CT Family Court: High Conflict Cases Designed for Attorneys’ Best Interests

A commenter named Mary had some thoughts on high conflict cases in Connecticut. I make a few replies.

Mary: If you have a high conflict case in Connecticut Family Court, it is generally due to someone with a very severe personality disorder who puts his own needs in front of his children…  A very small percentage of cases are deemed “high conflict.”

High Conflict cases are easy to pick out from the rest. It is an absolute necessity that these cases are dealt with differently.

Parlato: Family law attorneys usually get run-of-the-mill, low-level, generally not high asset divorce cases where couples can work things out rationally, and they can only bill a few thousand.

When they can get a couple with assets, when one parent is abusive, and the other is protective, when there is hatred, or they can stoke it, this is the potential high conflict case.

Attorneys assess the family’s net worth, who has control of the money, how hard each party will fight. Then they call for a guardian ad litem who is supposed to represent the children’s best interest, who will be the de facto judge. The GAL knows who brought her in, and is dependent on referrals. She will make findings based on maximizing billings for lawyers.

Lawyers, GALs, and most judges do not have the time or knowledge to deal with this sort of anomaly. This is an entirely different animal and must be dealt with as such. Once a case is tagged as high conflict, there needs to be a separate set of rules. And perhaps a separate set of attorneys and judges. Ones who specialize in this area.

Once it moves to high conflict, it goes before judges who understand high conflict means higher billings for lawyers, GALs, therapists, custody supervisors, and evaluators.  High conflict occurs when a family has money. No money, no high conflict. The lawyers and GALs make the time, billing by the hour.

There also needs to be state funding to avoid what happens typically in these situations, which is that the one with the money wins. And usually, the one with the money is the one with the personality disorder. It’s like taking a local referee for Little League and placing him in the majors. There’s a different set of rules.

Sometimes they target the one with money to win, sometimes to lose. If attorneys work it right, he won’t have money anymore. He will get the kids if all goes according to plan, but the lawyers will wind up with the college fund.

A perfect high conflict is where there is a protective mother, and a well-to-do abusive father who controls the money.

Parental alienation will be used to take the mother away from the children, and, when the father alienates from the mother, nothing is done. When the mother loses her children, she will act unstable then experts will come in and say she appears to have a mental disorder.

They find the mother insane, take the children away and give them to the father who is insane. [It sometimes works in reverse where the father is the protective parent.] Sometimes both parents are fit, but they can stoke the flames of hate. Then pick the parent to lose.

In the typical scenario, they know the protective mother will fight, though always in defeat, and make the father pay to avoid sharing marital assets, alimony, or child support. He invests in his future by purchasing custody of the children.

As referees, the judges know what they are doing – supporting attorneys’ billings.

High conflict is completely different, and those lines should never be crossed. And until the state in the court system recognizes this, these issues will never stop. You cannot expect the same parties who deal with the typical family litigation to suddenly cross the line and deal with something like this. It is at a completely different level.

They do not want it to stop. They are not in over their heads. They would be if they were seeking justice or the children’s best interest, but they aren’t. They know what the attorneys and GALs want, which is to make sure rulings conform with maximum billings.

Below are a few expert judges. They always ensure attorneys make their billings. If that conflicts with the children’s best interest, which it usually does, since it is money-driven, so be it.

Judges Who Are Qualified to Protect the Children’s Lawyers’ Best Interest

Judge Jane Grossman


Judge Erika M. Tindall

Judge Gerard Adelman.

Judge Donna Nelson Heller

Judge Mark Gould

Judge Anna Ficeto

Judge Margarita Hartley Moore

Judge Thomas Moukawsher

Judge Jose Suarez

Judge James Kenefick

About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • Ficeto, and her mustache, are at the center of all these high profile cases.

    She used to work for the public works department or something. Now she’s deciding custody. She lives in wolcott on diamond rock road.

  • Want to see this is real life go see the DiRubba v DiRubba case…they milked this guy for millions with not one shred of evidence of any wrong doing… SILVER BULLET at its best and the judges turned a blind eye to ALL the evidence. As the way the case went I believe even his attorney conspired against him for enormous financial gain. Not about win or lose right or wrong, all about how much and what can do to cash in on this case. They knew the ex is unstable and they used her for their advantage and aid her so they could profit.

  • If you have assets they will run you through the mill…and if you don’t participate they somehow figure out how to throw in the criminal system and DCF. THEY WANT YOUR MONEY and if your ex doesn’t get it you are screwed because they play along.

  • You are right on the money as it relates to the pigs at the trough in the court syndicate…but you are absolutely wrong as it relates to the characterization of men as the victimizers.

    This level of ignorance only serves to reinforce the narrative that courts use to create the controversy and ultimately abuse the children.

    Wake up to the facts, and stop perpetuating the false narratives that denigrate, marginalize men and erroneously “victimize” all women.

  • You are doing a fantastic job, Frank. Keep up the good work. Sooner or later the damn will break. I have never seen such corruption.

  • How about a GAL that had 22 cases in one courthouse in a 3-year period and 15 of those 22 cases involve the same law firm? This is not conjecture, it is fact. PM me if interested.

    • I am going to look into this. I want to know the results of those 15 cases – and how many wound up with termination of parental rights.

      • There’s a big difference between termination of rights and what has occurred in the cases you are featuring. I don’t believe any party has actually lost rights. Their custody has been reduced.

        • There really is not much of a difference–which is the WHOLE POINT. No-contact orders are being put in by the court based on bs reports by a fraudulent evaluator– jessica biren-caverly. There is NO finding of a parent being unfit, or abusive, it is NOT the courts right to limit access to the parent.

          Caverly and the GAL never contacted DCF on any of these parents, because there was NO REASON TO DO SO! If a parent is fit and healthy, why is are family courts limiting or denying contact? This is what you need to be questioning. DCF holds no interest in these cases.

          There is no finding of abuse. In fact, the parents often have plenty of MEDICAL DOCTORS (not quackery and criminality as with custody evaluator Jessica Biren Caverly) who support their position, as well as lifelong friends and family who attest to their parenting. It is RICO.

  • The flawed CT Family Court System’s “special set of rules” needs to be overhauled! The state should recognize (based on write-ups like this one), that the potential for (and shown in practice) this over-billing scam, resulting in the children being hurt, is real. CT needs to clean up their act, and fast. WHY is this not being done? This is just one more negative aspect the State of the CT has going for it. Thank you Frank!

  • How do judges get appointed? Political appointments. Some of them literally have no child psychology degree or child development experience or background whatsoever. Let’s start with that basic problem before we even move up to more severe issues.

    • You could be a municipal traffic attorney one day, and then a family law divorce judge the next day if you grease the right political wheel. No experience in children, family, or psychology needed.

  • I hope that you keep hammering away at this Frank and continue to expose the CT Family Court system for what it is.

    More people need to be aware and to avoid the Family Court system if they value their children and want to spare them this dark fate. Divorce is difficult enough as it is. The fact that the CT Family Court preys on people already suffering is beyond disgusting.

  • Excellent comments! I’d like to add former judge Lynda Munro, who is now mediating high conflict cases, causing just as much damage (if not more) as she did while on the bench.

  • The people involved from GAL, lawyers, judge and mental health care workers work in concert to assure this out come subjecting mother and children to a lifetime of abuse. It’s running exactly as it’s set up-

  • These cases only become “high conflict” when lawyers label it that way. Then they bring in the GAL and soon an entire team of court appointed strangers who will create conflict, and fabricate findings to say- it’s impossible to co-parent- everything must go to one parent and the other is left with no-contact (court endorsed child abuse), no money, no home and threatened and intimidated if they speak out.

    Frank you’ve got this down! Everyone is in on this game in CT family court. It’s racketeering for certain. Thank you! Please keep exposing the truth- what CT media won’t touch.

  • High Conflict means the family has money. There is never a high conflict of poor people, they are kicked out of court.

    If there is a dime of equity in the house, the judge will order it sold to pay the vultures. Family Court is a national fleecing operation under the color of state divorce law, nothing more, nothing less, trafficking children is big bucks for the players, it is how they pay for their BMWs and Audis.

    There is a national organization, AFCC, to orchestrate best fleecing practices across the nation. For more on Connecticut’s ‘high conflict’ and the business plan written in 2002 by the judges themselves see article https://thefamilycourtcircus.com/2017/06/02/family-court-high-revenue-players-club/

  • Give me Judge Grossman and I’ll give the attorney $300k.

    All I want is no alimony, keep the marital assets and to have my children with me (no contact with mother). I want total legal and physical custody and no interference with the law. They’re my children to do with what I see fit.

    Morality shifts from time and nation. It so society that makes man-boy love a crime. And hurts the boy who would otherwise enjoy it.

    In Connecticut, they understand different strokes for different folks. They are not judgmental. This is the constitution state – they believe in freedom and know that through all of history parents had varying relationships with their children.

    Do not judge lest he be judged. So don’t bother me you feminine nazis go change your napkins.

    They’re my kids and I’ll pay for what I think is best for them and me.

  • Same thing happens in NJ. They are called parenting coordinators. They are equally as corrupt and money sucking. They care more about keeping the couples fighting so the attorney coordinator can keep billing. Children are the excuse but money is the motivator.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

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