A Florida mother recently learned the hard way how being caught unprepared can cost the ultimate price: Your children.
When it comes to criminal courts, the rules are clear: Evidence of a crime leads to sentencing, which leads to punishment. In this example, if someone is found guilty of child abuse, they lose all parenting rights. In addition, that information is clearly spelled out in a special hearing, and is easy to locate.
In this particular situation, however, Linda Marie Sacks was not found guilty of any crime, and still is unable to see her children. That is because family courts do not require hard evidence to be able to sever the parent/child relationship. A family court judge can cut that tie at any point, and it will be buried in the divorce filing, making it nearly impossible to locate a paper trail of evidence in order to overturn it.
Appealing her decision will be an immensely complicated, long, and expensive process. She initially attempted to represent herself, even going as far as to write a 112-page Supreme Court petition, but that was shot down back in 2011. Meanwhile throughout this entire process, her children are growing up completely away from her, and she is only allowed a few hours of supervised visitation per month. For all intents and purposes, she is completely out of her children’s lives.
While it is nigh impossible to plan for all eventualities, the sad truth is that an experienced attorney could have seen the writing on the wall and taken preemptive steps to ensure that her proper custody agreement was in place from the very beginning, rather than letting a judge make a one-off decision which robbed her of her kids, despite there being no wrongdoing to begin with.