“Social Networking” or Conflicts of Interest?

by Julia Fletcher

A few weeks ago, I wondered why someone in Connecticut would send a link to Dr. Horowitz’s list of  “Facebook friends” to me. Dr. Horowitz looks like a very nice man. Why does it matter who he publicly lists as “Facebook friends”? 

Here’s why it matters: 

Dr. Horowitz is “Facebook friends” with several attorneys and custody evaluators in Connecticut – like Bonnie Robson, who is a family law attorney.  Attorney Bonnie Robson and Dr. Horowitz  are business partners, working together in a business called, “The Collaborative Divorce Team of Connecticut” 

This is from their website:

Divorce Should Not Be a Battle!

The traditional divorce process is an adversarial system, often resulting in expensive, drawn out battles over property settlements, custody, alimony and myriad other issues. The chance of a couple emerging from this process amicably is remote at best, and the effect on children is often dramatic.

We all know that divorce should not be a battle. So why is it?

Cases involving child abuse, spousal abuse and domestic violence clearly don’t belong in an adversarial family court system. Why are they there?

It would be okay if  Dr. Horowitz and Attorney Robson were working together in a business venture to mediate divorce cases in which all parties agree to their involvement. However, when “Facebook friends” work “collaboratively” with each other without the agreement of all parties in a case, in an adversarial court setting, that’s not “collaboration”. It’s “collusion”.

Attorney Robson’s husband, Dr. Kenneth Robson was the custody evaluator in this case . Dr. Horowitz is the “parenting coach” in that same case.   

Does Dr. Horowitz’s list of Facebook friends show harmless “social networking” or does it sound an alarm to litigants, taxpayers  and legislators that conflicts of interest are running Connecticut family courts?

Norm Pattis, an attorney in Connecticut wrote  in his blog :

… There is a vast infrastructure of experts, therapists, counselors, social workers, court staff and lawyers in the state, all of whom know one another, and all of whom march beneath the banner of “best interests of the child.” When conflict arises in a divorce about what is best for the kids, there are programs, protocols and resources to throw at the warring parties …

He continues:

… What I see in the cases in which I get involved is a regime that simply promotes and extends the conflict by other, and expensive means…

Attorney Pattis calls the family court system in Connecticut a “regime”. Others call it a “cottage industry”. Maybe Dr. Horowitz is joking when he lists “Angry Birds” as his other Activities and Interests on his Facebook profile page. If that was his intent, someone should probably remind him that ruined lives aren’t funny.

So, what could be better than “a vast infrastructure of experts, therapists, counselors, social workers, court staff and lawyers” with “programs, protocol and resources to throw at the warring parties”?

Here’s what Attorney Pattis thinks: 

… Juries bring community values and common sense to a courtroom.  Why don’t we trust them with decisions in divorce and custody? I worry that the community of experts, judges and lawyers become inbred when they deal with one another month by month in these heartbreaking cases. Therapists really don’t know best.

Inbred. That’s another way to describe it.

It looks like Dr. Horowitz lists friends as his “Facebook friends”. It looks like he lists his family members as his “Facebook friends”. He also lists what looks like part of that “vast infrastructure of experts, therapists, counselors, social workers, court staff and lawyers”  Attorney Pattis wrote about.

Who allowed this to happen in the Connecticut family court system and where’s the FBI?


Editor’s note: With all due respect for the privacy of Dr. Horowitz’s public list of Facebook friends, we hesitate to post the screenshot of his public page here. We have done so because the authorities in Connecticut have purposely or inadvertently allowed this open collusion. We hope this post will encourage Connecticut taxpayers to demand an investigation. 

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