Alienation. Grandparent alienation. There were no allegations of child molestation, abuse, or drug or alcohol problems. There was only an allegation of grandparent alienation, and the Russells were left floored. Chassidie recalls, “I didn’t even get to tell her goodbye. They took my daughter away. I passed out and had a seizure because I was so shocked and upset. I wound up having to be taken by an ambulance to the hospital.”
In 2000 Chassidie Russell, a single mother to a daughter named Caitlyn, married a man named David Harvey. Two years later Harvey and Russell divorced, and although Harvey wasn’t Caitlyn’s biological father, he still got standard visitation rights.
Eventually, Chassidie met and married Mike Russell. Soon after, Harvey moved to San Diego in preparation to move overseas. It was then that the trouble began.
David Harvey’s parents, Ken and Jan, decided they wanted to take over David’s visitation rights. Initially, the Russells allowed this arrangement, but Caitlyn didn’t feel comfortable with the grandparents. Soon, Ken and Jan Harvey began threatening and harassing the Russells. One day they showed up in the Russells’ garage. Grabbing Caitlyn and pushing on Mike Russell’s chest, they declared they were going to take Caitlyn away.
Unbelievably, in 2007 a Fort Worth judge granted the Harveys a temporary order to take full possession of Caitlyn. Months would pass before mother and daughter were allowed to see each other. Exploiting a loophole in the Grandparent Access Statute, the Harveys used the temporary orders and their personal wealth to drag out the case, while the Russells ran out of money.
Taking out loans to pay their legal bills and incurring massive debt, the Russells doggedly fought the court’s decision all the way to the Texas Supreme Court. Finally, the Harveys were denied possession of Caitlyn. After three long years of miserable injustice, Caitlyn was finally allowed to come home. Her first words were, “I’m free!”
Below is an article that includes a video about Chassidie.
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