picture with her son, State Senator Will Haskell, a member of the judiciary committee, and, as a member of the CT General Assembly, he has a vote in judicial reappointments, a fact not missed by CT Family Court judges who must be reappointed every eight years.

If a client goes rogue and makes noises about settling too soon, a high conflict lawyer will use tools – both carrot and stick – to stoke flames of conflict and icy fear of losing the children or paying high alimony – to keep them in conflict.

Good high conflict attorneys never work as adversaries with the opposing attorney. For optics, before their clients or for the record, they pretend to fight and decry the outrageous things the opposing lawyer is doing. They seem to be heated with passion for the children’s best interest. They tell their client their plan to combat it. All in billable hours.

No one, other than the clients and their children, are really upset.

Together

The high conflict CT professionals are one big happy family. They are a model of how professionals in law and psychology like to work. Of course, there are some anomalies.

For instance, at the filthy bottom is the CE, the least scrupulous, least independent, lowest paid, but presented as the most unbiased and highly ethical professional whose only concern is the best interest of children. Like a Catholic pope, in CT Family Court, she is infallible.

At the bottom of the day, she is merely making a report made to order. If excrement flows downhill, but likes to claim itself wondrous and wise, it is like the CE.

I am reminded of an Aesop Fable: A cow pasture and an apple orchard were situated side by side by a river. The rains came and washed the turds and apples together in the water.

As the apples and turds were floating downstream, the turds were heard to exclaim, “My, how we apples can swim.”

So it is with CEs. They say they are top professionals, and call themselves psychologists, but, unlike good practicing psychologists who have their client’s best interest at heart, the CE’s client is the GAL and, if she wants to stay in the business, she must do what the GAL commands.

Like Hyman Roth said in the Godfather, “It is the business we have chosen.” Or Fagen, when it was lamented by a child he taught to steal, “But it is your living.”

A CE is like an appraiser who is paid to determine the price of art or jewelry or real estate. If he is retained by the buyer, he appraises low. If retained by the seller, he appraises high.

There are often huge differences in two appraisals of the same object.

The appraiser does not buy the object. He does not care about the object, he appraises. An,. ultimately, an object is worth the highest price someone will pay.

The CE is an appraiser of children, referred by the GAL.  She does not care about the children. She does not buy the children. Ultimately, custody is sold for the highest price a parent will pay.

This only works because the CE is considered an expert. She is paid for her expert report and for testimony in court – and if she gets enough referrals, hers is a lucrative business, with the advantage of not having to worry about finding or maintaining clients.

On successive days, using the same circumstances, she could write a custody report favoring custody for the father and the next day for the mother and provide an 80-page report for each.

Suppose Charles Manson married Mother Teresa and they had children.


A good CE could make a report recommending that Charles Manson get sole custody, and Mother Teresa is unfit to have contact with the children, because she tried to protect the children from Manson’s abuse. The CE will claim it is Parental Alienation.

Does It Matter?

Since the attorneys, in consultation with the GAL, have predetermined how best to get their fees before the CE is appointed, and the CE is dependent on referrals, it matters little, as a professional matter, who gets the children. Not to the lawyers, not to the GAL, and certainly not the CE.

This is how it works. Don’t blame them. They don’t hide the fact they are in it for money. Parents often get mixed up about this. For them, it is personal. This is their children’s lives and happiness, their lives and happiness too.

But these are professionals. There is a path to money. It is well worn. Money flows better if the children’s best interest is determined to be whatever serves the professionals’ best interest.

Any other consideration just gets in the way. If it happens to be good for the children, so be it. If not, well that’s the way the family crumbled.

James Boswell told a story of a friend who had written a letter about his distress over another friend who might be hanged, and in the same letter he wrote about a young man who operated a pickle shop.

Samuel Johnson responded this: “Ay, Sir, here you have a specimen of human sympathy; a friend hanged, and a cucumber pickled.”

Whether a parent is hanged or a little child pickled, the professionals eat dinner tonight. They are not God to decide such weighty matters as to who is the better parent. They are business people and whoever pays most, gets their wishes fulfilled.

If people are foolish enough to not work out their differences with each other, and they have more money than brains, then it is to the high conflict family court they go, and the professionals are there ready to help them, much like the spider will welcome to the web a fly — they are there to take as high a percentage of the family’s net worth as they can devour, and any show of sympathy, or righteous indignation is all for show. With a merry twinkle of money in their eyes, from their mouths will issue forth the falsest of all sounds they can utter, “it is in the children’s best interest.”

Connecticut Family Court Delenda Est.

 

 

About the author

Frank Parlato

16 Comments

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  • Thank you Frank Parlato for trolling Sweet Corner Girl’s website, Instagram and Facebook videos and bringing light to my nonprofit. You must have a copy of the letter sent to the media group. Loathsome is a gentle word for boys. The gun to the head is kinda frightening to see in a picture now that I visualize what I said. I forgot boys were visual. Was that meant for me? You boys are clever, but not that deep. It brings to mind the boys who all ganged up on me too when was I was 6 and I played basketball with one of them. My skills brought all the boys to the court. I heard they all liked me but were too afraid to say it so instead they pulled my pigtails and pushed me around thinking it was funny. I liked only one boy to play basketball with. Whatever became of any of them – pushing a girl around?

  • Are there statistics to back these claims up? Although I think I can kind of see the court’s logic In a high conflict divorce both parents are prob acting like a-holes, so you think, well, may as well give the kids to the a-hole with more money so at least they’ll have more opportunities.

  • It is the singular power of a state judge to determine what is best for a child. We will even give a mother’s child away to a gold digging bitch in Watertown along with trust funds, cut mom out of the lives of the children, because that’s how we roll. No parental rights exist in Connecticut. Sorry, we in black robes own all the kids.

  • Connecticut family court is the devil’s den, children are raped, parents destroyed, savings stolen, the lawyers are a back of wolves devouring children to pay their mortgages. The judges rule over the destruction of family, blessed by chosen high court opinions that place discretion above the rule of law. Welcome to Connecticut.

  • It cannot be true. Judge Gerald Adelman is the soul of integrity. He is a pillar to the court and proves all you write is rubbish sir.

  • High conflict divorces over the custody of the parties’ children are brutal – hence the designation of high conflict. How do other state courts handle them? Do the judges meet with the children? Can’t get much input from a nonverbal toddler. Since the parents have very different views of what’s best for their children, someone else needs to make the decision. If I were a judge, I would want as much information as possible to make such a critical decision. Maybe the so-called corruption in CT isn’t the system in place but the individual professionals filling the roles. Fairfield County isn’t called the Gold Coast for nothing so perhaps the system works adequately in Tolland or New London Counties.

    • Many families don’t enter divorce cases as “high conflict”, but their income and assets make them a target. The specialists create the conflict – and it’s soon beyond the parents’ control.

      They are vultures. They remove a healthy parent. No one thinks custody will be taken from a fit parent. What they’re doing violates CT and federal law.

    • High Conflict is a label to hide the efforts of lawyers to drive up billable hours. High Conflict only exists where there is money to be stolen by the members of the Connecticut Bar Association, Family Division.

        • No poor parents have ever been sent to RFTD the special court where families get fleeced. High Conflict is high billable hours. Family Court runs on money. No money, no conflict. Welcome to the reality of Connecticut.

  • Robert Horwitz was a leader on the AFCC- so is Aldrich. Jocelyn Hurwitz doesn’t practice law. She’s a full time GAL who steals childhoods for profit. She charges $500/hr and is highly sought after by attorneys because she has connections with DCF and the police. She’s brazen, manipulative and delivers kids to abusers while destroying the mother’s reputation and bonds with children. She’s ruthless.

    Thank you for exposing these criminals. Until there is an indictment, they’ll keep going because it’s profitable to all.

    • Jocelyn Hurwitz is [redacted] promoting a [redacted] agenda to destroy the Christian concept of family and the elimination of the concept of being a parent.

    • That’s not true in Connecticut. One parent may pay the whole fee if he/she has substantially more assets. Also, if a party pushes for a GAL and the Court and/or the other parent dispute(s) the need for one, the parent that wants a GAL may bear the entire cost. There’s no blanket rule.

    • Judge does not care where GAL money comes from. Split payment from mom and dad from the same savings account is just a cover. Judge gets a chunk of GAL fees as commission for appointing the lawyer, free money.

Frank Parlato

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
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