Tag: understanding

Artificial Fraudulence

Seth Godin stated it well when he wrote, “The ease with which someone can invent and spread lies [with advancing technology] is going to take most of us by surprise. It’s going to require an entirely new posture for understanding the world around us.”

This is especially true in family law.

We will soon reach the point (some are there already) in family law where a spouse or parent can create fake email, text, and audio and visual “records” of spousal and child abuse, substance abuse, infidelity, assets and debt, property damage, diminution and dissipation of assets, scientific data, etc. that is all but indistinguishable from the genuine article. The level and volume of fakery will be impossible for all but the wealthiest of litigants to discern (and even then, if a duped judge is too proud or to biased to acknowledge and remedy the fraud, all the proof in the world won’t protect the innocent). When truth is practicably impossible to verify in the legal process, truth becomes meaningless to the process.

I don’t know how best to address this problem (it may already be too late). Unless the profession takes immediate and wise action, the liars will make such a mockery of the legal process so fast and so pervasively that trust in the system will be irreparably destroyed (and with good reason). We may reach a point where society at large gives up on the notion of justice being a function of truth (reality).

One concern I have is members of the profession (both opposing counsel and judges) acting “offended” for outraged or “concerned” if somebody claims that deepfakes and other similar tactics are being engaged. I’m concerned that someone who may in the utmost sincerity raise legitimate concerns about the authenticity and veracity of certain evidence being ridiculed as paranoid, a vexatious litigator, unprofessional, etc. Not out of a genuine belief, but in the hopes that shaming or even persecuting the whistleblower will result in the claims being retracted so that the hard work of getting to the truth can be avoided and or so that the desired outcome is not impeded by the facts. When that happens, then who will judge the judges, and by what standard?

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Are family courts biased against parents with diagnosed mental illness when deciding custody?

Are family courts biased against parents with diagnosed mental illness when deciding custody?

Yes, they can be, under certain circumstances.

A common tactic in child custody disputes is to accuse the other parent of being mentally ill and a danger to the children. Courts are so accustomed to perfunctory allegations of mental illness being thrown around that courts often become jaded and skeptical, and as a result they sometimes won’t place much stock in such claims. So to those of you thinking that going off half-cocked and accusing your spouse of mental illness will give you a cheap, easy advantage, it won’t do you much good (and may undermine your credibility) without an actual diagnosis by a qualified neutral professional, at the very least.

But if a court does acknowledge a parent suffers from mental illness, then yes, there is frequently a bias against that parent. It’s not right, but to some extent, can you condemn them for such a bias? If one parent suffers from no disabilities and the other does (mental and/or physical), right there you have a difference that certainly does the disabled parent no favors in the child custody analysis.

Many people fear mental the mentally ill because they don’t understand mental illness (and have little interest in gaining a greater understanding), so when one does not understand and fears something, one tends avoid that thing. Courts thus often mistreat a mentally ill parent because those courts A) don’t know if the mental illness will render a parent unfit to exercise custody and B) don’t really want to know if the mental illness will render a parent unfit to exercise custody.*

*Note, however, that some judges and other judicial officers suffer from an unusually high incidence of mental health issues (depression and other mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, sex addiction, etc.) and in those cases they may be hypersensitive to reckless allegations that mental illness = parental unfitness.

So if you suffer from mental illness, and if the court expresses concern about it, and if you can prove your mental illness does not pose a threat to the well-being of the children, then bury the court in useful data and facts that prove this six ways from Sunday. Merely trying to reason with someone who doesn’t understand or care to understand mental illness is not enough. Give’em so much evidence that they can’t rule any other way without knowing they’ll be overturned on appeal. Yes, it’s very expensive and requires great and sustained effort. That’s the way it goes. There’s no easier way.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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