Guest Commentary: Unveiling the Dark Realities – Family Court’s Disturbing Manipulations

by Judi Atwood

Growing up in a community untouched by detrimental influences, I once believed I had successfully avoided the looming specter of significant childhood trauma. However, recent experiences within the family court system, particularly involving Rebecca Pepin of Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C., have shattered this perception of privilege. It is a disheartening reality that legal professionals and court actors exploit provisions such as Title IV-D, crafting deceptive narratives that portray protective parents as aggressors while endowing actual perpetrators with assets. Title IV-D of the Social Security Act (Title IV-D) establishes a state-federal partnership to provide child support services. My motivation in filing motions within the Boulder Family Courts has always been to shield my children from their father’s self-testimony and statements of harm.

The manipulation of Title IV-D funding unfolds through a deliberate collaboration among court actors and lawyers, purposefully overlooking criminal complaints of child abuse. Despite numerous child abuse investigations against Rebecca Pepin’s client and his admission to felony imprisonment, the Longmont PD’s omission of involving Child Protective Services has allowed him to elude accountability. His audacious declaration, “I imprisoned her 13 times, and I will do it again,” echoes chillingly after two Family Assessments conducted by CPS, which Pepin claims are none of my business and clearly the child’s therapist as well leaving our children with untreated trauma.

Pepin’s approach involves baseless claims of parental alienation, a tactic frequently wielded against protective mothers. Through her distorted narratives, court rulings have unfairly penalized me, resulting in defamation, the alienation of my children’s affection, and our children’s complete separation from my extended family and cultural roots. Shockingly, Magistrate Kelly dismissed our plea for Family Therapy, intensifying the emotional toll on both me and my children.

Following supervised visitation, Judge Thomas Mulvahill mandated that, as an indigent mother, I pay over $40,000 in legal fees to my ex-husband. This is the disheartening reality I face as I usher in the New Year, aware that I reside in a state with judges who target children and women with disabilities for personal satisfaction. Judge Thomas Mulvahill is up for re-election, and I implore the public to scrutinize his cases before endorsing potential torture and mistreatment of Colorado’s disabled children.

Despite financial struggles, Pepin accuses me of hiding money, contradicting her earlier push for an aggressive settlement offer of $140,000 in 2013. She labels me a freeloader while capriciously separating my child, exploiting the authority granted by the State of Colorado to inflict maximum cruelty. The ironic connection to her mother, Constance Platt, serving on the Board of Directors at the local Domestic Violence Shelter, raises profound questions about the roots of such cruelty towards children. Rebecca Pepin claims there is no Domestic Violence in my case—I guess law school never taught her about economic abuse nor felony imprisonment.

Exacerbating the absurdity of my situation is the substantial support I extend to my children, which includes covering expenses for groceries, clothing, and electronics at their father’s residence. Despite my sincere efforts, the directives from Judge Mulvahill and Pepin’s persistent pursuit of fees have ensnared me in an unjust predicament. The cumulative impact of their actions has led me to entertain morbid thoughts, contemplating whether the immense stress they impose might eventually take a toll on my health, allowing me to reciprocate my family’s kindness and love through life insurance. Such contemplations were never part of my mindset until encountering the demeanor of Judge Thomas Mulvahill, whose disposition towards mothers safeguarding their children instills a desire to seek refuge under a table in his courtroom for protection.

Colorado’s bureaucratic structures, which favor judges and their appointed facilitators, especially in cases involving disabled children, only exacerbate the injustice. Judge Mulvahill’s routine use of separation as a punitive measure reflects a troubling “groupthink” mentality within the state.

Confronting a medical emergency and grappling with the cancellation of my Medicaid insurance, I reached out to my ex-husband, who is deeply intertwined and heavily dependent on Rebecca Pepin. The perplexing assertions by Medicaid regarding my ex-husband’s income that he receives from SSI for the children I have been supporting was shown as being received by me, combined with Pepin’s apparent disregard for my urgent plea for assistance, highlight a system that places legal procedures above authentic concern for family welfare.  Even if I were the character depicted in Rebecca Pepin’s motions for profit and gain, I am still the mother of the children. Nevertheless, it is evident that her litigation approach prioritizes her well-being over the welfare of anyone else involved.  This mentality is also supported and rewarded in Boulder County Courts.

Though Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C. categorizes itself as a family law firm, the stark reality reveals a troubling departure from justice, particularly concerning the well-being of children. Within a system that neglects the welfare of children and extends the suffering of those seeking refuge in the courts, Boulder County consistently grants this firm the latitude to exploit the public trust.  The only prospect for mothers and survivors of Domestic Violence in Boulder County Courts as we approach 2024 is the opportunity to face each day, either homeless or burdened by the toxic stress imposed by a courthouse that discourages individual responsibility in its thought processes and decision-making.
Judi-Beth Atwood Empowering Voices, Mending Hearts ❤

Speaking Truth to Legislators | Championing Justice for Domestic Violence Victims Advocate for Change in Family Courts

Supporter of Kayden’s Law and National Safe Parents Coalition

MIT Cybersecurity


About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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