Bad Custody Evaluations: Martha C. Jacobson, Laura C. Hohnecker, Martha Jacobson, Laura Hohnecker, Juliette Lippman et al.

Martha C. Jacobson Custody Evaluation
Martha Jacobson Ph.D. Made it Possible for Laura Hohnecker and Cronies
to Abuse a Second-Grade Child for Six Months

"This is nothing less than a travesty."

04/05/12, Palm Beach County Juvenile Court:

"...This is nothing less than a travesty... compounded in my opinion by the Court system itself and I am saddened by it... But the only expert that I found to be credible... I found Dr. Klass to be particularly credible...

"The testimony of the witnesses called by the father -- Dr. Hohnecker, Dr. Jacobson, Ms. Lippman -- as far as this Court is concerned, I found them to be biased, I found them to have a lack of objectivity... insincere and disingenuous and fueled by money... Palm Beach Divorce Lawyer Lisa Marie Macci and Broward County Family Lawyer Elizabeth J. Kates 
 - Florida family law appeals all Florida courts

"The way this case should have been handled... at the time the father filed the petition was either to deny it or to do something that would have been productive... instead, this child at best and its licensed psychologist [ed: Laura Hohnecker] who is supposedly the head of this so-called team... says well, she's improving because now she blinks at dad and will occasionally laugh... If that's what we're reduced to, I don't want to be a part of this... to remove a seven year old child from the primary bonded custodial parent...

"I find... that the evidence presented does not meet one or more of the criteria stated in Section 39.402(1), and I am ordering in accordance with the dictates of the 4th District Court of Appeal ...return the child to the mother's custody..."

Brief background of case:
Mother and Father divorced in 2006, with one child, a daughter then age 2. In June 2010, Father filed for modification of custody alleging parental alienation. In October 2010, Martha C. Jacobson, Ph.D. was appointed by trial judge to do a custody evaluation. In January 2011, Martha Jacobson uttered her written findings, essentially claiming that the mother was personality disordered, "enmeshed", and a PAS perpetrator. Jacobson recommended a custody switch to the Father with a period of no contact by the Mother, even though she acknowledged that this would traumatize the child.

Based on this specious and sadistic custody evaluation, which Father then distributed widely to third parties, such as the child's school, the Father then filed a series of repetitive "emergency motions" over the ensuing months claiming severe parental alienation, and all kinds of sick and disturbed behaviors by the child when she was with him (behaviors that occurred nowhere else). To back up his claims, the Father repeatedly called DCF and police when he had possession of the child, who (in the Father's custody only) was nonfunctional, crying, trembling, refusing to speak, and more. DCF as well as the Guardian ad Litem in the case, Juliette Lippman, either actually fell for this ruse or (more likely) pretended to, and in turn wrote up "findings" in their own "investigative reports" that supported the Father's PAS claims. These so-called findings in fact were based on no personal observations of anything that would tie the child's behaviors in the presence of the Father (which otherwise would look like some kind of abuse by the Father) to the Mother as causative agent; rather, their conclusions were based on Martha Jacobson's baseless speculations [note] in the custody evaluation report.

In October 2011, at the beginning of a hearing on one of the Father's emergency motions, and based on DCF investigator and GAL testimony that in turn was based on Jacobson's custody evaluation, family court Judge Renee Goldenberg -- instead of holding an evidentiary hearing -- abruptly announced that she was sheltering the child in the custody of the state. Then, instead of placing the child into foster care, Judge Goldenberg circumvented the requirements of due process and Florida's child custody statutes by "placing" the ostensibly "sheltered" child with a "relative" -- the Father! Goldenberg ordered no contact by the Mother.

Mother's counsel appealed. A favorable decision was handed down by the 4th DCA March 7, 2012. A remanded "shelter hearing" then was held in Palm Beach County juvenile court on April 3 and 5, 2012, resulting in the return of the child to her Mother.

For six months until these decisions, the Mother was barred from all visitation and essentially all meaningful contact by the Father and his so-called helping professionals (contrary to even the dictates of dependency proceedings). The head of the child's post-"shelter" "treatment team", most responsible for this atrocity, who was given authority to "treat" the child, as well as to determine (deny) contact with the Mother, coincidentally happened to be Martha Jacobson's good friend Laura C. Hohnecker, Ph.D. During the six months in question, the formerly bright, happy, healthy straight-A second-grader apparently deteriorated or freaked out so badly that she was drugged with Prozac to get her to calm down and/or make her more compliant. (What child-centered therapy -- not.)

Consider: Six months is a 1/8 portion of a 7-year-old child's cognizant lifetime. That's equivalent to SIX YEARS in the lifetime of a 50-year-old. Ever know a little kid to get homesick during a week away at camp? Here, six months. The child was abruptly wrenched from the parent who had lovingly raised her from birth. Like suffering a parental death. Permanent emotional damage. All because Daddy was resentful that the child loved Mommy more (could it possibly be his own parenting or personality?), and instead of offering sound advice, a bunch of professionals saw a profit-making opportunity. Evil.

A lawsuit was filed in Broward 
County, Florida, April 17, 2013, against Martha C. Jacobson, Laura Hohnecker, Juliette Lippman, and other defendants for, variously, 
negligence, intentional torts, defamation, malpractice, conspiracy, interference with child custody, and abuse of process Update April 17, 2013:
Some of the professionals in this action, including attorney Greg Lewen for the father, psychologist child custody evaluator Martha C. Jacobson, Ph.D. ("Marty Jacobson"); psychologist Laura C. Hohnecker, Ph.D.; the Florida attorney who was Guardian ad Litem for the child, Juliette Lippman; and DCF worker Matthew Wilcox, have been sued in Palm Beach County. The plaintiff mother and child are represented by The Burton Firm (Richard J. Burton, Esq., in Aventura, Florida). The 54-count complaint includes various civil torts against one or more of the defendants, including negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, abuse of process, conspiracy, interference with child custody, defamation, and medical malpractice (psychological malpractice). A jury trial is being sought.

Psychologist Jerome Poliacoff on the Justice Hour radio show Psychologist Jerome Poliacoff on the Justice Hour radio show Poliacoff review of Martha Jacobson's custody evaluation, September 6, 2011:
"Dr. Jacobson did not act in good faith... her failure to adhere to statutory, regulatory, and aspirational requirements for the conduct of court-ordered evaluators in child custody matters has rendered her conclusions, opinions and recommendations inherently unreliable."
Dr. Poliacoff affidavit re Martha C. Jacobson, Ph.D.
(See another Martha Jacobson custody evaluation case story here.)

Broward County Judge Renee Goldenberg, October 5, 2011:
Child Custody Evaluators Cannot Do What the Courts Think They Can Do parenting evaluations, social evaluations, family court "This is just a fingers in the dyke momentary proceeding... I can overrule the legal department of Department of Children and Families..."

Mother's brief on appeal (pet. for cert), October 24, 2011:
Initial brief

"...a departure from the essential requirements of the law...
so serious that it amounts to a miscarriage of justice..."

Florida Fourth DCA Appellate decision overturning Goldenberg, March 7, 2012:
Judge Renee Goldenberg, Juliette Lippman, Greg Lewen

Palm Beach County Juvenile Court decision, on remand, April 5, 2012:
"The testimony of the witnesses called by the father -- Dr. Hohnecker, Dr. Jacobson, Ms. Lippman -- as far as this Court is concerned, I found them to be biased, I found them to have a lack of objectivity... insincere and disingenuous and fueled by money..."
Transcript of court comments about Laura C. Hohnecker, Ph.D. and Martha Jacobson, Ph.D.

The court's order (with redactions):    1    |    2    |    3    |    4    |    5    |    6    |    7 

"The court listened carefully to the testimony of Drs. Jacobson and Hohnecker as well as Ms. Lippman and considered each of their demeanors while testifing. The undersigned has been a judge for thirteen years and a trial attorney for more than sixteen years before taking the bench. Over the last almost thirty years, the undersigned has often witnessed expert testimony being colored in favor of the party who is paying the expert. Never, however, has the court witnessed such a lack of objectivity, fueled by money, where a child's very life is literally at stake... The damage that may have been inflicted on this innocent young child may be irreversible."

[Judge Donald W. Hafele is quite possibly one of Florida's best judges. We were blessed that he currently sits in Dependency Court.]

Many of the same players in Schmitz v. Schmitz, 2005:
Martha Jacobson in Schmitz case

Too many coincidences: Note that the Schmitz case, above, included "Marty" Jacobson with Jan Faust, Ph.D., Vicki Plant, and Judge Susan F. Greenhawt (who had to be disqualified because it was discovered during the case that Faust, who was the father's forensic witness, spent the night at Greenhawt's house). There are a number of other cases in which the players just appear too similar, like a family court game $$$ going on in Broward County, Florida, in which certain compatriots, including both psychs and lawyers, taking turns at different roles (custody evaluator, therapist, Guardian ad Litem, referral therapist, parenting coordinator, parties' counsel), pull this kind of cozy thing again and again. And what is this: Judge Renee Goldenberg, Martha Jacobson, Laura Hohnecker, Kirshbaum law firm (Juliette Lippman), Brydger law firm

A pattern: 2007 case excerpts and discussion of yet another of many of Martha C. Jacobson, Ph.D's similar crap custody evaluations, in which she finds primary caregiving mothers to be mentally disordered, causing "parental alienation" and/or otherwise unfit for custody.

Judges and lawyers and social networking: September 5, 2012, 4th DCA Florida appellate opinion again confirms Facebook friending and similar as grounds for disqualification of a judge in a case.

Article on how therapeutic jurisprudence has poisoned the family court legal system and lawyer ethics.
Kates, 13 Domestic Violence Report 65 (2008)

Therapeutic jurisprudence index at
Children Need. . . THIS? Research on custody evaluation practices 
and therapeutic jurisprudence in the family courts

NOTE: For example, during the custody evaluation, Father apparently showed Jacobson a photograph of the child in which she had a red six-point star on her bare leg. The father suggested to Jacobson that the star had been "scratched" into the child's leg. From this misrepresentation, based on one photograph, Jacobson imagined a scenario of a child who was "self-mutilating", beset with conflicts over her parents' disparate religions, and deeply disturbed on account of her Mother's lack of respect for the Father's faith. This "self-mutilation" meme and its accompanying far-fetched and irresponsible fantasy were repeated over and over by the Father's counsel, and then credulously (or speciously) adopted by the DCF investigators, the Guardian ad Litem, and a succession of therapists, bolstering a theory of "mental abuse" by the Mother. All from one photograph -- and a child who was never seen to have a single self-inflicted injury on her. At the time the photograph was taken, the child had just learned how to draw a "Jewish star" from two triangles (easier than a 5-point star), and had drawn one on her leg with her felt-tip marker. RETURN TO TEXT

therapeutic jurisprudence and forensic psychology research WARREN FARRELL
Does a Custody Evaluation, wherein, inter alia, he ponders what a 13-year-old girl is doing in the bathroom for an hour, watches an 11-year-old brush her teeth, admires the idea of a father's tickling and wrestling a pre-pubescent female to the floor, pontificates on the relationship between eating salad, diabetes, and girls' body shapes, admires the culinary competence required to cook Spaghetti, and generally demonstrates his ignorance of child development and age-appropriate parenting. The father who hired him paid $20,000 for this remarkable piece of crap. therapeutic jurisprudence and forensic psychology research -- If 15-year-old daughter refuses to go spend overnights with Father then she should be punished by both parents.
IGNORAMUS ALERT !! The custody evaluation review --
too many lawyers, judges and psychs keep getting this wrong:
A custody evaluation reviewer reviews the competency of a custody evaluation that already was conducted. He determines whether the psych tests and procedures used were valid and appropriate. He determines whether the analysis and conclusions of the custody evaluator comport with the data gathered by the evaluator. He assesses bias, inconsistencies, omissions, and adherence to psych regs and professional practice guidelines. He does NOT meet with the parties, gather new data, or do a new assessment. It is not a "second evaluation". See the Grossman case for example of an bad custody evaluation review.

More Articles

Therapeutic Jurisprudence Index
Child Custody Evaluations -- Reevaluating the Evaluators
Right of First Refusal in Parenting Plans
Florida Handbook on Discovery
Custody Evaluator Testing: Discovery Issues
Are Psychologists Hiding Evidence?
Effects of Fatherlessness
Poliacoff on Releasing Records in Child Custody Evaluations
Child Custody Evaluators "In Their Own Words"
Parenting Coordination, a bad idea
Parenting Coordinator Practical Considerations
Those Joint Custody Studies
The Endless Stupidity Inherent in Promoting Supervised Visitation Centers
What's Wrong With Multidisciplinary Collaborative Practice?
"Therapeutic Jurisprudence" Causes Lawyer Ethics Problems
Collaborative Law, Ethical and Practical Issues

Civium in moribus rei publicae salus
...will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do
Martha Jacobson, Psychologist: child-centered? Family Court Corruption Parenting Coordination and family court corruption Dealing with forensic psychologists and discovery of test data in court


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