America’s leading authority on family court reform with over 25 years of trial experience has developed a Family Court Program specifically for you – regardless of how far along you may be in the process.
Having previously appeared on the television news program 60 Minutes, CNN and in the New York Times, Dr. Leon Koziol, J.D., wants to help you take control of your family court case.
After hearing ordeals from countless unsuspecting victims, their financial and emotional devastation by the lucrative family court machine, Dr. Koziol knew that he could no longer just sit back and watch these atrocities continue.
“We have an epidemic here in America and no one is doing anything to cure it. There’s a direct correlation between family courts and suicides among parents, veterans and children. And the statistics show it is occurring at an alarming rate. If I can save one person from taking his or her life, then I have made my contribution to society,” Dr. Leon Koziol, J.D.
Dr. Koziol is giving you the tools to protect yourself and keep your family smiling during these difficult times!
“If you decided to take up a sport such as football, you wouldn’t just walk onto the field without knowing how the game is played. Why is family court any different? Yet thousands of people walk into family court expecting justice, only to discover just the exact opposite.” ~ Dr. Leon Koziol, J.D.
With the Family Court Survival Program here’s what you can expect:
Preparing yourself for the court room battlefield
The truth about who your lawyer is really working for
Educating you to “due process”
Identifying dirty custody tactics before they occur
Why psychological exams and supervised visits will come back to haunt you
Protecting yourself against false allegations
Avoiding sleazy lawyer tactics
Understanding the trillion dollar family court industry
The gender disadvantage and what it means to you
Strategies to minimize conflict
How to prevent yourself from going broke
What your lawyer probably isn’t telling you
Save time, money and eliminate unnecessary stress
Discover alternatives to litigation
Don’t miss out!!! You’ve heard all of the horror stories about the dysfunctional family court system. Now, more than ever, parents are getting wise and no longer fighting each other through the purchase of a Family Court Survival Program designed to educate divorce and Family Court candidates before they are turned into victims.
The Family Court Survival Program was developed by Dr. Leon R. Koziol, parental advocate and founder of the Parenting Rights Institute (PRI). It consists of a seminar DVD and multi-part reading program, it walks you through the court process and promotes alternatives to litigation.
Going to court is serious business. In divorce and Family Court, your children and livelihood are at risk. Yet many parents proceed recklessly with little understanding of the system until the money runs out for their lawyers. Make life easier with the purchase of this program. Based on decades of court experience, it may save you thousands of dollars in legal expense. The DVD lecture should be viewed before the multi-part reading.
Here’s What You Will Receive:
Part One: The Lawyer. We begin with hypothetical consultations featuring abuses which may occur on both sides of a court process. You are shown crucial subjects to look out for when involving a lawyer in divorce, custody and support matters.
Part Two: Self Representation. Here we give you confidence to represent yourself. If you cannot afford litigation or a lawyer proves ineffective, you are not alone. This handbook walks you through a court process with forms offered in Part Five.
Part Three: The Judge. Because this is the person who may decide how your children are raised, you need to understand the realities of your court system. This booklet conveys valuable insights on the decision process common to most states.
Part Four: Transcript. We continue to build your confidence with portions of a real trial transcript. You are introduced to an unprepared judge and two parents who were needlessly forced to litigate. It can avert lifetime harm to extended families.
Part Five: Court Filings. This folder supplies partially completed forms which serve as flexible templates for filing petitions and motions in a domestic relations court. Our forms are more detailed than others offered in most court clerk offices.
Part Six: The Appeal. Many victims are forced into appellate courts after losing their children, parental rights or support. This reading provides useful experience.
Here’s what one of our many successful participants had to say:
“After running out of money for my lawyer, I discovered the program offered on-line by the Parenting Rights Institute. I digested it in my spare time and was able to go confidently into court and win a motion against my adversary. This was the same lawyer that was costing my ex-husband so much money. I wish I had access to this program before I hired my own lawyer. I could have saved myself and my children so much money and grief. It was worth every penny. If you would like to know more about my experience with this program as a parent, contact me through the Institute at (315) 380-3420.” ~ Cindy H., Syracuse, NY.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
IT’S TIME TO GET A GRIP ON FAMILY COURT BEFORE IT GETS A GRIP ON YOU!
A $10,000 VALUE FOR A ONE-TIME COST OF ONLY $299, less than the cost of a single session with an endless fee generating divorce lawyer
DISCLAIMER: This program is not a substitute for legal advice. It is designed to stimulate network assistance and options to litigation. All Rights Reserved: No part of this program may be used or sold contrary to these terms or express authorization of the Parenting Rights Institute.
U.S. Copyright Registration No. TXu 1-832-192
St. John’s University Professor Anthony Pappas, now representing himself, explains how he was fleeced of $2 million in lawyer fees in a 12 year ongoing divorce having no custody or child support issue. Once you show a lawyer your financial statements as you must in any contested action, they learn how much they can charge. They will take every last dollar if you let them.
Today we are introducing the new Parenting Rights Institute website and its feature book release, Satan’s Docket: Corruption and Carnage in America’s Divorce Industry. Nine months in the works and based on thirty years of litigation experience, this book takes you through the horrific ten year ordeal of judicial whistleblower, Dr. Leon Koziol, which forced him to seek international protection in Paris.
However this book is much more. It can be considered a crash course in divorce or family court, your education to an epidemic that is harming our children, families, schools, workplaces and health as a nation. It was a herculean project, years in the research and writing phase with a 108,000 word manuscript completed only last month.
At present this book is the hands of a major publisher with a possible release date early next year. In the meantime it has generated inquiries from a documentary producer and will hopefully lead to an overdue investigation by Congress or the Justice Department into the federal funding abuses in our state domestic relations courts. We will keep you posted on that objective.
While all this was in progress, so were the many family judge elections across the country which promise to expand this epidemic and bring even more harm to future generations. One such election in Oneida County, New York sparked the early release of this uncensored version of Satan’s Docket. Its author resides in that county and became troubled by the lack of vital discourse on the real issues in these courts. In coming weeks, he hopes to change all that through this unprecedented literary work.
Satan’s Docket was authored in an extraordinary way given the difficulty of attracting interest to such a stressful and complex subject. It was a lesson learned from Alec Baldwin and his 2009 book release, A Promise to Ourselves. That memoir failed to achieve its highly anticipated book sales. Indeed mainstream media was most focused on excerpts relating to his suicide attempts during an incendiary divorce with actress Kim Basinger. Dr. Koziol was invited to Alec’s book signing in Manhattan and shared his ordeal with Baldwin’s agent at Creative Artists in California. More recently, crucial advice was obtained from best selling authors at the Whistleblower Summit and Conference this past summer in Washington D.C.
The title, Satan’s Docket, was a risky selection but has gained wide support. It was proven ironically to be a well selected title after discovering Bradley Birkenfeld’s recent book release at the Summit entitled, Lucifer’s Bank. Mr. Birkenfeld was a whistleblower of the Swiss bank industry who suffered retaliation by a jail sentence of 30 months for tax evasion. On his release he recovered a record $104 million under the new IRS Whistleblower Protection Act. Another new book release at this Summit featured a woman lawyer disbarred for exposing court corruption in New Hampshire. Her book is titled, The Dark Side.
So it would appear that Satan’s Docket is right on target. It was also inspired by former New York Senate Leader Joseph Bruno, whose memoir, Keep Swinging, was released in November, 2016. Dr. Koziol’s book features two equal length halves. Part One is the Corruption segment of his subtitle. It is the macro part which describes a divorce and family court epidemic nationwide. Part Two is the Carnage half which focuses on his personal ordeal. In order to keep a broad section of readers glued to this book, a collection of shocking stories from around the country is spiced with romance, humor and horror in places ranging from Hawaii to Paris. It is a book well worth reading at a nominal cost that can save you college tuition and untold lawyer fees. It may be the best investment you will make in years.
Please share this post with as many parents, bloggers, media representatives and court victims that you can.
2008 television clip depicting Dr. Koziol’s achievements as a trial attorney prior to founding the Parenting Rights Institute.
By Dr. Leon Koziol
Parenting Rights Institute
Since founding the Parenting Rights Institute, I have helped countless parents avoid the pitfalls of divorce and family court through non-lawyer assistance and personal precedent seeking actions. Here at Leon Koziol.com or Parenting Rights Institute, you will find a treasure trove of free information to help you save thousands of dollars in fees and irreparable damage to your children, livelihoods and families.
I have sacrificed everything for this cause because our nation’s divorce and family courts continue to operate under an archaic custody system which has become a gold mine for lawyers and other family court predators. Shared parenting has been routinely crushed in nearly all our states. Indeed in an article published in the November, 2016 edition of the Utica Phoenix, yet another veteran jurist (New York Family Judge Joan Shkane) writes:
The Child Support Standards Act (Federal Title IV-D) has not been modified much in the last approximate quarter century. Some experts say that it has not caught up with the realities of modern life. A higher earning parent may pay full child support even if the children are with that parent roughly one-half the time.This is because the law still considers the higher wage earner as the non-custodial parent for the purpose of child support.
What Judge Shkane carefully avoids, however, is how the lucrative custody system exploits children for lawyer profits. She makes no mention of the barbaric harm which this system inflicts upon innocent children. Instead she goes on to emphasize that child support is a right of the child not one or both parents. What she is really saying is that the children belong to the state and not mom or dad because it is the state which mandates the naming of a “custodial parent” for federal Title IV-D funding for the courts. It is the state which enforces child support through draconian practices that include debtor prisons. It is all a part of Hillary’s Village and New World Order.
Consequently you have to learn about the current real life issues in these courts, the kind of information that no lawyer, judge or child predator is going to tell you. That is why you should invest in the Parenting Rights Institute, donate to this site or purchase our Court Strategy Program. Look it all up at http://www.parentingrightsinstitute.com. I continue to receive compliments and encouragements from my thousands of followers and subscribers worldwide. Here is one received yesterday from a Dr.Rachael Robertson of Texas.
Leon,I read the supplemental brief (my first reading EVER) and you have done a great job. Of course, I have my own story but some other time. From the maze of intellectual vocabulary and terminology, thank you for standing firm. I’m not sure if I believed your drive was due to the love of your daughters (after all who loves American teenagers) or the obligation of family unity. I particularly enjoyed the flagrant inclusion of unjust cases based on race, social standing and mindless radical behaviors. Thank you, in the end your daughters will love you and your fight. Your daughters will soon acknowledge your heroism and the damage will heal. And although your struggle is real, heart breaking and traumatic, your writing is captivating and electrifying! Forget about the book okay? Go for the TLC manuscript. Your story not only applies to fathers but the willful act of majesties and governing bodies to extract money from families.It is like the inevitability of Charlie Brown to never fly that kite…. in the latest movie .. he does!Shabbat ShalomDr. Robertson
We also offer seminars, lectures, speaking engagements, mediation, video documentaries, trusted referrals and book publishing services. You can call our office at (315) 380-3420 or me directly at (315) 796-4000. Please share this post with parents or court victims you know and check out this critique by one of our book clients, a mom from Philadelphia:
We are living in an increasingly litigious society. There are over 300,000 lawyers in New York and California alone with as many attorney candidates as there are those in practice across the United States. That’s a lot of lawyers seeking work. But in divorce and family court the participants are creating their own employment at your expense through needless, lucrative and contrived controversy that has generated no accountability.
Everyone is adversely impacted, from the innocent child to diverse employers who suffer the health and productivity consequences in the workforce. It is truly a silent epidemic suppressed by bar associations everywhere. You need to learn more about it, identify the issues as they affect you and improve the condition of your home, family, workplace and community. You need to sponsor Dr. Leon Koziol, Director of Parenting Rights Institute, for a speaking engagement or consultant for your organization or personnel department.
Here you get the real deal. They have done everything they could to censor this vital reform message and yet Dr. Koziol has persevered. Together with fellow consultants and staff we offer non-lawyer services to a variety of persons and entities. Church groups can gain immeasurable insights. Our professional background is detailed elsewhere on this site together with our services that include investigation and research of court corruption.
Dr. Koziol brings together a diverse and accomplished background for your benefit. As a published author, he has provided valuable writing and editing services for those who wish to share their ordeals with the world. A Court Program was developed over a period of years to assist others contemplating or already engaged in litigation. It is designed to avoid costly disputes and is available on this site as well.
Mediation services and litigation alternatives are highly recommended. If we cannot do it we will recommend a party near you. Such unique assistance is provided to victims of the court process because lawyers are not inclined to do so out of a fear of professional retribution. Such fears are understandable based on Dr. Koziol’s experiences after 23 unblemished years of practice in federal and state courts.
Therefore, he and his associates are able to develop strategies to suit victims from around the country. Tell us your issues and objectives, and we can provide a course of action based on many years of professional writing, drafting, lobbying, trial and appellate court experience. Often times, parents who choose our services include their lawyers in our strategy sessions.
We have helped organize rallies, conferences and parenting conventions while joining those who seek reform through network publicity and website development. Each case calls for a different approach using a wide range of proven or creative means. Call our office for a free consultation at (315) 380-3420 or Leon direct at (315) 796-4000.
By Dr. Leon R. Koziol
Many loyal followers here at Leon Koziol.com have been misled by the notion that my support of shared parenting made me a fathers’ rights advocate opposed to mothers. Those who truly know my work recognize how wrong that assumption is. It’s the way our detractors profit from a corrupted court system, by pitting parents against one another. Children need both.
During my years as a practicing attorney, I saved many women from false charges and discrimination. In fact one such case led to the bias of my support court judge who was forced to step down from that earlier woman’s case. He then exacted revenge by staying on my support case and finding a violation. I also was the lawyer for a former president of the National Organization for Women.
Good mothers support shared parenting even where equal time is impractical, for example due to career demands or distance. When fathers are encouraged and facilitated, children fare best in life. That much is supported by human history and expert studies. A good mother never asks a judge to incarcerate a father for back support. No amount of money justifies the criminalization of parenthood or a debtors’ prison.
This was a stand I took against my profession eight years ago which I am still fighting today. You will receive important news on that later this week. In the meantime, as many of you know, I am writing book manuscripts for those parents wishing to publish their court ordeals for posterity or reform’s sake. The opening chapter of my latest project is offered for your education and amazement below.
It’s about parent alienation and we are hoping to get contributions for its marketing phase upon publication this year. If you have a story you would like to have published, it’s no small undertaking and requires publishing expertise and court room experience of the kind I uniquely possess. Feel free to contact me personally for details and a cost estimate at (315) 796-4000. You can also help represent yourself or seek litigation alternatives in a court program offered at http://www.parentingrightsinstitute.com.
The Tamara Sweeney Story
The first time I saw Tamara Sweeney, it was at a hotel lounge in Binghamton, a small city on the New York-Pennsylvania border. The remarkable aspect of our meeting was not how hastily it had been arranged or how we drove two hours there from opposite directions. It was her captivating smile which seemed to bring energy to a collection of fatigued business people that had congregated at the end of a work day.
Outwardly, all indications were that she was a motivated woman with a sense of confidence, a person who knew what had to be done in any given situation even if she had to acclimate to new levels of competence on a moment’s notice. Behind that flare, however, I knew this was not the real Tamara. The person I knew from my readings was hopelessly immersed in a cauldron of pain and anguish concealed by layered walls of self-preservation.
Imagine yourself a loving mom who gave life to four children in five years, three boys and a girl; a parent, days filled with feedings, baths, runny noses, kissing and hugging. The number of calendar and diaper changes would confound any corporate executive. Then, suddenly, after so many promising years with their father in a dream home, these children are seized from this mom, prevented from having any contact and left without her regular guidance and affection.
That was the Tamara Sweeney I had read about in a voluminous court record, a mother who could not have imagined the level of cruelty inflicted by her own government residing in the family courts of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. She was not a criminal and despite my search of the record, I could find no evidence to justify the severe alienation she had suffered from her offspring. To the contrary, these children were her entire life.
As she approached, that incessant smile complemented the rest of her, a stunning lady which by all indications defied father time. She carried herself gracefully exuding everything genuine. Later she would boast photos of her family in diverse settings. As I gazed upon their similarly captivating faces, I could not help but conclude that a sort of Camelot had been underway in a pleasant valley community near Philadelphia, that city of brotherly love.
It was an idyllic setting without the paparazzi. However that setting would shatter when a corrupt court system seized it, a commonplace occurrence in America today. I had seen my share of shocking ordeals, but this divorce crushed logic. Having saved the falsely accused, securing record recoveries for victims of government abuse and even managing to strike down a casino compact worth billions of dollars, this story would set precedent in the court of public opinion.
The worst of my professional experiences resided in divorce and family courts which I avoided with a plague. People separate for countless reasons but that should not translate into lucrative custody battles for lawyers. Tamara had solicited me not as a lawyer but as a writer, someone who could distill her complex case into a literary work that might capture the world, not as her smile had done for me, but to tell a story which might prevent others from falling into that same cauldron.
It would be a project which took proper aim against a court system that was destroying the very fabric of a nation. As I liked to describe it, divorce and family courts were the Hotel California of the legal profession: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Resigned to her fate as a victim of a corrupted system, after exhausting civil recourse to the point of bankruptcy and homelessness, Tamara would nevertheless refuse to go quietly into the night.
No, no, hell no! I could envision her declaring. Come hell or high water, the world will know the horrific injustices inflicted upon a loving American mom. Lawyer reform and judicial accountability were high on her list of objectives, but towering over it was a fervent desire to be reunited with her babies. Unfortunately time was working against her as they approached adulthood with family court processes operating at the speed of a snail.
Competing against that process was a mother possessed by human nature. After all, is the umbilical cord ever truly cut between a loving mom and her offspring? We can put a man on the moon, split atoms, engage artificial intelligence and achieve vast breakthroughs in medicine but remain unable to tackle this extraordinary human phenomenon. It may well explain why our government is unwilling to extricate family courts from their twentieth century practices.
Those same practices made Tamara an ironic victim, swallowed whole by a gender biased system which women have been protecting for decades. Tamara was a “non-custodial parent,” a custody classification typically reserved for dads. She was not concerned about that aspect of the system. It was as if she had danced around it, the devil for years, never imagining how she could end up its prey. Instead she was obsessed with the symptoms and one in particular: Parent Alienation Syndrome or PAS.
PAS is the condition discovered and popularized by Dr. Richard Gardner three decades earlier which had yet to be recognized by the psychiatric profession or legal community. It was based on numerous cases involving parents who had suffered immense trauma from children rejecting their affection and very existence for no logical reason other than a spiteful parental counterpart. It remains a condition cultivated by lawyers anxious to pit parents against one another for profit.
American society is still unfamiliar with PAS, let alone in a position to embrace it as an epidemic. It is a single cause for health issues, moral dysfunction and social ills that have claimed more families than cancer. Indeed mass violence can be traced to this epidemic, one that finds its way into our schools, workplaces and homes. Of all the issues confronting our clergy today, few are more threatening to the viability of religion itself than this one.
However, if our government and regulated professions are unwilling to recognize it, there will be no cure any time soon. And the reason for that is the same as the explanation for tobacco, energy and drug industries. It’s all about the money. But here the cancer is eating away at the very souls of our children. PAS is the embodiment of evil depicted somewhat like it was in the film Devil’s Advocate, starring Al Pacino. The moral fiber of future generations is under siege in these courts.
Tamara’s objectives must be achieved if we are to stem this crisis. You will have to read on to know how and why, what it means to you and your loved ones. This story is about a jungle filled with primates in skirts and ties devoid of a civilized conscience. They pounce on unsuspecting parents and children for the primeval purpose of filling their bellies with modern day manna, the almighty buck. Shortsighted and self-serving, they blame their victims for the harm they cause.
Lawyers, psychologists, therapists, evaluators and former lawyers on the bench are among the predators anxious to destroy relationships which could be retained or salvaged through non-litigation alternatives. As a general observation, industrialists sell products, government sells services, businesses sell both, doctors sell advice and cures, psychiatrists sell therapy and medications, but lawyers sell controversies and promises.
Of all these stocks in trade, the last is most counter-productive to families. They do not belong in a forum created to protect our children. And when government makes it profitable for their participants to incite controversy, it is the worst kind of evil. Minor disputes erupt into major ones with the words of an unscrupulous lawyer adept at abusing the system for fee generating purposes. In the end, a protracted court battle yields irrevocable harm.
Laws have been drafted to incentivize conflict in these courts. The very structure for resolution is built upon artificially induced controversy and an unsupported foundation for distributing childrearing authority between superior and inferior parents. Shared parenting initiatives have failed time and again all across America due to a universal failure to invalidate the archaic system being protected. I have described it as the “Custodial Institution of Childrearing.”
If you are not yet convinced of the critical need for reform, consider the fact that there are more than 600,000 attorneys licensed in California and New York alone with as many candidates as there are practicing attorneys nationwide. There is no end in sight to this glut of lawyers entering the market, and the least qualified typically end up in family court. This is where apprentices learn their trade and marginal lawyers can instigate lucrative controversy to last an entire career.
The archaic process begets a host of forensic additions to the mix by request or court order, including law guardians and social workers, all in the business of dictating how our children are to be raised on vague, conflicting or utopian standards. It is job creation of the worst order, encouraging vulnerable children to hate one or both parents, destroying any notion of forgiveness and praising them for spying on their moms and dads toward a new world order of child control.
Accountability is as nonexistent as the number of malpractice cases arising in these tribunals. In the medical profession, a surgeon who performs needless operations for profit is discovered through an objective review process. In family court, when a lawyer performs a needless hearing for the same reason, there is no similar review, no real measure for competent performance. The all-encompassing child’s best interests can be satisfied by any half baked participant.
Making matters worse, parents learn too late that child alienation is a damage claim that cannot be recovered monetarily like other injuries. Hence there is no remedy for the child predator disguised in professional attire feeding on college funds, retirement plans and the very shelters of human beings until there is nothing left to consume. If you are a person who has not yet been harmed by this system, you pay for it in taxes, crime and productivity at the very least.
Tamara had no idea what she was getting into when she first retained a lawyer in April, 2012 to separate amicably with her husband of twelve years. Rick Cohen would certainly not advise her properly. As with most divorce lawyers, his goal was to generate as many fees as possible. His firm probably had a performance measure based on the number of billable hours he could orchestrate much like the federal government does for purposes of support enforcement funding.
Indeed everything was working against Tamara when she made that fateful call to his law office. Even her husband was enraged by that phone call when he learned of it. Still recoiling from the knowledge that she had entered into an extramarital relationship, he was pleading with and threatening her to call it off. Nevertheless he was served with divorce papers the following month. It was a regrettable by-product of escalating abuse in the homestead.
Years earlier, Tamara had been forced to compromise her role as primary care taker when her husband quit his lucrative position to start an on-line business. Revenue projections did not materialize, and before long the family homestead and finances were at risk. She then became a breadwinner only to learn that the boundaries which she had worked so hard to establish for her children were now in ruins. Unbearable conflicts escalated as a natural outgrowth.
When a mother verifies through proper testing that her seventh grade child is consuming alcohol and smoking marijuana, it is a shock of the worst kind. A responsible parent cannot and does not ignore the vital signs particularly as grades and social conduct tank as a predictable result. Her husband responded with more of the same, parties at their home Wednesday through Sunday and abuses so severe that Tamara found herself in a closet or locked in a bedroom afraid to come out.
Her teen boys emulated such abuses. Tamara was made out to be a disease in the homestead by an alienating parent who could not forgive let alone realize how his unrelenting anger could jeopardize crucial long term relationships. Soon it became necessary for mom to move out until the situation could stabilize. But this only harmed her custody position later on. It was the beginning of her ordeal with parent alienation and the end of the world as she knew it.
When I met Tamara in Binghamton four years later, she was a mother desperate to save the very lives of her children. She was a parent running recklessly into a burning building prepared to sacrifice herself if necessary. There were many things which amazed me about her dedication but one stood out even as I began preparations for this book. The scheduling of our first meeting had to be made around her daughter’s team event at school. Everything else took a back seat.
Days later, Tamara took a call from me while watching a ball game featuring her son. It wasn’t her presence at those events which fascinated me but that she continued to promote her children from a distance while under court orders to stay away over a two year period. The tactics used against her were the same as those inflicted upon separating parents everywhere. The idea was to shoe horn mom and dad into unequal custody roles so that child support could be justified.
This was the real Tamara Sweeney heading my way for the first time at a hotel lounge in Binghamton, New York. I had read her ordeal in substantial part. Volumes of court papers, photos and diaries sent to me the prior week. Too much to digest so early in the assignment, I was more eager to hear her story first hand, to listen intently for purposes of sizing her up, to study her facial expressions and reactions to a bevy of questions I was prepared to unload on her.
This would be best achieved in a relaxed setting, carefully but meticulously executed over a period of hours. I remained in awe over her unending smile after such a horrendous ordeal which was still ongoing. Dressed casually, blond hair feathered back to shoulder length and cosmetics applied sparingly, she angled her slender figure between a pair of table stools before arriving at my tight spot. We composed ourselves when nearby patrons made room for us.
“I was beginning to think you wouldn’t show after reading my stuff,” she opened with an embrace. “I got us a table over there in the dining area so we could be more private,” pointing over to a location by the window. “But this is okay if you like. I’m sure no one around here cares about our craziness,” she asserted jokingly but uncomfortably. Her smile expanded a bit as if it was even possible and her left arm was wrapped around a file that seemed ready to explode.
“No this is fine Timera, did I pronounce that right?” I answered, doing my best to compete with the noise and her pleasant demeanor. How did she manage it, I asked myself, wishing for the moment that we had made that move to her selected area.
“It’s alright, you said it like so many do. It’s actually Tamra, but I’ll accept either one. Not so picky you know.”
“The correct way sounds much better so I’ll stick with that. Are you hungry? Because I’m starved and ready to order.” I searched the crowded bar for service. “It was all I could do get out of Dodge before some phone call derailed our last minute meeting here. I haven’t eaten since breakfast.”
“Yeah thanks for that. I’m really not hungry but I might order something light to nibble on.” Anxious to get down to business, it wasn’t long before she moved past the perfunctory exchanges. “So how much of my material have you gotten through?”
“Enough Tamara, enough to get a decent impression of your nightmares. To be candid, it is an unbelievable story so far, and I’m not even close to an overriding theme. There’s so much going on like most divorces. But yours is an extraordinary one. I have a lot of questions.”
“Good! I’m ready. Fire away.”
“No, not so fast. We just got here. Let’s have a drink, relax a bit, have a bite, and your cross examination will come. As I explained on the phone, I like to get to know the real person I’m writing about, not just the client. Your files do that in abundance. Let’s talk for awhile on the lighter side. Then when the time comes, it’ll occur naturally. This is not a lawsuit you know.”
“Thank God! You’re right,” she agreed with a sigh of relief.
I guided her to another table away from the noise and laughter. She then placed a large binder on a nearby stool, guarding it like a sheep dog over her flock. As she explained excitedly this morning, she was able to locate it after a desperate search. This binder contained a synopsis of her divorce and family history which a judge refused to review. Privately I concluded that it had not been properly offered. For me, however, it was a blessing in disguise, a fateful error of a robotic jurist meant precisely to become the book I was about to complete. Then I continued.
“You see I’ve changed my approach on this kind of assignment. Trust me, Tamra, it works. I’ll give you references. My last subject was a woman who engaged me with conflict and dictates regularly. She came across like one who could never be satisfied. There are only so many hours in a day, and if I was billing at lawyer rates, such books would never be possible.”
Tamara nodded in agreement. She knew my own ordeal after discovering my website during a parenting conference at our nation’s capital. Anyone writing her story would have to demonstrate a requisite level of expertise before she could entrust him with her sensitive files. They were years in the making, and I certainly understood her fears. That’s because I took a conscientious and long overdue stand against my own profession in these matters and was vilified on all fronts.
“This witch hunt which my profession did against me for exposing misconduct had the fate of permitting your book. And go figure, the lawyers in that witch hunt ended up getting fired by the court for falsifying their time sheets. So much for our standard-bearers of lawyer ethics. These are the same guys charged with a duty to correct overbilling practices. I don’t know about Pennsylvania but corruption in New York is a cottage industry.” I chuckled briefly.
Tamara was immediately engaged with enthusiasm over an experience she had already read about. Now she was made a part of it, joining my amusement to where her smile might reach both ears. “Oh no, once we dig in, you’ll find that it’s just as corrupt, maybe even worse in Montgomery County. Any day I’m expecting them to be exposed and come crashing down.”
The conversation was going better than expected. We were joined not only by common experiences but clicking as if we were telepathic. That’s what tends to happen when human beings have gone down similar emotional highways. We were getting more relaxed and committed to our joint goals with each sip of our drinks.
“After months of hard work,” I continued, “that woman is now a believer. I’ll play her last phone message if you like. She called her finished book ‘brilliant.’ It’s in the hands of a publisher.”
“That won’t be necessary. I’ve read your work since that parent conference two years ago. I’ve actually been targeting you for my book ever since. I know what I’m doing.”
I was sincerely impressed that Tamara had become committed to me for so long before her first phone inquiry only three weeks ago. It made me realize that my hard work might have to eclipse my last manuscript. That would be a tall order, but so far so good. It was like entering uncharted waters, an unexplored wilderness, a journey to the edge of humanity, all for a cause destined to impact future generations.
We talked into the night like schoolmates on a first date. Anyone observing this exchange would have no idea the horrific pressures we were hiding beneath our laughs and discourse. For the time being at least, this was wonderful. Our mutual pain had subsided. Moments that meant everything to each of us became merged through a sense of shared identity. But the lightheartedness soon graduated to our business at hand.
Later that night I would summarize our opening session as a contest over who could hide their pain better. Talking about it here so freely and so far away from our homes helped us open up. And boy did we open up. On and on we went until before you knew it, the crowd had dwindled to a few stragglers from a wedding reception in a nearby ball room. The bride was now snuggled up to the bar with her newlywed and the rest of the bridal party was taking pictures in the lobby.
“Come on let’s get a picture of us too,” Tamara offered with sudden enthusiasm. “I like photos. It helps me remember special events, and I’m feeling real good about this book now.” She reached for my arm and pulled me into the open. We searched for the ideal location with a view from an expansive window. The father of the bride was drafted for the photo op.
We ended our meeting shortly after that. To my surprise we had talked incessantly for over four hours, never expecting to become so energized along the way. She turned over some additional materials from her file after walking me through her binder, cautioning me again that it had become her life’s treasure and a major reason for our trips here. I was veritably impressed with its content. This was a mother who meant business, and I was not about to disappoint.
As I turned for the hotel exit for my trip back home, I took note of the newlyweds embracing at the bar. I felt compelled to give them some friendly advice of the kind I dismissed so many years ago. I mused for awhile but opted against it. After all, there are lifetime marriages of the kind I always admired. Then I walked out into the night, a rainy, miserable and cold one while glancing up briefly into a black foreboding sky. Perhaps a storm was on its way.
Leon is returning from a three day human rights conference in New York City sponsored by an international organization. It started with a petition delivered to the United Nations on Thursday and ended with a presentation of American hostages and terrorism in Middle East.
We decided to participate because the agenda was open to atrocities in “other countries.” So the atrocities of parent alienation, lucrative custody battles and debtor prisons (child support abuses) were added to the agenda through our hand-outs of Dr. Koziol’s newly released report entitled “Custody Court Dysfunction: An American Human Rights Epidemic.”
You can get a copy by consulting earlier posts here at Leon Koziol.com. You can also obtain our Court Education Program at http://www.parentingrightsinstitute.com. This report is based on over three decades of litigation experience in these courts. It was distributed to a European documentary producer, international speakers and a policy advisor to Congress.
Contact us at our office at (315) 380-3420 if you want more information.