Ottawa County, Michigan
Early on in our marriage, my husband became angry and violent toward me and our two children. This quickly escalated to physical and sexual abuse toward me. When I found twisted pornography with a minor on his phone, I decided to separate from my husband. Later, I knew we had to divorce when an argument got out of control, and my husband threatened to kill our son.
Due to the trauma our children experienced at home, they have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety disorders. When we separated, I was granted a Personal Protection Order (PPO) against my husband and was given sole custody of our children.
Eight months later, the Friend of the Court (FOC) granted my ex-husband unsupervised visitation with our children. Within a month both of our children begin exhibiting suicidal thoughts and self abusive behaviors during, and after, his visitation . Their therapists referred our children to Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services. The Pine Rest doctors’ notes include quotes from both of our children listing their father’s abusive behavior.
FOC illegally filed an Ex-Parte Motion to grant the paternal grandparents (my ex-husband’s parents) full temporary custody, even though I have a legal right to protect my children from abuse. This happened after I notified the court about my concerns, and was ending parenting time with my abusive ‘ex’ until we went before the judge.
Three months later at the trial, Judge VanAllsburg did not allow my children’s medical records from Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital into the trial as evidence. Judge VanAllsburg claimed the medical reports were hearsay, because the doctors were not present in the courtroom at that time.
After Judge VanAllsburg’s actions covered up the abuse, the court workers claimed I alienated our children from their father. To my surprise, the court took it even further by declaring, without evidence, I was mentally unfit to care for my own children.
Judge VanAllsburg gave custody of my children to the paternal grandparents (my ex-husband’s parents). Even worse, the judge allowed the children’s abusive father full access to the children.
The Judge ruled I am allowed to see my own children for only two hours a week – with supervision. Judge VanAllsburg is requiring me to pay $50 an hour for these supervisors. If I have a two hour visit, it will cost me $100 for time with my children. This is in addition to the child support I am required to pay to my ex-husband’s parents.
The family court system today is placing children back into abusive homes, and financially oppressing their protective parent.