September 29, 2013
By Rita Fuerst Adams, National Executive Director, National Parents Organization
Two National Parents Organization of Connecticut members were appointed to the newly created Task Force to Study Legal Disputes Involving the Care and Custody of Minor Children: Thomas W. Weissmuller, Esq, and Jennifer Verraneault.
Thomas W. Weissmuller, Esq. is a retired judge who continues to support national “Access to Justice” reforms. Learn more about Access to Justice at the Washington State Bar Website, where Washington attorneys and judges aid the citizens in understanding the law and work to ensure equal access to the justice system.
In addition to being the Chair of the Executive Committee for National Parents Organization of Connecticut, Weissmuller is a Legal Advisor for the Board of Directors at National Tribal Emergency Management Council; Member / Manager and Coach / Instructor at Crossroads Academy of Martial Arts, LLC; and Principal: Consultant — Mediator — Attorney at Weissmuller Consulting and Mediation.
Jennifer Verraneault is a Certified Guardian Ad Litem for the State of Connecticut and has been instrumental, along with her fiancé Jerry Mastrangelo, an alienated father of triplets in having the Connecticut Judicial Committee vote unanimously to form a task force in order to investigate how these cases are being handled in family courts across Connecticut.
Governor Daniel P. Malloy signed Special Act 13-24 into law in July 2013. The law compels offices and standing committees within the Connecticut legislature to identify and appoint certain experts to the Task Force. Once the Task Force members are identified, the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate shall name co-Chairpersons to head the Task Force. The co-Chairs shall schedule a meeting no later than August 26th, (Special Act 13-24, Section (1)(e)).
According the Act, the Task Force must be comprised of the following experts:
- One practicing attorney with significant experience in handling child custody matters;
- One practicing attorney with a minimum of ten years’ experience serving as a guardian ad litem or an attorney for minor children on family matters;
- One mental health professional with expertise in child custody forensic evaluations;
- One employee from Court Support Services;
- One mental health expert with experience working in the family systems;
- One individual experienced (personally or professionally) in matters involving parental alienation;
- One legislator serving on the Judiciary Committee;
- One legislator serving on the Committee on Children;
- Two additional experts, appointed by the aforementioned committees, who have special knowledge in child and judicial matters.
The Act provides that the administrative staff for the Committee on Judiciary shall serve as the administrative staff for the Task Force.