Sunday, November 16, 2008

oops: PAS, Ohio & Indiana

Well, here is a lesson to be learned: do not blog when tired. Or when the computer is sticking. Or both. I had set this original post down as a draft but it got published instead.

Which actually is pretty interesting considering the comments. As originally published, I did not attribute What Is Parental Alienation And Parental Alienation Syndrome? to The Ohio Family Law Blog.

I did not realize just how much of a mess I had made of things until I read the second comment. I asked myself why is someone asking me about Ohio law when this is obviously an Indiana family law blog. Here are my thoughts:

  1. The reader came to me via a Google search and did not look at the whole of the blog (like my title).
  2. The reader did not think to click on the link to the original article. Okay, thanks to my negligence last night that was not clearly marked out as a link to another post.
  3. #2 leads me to think that a lot of people do not understand how blogging works - that we post articles that are not always wholly contained. Most blog posts are not wholly contained, that is why there are links.
  4. Which all got me thinking about a post I read from Grant Griffiths' Blogging for Profit, I am shutting off my RSS feed for my blogs….. When I read that post I asked myself how many people understand RSS feeds, read RSS feeds, or even know what are RSS feeds. I have how to subscribe to this blog's RSS feeds clearly marked along the right hand side of this post. I have no idea how many people subscribe to the RSS feeds. I do know that far fewer people subscribe to the e-mail updates than view this blog. I will assume even fewer subscribe via RSS.
  5. Between what I read about blogging and what I see on this blog especially the comments below, I have the following firm beliefs:
  • That people come to blogs looking for specific answers to specific questions but blogs are designed more to provide general information about general issues. At least, this is the structure of this blog.
  • People stop looking when they think they have the answer to their specific question. This is a mistake on the searcher's part which I do not know how to correct. I have my earlier posts arranged by topics on the right hand side of the blog. Few people seem to realize this. You can go directly to the same topic of this post by clicking on the link below next to the word label. I have noticed this working. I have also tried to cross-link posts myself. This works but this takes a lot of time. (For example, this is not the only article on this blog about PAS).
  • I am ever more convinced that we who toil in blogging have mistaken the few trees in front of us for the forest. Most people do not use the tool as we think they do.
  • That in the actual writing, I try to make the headlines interesting for RSS readers while making the content useful for my e-mail subscribers and casual readers. I do not know any other way to cover all my bases but if I cannot cover them then the subscribers are first in my mind. Believe when I say that I write as much as I because of the e-mail subscribers as I think they want to know what is going on with Indiana family law.
I will finish this post in the next week as I originally intended to finish it. I found the original article interesting for the difference between Indiana and Ohio law. Indiana has no statute comparable to the Ohio statute mentioned in the original post and which the second commentator refers to. What Indiana has is case law.

Another thought I had about the responses to my prematurely posted article is a bit more complicated and maybe captured better in my responses to the comments. That does not mean I am not going to try.

There exists a huge gap between the public's knowledge and expectations of the family law system. Calling this gap ignorance seems harsh and likely to be misconstrued but may still be apt. Which gets me thinking about the following:
  1. Why people do not understand that while general forms may exist among the states, the specifics can be widely different. At this point, I must say that Indiana relies more on case law than does Ohio on the issue of parental interference with visitation creating grounds for a modification of custody.
  2. So far as I know, American family law uses an adversarial template for family law. Which limits the ability of courts to call their own witnesses. Which means the default button is for a fight. The only corrective to this default position are the lawyers and their clients. If you are interested in alternatives to an adversarial divorce then use the search box above and search for "collaborative divorce" and then follow up the links in my posts. I firmly believe that the adversarial paradigm shall remain the default until the general public listens to the lawyers who say this is not the only way, it is not the best way, to deal with family law issues. All I can say for Indiana is that, thankfully, we do not have to prove fault to get a divorce.
  3. The law is not a fast food menu that is interchangeable but a whole system. There are no county child support guidelines or parenting time guidelines but only state guidelines. Even those guidelines do not answer all questions. Indiana has statutes and case law that will apply to the facts. Understand that the system operates on the tension between the facts of each case and the law (which means guidelines, local rules, statutes, trial rules and case law).
  4. That most people do not know of their rights. Whether this ignorance is willful or not depends on the person and their lawyer. Attorneys vary on how much they inform their clients. I try but I also have clients who act like they are taking in the information but only to learn they do not process the information. Ask questions if you are a client and offer information if you are a lawyer.
  5. Yes, all this costs money. I know Indiana has very few resources available to provide payment of attorney fees. We have statutes allowing for the other side to pay attorney fees but I know few attorneys who will take on a case without some sort of payment. And if the other side has no more money than the client? Yes, I think the situation becomes apparent then. But add to this the use of experts - the psychologist mentioned in the first comment below - and how do the parties afford them? I have some articles under the topic of attorney fees that deal with this issue in a bit more detail. Bottom line? I do not expect the public to fund a system of family law attorneys with their tax dollars - not in our current economic straits.
Oddly, I never thought I would have so much to write about on the subject of family law. I expected just writing about cases and the straight legal issues. Yet, much exists behind the statutes and case law and much of that is people. Which has made writing this blog much more serious for me and much more interesting. Thank you for your support.


amanwhocares said...

Quick and decisive action needs to be at the forefront of cases involving Parental Alienation. It is one of the most insidious forms of child absue and is adult abuse. In severe level alienation decisive action is critical to the mental health of the child. What are we paying those court apppointed psychologists for anyway?

Robert Gartner
Houston, Texas

Sam Hasler said...

For starters, Indiana does not have court appointed psychologists. Does Texas? I certainly do not know how it works in all fifty states but I am not aware of courts keeping psychologists on the payroll in any state. Yes, it would be a great idea that private parties did not have to raise the money for psychologists or psychiatrists but the taxpayers may have a different idea.

Glen C Schulz said...

Mr. Hasler, how old is that Ohio revised code? Being denied access to my children while being kept from them by restraining orders brought about by false allegations of sexual abuse, the Ohio legal system failed us miserably. While call after call was made regarding the well being of my children while I was being alienated from them, a dysfunctional system kept them in harms way. Left with no other option I was forced to kidnap my children and go underground until such time as someone actually looked at the evidence and gave me custody.

I applaud you sir for having the intestinal fortitude to discuss PA and PAS when so many others say that it doesn't exist and say that unscroupulous attorneys use it to keep abusers with the abused children, pure hogwash. They must still think the world is flat, too.

After being seperated from my children for two months, my son thanked me for seeing them again. He said that they had been told that I didn't love them and didn't want to see them.

That sir, is parental alienation. I only wish that "Justice for Children" would read this and perhaps they would accept PAS instead of denying it.

Glen C Schulz. author of
"Unlawful Flight."

Sam Hasler said...

Actually this post was not to have been published yet and the commendation goes to another: The Ohio Family Law Blog.

Glen C Schulz said...

Sam, Thanks for clearing up the confusion. And now excuse me while I catch my breath, the election of Obama and the finding of an honest attorney all in one month is a bit overwhelming:)

Sam Hasler said...

While I appreciate the compliment, most attorneys are honest.

Grant Griffiths said...

Sam -- Glad my post cause you to wonder about RSS and whether our readers really know what it is or how to use it. Thanks for reading BFP.

Sam Hasler said...

Grant, I try to read you as often as possible. Oh, I do like the new blog - as well written as usual and beautiful to look at.