Chapter 4: Why Did the BCSE Go Rogue?

The Bureau of Child Support Enforcement had a summons served on the mother when the child was 5 months old.  The summons was in a case filed by the BCSE asking for paternity establishment and for the biological father to pay child support, and back medical support.

Why did the BCSE file this petition?

Let’s look again at the three ways a child custody case lands in family court.

  1. The biological father denies paternity and gives no support to the mother. etc.

In this case the biological father gave no support to the pregnancy, birth, or thereafter.  He made claims on social media that he gave money to the mother which she refused to accept.  But when asked under oath if he had ever given any support for his child to the mother, he and his attorney replied that he had not.

The biological father, N.S. did not deny paternity privately and on social media.  However, he failed to complete and notarize and present to the mother a paternity affidavit.  An affidavit is required by law in West Virginia for an unmarried father’s name to be on a child’s birth certificate. N.S. knew about this requirement, but did not ever fulfill it.  On the contrary, he texted the mother—a text which she entered into the court record – that the mother had no claim against him so long as he was not on the birth certificate.

Nevertheless, even though the mother felt and feels strongly that both mothers and fathers should support their children, she did not file a petition for paternity establishment and child support.  She did not apply to the BCSE. It was not through her actions that the BCSE filed the case in family court.

  1. The biological father wants to acknowledge and support the child, and have custody, but the mother either keeps the pregnancy and birth secret from the father, denies paternity, or contests his custody claims.

In this case, if the father wanted to acknowledge the child, all he had to do was complete a paternity affidavit.  He has never done so. As he testified, he never gave anything for the support of the child. The mother did not keep her pregnancy a secret. She informed N.S. of the pregnancy at 5 weeks. She did not deny paternity.  N.S. had not filed for custody. His own texts state that he wanted to avoid claims upon him. In addition, he entered into the court records an email in which he states that he does not want to be “gouged” by the courts.  

It is pretty unbelievable that N.S., given his actions, inactions, and documented statements, would have wanted to start a court action.  In fact, in his response to the BCSE petition, N.S. made an objection to paternity testing.

  1. The mother receives public assistance, …etc.

Neither mother nor child received any public assistance, the mother had not applied for any, and the Department of Health and Human Services was in no way involved.

In short, the BCSE had no standing to bring the case.

The mother is not a lawyer.  She was both surprised and confused by the BCSE petition.  But as she informed herself, and looked at the law, it seemed pretty clear to her that the BCSE had no standing to file a case.  She spoke to several lawyers, who shared her confusion. The DHHR had not applied to the BCSE. The mother had not applied to the BCSE.  The petition did not have attached to it any application by the father; and why would he, who had paid nothing and appeared determined to pay nothing, bring an action against himself for child support?

Subsequent events, where N.S. fought tooth and nail not to pay child support, validate the general confusion over this petition.  The mother asked Kristin Antolini, the lawyer she engaged to represent her, to object on the grounds that the BCSE had no standing, and to request to see the file that the BCSE was compiling on the mother and her child.  Kristin Antolini did not make the objections the mother requested.

Why did Kristin Antolini not object to the BCSE filing a case in which it had no standing?  Who was Kristin Antolini really representing while charging hourly fees to the mother?

 

Chapter 3: How Did This Case Get Into Court In The First Place?

Child custody cases, when the parents are not married, end up in court in several different ways.

  1. The biological father denies paternity and gives no support to the mother.  The mother wants the father’s name on her child’s birth certificate and wants, understandably, to receive support.  She therefore files in court for paternity establishment and child support. She may apply to the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement to file as a state agency acting on behalf of the child.  In that case, the BCSE will file a petition naming both her and the biological father as respondents, to establish paternity and to determine how much each party must contribute for the support of their child.  The matter ends there with the unwed mother retaining full custody, unless the father petitions for custody. If he does, a custody case is opened.
  2. The biological father wants to acknowledge and support the child, and have custody, but the mother either keeps the pregnancy and birth secret from the father, denies paternity, or contests his custody claims.  For example, the two might differ on the amount of custody rights each should have. The father then files a petition for custody. When he files for custody he must, by law, make an application to the BCSE.
  3. The mother receives public assistance, administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHR).  Whether the mother wants to or not, the DHHR then applies to the BCSE to file for child support in order to recoup from the biological father public assistance payments made to the mother.  The matter ends there unless there is a dispute over custody and one of the parties files a petition for custody.

None of this happened in the case we are describing.

 

So how did this mother and child end up in the clutches of a family court and an extortionist judge?

 

The story is bizarre and eye-opening as to what actually happens in a court of “law.”

 

Chapter 2: The Anti-Children Court

In the time that we became aware of this case, we have also become aware of a number of other family court cases in the judicial district of Preston and Monongalia counties.

We have heard of at least two cases in judge Randal Minor’s court in which the litigants—both women, both victims of abuse—were further victimized by judge Minor’s orders.  In each case, the women were unable to take further action and appeal their cases. This is because, somehow or other, no record was made of the proceedings in the case. No DVD.  No transcript. There was no record of evidence entered at the hearings and trials, and no record of objections made, or of the basis for the only record: judge Minor’s orders.

Judge Minor was not censured or in any way taken to task by the Judicial Investigation Commission or the court administrators and the supreme court justices for his court’s failing to keep the legally mandated records of proceedings.  Why was judge Minor let off in these cases? Why was there no recourse for the victims? Who is protecting judge Minor and why?

While this case progressed another child was sent by judge Minor to an abusive parent who also had no relationship with the child except of fear.  On judge Minor’s orders, the child was torn away from her mother and given for the weekend to a mentally unstable criminal. The last her mother saw of her child was the little girl crying and pleading not to be given over to the abuser.  She returned in a body bag. The mother swore on social media to bring judge Minor to justice. But then she became silent. Why has judge Minor not had to account for this child’s death?

These are only some of the stories of victims that we have heard.  We ask readers who have had experiences with judge Minor’s court to contact us and share what you went through.

We also caution anyone going through family court to ask at the beginning of each hearing–and to document the request– that the proceedings be on the record.

There are two family court judges in the district.  Judge Hill is the other judge. This past year was a tragic one for her victims.  A disabled boy died through neglect of his breathing apparatus. For years CPS and judge Hill failed to take note that the child was in a neglectful household, from which four other children had been removed.  Inexplicably, neither CPS nor the judge acted. The neglected child went into a coma as a result of the mother’s neglect, and later died.

A few years ago, judge Hill was the center of another internet storm when she ordered, continued to order, a toddler into visitations with his father from which he returned covered in bruises.  

Both family court judges have sent children within the last two years to drug addicted and drug dealing parents.  In one case, judge Minor tore a two year old from his father, who had cared for him from birth, and sent him to a drug addict and criminal mother who was in and out of prison, allowing the father to see him for only 2 hours/month.  

Some have labeled judge Randal Minor a “father’s rights” judge.  Some have said that his own unfortunate family history has turned him against women.  In our view judge Minor is an equal opportunity judge when it comes to being unfair to parents.  Most significantly, he is neither pro women nor pro men. His rulings are anti-children.

None of the parents mentioned in this blog, including the one whose story we are telling, have the emotional and physical energy after going through these courts to fight for justice, beyond trying—often unsuccessfully—to keep their own children safe. They and their children are traumatized.   They are also afraid. Should courts in our state and in our country be allowed to terrorize people who have committed no crime?