On March 5, 2015, Greg Ellis’ life changed forever. The actor, who portrayed Lieutenant Commander Groves in the Pirates of the Caribbean Franchise; Chief Engineer Olsen in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek; had roles in “24;” “Hawaii Five-0;” and voice-over character portray- als too numerous to list; had met with fellow actor Andy Garcia earlier in the day.

From there, he spoke to Sharon Stone about a possi- ble project, met with his agent and recorded a voice- over for a Disney show.
Ellis’ wife Dana was out of town, and he was at home playing with his two boys, ages ten and eight, when he answered the front door to find two LAPD policemen in front of him. They pro- ceeded to ask him about the safety of his sons. They informed him that they had received a call from some- one stating that he had threatened to harm his chil- dren. From that moment until now, his life turned upside down. The officers would not reveal who had made the accusation. There was no assumption of inno- cence. He was handcuffed and taken away into a quag- mire of the family court sys- tem, bloated with indiffer- ent judges, ruthless lawyers, and archaic laws, all chroni- cled in his compelling book,

The Respondent: Exposing the Cartel of Family Law, which took six years to write.
During our interview, Ellis sums it up: “The cartel of family law showed up on my doorstep, stole my freedom, kidnapped my children and murdered my family. I know it sounds like a Hollywood movie trailer for a psycho- logical thriller, but that was my real-life experience.”

Q: Your book is heart- breaking.

A: It is one of the reasons why I created the non-profit and I have dedicated the rest of my time on this earth to advocating for families, par- ents and children. My sons, who are the meaning of my life, are gone. I can’t help them, but I certainly can be a father figure to many others, hopefully, and lead by exam- ple and put my story out there.

Q: It is hard to fathom that you had to let go of your sons. I under- stand that it was your final gift of love to them to not put them through the tug of war.

A: That was a particularly difficult passage to write – that one page, the letter to my boys. I think I tried it 56 times and 55 of them I just broke down and couldn’t type. Part of this is that it is so important that people are given hope that they are not alone in this corrupt and dystopian nightmare of a system. I was blessed in many regards. I had a few friends who stuck by me and afforded me support. I didn’t necessarily have fam- ily support, but family is friends we make along the way. Sometimes it takes a day and sometimes it takes a lifetime to bring about change.

Q: It’s crazy that the judges didn’t even read your stellar psy- chiatric evaluations.

A: They didn’t care. They’re a legal system, not an emo- tional support system.

Q: But it was a required ticket to your children.

A: I had many tickets. August 6, 2015, was what I called my golden ticket.
Judge Shelly Kaufman gave me three months if I was clean in my drug tests. I did- n’t have a history of drugs. That was my pathway. And a week before, I had a lemon poppy seed muffin, which came up as opiates. And my ex-wife’s skillful attorney got it before a judge with no history of the case and just presented me as a drug addled, crazy, mentally imbalanced demon. The judges don’t want to make a bad deter- mination that will come back to bite them.

Q: You were com- pletely blindsided. You never saw any of it coming?

A: I had been married for 20 years. It wasn’t even an afterthought, the notion of divorce. We didn’t have any issues that would have led us to divorce. There wasn’t any disharmony.

Q: Divorce is one thing. This was com- plete assassination.

A: And this happens more often than we want to believe. We live in a culture where man has been deval- ued, where many groups and organizations want to do away with the male.

Q: Why are the courts so biased against men?

A: I think to a degree the system is biased towards families. It doesn’t really help families. It purports to do that, but it doesn’t. I think there’s a cancel cul- ture. There’s a Me Too monologue and we needed a Me Too dialogue. I think there have been a lot of innocent men in the idea of all men are bad and we should believe all women. We should not believe all women, just like we should not believe all men or believe anyone, as a whole. We have to treat each case individually, look at the facts and the evidence. Everyone should be innocent until proven guilty and yet we don’t have a presumption of innocence in the one branch of our legal system where it should be the most impor- tant, which is family law. Why do criminals get a pre- sumption of innocence and parents, partners and ex- spouses and by “de-facto” children get no presumption of innocence? It’s guilty until proven more guilty.

Q: Tell us about CPU (Children and Parents United), the non-profit group.

A: As I was preparing for the book to come out, I wanted to create some- thing that was sustainable and had a sense of mission and purpose, so CPU was born. America is the world leader of children growing up in single parent house- holds. There are many rea- sons for that: systemic, social policy, state legisla- tion and laws, our approach to divorce court, how we generationally and inter- generationally approach relationships and the unifi- cation of marriage. So the mission of CPU is to promote and improve child well- being by providing informa- tion and resources to policy makers, legislators, practi- tioners and the general public, that result in enhanced relationships and reduced conflict for those children and parents navi- gating our current family law system. We’re building out three cost effective areas – CPU Communications, CPU Mediations and CPU Law – to keep families out of court.