There are currently tens of thousands who do not presently have proper access to justice in East Tennessee. The Legal Aid Society for Oak Ridge, TN say that they are unable to help anyone with a child custody case if there is no domestic violence involved. The Knoxville Pro Bono Project says the same. Legal Aid in other Tennessee counties say they cannot give even legal advice for a case filed in an East Tennessee juridsiction. What happens is the rights of the children and the parent falls to the wayside, simply because a parent may not be able to afford a $5000 retainer fee, and $250 per hour for every additional hour. This is the going rate for a Family Law attorney in East Tennessee. I feel that these attorneys, who practice in East Tennessee, do not do enough to ensure an equal access to justice. In fact, they may be well below their quota for providing pro bono work, and are, in fact, exploiting the lack of equal rights and justice to infringe on other's basic civil rights and stand to gain financially from an unfortunate situation.
I have been struggling with custody issues for almost 15 months now. My ex-husband who is at a financial advantage has exploited the bias in the judicial system to inflict Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) on me, and hence use my love for my children against me time and again, even though I have been the children's primary caregiver for most of their young lives.
The lack of Legal Aid for Child Custody Cases in East Tennessee, combined with exorbitant retainer and hourly fees charged by local Family Law Attorneys - no doubt in response to the lack of free legal representation in this area - breeds mass injustice, to both children and parents alike.
With this petition, I wish to bring broader attention to this travesty that has such deep physical, emotional, psychological and hence social consequences for the world. I am hopeful that the winds of change will one day blow away such a massive civil injustice.
With pain, but in hope,