The current situation:
The father has temporary custody pending further investigation
On 25th July 2011, my twins Samuel and Benjamin Schlesinger were just 2 years, 2 months old when they were removed from my care. The custody decision was a scandalous document and offered no real justification for such an outrageous decision. The judge, Susanne Gottlicher, awarded the father full and immediate custody, without allowing the children to stay with me until an appeal decision was reached.
No Austrian lawyer of the many I have consulted has ever read such an outrageous legal document. Children are only removed so suddenly if they are considered to be in imminent danger. The judge did not cite any danger as grounds for her decision. I was not awarded any visitation rights. The judge left it up to the father to decide when and how often I could see my boys. It was 8 weeks before I saw them again.
My lawyer wrote a 30 page appeal listing all the irregularities in the case and evidence of professional misconduct. The Higher court reduced the father’s custody to temporary and referred the case back to the lower court for further investigation. They gave the judge the following instructions:
a) to confirm whether the mother was suffering from any form of mental illness
b) to assess whether the father was as was tolerant and cooperative in granting the mother access as he promised to be (when asked how he envisaged having custody, he said he would grant me a 50-50 split, would allow me to take the children on holiday to England and see them whenever I wanted)
c) to see whether the children develop better under his care.
a) The judge in January commissioned a second psychiatric assessment. He assessed me in August and it has taken until now for him to publish his results. The psychiatrist concluded, ‘neither at the time of the examination nor at any time in the past has Beth Rebecca Schlesinger suffered from any form of mental illness.’ Dr Werner Leixnering, senior psychiatrist and psychotherapist.
b) the father regularly cancels my visits at the last minute. Recently, he denied me access for 7 weeks! He has employed 2 Filipinos to ‘care’ for the children. The court has no idea who these women are or what their qualifications are.
c) the children are in a terrible state. They are 3.5 years old. They don’t talk, are still in nappies and are extremely disturbed and confused. In April the father had Sammy’s 4 front teeth taken out.
We are now awaiting a final decision. The situation is critical and desperate. Samuel and Benjamin have suffered long enough.