COURTROOM, OR BASEMENT AND BLINDFOLD?

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Author: 
Gwendolyn Chubb
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COURTROOM OR
BASEMENT AND BLINDFOLD?

Let me tell you about my experience. In January 2008, I filed for divorce pro se on a pauper’s petition. At the time, I was the mother of two young children and a homemaker. My ex-husband, Steven Shavers was a Civil service employee making a six figure income. We had been married since 2001.

In May, 2008, we both attended Court-Ordered Mediation at the Markham Courthouse and we agreed I should keep residential custody of our children.

In July 2008, his attorney, Daniel Florey, filed an Emergency Notice Of Motion seeking a ‘Gag Order’ over the case. The emergency petition –stamped by the Cook County Clerk’s Office on July 3, 2008 at 9:56 A.M. –stated that on that same day “at 10:00 a.m., the attorneys shall appear before the judge,” etc...

The concern I had was that neither his attorney nor my attorney, Rhea Dorsam, bothered to call me about this hearing within those four minutes; and, please let me assure you that I did not miraculously materialize in the Markham courthouse.

The next thing I found out was that an ‘Agreed Order’ was entered stating, “mother and father appeared in court with their attorneys.” The document went on to say that I:
(1) agreed to comply with the gag order;
(2) would not talk about the case or the marriage to the media or any government personnel; and
(3) would give the father Temporary Possession of our 6- and 3-year old children.

This was a big problem, I was not in court. I signed no order. I had not agreed to this and had no knowledge of this hearing. Still, I was placed on Supervised Visitation without a petition from my ex or the court, nor a finding of being a danger to my children. No reason was given. The court followed that with an order awarding my ex-husband the right to solely make all educational and medical decisions.

But wait, there’s more, the Final Judgment in May 2011 awarded my children’s father sole custody, suspended ALL visitation with the children by me, and restricted me from visiting the children at school and church. It also ordered me to immediately Quit Claim all interest in the marital property over to my ex and awards him 100% of the pension, which is marital property. No reason or grounds for this judgment was given.

That is highly unusual and I’ve had attorneys to look at this and acknowledge what has happened is illegal. Yet, they refuse to take my case and help me get my children back because they were afraid to go up against this system. I’ve contacted agencies that refused one after another to take the case. I even filed complaints with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, but they did not investigate it at all but went off the lie the attorneys told. Needless to say, I fired my attorney in July 2008 for her role in this and her total disregard of my inquiries seeking an explanation.

I went through a period of not knowing how to seek relief or remedy. But I have infinite faith in God and I am now working simultaneously to do everything I can to get my children back as well as helping others involved in the family court process. I have met with so many ministers, politicians and leaders and they all are well-aware of the corrupted courts but won’t address it or risk jeopardizing their relationships. The last time I met with an attorney regarding this was a couple of months ago (March 2012).

All in all, I keep trying to understand how all of this took place. It seems we as Christians are not exercising our authority when it comes to justice. It dawned on me that the Family Courts in Cook County operate in secrecy; they DO NOT employ Court Reporters and forbid electronic recording of any kind. This effectively translates into No Record of who was actually in court or what actually went on.

So I’m wondering about the times I appeared at hearings. Had I been in a courtroom with attorneys and a judge, or was I really in a basement with a blindfold and some goons?

You tell me, please.

Gwendolyn Chubb has been alienated from her two children for over four years. She volunteers with the Court-Watch Program of the JustUS For Justice Ministry, nfp – 501c3 in Cook County Family courts.
Email: j4justiceministry@yahoo.com
Tel: 773.377.5468

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