Glory Be to the Father and Son… Family Court Paramedics

Benedictus Ombuna compares the family court’s response to a wrongful custody order to a massive heart attack.  “Your heart stops beating, and by the time  paramedics come,  you’ve been dead for months.”

Benedictus’ and his attorney, Michelle MacDonald, were among 19 speakers at the “Talk for Family Innocence” social.   MacDonald,  who earned a living litigating divorce for 25 years, was an  unlikely candidate to start a mission to eliminate family court.  MacDonald says her recognition of corruption in family court was like getting hit in the face with a 2 by 4.   “ By corruption, I don’t mean everyone involved in family court is dishonest or out to screw you.   It’s like a computer corruption.  The network still works, and the corruption will go on undetected, until the computer crashes.”

MacDonald says Benedictus’ case opened her eyes to the court’s ability to “rearrange nature.”   After his ex-wife died, Benedictus walked into MacDonald’s office in West St. Paul because child support continued to be withheld from his modest paycheck at the nursing home where he worked as a nurse’s aid.  After MacDonald motioned the court, adding that Costas’mother had died and he had sole custody,    Benedictus brought his son, Costas,  in her office to show his appreciation,  and started a payment plan on his legal bill. “Hardly ever do I meet the children. “MacDonald says.

MacDonald believed the case was over, until months later, MacDonald received a fax from an attorney, enclosing an ex parte  motion and family court order for sole physical custody to  Costas’ great aunt, a mistake MacDonald believed could be handled in the conference call with  the Judge.

But by the time of the phone call, the aunt had moved with Costas, changed Costas’ school, and diverted the $1000.00 monthly social security checks to herself, with no notice, and no custody petition ever having been filed or served.  When the judge agreed it was not child protection, but stated that family court takes these cases all the time, and ordered a “speedy” trial —- held  months later, MacDonald realized this was not just Benedictus’ problem.

Family Innocence Project

Using her dad’s math, MacDonald’s tallied up $1,800,000.00 in expected returns to the non-profit from Benedictus’ case alone.  “5.1 million domestic orders a year now. Our volunteer treasurer, Teri MacNabb, and I invested $50.00,  and one  Lincoln penny each to open the non-profit’s bank account. We made a copy of our deposit for luck.”

The Family Innocence Project expects a person like Maria Schriver,  Kim Nardashian,  or  Tom Cruise to step up to help them with funds to make their non-profit  the only option for families breaking up if there is no violence, child abuse, or criminal activity.  “I know it’s been my job,” says MacDonald,  “but attorneys and families should no longer be allowed to argue in court.”

About Family Innocence

Family Innocence is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, dedicated to keeping families out of court, resolving conflicts and injustices peacefully.