Guest Commentary: Shattered Dreams and Unseen Cracks – Jacob Bellinsky’s Battle against Injustice

Photo by Sebastian Pichler on Unsplash

By Judi Atwood

In the tranquil expanse of Gilpin County, Colorado, where the silent mountains bear witness to life’s struggles, Jacob Bellinsky’s 23-year marriage collapsed under the weight of a legal system seemingly more concerned with winning than preserving families.  Post a bitter divorce, Jacob awoke to a haunting silence, reverberating with the absence of his eight children. A man who had once built a life of love and commitment now resides in a humble trailer – the remnants of a life dismantled by a heartless legal battle.

While his story is not unique, it carries the heavy burden of a thousand shattered dreams. Like many, Jacob navigated the perilous waters of the Family Court System, only to find himself shipwrecked on the shores of loneliness, penniless, and impending jail time – all for daring to question the lack of due process in a system meant to champion justice for children. One might expect a system designed to protect family sanctity to prioritize understanding over ruthless victories. However, for Jacob Bellinsky, the very essence of family became collateral damage in a war waged by adults thriving in the dark corners of the Family Court System.

In a desperate bid to shield his family from further pain, Jacob took an extraordinary step, pleading with the District Attorney to drop charges against his ex-wife for domestic violence. Tragically, this plea, fueled by a desire to salvage what remained of his family, was met with disdain. Rather than recognizing the intricate dynamics of family life, the DA seemed offended by Jacob’s attempt to restore normalcy amidst chaos.  The consequences of this lack of understanding were catastrophic. Jacob Bellinsky not only lost his parental rights but also his home and savings, rendering him destitute and isolated. Eight children, innocent bystanders in a battle not of their making, were forcibly separated from their father, their voices silenced within the bureaucratic confines of the court.

Amidst legal jargon distinguishing between civil and criminal cases, Jacob Bellinsky’s ordeal transcends these distinctions, revealing the emotional toll on familial relationships lost in the rigid court frameworks.  The dichotomy between criminal and civil cases is evident. Criminal court demands a high burden of proof, leaving little room for error, while civil court operates on the preponderance of evidence. Yet, in the complexity of family matters, these legal nuances offer little solace to a father who has lost everything.

Jacob Bellinsky’s tragedy not only exposes the failures of the Family Court System but also highlights the broader societal issue of prioritizing victories over understanding. The very essence of justice fades when the system becomes a battleground, and families bear the brunt as collateral damage.  At the core of the unraveling of Jacob’s parenting rights lies Chief Justice Directive 04-08, a beacon guiding Child and Family Investigator (CFI) investigations heavily relied upon by Colorado Family Court Judges. Amended on June 29, 2023, it stresses the need for nonintrusive, efficient, and cost-effective assessments. However, for Jacob Bellinsky, this directive proved to be a deceptive façade, concealing the systemic cracks that failed him.  The directive insists that standards should not singularly determine a CFI’s ethical conduct, and their violation should not automatically lead to legal or ethical repercussions. Yet, as Jacob found himself ensnared in a legal quagmire, these standards seemed an empty promise, and their neglect had devastating consequences.

Despite facing disciplinary actions by the State, CFI Kimberly Utesch appeared to downplay the gravity of her actions. Her biased report, visibly impacting judicial decisions, led to the children being placed with their mother and her verbally confrontational boyfriend. Surprisingly, the CFI failed to report the boyfriend responsible for threatening statements like “I look forward to dancing on your grave,” “asshole,” and “your children all see you as the loser that you are.” Additionally, the boyfriend sent text messages to Jacob asserting his involvement in a committed relationship with the ex-wife and their shared parenting responsibilities.

As per the CFI directive, “The CFI serves as an investigative arm of the court. The CFI must gather information, formulate recommendations, and report to the court concerning the children’s best interest, as set forth in the order of appointment.” The pressing question emerges: how did a trained CFI fail to include such alarming statements in her report? Utesch’s checkered track record, marred by disciplinary measures, including a $1,000 refund order on 10/29/2020, followed by a subsequent 1-year probation with a 90-day suspension from the statewide roster on 10/5/2021, paints a concerning picture. Despite receiving an additional warning on 1/4/2023, the impact of her reporting on Jacob Bellinsky’s life remained unparalleled.

The puzzling question emerges: how could she disregard messages like “Hi abba (‘daddy’), I miss you, and I know I shouldn’t be texting you, but I love you”? In a state where confirmation bias appears deeply rooted in the system, where is the accountability for those responsible for safeguarding the rights of individuals like Jacob Bellinsky and his eight children? A 70-year-old stranger entered the lives of eight children forcibly separated from their biological father, and all three branches of the government seem to dismiss it with a nonchalant “stuff happens.”

The tragedy intensifies as the aftermath of biased reporting goes beyond mere apologies or acknowledgment of wrongdoing. Instead, individuals like Jacob find themselves facing unjust charges, their pleas for empathy met with resounding silence or, worse, punitive actions. It raises the critical question:  For whom is the Family Court System truly designed to protect? Clearly not Jacob’s children, and certainly not the parents.

Judi Atwood – Activist/Public Policy Advocate/Civil Engagement Promoter

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.

Related posts


  1. Judi Atwood

    Several members from One Mom’s Battle Facebook  have reached out about an anonymous post threatening  the author with action and making reference to the authors own lived experiences in the family court system.    Thank you members of Mom’s Battle Colorado that shared the post

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for