Thursday, September 30, 2004

Trying to co-parent

I just got off the phone with my wife. She gave me a whole list of demands. She wanted her support check early. She wanted me to pick up the kids, supervise their homework, take them to after-school classes, do a car swap, etc. She is going away for the weekend, and wants me to take the kids all weekend. I agreed to all of it.

Then she tells me about one kid is learning the letter T in kindergarten by everyone in the whole class bringing food tomorrow that is spelled with the first letter T. She wants me to check the sign-up sheet at school, find a food that none of the other 21 kids are bringing, and take the kid to the grocery store to buy that unique T food.

The whole exercise seems like a bad idea to me. The kid already reads at a 2nd grade level, and doesn't need to learn the letter T. The class spent all last week learning the letter M, and all this week the letter T. The tasting is also dangerous, as the kid has allergies.

Anyway, I said that I would give her some T food but I couldn't guarantee that it would really be unique, and I couldn't guarantee that I would goto the grocery store because I might already have the food.

Then my wife gave me a lecture on how co-parenting with me is impossible. She says I refuse to give her a straight answer to a question. Sigh. She is probably writing a complaint for the court right now.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Spanking is not a crime

Spanking is one subject where court experts have a different view from the rest of the population. Surveys consistently show that 80% of the population believes that spanking is sometimes necessary. Presumably, another 10% or so believe that spanking is sometimes acceptable.

On the other hand, 80% of child psychologists believe that spanking is always harmful. They believe this in spite of the fact that all the scientific studies indicate that moderate spanking is harmless. There are some studies that claim to show that prolonged and severe child abuse can lead to various anti-social behaviors, but those studies have failed to find any harm to moderate spanking.

My wife made no spanking allegations against me. She spanks the kids herself, and does not object to me spanking. Nevertheless, the court mediator took it upon herself to quiz the kids about whether I spank them! Fortunately, she said that she was happy with their responses.

The family court system is based on the premise that the court-appointed experts know much more about child-rearing than the average parent, and that they have better judgment. But I doubt it. On subjects like spanking, most of these supposed experts subscribe to unscientific theories that defy common sense. Some of them haven't even raised kids of their own, and only know what they have read in books written by quacks.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Frequent sex is domestic violence

In this domestic violence accusation, my wife says I'm a sex maniac:
Throughout our marriage, George's sex drive was what I consider to be extremely high.

He would have been happy having sex twice a day, everyday. Anything less than everyday, he considered to be too little, and would ask me, "How come you never want to have sex?"
Now this is clearly exaggerated. I once dated a woman who wanted sex twice a day. It was hard work trying to keep a woman like that satisfied! Only once was I able to make love to her enough times in one night that she said that she was physically too sore to continue. The rest of the time, I just couldn't do it enough for her.

But that was 20 years ago. Now I am 47 years old. My wife is young and athletic, and quite able to accommodate me. She goes on to say:
It wasn't necessarily his sex drive that was the problem. It was the manner in which he went about getting his desires fulfilled. He had what seemed to me to be an aberrant disregard for myself and my comfort. I would go to bed between 10:00 and 12:00. He would then wake me up for sex when he decided to end his computer ventures of the day, or when he just wanted to take a break.
So she would sneak off to bed while I was working late, and I was "aberrant" for wanting to join her in bed!

Monday, September 27, 2004

Man-hating lesbians who denounce marriage

I just watched Woody Allen's Manhattan. He complains that his ex-wife published her autobiography as an anti-marriage rant, and her book said:
Making love to this deeper more masterful female made me realize what an empty experience, what a bizarre charade sex with my husband was ...
Okay, my wife hasn't gone lesbian yet, but it does sound like she has been influenced by the local man-hating feminist lesbian witches that are so common in this county.

Waiting for the shrink

I could be waiting 6 weeks for the report from the court psychologist. I have no idea what he is going to do. He was deliberately cagey, and said he didn't like anyone trying to figure out what he is thinking. His questions sounded like his mind may have been made up, and he was just trying to document a detailed recommendation.

So, a couple of months from now, I'll probably be facing a supposedly-expert recommendation that attempts to micro-manage our lives. If I'm lucky, he'll say that I should be given another chance to correct all of my faults. If I'm unlucky, his report will take my kids away, and couch it is language about the best interests of the child. I'm told that the judge nearly always accepts the expert recommendations. So either way, I'll probably be under a court order to floss the kids' teeth, brush their hair, and keep them on a tight leash in the grocery store.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Court psychologist reviews hair brushing practices

I just got out of a 1-hour interview with a court psychologist. I paid $1600 for a court-ordered full investigation. He talks to me for an hour, my wife for an hour, the kids for about 20 minutes each, reads some paperwork, and he writes a report that determines my life.

We wasted a bunch of time talking about the kids' hair. My wife says that I do not brush their hair adequately. I usually let the kids brush their own hair, but the psychologist said that wasn't good enough. Then he started critiquing how I brush my own hair!

The kids have hair down to their waist. Yes, it can be troublesome to brush hair that long. But considering all the huge problems associated with divorce and custody disputes, it is astounding to me that we would even spend 10 seconds discussing hair brushing. It would be much simpler to just give the kids haircuts, and the problem would disappear.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Dr Laura is domestic violence.

Here is another of my wife's domestic violence claims.

30. George gave a book to the children to give to me on my birthday which was on [date omitted]. He told the children that I'll read it everyday. Keep in mind that George never gave me any birthday presents (save 1) while we were married. The book was entitled, Woman Power, The companion to the Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. Transform Your Man, Your Marriage, Your Life. By Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
Some people do think that listening to Dr. Laura is torture. She is very opinionated, and hostile to callers. But my wife liked to listen to her, and said that she agrees with everything Dr. Laura says. I only told the kids that my wife likes Dr. Laura.

I really do think that my wife would benefit from the Woman Power book. The book is fairly benign and has many constructive suggestions. Any woman who likes the radio show would also like the book.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The domestic violence formula

I talked to a lawyer today, and asked him about domestic violence allegations. He said that the court is supposed to punish spouse abusers by denying them custody.

What happened to no-fault divorce? What happened to the best interests of the child? Obviously the court does not believe any of the principles that they espouse.

So that explains the formula. Allege domestic violence. Demand custody. Get the big bucks in child support and alimony. Make sure that the father has to work so much that he has no time for the kids. Claim that the mother doesn't need to work because she has to take care of the kids.

So the lawyer asked what the domestic violence allegations are. When I appeared to be embarrassed, he said that he's been a divorce lawyer for 20 years and he has seen it all. So I handed him the 7 pages of domestic violence allegations.

He says, "Where's the domestic violence? There's no domestic violence here. This might help explain why she wanted a divorce, but this should have no bearing on custody."

I hope the court sees it that way.

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Case for Father Custody

Society would be much better off if fathers usually gained full custody in divorce. That is the conclusion of Dr. Daniel Amneus. He gives a lot of arguments, such as lowering the divorce rate and motivating fathers. He has written a compelling book.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Swamping the court with paperwork

I talked to a lawyer. I told him I might be getting in over my head. He said that he would read my wife's papers against me, for his usual fee of $250 per hour. He asked how many pages there were. I said about 30. He was incredulous. "That must be some sort of record." Apparently the accusatory declarations are usually much shorter.

Actually, I understated the count. I rechecked, and there are about 50 pages of accusations against me.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Silly domestic violence charge

Here is another domestic violence complaint from my wife. She is quite athletic, and was able to drive a car, play soccer, and take care of the kids with a broken finger. But when I suggested making love, it was domestic violence! She wrote this to the court, in support of domestic violence allegations:
Another time, last June, I broke my finger. Less than 24 hours after I broke my finger, George is insisting upon sex. I told him that sex to me was an emotional experience, and it is hard to not think about the pain in my finger, and have sex with him. He told me that I was about emotional as a banana slug, and asked me which child I wanted to take when we got divorced.
If I had a broken finger, then I'd be happy about my wife wanting to make love to me. She was acting like a woman who wanted a divorce.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Affidavits from my wife's busybody friends

My wife just launched another sneak legal attack. I just got some affidavits from some friends of her. She apparently held them up to be filed with the court Monday, because we were scheduled to be interviewed by the family court investigator on Friday. She didn't want me to be able to explain myself during my interview.

There are 3 affidavits, with one story in each.

One friend says that he saw me in Toys-R-Us 2 years ago, with my kids, aged 3 and 5 (at the time). He says that I left the 3-year-old in the bicycle section for 5 to 7 minutes while I took the 5-year-old to the doll section. During that time, he and his wife raised a big stink with the store, and had an employee make an announcement on the loudspeaker. He concludes:
I found George's composure startling. George never acknowledged that Jenny was missing, never thanked us for returning Jenny, and didn't appear to comfort Jenny while we were present. All indications were that George did not recognize that his three year old daughter Jenny had been missing for five to seven minutes. [My wife] and I left the encounter shocked that any parent could behave with such careless disregard for their child's welfare. [names were changed or omitted]
Another friend says that I picked a child after a gym class by waiting in the car and sending her sister in to get her. This friend concludes:
I also observed their father, George, waiting in the car while Mary came in to get Jenny. It was quite disturbing to me that Jenny could have been taken from the gym lobby by anyone since she was sitting in the waiting area by the door without any supervision. It appeared that this situation must have happened before, because she didn't seem upset that one of her parents weren't there to pick her up. She immediately started to play or color with the gym toys. [again, names were changed]
That same friend also says:
Approximately 3-4 months ago, I observed [the kids] standing by themselves in Costco. I kept observing why they were by themselves, and watched one of them running off to the opposite end of Costco to try to find their dad, while one of them stayed by the side of the cart.
The third friend says that 3 years ago she saw me back along my driveway with my child (who was 4 at the time) behind a seat in a 2-seat convertible. She says:
The child was clinging to the passenger's seatback as a means to secure herself in the car. There was no buckling of seatbelt involved, since she was not even in a seat.
My wife removed the child from the car before I went anywhere.

There was no legal brief or argument, so I am not sure what my wife's point is. There is no allegation of any harm to the children. I don't think that she is claiming neglect either. I presume that her argument will be that I took unnecessary risks with the children.

Even if these accounts are accurate, there was no significant risk. The first affidavit comes from a chemistry professor at the local junior college, so he ought to understand the concept of risk. The child was only away from me in Toys-R-Us for 5 to 7 minutes, according to the professor's accusation. And that includes the time that the store announced on the loudspeaker that the child had been "found", and it includes the time the professor and his wife wandered around the store. He says:
[My wife] and I immediately recognized Jenny and started looking for [her parents]. Not being able to find [them], I stayed with Jenny and [my wife] went to the front of the store and had them announce over the loud speakers that Jenny had been found and that we were looking for [her parents]. There was no response to the announcement. [My wife] returned to the bicycle section where I was standing with Jenny. We then proceeded to look through the store for [her parents]. We eventually ran into Mary in the doll section of the store. We asked Mary "who is here with you, your Mommy or Daddy?" Mary answered that it was George her Daddy that was there with her. We found George nearby in the doll section. [names changed]
All of this together took 5 to 7 minutes. So maybe Jenny was "lost" in Toys-R-Us for a minute or so. Once the loudspeaker announced that Jenny was "found", then obviously I was not concerned. They would find me in a couple of minutes, and everyone was obviously well.

I didn't acknowledge that Jenny was missing, because she was never missing. I never thanked them, because they are meddling and back-stabbing busybodies. I was composed, because the children were never at any risk. It sounds like the professor was fooled by one of those kidnapping urban legends.

All of this happened 2 years ago. Why does the court even bother with trivial and inconsequential allegations?

People tell me that the only way to counter such accusations is to launch a bunch of similar accusations against my wife. I should just document examples of my wife failing to adequately supervise the kids for a few minutes, and that way the court will be overwhelmed with conflicting claims. Then the court won't have much choice but to split the kids between imperfect parents.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Most marital gripes should be irrelevant

I don't quite understand why the family court experts bother listening to gripes about behavior between the (estranged) husband and wife.

Suppose that I had regularly beaten my wife black and blue, without provocation. My wife might have reason to file a police complaint, or maybe ask a judge for a restraining order. But it would not be relevant to a divorce hearing, because California has no-fault divorce, and it would not be relevant to a custody hearing, because the allegations do not involve the kids.

Eg, the questionaire for the family court investigation has a checkbox for "Refusing to let you leave a room or place where you live". My wife checked that item, and gave only this justification: "standing in doorways refusing to budge".

I don't remember ever blocking a doorway. My house has multiple exits, so that would not have stopped her anyway. But what if it is true? Is the court psychologist supposed to remedy this alleged injustice by giving my wife custody of the kids?

My wife's lawyer advised her to make an assortment of wacky allegations against me, so I can only assume that the court psychologists, when they do child custody evaluations, do indeed modify their recommendations in order to mete out their own personal system of rewards and punishments. They aren't acting in the best interests of the children, but trying to act as judge and jury over who was a better spouse during the marriage.

If no-fault divorce really meant what it was supposed to mean, then the family courts would refuse to listen to petty and unproven charges. All it really means is that the court ignores my wife's adultery.

California bans necrophilia

California has just banned foie gras (goose liver), and now this:
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Having sex with corpses is now officially illegal in California after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (news - web sites) signed a bill barring necrophilia, a spokeswoman says.

The new legislation marks the culmination of a two-year drive to outlaw necrophilia in the state and will help prosecutors who have been stymied by the lack of an official ban on the practice, according to experts.
I'll have to check the text of the law, but I believe that the sex I had with my wife is still legal.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Why do the authorities insist on snacks?

The school called me today, complaining that my kindergarten kid didn't have a snack. I didn't understand this, because I gave my wife a couple of cheese sticks for the kids when she picked up the kids to take them to school this morning. One of her main complaints against me in court is that I fail to give the kids snacks, so it seems unlikely that she would lose the snacks herself.

Anyway, the kindergarten teacher's aide wanted permission to give my kid a snack. I asked if the snack was going to be candy, and she said no, the school snacks are similar to Gummy Bears!

I don't really agree with all these between meal snacks. I fed my kids a full bowl of oatmeal for breakfast this morning, and that should last them until lunch. At lunch, they are fed a full hot meal from the school. It is more than they can eat. The school wants to give the kids sugary snacks at 10:00 am, and again in the afternoon. Considering that they get a full lunch at 12:30 pm, they should not be hungry when school lets out at 2:45 pm.

I'd like to find out who determined that it was a good idea to give kids all these between-meals surgary snacks. I fully expect that, when my divorce becomes final, I will be under a court order to give my kids between-meal snacks whenever they want them.

Child interviews should be recorded

The court-appointed psychologists insist on interviewing small children (as young as 5 years old) without any witness, advocate, or recording.

I would think that an honest psychologist would want a tape recording of the interview in order to protect herself. In the interview, she asks probing questions as part of an effort to fish for abuse allegations. (In my case, she admitted doing this; fortunately my kid's answers assured her that there was no abuse.) If she gets evidence of abuse, then she is under a legal obligation to report the evidence, thereby drastically escalating the conflict. A case that might have been amenable to mediation turns into open warfare, and the mediator becomes a party to the conflict.

If I were a child psychologist, then I would record everything. Anything else seems irresponsible. If I were to make an abuse allegation based on the ramblings of a 5-year-old, then I'd want to be able to present the precise evidence.

Psychologists, police, judges, teachers, lawyers, etc. all have different roles in our society. If I were a psychologist, I would just want to do my job as a psychologist, and not try to play judge or cop. Those who try to play judge or cop cannot possible do their jobs as psychologists properly.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Consensual sex is domestic violence

My wife alleged "domestic violence" in order to get a separate interview with the mediator, and to gain the right to have an advocate for the interview. But she had never alleged domestic violence before, and her lawyer refused to tell me what the allegations were!

Today, I found out the allegations, as she had to put them in writing. She checked boxes for "cruel or sadistic infliction of pain" and "forced sex". She then tries to substantiate it by describing ordinary bedroom sex:
Almost always, sex would be in the traditional missionary position. He's about 200 pounds, and wouldn't hold himself up and off of me. I had a very difficult time breathing. I eventually learned to pretty much meditate while having sex, so that I could breathe shallowly. I had repeatedly, over a span of years, asked him to hold himself up, but he wouldn't.

When I did ask him to hold himself up, he would extend the time that we had sex. What was normally a 20 minute exercise would turn into a 45 minute to an hour exercise. This in itself wouldn't be so bad, if he hadn't of spent the entire time roughly thrusting, to the point of causing me pain about 25 minutes into this adventure.
Most lawyers would save their clients from such embarrassment, but my wife's lawyer appears to be a man-hating lesbian who thinks that missionary-position sex is cruel.

She is not claiming rape, but she is saying that I pressured her to have sex, and that she only consented "because I wanted our marriage to work, and I wanted our children to live a good life."

California is supposed to have no-fault divorce, so I don't see why anyone would pay attention to these allegations.

Abolish child support

I think that the child support laws are all wrong. The law is based on the premise that fathers should spend 50% or so of their after-tax income to support their kids. Most men are indeed willing to work like dogs to support their families, as long as there really is a family unit to support. They are not willing to pay money for the purpose of destroying the family.

When combined with no-fault divorce, child support laws imply that a wife can walk away from a marriage for any reason, and take her husband's income with her.

There is no requirement under the law that child support actually be spent on the children. It is a big, fat, financial incentive for wives to walk out of marriages. The vast majority of divorces are initiated by women, and they are often guided by a selfish desire to take their husband's monetary support, without having to provide any emotional support in return.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

The courts don't understand child support

Child support calculations are driven by a silly program that is not understood by the users. The Calif. court of appeals said in 1994:
We cannot conclude without commenting about what the Legislature has done in adopting California's child support statutes. These statutes were adopted under the compulsion of federal law requiring each state to adopt child support guidelines which create a rebuttable presumption that the amount established by the guideline is correct, although the presumption can be rebutted and a different amount ordered if there is a finding in writing or on the record that the application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate. (42 U.S.C., § 667.) fn. 6

Instead of adopting a guideline, California's Legislature adopted an algebraic formula to calculate the presumptively correct amount of child support which will usually require the use of a computer and a software program to determine the amount of child support under the formula. There is no way the parties can understand how the court determined the amount ordered. This is particularly true as to parties in child support proceedings -- well over 50 percent -- who are unrepresented by counsel because they cannot afford to be represented by counsel.

These are proceedings where emotions and the level of conflict are already running high. A bad situation becomes more inflamed when an order for child support is calculated in a manner which the parties do not understand.

Indeed, the entire statutory scheme appears to be an unprecedented effort by the Legislature to micromanage child support hearings and determinations in a manner which was neither contemplated nor required by federal law. The result is a process of determining child support which is complex and unduly costly, which requires the use of a computer and which is not [26 Cal.App.4th 1041] understood by anyone, least of all the affected parties. There is no way that either the payor or the recipient of child support, even if represented by counsel, can comprehend how the court determined the amount ordered. As the trial court stated during the course of one of the seven separate hearings in this case: "I guess you're pointing up the absurdity of the legislative efforts in this area, aren't you? How do we get to these guys? Maybe somebody [who] authored this bill should explain it." fn. 7

­FN 7. No legislator can explain it. In the late spring of 1992, when the bill enacting the present child support statute to be operative July 1, 1992, was being passed by the Legislature, the author, and then other legislators, were invited to attend the annual Family Law and Procedure Institute to discuss it with California's family law judges. All declined, and one was frank enough to state no legislator would accept an invitation to discuss the statute because no legislator understood it. [In re Marriage of Fini (1994) 26 Cal.App.4th 1033 , 31 Cal.Rptr.2d 749]
The formula is not really that complicated, but the fact that it was passed and implemented by people who don't understand it is absurd.