The custody dispute we have been talking about has taken a number of very unusual turns. At times, the situation sounds like the plot of a movie, with international locations, accusations of abuse and kidnapping, and years of fighting over visitation agreements. The parents are at war, and the effect on the children is just considered collateral damage.
As we explained, the couple’s marriage apparently fell apart when the husband took a job in their native Israel. They divorced, and the mother was granted physical custody of the three children. Over the next few years, she apparently refused to allow her ex-husband to see their children.
The judge handling the case has repeatedly ordered the mother to allow the children to visit with their father. For a time now, though, it seems the mother has ignored the court’s directions. At a hearing in June, the judge lost her temper with the mother and the children.
The children refused to talk to their father or to have anything to do with him. The judge chastised them, charged them with contempt of court and sent them to juvenile detention, warning that they needed to establish a healthy relationship with their father or risk spending their birthdays in detention.
The story went viral. According to the Detroit Free Press, the father and the children’s court-appointed guardian petitioned the court to move the children to a summer camp. The judge relented and lifted the contempt charges. The children, ages 14, 10 and 9, ended up spending about two weeks at the detention facility. It was not clear how long they would stay at camp, but the judge did make it clear that their mother was not to visit them. The judge maintains that the mother has poisoned the children against their father.
The case took yet another turn last week when the judge ordered the children and their father to participate in an intensive five-day therapy program. The program is, again according to the Free Press, specifically designed to address parental alienation issues. If the family — minus the mother, who has been barred from participating — makes progress, the children will live with their father for three months. The mother currently has physical custody of the children.
In October, the family will once again meet in court to discuss the custody arrangement. Unless something else changes.
Source: Detroit Free Press, “Judge: Kids, dad must undergo therapy to reconcile,” L.L. Brasier, Aug. 12, 2015