Tittle v Skipp was a divorce and custody case in Waterbury, Connecticut.
CT Superior Court handled the case with a spate of judges alternating as needed to ensure the result. It was an uneven match, to begin with.
Dr. Shawn Tittle, a thoracic surgeon, sought a dissolution of marriage. His wife, Susan Skipp, was a stay-at-home mother.
Dr. Tittle controlled the money. He was wealthy. Skipp quit her job as a teacher to spend the last decade caring for the children she birthed.
The divorce proceedings became contentious. Skipp alleged Tittle was abusive to the children. He seemed to like to grab the children by the hair, she said, lift them up, and throw them about when they annoyed him.
As for her, he liked to hit her, and worse.
Their daughter Gabrielle, 10, disclosed her father assaulted her and the family.
Oh happy day. This set the stage for the experts to get on the payroll.
September 9, 2010
Judge Elizabeth Buzzuto appointed Mary Brigham as guardian ad litem [GAL].
GAL Brigham would determine the best interests of the children. GAL Brigham billed the parents $300 per hour to represent the children.
Between September 2010 and November 2011, she billed 200 hours. The hours broke down like this: Brigham spent eight hours with the children, and 192 hours talking and sending emails to professionals to provide paid services in support of the high-conflict divorce; speaking to the father, Dr. Tittle, and his attorney; talking about billing matters; drafting, filing, and prosecuting motions, three of which sought to hold Skipp in contempt for nonpayment of her fees.
A stay-at-home mother, Skipp could not afford the GAL. In July, Judge Robert Resha held Skipp in contempt. If she didn’t liquidate her teacher’s retirement pension and pay Brigham $20,000 in fees, she was going to jail.
The GAL Brigham instructed the parents to have their children, Wyatt, 8, and Gabrielle, 10, begin therapy with Dr. Sidney Horowitz, a clinical and forensic psychologist and parental alienation expert.
Skipp told Dr. Horowitz that Tittle had a history of physical, psychological, and financial abuse. She claimed he was violent towards his first wife and daughter. He had multiple arrests. The children also reported their father abused them.
In so doing, they sealed their fate.
Dr. Horowitz and GAL Brigham concluded Skipp alienated her children from their father.
On February 8, 2012, GAL Brigham filed an emergency motion. The Court gave primary custody to Dr. Tittle, ending Skipp’s role as primary caregiver and attachment figure of Gabrielle and Wyatt. She had had this role since their birth.
The Court ordered Skipp to undergo a mental health evaluation at her expense, as defined by Dr. Horowitz. Dr. Horowitz selected his colleague Dr. Howard Krieger.
Dr. Krieger required a retainer of $2500 and $250 per session from Skipp. He also billed her insurance using domestic violence billing codes.
Sidney Horwitz, CT Family Court favored therapist.
Like Dr. Horowitz, Dr. Krieger is an advocate for Parental Alienation Syndrome. They believe nothing is more harmful to a child than a mother alienating a father, no matter how abusive the father is.
The more Skipp, her children, and witnesses reported abuse, the more Drs. Krieger and Horwitz understood this was classic parental alienation.
The removal of her children from her home was only the first remedy. It would be a long expensive route.
Skipp told Dr. Krieger that Dr. Tittle had an armory of weapons at home, including six handguns, one of which was not registered. Sometimes, Dr. Tittle pointed a gun at Skipp. The children could access guns.
Dr. Krieger told her, “forget about the guns.”
Shawn Tittle, MD Cardiothoracic Surgery, Thoracic Surgery
He told the Court that Skipp displayed “bizarre behavior.” She did. An ADA advocate began helping Skipp. She had PTSD, depression, anxiety, and ADD due to years of Tittle’s abuse and losing her children.
Sometimes she stuttered, raised her voice, and forgot what she had planned to say. It was not hard to gaslight her. She was the foil, the one to string along to milk the good Dr. Tittle,
The ADA told Skipp that Dr. Horowitz and Krieger likely falsely billed the children’s health insurance carrier. Two other cases were mentioned.
The ADA advocate contacted Aetna about the billing.
March 21, 2012
Skipp went to Dr. Horowitz’s office to get copies of her children’s medical records. She learned Dr. Horowitz only utilized one chart for both Gabrielle and Wyatt’s “records.”
Both were conveniently contained in Gabrielle’s chart.
March 24, 2012
Skipp sent Dr. Horowitz an email seeking itemized billing from the insurance company.
She asked him to “please provide the diagnosis for which insurance agrees to provide long-term therapy.”
The same day, Dr. Horowitz emailed GAL Brigham, recusing himself from the case.
He wrote, “This is the first time in my professional career that I have recused myself from treating a child.”
April 26, 2012
GAL Brigham recommended Skipp never see her children without paid supervised visitation. There were mothers before there were laws. CT law and its service to the paid actors of the court. superseded natural law.
The mother had to pay to see the children she carried, bore the pain of their birth, and held to her breasts from their first breath.
August 15, 2012
The Court learned Dr. Horowitz billed the children’s insurance company (Aetna) with the diagnosis code of 296.22, the code for a “significant depressive illness.”
Dr. Horowitz testified that he never notified the mother or father of any significant depressive illnesses of their children. He testified the diagnosis code was a “clerical error,” and should have been the code for family therapy.
He further testified the actual diagnosis was “Adjustment Disorder.” An adjustment disorder is not uncommon when children are taken from their mother.
Horowitz admitted he failed to share with the parents. He took it upon himself to diagnose the children with mental disorders without telling them. But the diagnoses, false or not, kept the insurance company paying. But Skipp’s inconsideratly challenging his false billings cut his billings short.
Enough is enough. The time had come when Dr. Tittle, who was footing most of the bills, decided to put his foot down. Time to buy out the mother’s rights.
Dr. Tittle sought to permanently sever Skipp’s parenting rights and access to the children. And he had the money to do it.
“The Dark Lord,” Judge Gerald Adelman.
Judge Gerard Adelman heard testimony that the children at one time refused to visit Dr. Tittle. They feared for their safety. Judge Adelman, an advocate for parental alienation, granted Dr. Tittle’s motion for sole custody.
October 16, 2012
All they needed was to make it official. For that. Judge Lynda Munro was selected.
She delivered justice, CT style.
Judge Lynda B Munro
Judge Munro awarded Dr. Tittle sole custody but graciously allowed Skipp to purchase a few hours weekly with her children with the good folks at Visitation Solutions, Inc.
The good folks who solved visitation for CT-stymied mothers were affiliated with Drs. Horowitz and Krieger, and were located an hour away from the home Skipp and her children once shared.
Judge Munro showed a keen appreciation of all that Dr. Tittle had done to enrich the GAL, the therapists, Krieger and Horowitz and anyone else with an extended hand.
Judge Munro denied Skipps’ request for alimony. The good judge then awarded GAL Brigham $70,000 in well-deserved fees, despite the fact that Brigham never filed an affidavit disclosing her billing. All told Brigham got over $100,000 for her work of removing a mother from the lives of her children and placing them in the hands of the good doctor who could afford it.
Judge Munro showed judicial trust by ordering GAL Brigham’s fees based on her word alone. Judge Munro with her decision showed CT law supersedes federal law for debt collection and fair trade.
Denied alimony, financially wiped out, her pension depleted, exhausted, and beaten, Skipp filed for bankruptcy. Disappointingly, Skipp could not pay the folks at Visitation Solutions to see her children. Skipp lost custody of her eleven-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son. And was unable to see them again.
The good court actors earned a lot of money in the high-conflict divorce and custody case of Tittle v Skipp. Whatever Dr. Tittle had to pay his lawyer and for his share of the actors’ fees, he made it up by not having to pay alimony to the woman he once took as his bride, and who brought new life into the world, his children.
She was a discard to his conscience.
How many children have been lost like this though the well-oiled CT Court machine?
The GAL-to-therapists’ malpractice, fraud, and forum shopping incentivized extended conflict?
Oh, the children, you ask? We almost forgot. The children. Their mother was relegated to a lonely memory, a dimming ache that hopefully fades in time, with the lost dreams of youth perhaps to be eradicated forever.