“Divorce Corp.” The Untold Story
A new documentary called “Divorce Corp.” was released in 15 states in January 2014. The film effectively exposes some of the financial corruption that is rampant in our nation’s family courts but ignored the voices of the children whose lives are most impacted by the crisis. The Center for Judicial Excellence decided to invite a few young adult children of divorce to speak openly and candidly about the bad behavior of the family court therapists, judges and attorneys who refused to listen to them and attempted to destroy their childhoods, often for profit.
We applaud “Divorce Corp.” for effectively exposing the financial corruption and lack of accountability that so often fuels the $50 Billion divorce industry in the United States. Our organization was created nearly eight years ago to foster the sort of judicial accountability that this film calls for, and we commend filmmaker Joseph Sorge for shining a bright light on the longstanding need for effective oversight of the judicial branch.
Because this harrowing film about family court corruption presents a somewhat narrow, adults-only perspective of the crisis, our organization determined that it was high time we talked to some of the kids of divorce, to help bring their voices and first-hand experiences into the national dialogue about family court reform.
Anyone familiar with our work in California knows that CJE has remained steadfast in our commitment to protecting children’s rights in the courts. We served as the lead agency in the two-year legislative effort that resulted in the passage of then-Assemblywoman Fiona Ma’s Assembly Bill 1050, which now grants California children 14 and older the right to testify about their wishes in family court.
We are honored to bring you the voices of children whose lives have been forever altered by the widespread corruption in America’s family courts. These young people are now speaking out- some for the very first time- about how they survived their respective ordeals. These “ambassadors of truth” are a force to be reckoned with. They are driven to be heard, and they are available for television, radio, print or online interviews.
Suraj was taken from his home in handcuffs at age 12 and could not see or speak to his Dad or other family members for 4 years, because of a court-appointed therapist’s lies to the court.
Rebecca was literally grabbed by the same therapist who forced her to “reunite” with her physically abusive Dad against her will, while other court-appointed counselors threatened that she might never see her Mom again if she didn’t cooperate.
Debunking Mandatory Shared Parenting & False Allegations of Abuse
Given our eight year history of working with domestic violence and child abuse victims who are frequently re-victimized in the family courts, the Center for Judicial Excellence must decry the “mandatory shared parenting” solution being proposed in “Divorce Corp” (see more from Judge Sol Gothard). We also take issue with the film’s discussion about the frequency of false domestic violence and child abuse allegations, since our experience on the front lines of this crisis has shown the opposite to be true: any mention of domestic violence, child sexual abuse, or child physical abuse in court typically results in a loss of custody and/or visitation for the parent trying to protect their child from abuse. Legitimate child abuse victims are routinely being handed over to their perpetrators in record numbers. Why? It’s complicated. No one working in the family courts is accountable. There is a lot of money to be made on abuse cases. Court evaluators bring strong biases that keep them from protecting legitimate child abuse victims.
Check out the Saunders Study, which was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, for a better understanding about how family court custody evaluators’ personal biases and a lack of knowledge and training in domestic violence is wreaking havoc on child abuse victims in our nation’s family courts.
We know that false abuse allegations do sometimes occur, as they did at the hands of a corrupt therapist in Suraj’s case. Yet suggesting that children or mothers in family courts often lie about abuse defies the peer-reviewed research on the subject and further endangers abuse victims who need court protection. The courts can and must conduct thorough forensic investigations whenever a child’s safety is in jeopardy, and when in doubt, they should err on the side of child safety. Period.
Therapists Speak Out About Child Safety Concerns
Former California divorce court mediator Emily Gallup’s courageous whistleblower tale is documented in “Divorce Corp.” Ms. Gallup sued her former employer, the Nevada County Family Court Services because she could no longer tolerate the judge and her supervisor threatening parents with scare tactics and pressuring her to harm families and break the law while performing her duties as a court employee.
Dr. Joyanna Silberg, PhD is the Executive Vice-President of the Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence. Her forensic practice specializes in child sexual abuse and she has served as an expert witness in 27 states.
Content Related to Family Court Therapist Janelle Burrill
The Attorney General’s Formal Accusation Against Janelle Burrill (2011)
CJE’s March 31, 2011 Press Release: Evaluator Janelle Burrill May Have State License Revoked
CJE’s August 4, 2010 Press Release: Outraged Parents Take Action Against Janelle Burrill
Video Production by Combridges & Richard Quinn Footage of Jennifer & Dr. Silberg, courtesy of Garland Waller’s No Way Out But One. Footage of Judge Gothard, courtesy of Dominique Lasseur’s Breaking the Silence.