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March 27, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

It must have seemed like a can’t-lose bet. An attractive blonde mother of two kids under the age of six divorcing a very wealthy banker she said was an abuser. Surely, that would add up to custody for her paid for by some hefty support payments by him.

That all must have looked like a slam-dunk to Lisa Mehos in her custody battle with banker Manny Mehos. And it only looked better when his lawyer asked Lisa in open court about an abortion she’d had shortly after she filed for divorce. Despite the fact that attorney Eleanor Alter asked about Lisa’s abortion only for very limited purposes, the questions caused a firestorm of controversy. Pro-abortion rights partisans were enraged that Lisa’s decision to terminate her pregnancy might be used against her, might actually influence the judge into denying her the child custody to which they all assumed she was entitled.

They needn’t have worried. Alter’s questions to Lisa in the custody case were allowed by Judge Lori Sattler over the objections of Lisa’s attorney, but the evidence they produced made no impact on outcome of the case. Judge Sattler never mentioned the matter in her ruling that this article describes as “scathing.”(New York Daily News, 3/20/14).

No, the case that forever will be described with reference to Lisa’s abortion, turned not on that but on other, far more significant factors. Like the fact that she lied about Manny being an abuser. Like the fact she lied about her drug use/addiction. Like the fact she doctor-shopped in order to get more prescription drugs. Like the fact that her drug use plainly poses a danger to the children.

Yes, it seems as if some of the eternal verities are no longer so eternal or true.

But the decision by Justice Lori Sattler to strip Lisa Mehos of custody had nothing to do with her right to choose — it was based on the mom’s prescription drug abuse.

In a scathing ruling, Sattler found Lisa Mehos had lied to her, court experts, doctors and drug counselors about the extent of her problem.

Mehos, 38, “has routinely perpetrated deliberate falsehoods” in a quest to “hide her drug use,” the ruling says.

While Mehos testified she started taking antidepressants after her divorce from banking big Manny Mehos, subpoenaed records showed she’d been taking a steady stream of them — including Klonopin, Xanax, Valium and Ativan — since they tied the knot in 2006, the decision says.

She’s been prescribed the drugs by 28 different doctors since 2008, sometimes getting prescriptions from two different doctors on the same day, the ruling says.

Sattler found the drug use posed a danger to her kids, 4 and 6.

The ruling recounted one 2012 incident in which the blond beauty passed out on a flight, leaving her youngsters running rampant on the plane. Her son, then 2, was walking up and down the aisle without a diaper or pants, the ruling says…

Sattler didn’t reference the abortion in her ruling, which also found that the mom had made up allegations of misconduct against her 59-year-old ex.

Manny was arrested in 2012 after Lisa told cops he gave her a black eye and broken finger. The charges were dismissed.

Into the bargain, it appears Lisa hasn’t worked for a living in a good while. That may be because she’s been receiving $5,000 per month in child support from Manny. With Manny receiving primary custody of the children, that income stream will stop flowing, and Lisa says she may have to move out of her Upper West Side apartment because of it. Not only that, but a Houston judge (where Manny lives) has ruled that Lisa has to repay all the support she’s received since May of last year, about $50,000. As the non-custodial parent, I assume she’ll be ordered to pay support to Manny, but I wouldn’t bet on his ever receiving any.

Manny Mehos of course is a wealthy man. That means he had the money to hire good lawyers and contest Lisa’s custody claim. And when Mom is as deficient as Lisa, a dad like Manny can actually get custody of his children. After all, she’s an adulterer, a deadbeat, a drug abuser, a liar and a perjurer. She made a false claim of abuse by Manny in an attempt to get a leg up in her custody battle against him. All of that put together meant the kids would live with him.

But of course how many men have Manny’s money? Next to none. So even when Mom’s as bad an actor as Lisa is, how many dads have the financial wherewithal to hire the lawyers and the investigators to prove it in a court of law? Next to none. The simple fact is that if Manny Mehos had been Manny Everyman, the kids would still be with Lisa, she’d still be passing out while supposedly caring for them and he’d get to see them, if at all, for a few hours of supervised visitation. After all, she said he’s abusive, right?

Family courts need to set aside their pro-mother/anti-father biases and start actually ruling in the best interests of children. Judge Lori Sattler did exactly that in this case. But subtract a few million dollars from Manny’s bank account, and this one would have ended up like the vast majority of child custody cases do – with Mom as the parent and Dad an occasional visitor. This is a good case to show just how wrong that is.

National Parents Organization is a Shared Parenting Organization

National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved?  Here’s how:

Together, we can drive home the family, child development, social and national benefits of shared parenting, and fair child support and alimony. Thank you for your activism.

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