Guest Commentary

Opinion: I Am A Guardian And This Is Personal

, The Connecticut Law Tribune

   | 55 Comments

When you take a job as a guardian ad litem, you never really get to leave the office. Often weekends are when the conflict is the highest and the emails from parties in divorce cases will come rapidly. They are long and accusatory.

What's being said

  • Jody L. Rowell, LCSW

    Very nice article. Well said. But I would add that letting lawyers make decisions about what is in the best interest of a child without a degree in mental health is simply unfair to the child. I am a therapist with years of experience working with children in high conflict divorces and with some, albeit minimal work in family law, GALs, and legal issue where the children were under the care of the state. The experience has been spotty at best. In my opinion it is unconscionable for the legal system to believe that they can make decisions about the best interest of a child without significant clinical education and experience. I have had far too many experiences recently where the GAL does not fully participate in the process, the family is paying extreme amounts of money, and it appears the GAL is making recommendations based on "gut". That is not to say that has been my experience across the board. But isn‘t it time the family law system consider integrating people with mental health training into the process? These are children. They deserve the best chance we can give them in the often insane, untenable process of divorce.

  • not available

    Having no (maybe one) GAL cases on her juries number, Ms. Bauer is the quintessential family law practitioner: A fraud and arrogant enough to publish lies!

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    When do the indictments start? Who‘s investigating the likes of Mary Brigham, Mary Bergamini, Kerry Tarpey, Rhonda Morrea...? Judges who sign off on these travesties of justice: Munro, Addelman, Olear, Cutsumpas, Resha, Wetstone...

  • not available

    @Szymonik - it is so typical- self serving - self righteous - self indignant - egocentric, narcissistic. And these are the people deciding the "best interest" of OUR children. Scary isnt it?

  • not available

    Perhaps GALs need to engage in therapy to address their "boundary issues." What they automatically recommend and force parents into....

  • not available

    So here we have a classic attorney‘s defense. Let‘s ignore the 14 hours of testimony from parents, business leaders, progressive attorneys and GALs before the Task Force in January. Let‘s ignore the almost 700 parents who has signed a petition demanding reforms of our state‘s broken GAL system - each with their own persona horror stories of GAL abuses. let‘s ignore the *thousands* of complaints mailed and emailed to legislators about family court abuses. Instead, let‘s "make this personal" and look to Ms. Bauer, her firm having handled all of five (5) GAL cases. Ms. Bauer and her five cases, outweigh the horrific experiences of *thousands* of parents and children devastated by the problems in our family courts? And the person who commented about a positive experience perfectly illustrated the problem. GALs are not engaged to negotiate anything. GALs are solely and exclusively supposed to evaluate 16 criteria impacting a child and report it to the court. Period. Not to ring up the bill chatting with the other attorneys in the case or getting involved in any disputes between the parents. That is what parents are already paying their attorneys and the court system for. -P. Szymonik

  • not available

    Glad she worked out for you - and if true, you are a very rare case indeed. In my case, I‘m out $56,000 and my sons are worse off today then they were. $56,000 - and less than four hours spent with them. $56,000, and the GALs purposely changed and caused conflict around issues my ex and I had already worked out and each had no problem with. $56,000, and clear and obvious neglect and abuse of my sons and ongoing violations of court orders - completely ignored. $56,000, and abuse of my sons not reported to the Court or DCF, because "GALs are not mandated reporters", and instead, the GAL worked to cover this all up. What a wonderful system we have in this state!

  • not available

    GALs are not judges. They are not supposed to be "working out agreements" between you and your ex. That is what you are paying your attorneys and the judges for. Why in the world does a third attorney need to be paid to do what we are already paying dearly for. This is why people are being bankrupted and losing their homes and losing their jobs.

  • not available

    I am watching this post too - glad your divorce went ok. A "ton" of time = billable hours. First off so she made money. I did not have a trial either - the GAL always forced me into an agreement that would never work so we would end up right back in court again. The other person posting is correct the majority of this nonsense is POST judgement. So you get divorced in less than a year then spend the next 10 years in post judgement tie ups.
    I do not believe anyone is accusing Ms. Bauer of her abilities as a GAL - I do not know her I never even heard of her. But the audacity she had to write a generalizing article that ALL GAL‘s are victims is hurtful, untrue and frankly sounds like propaganda and diminishes from any first impression I might get.
    Someone already listed the main offenders here - we know who they are more importantly they know who they are.
    I am not anonymous - I show up to voice my opinion.
    My children cannot be helped the damage was done and we are out of the system. I do this to help other children and other families from going through the hell we went through because it is NOT necessary. Unless we stand up and make a change - nothing will happen.
    Something is gravely wrong - we know it the entire country knows it they made a movie about it. In 1950‘s no one thought there was anything wrong with segregation but people stood up and said it was wrong now we look back and say that was a bad time. One day people will look back and see the devastation caused to families all over America and I want to be one of the people that stood for what was right.
    If you do not know the depth of the problem - best to stay out Ms. Bauer is not even a pimple on the problem she is just distracting people with this nonsense.

  • not available

    I‘ve been watching this post and feel the need to speak up at this time. Attorney Bauer was the GAL for my kids in my divorce. She spent a ton of time with my ex and I to work out an agreement....which wasn‘t easy. YES....she responded late at night and on weekends. YES my kids benefited bc without her involvement, I‘m sure we would have had a trial. Its easy to tear someone apart when you are anonymous.....not saying GALs work in every case, but it did in mine. you probably aren‘t hearing from the consumers of these services bc they have moved on with their lives. maybe you should too.

  • not available

    Chief Justice Chase Rogers recently stated that 11,557 cases were returned to the court after judgments were made over the past two years. That is an astounding figure reflecting the failure of the system we have given that there are only about 3,400 new custody cases filed statewide each year. This does not reflect a problem with "a small number of high conflict parents" this reflects a failure of the entire family court system in this state. Would anyone consider it acceptable were the vast majority of civil and business disputes were returned to the court because the decision were so poor?



    If judges are outsourcing their judicial authority to GALs and basing their rulings on the opinions and recommendations of these GALs, then this is a reflection of how poor and ineffective the GAL system really is - and how the millions being taken from parents and handed to GALs is being completely wasted.

  • not available

    I believe it would be helpful to hear from some of the parents who paid for Ms. Bauer and to hear directly from them if they believe they or their children received any benefit or value from Ms. Bauer‘s representation of their children - and how many times Ms. Bauer worked on their cases and responded to them on the weekends and late at night. We‘re hearing from many different people in the industry - but no on is asking for the opinions of the consumers and payors of these services in regards to quality and return on investment.

  • not available

    I had to finish my thought from below.....
    I just read we have over 1000 GAL‘s but only 70 are used regularly in CT - no one sees a problem with that? The GAL I had makes millions just doing GAL work and has over 50 running cases - at 300 an hour - you want to tell me she is focused and dedicated to each one? Ms. Bauer is not relaying a reality to you there are GAL‘s that perform well and do their job and I agree not all parents will get along but there has to be
    1) Some limitation to how long a GAL can be in your life
    2) There HAS to be an entity that monitors GAL‘s to weed out the corrupt ones and allows the good ones to flourish
    3) Monetary control so this cash cow ends
    4) There has to be some form of punishment for parents who use the courts for vendettas, revenge and manipulation tactics and it should even include fines and incarcerations - if people were punished maybe they would not rush to file silly motions.
    I guarantee all you married people out there - BE AWARE take your relationship - your household - your parenting and put it under a microscope for ALL to scrutinize and you to may find yourself on the short end of having custody. When people look hard enough they always find something.
    GAL‘s are not victims - the system is broken and now the lawyers are starting to panic because something is actually being done - we are rising up against the tyranny and our voices are being heard. This is the beauty of America.
    So do not diminish this problem with stupid comments about winners or losers because this is about children and just so people know - thanks to the poor decisions of GAL‘s children in CT have been raped, murdered, molested and beaten. This is not a joke this is not just about CT this is a problem all over the country and thousands upon thousands of parents are speaking up that enough is enough. If parents are not abusing their children STOP TAKING THEM AWAY.
    Sorry Ms. Bauer - You do not have my sympathy if you don‘t like your job go work somewhere else I doubt you will make as much money.
    If you are opposed to having regulations - which EVERY industry has that only means you have something to hide or something to lose and it makes me wonder. An honest person would welcome it.

    Wilma

  • not available

    I would like to say – Good job Maureen you are a source of wisdom in this plight.
    As for the unidentified person who said that there are bunch of losers posting comments and that we should hand the children of CT over to convicts and pedophiles – well I dare not speak of your intelligence or lac thereof your comment speaks for itself and obviously you have been no part of the family court scene so your input is of no value.
    The GAL’s are not victims – they are not souls of passion fighting for children everywhere. They are not in a thankless job they are well compensated.
    This GAL is trying to pull the wool over your eyes DO NOT LET HER we are smarter than this. Parents are not saying all GAL’s are bad – we are not saying there is no room for a 3rd party negotiator to ensure the children’s needs are met.
    What we are saying is the corrupt, evil money hungry GAL”s that I keep hearing the same names over and over need to be weeded OUT and the only way to do so is to pass legislation and have set standards. This is a reasonable request.
    The GAL’s fighting this are the ones raking in mounds of money of the backs of parents and children – why would they want to change why would they want to have any supervision and account for their billing? It is like asking the cat how much he wants to pay for the milk. To victimize the GAL is to say Hitler was a victim of difficult financial times and had to murder millions of people. Yes I am making a mean comparison but I want people to see the level of BULL presented in this article. At a rate of 200-300 an hour believe me your job is not thankless – the majority of GAL’s do not work weekends nor do they spend countless hours with the children in 6 years our GAL met with my kids less than 5 times and never met a teacher doctor or anyone.
    The racket is simple – parents come in and the GAL is assigned – there may be no dispute over custody and the parents may not even be fighting but the GAL and the attorneys will spark some fires – BILLABLE hours created. How would they make the tens of thousands if we settled in a day? Now the GAL drags the poor child in and forces them to choose mommy or daddy – now the trauma and the GAL calls upon their buddies the MENTAL HEALTH professionals – and lots and lots of money!!

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    Test of comment

  • not available

    I am a family attorney from Florida and I have worked as a volunteer GAL in over 200 CASA cases. I find it very disturbing to learn that colleagues of mine in Connecticut are making careers as GALs. I can‘t believe how much money career GALs in CT are making from these vulnerable families and they‘re also quick to criticize these families. When I volunteer my time to a family, I have one goal and it‘s to help the entire family. It seems like the for-profit CT GALs are trying to make others believe the role of a GAL is so hard; it‘s not. It‘s not a thankless job as this article states and the families I work with are appreciative. What is really disheartening is to know my profession is charging the same for GAL work as they do when they‘re working as counsel. Disappointed in my CT colleagues.

  • not available

    My name is Mike Jeffries. I‘m the author of A Family‘s Heartbreak: A Parent‘s Introduction to Parental Alienation.

    I recently read your article about being a GAL in the Connecticut Law Tribune. While many of your points are valid, I do believe you overlooked one key aspect of the GAL experience that does not reflect positively on GALs, the legal profession or the courts.

    Most GALs and attorneys for the minor children appear in the same courts in front of the same judges day after day. Judges routinely appoint GALs and attorneys for the minor children from a pool of attorneys that regularly appear before them.

    Attorneys follow the same advice they give to their clients -- don‘t get on the wrong side of the judge. And since GALs appear before the same judges over and over again, they have more reasons to follow their own advice than litigants do

    Most attorneys, GALs included, know how the judges they go before tend to rule as well as the judges‘ personal biases. GALs routinely recommend what they believe the judge wants to hear. And since the GALs clients are children, there is no one to stop them. The GALs recommendation serves two conflicting agendas -- one, give the judge the rationale he or she needs to make a ruling that is hard to challenge; and two, stay on the good side of a judge you will have to go before again and again.

    I

  • not available

    Atty. Bauer is brave indeed: Already her reputation and ethics are being questioned online by anonymous complainers.
    And bravo to the commenter who wrote about the ugliness of these sore losers. Well said, sir/madam!

  • not available

    I believe the following social experiment should be conducted. Have 100 happily married people get GAL to help them with their parental decisions and disputes. Then survey the parents on how useful the GAL was. Followed by a comparison of the cost and satisfaction between married and divorcing parents.

  • not available

    To be sure, we can all agree on one thing, families are suffering -- However, it would be wrong to put forth the notion, as Ms. Bauer did, that GALs are the victims -- especially in a system that has no self regulation and requires no accountability. This is not a personal attack on GALs per se. Rather, it is an indictment on a system that operates with immunity and without true oversight. It is an outcry on behalf of many suffering parents and families who have been deprived access to their children and who have seen their hard-earned financial resources of retirement funds and children‘s college education funds rapidly eroded, if not wiped out, due to the tsunami of fees assessed by the cottage industry built up around custody issues. It is not the GAL that is victim. Rather, it is the children and parents whose access to one another have been denied or restricted (absent abuse and neglect). It is the parents and families that are crushed with the fees of the GAL, couples counseling, child therapy , reunification therapy, supervised visitation, psychological evaluations, and legal representation fees (if not pro se). Most, if not all, professionals who perform skilled tasks are governed by a code of ethics and by an oversight board with an avenue of redress afforded to those who are aggrieved. They are not protected under the armor of immunity that GALs enjoy. Unfortunately, GALs to date have not been subject to a process that would not only assure the integrity of their conduct and their profession, but would (in the least) also promote a public perception that there is some accountability. Unlike the $250 /hr well compensated GALs, many parents and families find themselves struggling by having to deplete bank accounts and work overtime to support these and other fees which they have been saddled with unvoluntarily. Parents find themselves in a financial death spiral, and when coupled with deprivation of access to their children, it is difficult to understand the plight of the "thankless" GAL as Ms. Bauer has attempted to portray. There is a grave concern that GALs do not know the boundaries of their jobs, the specific scope of their tasks, and have overextended themselves into professional areas in which they are not licensed, leading to unnecessary billing and failure to timely and appropriately resolve issues at the parents‘ (and child‘s) expense. It is indeed personal, but until you are a parent who has had access to your children impacted and until you have been personally burdened with the astronomical fees, it is difficult to gain a true perspective as to how devastating this process is both emotionally and financially.

    Maureen Martowska

  • not available

    After reading the comments section, it is clear there are many losers here. As the great Dom Irrera says, "I don‘t mean that in a bad way." Clearly such angry posts would not be coming from the winners in these "high conflict" cases. Makes sense, right?
    Aside from being emotionally difficult, divorces can also be, well, expensive. It‘s interesting that over and over one of the main complaints is cost. I mean the unmitigated gall of having to pay for something. Shouldn‘t there be a free app instead of an actual GAL? Why are there no volunteers? I saw one post that claimed being a GAL is so easy, anyone can do it. Here‘s an idea, we have a large prison population doing nothing but living off us hard working tax payers. Let‘s put them to work as GALs.
    It seems almost un-American that you can spend so much money on something and not get the result you paid for. What happened to "the customer‘s always right?" Shouldn‘t there be consumer protection laws for family courts? Come on, we are talking about courts for God‘s sake. That‘s what they do, laws. Ironically, I suspect these non-winners are probably also members of the "no free lunch" crowd or those full throated protectors of our precious children -- especially at some one else‘s expense.
    So a "reform" movement funded by some rich losers (remember, not in a bad way) decides it‘s going to do something about the injustice of it all. Hate blogs are started. Media consultants are hired. Local politicians are influenced to spend tax payer dollars sitting in court rooms. Committees are formed, and a laundry list of recommendations is made. Here‘s a simple one: have signs hung above the entrance to every family court with the following disclaimer: "expect justice for all, not satisfaction for you."
    I have another suggestion. When you post a vicious comment blaming attorney’s and judges and GAL’s (particularly by name) you should also include your docket number so that interested parties can go to the Judicial website and retrace the details of all the harm the court and it’s members have rudely and intentionally inflicted on you.
    I know what you‘re thinking, pretty unlikely, huh? The truth is, like it or not, courts are still a place where decisions are made. Often one side wins and one side loses. Some would argue that if you end up on trial in a family court, you‘ve already lost, and in a more esoteric way, I suppose that may be so. But there used to be the notion of a "good sport." It wasn‘t that long ago that part of growing up meant learning the very hard lesson that, in life, you don‘t always get your way. Sadly in this world of hyper-linked, crowd-sourced, opinion, a third category of litigant has evolved. In addition to the winner and the loser, we now have the sore-loser. And lately, it seems, there are a lot of them. And yes, I mean that in a bad way.

  • not available

    After reading the comments section, it is clear there are many losers here. As the great Dom Irrera says, "I don‘t mean that in a bad way." Clearly such angry posts would not be coming from the winners in these "high conflict" cases. Makes sense, right?
    Aside from being emotionally difficult, divorces can also be, well, expensive. It‘s interesting that over and over one of the main complaints is cost. I mean the unmitigated gall of having to pay for something. Shouldn‘t there be a free app instead of an actual GAL? Why are there no volunteers? I saw one post that claimed being a GAL is so easy, anyone can do it. Here‘s an idea, we have a large prison population doing nothing but living off us hard working tax payers. Let‘s put them to work as GALs.
    It seems almost un-American that you can spend so much money on something and not get the result you paid for. What happened to "the customer‘s always right?" Shouldn‘t there be consumer protection laws for family courts? Come on, we are talking about courts for God‘s sake. That‘s what they do, laws. Ironically, I suspect these non-winners are probably also members of the "no free lunch" crowd or those full throated protectors of our precious children -- especially at some one else‘s expense.
    So a "reform" movement funded by some rich losers (remember, not in a bad way) decides it‘s going to do something about the injustice of it all. Hate blogs are started. Media consultants are hired. Local politicians are influenced to spend tax payer dollars sitting in court rooms. Committees are formed, and a laundry list of recommendations is made. Here‘s a simple one: have signs hung above the entrance to every family court with the following disclaimer: "expect justice for all, not satisfaction for you."
    I have another suggestion. When you post a vicious comment blaming attorney’s and judges and GAL’s (particularly by name) you should also include your docket number so that interested parties can go to the Judicial website and retrace the details of all the harm the court and it’s members have rudely and intentionally inflicted on you.
    I know what you‘re thinking, pretty unlikely, huh? The truth is, like it or not, courts are still a place where decisions are made. Often one side wins and one side loses. Some would argue that if you end up on trial in a family court, you‘ve already lost, and in a more esoteric way, I suppose that may be so. But there used to be the notion of a "good sport." It wasn‘t that long ago that part of growing up meant learning the very hard lesson that, in life, you don‘t always get your way. Sadly in this world of hyper-linked, crowd-sourced, opinion, a third category of litigant has evolved. In addition to the winner and the loser, we now have the sore-loser. And lately, it seems, there are a lot of them. And yes, I mean that in a bad way.

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  • not available

    The last sentence of the previous post SHOULD HAVE READ ‘I just hope more attorneys DON‘T stop taking on GAL assignments.‘ Apologies.

  • not available

    What the disgruntled parents involved in high conflict cases will never admit is that the "opposing" spouse often makes a motion to have a GAL appointed because THEY understand that their soon-to-be-ex has NO intention of ever giving in in any point, but will keep the conflict alive just to "win," and the kids do suffer. Perhaps judicial ought to hire GALs and assign them for a certain number of hours at no cost to the parties, but once the hours are exceeded, then charge the parties. Some sort if penalty for endlessly continuing post-dissolution activity is warranted for those involved in high conflict cases. Interestingly, when many of the bitter parties testified at the task force hearing, it was about the money-- not about their children. I just hope that more attorneys decide to stop taking GAL work because of the current ugliness by unbalanced / bitter self-reps.

  • not available

    Well said Ms. Bauer.
    As in many situations, both sides are right and both sides are wrong - as to some things. It is very unfortunate that many parents have developed the idea that guardians ad litem are the cause of their problems. This whole thing would feel a lot better if they understood that their concerns are being addressed. I hope that if there have been thousands of people driven to bankruptcy and to sell their homes and thrown into court for not paying GAL fees, the CT Law Tribute will investigate and make them known. Otherwise, I have to think that somewhere along the line, there are miscommunications, even cultural differences that might influence understanding. I hope that these will also be taken into account. Connecticut is an incredibly diverse state in terms of race but more notably in terms of income. It would certainly be inappropriate to fail to take into account the ability of parents to pay GAL fees. But as I read the recent Task Force report - the fee part was one of their recommendations. I hope the legislature will also address the need for culturally sensitive communications.

    Hang in there - your focus is on the children. A good focus to maintain.

    As for corruption - this allegation I do not understand.

  • not available

    The fact is, while the criminal courts have embraced evidence based research and practices to help guide not only the process and decision making, the family courts are in the dark ages, relying on "gut" feelings or worse -- financial incentive -- of people like you, Attorney Bauer. You have absolutely no research to show that what you do helps children or is effective. You have no research to show that you are not harming children. You have no factual basis aside from your own emotional "I‘m a victim but a hero" opinion that the GAL system has any value whatsoever. None. Zippo. So as a lawyer, on what do you base your case that the GAL system is effective? The State of Connecticut is not even collecting data. The co-chairs of the Task Force Concerning Custody of Minor Children, refused to show leadership and refused to openly be transparent about their GAL billing practices. Take a bit of your own advice -- the issue is about the children who are caught up in a failed system -- not you. I hear a fiddle playing...

  • not available

    Well, no household shall go with out ipecac this week as long as this article is up. Not thanked when you bring piece of Shi* your trying to sell as PR when your multimillion dollar cottage industry bye bye. The judicial system is broken. Blame the parents, no blame the idiot judges, attorneys, gals, amcs, family relations, co-parent counselors, co parent coordinators, whacky shrinks who are in business with judges and lawyers and family services. No you all bring chaos, incentive conflict to bill more and drag a divorce out years. It takes 15 minutes.

  • not available

    Fit parents have constitutional rights that you as a GAL are personally denying to them and that the system as a whole is denying to them. These rights are personal between each parent and each child. They are individual and do not depend on the marriage. Just as in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the State does NOT have a superior right to that of the fit parents. Parents have a right to be angry because they have done nothing wrong and you and people like you directly deprive them of their constitutional rights simply because you have the power to do so at least so long as you can keep them believing that they have no rights. This divorce industry preys on vulnerable parents and deprives them of their First Amendment rights, their due process rights and their equal protection rights. Then you invade their privacy and blatantly violate their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights with family studies, Then you deny their Sixth Amendment rights by GALs and judges eliciting ex parte testimony from children that is then used to punish one or both parents with further permanent violations of their constitutional rights. The system you participate in is corrupt and feeds off of the backs of our children. It is based on nothing more than bias, prejudice, and bigotry against divorcing or single parents and the State‘s desire to unconstitutionally punish parents in divorce. As a GAL and an attorney you should not be begging for understanding you should be begging for forgiveness for violating the rights of parents and children and for violating your oath to uphold the Constitution.
    My mission is to destroy this corrupt system and replace it with one that respects our constitution.

    Ron B Palmer
    Constitutional Scholar in Family Law
    Author: NOT In the Child‘s Best Interest and Protecting Parent-Child Bonds: The 28th Amendment
    www.FixFamilyCourts.com

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    Florida, has a model system. GALs there are not attorneys who bill whatever they want and by the hour. But volunteers from all walks of life who are paid a single flat rate to represent children in divorce cases, just like a juror. They do not report to judges, but are trained and monitored by the state.

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    Why is it that a very small group of GALs are being assigned to 200 cases in this state, when 900 can‘t get assigned to a single case? Why are judges allowed to pick their pet GALs by name and then funnel tens of thousands of dollars to them? Why does no one check to see if a GAL is actually doing their jobs - are we supposed to just trust them?

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    There is NOTHING about a GAL being paid $25,000, $50,000, $100,000 on case that makes their jobs "thankless" - not when at the same time they spend a few hours with a child and most of the time chatting with the other attorneys in the case - who also happen to be GALs....



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    There is another about a GAL being paid $25,000, $50,000, $100,000 on case that makes their jobs "thankless" - not when at the same time they spend a few hours with a child and most of the time chatting with the other attorneys in the case - who also happen to be GALs....

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    Literally thousands of parents across the state have lost their jobs, lost their homes, lost their children, been forced to liquidate their retirements accounts, been forced to liquidate their children‘s college funds, and even been JAILED for not being able to pay anymore - and we have an attorney claiming we need to feel pity for the horrific attorneys who have done this to parents for no good reason?

    SHAME ON YOU!

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    Literally thousands of parents across the state have lost their jobs, lost their homes, lost their children, been forced to liquidate their retirements accounts, been forced to liquidate their children‘s college funds, and even been AJILED - and we have an attorney claiming we need to feel pity for the horrific attorneys who have done this to parents for no good reason? SHAME ON YOU!

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    Ms. Bauer - here is a question for you. You state that you are a GAL. If that is the case, then why you are not listed in the state‘s latest list of GAL/AMCs who have passed the state‘s required GAL training program? It seems your veracity may be in question.

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    Being a Guardian ad Litem is not a profession, it is not a trade, it is not a vocation. No one goes to college or trade school to become a GAL. No one goes to law school to become GAL. There are no standards, no licenses required. All this is about is CORRUPTION and failed family law attorneys taking over a system designed to help children and families in order to do no work and personally enrich themselves. No more lipstick on the pig. No more divorce industry slogans and falsehoods. Thousands of children and families have ben HARMED by GALs in this state and its well past time for this abuse of our family courts to be seen for what it really is and properly addressed.

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    Thank you for writing this piece. It has been extremely disheartening to see GALs come under such direct fire in the recent examination of the family courts. Aside from having the best clients ever, the role of GAL is often times thankless. Your piece illustrated the emotional investment and the emotional toll that this job can take on dedicated individuals. Thank you again for your your thoughtful piece and for continuing to take on GAL cases!

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    As a paralegal in a family law firm, I can attest to the fact that the attorneys that I work for are dedicated Guardian Ad Litems. They work long and hard with all parties involved (other attorneys, doctors, therapists, teachers, children, parents). They DO give their personal time and are devoted to the children/families they are working for. I can also attest to the fact that I witness many parents in focused pursuit of their own agenda, sans compromise, that they have lost sight of the best interest of their children. Perhaps if the same energy was put into taking personal responsibility for their actions, their lives and their families, with an emphasis on the children, the intervention of a GAL would not be necessary and college funds would remain intact.

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    Please still to what you know, which is manipulating the facts for the sake of your clients. Stop charging Attorney prices for a Social Workers job whose duties you are not even properly trained to carry out. You went to LAW SCHOOL. Social Workers, Psychologist, Family Therapists went to a different school. People say Attorneys are arrogant. Trying to be a Guardian Ad Litem and then acting like you are the VICTIM is the epitomy of arrogance.

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    Please still to what you know, which is manipulating the facts for the sake of your clients. Stop charging Attorney prices for a Social Workers job whose duties you are not even properly trained to carry out. You went to LAW SCHOOL. Social Workers, Psychologist, Family Therapists went to a different school. People say Attorneys are arrogant. Trying to be a Guardian Ad Litem and then acting like you are the VICTIM is the epitomy of arrogance.

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    It sounds like the GALs, attorneys, judges, and The Connecticut Law Tribune have opted to start a public relations campaign to paint themselves as the victims (Why does Renee Bauer‘s picture keep changing?). Instead of taking action towards addressing an abusive, and in some cases corrupt family court system; they are trying to get the public to believe that GALs are the unsung heroes of family court. Am I reading that right? They are underappreciated and simply trying to keep families safe and happy? Let me guess, for the best interest of children right? What a disgrace!
    Is Renee Bauer mistaken, purposely misleading the public, or perhaps does she think that we are still in a courtroom where simply saying something while ignoring a preponderance evidence makes it so. We are not in a family law court room. We are outside the courtroom where allegations are corroborated and supported by evidence; where facts are not irrelevant simply because a GAL has taken sides or chosen to dismiss them for a price.
    I am in California and the extent of corruption and abuses from the Connecticut family law GALs, attorneys, and judges are reverberating across the country and all the way to the west coast. Please keep this "opinion piece" up. When the full extent of the corruption comes to light, many will be taking a look back at this piece and its desperate attempt to misrepresent the role that GALs have been playing in the disruption of families and I believe even fewer people will be buying Renee Bauer‘s book than are buying her poor sacrificial victim story now.
    Joe R Barrow
    www.April25.org

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    A good GAL would invite both parents to his or hers office and have them watch the movie DivorceCorp. Then let the parents decide if they still want to throw away their hard earned money to the family court system. Money and motions are not going to change who the mother is and who the father is. The best thing for the children is for the parents to get divorced with a minimal drain on the family’s assets, but divorce lawyers do not want a GAL to do that.

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    You are an Attorney. You are trained to strategize and use facts to the benefit of your client, right or wrong. You did not choose social work as your field of expertise, you chose the law. You sound as though you want people to sympathize with you and the other attorneys that have worked as Guardian Ad Litem‘s. Family Attorneys should not be Guardian Ad Litem‘s. You are not trained to know what is best for children, you are trained, and paid A LOT, to represent clients. You are not accustomed to caring about the other party, regardless of who is right and wrong.

    If it is a thankless job, PLEASE leave it to someone better trained for the job. Attorneys are not known for their "benevolence". Stop playing victim, you are not one. The children that have Attorneys appointed to make important decisions for their life, with very little training in child or family therapy, are the victims.

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    The problem with GALs is that they come from the same pool of corrupt family lawyers. They are an additional expense added into the adversarial process and jointly selected by the two family lawyers. The GAL has the power easily squash the conflict, but that would not get them any further business.

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    "A child wedged in the middle of a custody scuffle is tragic."

    Statements such as this are the true tragedy.

    From my experience it is almost exclusively lawyers and the judges they will become that believe in the need for "custody scuffles".

    Most people believe that parents should be treated as equals.

    For the past 35 years the legal community has been exploiting the citizens of this country by refusing to accept the new divorce laws (new 35 years ago) laws that were meant to reduce conflict and treat people equally and in the best interest of children.

    Instead we have GAL‘s such as this one that wants to whine that they are actually the victim, while they shed tears all the way to the bank.

    Custody battles are seldom justified, both parents are usually better suited for raising their children, than a GAL.

    Unfortunately, GAL‘s, lawyers and the judges they will become seem to like nothing better than a good fight.

    Only when GAL‘s, lawyers and the judges they will become start to accept responsibility for their misconduct will our courts be able to move forward, and put this history of abuse behind them.

    Unfortunately as this piece clearly shows these same perpetrators insist on blaming the victims of their abuse.

    Patrick McCabe

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    I guess the 600 people who signed Ms. Szymonik‘s petition and the THOUSANDS of parents and attorneys and GALs who contacted their legislators in support much needed reforms are all so very wrong - and Ms. Bauer is just a saint. We‘ve all had our sad days Ms. Bauer - made much much worse by attorneys and GALs like you and the personal agendas your promote - not better.

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    Every Guardian ad Litem is an independent contractor and an evaluator of the child‘s status and a potential witness. Nothing more. Then why do they spend most of their time chatting with the attorneys and judges and sitting in court to bill as much as possible? They claim what they are paid is "child support" - which is laughable as not a dime of what they are paid provide any support and maintenance benefit of any benefit to a child. The whole system is beyond unethical and corrupt and must be abolished - who needs these people? Not the children they take advantage and abuse.

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    $52,000 in GALs bills for me, and the two GALs spent less than four hours total with my sons while completely ignoring abuse and neglect they were suffering. This continues to this day as all these people do is keep going to court asking for more money neither I nor my ex have. What exactly is so wonderful about this system again? Where is the focus on children Ms. Bauer writes about? I and my family and my kids - haven‘t seen it.

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    Corrupt and unethical Guardian ad Litems - are not the victims or the ones who need protection. Its a wonderful thing that all of these "experienced" GALs are withdrawing from cases, - so maybe now the 900 other GALs in this state will get a chance to help and do something constructive and positive to actually help children and families for a chance. Which attorneys like Ms. Bauer do not do and have not done.

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    This is personal Ms. Bauer - these are OUR children and OUR families you and other GALs have destroyed for no good reason. I want my son‘s college funds back - can you make that happen?

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    In the state of Maryland, they stripped GALs of immunity in 2006. The divorce industry cried the same propaganda Ms. Bauer has above. That parents would relentless sue solely because they disagreed with GALs. Bloodied children would be roaming the streets. What actually happened? Within two years, all of the bad GALs who were milking parents and doing absolutely nothing to help children - left the system Knowing they were now accountable. All of the good GALs who spent the majority of their time with children and didn‘t work to financially devastate and take advantage of already suffering parents - stayed. And within two years the average cost and length of custody cases in that state dropped nearly in half. Cause and effect? No more corruption - no more divorce industry cover ups and lies. All of this is being exposed for what it really is using the power of social media. No more Ms. Bauer.

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