CT Family Court’s Business Approach: Judge O’Neill Took Care of Customer Ambrose

The characters, names, situations, and events depicted in this post are fictional. Any resemblance to actual individuals, living or dead, or to real events is purely coincidental. This work of fiction is a product of the author’s imagination and is not intended to reflect any specific individuals, entities, or situations from the real world.

By Dr. Winston Sharp, FCP

Family Court Professional

In the custody dispute between Christopher Ambrose and his ex wife Karen Riordan, the strange beliefs of their three teenage children about their father diverged significantly from the family court record.

The Court had to act intelligently to quell the disturbances created.

Our policy at CT Family Court is to foster a collaborative approach that brings together family court judges, healthcare professionals, family law attorneys, custody evaluators, and guardians ad litem.

In this troubling case, Mr. Ambrose worked towards achieving a resolution that prioritized his well-being and conformed with the goals of CT Family Court. 

This collaborative endeavor had the potential to gradually guide his children toward embracing the envisioned outcome set forth in the family court’s prior directives, as meticulously outlined in Judge Gerard Adelman’s memorandum and decision.

The customer is king. Chris Ambrose knows how CT Family Court works….

This decision benefits not only the father, but also the professionals involved in his case. His approach contrasted starkly with the mother’s approach. She failed to achieve effective engagement with the professionals.

Consequently, three actions occurred.

First Judge Jane Grossman awarded temporary custody to the father on April 24, 2020, with a no contact order for the mother and the children. This was the hard part, because the children were uprooted from their mother without notice. But the court and Mr. Ambrose persevered.  The children were isolated. The mother made homeless.

CT Family Court Judge Jane Grossman
Judge Jane Grossman took the first bold step. She removed the three children from their mother.   
Judge Gerard Adelman

Two years later, Judge Adelman issued the divorce decree, and awarded Mr. Ambrose permanent custody of the children.

He also ensured Mr. Ambrose received all the marital assets. This financial constraint hindered the mother’s ability to continue challenging the decisions of the CT Family Court.

A sickening twist of events occurred one year after the issuance of Judge Adelman’s final orders. The children, in an astonishing display of defiance against Judge Adelman’s clear and decisive directives that severed ties with their mother, shockingly chose to seek refuge with her instead.

This situation required Mr. Ambrose to engage a new attorney and plow through three judges before a just resolution could be reached.

While it’s not my intention to identify the judges who were less assertive in their stance, I want to emphasize the notable exception of Judge Thomas J. O’Neill.

Judge O’Neill said to his colleagues:

When a father purchases custody in our courts and the mother winds up with the children, we are supposed to do something about it. It doesn’t make any difference what you think of the father. He bought custody and we’re supposed to do something about it.

Then it happens we are specifically selling custody using  parental alienation. Well, when one of our fathers pays for alienation, and instead of the mother getting alienated, the kids go to her and he’s alienated, it’s bad business to let the mother get away with it. It’s bad all around–bad for CT Family Court, bad for every family court everywhere.

I’m a new family court judge, true, but after Judge Grossman flipped custody three years ago, and then Judge Adelman ran the mother out of the children’s lives and secured the money for Ambrose, which our people gladly took, it should have been finally settled.

Sure, some of my colleagues said it’s not our problem. We delivered to Mr. Ambrosse what he paid for. He got the custody. If he can’t keep the kids, that’s on him.

I disagree.

To let the children go back to the mother, is like asking a dog to catch a rabbit and let it go. It can be done, all right, and sometimes it is done, but it’s not the natural thing.

In issuing restraining orders that prohibited the mother from contacting her teenage children for one year, Judge O’Neill began the process that safeguarded not only the well-being of the customer, Ambrose, but also the financial stability of the CT Family Court and its professionals.

Judge O’Neill’s intervention upholds the values of a well-functioning business. His decision to bar the children from seeing their mother, but without specific orders of where the children will go after they have to leave their mother’s home, was a superb stroke of collaboration with our professionals, while still giving the customer, Mr. Ambrose, a chance to be made whole.

As Judge O’Neill stated:

As a judge entrusted with the welfare of the system, I have to ensure that financial interests remain at the forefront of CT Family Court, unencumbered by motives that might undermine it. In this context, it’s important to focus on profitability first for the professionals who make their living from this court, and that includes ensuring that our paying customers are satisfied and never unduly dwell on the petty dynamics that arise in familial and legal matters. This is best left up to the professionals we serve to guide us.

It’s reasonable to expect that when the time for his reappointment arrives in seven years, our support will be evident through substantial contributions to the CT General Assembly’s Judicial Committee members. This expression of future support is a testament to our appreciation for Judge O’Neill’s service today, and a reflection of our commitment to maintaining a positive relationship with our judges that endures over time.

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    • If it haven’t been for “NXIVM” and the Bronfman sisters’ antics, Linda Gottleib, Overcoming Barriers, Lynda Munro or Joanie probably would have been next on the take by now:

      • “The camp was a last ditch effort … “ he says.

        When he compares families in extreme crisis to “a Stage 4 cancer malignancy”, Robin Deutsch smiles.

        Then, she licks her lips.

        “Dr. Robin Deutsch, was a founding member of Overcoming Barriers. … Dr. Deutsch practices as a Parenting Coordinator, mediator, reunification specialist, and consultant. She teaches extensively to judges, lawyers, mediators, and mental health groups in the US, Canada, Asia and Europe. Continuing to pursue her interest in interdisciplinary approaches to difficult family situations, she has consulted to the Family courts of Massachusetts, Connecticut 👈 and Indiana and has published extensively on issues related to attachment, co-parenting after divorce, high conflict divorce, parent-child contact problems, parenting plans, and Parenting Coordination. … She was the former President of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC, 2008-2009) 👈 , of the Massachusetts Chapter of AFCC (2002) 👈 and the former Chair of the APA Ethics Committee (2007). She was on the American Psychological Association (APA) task force that developed Guidelines for Parenting Coordinators (2011), the AFCC Task force 👈 that developed Guidelines for Court Involved Therapists (2010), and the AFCC-NCJFCJ Task force 👈 that developed supplemental Guidelines for Evaluators Examining the Effects of Intimate Partner Violence on Families: A Supplement to the Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluation (2016) …”

  • September 4, 2023: Chief Administrative Judge of Family Matters or TRO Excuse-Maker Extraordinaire? says:

    “… Jennifer’s Law: Its Impact on ROs, Divorces, and Family Law Cases (EWL220329)
    March 29, 2022 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    CT Bar Webinar

    Hon. Leo V. Diana, Connecticut Superior Court, Hartford
    Campbell Barrett, Pullman & Comley LLC, Hartford
    Meghan Scanlon, Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Weathersfield Dr. Linda Santos Smith, Clinical & Forensic Psychologist, Southport

    5:00 – 5:10 p.m.: Introductions – Aidan Welch

    5:10 – 5:35 p.m.: What is Coercive Control/Jennifer’s Law, amendments to the laws, overview of services CCADV provides, CCADV’s processes and involvement with victims and custody issues and obtaining TROs – Meghan Scanlon

    5:35 – 6:00 p.m.: The psychological effect on victims and families and how to identify and address coercive control – Dr. Linda Santos Smith

    6:00 – 6:25 p.m.: Process of dealing with a coercive control case from the consult to trial. How to present a coercive control case to the Court, and other practical considerations – Campbell Barrett

    6:25 – 6: 50 p.m.: What is a judge looking for during a TRO hearing and/or trial, practical tips for practitioners – Judge Diana.

    6:50 – 7:00 p.m.: Questions – Panel …”

    “… MIDDLETOWN, CT – A former presiding judge of the Regional Family Docket in Middletown has been named the new Chef Administrative Judge of Family Matters.

    Chief Court Administrator Elizabeth A. Bozzuto announced Judge Leo V. Diana will serve as chief administrative judge of family matters effective Sept. 4, 2023.

    Judge Diana Succeeds Judge Michael A. Albis, who is completing a five-year term as chief administrative judge of family matters. …”

  • These judges certainly don’t instill public trust and confidence in the judiciary. I feel like I’m watching a horror movie unfold, and I’m like “where is the happy ending?”. When do the heroes come in and save these kids? None of this makes any sense. These kids will be 18 in less than 24 months, just let them do what they want for crying out loud. Don’t treat them like escaped fugitives because they want peace and security. The more I think about this the angrier I feel.

    • I assure you, for mothers and children, a happy ending is not to be had in Connecticut Family Court

  • “A 1970 cum laude graduate of the University of Connecticut, Mr. Nusbaum obtained his Juris Doctor in 1973 from Rutgers Law School. He is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut as well as before the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

    A consummate professional, he is a member of the family law sections of the Connecticut Bar Association and the American Bar Association, and he maintains active involvement as a fellow with the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, serving on a number of committees with the organization’s national and Connecticut chapters. He is also a fellow with the International Academy of Family Lawyers and serves on the Connecticut Bar Association Resolution of Legal Fees Dispute Committee.

    An accomplished author and speaker, Mr. Nusbaum co-authored part of the “Family Law Jurisdictional Comparisons,” a definitive reference text on family law involving jurisdictions throughout the country and across the globe. He has also conducted numerous lectures across his region on a variety of legal topics related to family law.” https://profiles.superlawyers.com/connecticut/westport/lawyer/edward-nusbaum/7bc4bd8c-73ba-4924-8dcc-d458ad19aea5.html

    From Stamford Plus: “Edward Nusbaum and Thomas Parrino of Nusbaum & Parrino, PC contributed a 16-page chapter on Connecticut family law to “Family Law Jurisdictional Comparisons,” a volume in the European Lawyer Reference Series, expanding its second edition to cover eight United States jurisdictions and 37 countries.”

    From Jason Kannon, Patch Neighbor
    October 22, 2013

    “… Attorneys Nusbaum and Parrino, both Fellows of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the International Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys, accepted General Editor James Stewart’s invitation to write a summary of Connecticut family law. Nineteen authors contributed for the U.S. jurisdictions and 56 authors contributed for the 37 countries. Published in August 2013, the major reference work provides each jurisdiction’s summary of family law according to a single topical organization, offering easy reference for cross-jurisdictional matters. …

    The Nusbaum and Parrino chapter on Connecticut family law covers many of the typical subjects including pre- and post-nuptial agreements, finances/capital, property, child maintenance, surrogacy and adoption, financial relief after foreign divorce proceedings, and civil partnership/same-sex marriage, among others. …

    Nusbaum & Parrino, PC is a leading family law firm based in Westport, Conn. representing individuals with substantial assets in all areas of family law matters, including divorce, alimony, child support, property division and child custody. A significant portion of its work is concentrated in Fairfield County, yet its geographic reach often extends throughout the state. …” https://patch.com/connecticut/westport/nusbaum–parrino-coauthor-family-law-jurisdictional-comparisons

    Attorney Thomas Parrino served on the CT Family Commission (Formerly Workgroup on Family Rules Committee)

    • “… III. Self-represented parties filing appearances “in lieu of” attorneys

      The concern for the court is that if this happens right before trial that it will cause delay. 👈 🧐 The only concern?!

      Some of the questions are (in the context of family matters only):
      Why does it happen?
      Is it most often a money issue?
      Should there be a hearing?
      Is a rule necessary?
      What is the right way to handle this?
      Should it be that any “in lieu of appearance” that is filed X days before trial requires a hearing?
      Should it also apply to attorneys filing “in lieu of” appearances within the same timeframe?
      Could there be a check box on the Appearance form for when the “in lieu of” appearance is being filed X days before trial?
      Should the same procedures apply to court events other than trials?
      Is there data available on cases where a self-represented party appearance replaced an attorney appearance just prior to trial?
      Are there any constitutional issues?
      Could the filing of a new appearance if there is a scheduled event trigger a flag in the computer system?
      Is there going to be some kind of “broadcast” noticing capability in the system?

      It was generally thought that perhaps the issue could be addressed in the trial management order. Judge Munro will come up with some draft language.


    • “representing individuals with substantial assets in all areas of family law matters“

    • consummate

      complete or perfect; supremely skilled; superb:
      a consummate master.
      being of the highest or most extreme degree:
      a work of consummate skill; an act of consummate savagery.

  • Did NOTHING happen in that family court case since 08/04/2023?

    It’s now 8/13/2023 and … 08/04/2023 was ten days ago!!

    Absolutely nothing happened in that family court case for ten days?!

    “… 636.00 08/04/2023 D MOTION TO DISMISS PB 10-30 This motion, document or order was filed 9 days ago. Motion to Dismiss/Response to Ex-Parte PPA for TRO’s

    Scheduled Court Dates as of 08/11/2023
    # Date Time Event Description Status
    No Events Scheduled” 🧐

  • “… Judge Munro qualified Dr. Horowitz based on Murphy’s insistence. Dr. Horowitz proceeded to testify as an expert witness. In her first meeting with him, the little girl, Sally, disclosed that her father had sexually abused her. During the next visit to Dr. Horowitz’s office, when it was time for the “reunification therapy” with the father, the girl, now 8, clung to her mother in his waiting room: She said she did not want to go, and they could not make her go.

    Earlier that day, Dr. Horowitz had informed Ms. Donovan that she needed to force her unwilling daughter to meet with Dr. Horowitz and her father. Testifying in court, Dr. Horowitz told Murphy that the mother should have forced her frightened little girl to enter his office, where two grown men stood waiting for her. One was her father, whom the girl had reported had abused her ‘millions of times,’ and the other was Dr. Horowitz, a virtual stranger. The record is a cold and clinical read.

    ‘And so the bond was not just an emotional bond,’ Dr. Horowitz tole Murphy and Judge Munro, ‘but there was a … there was a terror in [Sally], sitting there [on her mother’s lap] and [Ms. Donovan] saying I believe you, I believe you. So there was a lack of encouragement for separation.’ …

    Dr. Horowitz then read the court a letter he had written to GAL Gerard Adelman. He explained how the father terrorized the 8-year-old in his office …

    ‘[The child] was quite upset. She was sitting on a chair. She was crawling up the chair. She was crying. She was shaking.’ … Horowitz obviously observed and tolerated the abuse for 45 minutes.

    Amazingly, after the meeting with Ms. Donovan for an hour, Dr. Horowitz described Ms. Donovan as someone ‘unable to see the forest for the trees’ in the best interests of her child. Dr. Horowitz recommended the child be removed to a “therapeutic” foster care home. Regarding the serious emotional trauma that the girl would suffer on being removed from her mother, Dr. Horowitz replied, ‘… sometimes one needs to re-break the bone to allow it to set better.’ …”

    • “Dr.” Robert Horwitz, former Treasurer of Connecticut AFCC, Inc. has judicial authority and judicial immunity as the official groomer in the Ambrose case.

      “Dr.” Horwitz, “Dr.” Horowitz and “Judge” Adelman started their friendships and businesses in Connecticut in the 1980s.

      Have they have all known “Attorney” Nusbaum since then, too?

      Next step: “Dr.” Robert Horwitz might recommend medication, hospitalization and/or “therapeutic foster care” if the teenagers continue to refuse to submit to the rules, practices and protocols of Connecticut “family court”.

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.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

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 premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com


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