Saturday, May 12, 2007

Summary of my family court gripes

A reader asks me to summarize my gripes with the family court. Here are my biggest ones.

Judge William Kelsay ordered a custody change without even taking any testimony. He reduced me from equal custody with my ex-wife of my two daughters, as we had agreed in writing, to visitation two weekends a month and Wednesday afternoons. His only justification was to offer his opinion that child custody does not matter, and to admit that he had made a mess of all of his custody trials. I had to have a formal court trial to reverse what Judge Kelsay did.

Court psychologist and custody evaluator Bret Johnson interviewed me for an hour, asking only trivial questions, and wrote:
Father shall participate in a minimum of six months of thrice monthly individual counseling with a licensed therapist familiar with issues of healthy child care and safety needs to deal with the issues noted herein,, e.g., safety, supervision, insight into his own needs versus the children's, and other issues and shall continue as needed thereafter or until released.
I had to have a court trial to prove that his recommendations had no basis in fact or any recognized expert opinion, and to avoid court-ordered counseling.

Comm. Irwin Joseph delayed my return to equal custody of our kids for six months, even after I won the custody trial. He never offered any explanation, except that he wanted us to see additional court-appointed shrinks for ink-blot tests and other nonsense.

Comm. Irwin Joseph ordered me to pay an extra $900 per month, retroactively and prospectively, based on a goofy theory that I should have had a mortgage in my home. I had to file an appeal to a higher court to get that reversed.

I've heard worse horror stories. I've seen worse cases in court. Sometimes I've wondered if maybe there was more to the story. But I experienced the above myself, and there is no excuse for what the court did.

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