Sheila Jaffe, her husband Bob and Natalie Andre were presented with Palm Beach County’s Commissioners’ Proclamation of November 2023 as Family Court Awareness Month. Here is Sheila’s speech:
The Palm Beach County chapter of NOW, the National Organization for Women, created FACTS Court Watch, Families Against Court Travesties, in 2002 to review the behavior of the judges and attorneys. This was in response to the tremendous upsurge in cries for help from parents asking for support concerning family law custody issues.
FACTS works with other nonprofit organizations as advocates for abused children, to protect them from the harm of domestic violence including physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Long-term judicial abuse also may be responsible for the surge in mental health issues in children and young adults. Florida is very negligent in providing care for these victims of abuse.
Parents, mostly mothers, trying to protect their children are out-lawyered by the obscene costs of legal representation and their support industry. They have no choice but to legally represent the welfare of themselves and their children pro-se in the family and dependency courts. This crisis is especially true for battered mothers trying to protect their children from abusive fathers who aggressively litigate against them using the family courts to stalk, harass, punish and impoverish their former partner and children, just as this happened to Ali and Greyson Kessler.
Family Court Awareness Month throughout the nation memorializes the murder of children like four-year old Greyson Martin Kessler from Plantation, Florida. A domestic violence injunction and emergency pick up order for Greyson were both denied by the Broward Family Court judge the day before Greyson was murdered by his father who then killed himself.
To protect other threatened children, the Florida legislature passed Greyson’s Law this past year. The bills were sponsored by Senator Lori Berman and Representative Hillary Cassel. This law aims to change the way domestic violence and abuse issues are addressed in the family courts and to help pass additional laws that always put child safety first.
FACTS invites the community to join us and volunteer to Cure the Crisis for Parents and their Children in the Family Law Courts.