In family court cases people will often hire a professional Parental Responsibilities Evaluator. This is a mental health professional whose job is to interview both parents, go to their homes, watch their interactions with the children, and then give recommendations to the court on what the best interests of the children actually are.
Because my abuser had recordings which he knew would be inadmissible in court, a PRE was his best option for allowing these recordings to be heard by someone and subsequently influence their decision on what the best interests of the children are. This was all strategic and had been planned out months before he even left the home.
In January, he and his attorney proposed a PRE whom my attorney thought would be just fine so she advised me to go ahead and agree to the woman they proposed. I followed my attorney’s advice and didn’t try to contest it or find a different PRE. I had no idea at this time how vicious and premeditated this all was. I was still extremely naive when she was appointed.
Part of the state statute for PRE’s is that within 7 days of being appointed they have to file a disclosure statement informing both parties and the judge of any “familial, financial, or social relationship that the evaluator has or has had with the child, either party, the attorneys of record, or the judicial officer and, if a relationship exists, the nature of the relationship.” She never filed this disclosure statement–rule break #1.
The next section of the state statute regarding PRE’s says that “the evaluator shall mail the report to the court and to counsel and to any party not represented by counsel at least twenty-one days prior to the hearing. The evaluator shall make available…the names and addresses of all persons whom the evaluator has consulted”. I never received any of this information and her report was file one week prior to the hearing in May (remember, she was appointed in January so had plenty of time to complete and file her report). Rule break #2.
Additionally, the PRE has the responsibility to interview both parents. She never even attempted to call me before writing her report. Rule break #3.
When I saw the report that she filed, and the horrific child abuse allegations that they had thrown out at me, I called her. We had about a 45 minute conversation and there were 2 things she said during this conversation that are worth pointing out–#1 she said that she knew my abuser’s dad, that she’s worked with him before on mental health reports for his clients (this would constitute both familial and financial conflicts of interest). She also stated that the family has a good reputation in town (shows bias). The second thing she said was how much my abuser loves me, how much of a soft-spot he has for me. She went on about this, really emphasizing the love “I KNOW he loves you very much, I KNOW he has a soft-spot for you”. Keep in mind that, to her and to the courts, he was accusing me of child abuse and that in the rest of his motions and the case that was presented to the courts he was absolutely destroying every piece of my character. I was being ripped to shreds by him. How can it be possible that while destroying my character in court, he’s giving someone the impression that he’s still in love with me? THAT IS SCARY! THAT is why my intuition told me I needed to get the fuck out of that state in order to be safe.
This conversation (which was recorded and I still have the recording of) took place in May–4 months after I had fled the state and gone into hiding because this man was stalking me.
After this conversation happened, and I saw all of the rules this PRE had broken, I filed a motion to strike. One thing about the court system is that you are expected to follow the rules of the statutes and if you choose not to, the evidence should become inadmissible. So, in my motion to strike I pointed all of these things out. The judge (same judge to deny my protective order) denied my motion to strike. She told the PRE that she’s perfectly credible and that her report stands. I have strong suspicions that this judge used to use this same PRE in her family court cases when she was practicing family law–something that is researchable and should have been disclosed, if it’s true. I’ll do the research to verify this at some point but I haven’t gotten to it yet.
This is family court system abuse.