- Chester County Judge restricts kid visits with mom.
- Mom Promotes PA HB 1397, an Equal Parenting Time bill.
- “Anything less than 50-50 shared, safe parenting will perpetuate the mental health crisis that is underlying many suicides, homicides and mass shootings in our society."
When Krissy Smith asked her husband for a divorce, she never dreamed it would result in losing custody of her three children. But that’s exactly what happened. The forlorn mother blames embattled Judge Katherine B.L. Platt of Chester County, Pennsylvania for signing restrictive court orders.
“It’s partly outdated policy and greed driving sole custody orders that alienate parents from their children,” Smith said of the Honorable Judge Platt who was named in an unrelated federal complaint on Sept. 24 by a Chester County daughter demanding the release of her elderly mother from court appointed guardianship.
In Smith’s case, even though her eldest child, Peter, is nearly 18 years old, the forlorn mother is bracing herself to overcome a ban that could very well prevent her from attending his May 2020 high school graduation.
Smith is not alone. She is among some 25 million parents in North America who report being erased from their children’s lives after divorce or separation, according to the non profit National Parents Organization.
“I am an advocate for 50-50 shared, safe parenting,” she said. “Anything less will perpetuate the mental health crisis that is underlying many suicides, homicides and mass shootings in our society.”
While the Bucknell University graduate missed out on enjoying the holidays with her offspring, Smith doesn’t want others to suffer the same fate and, to achieve that goal, has been rallying support for a proposed Equality in Parenting Time bill that will be introduced at 10 am on Dec. 9 at the Pennsylvania state capital before the Subcommittee on Family Law in Room 60 East Wing.
PA HB 1397 promotes gender equality in custody determinations and aims to protect the right of children to continue to have both parents meaningfully involved in their lives following a separation or divorce.
“I am standing up for all alienated parents who have been wiped out of their emotional and financial resources and I am fighting for my children so that this doesn’t happen to my future grandchildren or anyone else’s,” said Smith who is participating in a pre-hearing reception hosted by Parental Alienation Awareness of Pennsylvania at 6:30 pm on Dec. 8 at Staybridge Suites in Harrisburg.
Although the Honorable Judge Platt sat on a committee called Changing the Culture of Custody for the state Commission for Justice Initiatives in 2007, she also signed an order that allegedly restricts Smith’s visits with her children as recently as April 24, 2017.
“The Changing the Culture of Custody Committee was supposed to reform visitation and child custody procedures but, to my knowledge, that never happened,” Smith alleges.
Stacey Witalec, spokesperson for the Administrative Office for Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC), did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In addition to advocating against parental alienation and sole custody court orders, Smith invested $20,000 in a documentary called Erasing Family, which is narrated from the perspective of alienated children as they reunite with their lost parent.
“I want my children to know as they come of age that we aren’t the only family experiencing alienation,” Smith said. “The documentary is one way to create a dialogue with children and alienated parents once they are united and to also communicate to younger generations the perils of getting married and divorced using the courts.”