A frum mother in middle of a bitter custody battle with her formerly husband over raising their 6 children with frum values has been thrown into jail by an Ohio Judge.
Julie Goffstein, who had been raising her boys as members of the Chabad community in Cincinnati, was forced to make give up her marriage for her faith after husband Peter Goffstein chose to abandon religion, leading to testy divorce proceeding beginning in 2010
After a long trial which included the testimony of 11 character witnesses and two court ordered evaluations, Judge Jon Sieve awarded full custody to their mother, noting the importance of continuity for the boys who had been raised in an Orthodox home.
But nine months later, following the suit being refiled by Peter, Judge Sieve reversed his decision, citing Julie’s sending of the boys to yeshiva as not in the boy’s best interests, and awarded Peter full custody of the four younger children. The ruling allowed the boys to remain in yeshiva, though Julie was held responsible for the full tuition.
Julie eventually moved to Crown Heights with her two oldest to avoid continued lawsuits by her estranged husband. This left Peter free to switch the four youngest in his care to public school. Julie was eventually forbidden from contacting them by the judge. With time, Peter cut off their payos, confiscated their yarmulkes and began feeding them pork.
The most recent setback for this beleaguered woman came from Judge Sieve, who charged Julie with contempt of court after she failed to pay her wealthy ex-husband’s $10,000 fees. Julie’s inability to afford the fine stems directly from her costly battles with her ex husband. Now, Julie sits in jail as her children, ranging from ages 9 to 18, all suffer the ramifications: the two oldest live alone in Crown Heights awaiting their mother’s freedom while the youngest four are even more firmly grasped in their father’s clutches.
5 WAYS TO HELP
1. A Chesed Fund campaign has been set up to help raise money for Julie and help with all legal fees and to gain her immediate release. She has been unable to pay her attorney full due to financial challenges.
Click here to help. To donate via paypal: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. A grassroots efforts on Facebook by The Women’s Coalition has been organizing a call in and email campaign asking Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor to disqualify Judge Sieve for discrimination and to demand Julie’s release.
3. Other ways to help include pressuring Cincinnati media outlets to cover the story.
4. For Ohio residents to reach out to their elected officials and ask them to advocate for Julie’s release and Judge Sieve’s censure.
5. Those wishing to further help Julie can email Stuart Lichter (email@example.com), president of Industrial Retail Group, where Peter serves as a senior vice president in the Cincinnati office and ask for Peter Goffstein’s removal because of his unacceptable behavior.
Judge O’Connor can be reached at 614-387-9250 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sample text to send the judge:
Dear Judge O’Connor,
I am contacting you today to protest the discriminatory treatment of Julie Goffstein by Judge Jon Sieve, an extremely biased judge who threw Julie in jail on July 11th.
Julie has been found in contempt for not paying her ex’s attorney’s fees and for contacting her children and is being forced to pay $10,000 for her wealthy ex’s attorney’s fees, which she does not have because Judge Sieve deprived her of her rightful marital assets. She is also being found in contempt for contacting her children, who he unjustly took away from her, ostensibly due to her religious beliefs—which is unconstitutional. Tellingly, he only took the four youngest boys because the father did not want the two oldest, proving that it is not really about religion; it is about empowering the father. He also ordered Julie to pay $500 to a fathers’ rights group before he was rightfully admonished by you.
Judge Sieve claims that the children have experienced emotional distress due to their mother contacting them, but the real harm to the children was caused by him taking four young boys away from their mother, their primary bond, who was a loving, stay-at-home mom.
There are many other things which confirm Judge Sieve’s bias. Please stop the injustice against Julie by disqualifying him and send a message to other judges and the public that discrimination against women in family courts will not be tolerated.
Read more at COLLIVE.