Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Screwed by the court

I just got out of Judge William Kelsay's court. We usually just have one family court judge in this county, but he must be on vacation or something, because Kelsay said that he was filling in for 6 weeks.

The reason for the hearing was that the court had just received a custody report from a court psychologist. I informed the judge that I filed a written objection to the report. Kelsay gave us a big lecture about how he has presided over family court more than all the other local judges put together, and he has never seen a custody trial that turned out well. Then he admitted that he hadn't looked at the report.

My wife's lawyer asked that the psychologist's recommendations be ordered. Kelsay then took a couple of minutes to skim the report. He then said that he was accepting the recommended custody change, as well as some boilerplate orders that he said was "just common sense". He said that my objections show that I am "not buying into the process", and therefore I was not acting in the interests of the children!

I really didn't think that the judge would act on the court psychologist's
recommendations, because California law says that I am entitled to rebut any such evidence, and I have not yet had the chance.

I protested that the psychologist didn't even say that any immediate change was needed, but to no avail.

I pointed out he was changing the timeshare, even thoough he just lectured us that timeshare doesn't matter. Kelsay said, "I am not going to have you throwing my words back at me."

Kelsay scheduled a hearing for 9:00 am on Jan. 21. He demanded that someone pay witness fees for the court psychologist. I assumed that my wife and I would split them, but Kelsay said that I'd have to pay the entire fees because I was the one who objected to his report. That seemed unjust to me, because a much more sensible rule would be to make parties pay for their own witnesses. But as injustices go, this was a minor one.

I am beginning to understand why Kelsay has never seen a custody trial that turned out well.

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