There were some domestic violence allegations (regarding emotional abuse), and various complaints about our marital relationship. I do not believe that these are significant or relevant. The custody evaluator ignored them in his report, and so far the court has ignored them as well. There were also some allegations about money, and the court will have to address those, I guess.
There was an assortment of allegations about child care. These mostly involved supervision, but some involved diet, hygiene, and other topics. Here is a sample:
22. c. Father sends our younger daughter (age 4) off to the back of the store to retrieve ice cream while he waits in the check out line.The custody evaluator was apparently impressed by several letters from [my wife’s] friends. One described an incident in which the kids got out of the car after it broke down and I parked on the side of the highway and used the emergency phone. Others described incidents such as the kids being temporarily separated from me at the store while shopping.
d. Other friends witnessed Father allowing our younger daughter, when she was four, to wear her roller blades into the store. An employee from the store eventually made her take them off. Father reported that "the younger daughter got in trouble with the store employee." …
31. Our eldest daughter, during her first week of school at a brand new school (in December), did not know where the bathroom was located and had an accident in her tights. She went to the office and contacted her father. The school personnel related that she stated "Daddy, I peed in my tights, and here's what I think that you should do. Either bring me some clean clothes, or call up Mommy so she can bring me some clothes. That's what I think that you should do. Okay? Bye." Apparently she then hung up the phone, turned around, and told the assistant, "That's how you have to deal with my Daddy." They shared this story with me because they were impressed with her maturity. He, of course, contacted me to deal with the situation. However, I think this exchange illustrates an extremely important aspect to Father's capabilities. Our daughters, at this age, already know how to negotiate around their Father because they understand he is incapable of caring for them or their safety. This is unacceptable.
Emotional, Verbal & Physical Abuse
32. Father is incapable of providing care for either of our daughters. He lacks empathy. He is unable to comprehend why the above listed situations are dangerous for both our daughters. If confronted with my concerns, he dismissed them as trivial. [June 2004 declaration]
The custody evaluator, a gay psychologist named Bret K. Johnson, concluded:
Father's tendency to "do things over and over" such as feed the children one vegetable for a long period, have the young children brush their own hair because they are too fussy, and that he is unorthodox in parenting approaches may not be neglect or abuse in the pure sense of the words; rather it suggests he runs things in his own way, on his own time, and may not take new input well with regards to the children's best interests.For that, he recommended that our 50-50 custody agreement be terminated permanently, that my time with the kids be reduced to occasional weekend visits, that I be ordered to take 6 months of parenting classes, and that I be ordered to undergo forced psychotherapy for an indefinite amount of time.
In hearings, the judge ignored complaints about broccoli, oatmeal, hair-brushing, etc, and said that only the risk and safety issues were significant. I testified about the highway incident and about supervising the kids in stores and elsewhere. I acknowledged that I let our daughter Jenny roller skate in Costco, and I explained why that was beneficial for her. I was asked about how I often take the kids for walks on a trail in the woods without holding their hands, and about how I let them play with the neighbor’s dog. A witness described an incident in which Jenny was happily doing some coloring by herself for about 10 minutes in a waiting room. Another witness described seeing the kids by themselves at a store, although she acknowledged that I was in a position to watch the kids and she thought the kids were safe. Another witness thought that Jenny was once in danger of being kidnapped at Toys R Us, just because she was left by herself for a couple of minutes.
At no time has my wife, her lawyer, the custody evaluator, or the judge explained what I did wrong in any of the allegations, or described what I should have done. (My wife has made some conclusory statements like paragraph 32 above. My wife’s lawyer has said nothing. One could infer from the custody evaluation that the evaluator should have had some reason for his punitive recommendations, but the evaluator never actually said that I did anything wrong. The judge once implied that he didn’t want to hear my explanation for roller skating in Costco, but when I testified about it, he listened patiently and only suggested that maybe some of the other shoppers could have been annoyed.)