We’ve all encountered people who’s work, ethics or opinions we didn’t agree with. And when it’s your car mechanic, your doctor, or your child’s teacher, you tend to have more options (like go and get a different one, no harm, no foul.) But when it’s your CPS caseworker, your family court mediator or the Judge overseeing your custody case, the situation is a little different. Specifically – you’re stuck. Because you can’t just “go and get a different one” if you don’t like the one you have. What matters in that case, however, is how you deal with that conflict.
It all started in 2017 with a difficult child custody case…
Jonathan Vanderhagen filed for sole custody of his then 1-year-old son. He claimed that the boy’s mother had a history of substance abuse issues and wasn’t up to the task of caring for their child, who had been born with hydrocephalus, a medical condition requiring therapy and regular trips to the doctor’s office. According to Vanderhagen, he appealed to the courts for help and they ignored him. His son was left in the care of his inept mother, and as a result, he died. Vanderhagen was heartbroken and blamed the court, and the judge, for what he perceives as their failure to act.
The reason for his son’s death, he claims, is corruption in the family court.
It took a while for Vanderhagen to act, but when he did it was full of harsh opinions. He took to Facebook to tell the world about his son’s death, and the fact that he believes it could have been prevented. How? According to this angry dad, his son’s death was the direct result of corruption in the court. Corruption that allows Friend of the Court, Judges, and even Sheriff’s Departments to avoid being held accountable when they fail to do their jobs properly and children die as a result. And obviously, this being a free country, he is entitled to those beliefs. But…
Be careful what you say online about your family court judge!
Vanderhagen posted a number of expletive-laden posts on Facebook about Macomb County Court Judge Rachel Rancilio. He also included screenshots of her personal Facebook posts. Although nothing he said is a direct threat against the Judge, she was upset about the posts and reached out to the Sheriff’s Department. Vanderhagen was charged with misdemeanor Malicious Use of Telecommunications Services. After his arrest, he posted bond and went right back to posting about the Judge’s failure to help his son, and the fact that she is a part of a wider system that is evil and corrupt.
The best way to fight unfair custody agreements is with a skilled lawyer!
We feel for this dad. He loved his son, saw that he was in danger, and followed the legal procedures for saving him. It’s easy to understand why he feels slighted and angry, and why he blames the court. But there’s a difference between feeling angry and acting out. There are legal channels this dad has available to him to pursue justice, that doesn’t involve using social media. (We NEVER recommend using social media to solve your problems!) So join us next time for a look at what happened next in this case. And in the meantime, if you need help with a custody case, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 and get help from an experienced family law attorney.