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You know things are out of hand when

In an unusual case, a judge in a child custody dispute is facing a judicial disciplinary hearing. This case is not from New York, but serves as a lesson in how not to proceed with a divorce and custody matters. The judge was facing a hearing over a decision last year where she sent three children to the county's Children's Village, a youth home, after they refused to have lunch with their father.

The case has been described as one of "textbook parental alienation" caused by the mother's actions. The litigation has dragged on for five years and the mother has gone through 18 different attorneys as a testament to the difficulty of working with her. The father has had four attorneys, and the hearing docket covers 55 pages. The judge appeared to be fed up with the behavior of everyone involved and her outburst was recorded on video.

A retired judge reviewed her conduct and found she abused her contempt power, acted inappropriately and "failed to act in a patient, dignified, judicial manner." Her attorney argued that she had had a "bad day," due to the "five years of the most contentious, vexatious litigation imaginable."

While a judge should never allow litigants to push his or her buttons and react with frustration, this case was certainly one to try most judges' souls. Given the standard in all child custody cases, whether Michigan or New York, is the best interests of the children, it is difficult to imagine, short of physical violence placing the children's lives at risk, how the situation could be any further from their best interests.

Could anyone defend the parental behavior in this custody dispute as being in the best interests of any child? While it is not clear from the report what caused the mother's behavior, the result is less than optimal for the children. The court apparently found no evidence of the father being a threat to the children, and ultimately ordered the children to live with the father.

Divorce can lead to emotions running high, but this is probably not the legacy that you would want to leave your children with.

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