Posted in the Hingham Forum
#90 Jan 8, 2009
I have been working for close to 2 years to undue the damage that the dishonorable Michael Livingstone has done to me and my family. He has banned my fiance from "being in the presence of my children", because of the jealous ex husband's unsubstansiaTED CLAIMS that my fiance is a child molester. Satan himself, could not have written a more evil NISI decision. Judge Livingstone ( I call him Winklestein) put in writing that a correspondance I recived from my fiance, has an image of a penis embedded in it. No one sees it but him and of course my certifiable psychotic ex husband. Judge Winkie said he was appalled and disgusted and if it wasn't for my being with my fiance, I'd be an exemplarary mother. Find out exhusband did not take required parenting classes. ex has history of mental illness. To date the court has not allowed me to clear my fiance's name, They misplace paper work, etc. I've heard all the excuses. Saw Judge Reilly today and he will allow father unsupervised visitation even though DSS has charged father with neglect and all my 4 children hate their father.
#91 Jan 8, 2009
Judge Livingstone is gone, but his damage will live on. I still can not get over the fact that Judge L. disregarded and exempted my exs from court mandated parenting classes. Do I have any recourse?
#92 Jan 10, 2009
Damage will be difficult, if not impossible, and very expensive to 'undo'. But you can get modifications and move forward in a positive way.
Much of a Judge’s decisions are based on the way a case is presented. Judge Livingstone himself was subject to taking sides when presented with drama. The more dramatic the situation, the more wrapped up in it he became losing site of the law.
Given that Judge L. was undergoing his own very bitter business divorce from a partner and best friend of 25 years - it took 3 years for complaints to result in misconduct charges, rejection by the Supreme Judicial Commission of his initially negotiated discipline , and ultimately his very carefully subdued resignation - at some point he may simply not have been strong or sane enough to make unbiased decisions.
His bias was not necessarily gender based. He was a complex authority figure many believe was a good Judge. Initially Judge L. was apparently a good Judge - reading for the first time one person's pleadings after nearly 18 yrs pursuing justice.(Case ultimately involved FBI. S/he eventually prevailed via Judge L. in his early days)
A good Judge hears each side of up to 30+ cases a day, determines the prevailing law, and how that law applies to the best interest of children. Good atty's present their side citing law and benefits to the family apart. The Judge makes a decision based on law - not gender, not emotion, not dramatizations.
I've seen our system work this way, just not with Judge L. Yes, the system can and does work often. However, for those of us irreparably harmed by Judge L rulings that were not based on law, rather prevailing mood or bias, unless we are wealthy with lots of time, we are currently "S.O.L."
There are success stories! 1 parent, 6 atty’s & 5 yrs to finally get terms of original agreement enforced since Judge L. is no longer her Judge.
I have worked 6 years and have at last had the court order compliance with discovery materials…. now mostly irrelevant as guidelines revised 1/1/09 no longer require the 20% proof. But the court actually applied and upheld the law perhaps for the first time in my case now that Judge L is not involved. Yipee!
The point is current Judges, I believe, are trying hard to uphold and apply the law. But where the damage has been done largely to character assassination, dramatization, overzealous advocacy – a Judge can’t rule on that. The Judge can only rule on the law.
If you have a ruling you want reviewed or changed yes, there are options such as filing for review of judgment or for modification.
You should work with an atty, but if you can’t afford one go to the lawyer for a day – 10 times if necessary. It’s a different atty daily, is free, and is only 20 minutes after you wait forever for your turn. Ask questions about which ruling you want reviewed and how best to proceed. You can also call the Lawyer referral services to see an atty for 30 minutes and $25.00.
Email [email protected] We’ll send contact info for referral services to you.
FYI – our court system will become more successful if more of us become stronger advocates for ourselves. Learn more about the laws, your rights and perhaps go pro-se.
More pro-se success means more legal coaches & more attorneys truly advocating for children and the law rather than for whomever will pay the highest price to do harm to the other spouse at any cost – including their own integrity.
There is no stronger or more knowledgeable advocate for you and your children than you.
Begin by asking lots of questions and talking to many attorneys. If you’re lucky you will find one who will coach at a reasonable rate. If not, keep asking. Get those rulings reviewed, request a modification, do not give up on your children.
Email [email protected] We have a lot of the lawyer’s continuing ed materials we can direct you to or share insight from as well as lots of on line resources.
#93 Jan 16, 2009
Your comments have completely freaked me out. I had the distinct pleasure of going in front of Judge Livingstone back in 2006. It was a massacre.He hated me the second he saw me. He on the othher hand seemed to love my abusive piece of crap ex husband. I went for a modification that turned into a contempt for medical bills. The judge ordered me to pay him 6800.00 gave me no increase in support. I have had the same support order for over 10 years. I was also waiting on a pending ssdi approval. Livingstone told me I didn't look disabled and to get a job and support my kids. I was approved for ssdi 2 months later on my first time applying.He also told me if I wasted his time stating my case he may find me in contempt and charge me my ex's lawyer bills. Needless to say I didn't appeal this because it would have just been in front of him anyway. I have since filed again for more support and to my dismay again I haveJudge Meneo. My ex is trying to have the case dismissed he has a lawyer and I don't. I guess I should be prepared to lose again since what I read they are two of a kind.
#94 Jan 18, 2009
Judges do tend to follow a previous Judges path. However, that doesn't mean Judge Menno will act the same way Judge Livingstone did.
If you present a case based on the law - cite the specific part of your agreement you want changed, why, how and which part of the new guidelines allow you to make that change, then - theoretically - Judge Menno should take a close look at your request. If you are a DOR case, or very poor, this Judge will likely try to listen to you.
I have learned first hand in Judge Menno’s court that he may not even look at your information if you don’t have a lawyer or are obviously poor.
Bottom line, if you can’t afford an attorney who will be a strong advocate for you – you are stuck.
Judges don’t like people who try to help themselves. Makes the lawyers look ineffective.
Most attorneys aren’t necessarily ineffective – they just won’t advocate against a wealthier contentious spouse. They know the wealthy spouse will pay whatever it takes to do you harm… and they know you can’t possibly keep up with that expense which is why you are seeking help in the first place – right?
So, yes Elaine, if your ex spouse has money, is contentious, and can afford an attorney, you will lose. Your children will lose too. There will be no such thing as equity in your case. And yes, it is likely no attorney will take your case because you can’t pay.
The attorney may well tell you that it is in your best interest to forget about seeking a change – even if it is abundantly clear you are entitled to it by law, and not making a change will further harm/deprive you and your children.
What the law says and what the law will do are far too often two very different things.
Our laws are written to provide for children equitably and in their best interest. It only works that way when two parents or two attorneys agree to allow it to work. If one parent becomes a dig-your-heals in stubborn idiot with no concern for the children at all – you are hopelessly stuck unless you win the lottery.
I personally was told it would cost a bloody fortune to unravel my case and that I should go pro-se because no-one could afford to take my case after Livingstone. Trust me, Judges don’t like pro-se.
It is the middle class trying to be fiscally responsible when working through family court that is punished by our system.
There are efforts under way to try to help these middle class pro-se litigants. Efforts at training for attorneys to work with pro-se parties at reduced fees…. But those efforts may not reap positive results in time for today's children.
Nonetheless, you should at least keep trying. Change to our system will not come if you and others don’t keep talking about the need and keep trying to make it happen.
The Child Support Guidelines changed January 1, 2009. One major change is that you can request a modification if it's been 3 years since the last modification. Yours has been 10 years – go for it! Read, ask questions at the lawyer for a day service at our court houses and keep trying. Go to: http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/support.html#gu... or Google “ma child support guidelines 2009” for complete details.
Again, visit the lawyer for a day service at the courthouse. Ask what your options are. You may find an attorney willing to start a new modification for you.
Good luck. Don’t give up on your kids. Our system can be fixed, but only if we keep trying
#95 Jan 27, 2009
I'm surprised at this. I am a woman and was treated extremely well by this judge. I also had the chance to observe other cases in Court before this judge and no where did I see any bias at all.
#96 Jan 28, 2009
All too typically people who do not have a judgment in their favor lash out at the Judge and assert a gender bias. Yes Stephanie, the gender bias accusation goes both ways equally and occurs daily for each and every Judge.
Men cry father bias, women cry mother bias. Most often there is no gender bias at all.
There is always a bias towards whomever makes the best case. And, that is almost completely dependent on the attorney's presentation.
Did your attorney prepare to respond to or apply specific laws? Far too many times, the lack of success in court is the lack of a truly prepared and committed attorney. Better success is a negotiated agreement between the spouses - were you flexible and reasonable? Was your ex? If one digs their heels in everybody ultimately loses. The one with the dug in heels may "win" a court ruling, but may well lose long range affection of children etc.
If you really want to understand what didn't work in your case- learn more about the laws and child support guidelines in effect at the time of your ruling (guidelines changed this month).
You may be surprised to learn that your inability to reach compromise or to find success is directly related to your attorney's true effort and commitment to your case. It is highly likely you will learn laws that should have been cited or applied.
You will learn far too often that attorneys say they are saving yo money by spending as little time as they can on your case. Hmmmm, that often means you have to keep going back for modifications or contempt.... Take a closer look at your case and the laws - was it really the Judge? Did gender really have anything to do with the undesirable result? Probably not.
#99 Feb 27, 2009
Your anger may be misplaced here.
Yes, there are some people - BOTH GENDERS - missing the point and taking this opportunity to inappropriately bash the other gender, our system and those who work hard to maintain and improve it - including Judges.
Did you actually read and understand what has been written before you?
This discussion was not and is not about bashing or blaming Judges for parent behavior. Nor is it an opportunity for you to pit male vs. female or perpetuate outmoded hurtful stereotypes, or to inappropriately name someone and accuse them of anything.
How do you know I am not a man, a father? Would that burst your bubble? So, take gender out of the discussion and what do you have?
A new starting point from which to view family court reality.
In Plymouth County, there is one particular Judge who was a problem and who resigned. Have you read the misconduct charges against him? Do you know anything about decisions made in his court? The good, bad and the too often really, really ugly?
Please do your homework and come back to the discussion with sane, reasoned commentary that will be helpful to others. If you can share some helpful, useful information or insight, parents will benefit, thus be better equipped to make reasonable decisions before they ever get to court thus reduce the burden on our courts and the stellar people who run them - including Judges.
We can all be better able to support our courts and system if we begin trying to understand what really goes on, how we can avoid disasters and do our best for our children. Open discussion is the only way we will get beyond the negative stereotypes that dominate.
For example your own approach is so gender biased, so fraught with stereotype that you may struggle to get beyond it. Again, think of me as a man - would you respond differently? Why? Does my gender really matter that much when it comes to what makes sense in court regarding the care of our children?
Please try to think outside of the stereotype box.
We, dads and moms together, look forward to more positive, helpful information from you in the future.
#101 Feb 28, 2009
Yes! BUT I have another question - does he actually do the job he was appointed to do or is he there merely to waste the taxpayers money? Where is the accountability when he clearly did not make his judgement based on the evidence?
#102 Mar 1, 2009
Unfortunately you're right about the accountability. There is none.
This Judge, Michael Livingstone resigned under pressure of misconduct charges. The online record now shows he retired. We appear to be paying for his retirement when he wasn't even on the bench long enough to earn it!
And, he was such an ethical snake with his own business dealings including his own nasty business divorce form a 25 year+ partnership and friendship that misconduct charges were brought. It took 3 years for the charges to surface - 3 out of only 5 or6 years on the bench!!
Not only were charges brought against him, he negotiated a deal for discipline that was rejected by the State Supreme Court. First time in our Commonwealth's history a Judge's plea deal was rejected. Even the highest Judges thought he was not acting in good faith or with sound reason, responsibility and intent.
What of the families devastated by decisions made in court not based on evidence or in the best interest of anybody's children rather, as a result of overzealous attorneys motivated by billable hours, openly manipulating the system, twisting facts and often blatantly lying? Well, those families are simply that - devastated.
There are extensive complex laws, rules and procedures - appeal and request for review are just 2 examples. But all of these require the parent taking on another role of becoming an expert AND incurring more debt for another costly attorney coupled with months of delay due to overburdened court schedules.
It all comes down to whether or not the Judge recognizes those laws and rules and whether or not the Judge likes you or your attorney.
We've heard of only one Judge Livingstone case where, after 6 years and 5 lawyers the parent was finally awarded the support money that had been compromised for so long. Has that parent begun to receive it? We hope so.
Generally, families almost never recover from the financial and emotional ruin of bad court decisions based on emotion rather than fact and law.
And no, unless you are already homeless there is no help.
As long as you are paying taxes, you are contributing to the cozy retirement of a Judge who has ignored DSS, medical and police reports and placed children in the custody of the abusive parent, prevented several families from relocating to nearby states where all evidence was in good order for work,schooling, family needs including both parent involvement with the children....
...no, there is no accountability for the Judge, no responsibility for the harm done, little recourse for the families left in his dust other than to keep trying, keep hoping and deal with the challenges of never ending devastation.
#104 Mar 9, 2009
Ward is obviously practicing as a judge because she is too incompetent to earn a living as an attorney. Is there a way to get her out of office? Is she appointed or elected? How do we file a complaint about her? It's judges like her who give a bad name to our "justice" system
#106 Apr 6, 2009
yes ---HE SENT TWO LITTLE TWIN 4 YEAR OLD GIRLS TO LIVE WITH A MOTHER IN TEXAS ,WHO DESERTED THEM IN NOVEMBER OF 2008 ---THE FATHER WAS LEFT WITH THESE TWO LITLE GIRLS FOR 5 MONTHS --THEY HAVE NEVER LIVED ANYWHERE ELSE ---GREAT FATHER, GREAT PATERNAL GRANDMOTHER AND SENT THEM TO THE GETTO IN TEXAS TO LIVE WITH THE MOTHER, HER NEW HUSBAND AND THEIR NEW BABY ----HE UPROOTED EVERYTHING THEY HAVE EVER KNOWN -------THEY HAD A PERFECT LIFE HERE AND .---SCHOOL ,FRIENDS, FFAMILY --WHAT KIND OF A JUDGE GOES AGAINST THE GUARDIAN AT LITAM ?? HE NEVER EVEN INVESTICATED THEIR LIVING ARRANGEMENTS DOWN THERE OR THE NEW HUSBAND !!!!!!!!
#108 Apr 15, 2009
Excuse me, men like you are what make judges give custody to truly abusive men. You generalize, there are women and children who are abused and have to live with it everyday. When the divorce and custody battle starts it is up to the abusee to prove the abuse not visa versa...ask Judge Menno, he does it all the time...
#109 Apr 15, 2009
Jane, Judge Menno has done the same thing. He gives unsupervised vists with overnights to known drug addicts, alcoholics and abusers...when will it stop and these judges take notice of the damage they are creating to our children??
#110 Apr 15, 2009
I had to go before her, she is truly truly ignorant...she does not look at the case and makes decisions off the top of her head, she needs to step down, they all do.
#111 Apr 25, 2009
Interesting how this topic keeps getting removed from many South Shore towns.... Big Brother is doing a good job of keeping the topic of judicial misconduct and family courts injustice out of the public eye.
True, what we don't discuss, don't know about, we can't change. We can't help our system work the way it is intended, can't help get the laws upheld, can get the children the support they need if we, as the public, don't know there is a need for help.
So, you who remove this topic from Topix - are doing a grave disservice to yourself and your neighbors.
Ignorance is not bliss, ignorance is hurting children and families every minute of every day.
You, who interfere with our rights to free speech, are a danger to our society and legal system specifically.
What is it that you are so afraid of? Afraid we might fix our troubled system? Afraid we might all become better friends and neighbors?
STOP perpetuating the abuse by working so hard to hide it. leave the topic up to go where it will.
Better yet, contribute some helpful information.
#112 Apr 27, 2009
Post is being blocked from Scituate, MA.
#113 May 1, 2009
Hmmmmm. first the post was removed from Scituate. Now, it's in Scituate, removed from Cohasset except for a March 08 posting.
Curious. How honest is Topix really? Are moderators manipulating posts politically?
There's no reason an open dialogue about our family court system, that we all pay for, shouldn't be just that, an open, honest dialogue. How does anyone, of any political affiliation expect our system to work if dialogue is squelched. Not talking about it makes it worse - perpetuates abuse.
Please contribute to the dialogue, and please be sure to make a special posting to the towns we know get over moderated - Scituate and Cohasset.
#114 May 4, 2009
We keep checking in now just to see how fast and furious someone is deleting this post from various towns. Cohasset wins! Big Brother monitoring our first amendment rights is strongest in Cohasset. Go figure.
Oh well folks. If we don't talk about the injustices in our family courts, we won't be able to give the good folks working there tools they can use to make it better. The world truly will be a better place the day local attorneys and Justices openly, consistently apply and uphold existing laws.
Keep blogging - and keep posting especially in Cohasset!
#115 May 11, 2009
Removed from Scituate again.
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