Saturday, July 30, 2005

Why I am angry

A reader writes:
I think you are really having a hard time with your x. You must really still love her because there is so much anger there. I'm sorry you hurt so much.

Even if you are devastated and angry (especially with this situation of her having a new friend) you might learn to accept the fact that she must have been very unhappy in the relationship to have left a family behind. You might feel truly sad but one day you might understand she's just trying to take care of herself.
No, you are making some faulty inferences.

The Angry Dad moniker refers to anger with the family court system. I started this blog when I was confronted with the fact that we have an family court system that is fundamentally evil in its purpose and effect. I really don't know how the lawmakers, judges, psychologists, and lawyers sleep at night. Any idiot with a minimal amount of common sense could see that they are coldly and deliberately causing unnecessary suffering to our two kids.

I am not "devastated and angry" that my wife has a serious new boyfriend. If she marries him and is happy with him, so much the better. I accepted a couple of years ago that my wife was bailing out of the marriage. Since then, I have done everything that I can to facilitate her making a happy new life on her own.

She did not leave a family behind because she was very unhappy. She was primarily driven by other reasons. I do understand that she is following advice to take care of herself, even if it means betraying everything that I thought that she stood for. I personally think that she has gotten some very bad advice, but she is an adult and she doesn't listen to me anymore.

For example, her lawyer probably advised her that her custody claim would be improved if the kids are not allowed to go on vacation with me. Otherwise, my wife would think that it would be best for everyone involved if the kids go on a vacation with me. So she is "just trying to take care of herself" by asking the judge to renege on the order to let me have the kids for 2 weeks.

I do not accept what the court has done, and I am trying my best to remedy the situation.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Believer in civility

This is from the transcript of my June 29 hearing before Judge Joseph:
THE COURT: One other thing, sir. I'm a strong believer in civility. When I talk about someone in moving papers or read about someone in moving papers, I expect a "Mr." or "Ms." or attorney or counselor. When you just throw someone's name at me for the purposes of getting effect, that's not appropriate. It's not polite. Okay. So next time you file something, would you please in front of Miss Gray's name put some sort of adjective. Okay?


THE COURT: We should share the fees on the psych eval.
Note that I just agreed to put in some sort of adective. So I could refer to my wife's lawyer as "the lying scumbag Jennifer Gray" and comply.

Note also that the judge clearly said that the psych eval fees are to be shared. He said it again later, and he clearly thought that we ought to be both invested into the process. Nevertheless, the lying scumbag Miss Gray just sent me a proposed order which says, "Respondent is ordered to advance all fees for this psychological evaluation; the issue of allocation is reserved."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Search ranking

This blog is now No. 1 in a web seach for angry dad in Google, Yahoo, MSN, AllTheWeb, and AltaVista. It is No. 8 in Ask Jeeves.

I am actually surprised it ranks so high. I am not the only angry dad out there!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

New picture

I shaved off my beard for my court appearance. Last time I was bearded, on crutches, wearing casual shorts and shirt, leg in a cast, and one foot in sneakers. I didn't think that the judge would recognize me; he did ask where my crutches were.

I survived a day in court

We had a status hearing in court today, before Judge Irwin H. Joseph. We were supposed to have completed a psychological evaluation, but we hadn't even started. My wife's lawyer's paper also had some complaints about discovery, and about me getting the kids for two weeks this summer.

I was expecting to get blamed for any procedural problems. That seems to be the pattern. Whenever a lawyer opposes a party with no lawyer, the unrepresented party usually gets blamed. The judge tells him to get a lawyer, and to let the lawyers work out the procedure details.

As a result, lawyers routinely bully pro se parties. The lawyers break the procedural rules, and get away with it.

To my surprise, I didn't get blamed for anything. The judge commented that my status memo didn't use the standard form, but he seemed pleased that I filed one at all. He had been lecturing other lawyers for not filing status memos.

We had some discussion on choosing a psychologist. For mysterious reasons, we had a list of psychologists in the next county who had completed domestic violence and custody training in that county, and the judge wanted to choose from that list. We settled on a name.

Next was the scope of the psychological evaluation. In my papers, I characterized it as answering these questions:

1. Can we co-parent?
2. Are there any personality disorders? If so, are there solutions?
3. Are there any other psychological issues?

The judge accepted this characterization. He did not ask for a custody recommendation. He was unwilling to issue a written order on the spot, because he wanted the court's staff psychologist to write it, and he thought that there might be some special mumbo jumbo that needs to be inserted. The staff psychologist is on vacation. It appears that the judge has limited experience writing this sort of order.

I don't know anything about the psychologist, so he will be a big crap-shoot. We will be subject to his prejudices and goofy ideas. It could work for me or against me.

Then my wife's lawyer tried to cheat me out of my two weeks with the kids. She said that it was conditioned on parenting classes. I pointed out that it came from a Nov. 2004 order, and it wasn't conditioned on anything.

The judge denied her request, and said that I could have the kids for the two weeks. He did give me some conditions, such as giving advance notice, providing an itinerary if we travel, calling regularly, and allowing the kids to attend activities if we stay home. No big deal.

I wanted to point out that it was only out of pure maliciousness that my wife wanted to cheat me out of my two weeks. Maybe the judge understood, and maybe not. I was getting what I wanted, so there was no need to rub it in.

Strangely, my wife's lawyer did not raise the discovery dispute. I have no idea why she would write about it in the papers, and then fail to bring it to the judge's attention.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Joseph said, "I have no desire to micro-manage your lives." Wow. I think that I am starting to like this judge.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Sleeping arrangements

A reader asks if I know where my wife sleeps when she is with her boyfriend and the kids.

I don't know. My wife has told the kids a carefully constructed set of lies to the kids. She does sleep over at Bruce's house, with the kids, on a regular basis. She has told the kids that Bruce is not really a boyfriend, and that they should not talk about Bruce or his house to me. I don't know where they all sleep, as I doubt that Bruce has enough beds for everyone.

I don't like to ask about the situation, because the kids know that their mom is lying to them, and the subject is painful for them.

I expect that our divorce decree will issue soon, and then my wife will be an ex-wife, and she will announce to the kids that she and Bruce have started dating. The kids will not be surprised, as they know that she has been dating Bruce since before the divorce filing.

I do hope that the kids have better morals when they grow up.

Lawyer overbilling

I got a suggestion to get full detailed records of my wife's lawyer's billing. Yes, I intend to do this. The lawyer, Ms. Jennifer Gray, is very dishonest, and I am about 90% sure that she has cooked the books in order to get me to pay more of her fees. I believe that I can prove if I ever get my hands on the detailed records.

Ms. Gray's main objective seems to be to run up bills. She now says:
Pending the court’s signature on a Findings and Order After Hearing, Petitioner intends to bring further motion(s) to compel Respondent to comply with discovery and previous court orders if the information is not provided to counsel.
She has pulled this stunt before. The last time she brought a compel motion, she got exactly the documents that were available to her before bringing the motion. She is just bringing motions in order to inflate her bill.
My wife is vacationing in Massachusetts with our kids and with Bruce Travers, her boyfriend. Now she is asking the judge to deny me my scheduled time with the kids. I just got this from Jennifer Gray, her lawyer:
Petitioner requests that an uninterrupted two-week visitation be denied pending the outcome of the court-ordered full psychological evaluation.
We've four outside reports so far, and they have all recommended 50-50 custody. None has found anything that I have ever done wrong. No abuse, neglect, drunkenness, drugs, illegal activities, or anything bad. Now she wants a fifth report.

This is just maliciousness on my wife's part. She knows that the kids have been begging to go on a trip with me. We have a court-ordered schedule that is extremely favorable to her. It lets me have the kids for a 2-week period during the summer, and now she is trying to take that away.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Must-arrest policies

Many states now have over-enforcement of domestic violence. Here is a story about how it sometimes works.
Laura entered the emergency room with some trepidation. Her eye was bruised and her head was pounding. When she was finally seen, she told the doctor that Thomas, her husband, had pushed her. They had fought and she had accidentally fallen into a lamp. It had bruised her eye and she had a migraine. Thomas and Laura had been married for four years and he had never been violent before. Within moments, the doctor told Laura that under California's mandatory reporting law, he would have to call the police.

Laura was horrified. "What about what I want to do?" she asked. "What about my rights?" Laura explained that she did not want Thomas arrested; he was a good man and a fine provider, and she was not worried that his behavior was or would become dangerous. The doctor had no choice - he would be held personally liable if he failed to report the abuse.

The doctor called the police. Laura warned Thomas by phone that the police were coming. Laura arrived home just as the police showed up. She tried to convince the officers not to arrest him - to no avail. The officers informed her that the Los Angeles Police Department has a mandatory arrest policy. If the officers have "probable cause" to suspect that domestic violence has occurred, they must arrest the suspect regardless of the woman's objections or protestations.

Thomas spent three days in jail. Having been arrested on Friday night, he missed work on Monday and worries that he may be fired if he is convicted of a crime. He also awaits prosecution on a domestic violence charge.

Laura has spoken with the prosecutor and has begged her not to prosecute. She has explained that Thomas may lose his job and that their daughter, who suffers from multiple disabilities, relies on both parents for her care. Thomas's employer-provided health insurance covers their daughter's health care.

The prosecutor does not listen. She informs Laura that the Los Angeles City Attorney's office adheres to a no-drop prosecution policy. The prosecutor assigned to the case will proceed against Thomas regardless of Laura's objections or her reluctance to testify. If she refuses to testify, the City Attorney's office will subpoena her. And, to prove the case against Thomas, the prosecutor will use the statements Laura made to the emergency room doctor.
This is from a 1999 Harvard Law Review article that urges reconsideration of the feminist position in favor of mandatory interventions in domestic violence cases.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The kids took this picture. They like flowers.

Welfare agency spying

The ACLU complains when the FBI looks at public library records of suspected terrorists, but no one objects to welfare agencies spying on cell phone records in order to collect child support.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Stalling on the evaluation

My wife continues to stonewall me on the psychological evaluation. Her lawyer just gives me the run-around. The last thing was that she sent me a list of psychologists who have taken Domestic Violence Training in the next county. I hope that training tells them how to recognize phony domestic violence accusations. I guess I'll just complain to the judge next week.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Finding a shrink

I gave a name of a psych evaluator to my wife (and her lawyer), and they are stonewalling me. She refuses to say whether she will cooperate or not.

I may have jumped the gun by giving her a name. I don't much about him except his name, address, and phone number. He has a bilingual answering machine message, and he apparently gets a lot of Mexican referrals. I have no idea whether he is a kook or not. I just signed up with the first one I found who said that he could do it.

I am getting some info on some other psychologists. If my wife refuses this one for some reason, then I will be able to name someone that I know a little more about.

If she doesn't cooperate, I guess I'll just have to go myself, and get a report based on what I tell him. I don't think that she really wants that.

Lawyer joke

What is the difference between a lawyer and a rooster?

The rooster clucks defiance.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Lying about the evaluation order

My wife's lawyer, Ms. Jennifer J. Gray, just sent me this proposed "Findings and Order After Hearing regarding the hearing on June 29, 2005."
1. The court orders the Respondent to participate in a psychological evaluation.

2. Respondent is ordered to advance all fees for this psychological evaluation; the issue of allocation is reserved.

3. Dr. Melissa Berenge is to be noticed of the doctor chosen to do the psychological evaluation, and she will prepare the court order.

4. Petitioner shall have custody of the minors for vacation from July 23, 2005 through August 6, 2005, without interruption.

5. Respondent is ordered to comply with the court's previous order to pay Petitioner's attorney fees in the amount of $20,000, in incremental payments of $5,000 per month commencing July 1, 2005.

6. Respondent is to comply with the previous order regarding discovery and to provide copies of his 2004 income tax return or request for extension and information regarding his 2005 income to date, within a reasonable time. If Respondent fails to comply with this discovery order, Petitioner's counsel is directed to file a second motion to compel responses to discovery.

7. The matter is set for further Review Hearing on issues of parenting, child support and status of psychological evaluation, on July 27, 2005, at 8:30 a.m. in Department 4.
It continues to amaze me how Ms. Gray is willing to misrepresent the judge's orders. The judge ordered both my wife and myself to get the psychological evaluation, with the liability for the fees to be shared equally. I agreed to front the cash if necessary, as long as I am reimbursed for her share.

Ms. Gray is trying to sneak in an order to just have me get a psychological evaluation, and hope no one notices. Surely judges have caught her in this sort of dishonesty before. She is dishonest in nearly everything she does, as far as I can see. It is amazing that she does not get punished for it.

Update: Just to clarify, this was Ms. Gray's proposed order. The judges let the lawyer write up the orders so that they can just sign them. I will have to write to the judge and point out the error.

I've had this problem before. Sometimes I think that the judges don't know what they ordered. I guess I'll have to get a transcript.

In this case, Ms. Gray sent me the court clerk's version, which said:
The parties to participate in a psychological evaluation with Respondent to advance the fees and the issue of allocation reserved.
That is not quite right either, but at least it says that both of us have to get evaluated.

Ms. Gray's proposed order has other inaccuracies as well, and I am pretty sure that she is double-billing me on her attorney fees. I guess that I will have to make some future motion to prove it.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Finding a shrink

I tried calling court-approved psychologists, but I am finding it surprisingly difficult. The list is out of date, and several have moved away. Others were all booked up, or they don't do custody work. I called Dr. Jay M. Jackman, and he said, "I don't do custody work. I prefer doing criminal work. At least I don't get sued anymore!"

Monday, July 04, 2005

This is a self-portrait of my older daughter.

Broken bone report

I just learned more about Judge Kelly's condition. He was the family court judge. He did indeed break his fibula (lower leg bone), just as I did. It was a fluke accident in his backyard. He also has some unusual complications, but they are all treatable. He is 60 years old. It didn't sound like there is any reason that he cannot fully recover, so maybe the rumors of his retirement were incorrect.

He was planning on going backpacking in Bolivia by himself this summer. He must be glad he is not sitting in a Bolivian hospital right now.

It is still a little ironic that a few months ago he was lecturing me on what a dangerous place our little beach town is. Accidents can happen anywhere. I glad that the kids haven't had any serious accidents. There have been some minor problems, but all on my wife's watch. If an accident had occurred on my watch, I'd be in trouble.

Friday, July 01, 2005

The abuse allegation racket

I found this message:
I am a single mother of two. When I decided to leave my marriage, (I was bored), I went to three different lawyers for advice. I was asked by all 3 of them if I was ever abused by my husband. My answer was, never in any way shape or form was my husband abusive towards me. To my utter disbelief, all of them told me the same thing. Unless I accused my husband of abuse, I would not gain sole custody of my children. They also told me that by making these allegations against him, that I would get EVERYTHING and more. When I asked them how we would prove the allegations, I was told that the courts don't require proof, and to go to a women's shelter, and that they would help me, and that it would support my allegations of abuse.
Yes, that is how the divorce lawyers operate. That's what they told my wife.