I have recently been following a twitter account called @YourKidsNeedYou. As a result, popping up in my twitter stream from this account have been such gems as:
The url ez.com/stopcheaters redirects to a US website friendsofcourt.com, to be specific to a page selling an “Attention Cheaters!” toolkit “for only $150!”. It contains a sample letter to “The Cheater”. There are many testimonials for this service. For example:
“for the price of 30 minutes of my attorney, the toolkit go my Ex’s attention, she apologized and said “can you get the friendsofcourt people off me” (Mike, a dad) (my emphasis).
“…the ex-husband thought the “army of justice” was upon him and he started following the rules” (my emphasis)
This website is not specific as to how it achieves it’s results, other than to note rather darkly that “We will let the CHEATERS know that friends of Court is WATCHING”.
There are no contact details other than an email addy on this website. Although there is a section entitled “People” it does not identify any individual. It does tell us that friendsofcourt.com are not lawyers, although quite what they are (or who regulates them) remains a mystery to me.
I’m not quite sure where the court’s role fits into all of this (if at all) – over here the court would assess WHY contact had stopped and whether it was for good reason, before unleashing its “weapons” of enforcement. Perhaps the same is not true in the US?
I don’t know how enforcement of contact is generally dealt with in the US, and I don’t know which states friendsofcourt.com operate in, but I would love to know how the use of this type of language and imagery is perceived across the pond. Because it certainly makes this English lawyer very uncomfortable. To me this looks like paid-for bullying, and more importantly ultimately unlikely in many cases to promote a sustainable improvement of parental relations, which is generally the starting point for stable contact arrangements or shared care. The tweets are threatening and use highly charged language, the body language in the avatar is to me quite significant (macho, flexing of muscle, closed), and the implication – in places – from the website is that “Cheaters” may be frightened or harassed into capitulating. I don’t know if that is what in fact happens, but it seems to be the deliberate impression created for the benefit of potential clients, and the basis of this organisation’s marketing.