Dave admits to Dr. Dugan and Judge McManus in Nevada County Court that he has relapsed with heroin and cocaine. Additionally, the psychological testing during the custody evaluation points to “histrionic and narcissistic personality disorders.”

Nevertheless Jasmijn is ordered to spend spring break with him in California. Dave is ordered to submit to drug testing during the visit.

Jasmijn comes back from the visit with uncontrollable behavior again. Similar scenario as the previous visits: kicking, screaming, biting herself, biting me, bedwetting etc. This time she also starts leaving the lights on, even during the day and she won’t leave me out of her sight. I even have to go to the bathroom with her. In my mind I am thinking: “what is going on”? She tells me she was being forced along a steep cliff by her father and she was afraid.

She also tells me she is constantly getting yelled at by Dave and she tells me how he kept locking her in the apartment. After he’d lock her in the apartment she would crawl under the coffee table crying. She also told me he would leave for an extended amount of time and eventually come back with bags of groceries, acting as if nothing happened. These stories circulate at school and the teachers report this to Child Protective Services (CPS). CPS does nothing. Instead I get accused of calling CPS by Dave’s lawyer Donna Glanz. She uses this as evidence of Parental Alienation. My own lawyer, Richard Burton, gets angry with me about this as well and I am somehow held responsible for the action of the teachers.

I fly out to California for the trial.

It starts with another round of mediation with Ms. Cellini. When discussing Dave’s drug addiction issues Ms. Cellini waives her hand: “This is California. We don’t mind drugs here.”

In the meantime, Dave’s attorney, Donna Glanz  cannot comprehend that I don’t want to have coffee with Dave during the airport switch-offs of Jasmijn.

The trial itself unfolds like a theatre play. I can still see Dave sitting there, tears in his eyes, promising to never, ever use drugs again, he’s going to be a good boy from now on, really he is! He has a clean drug test to prove it. My lawyer Richard Burton raises his hand in objection: “Dr. Dugan, considering the 30-year drug history of opposing party, on what grounds do you base your conclusion that he can now suddenly be cured of his addiction once and for all?” Dr. Dugan: “Well, I have never ever in my entire career come across such an honest drug addict. He must really mean it this time.” Mind you, this is coming from a psychologist who concluded in his report that Dave had histrionic and narcissistic personality disorders and a high chance of relapse. My lawyer doesn’t pursue the matter any further. This was disappointing because I had just spent tens of thousands of dollars on this lawyer.

Final court ruling by Judge McManus: Dave’s amount of custody gets INCREASED from 20% to 50%. Jasmijn’s primary residence remains with me and she is ordered to visit with Dave 10 weeks every year. Unsupervised.

Furthermore Jasmijn has to attend play therapy to deal with her aggressive behavior. Dave is ordered to: 18 months of drug testing (urinalysis as well as hair follicle). Anything beyond 18 months of drug testing is considered “an invasion of his privacy” according to Judge McManus. How about Jasmijn’s safety? Doesn’t that trump privacy? What is going on here in California?

Dave is ordered to mail me the results of his drug tests throughout each visit. I’m made responsible for any possible consequences. He is also ordered to submit to 6 months of drug treatment counseling, followed by 6 months of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. My lawyer Richard Burton and I walk out of court. He shakes my hand and congratulates me: “It’s a victory,” he proclaims. “I’ve never seen anything like it! You’re so lucky you didn’t lose custody.” He wants to go celebrate. No thanks, I think I’ll pass.

Excerpt court ruling 2010


When it’s time for the next visit with Dave, Jasmijn doesn’t want to go to California. “Mom, he doesn’t listen to me. He wants me to do things I don’t want to do and when I say no he doesn’t listen. Can you help teach me to make him listen to me?” We practice through role play. “Please respect my feelings” is to be her motto. She draws me a big colored butterfly that says: “thank you for helping me stand up to my dad.”

To widdle away at my second mortgage I have to take on extra work. I now work 70 hours a week. As if single parenting by itself is not already hard enough. Now I also have to deal with endless court cases, a daughter with behavioral problems in therapy and serious debt.

Six months after the trial it’s time for the Christmas visitation. I fly Jasmijn out to California. Then Dave submits drug test results after the visit with Jasmijn instead of during the visit. And the results are not good. They are dirty with opiates.



Now what? I’m nowhere near being able to deal with more legal fees and I have been threatened by the court that I will lose custody if I don’t adhere to the court orders. So I continue to send Jasmijn to the mandatory visits with Dave and she continues to come back with increasingly aggressive behavior 🙁

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