Children with special needs are more
vulnerable in divorces, and consequently they need added protections. Sometimes the divorce process itself creates
a special need such as emotional and behavioral problems. This will also be dealt with here.
Examples of Special Needs:
This is not an exhaustive list, but
a child with special needs could be one with any or more of the following. I am using some names that are
interchangeable or overlapping with others, for ease of recognition. They are not necessary discrete, separate
conditions, and there may be more than one of the following:
learning disabilities, physical handicaps
(e.g. cerebral palsy, etc.), psychological and psychiatric disorders, speech
and language delays and disorders, developmental disabilities, autism,
Asperger’s, visual impairments, auditory impairments, growth/endocrine
disorders, etc., other medical conditions (e.g. cardiac or arthritis),
neurological (e.g. seizure disorders), etc., to name a few.
up to Divorce:
Chances are that the couple have
been dealing with the child’s special need for years prior to the dissolution
of the relationship. This may have been
accomplished with or without both of the parents participating, cooperating or
supporting. Sometimes the stress of
having a child with special needs causes damage to the relationship. In some couples, the focus being so much on
the child (necessarily) can place a distance between the couple. Either or both of the parents can also react
to the birth of a child with special needs in a way that creates a need in the
parent as well. A parent can react with
depression, anxiety, anger issues and substance abuse (to name a few) if not
able to adapt to having a child who has a lasting impairment in a particular
area of functioning. In some extreme and
rare cases, one of the parents abandons the family because they cannot “handle
it” and that person simply escapes from their too painful reality by
leaving. It is very difficult for any
parents to maintain their balance, work together and keep a consistently
positive attitude under these conditions.
It is difficult, but possible.
Most are able to create a lifestyle that balances all of the needs: that
of the child(ren)’s and both parents.
Somehow, in most people, difficult life challenges are met with
determination, a positive and optimistic attitude, and things hold together.
In a family where an individual
spouse’s mental health is not particularly strong, where the marriage had
problems before the special needs were identified, the appearance of the
special child on the scene can be the death blow to the marriage or relationship. It may be the straw that breaks the camel’s
back when things were shaky to begin with.
One of the parents may be better suited to care for the child, to ensure
that the child gets whatever services are needed. Or maybe both parents are equally committed
to the child, equally able to provide for the child’s needs, but simply have
grown so apart that they cannot remain as husband and wife and do this as a
team. So they may have to coordinate
their efforts from their respective and separate residences. Depending on the severity of the child’s
needs, both parents may be able to consistently provide for, or take the child
for services that are needed. There is a
big difference between caring for a child with mild learning disabilities, or
attention deficit disorder, and taking care of a child with severe cerebral
palsy or with an intractable seizure disorder, or medical needs that require
surgical interventions. Each need and
each child comes with a unique set of challenges that require assessment, and
professional support. The parents are
responsible (legally and morally) to ensure that the child gets what he/she
needs to optimize their development.
the Parents are Not so Responsible:
Showing up in Family Court as parents
in the process of divorce or a child custody dispute puts everyone under the
scrutiny of the Court. Maybe for the
first time, the quality of the services being provided to the child is really
looked at to see if the child’s needs are being met. The Judge will want to know. One spouse will often accuse the other of
neglecting the child in some way. When
this happens, the Court will want medical documentation, especially when there
are disputes over custody and parenting time (visitation) or if a child
protective services (CPS) agency already has a referral (from a school, doctor,
etc.). As is common, all kinds of
allegations are thrown around in Family Court, some true, some fictional. The Judge, as always, will want proof to back
up the allegations because it is common for a parent to say horrible things
about the other parent when they are looking for an advantage in the
litigation. Sad but true.
In extreme cases, a parent, school
nurse or pediatrician—or the court—may make a referral to the State’s child
protective services agency because of concerns over medical neglect. This is a form of child neglect when a parent
fails to provide necessary medical or other health-related care to the child, that
therefore puts that child at risk of imminent harm. Not exercising a reasonable degree of care
for the child’s safety and health needs is reportable and actionable in most
States by the child protective services (CPS).
If the particular state’s CPS agency gets involved and takes a parent
(or both) to Court to obtain jurisdiction over the child, then that Judge
(could be a different Judge from the one doing the divorce) could order various
medical or other health related assessments and services to be provided for the
child. The neglectful parent will
therefore be required by the Court to provide the services that the
parent previously neglected to provide (or else). If the parent continues to fail the child in
this respect, the Court will order the removal of the child from that parent’s
care and place the child in the care of either the other parent if appropriate,
or with relatives, or in a foster home.
Without going into an exhaustive
discussion of all the aspects of what constitutes neglect, for the purposes of
this topic, it is sufficient to state that medical neglect can involve the
failure to obtain required immunizations, failure to provide medical treatment
(e.g. medicines, devices such as an asthma nebulizer, recommended evaluations
and consultations, etc.), continued exposure of an asthmatic child to
secondhand smoke, failure to follow through with psychological treatment,
dental treatment, emergency room treatment, etc. There are other kinds of neglect such as
inadequate clothing, poor nutrition, lack of sleeping quarters, inadequate
grooming and hygiene, etc. But that is
not the focus here.
In families going through a divorce
where a child has special needs and the Court is not needed to impose what the
parents should have already been doing, then the parents now turn to planning
how to continue to provide the care they have been providing, but now the focus
is post-divorce. Assuming that there are
no restraining orders that preclude the parents from being in the same room
together, it is good when the parents can sit together with educational support
personnel or with a doctor or other health professional, to discuss the needs
and future of their child, and work together for the child’s benefit. If there is serious disagreement over which
course of action to take, and the parents cannot agree, then the Court may have
to weigh in and make the decision for the parents as to what will happen. But generally, the Court might first have to
obtain expert opinion to assist the Court in making its determinations. Generally, when the parents cannot agree on
what is in the child’s best interests (schools, activities, medical treatments,
etc.), then the Court will make the decision for them. That is the bottom line. Parents give over their autonomy and parental
discretion to a stranger wearing judicial robes when they cannot agree on what
is best for their own child. Judges
often say this to the parents in these same words, but if they cannot agree,
the the Court has to assume the responsibility for them.
Creating Damage, Causing New and Real Special Needs:
The divorce process, and the actions
of the parties, sometimes does its own damage.
This damage can be permanent or otherwise long-lasting. In children growing up in families where
there is domestic violence, substance or alcohol abuse, child abuse, or parental
alienation, the damage can be severe and require long term and expensive
intervention. It can also cause the
child to require placement out of the home at the behest of the State’s CPS
agency and the Court. Parental
alienation, which can be an entire discussion by itself, can cause serious
emotional problems as well as the severance of a child’s relationship with one
parent. Additionally, a child growing
up in a home where a parent or primary caretaker is an alcoholic or is addicted
to illicit substances or abuses prescription medication, is at great risk. The Courts generally consider drinking and
substance abuse to be inconsistent with responsible, adequate parenting. A child witnessing domestic violence can
suffer permanent emotional damage.
Sometimes the child gets physically hurt by an abusive parent when the
child tries to stop the parent from fighting with the other parent. A parent who continues to expose a child to
ongoing domestic violence may have their child put into placement until the
offending parent is removed and the battered spouse engages in treatment.
A child who is led by one parent to
believe that loving the other parent is a bad thing, may experience great
conflict, anxiety and depression, as well as behavioral acting-out in school or
elsewhere. Some parents in their
bitterness against the other parent, cannot see how they are hurting their
child (or don’t really care) by sending the message to the child that they are
not free to enjoy their relationship with the hated parent. Gifts given by that other parent are not
allowed into the house, phone calls are discouraged, nasty remarks are passed
in front of–or to—the child about the other parent, and not one extra minute of
time is allowed with the hated parent, even if there is a special occasion to
enjoy. What I previously called
“reactive narcissistic behavior” (RNB) causes a parent to have such tunnel
vision, that the parent cannot or will not see that this is not good for the
child. Rather, the parent with RNB will be guided by their own needs and feel
no empathy for their child, especially in the area of their relationship with
the other parent. RNB parents showing up
in Court or in a forensic expert’s office exclaim that they are simply
protecting their child from the inadequate other parent. They sincerely believe that keeping the child
distant from the other parent is a good thing, when in most situations (but not
all), it is the opposite. The
child-victim of this tug of war will often become depressed, anxious, keep
their feelings to themselves, or become angry. Behavioral problems are not uncommon.
Sometimes this child will simply go
along with the more intimidating, alienating parent and adopt their
beliefs. This is akin to the Stockholm
Syndrome where a captive rendered completely helpless and dependant on their
captor, identifies with and sympathizes with the captor and their beliefs. And the other parent is progressively
marginalized and dissected out of their child’s life, possibly forever. How can that be anything other than
destructive to the child?
Inventing New, Fictional Special Needs:
There are times when for a variety
of reasons, a parent might make up fictional special “needs” that really are
not needs. The parent might sincerely
believe their misperception (or delusion), but that does not make the imagined
disorder real. A parent acting
narcissistically may tell anyone who will listen: doctors, the Court, the school, friends,
clergy, etc., that the other (hated or marginalized) parent has no idea what
the child’s needs are and that the other parent therefore puts their child at
risk by their “denial” or “cluelessness”
of the child’s needs. This can take the
form of taking the child to multiple doctors or exaggerating symptoms to
others. In some cases, the parent does
this to “prove” the other parent is not an adequate parent, trying to show how
he/she is the better parent who knows the child’s needs and provides them. Some issues are exaggerated or re-visited
needlessly. This also makes the child
more dependent on that parent, more nervous, more focused on health and being
fragile. The hated parent is not encouraged to go to
the doctor’s office with the child, is typically kept in the dark about when
the appointments are, and what the doctor said.
An alienating narcissistic parent can do untold damage by providing the
child’s doctors with distorted, inaccurate histories and information. The doctor usually has no reason not to
believe the parent who comes to the office with the child. If that doctor never sees the other parent
(in part because they never find out about the appointments), and the parent
who is present tells this doctor that the other parent is uninvolved and
uninterested (in front of the child), this just perpetuates the fiction of this
child having only one good parent. The other
parent is not encouraged to participate and is in the dark most of the
time. Sometimes that parent becomes
overly passive and gives up, out of a sense of helplessness. That just feeds into the other parent’s theory
that gets conveyed to anyone who will listen.
In extreme forms, this can become a disorder called
Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome (MBPS) which is when a parent makes up fictitious
illnesses for a child. Since the parent
with MBPS is often so convincing and seemingly in a panic over the child’s
health, it results in doctors ordering unnecessary and invasive tests and
sometimes unnecessary treatment for a child. This is a form of child abuse.
Planning for Post Divorce Special Services:
Depending on the nature and severity
of the child’s needs, planning should take place before the divorce goes
through. If the parties have money, then
this is necessarily part of the divorce, ie., equitable distribution of assets,
alimony and child support. In a family
where there is money to be divided up, whether in pensions, real estate,
savings or trusts for the children, it may be prudent to also include a Special
Needs Trust to provide for the child for years to come. In a case where one of the parents is not
fully cooperative or supportive of the child’s needs, the Court upon
application by one of the parties, might impose a special needs trust for a
child, and fund the trust out of some of the marital estate. The Court can also order a special needs trust
to be primarily funded from one parent’s share of the marital estate if that
parent is an alcoholic, or a gambler who will go through the money and leave
nothing for the future. The Court can
also order life insurance policies to be taken out for the benefit of the
child, with the other parent as trustee for that child. Each situation has its own set of facts and
challenges. At times, a Trust attorney
and/or an accountant may need to be consulted to properly craft the terms of
the trust. This can all be done as part
of the divorce process and you should ask your attorney how this might apply to
In cases where the family has no
money or has negligible assets, the State might have to step in. There are situations where it is appropriate
to apply for a child to be on disability, whether State funded or Federal under
Social Security. While local school
districts are required to fund the child’s special education, the State may be
able to provide for funding for special living arrangements when the child
cannot be maintained in the home. This
can include funding for and placement in institutions for the developmentally
disabled, group homes, independent living or vocational training group homes,
etc. If the parent has not already
become conversant in the services and funding available for their child, it
should be researched, or the Court will refer or order appropriate services and
When a parent disagrees that a
particular service is necessary, as was mentioned above, the Court may have to
obtain expert opinion and then Order whatever it deems to be in the child’s
best interests. When a parent has little
income or money to pay child support, the monthly Social Security checks can be
a big help. Parenthetically, when the
non-custodial parent is on disability, the children also receive governmental
stipends as part of their support since the disabled parent is not able to work
and pay child support. Your attorney
should be able to advise you as to what you and your children may be entitled
Parents often fly under the radar
until a divorce begins, or until an outside caregiver (schools, pediatricians,
etc.) questions the quality of parenting that is being provided to a
child. Once in Court, when the process
is adversarial and accusatory, each parent should realize that they will be
under heightened scrutiny by others.
Parents lose a lot of their privacy and autonomy in situations like
this, namely when children are involved and there are allegations that their
needs are not being properly met. In
special needs cases, the Courts will ensure that children are given appropriate
services, if not already in place.
Experts can be called in and the Court will have to discern between what
is real and what is fictional (as it always has to do). Parents
who make malicious allegations about the other parent do their children
a disservice. Children need two parents
and when there are special needs, those children need consistency and a united
front more than ever when a divorce takes place. Children with special needs sometimes have
multiple caregivers providing necessary interventions (educational, medical,
physical therapy, psychotherapy, etc.).
For one parent to campaign against the other parent to these caregivers
is destructive. Convincing the
professionals that there is only one involved parent is unnecessary and comes
from a narcissistic and selfish point of view.
A parent who truly puts their children first will do what they can to
cajole, encourage and convince the other parent to be involved (unless there is
a history of domestic violence or substance abuse, etc.). Children in general need both parents
regardless of why their parents are dissolving their relationship. It is up to the adults to be responsible,
mature and to keep their private feelings and hurts to themselves so that they
can make the child feel safe, secure and loved. Good luck.
Please note, this blog is for information purposes only. It is not legal or psychological advice and it does not create an attorney/client or psychologist/patient relationship. If you have a question about a specific matter you should seek out an attorney or mental health expert to assist you.
Web Site: www.jdgordonlaw.com Tweet Me: @jdgordonlaw Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jdgordonlaw
It is counter-intuitive that you would have a problem letting go of someone you can't stand, but it is not easy, nevertheless. As I said previously, anger against a former partner is a weight that a person drags around with them. Anger takes many forms from overt aggression, to quiet loathing, resentment or simply harboring (or sharing) poor opinions of the other person indefinitely. A person can also be what is called passive-aggressive which is a sabotage of the other person's needs by: forgetting to do something, losing a document, not showing up for visitation, not returning the child on time, showing up when you're not supposed to show up, twisting the facts, making excuses (that aren't true), etc. That is a form of the expression of anger in a passive, non-felonious manner. But it gets the job done, namely to upset the other person, push their buttons, sabotage their needs. It sends a message that the other person is not important, and that the saboteur has power and dominion over the recipient-target. It is also a form of invalidation of the other person's needs.
The Dance of Hatred:
This is a topic very relevant to family court issues, since some people never end their relationships even though they may think they did, for example because they are separated or divorce. The same dynamics can be played out in court for years after a dissolution. The couple simply changes the venue--the place--where they do battle, switching battlefields from their home to the family court. They go through the same dance. Some things actually never change, only the method of doing those things changes. Instead of yelling and screaming at each other, lawyer's letters dress-up the previous accusations, epithets and name-calling. Now instead of being called a "freaking" liar, an attorney can write a letter, attesting to your poor credibility, saying that it is "hard to believe" that what you said could be true. Instead of an intoxicated spouse coming home and threatening to kill a partner who didn't clean the house or make a good dinner, etc. (by the way, that is not cool; that is domestic violence!), your partner's/spouse's attorney can devastate you with an unanticipated motion designed to wipe you out emotionally and financially. That motion (also known as a petition or application) can ask the court to fine you for failure to follow a court order, or to diminish your parenting time with your child, or to change custody, or to decrease support, or to jump through any number of hoops which may or may not be reasonable. Along with the requests for relief, comes a Certification or sworn Affidavit in which your ex will describe with particular detail, all of the reasons why you lied, cheated, did not comply with previous orders, alienated the child, neglected the child, abused the child, embarrassed him/her in front of the child, did not show up on time, etc., and the list is endless. Maybe it's being done to you; maybe you are the one doing it to the other party. Regardless, it keeps you both bonded together.
Same Dynamic, Different Location:
Instead of being ignored or not listened to at home, now you can experience silence from your spouse/partner in response to something you want or need. That can come in the form of a failure to pay support on time, not cooperating with deadlines or with parenting time schedules, failing to provide previously ordered documents (e.g. annual tax returns, health insurance ID card, etc.), not answering the phone when you call to say hi to your child, etc. You were accused at home; now you are accused in Court. The difference is that the first one was free, but was also out of control and nasty. In Court, there is control (or else), it is less nasty (nicer vocabulary), but very expensive and hurtful. You might have been beaten up at home (hopefully not). You can be beaten up in court by the opposing lawyer, by the accusations of your ex, by your own clumsiness, by the financial and emotional costs that you incur over long periods of time, etc. The bottom line is that instead of being verbally and emotionally abused in your home, you may now be verbally abused by your ex's attorney (in a professional way, of course) and emotionally abused by your ex who can't seem to stop directing that attorney to go back for more relief. It is the endless anger dance of tit-for-tat, slinging mud back and forth, angry recriminations, one-upsmanship, malice, victim-hood, competitions (for a child's affections, for example), etc. You were embarrassed in the relationship in front of your friends. Now you can experience a similar embarrassment in Court when you are there, as your ex airs all of the dirty laundry in front of an audience of onlookers (other attorneys and litigants). And the Judge listens carefully, may not yet know who is lying or telling the truth, and you feel your face flush from knowing you are being looked at and scrutinized by someone in a position to criticize you officially. You might get reprimanded by the Judge, and you were criticized plenty at home in the relationship. Now you can be dragged into court and get criticized there. And it all might be false, but maybe with a little grain of truth? Or maybe you are the frequent accuser? Either way, it makes you--or the recipient--feel sick to your stomach. And it keeps happening, maybe month after month in the beginning; then year after year. For some, it's endless.
Justified or Not?
While attorneys and clients can be sanctioned for filing frivolous claims, the problem is that many requests for relief in court are not obviously frivolous; they are ambiguous in their validity. It's just not always clear on its face. The frivolous nature of the request is not always apparent. Sometimes it takes numerous visits to court before a Judge will see that one of the litigants is using the process as a weapon, to harass. Then, the Judge will usually intervene and put a stop to it, but often after tens of thousands of dollars are squandered. Also, conversely, it is sometimes necessary to ask the Court for help when all else fails. We are talking of the more extreme example of people who choose to act out their dysfunctional relationship in Court when it could be different. Most of the time, applications for relief in Court are justified, however, and attorneys try to ensure that the relief sought is reasonable and based on reality. The Court needs to step in when two people cannot solve their own problems, cannot agree on what is best for their child, or are actually hurting their child or each other. Then, the Court is essential. The Judge makes the decisions because the two parties cannot. Unfortunately, however, when it is more than just a stubborn disagreement over a good faith issue, such as which summer camp the child will attend, or which school is best for the child, etc., it often takes a lot of litigation to get through all of the emotionality, the mud slinging, unproven allegations and drama. Very often, even after a long, protracted trial takes place (costing tens of thousands of dollars), the outcome, as decided by a Judge, is often quite close to what the original settlement proposal was, months earlier. Stubbornness, chronic anger, demonization of the other party, reactive narcissistic behavior and self-righteousness take people to trial, or to frequent motion hearings. When that happens, for those reasons, it is quite destructive, both emotionally and financially. And the suffering of the children is untold and the damage long lasting.
Nostalgic, Dysfunctional "Post"-Relationship Warfare (Huh?): The fact remains that in a marriage or in the dissolution of any relationship, a party--or both parties--may find it very difficult to sever the old ties. Because for some, the severance of those old ties may be too extreme, too final and too isolating to bear. Some will find it impossible to move on with their life, needing to go back, time after time to re-experience the same misery and heartbreak that characterized their relationship when the couple was together. Walking around with chronic anger or a chronic sense of victimhood feeds the litigation. Playing the role of victim, feeling self-righteous, repeating the self-talk of demonization over and over again, keeps it all going indefinitely.
What is the self-talk of demonization? Simply, it is playing the same script over and over in one's head; maintaining the beliefs one has, repeating the mantra if you will, that a person chants day after day, that justifies remaining in battle mode. Demonizing the other party will feed into--and justify--the repetitive litigious behavior of the person experiencing Reactive Narcissistic Behavior (RNB). That motivates a person into returning to court time after time, expecting a successful result, namely being vindicated by the Judge because you're right and the other party is wrong. It is that black and white. The demonizing party insists that the other party is an idiot, or a terrible person, or a bad parent, and expects the Court to believe all of that in its entirety. While it might be actually true in some cases, it usually is not as bad as is being alleged. Some parents are inept, or insensitive, or downright abusive. But most are not--at least not enough to land in Court or for a child protective services agency to get involved. So the demonizer walks around almost obsessed with the exaggerated negative qualities of their ex. It is a ball and chain that the angry person walks around with. It is a destructive force. And it is the cement that bonds dysfunctional relationships together.
Possible Explanations for Holding On:
Set me free, why don't cha babe Get out my life, why don't cha babe
Sometimes a person cannot let go and it could be for a variety of reasons. Here are a few to consider, but may not necessarily include what your particular issue is. These are just some ideas:
Low self esteem
Fear of abandonment
Fear of being alone
Fear of the unknown
Need for drama (adrenaline rush)
Need to play role of victim
Need to blame problems on someone else, such as:
overeating, over-drinking, substance abuse, failure at work, poor relationships with others including one's children (convenient to blame the other parent), anger outbursts, insomnia, poor interpersonal relationships, depression, anxiety, phobias, etc.
Fantasizing about reunification/reconciliation with the ex
Fear of going out and establishing new love relationships, future abandonment, etc.
Need to control and dominate others.
What is the Answer? Is There a Way Out of This?
Sometimes it is useful to speak with an objective outsider who has no bias, no axe to grind, no agenda except to give a dispassionate opinion to you. Sometimes a therapist might be a good idea, especially when some of the listed "reasons" above are operative. A therapy candidate should seek out a licensed mental health professional who will actively engage in the therapy, not simply listen and acknowledge. You might need to have your beliefs and premises challenged. A cognitive-behavioral approach is very useful in this type of scenario.
You should conduct a cost-benefit analysis with the help of an attorney and your therapist, to ascertain if the anticipated benefits, likelihood of success, and the importance of the outcome justify the financial and emotional costs of pursuing those goals. Sometimes people spend thousands of dollars litigating over some object that is worth hundreds of dollars. That just does not make any sense. Using children as weapons against the other parent is one of the worst things a parent can do to their child. The child needs both parents (assuming both parents are fit and appropriate, not abusive or dangerous) and has a right to love and be loved by their parents. If a parent finds themselves speaking inappropriately about the litigation or about the other parent to the child, or in front of the child, this is emotionally abusive to the child and does damage. That parent will pay the price in the future when the same child expresses their anger at the parent who did not want them to have a relationship with the other.
Sometimes even when the goals are reasonable, there is simply not enough money to pay for ongoing litigation. Sometimes it is wise to cut one's losses and get out before financial ruin sets in. This should be fully discussed with your attorney before making any decisions. You also have a right to get a second opinion from another attorney to ensure that the advice you are being given is accurate, reasonable and in your best interests.
Ask whether you really need to have all this contact--or any contact at all--with your ex. Maybe your life would be calmer and quieter without the contact. Maybe it's time to let go and to move on with the next phase of your life. When you are still fighting with your ex, you cannot do this effectively, or at all. You deserve to be happy, but that is largely your responsibility. Blame does you a disservice and keeps you rooted where you are. Think about the possibility of forgiveness and letting go. Forgiving does not mean you have to forget, or to be naive, or to expose yourself to danger or misery. You can be cautious without being paranoid. You can realistically accept that your ex has some positive characteristics and is not the personification of evil. You can try to look forward, in a more positive light, and make your own plans for self improvement and growth as an individual. If you need help doing that, there are resources for you to use. But blaming your ex, and living in the past, or continuing the warfare unnecessarily, will not allow you to effectively move on. Re-assess your game plan, your strategies and your goals. Question everything. And look forward to a better, happier future--not by magic, not by litigation, but by your own efforts on your own behalf. You will be a happier, more well adjusted person and a better parent if you do. Good luck! And please let me know your thoughts. Post a comment and let me know if this is something that has affected you and what you did about it.
Please note, this blog is for information purposes only. It is not legal or psychological advice and it does not create an attorney/client or psychologist/patient relationship. If you have a question about a specific matter you should seek out an attorney or mental health expert to assist you. See my Web page: www.jdgordonlaw.com Follow me on Twitter: @jdgordonlaw LinkedIN: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jonathan-d-gordon-esq/5/b0/246