Forlorn mom pushed for safe, shared custody after judge's restrictive orders


Krissy Smith and neice on her wedding day

When Krissy Smith asked her husband for a divorce, she never dreamed it would result in losing custody of her three children. But that’s exactly what allegedly happened after embattled Judge Katherine B.L. Platt of Chester County, Pennsylvania signed off on restrictive court orders.

“It’s partly outdated policy and greed driving sole custody orders that alienate parents from their children,” Smith said of the Honorable Judge Platt who was named in an unrelated federal complaint filed on Sept. 24 by Mary Bush, a Chester County daughter demanding the immediate release of her elderly mother from court-appointed guardianship.

In Smith's case, the forlorn mother was bracing herself to overcome a ban that could have prevented her from attending her son Peter's May 2020 high school graduation.

Krissy Smith's wedding day before divorce

Smith is not alone. She is among some 25 million parents in North America who report being erased from their children’s lives after divorce or separation, according to the non-profit National Parents Organization.

“I am an advocate for 50-50 shared, safe parenting because anything less will perpetuate the mental health crisis that is underlying many suicides, homicides, and mass shootings in our society,” she said.

While the Bucknell University graduate missed out on enjoying the holidays with her offspring over the past several years, Smith doesn’t want others to suffer the same fate and, to achieve that goal, had been rallying support for a proposed Equality in Parenting Time bill that was introduced in 2019 at the Pennsylvania state capital before the Subcommittee on Family Law in Room 60 East Wing.

PA HB 1397 promoted gender equality in custody determinations and aims to protect the right of children to continue to have both parents meaningfully involved in their lives following a separation or divorce.

“I am standing up for all those alienated parents who have been wiped out of their emotional and financial resources and I am fighting for my children so that this doesn’t happen to my future grandchildren or anyone else’s,” said Smith who participated in a pre-hearing reception hosted by Parental Alienation Awareness of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.

Although the Honorable Judge Platt sat on a committee called Changing the Culture of Custody for the state Commission for Justice Initiatives in 2007, she also signed an order that allegedly restricted Smith’s visits with her children on April 24, 2017.

“The Changing the C​ulture of Custody Committee was supposed to reform visitation and child custody procedures but, to my knowledge, that never happened,” Smith told Union Square Times.

Stacey Witalec, a spokesperson for the Administrative Office for Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC), did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In addition to advocating against parental alienation and sole custody court orders, Smith invested $20,000 in a documentary called Erasing Family, which is narrated from the perspective of alienated children as they reunite with their lost parent.

"I want my children to know as they come of age that we aren’t the only family experiencing alienation,” Smith added. “The documentary is one way to create a dialogue with children and alienated parents once they are united and to also communicate to younger generations the perils of getting married and divorced using the courts.”

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