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FAMILY LAW ARTICLES

May 17, 2018
Judge criticized for creating parental alienation

The state appeals court in Pennsylvania has criticized a family court judge for keeping a child in foster care after it received no explanation from the parents for the child’s broken ribs. According to an article in ABA Journal, the judge took unusual steps in a case where an infant had two broken bones. A subsequent ruling in the state’s appeals court said that the trial judge created a situation where there was “judicially created parental alienation.”

Judge makes matters worse

Whereas the courts generally want to keep families together, this judge decided that foster care was a better option than putting the infant in the care of a grandparent, literally telling the family she was doing this because she was waiting for one of the parents to admit guilt to the abuse. This was said despite the fact that child seemed happiest when it was allowed to see its parents.

In support of a petition by a social worker, the judge also would not allow the mother to have representation from two lawyers at the same time. The bench also would not allow evidence of potential explanation of injuries by an expert witness. The appeals court also criticized the judge because she seemed to have a lack of impartiality and a preconceived notion of the facts and would not hear evidence that would potentially contradict those opinions.

Sometimes help is necessary

The trial judge’s actions would seem to be in opposition to the Child Protective Services Law goal of keeping families together, happy and safe. While a judge is generally the final word in a case, an attorney can be a tremendous aid in helping parents facing custody challenges including a difficult family court judge.

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