Apparently it is very dangerous to get divorced in the state of Connecticut when you have either a physical or mental disability. I was reading this case of Elizabeth Richter and it sounds like this woman was taken to task by the courts because she was perceived as having a mental disability during her six year divorce process. As a result, she should have been given certain accommodations pursuant to Federal ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) law – and Richter was denied these accommodations.
It appears the litigant, who initially was represented by counsel and later on became self represented, took her case all the way to the circuit courts on appeal!
This is a very brave woman who stands up for her rights but what about all those other litigants with disabilities – whether physical or mental disabilities – who go through our nation’s courts? Are American courts equipped to handle these types of litigants with the type of sensitivity and know how that their special situation requires? Or do we just treat them contemptuously and subject them to lesser forms of justice?
The thing is that people with disabilities get married and sometimes get divorced. And it is possible that a person could get married not having a disability only to become disabled at some point during the marriage. If and when a divorce happens, this person’s rights could really suffer and even at the hands of their own attorney! Some attorneys are themselves insensitive to their clients with disabilities. They don’t advocate zealously enough for their clients. They let their clients be discriminated against and even suffer legal abuse at the courts and from the opposing side.
Do you know anyone who has a disability and then went through the divorce process? What was it like for this person? Did they feel that they enjoyed equal access to justice or were they talked down to, taken advantage of and discriminated against by the courts and all the other players in the divorce action?
Thanks to people like Elizabeth Richter, though, this type of nonsense is going to change. The more people who stand up and refuse to “take it” the quicker this form of discrimination in the court system (discriminating against litigants with disabilities) will change.