Circuit Judge delays ruling Kirk custody case


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(AVFM News Washington Sep 26, 2012)  On Friday September 21, the West Virginia Fifteenth Judicial Circuit court decided to delay final judgment until further notice on Joel Kirks appeal to regain custody of his children.  This comes after an activism drive spearheaded by A Voice for Men has given much publicity to the case spurring action on the internet and locally in Harrison County WVA.

Kirk, a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S.A.F., has been battling with his ex wife, Tina Kirk over the  custody of their two children since their divorce after an incident on June 28, 2009 in which he videotaped his wife in a drunken rage attacking his children and himself and in which the police arrested Ms. Kirk.  (Details in articles cited below).

Charges were brought up on Ms. Kirk after the incident but the prosecutor decided that the “burden of proof was too high” since there were no injuries in spite of the fact that there was video evidence and eye whiteness reports from both a neighbor and the police concerning the actions of his ex wife.

After a temporary ruling awarding emergency custody to Col. Kirk in the initial custody hearing, Judge Cornelia Reep requested that the Guardian Ad Litem produce a final report within 60 days, before final judgment.  Over the course of next three years Ms. Kirks lawyers delayed the report and the final judgment of the court by tactically scheduling, rescheduling, appealing psychological evaluations and other administrative actions, according to Lt. Col. Kirk.

During this time Judge Reep removed herself from the case because of a conflict of interest concerning Ms. Kirks lawyer, whom she once represented during a divorce.

As written by Dr. Tara J. Palmatier in a previous article, the new judge presiding over the case, Judge Lori B. Jackson, also had a conflict of interest as her husband is best friends with Ms. Kirks attorney, Thomas G. Smith Esq.

Judge Jackson made a final judgment in April of this year for 50/50 custody with full physical custody being given to Ms. Kirk in the event that Col. Kirk is deployed.  This was after she reviewed the video and numerous reports of Ms. Kirk’s abuse of and inability to parent her children from court psychologists and the guardian Ad litem. The ruling virtually gave Ms. Kirk primary custody as Col. Kirk is a combat pilot who was serving in Afghanistan in recent years, with his children staying with his mother during his assignments.

During mediation Tina Kirk’s lawyers approached Lt. Col. Kirk with an offer for full custody of their children in exchange for $288,000.  He has not entertained this offer to sell the children.

“My son was suicidal,” Kirk said, during an interview over the weekend.  “Even though my son told the cops that he did not want to be with his mom and he is of age to make that choice now they told him that he had to go because the court ordered it.”

During his last deployment in Afghanistan Col. Kirk had to relieve himself from duty and return home because his family situation was too overwhelming for him to  conduct combat missions in a safe manner.  “I thought I was going to come home to a dead kid and I had to go in and just say that I couldn’t do this and I had to go home.”

On Friday Judge James A. Matish, who may not have reviewed all of the prior court materials, mirrored Judge Jackson’s sentiment by saying “this case is quite disturbing in the behavior of both parties. Ms. Kirk for her substance abuse and Mr. Kirk for filming from a dark room.”  As indicated above, he has not passed final judgment and it is not yet clear as to when he will do so.

Kirk’s objection to the conclusions of the judges is evident.

“There is not one shred of evidence anywhere in the record that I have ever done one single thing wrong. Unless, that is, that you make the leap as these judges have that recording one of thousands of these abusive episodes was wrong.”

“Here we have evidence in the record of child abuse, spousal abuse, adultery, substance abuse, false allegation, abuse of the court, contempt of court, perjury, financial ruin and credit card debt. Not hearsay, but hard evidence.  Yet I am determined to be equally at fault and am asked to ‘just get along for the sake of the children.’ This in a hearing where at that very time she argues to enslave and extort money from me that clearly does not exist.”

Kirk currently owes $200,000 in legal fees and $40,000 in credit card debt accumulated by his wife.

AVFM News will be covering this story and will give updates as they come in.



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