The Respondent

The Respondent

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Johnny Depp, three-time Academy Award nominee

“The Respondent is both a chilling reminder and essential therapy for anyone navigating the recrimination and trauma that is modern American divorce. It is also both diagnosis and prescription, meditating on the depths of the crisis and the way out. If you’re trapped in the dungeon that is the family court system, The Respondent should be your constant companion.”


Alec Baldwin, three-time Primetime Emmy winner:

“I encourage you to read Greg Ellis’s book, The Respondent, a fresh and updated take from an American divorce court, where some things have changed (now men are seeking—and in some instances even gaining—sole custody of their children, either justifiably or as the result of the malignant parental alienation that plagued them for so long) and some things are, unconscionably, the same. Divorce court, divorce mediation, custody evaluations, forensic accountings . . . It’s all a foreign land to most people and one where you can easily lose your sanity coming to terms with the senseless rules that govern there, rules that will potentially affect the rest of your life. You will need some help. This book is that help.”


Erin Pizzey, founder of the world’s first domestic-violence shelters for women:

“Greg Ellis survived to write this book. As I read it, I was aware of the shadows of the thousands and thousands of fathers who chose to kill themselves rather than bear the pain of separation caused by losing their children. Family courts, Social Services, and family agencies––really the entire the American legal system––must acknowledge their significant role in tearing apart the family unit. They have done this, not least, by deciding that men and boys are no longer worthy of respect and admiration. The Respondent is a heartrending book that speaks to all of us who believe that the gold standard of family life is for every child to be with his or her biological father and mother under one roof. Greg Ellis has bared his soul and vowed to force the changes needed to reconstitute the family and, in turn, civilization. I am honored to stand by his side.”


About The Book

One phone call in March 2015, and ten false words to the police officer on the other end of the line. That’s all it took for my wife to unleash a cataclysm on me. I was thrown from my home, physically restrained, locked away, and ripped away from my children not for a few days or weeks, but for what is turning out to be their entire childhoods.

Powerless and penniless, I was frozen out of my own life.

I survived that moment of almost unimaginable terror, but I bear the scars of the marital and psychological battle I endured in the process. By sharing my story and coming to terms with the overwhelming gamut of emotions visited upon me, my hope is that I may assist other families experiencing similar vertiginous trauma to realize that they are not alone, despite the fact that these are profoundly isolating experiences that can easily make one feel exactly that – alone.

My story is unresolved. But I have reached resolution concerning the forces unleashed by that single phone call, a resolve that empowers me to face the uncertainty my life begs. I was certain of everything on March 5th, 2015, and yet I knew nothing. This book is a discovery of my own ignorance, and the resulting enlightenment I discovered after my life was ruptured and that ignorance was exposed. Divorce is war, a lesson I learned through hard and bitter experience. But like all wars, it must eventually end. In this case, in a truce with myself.

We have all been the respondent––the person summoned to respond to the allegations of a petitioner.

This book is my legacy petition. I am the respondent. And this is my story.


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