Denying Visitation: Is Jailing Kids the Answer?

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Timesharing/Visitation on Sunday, November 15, 2015.

Three children, estranged from their father, refused a court order to timeshare with him. The judge sent them to juvenile detention for the summer. Did it work?

As the Detroit Free Press reports, the judge was abrupt:

You both are going to live in Children’s Village. Your mother is not allowed to visit, no one on your mom’s side is allowed to visit. Only your father and therapist . . .

When you are ready to have lunch with your dad, to have dinner with your dad, to be normal human beings, I will review this when your dad tells me you are ready. Otherwise, you are living in Children’s Village til you graduate from high school.

That’s the order of the court.

Good bye.

The children had refused to speak to their father, they did not show up for planned visitations, would bow their heads and refuse to look at him during supervised visits. Their mother failed to bring them for visitation.

Judge Gorcyca, who blamed the mother for poisoning the children’s attitude toward their father, ordered the children be sent to juvenile detention for defying her court orders – while in court – that they go to lunch with their father.

I’ve written before about parental alienation. Parental alienation involves one parent “programming” a child to denigrate the other parent to undermine and interfere with the child’s relationship with the targeted parent.

In the Detroit case, the children – ranging in age from 9 to 15 – were held in contempt of court for disobeying the judge’s order to “have a healthy relationship with your father.”

These are not unsophisticated parents. The father is an internationally prominent traffic safety researcher and GM engineer. The mother is a pediatric eye doctor, glaucoma researcher, and an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Michigan.

In sentencing the children to jail for refusing to follow her orders to have a relationship with their father, the court took severe action.

But did it work?

According to Detroit area newspapers, the three children went to juvenile detention, and a court-ordered, five day intensive therapy treatment designed to treat parental alienation. They are now residing with their father, his second wife, and their young half-brother.

The Father is asking the judge to prohibit the children’s mother from contacting them, or appearing at their schools, for the next 90 days, part of the protocol in reuniting children with an estranged parent.

The Detroit Free Press article is here.