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The "DIVORCES - CHILD CUSTODY" section of this website contains summaries of approximately 200 Child Custody and other Divorce court cases involving Jehovah's Witnesses. The vast majority of the summarized cases are Appellate Court and even Supreme Court decisions. Viewers should bear in mind that these 200 cases are not exhaustive of all such cases. These cases are merely those that I have been able to locate on the world wide web. I'm guessing that the actual number of such Jehovah's Witness family court cases probably range in the 1000s over the past decades. Thus, these cases should be considered as being merely "illustrative" of what has occurred in the past, and may occur in the future.
Generally, there is no such thing as a "national child custody law". Although similar, each state has established its own laws regarding child custody, and each state's courts interpret those laws using legal standards that may vary from those used by courts in other states. As site visitors will quickly see from reading the following summaries, state courts apply one of the following three different legal standards when deciding these cases:
1. Actual Or Substantial Harm: Existing actual or substantial harm to the child must be proven to have been caused by a parent's religious practices before the court will restrict that parent's constitutional rights. Such states include California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Washington.
2. Risk Of Harm. For a court to restrict a parent's constitutional rights, it only has to be proven that that a parent's religious practices pose a risk of harm to the child. Such states include Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
3. No Harm Required. In only a few states, such as Arkansas and Wisconsin, a parent who has sole legal custody also has the exclusive right to determine the child's religious education.
Child custody court case decisions typically are lengthy and complex, and deal with a multitude of legal issues. The following case summaries will generally include only those issues in which religion was a factor. Some summaries may omit issues relevant to the court's decision, but not relevant to the theme of this website.
CHILD CUSTODY -- BEAT JW PARENT AT THEIR OWN "RELIGIOUS" GAME
Non-JW Parents -- typically "fathers" -- should take the initiative starting the very day that "separation" occurs. Obtain legal representation ASAP. Next, immediately renew any previous affiliation with a local church, or establish such if such did not exist previously -- regardless of how such fits with your current life philosophy. If available, obtain the assistance of local family and relatives. Discovering the religious affiliations of the local family court judges might help in the selection of a church. Ask your new attorney. If they don't already know, or they are not anxious to assist you in this part of the battle, then maybe you need to hire a more cooperative and more insightful attorney. Discuss your situation with prospective churches' Pastors -- particularly the willingness of their staff and members to go out of their way to make certain that your children thoroughly enjoy themselves every time your children are in attendance. Thoroughly inquire as to the quantity and quality of that church's programs for its children and single parents. The more the better. Ask for SPECIFICS -- don't allow a BSer to blow smoke up your rearend. Establish a presence at the church -- particularly with the children if there is access prior to trial. Your own newfound faith should not be a negative during trial given that your wife's JW faith is probably also newfound in these situations. Go to trial with a religious stick that is every bit as big as your wife's religious stick. Even if there is no chance at receiving primary custody, fight for the right to take your children to church at special times during the year -- holidays, birthdays, etc. Force the JW Parent to fight against holiday and birthday celebrations right in the courtroom. Force the JW Parent to fight for the right to drag children door-to-door right there in the courtroom. Never underestimate the power of birthday and holiday celebrations with your children -- WHEREVER and WHENEVER the children are exposed to such. It is not a battle of quantity. It is a battle of quality. Different children will respond in their own different times. NEVER FORGET. Children grow to HATE attending Kingdom Hall Meetings and going out in Field Service -- regardless of what they presently parrot. Always remember that 2/3s of children reared by JW Parents eventually come to HATE life inside the WatchTower Cult. Beat the JW Parent at their own religious game. Never give up. Your children will gradually grow to appreciate your efforts -- some sooner, some later. In all dealings, don't be an ASS. Beat your opponent with a smile on your face -- because you know that you are outwitting them.
For those readers who are not looking for any specific DIVORCE case, but who are simply browsing our website for general education regarding Jehovah's Witness Marriages and Divorces, we have posted TWO JW WIFE AUTOBIOGRAPHIES which were submitted by real-world victimized husbands, which relate REAL WATCHTOWER WORLD behind-the-scenes accounts of two Jehovah's Witness marriages about which the WatchTower Society hopes that no insiders nor outsiders ever learn. These two autobiographies are so controversial that most JW readers will deny their authenticity. Both autobiographies are authentic. We have confirm that.
This first posted autobiography pertains to single Jehovah's Witnesses looking for marriage mates at District Conventions, Circuit events, and via the internet. Things are not always as they appear in "JW World". JWs are marrying other JWs who live hundreds and even thousands of miles away, and often one or both parties eventually learn that they have married a stranger, or worse. Naive Jehovah's Witnesses are marrying JWs from other JW families who have serious ongoing problems which were hidden from them during the courtship. Bankrupt JW in-laws. Criminal JW in-laws. Incestuous JW in-laws. JWs with serious mental health and physical health problems are not fully disclosing their personal "baggage" to prospective marriage mates. In the following autobiography, JW Husband believes that he was deceived during the courtship period by his future JW Wife, by her JW Parents, by her Congregation Elders, and by other Members of JW Wife's congregation. CLICK ON LINK TO READ:
MY TEENAGE JEHOVAH'S WITNESS WIFE:
EXEMPLARY CONGREGATION PUBLISHER & SERIAL ADULTERESS
The second submitted autobiography relates the account of a recently married non-JW Wife who converted to the Jehovah's Witnesses and soon thereafter disowned her loving and trusting Husband. JW Wife then began using her busy JW witnessing and meeting schedule and her morally-corrupt JW friends to hide serial "cheating", and eventually something so SHOCKING that you will have to read the autobiography to believe it. Readers are put on notice that this account contains some sexually explicit material which we have attempted to edit as best as we could and still retain the info and image that the victimized husband wants readers to take away from his unbelievable REAL JW WORLD marriage. CLICK ON LINK TO READ:
MY BUSY-BUSY JEHOVAH'S WITNESS WIFE:
REGULAR AUXILIARY PIONEER & PARTTIME BROTHEL PROSTITUTE
Visitors may also be interested in reading the "Real WatchTower World" account posted in our JW EMPLOYEES website about a JW Elderette who put on a "burlesque show" at her home during a business appointment with a lone out-of-town businessman. Foolish JW Elderette never even considered that the out-of-town businessman might possibly have JW connections. Two other very revealing "Real WatchTower World" accounts about two JW Females with overactive sexual libidoes are included at the bottom of this very webpage.
One of the first things any divorcing parent with children must decide is whether they will contest custody of their children. While that answer may be obvious for most XJW Parents, it is not a given. We are making an exception to our rule of not posting foreign court cases in this section, because the "facts" of this July 2017 Canadian court decision should be highly informative and educational for anyone contemplating entering a child custody contest. This LOSER case not only affects the involved parties, but will define XJWs and XJW child custody issues for decades to come in Canada. Cult HQ is still celebrating. Read case thoroughly. Use pen and paper to record the "positives" and "negatives" for both the JW side and the XJW side. Anyone who finds any expectation -- reasonable or unreasonable -- that the JWs might lose this case, please forward your argument for our personal education.
ABRA MOORE v. DONOVAN MOORE is an ongoing 2016 Kentucky child custody contest resulting from a 2002 marriage and a 2011 divorce. The divorced couple are the parents of an 11 year-old daughter and an 8 year-old son. The mother, Abra Moore, age 34, is the custodial parent, and is a former Jehovah's Witness. Donovan Moore, age 54, has re-married, and is still a Jehovah's Witness.
See: EEOC v. THE ADVOCATE MESSENGER (2002) and KENTUCKY v. DONOVAN JAMES MOORE (2016)
In April 2015, Mother filed a Motion asking the trial court to admonish Father that he should not influence Mother's choices of religious beliefs for the children. Specifically, she asked that Father "cease communication with the children regarding their religious beliefs as same has made the children uncomfortable and anxious." Mother is raising the children in the Christian faith. By Order of August 2015, the trial court denied Mother's Motion.
The trial court explained that Mother's ability as sole custodian to determine the religion in which the children will be raised is not compromised or controverted by its order. In recognizing Father's right to express his religious views, the court noted that any restriction on his discussion of his religious beliefs with his children would require "an understandably high threshold due to the First Amendment Freedom of Religion Protections of the Constitution. ...
... the trial court held that Father may expose the children to his religious beliefs, provided that such exposure is not substantially likely to result in physical or emotional harm to them. Additionally, the court held that there was insufficient proof in the record of such harm or of any substantial likelihood that such harm would occur. ... ....
The trial court did not limit Mother's authority to determine the children's religious training in any way. In balancing the respective rights of the parents, the trial court correctly determined that Mother's statutory right does not preempt or abrogate Father's constitutional right to express his religion. Again, he may do so provided that "the exposure is not substantially likely to result in physical or emotional harm to the child." ...
NO, Judges won't just take your word for it that exposing children to the beliefs and practices of the WatchTower Cult is detrimental to children in every way imaginable. If YOU and your attorney are not prepared to adequately make the case that exposing your children to the beliefs and practices of the WatchTower Cult is detrimental to your children in every way imaginable, then don't be surprised when you not only lose, but are "spanked" by the court for making an assertion that you were unable to prove. We can't say much more about the hearing in this case then we already did about the hearing in the PIERSON case summarized below, except to note that at least Jennifer Pierson presented one expert witness capable of testifying to "something".
EMILIO ANELLO, JR v. DANIELLE P. FIORINA is an ongoing 2008-16 New Jersey child custody contest which should be HIGHLY EDUCATIONAL for non-JW Parents involved in a child custody contest. "Son" was born out-of-wedlock to this unmarried couple in 2008. Shortly thereafter, Emilio Anello and Danielle Fiorina agreed to joint custody, with the Jehovah's Witness Mother serving as the parent of primary residence. (The court decision noted that Emilio Anello was estranged from his entire family, thus the Anello Family may also be Jehovah's Witnesses.)
Beginning in October 2009, Emilio Anello began seeking an increase in parenting time, including all holidays and Son's birthday. NOT UNREASONABLY, Anello asserted that he should be granted all holidays and Son's birthday because Danielle was a Jehovah's Witness who did not celebrate these events. Expectedly, Danielle Fiorina opposed such.
During hearings held in May 2013, Danielle Fiorina testified that as a practicing Jehovah's Witness, her "religious beliefs and convictions ... incline [her] away from honoring or celebrating anything that [is] not explicitly identified in the Bible", BUT that those religious beliefs did not prevent her from "having a family gathering or meal" on holidays, because "everyone shuts down on these days and [she's] able to have uninterrupted time with" her Son.
With regard to "religious" holidays, Danielle Fiorina testified that her father and members of the ANELLO FAMILY visited "Son" either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. As for Easter, Danielle Fiorina testified that "all the holidays are the same to me. They're ... where I don't work, I have time at home, with [Son]. ... other family members, my father, [Son's] paternal grandparents, anyone can come visit, because they're not working as well. So they're able to come over and spend time together on these holidays ... they celebrate. I don't prevent them from celebrating. They do what they do. If they want to come in and wish my son a ... happy Easter, that's what they do. I don't prevent that. ... They have given him Easter baskets. ... they're allowed to give him what they want to give [him]. I don't interfere with what they want to do."
With regard to "secular" holidays, such as Memorial Day, President's Day, Independence Day and Labor Day, Danielle Fiorina testified that "they are pretty much all the same ... but it's an opportunity where I spend time, I don't have to work. [Son] gets to spend time with other people ... in his close family that do not work, and are around. My father, [the ANELLO FAMILY], cousins. ... We ... have something to eat at my house or we would go out to eat." Danielle Fiorina acknowledged that she would not attend a Memorial Day service or a fireworks show on the Fourth of July, as she did not "celebrate it [and t]hat would be a part of celebrating it." She also would not celebrate Thanksgiving, but would "either eat at [her] house or go out.... it's really just the same. [Son is] not in school, he gets to spend time with family."
In June 2013 order, the GULLIBLE NEW JERSEY JUDGE established a detailed holiday parenting time schedule. Emilio Anello received Memorial Day weekend, Halloween, Veteran's Day, Christmas Eve to Christmas Morning, Father's Day and Emilio's own birthday.
Danielle Fiorina received Labor Day weekend, Christmas Day, Mother's Day (also forbidden by the WatchTower Cult) and her own birthday.
The GENIUS NEW JERSEY JUDGE split July 4th, President's Day, Easter, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day and EVEN SON's BIRTHDAY -- NONE OF WHICH JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES ARE PERMITTED TO CELEBRATE.
On appeal, TWO NEW JERSEY JUDGES affirmed the trial court decision in 2015.
Readers should read the full online version of this decision to understand that Emilio Anello's alleged conduct FAILED to earn him any sympathy with either the Superior Court Judge or the two appellate court judges. Once again, "In all dealings, don't be an ASS." Additionally, as revealed in this decision, non-JW Parents must anticipate that the JW Parent will SPIN and MINIMIZE their "ANTI-HOLIDAYS" beliefs and practices. Non-JW litigants should be prepared to demonstrate to the court how JWs ACTUALLY feel and conduct themselves with regard to holiday celebrations, including proving that any JW who shortcuts WatchTower Cult beliefs and practices exposes themselves and their children to marking, shunning, etc. As in this case, most trial court judges are not willing to give non-JW litigants multiple opportunities to prove their case, or disprove the opponent's case. ANTICIPATE THEOCRATIC WARFARE.
On Monday night, December 7, 2015, at around 9:30 P.M., a married Jehovah's Witness Wife and Mother named Damaris Saavedra Rodriguez, age 43, of Pembroke Pines, Florida, told her JW Husband that she was going to pick up some grocery items from a nearby Publix supermarket. Damaris Rodriguez did not return home. At some point the following Tuesday AM, Rodriguez's husband notified the police. Police and Rodriguez's husband found Rodriguez's automobile still parked in the Publix parking lot, with the purchased groceries locked inside. Police then viewed the store's security tape, and discovered that after placing her groceries in her car, Damaris Rodriguez had voluntarily walked to and gotten in a gray 2015 Dodge Caravan, which turned out to be owned and driven by another local Jehovah's Witness named Luis Eduardo Carvajal, age 48, also of Pembroke Pines, Florida. Luis E. Carvajal and his Wife were fellow congregants of Damaris Saavedra Rodriguez and her husband at the local Pembroke Pines Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. On Tuesday afternoon, Georgia police located Carvajal's gray 2015 Dodge Caravan 400 miles from Pembroke, Florida, in Brunswick, Georgia -- probably at a local motel. There, after interrogating Damaris Rodriguez and Luis Carvajal, no arrest were made after Damaris Rodriguez convinced them that she was there of her own free will. When questioned by reporters, "Friends say Saavedra Rodriguez and Carvajal are good people and Jehovah’s [W]itnesses who value their faith."
MICHELLE GILLETTE v. JOSEPH EYRL GILLETTE was a 2015 Florida divorce. After Joseph E. Gillette, then age 27, and Michelle Herndon married in May 1983, this African-American Jehovah's Witness Couple produced two daughters -- Marissa Danielle Gillette and Erin Morgan Gillette. After being married for exactly 32 years, Michelle Herndon Gillette filed for a divorce in May 2015. Joe Gillette died in November 2015, and as an "exemplary" Jehovah's Witness, who apparently never obtained a "title" during his 45 years as a Jehovah's Witness, received a JW funeral hosted at the Marianna, Florida Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.
Notably, Joe Gillette worked at the Marianna WINN DIXIE for 35 years, where his employment abilities allowed Joe to eventually rise to the level of "Produce Manager". Despite having his abilities overlooked by both the Marianna, Florida Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and Winn Dixie, in 2004, Joe Gillette apparently somehow obtained the nearly perfect score on the competitive United States Postal Service exam, which is required for employment, and having outscored all other Caucasian and Hispanic applicants, was given a job as a substitute postman. There, at the Marianna Florida Post Office, Joe was noted for making friends amongst his fellow employees, and was particularly beloved by his female co-workers, whom 'ol Joe frequently would stay late to help with the work that they had been unable to complete as quickly as Joe.
AMIE WILSON v. SCOTT TOWNSHEND is an ongoing 2014 West Virginia child custody battle since the couple's DIVORCE in August 2011. Scott Townshend, a hospital Pharmacist, and Amie Townshend, a Registered Nurse, then residents of Keyser, West Virginia, had a daughter born in 2005, and a second child born in 2007. Soon after the DIVORCE, Amie Townshend secretly, and without filing a Notice of Relocation, moved with the two children into her boyfriend's home in Cumberland, Maryland. After finally discovering the whereabouts of his children in 2012, Scott Townshend filed for a modification of their final divorce order -- particularly seeking a modification of the parenting plan, including modifying such to name Scott's home in West Virginia as the children's primary residence. That modification was granted by the West Virginia family court in 2013, was affirmed by the local appellate court in 2013, and now in 2014 was affirmed by the West Virginia Supreme Court, which also had to address the newfound religious beliefs and practices of Amie Townshend.
Although Amie Townshend testified that she had NOT joined any particular religion (her then living with her boyfriend without benefit of marriage might have had something to do with that), she apparently had adopted the religious beliefs and practices of the WatchTower Cult. Amie Townshend had stopped allowing the two children to celebrate their birthdays and all holidays. (While there are a few scattered "mountain religions" which do not permit the celebration of certain holidays, we know of no other religion other than the WatchTower Cult which forbids celebration of both birthdays and ALL holidays.) The court-appointed guardian ad litem testified that the children were adversely affected by the mother's change in regard to holiday celebrations and did not understand why this change had been made. The family court found that the children were confused by the mother's religious beliefs, including her failure to celebrate holidays and birthdays. Amongst many granted modifications to the parenting order, the majority of holidays and the children's birthdays were awarded to the father.
Amie Townshend then appealed the family court's decision to the local Circuit Court -- partially claiming that the family court had improperly used her religion as a factor in its decision. In affirming the family court's decision, the Circuit Court found that the family court "was appropriately concerned with the impact the [mother's] `new' religious beliefs was having upon her children," and that the family court properly took into account the oldest child's confusion at no longer being allowed to celebrate Christian holidays or birthdays in the manner to which she was accustomed. The circuit court specifically found that "[u]sing this issue as a factor in determining a change of custody . . . does not violate any right the [mother] has to practice her new religion," but merely represents the vast difference between it and "everything that the children have been raised with." The Circuit Court further found it was not in the best interests of the children to have their beliefs challenged in this manner by the mother.
Amie Wilson then appealed the Circuit Court's decision to the West Virginia Supreme Court -- partially claiming that the lower courts had violated her constitutional rights by granting preference to one religion over another. The court differentiated this case from their 1959 decision in BOND v. BOND, in which they overturned a lower court ruling which had disallowed the JW Parent from holding WatchTower Cult meetings in the former marital home, which had restrained that JW Parent's constitutional right to freedom of religion. Here, the West Virginia Supreme Court stated, in part:
We find that the instant case is distinguishable from Bond. In Bond, the mother was specifically enjoined from practicing her religion in the jointly-held former marital home by the court. In the case sub judice, the lower courts were careful to place no restriction on the mother's religious practices. Here, there is no restriction whatsoever on the mother's practice of her religion. The mother remains free to practice her faith and to worship in any manner without interference by the courts. The situation the lower courts were addressing was the direct effect of the mother's actions on her children. We find that this, among the other factors considered by the lower courts, is a permissible factor to be considered and does not run afoul of the admonitions and holdings in Bond. Thus, we conclude that the family court did not abuse its discretion in the manner alleged by the mother. The mother's personal exercise of her religion is not limited or constrained by the family court ordering shared custodial responsibility and decision-making. The circuit court did not err by upholding the family court's order.
IAN A. PIERSON v. JENNIFER L. PIERSON is an ongoing 2012-14 Florida appellate court case which is yet another recent Florida child custody case in which the non-JW custodial parent walked into the courtroom with the right idea, but then failed to adequately demonstrate those ideas to the court -- this time, the appellate court. (See M.G. v. J.G. below.)
The Piersons had three children in 2003, 2005, and 2009. The three children were reared as Catholics until Jennifer Pierson sought a divorce in 2012. Ian Pierson became a Jehovah's Witness after the couple separated. Thus, the children’s religious training became a major issue in the divorce.
At trial, Dr. Charlotte Chadik, a licensed psychotherapist, testified on behalf of Jennifer Pierson. Dr. Chadik was the Director of Family Ministries at the mother’s Catholic church, and served as the "communication link" between teachers at the church and the parents. When asked WHETHER SHE WAS AWARE of any problems the oldest nine year-old Son might be having in Sunday School, Chadik merely RELAYED that the oldest son's SS teacher had told her about his behavior on ONE DAY, which included telling the teacher and students that (1) the music they were listening to was wrong, (2) that the Bible they were using was wrong, (3) that there was no Heaven, (4) that priests were bad, and (5), that he was going to grow up to be a Jehovah’s Witness minister. Apparently, that SS teacher could not make it to court that day. Neither does the court record indicate that Chadik used her professional skills to "interpret" those beliefs and their detrimental effects on the child's development for the court. When Jennifer Pierson was asked during the trial if she had an objection to Ian Pierson exposing the children to his WatchTower beliefs, she simply expressed her CONCERN that it was "confusing" for the children.
Despite such limited "evidence", the trial court managed to find the "beginnings of a substantial emotional problem" in only that single oldest child, as a result of "being immersed in and exposed to two religions simultaneously." Based upon the "demonstrated harm" (required in Florida -- see top of page), the trial court ordered "shared parental responsibility", with the mother having the "ultimate" religious decision-making authority for the children. The trial court prohibited the father "from doing anything in front of the children or around the children that disparages or conflicts with the Catholic religion." It also prohibited the mother from disparaging the father’s religious beliefs in front of the children.
On appeal, Carolyn Wah, WatchTower Society Attorney, likely considered it "light work" to convince this appellate court to overturn the trial court's decision. Here are pertinent excerpts from that appellate court decision:
... Restrictions upon a noncustodial parent’s right to expose his or her child to his or her religious beliefs have consistently been overturned in the absence of a clear, affirmative showing that the religious activities at issue will be harmful to the child. ...
In the present case, while Dr. Chadik testified about what she was told regarding the parties' oldest son's behavior in one Sunday School class, she did not testify in her capacity as a psychotherapist. There was no evidence presented that Dr. Chadik or any other professional ever spoke to or evaluated the child. Nor was there any evidence presented that the parties’ two younger children were harmed by their exposure to the father’s religious beliefs or activities. While the mother’s concern that exposure to two different religions could confuse the children may be reasonable, neither that concern nor the evidence presented below established the requisite showing of harm to grant the mother ultimate religious decision-making authority for the children and to restrict the father from “doing anything in front of the children or around the children that … conflicts with the Catholic religion.”
In contrast ... the Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed a restriction prohibiting the father, a Jehovah's Witness, from "exposing or permitting any other person to expose his minor children to any religious practices or teachings inconsistent with the Catholic religion." See LeDoux v. LeDoux ... (Neb 1990). In doing so, the court set out in detail the evidence presented by the children's mother as to the negative effects on the children of being exposed to the father's religion. ... In affirming, the court found that a review of the [trial court] record, which included testimony from a certified clinical psychologist who evaluated one of the children, disclosed no abuse of discretion on the trial court's part given that there was ample evidence to conclude that the stress one of the children was experiencing, which was caused in part by his exposure to disparate religions, posed an immediate and substantial threat to his well being. ...
Unlike the situation in LeDoux, the only evidence in this case that was presented below in support of the religious restriction pertained to one incident involving one of the three children. Because the evidence did not establish the harm necessary to award the mother ultimate religious decision-making authority and to restrict the father from “doing anything” in front of or around the children that “conflicts” with the Catholic religion, we reverse the amended judgment accordingly.
There you have it. Since 1990, LeDoux has presented the winning formula for attorneys who are representing non-JW parents in "Actual or Substantial Harm" states. No point winning at trial level if the decision is certain to be overturned at the appellate level.
JOSHUA JORDAN MEDURI v. NATASHA SERRAO MEDURI is an ongoing 2011-14 North Carolina child custody contest. Joshua Meduri, Natasha Meduri, and their four parents were all Jehovah's Witnesses (possibly multi-generations given their outdated WatchTower beliefs/practices against "vaccinations").
Joshua J. Meduri and Natasha S. Meduri were married in December 2004, and they had two children prior to separating in February 2010. Joshua Meduri filed for divorce in February 2011, and judgement was granted in May 2011. The divorce decree incorporated a "Contract of Separation and Property Settlement Agreement", which the parties had entered in October 2010. That agreement gave Joshua Meduri physical custody of the two children, with Natasha Meduri receiving visitation every other weekend, and whenever mutually agreeable to both parties -- which was liberally exercised such that Natasha regularly saw and cared for the children.
Soon after the divorce, Joshua Meduri married his already pregnant girlfriend, who delivered their first child in September 2011. When problems arose with his local Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, Joshua Meduri began attending a U-U Church. Initially, Joshua and Natasha agreed that each of them (including both sets of JW GrandParents) could take the children to their own church and Kingdom Hall during their own custodial time. However, as should have been anticipated, the probable "shunning" of Joshua by his own JW Parents and other JWs eventually caused Joshua to forbid the children's attendance at the Kingdom Hall during his own custodial time periods.
In November 2012, Natasha Meduri filed a "Motion to Modify Custody Agreement", which requested joint legal and physical custody of the children. In September 2013, the trial court concluded there had been a material and substantial change in circumstances that affected the welfare of the children, and that modifying the prior custody order was in the best interests of the children. The trial court awarded joint physical and legal custody of the children to both parents. On Joshua's appeal, in July 2014, the Court of Appeals of North Carolina reversed and remanded -- finding that the trial court had erred in concluding there was a substantial change in circumstances affecting the welfare of the children that warranted modification of the prior child custody agreement. That decision stated in part:
... the trial court found that Plaintiff's marriage and his separation from the Jehovah's Witness faith "has changed the nature of events (both family and religious) in which the children can participate." There is no evidence to support the finding that Plaintiff's marriage affected, or will negatively affect, the welfare of the children. Since Plaintiff's marriage, his wife has become involved with the children and attends parent-teacher conferences. Plaintiff's marriage was not a substantial change that has affected the welfare of the children. The trial court found that Plaintiff's change of religion caused confusion in the children "because of the differences in the homes and the rules that ha[d] been put in place to respect both [Plaintiff's and Defendant's] choices." According to the trial court, this impacted the children's relationships with their grandparents, "and that change has affected the children[,]" but has not indicated how confusion on the part of the children has negatively impacted the children, nor how the change in relationship with their grandparents "has affected" them. Defendant agreed at the 24-25 July 2013 hearing that she and Plaintiff had worked out the issues surrounding Plaintiff's change of faith and how to handle that change with respect to the children.
Finally, in finding of fact 8.j., the trial court found: "[Plaintiff] has made medical decisions without consulting [Defendant]. This has directly affected the children in that they are now vaccinated against [Defendant's] wishes." This finding is supported by substantial evidence; however, there is no indication or finding that vaccinating the children negatively impacted the children.
ILLINOIS v. SHANA C. was a 2009-12 child custody case in which the State of Illinois sought and obtained termination of the parental rights of a Jehovah's Witness Mother, styled "Shana C.", of Rockford, Illinois, whom was declared "unfit", because she failed to maintain a reasonable degree of interest, concern, or responsibility as to the welfare of her three children; she did not comply with court orders regarding counseling and psychological evaluations; and despite court orders, she continued to allow her three children to have contact with their father, "Javier C.", (whom had no parental rights) who was indicated by DCFS for sexual penetration to a minor and had failed to successfully complete sex offender treatment.
The appellate court, which upheld the trial court's decision, noted that this was a Jehovah's Witness family, noted that Shana C. testified regarding their WatchTower beliefs and practices during the trial, noted that Shana C. would bring WatchTower materials to the children during the years they were in foster care, and noted Shana C.'s concern that the three children would not be permitted to attend meetings at their local Kingdom Hall.
LANGLEY v. LANGLEY was a 2010-12 Connecticut case. Mark Langley, age 42, met Oxana Langley, age 32, through an online social network service for Jehovah Witnesses in 2003. Oxana and her son lived in Moscow, Russia. Mark Langley flew to Moscow in 2003 to meet Oxana. The couple also traveled to Siberia to meet Oxana's family. Upon the Mark's return to Connecticut, the parties continued their on-line relationship until 2004, when the parties agreed to marry.
On October 19, 2004, the plaintiff (Mark) and the defendant (Oxana) married for the first time. The plaintiff, the defendant, and her son lived in Hebron, Connecticut. Both the defendant and her son spoke little English when they moved to Connecticut. The defendant did not have any friends other than the people she met through the Jehovah's Witnesses. The defendant felt very isolated, and at times felt depressed. She would occasionally drink alcohol to excess which made the marriage difficult. In November 2005, the defendant's son decided to move back to Moscow making the defendant sadder, feeling more alone, and increasing the stress in the marriage.
On October 12, 2006, the plaintiff filed for divorce. When the defendant was served, the defendant questioned the plaintiff about the divorce documents. The plaintiff told the defendant not to worry about them, and that she did not have to do anything. On March 1, 2007, the plaintiff went to court on his own and obtained a dissolution of marriage by default. The plaintiff went home that night, had dinner with the defendant, and then they both attended the Kingdom Hall together. When they returned home, at 10:30 PM, the plaintiff informed the defendant that they were no longer married. The defendant gathered her belongings and left the home.
On March 8, 2008, seven days later, the plaintiff remarried the defendant by a justice of the peace at their home in Hebron, Connecticut. The plaintiff filed, but withdrew, two additional petitions for the dissolution of the marriage. This fourth and final action was filed on February 9, 2009.
During the course of the marriage, the plaintiff provided everything to the defendant. The plaintiff would not let the defendant get her driver's license so that she could not leave the house unless driven by the plaintiff or a friend. The defendant sporadically worked cleaning houses, and she was able to do so because the plaintiff drove her to work. According to the plaintiff, he provided food and shelter to the defendant, and therefore, she did not need anything else. She attended to all his needs. She felt captive. In 2008, the defendant sought the help of a friend and obtained a Connecticut drivers' license. The plaintiff had an automobile he was not using. The plaintiff fixed it up and allowed the defendant to use it. When the plaintiff did not want the defendant to leave the house, he would take the air out of the tires.
The plaintiff claimed that the defendant was abusive emotionally and physically. The plaintiff provided evidence of incidents to support the defendant's abusive behavior. When the defendant consumed alcohol, she would raise her voice towards the plaintiff and become irrational. The plaintiff would agitate the situation by recording the defendant during these occasions. The plaintiff claims that he recorded the incidents for his protection. The plaintiff introduced as evidence one such recording. The evidence showed an incident of a woman crying and upset because her husband left her alone one Christmas Eve until shortly before midnight. The recording did not show any signs of physical or emotional abuse. In February 2009, the plaintiff filed for a restraining order seeking protection from the defendant. The parties were still living together when on February 28, 2009, the plaintiff called the police and had the defendant arrested for violating a restraining order. A criminal protective order was then issued.
With regard to the lack of financial info which Mark Langley provided to this court, the court stated:
"The court is surprised at the level of detail the plaintiff was able to provide to support the claim of generosity towards his wife and the lack of detail he was able to provide with respect to his personal and business financial records."
Granting the petition for divorce, the court noted, in part:
The marriage between the parties was volatile since the beginning. The parties often sought counseling from their church elders. The plaintiff married a person he barely knew. He brought her to this country and lived in a rural part of Connecticut. The plaintiff is controlling and manipulative. The court does not find the plaintiff credible.
The defendant felt isolated, depressed and alone. The defendant drank occasionally increasing her feeling and making the marriage more difficult.
The court finds the plaintiff to be at greater fault for the breakdown of the marriage.
In August 2012, Mark Langley lost a state court appeal.
ANOTHER MADE-IN-HEAVEN OVERSEAS JEHOVAH'S WITNESS ONLINE MARRIAGE. Which JW got the crappiest end of this stick? Danish JW Husband and American JW Wife met online in a Jehovah's Witness chat room in December 2002, and thereafter had daily contact through email and instant messaging. The two JWs met in person for the first time in July 2003, when Danish JW Male traveled to JW Female's home in Georgia, USA.
Danish JW Male returned to Georgia USA for the second time in April 2004, and married JW Female in October 2004. Interestingly, on October 16, 2004, Danish Male JW was arrested for public intoxication and battery on the arresting police officer and a responding EMT. More interestingly, despite having injured both the arresting police officer and an EMT, Danish Male JW was merely ordered to pay costs, and his sentence of 60 days imprisonment was suspended on the condition that he would not commit another criminal offense for two years. JW Male returned to Denmark in November 2004.
Thereafter, Danish JW Male's Application For Admission to the U.S. was denied. JW Wife visited JW Husband in Denmark in May 2005. The denial of Danish JW Male's Application For Admission to the U.S. was appealed. The 2010 Appeal record gives rise to the posed opening question.
In addition to the 2004 criminal conviction, it was uncovered that, in July 1995, Danish JW Male had been found guilty of beating his former spouse, tearing her hair, kicking her in the groin, and attempting to strangle her. Another "interesting" sentence of 40 day's imprisonment was suspended, and Danish JW Male was ordered to perform unidentified community service. The Appeal record further indicated that Danish Male JW was unemployed as of the time of application, and that he lived with his parents.
The Appeal Record also disclosed that American JW Wife had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, psoriatric arthritis, depression, neuropathic pain, and protein-S deficiency resulting in DVT. American JW Wife was employed as a "paraprofessional educator", although she hoped to pursue a degree in early childhood development. American JW Wife also lived with her parents, who both were in very poor health.
JAIMI LYNN LUDY v. TIMOTHY M. LUDY was a March 2013 marriage dissolution court case. Details unknown. Timothy Ludy was a member of the Wellsville, Ohio Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, who became nationally known laying the groundwork for the famous WATCHTOWER SOCIETY v. VILLAGE OF STRATTON 2002 SCOTUS decision which opened the door for brazen door-knocking CRIMINALS to take advantgage of innocent homeowners across the United States. (Readers should be aware that the exact same circumstances that gave rise to the STRATTON case had existed for decades in multiple small municipalities across the United States. However, just like the biblical stalking "lion", the WatchTower Cult took its time "cherrypicking" a defendant municipality UNABLE TO ADEQUATELY DEFEND a constitutional court case. The grand population of Stratton, Ohio was 277.)
See also: IN RE TIMOTHY M. LUDY, a May 2014 Ohio federal Chapter 7 bankruptcy court case.
See also: IN RE JAIMI LYNN LUDY, an October 2014 Ohio federal Chapter 13 bankruptcy court case.
See also: INTEGRATIVE STAFFING GROUP LLC v. JAIMI L. LUDY, ET AL, a 2008 Pennsylvania federal civil contract court case.
NIGERIAN JEHOVAH'S WITNESS INTERNET ROMANCE SCAM. It has been reported to us that one or more Nigerians -- who is/are extremely familiar with the beliefs and practices of the WatchTower Society -- have been successfully scamming a number of Jehovah's Witnesses living in the United States. The scams include a variety of appeals for money, including the following online romance reported to us by one of the victim's relatives.
A highly-educated third-generation Jehovah's Witness Widow, who is a retired elementary schoolteacher, reportedly began an online romance with someone claiming to be a JW Male living in Nigeria. JW Male claimed to have a high-paying job working on offshore oil-drilling platforms. The online romance rapidly advanced to the point that Nigerian JW Male agreed to use his vacation time to fly to the United States to get personally acquainted with JW Widow, her family, and her local congregation. However, just a few days or so before his planned departure date, Nigerian JW Male emailed JW Widow to inform her that his trip to the United States had to be postponed for at least another six months, or maybe a year, until Nigerian JW Male again had built up sufficient vacation time. The reason? There had been a glitch with his employer's monthly payroll deposit --- delaying that deposit until after his departure date. Nigerian JW Male had already emptied his bank account getting all his bills paid up before he left for the United States. Nigerian JW Male had been counting on this latest monthly payroll deposit, which included his vacation pay, to pay for his merely "reserved" airlines tickets, and other necessary travel expenses. JW Widow would not tell if she offered first, or whether Nigerian JW Male asked first, but as most readers have already suspected, JW Widow ended up wiring "several thousands" of dollars to Nigerian JW Male. JW Widow never heard from Nigerian JW Male again after the money was picked up. One can only wonder how many other lonely American Jehovah's Witness Females have fallen for this Nigerian's scam.
In April 2012, some Australian media sources published various news articles praising an elderly Tasmanian Jehovah's Witness "Convert's" newfound religious conscience. The JW Convert confessed to police the torching of his own automobile in 1994, and the torching of his own rental house in 1995 -- both for the insurance proceeds. However, as it turns out, much of this "miracle" is typical Jehovah's Witness BULLS***.
One anonymous Australian source alleges that, in fact, this "JW Convert" actually has been a JW for decades, and one or more of his four adult sons are JW Elders. Decades ago, JW Convert was a prominent Australian JW Pioneer, and he and his family were sent to Tasmania by the WatchTower Society "to serve where the need was great". Anonymous Source alleges that JW Convert eventually had an affair with a female half his age -- whom JW Convert eventually married and had two daughters. At some point, JW Convert was disfellowshipped, and it was during this time period that he committed the two arsons. Rather than "converting" in 2004, JW Convert was then "reinstated". Interestingly, JW Convert's conscience did not get to bothering him until 2011 -- only after divorcing Wife #2, and becoming embroiled in a custody battle over their youngest daughter. Interestingly, JW Convert has since married Wife #3, and he is now advocating that his Wife #2 be prosecuted as an "accomplice" in his own nearly two decades old insurance scam. JW Convert has offered to testify against her as a way to lessen the sentence in his own prosecution. One can't help but wonder which came first -- the new JW girlfriend-wife, or the failed marriage-divorce? Hopefully, the local Prosecutor will see this scenario for what it is, and if not the Prosecutor, the eventual trier-of-fact.
ORLA VORIS v. MARK VORIS was a November 2011 Illinois appellate decision. Mark and Orla Voris were married in 1995, and had three children born between 2000 and 2005. In November 2009, an order was entered dissolving their marriage, along with an agreed parenting order, which granted Orla Voris custody of the children, with visitation rights to the noncustodial parent, Mark Voris. The agreed order provided that the three children would be encouraged to participate in school and extracurricular activities and events. The agreed order also provided that Mark Voris would refrain from exposing their three children to his Jehovah's Witness religion until each child reached 13 years of age.
In September 2010, Orla Voris filed her "Fourth Verified Post-Decree Petition for Rule to Show Cause and Emergency Petition of Supervised Visitation" alleging numerous, ongoing instances where Mark violated the terms of the agreed parenting order and that his violations were an attempt to undermine Orla's relationship as the custodial parent with their three children and were harming the well-being of the three children. After a three-day evidentiary hearing on Orla's petition, the court held that Mark Voris's visitation schedule would remain as stated in the original agreed parenting order, but it ordered that all visitation time going forward would be supervised. The court emphasized that its ruling was not because of Mark's religious beliefs but because it found that Mark was exploiting his religious beliefs to alienate their children from Orla, and that Mark's actions were confusing the children and harming their mental and emotional well-being. On the appeal of Mark Voris, the Illinois appellate court affirmed, stating in part:
The record is replete with evidence that Mark was using his religious faith as a tool to alienate the three children from their mother, Orla, his ex-wife. The record is also filled with evidence demonstrating that Mark's actions were having severe negative effects on the three children and endangering their emotional and mental well-being. One psychologist's expert report was submitted by the petitioner at trial on this issue. Mark did not rebut this psychologist's report with any expert report of his own that supported any contrary view regarding the deleterious effects his many actions had on the children. Mark also did not rebut the expert's conclusions that Mark suffered from mania, grandiose aspirations and lack of impulse control and substance abuse and that he scored within the dysfunctional range on the psychological testing, although he was given opportunity to present his side, including any contrary expert's analysis of his psychological state of mind. To the extent that Mark submitted his testimony and argument as an attempt to rebut the expert's report, such attempt failed as the court found Mark's testimony entirely incredible.
PATRICIA MARIE ALBRECHT v. KEITH VINCENT ALBRECHT is an ongoing 1999-2012 Montana Divorce case which most recently involved Keith Albrecht's attempt to have a Final Order of Protection dissolved so that he could attend the Spanish-speaking services at the Bozeman, Montana Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, which ex-wife Patricia Albrecht also regularly attends. The trial court upheld Patricia Albrecht's desire to continue the FOP on a legal technicality, but such was remanded on Keith Albrecht's appeal. Outcome unknown.
HARRISON v. TAUHEED was a 2009-11 Kansas child custody case. In 2002, a Witchita, Kansas Jehovah's Witness, named Monica Harrison, now Monica Mitchell, had a son, J.D. Harrison, out-of-wedlock with a Muslim college student, named Adiel Tauheed. Tauheed later moved to California to attend graduate school, and eventually married another female.
Monica filed this paternity action in June 2006, when J.D.H. was four years old. In February 2009, when J.D.H. was almost seven years old, the state district court issued its custody ruling that ordered Monica and Tauheed to share joint legal custody of J.D.H. The court also awarded residential custody to Monica, with Tauheed getting JDH during spring break, summer, and alternating weekends and holidays. Tauheed appealed and claimed that the trial court applied an incorrect legal standard, which resulted in the court's failure to consider evidence about Monica's religious beliefs and practices as a Jehovah's Witness. Tauheed claimed that Monica's religious WatchTower beliefs and practices adversely affected or could adversely affect J.D.H. in the future. In 2010, the Kansas Court of Appeals upheld the trial court ruling, stating in part:
We hold that a parent's religious beliefs and practices may not be considered by the trial court as a basis to deprive that parent of custody unless there is a showing of actual harm to the health or welfare of the child caused by those religious beliefs and practices.
The majority opinion contains a lengthy and rambling review and "spin" of the trial court case and Kansas precedent. Don't allow "quantity" to fool the reader. It is obvious that between a Jehovah's Witness Mother and a MUSLIM baby-daddy, that the Kansas Court was going to interpret the facts and Kansas law in such a fashion that custody would remain with the JW Mother. In a lengthy dissent, the dissenting judge pointed out the reality of what had occurred at trial level:
I respectfully disagree with the majority's conclusion that the district court did not abuse its discretion in deciding primary residential custody in this case. I would remand this case to the district court based on the district court's failure to fully and consistently apply the "best interests of the child" standard in determining residential custody. Further, remand is appropriate because the district court erroneously concluded it could not consider factors relating to a parent's religious practices, even if those practices adversely impacted the child's interests.
The majority opinion cites as support Kansas precedents pertaining to JW custody, JACKSON v. JACKSON, and SINCLAIR v. SINCLAIR. Researchers should read this website's summary of these two cases to get "the rest of the story". For example, few readers would know that the JW Mother in JACKSON had been diagnosed as a "psychopath" by her own psychiatrist, and the Kansas trial court and the appellate court refused to consider such in their decisions.
In August 2011, the Kansas Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals and trial court rulings, stating in part:
We are of the view that neither the majority opinion nor the dissenting opinion from the Court of Appeals got the standard for consideration of a parent's religion in child custody proceedings completely correct, ... ... ...
Instead, what we discern in our previous cases, including Sinclair, is an attempt to differentiate between religious beliefs on the one hand and religiously motivated actions or conduct with implications for the paramount best interests of the child on the other. Disapproval of mere belief or nonbelief cannot be a consideration in a custody determination -- judges are not trained to mediate theological disputes. Yet consideration of religiously motivated behavior with an impact on a child's welfare cannot be ignored. It is one of the many relevant factors that must be part of the holistic custody calculus required under Kansas law. ... ...
Okay. So, what "religiously motivated actions or conduct " did the trial judge decide was NOT detrimental to J.D.H., and thus no business of the Court? Excerpts from the Kansas Supreme Court opinion:
During Monica's cross-examination, her counsel objected to questions about her religious beliefs. The district court permitted the questions as "fair cross." Monica testified that she was a member of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of the Jehovah's Witness religion. Her faith, she said, prohibits the celebration of certain events, such as holidays and birthdays, as well as saluting the flag, saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and serving in the military. Certain extracurricular activities, such as sports, also are not encouraged. Monica testified that J.D.H. was not involved in school-related extracurricular activities. She also testified that her faith discouraged ,"unwholesome relationships" which are distractions that deter a believer from doing what he or she is supposed to be doing. Relationships with some who are not Jehovah's Witnesses qualify as unwholesome associations. According to Monica's faith, all who reject Jehovah will be annihilated. She also testified about her religious practice of going door-to-door "witnessing" with J.D.H. and said that Adiel had been accommodating about her beliefs, as well as the religious training J.D.H. was receiving from her.
Monica also responded to a hypothetical scenario posed on cross-examination, saying that she would not consent to a blood transfusion even if it were necessary to save J.D.H.'s life. However, she also testified that, if such circumstances arose, she would talk to Adiel. ... ... ...
Meighan Peifer, an early childhood educator, testified regarding time J.D.H. spent in her educational facility in Kansas City, where J.D.H. attended when he was in Kansas City with his father. Peifer described certain incidents with J.D.H. as "odd." In one, J.D.H. "froze" during a school performance. In the other, J.D.H. was unresponsive when another student asked J.D.H. to come to his house. She said that J.D.H. was shaking and saying, "[N]o, my mom said no, that it was wrong," when there was a school parade coinciding with the Fourth of July. Peifer expressed concern that J.D.H. was not developing personal autonomy, although all of his development in other areas was on target for his age. She said she had referred the family to a child psychiatrist because "something was off" for J.D.H. Peifer described Adiel as a very involved parent, and she said she believed it was very important that J.D.H. be able to make his own choices about religious practices or "emotionally, it is [going to] scar him for life."
Adiel's mother ... testified about two incidents in which J.D.H. grew upset while with her. At a birthday celebration for his grandfather, J.D.H. stated "I broke my promise" not to celebrate birthdays. Another time, when at his uncle's house, J.D.H. refused to go inside because there was a flag outside of the door, which he described as an "idol." ...
Having reset the standard, and having reconsidered the evidence, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled:
... The only question, therefore, is whether the district court properly employed a best interests of the child analysis, ... ... ...
Turning to the question of whether the district judge correctly applied this clarified legal standard when arriving at his initial custody determination in this case, we conclude that the judge properly distinguished between religious belief and religiously motivated conduct having an impact on the best interests of the child. Despite his protestations to the contrary, it is apparent from the judge's memorandum decision that he did in fact consider religiously motivated action. But he stopped there. He did not improperly consider religious belief alone or allow speculation about conduct potentially affecting the child. ... ...
The judge divided Adiel's concerns based on Monica's religious beliefs and practices into the following categories: (1) "Father contends that the Mother's religious practices are alienating him from his son"; (2) "Father further contends that Mother's religious practices are creating problems for his son's social interactions with other children"; (3) "Father contends that [J.D.H] is being forced to participate in activities associated with the Jehovah's Witnesses which are not in his best interests"; and (4) "Father contends that the Jehovah's Witness prohibition on blood transfusion, and the Mother's reluctance to disavow this prohibition as it relates to the possible future medical needs of [J.D.H.], creates an unacceptable risk that [J.D.H.] would not receive medically necessary healthcare."
In regard to the claim that J.D.H. experienced social anxiety in connection with holiday celebrations, the district court stated: "While this is a concern to the Court, ultimately the Court must respect Mother's religious practices. Case law which is binding precedent on this Court prohibits consideration of matters directly associated with decisions a parent makes in an effort to put into practice the teachings of that parent's faith." With respect to J.D.H. disliking going door-to-door with his mother to teach about the Jehovah's Witnesses, the judge stated: "Kansas case law prohibits the Court from considering these factors." He nevertheless went on to find that "these activities do not appear to have any adverse impact on [J.D.H.]." We first observe that it is ever important for any district judge examining claims such as those advanced by Adiel to analyze whether any anxiety, doubt, frustration, or guilt a child may suffer from being identified with a particular religious group is due to our society's tendency to bestow public recognition or endorsement upon a different, dominant religious group. The district judge in this case appears to have grasped this point. And, because of the district judge's factual finding that J.D.H. did not seem to be adversely affected, we need not further discuss here whether a child's general discomfort or uneasiness stemming from participation in a parent's religious practices can ever influence a custody decision in favor of the other parent.
Adiel also argued to the district judge that he was being alienated from his son because the Jehovah's Witnesses believe only they will survive annihilation, a claim the district judge stated "is a particularly thorny issue for the Court to wade through." The judge stated: "The teachings of the Jehovah's Witnesses, including those that teach non-Jehovah's Witnesses will suffer annihilation, may not be considered by this Court in deciding custody issues." He went on to state, however, that "while Mother has the constitutional right to raise [J.D.H.] as a Jehovah's Witness, she cannot hide behind this right to alienate [J.D.H.] from his father" and that "Mother should respect the bond [J.D.H.] has with his father." In other words, the judge properly disregarded Monica's religious belief alone, while noting that her professed belief could not be used to shield inquiry into acts of alienation.
The district judge was most clearly troubled with Monica's beliefs concerning blood transfusions. He stated: "Of greater concern to the Court is the practice by Jehovah's Witnesses prohibiting the use of blood products. . . . [I]t was clear to the Court that Mother was not going to disavow the teachings of the Jehovah's Witnesses on the use of blood products." He urged this court to reconsider what he believe to be Beebe's rule prohibiting consideration of a religious practice discouraging medical treatment. The district judge also noted Johnson's revised recommendation at trial based on Monica's testimony regarding the use of blood products, but he determined that "the limited case manager's revised recommendation is of little use since it depends in no small part on consideration of factors which the Court constitutionally may not take into account." Although it obviously made the district court uncomfortable, he proceeded correctly, albeit for the wrong reason. It would not have been appropriate for him to speculate about an unlikely future event; and, in fact, Monica testified that she would consult Adiel in the event a blood transfusion was recommended for J.D.H. In such a case, Adiel would be empowered to consent to the treatment for his minor son.
WHAT A BUNCH OF MORONS -- OR GENIUSES !!! Again, the Muslim Baby-Daddy never stood a chance. Start with your decision, and then back into it with whatever reasoning gets you there.
SNYDER v. SPAULDING is a continuing 2010 Montana child custody case, which WatchTower Legal probably counts as a another blessing like HARRISON above. Sharon K. Snyder is the paternal grandmother of W.B.S. and D.C.S. Tanya N. Spaulding is the children's mother. Their father (Sharon's son) is deceased. Snyder appears to be a "New Ager", while Spaulding is a Jehovah's Witness. Tanya Spaulding objected to her two children having contact with Snyder, but after Snyder filed a petition for grandparent visitation in September 2007, Spaulding eventually stipulated to visitation on alternating Saturdays, three days during Christmas/winter break from school, and one week during the summer. The District Court entered an order adopting the stipulation in May 2008. In August 2009, Spaulding terminated contact between Sharon Snyder and the two children.
... According to Tanya, a number of factors led to this decision. First, she had recently seen a manuscript, written by Sharon about her own life, which Tanya found greatly disturbing. In it, Sharon expressed the view that W.B.S. is a "crystal child" who has "healing hands" and can "see the future." ... In a letter to Tanya, Sharon suggested that Tanya, "as a responsible parent," ... should see to it that W.B.S. receives all the help he can get as he grows in his abilities. Sharon also suggested that she (Sharon) was the person to provide W.B.S. with the help and guidance he needs. These beliefs conflicted with Tanya's beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness. Second, Tanya felt that Sharon was discrediting Tanya's family beliefs and interfering with Tanya's parenting of the children. Tanya stated that Sharon was instilling certain views in the children against Tanya's express wishes. Moreover, Tanya believed that Sharon was encouraging the children to be deceptive toward Tanya, and she noted that W.B.S. was hostile and distant toward her following his visits with Sharon. Lastly, Tanya cited Sharon's "mental health issues," and in this regard, she pointed to Sharon's claim in the manuscript that she (Sharon) had been reborn as a different person with a different name and memories. Tanya concluded that Sharon should not be around the children and that contact between Sharon and the children was not in the children's best interests. ...
Spaulding filed a motion in the District Court in September 2009 to terminate the court-ordered contact between Snyder and the children. The District Court held a hearing in December 2009, at the conclusion of which it denied Spaulding's motion to terminate, and held Spaulding in contempt of the court's May 2008 order adopting the stipulation. Spaulding appealed. In July 2010, the Montana Supreme Court reversed and remanded this case, and directed the lower court to do what it failed to do earlier -- determine the "fitness" of Spaulding as the children's parent. Thereafter, the trial court must allow Spaulding to present evidence that modification or termination of the visitation order is in the best interests of her children, or is necessary because the grandparent-grandchild contact previously ordered by the court is unduly interfering with Tanya's primary role in the children's upbringing.
J.S. v D.S. was a 2009-10 New York divorce case. Plaintiff husband sued defendant wife for divorce based on "constructive abandonment", i.e., lapse of sexual relations from 1998 until 2001, when JW Husband left JW Wife and moved in with a girlfriend. JW Wife denied that she refused to have sex with JW Husband, and stated that she did not want this divorce, and was willing to resume living with JW Husband despite his having lived with a girlfriend for the past nine years. Court dismissed this case. JW Husband alleged that he sought the advice of the JW Elders as to how to handle the deterioration of his marriage. He testified that he made several attempts on various occasion to have sexual relations with defendant. He would take her to dinner, bring her flowers, take her out for drinks with friends, go away to the Pocono's with friends from their Jehovah Witness [Kingdom Hall], but she still refused to have sexual relations with him. JW Wife stated that the reason that JW Husband left her in June 2001 was because that was when she discovered the then already going on affair with JW Husband's current girlfriend. JW Wife also soon thereafter discovered that she had a vaginal infection. During the trial, JW Husband was questioned as to why his 2008 Federal Income Tax return listed his live-in girlfriend as both his "sister", and a "dependent", and an "exemption". JW Husband replied that such must have been an error.
IN RE ZACHARIAH E. and IN RE ZACHARIAH E. are related 2010 California child custody decisions in which a California Jehovah's Witness Mother and Stepfather were fighting with their mentally unstable, drug-using, registered sex offender daughter over custody of that daughter's infant son, and Child Protective Services and the California Courts wound up siding with the mentally unstable, drug-using, registered sex offender daughter rather than the JW GrandParents. Curious why?? These cases are too lengthy and complex for further summary. Here is an interesting footnote from the first court decision which might whet a reader's appetite to click the links and read this extremely long and complex case:
Pangilinan (Child Welfare Worker) reported Cynthia (JW GrandMother) having said: "You should be careful because I heard of a little boy dying due to the CPS Worker's negligence and you don't want to be in that situation; You're the only Worker that has said bad things about us, we really didn't have a problem until you took over the case; We will go as far as we can and I will write to all my senators, Diane Feinstein and I will put your name on every piece of paper, that would put a bad light around you; You know what I'll do, I will make reports about Sabrina, since your not cooperating with us and since Sabrina is not letting us see the baby we'll just call another health and wellness check; You are causing us a lot of stress and distress, it's like punishment and mental abuse towards us; We are Jehovah's witnesses and we go door to door, and Berkeley is in our jurisdiction so if we by chance see her in Berkeley that's not our fault, that's our religious right; I have called [the pediatrician] and told him what you think of me and my husband." Cynthia also reportedly "tried to manipulate this CWW by bringing up the CWW's personal family information which was never disclosed to her including where this CWW lives."
HAYES v. HAYES was a 2009 Connecticut divorce case in which William H. Hayes testified that he was a Jehovah's Witness. After approximately ten years of marriage, Bill Hayes left Dorothy J. Hayes and moved in with his girlfriend. The contest was essentially over the property distribution.
M.G. v. J.G. was a 2010-11 Florida Circuit Court "child custody" decision relating to the 1998-9 marriage of two Jehovah's Witness Parents who divorced in 2008 after the wife "disassociated" herself out of the WatchTower Cult in 2006. The divorce judgment incorporated a marital settlement agreement. In 2010, Mother, who by then was employed as a Legal Assistant, filed a Supplemental Petition which asked for a modification to the time-sharing schedule and the parental responsibility order. Mother alleged that a "substantial change in circumstances" had occurred. Mother's argument of a "substantial change in circumstances" revolved around the fact that her former husband was using his shared parenting time with the couple's 11 year-old son and 8 year-old daughter to rear the children as "Jehovah's Witnesses" -- including teaching the children the WatchTower Cult's beliefs that apostates (former JWs) are evil; that apostates are required to be shunned; etc. However, not only had Mother exited the WatchTower Cult, but so had her own mother, the step-father that had reared her (a former JW Elder), some of her siblings/step-siblings, as well as her current live-in boyfriend. Thus, having her two children reared as apostate-hating Jehovah's Witnesses greatly impacts the way that her two children view and treat Mother's entire side of this family.
Legal Assistant Mother did an excellent job bringing her own mother, her step-father, a step-sister, and her boyfriend to testify in this matter. The court record includes some very insightful observations made by this court. Here are some interesting excerpts, in part:
The father's religion does not celebrate Christmas, birthdays, and other holidays that the mother now celebrates. The parties disagree about the children's religious upbringing, in general and about specific holidays and birthdays. The parties disagree about gift giving days such as Christmas and birthdays. ... They have disagreed about the children's religious upbringing since they separated.
Under the time-sharing schedule the children are always with the father on Sundays, either all day every other Sunday and also for not to exceed 3 hours on the alternate Sundays, so the father can take the children to his religious meetings and services on every Sunday. In fact he takes them to services in his religion every Sunday so the mother has no opportunity to take them to any other tradition on every Sunday because the father has them for 3 hours on alternate Sundays and all day on the other Sundays, and the 3 hours occupy the hours when most traditions hold services. This is what the original settlement agreement provides.
The father testified that the children are not "believers" and "members" of his religious tradition because they are not of sufficient age to become believers and members. There is no set age for a child to become a member. He said the age arrives when they are of a sufficient maturity and intelligence to comprehend the teachings and understand it, which may not arrive until many years after they are legal adults or may arrive before they are adults.
The father teaches the children to be respectful of their mother and he encourages them to be with their mother. There is no evidence to the contrary. The time-sharing schedule in practice is an "equal" schedule. The father has backed up the mother on discipline issues so that they present a united front to the children. He encourages them to have a relationship with their mother. He also teaches them his religious beliefs, which includes a teaching that nonbelievers of his tradition, such as the children's mother, are not to be associated with and that spiritual matters should never be discussed with nonbelievers, including a nonbelieving parent.
The parties agreed to participate in parenting coordination in the settlement agreement incorporated into the judgment, and they entered into a written Stipulation & Order Appointing Parenting Coordinator that was filed on 1/20/2010. ... The process stopped because of the father's refusal to participate. ... ... ... ...
The father says both children are being taught his religious tradition and they have been taught this tradition for their whole lives. In particular, the children are taught to "shun" nonbelievers, even a parent who is a nonbeliever. The tradition teaches them that they must limit or end altogether all contact and associations with nonbelieving family members and friends.
The father does not prohibit the children from following the time-sharing schedule and there is no substantial, competent evidence that he interferes with the children going to the mother's house for about half of the time each week, but the father also teaches the children the beliefs of his religious tradition, which includes "shunning" and "disassociation" with nonbelievers, even nonbelieving family members. The mother's fear that in time the children will stop associating with her is a realistic fear. This is what has happened to the "disassociated" witnesses who testified as witnesses for the mother.
The father's religious tradition also requires that believers must not allow certain ordinary and generally accepted medical treatments to be performed on them or their children. The mother and the father disagree about this teaching, the mother believing that these medical treatments are acceptable for her and the children, while the father says these are prohibited for him and the children.
The mother did leave the father's religious tradition. She stopped practicing the tradition in 11/2006, before the parties separated and before the divorce was final. In the last couple of years, according to the father, the mother decided to start celebrating birthdays and other holidays during the year. The mother did not dispute this testimony. ... ... ...
The mother is concerned that her daughters will "shun" her if they become members of the father's religious tradition, at some point in the future, because this will be required of them by the organization given that she is now "disassociated" from the group. This is a realistic possibility, given the teachings of the tradition.
[Mother's Step-father] explained that if a child is living with a "disassociated" parent, or spending time with that parent, the child may discuss only mundane matters with the parent, "where are my books?", "please pass the bread", etc., and may not discuss any "spiritual" matters at all with that "disassociated" parent, just as they cannot discuss these matters with any unbeliever. He said a child is discouraged from spending time with that parent. However, the father denied that he does this and the evidence shows the children are spending half the time with the mother every week.
[Mother's Step-father] explained, however, that in practice, a child of a father who is in the tradition and a mother who is out of the tradition absorbs the group's disassociation from the mother, and in his experience it is "rarely the case" that this child can maintain a relationship with the mother.
[Mother's mother] ... testified that she was "cut-off" from her "natural birth family" when she [joined the Jehovah's Witnesses] because they were unbelievers. After she "stopped going" to the organization, her friends, including her "best friend", stopped associating with her.
... As the [Mother's Step-father] testified, "by age 10", they are fully informed of the doctrines of the tradition.
[Mother's mother] says she fears that the children are quizzed by the father about the practices in the mother's home, particularly over celebrations of birthdays and holidays and presents received in connection with these. She has heard the father quizzing them about such matters.
Thus the children are stuck in the middle of their parents' dysfunction arising from the parents' different religious convictions.
As [Mother's mother] sees it, the children are "not allowed to love us without restraint" because of the father's and the mother's different religious convictions and she fears that the children's relationship with their mother and their mother's unbelieving or disassociated family members is less than free and easy.
[Mother's Boyfriend] also testified ... . After he finally left [the Jehovah's Witnesses] altogether, he has had minimal contact with his mother, and his two sisters have not spoken to him in 5 years. His mother has limited the contact because she felt that their "conversations would be too superficial."
[Mother's Boyfriend's] greatest disagreement with the tradition is the effect it had on his family. His father left the fellowship when [Boyfriend] was about 14 and [he] was "strongly encouraged by his mother and the congregation" to limit his contact with his father. His younger sister also had minimal contact with their father. They were prohibited from having any "spiritual discussions" with their father.
[Mother's Boyfriend] sees the children when they are with the mother in the home and otherwise. The children love their mother, but they get upset and cry because they believe the "end times" will come shortly and then mother and [Mother's Boyfriend] will die but the children will live on, in keeping with the doctrines of the father's tradition. The children "go back and forth" wanting to "celebrate their birthdays" and get gifts, consistent with the mother's practice, and rejecting this practice, to be consistent with the father's teachings. ... ...
[Mother's step-sister] related testimony similar to that of the mother's other witnesses, that as a child and an adult she was told by followers of the father's tradition to limit her communication and relationships with nonbelievers of the tradition, including close family members.
She explained that the mother does not limit their communication with the father, that she does not quiz them about what they do with the father.
Two years ago, when the children were visiting in [Mother's step-sister's] home in North Carolina during December, [Mother's step-sister] gave a gift to each of them. She handed them the gifts, which she did not regard as Christmas presents and which she told the children were not Christmas gifts, and they started crying because they were told by their father that they would receive presents from [Mother's step-sister] on this visit, that these were Christmas presents, and they could not accept and open them.
She said that children are encouraged to be restricted in their relationship with parents and other family members who are outside of the father's tradition.
The father testified that he wants the children to have access to their mother, that he encourages the relationship, that he wants them to have a good relationship with their mother.
He also said that he teaches them his traditions and beliefs, which include "shunning" and "disassociation" with nonbelievers, including family members. He said that he talked to them about the December visit to [Mother's step-sister's] home in North Carolina, but he said that he told them not to be "stressed out" about the celebrations that might take place and the presents they might receive. Regardless of what he told them before and after that visit, it is noteworthy that the visit to the home of a nonbelieving family member in another state did take place, that the father did not oppose it, even though it is not strictly allowed by the time-sharing agreement in the original settlement agreement.
The father said he does not treat the mother any differently now that she is "outside" of his tradition. He says the children have "free will" and it is "their choice" if they adopt another religious tradition or none at all, but he also teaches them that they must accept his tradition. He says that if the mother decided to take them to services in another tradition on Sundays, he would "not like it", but he would not interfere or try to prevent this, even though under the time-sharing schedule the children are with him every Sunday during the year during the hours when most traditions hold services.
So, you think that you have a good feel for what the judge is going to decide in this case? Well, MOTHER LOST!!! This judge says that Mother should have anticipated all this S**T back at the time of divorce. Good prosecution, but "too late" -- according to this judge. Also, Mother needed to be able to show demonstrable negative effects on the children and their relationship with their own mother, grandparents, aunts, uncle's, and their future step-father, from the children actually internalizing and practicing the WatchTower Cult's teachings re "shunning", etc. The judge "got" the teachings, and their "possibilities"; he simply didn't "see" any real demonstrable negative effects. It is the 21st century, and attorneys are still clueless as to how to attack the WatchTower's decades-old defenses. Amateurs versus professionals.
The mother has not carried her burden of proof. She has not proven there is a substantial change in circumstances since the Final Judgment was entered that was not contemplated at the time of the judgment. The question is not whether the mother or the father is a better parent. The question is not whether the father s religious tradition and organization or the mother s religious convictions are appropriate for the children. ... The question is whether there is a substantial change in circumstances since the judgment was entered that was not contemplated then and whether a change now proposed by the mother is in the children's best interest. The first part of this standard is not met by the mother's proof. The children are doing well under the schedule and the parents have demonstrated a capacity to share major parenting decisions since they separated even if they disagree about the religious training that the children should be given. They are now living out the consequences of their different religious convictions a difference that existed before they separated and divorced. There is no substantial change in circumstances.
WALTERS v. GOODMAN is an ongoing Arizona custody case. Tamara Walters and Gregory Goodman, both Catholics, were divorced in 2003. Their marriage produced two children. Sometime around 2007, Tamara Walters began studying the Jehovah's Witness religion -- the standard procedure by which one "converts" to the JWs. A Jehovah's Witness caretaker had been hired by Tamara Walters, and that caretaker was allegedly "studying" with the two children. In a 2008 trial relating to custody, visitation, and other matters, Gregory Goodman planned on introducing evidence relating to the WatchTower religion and the anticipated attempted conversion of his two children. Anticipating Goodman's attack, Walters stipulated that the two children would continue to be reared as Catholics. The JW caretaker testified that she had never initiated discussions of religion with the children, but rather had merely replied to their inquiries about such. Walters then successfully moved for the court to exclude all evidence and testimony against the WatchTower religion.
16 YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER OF JW ELDER
HITS ON RECENTLY MARRIED JW MALE AT CIRCUIT GET-TOGETHER
My wife and I (both reared as JWs) were also married within weeks after graduating from High School. We both were still "children". I did not even turn 18 until later that Fall. Around the time we married, there was a realignment in the "circuits", and a "get-together" was organized for our new circuit to allow elders, ministerial servants, and their families to become better acquainted with those elders, ministerial servants, and their families, with whom they were not familiar.
My wife and I attended only because a local Elderette mistakingly thought anyone in the circuit could be invited -- not just the "Clergy Class" -- and she invited us. The "circuit get-together" was hosted by a congregation about 90 minutes drive from our own congregation -- at a city park, where the pavilion and playground had been reserved.
The get-together, which was surprisingly attended by less than 100 JW adults and children, opened with typical "theocratic" fanfare followed by people introducing themselves by announcing their name and congregation. My wife and I introduced ourselves as "newlyweds" of 3 months. Noone in that small crowd could possibly have not known that I was just recently married given the introductions, plus the fact that my wife and I were still being "clingy".
At some point, all the young people wanted to play basketball at the park's larger college regulation size outdoor court. Because only elders, ministerial servants, their wives, and their children had been invited, my wife and I had to chose whether to stay with the crowd of adults, or go play basketball. Being a 17 year-old male, I chose to play basketball, while my 18 year-old wife remained to socialized with the "Ettes", and the children too young to play.
There was one basketball and about 20 "players" of both sexes ranging in age from 10 to my 17. Trying to be a good JW "leader", I attempted to divide the "pack" of 20 into two teams of 10 -- of equal lack of ability. Although I was technically a player on one team, I spent all of my time "refereeing" and trying to get "possession" of the ball to those unable to get it themselves, so that everyone on both teams would have the opportunity to "dribble" and "shoot". It was like trying to "herd" cockroaches, and I spent most of my time laughing so hard that my stomach hurt. Thankfully, a few skinned knees and a few scattered bruises were the most serious injuries.
At some point, I picked up on the fact that the oldest female on the court -- the 16 year-old daughter of an Elder, whom I had never seen nor met before -- kept "making eyes" at me. She and her 12-13 year-old sister ran around acting "too prissy to play", and screaming and yelling every time the ball came near them.
I had not yet taken a shot, when I somehow got the ball at half-court with noone but the aforementioned two sisters between me and my team's basket. The 17 year-old in me decided to take what I thought would be a quick wide-open layup, when "12-13 year-old sister" surprisingly ran over to "take the charge". Judging her courage to be "fake", I continued my drive to the basket, and sure enough, at the last moment, she turned and ran away screaming.
As I threw the ball back down the court where everyone else had remained, 16 year-old Elder's Daughter taunted younger sister, and asked her why she had ran away from me. Younger sister replied, "I didn't want that big thing on top of me."
As I ran past 16 year-old JW Elder's Daughter she looked me straight in the eye, and in a lowered voice only the two of us would hear, she said: "I wouldn't mind having him on top of me at all."
RECENTLY SEPARATED JW WIFE ADVERTISES HER AVAILABLE "ASSETS"
In Summer 2006, I was recently divorced from my longtime JW Wife, and although I was not disfellowshipped nor disassociated, I had not attended any Kingdom Hall meetings for several years. At the time, I lived three houses down from a JW Super-Elder whom I had known for decades. Over the decades, that JW Super-Elder and his JW Elderette Wife had been instigators in the breakup of multiple marriages -- always siding with the JW Wife, while assassinating the character of the husband, regardless of whether he was a JW or non-JW. Over the decades, that JW Super-Elder's home had also served as a "JW Safe House" for JW Wives from other areas who had fled from their husbands and were in "hiding" for any number of reasons.
At the time, I was working from home, so I also had developed a daily exercise routine of "walking" four or five times per day -- starting at daybreak and ending at bedtime. My regular "walking" route took me past JW Super-Elder's home twice each trip -- going and coming. One day, I noticed that an unfamiliar automobile with out-of-county license plates had spent several days parked in JW Super-Elder's driveway. A couple days later, I observed an unknown attractive brunette in her mid-20s milling about outside of the home. Interestingly, as the days progressed, attractive JW Brunette repeatedly appeared outside the home, alone, as I returned from one of my walks. I also soon noticed that JW Brunette was unmistakingly "making eyes" at me on these occasions. Given that I was more than two decades older than JW Brunette, I was flattered -- but more amused under the circumstances -- by her quick attention. It quickly dawned on me who was the party most likely to be responsible for the problems in JW Brunette's marriage given that no sooner than she was out of her husband's sight she had started displaying "interest" to a total stranger. It also occurred to me that JW Brunette's husband was probably undergoing a thorough "character assassination" from the local JW Elders back in JW Brunette's home congregation, while JW Brunette was automatically given the role of the "Victim".
A few days later, at daybreak, as I was returning from my first walk of that day, as I approached JW Super-Elder's home, I observed JW Brunette outside, in the driveway, dressed only in a lightweight nightgown, acting as if she was trying to locate something in her 4-door automobile. Both rear car doors were open, and on the uphill grade with the rising sun to my back, I could plainly see JW Brunette on the opposite side of the car eyeballing me intensely from inside of the car as I approached rather than actually looking for anything in her car. However, I wasn't sure whether JW Brunette was eyeballing me so intensely because she did or she did not want me to see her in her nightgown. However, she soon cleared up my uncertainty. When I was about 100 feet from her car, without making eye contact or otherwise acknowledging my presence in any way whatsoever, JW Brunette came around her car, bent over to reach into the backseat, while pulling her nightgown up onto her back so as to display all her "assets" for my perusal. If there were any lingering doubts that JW Brunette had planned and calculated this early morning encounter, JW Brunette removed such as I observed her staring backwards out of the car at me the entire time that I walked past -- with a huge ... smile!!!
DEALING WITH JEHOVAH'S WITNESS CUSTODY CASES
Wifely Subjection: Mental Health Issues in Jehovah’s Witness Women
Blood Transfusions: A History and Evaluation of the Religious, Biblical, and Medical Objections (Jehovah's Witnesses perspective)
Blood, Medicine, and the Jehovah's Witnesses: The Hidden History of the Watchtower's Position on the Blood Issue
Jehovah's Witnesses and the Problem of Mental Illness
FREE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES CHILD CUSTODY DVD -- BATTLING OVER THE CHILDREN
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