I just had a meeting with Jim Ritchey, the kids' court-appointed lawyer, in his office. He had already met with my ex-wife and the kids in his office. He also talked to the CPS social worker Sally Mitchell on the phone a couple of times. He also had some written arguments from my ex-wife that he refused to share with me.
Mr. Ritchey started out asking me to tell my life story. I gave him the short version. I asked him about his role in the case. He said that he expected to represent the kids for a long time.
I told him that I thought that the case against me was unfounded. He said that he didn't care what I think. Furthermore, he said that he was strongly discouraging me from trying to deny the accusations against me. He said that he knows Judge Joseph very well, and he won't like it if I try to use the court time next week to consider factual evidence. Mr. Ritchey said that I am sure to lose no matter what I have to say in my defense.
Mr. Ritchey said that he was likely to make a recommendation to the court. He would probably recommend 100% custody to my ex-wife, with some narrowly-taylored supervised visitation for me. If I also see psychotherapists and get good reports, then he might recommend some unsupervised visitation a few months from now. He made it emphatically clear that he had me by the balls, and he was going to make my life miserable unless I did what he said. Actually, he is going to make my life miserable whether I do what he says or not.
I asked him whether he really thinks that he can decide what's best for us based on a couple of short interviews and about 20 pages of court papers. He arrogantly said yes. He said that he and Sally Mitchell know much better that I do what is good for my kids. He said that I've just raised two kids, while she has investigated hundreds of kids. (Altho he did admit that all of her interventions could have been for the worse, for all he knows.)
He gave me some standard psychobabble, and told me that his mind was made up that I was a bad parent. He said that I had done "a thousand terrible things". I asked him to give an example of one of those things that he personally thought was terrible. Then he said that I had refused to get a dog for the kids. He said that they had two dogs at their mom's house, and he thinks that they ought to have one at my house too. Furthermore, he said that the kids have reported that I will sometimes eat a sandwich off of a dirty plate.
At this point it was clear that trying to reason with him was futile.