I just got out of family court zoo. There were 44 motions to be heard from 8:30 to 10:00. Obviously Judge Salazar had no time to address the merits of anything.
One case was a couple that did not even live in the county anymore, and the dad wanted a change of venue. He had not seen his kids in a year and a half, and is not being allowed to until he gets the jurisdiction transferred to where they live. The mom had a lawyer who told the judge that Cmr. Joseph had previously blocked the change of venue, visitation, and everything else until the dad completed the required 360 hours of community service and the 26 hours of anger management counseling. Judge Salazar said that he did not understand the objection, because the dad has already done all that stuff and documented it to the court. The lawyer then argued that it was not Cmr. Joseph's intention to let the dad have the venue change or visitation even the requirements were completed, and he might have ordered an additional 26 hours of counseling. The judge seemed to think that the lawyer's argument was ridiculous, and appeared ready to rule in favor of the dad.
It seems to me that Cmr. Joseph was violating Calif FC 3190(e) by making such an order, but no one raised that issue.
At this point the dad spoke up, and said that he did an extra 36 hours of counseling in anticipation of such an argument, and he had documents to prove it! Wow, he must have realized that Cmr. Joseph was out to screw him. Then the lawyer argued that the documents might be forged, and asked for two weeks to verify the documents. The judge scheduled another hearing in two weeks. I don't know what county they live in, but it seemed ridiculous to me to require them to come back to court.
Another couple had a visitation dispute. The mom had sole custody, and visitation by the dad was at her discretion. She was not letting him have any. She argued that she should not let him have any visitation because of his recent arrest.
His story was that they had a four-year-old restraining order that forbade non-consensual contact. She wrote him a letter saying that they had an important matter to discuss. He called her, and then she made a police complaint and had him arrested. The authorities decided not to prosecute. She did not dispute any of this, but had rambling and incoherent complaints.
He also claimed that he got a favorable ruling for non-supervised visitation on Sept. 30, but the minutes don't show up. The judge said that he needed more documentation on that. It seems to me that he could have just asked the mom, under oath, what happened on Sept. 30, and acted accordingly. If the documents later proved that she was lying, then she could be penalized.
Actually, if I were the judge, I would have awarded custody to the dad on the spot. She was obviously a lying vindictive bitch. In my opinion, a mom should always be willing to take a phone call from the father of their child. Telemarketers, pollsters, political campaign workers, and everyone else are allowed to call her, but not their child's father? That is just so sick and twisted that I would say that any parent who makes such a police complaint ought to be considered presumptively unfit.
Another case had lawyers for both parties, with a stipulated child support agreement for $172 per month. I was wondering how much the parents burned on legal fees to come to that agree. My guess is $10,000. They were not even done, as they all had to come back to court for something else that I didn't understand. They all would have been much better off with no family court, no child support, and no lawyers.
The weirdest case was a lesbian couple. Each woman was about 40 years old and represented by a lawyer. One woman was on paid maternity leave from a job that paid $6k per month, and was demanding child support. The other woman's lawyer said that the parentage of both of them was in doubt, and that the other woman may not have legal standing as a parent to make the claim. The first woman's lawyer said that the birth was within the marriage, and therefore they are both legally parents under California also. She also said that the child support money is needed now, and cannot wait for parentage determination.
I couldn't quite figure out what was going on. Obviously the second woman is not a biological parent, and does not want an 18 year financial for some child with which she has no relationship or attachment. But how can there be doubt about the first woman's parentage? My guess is that she had a test-tube baby with donated eggs and sperm.
The judge told them to come back on Dec. 2 for child support orders, and on Feb. 23, 2010 (9:30 am, Watsonville court D) for a two hour trial on the parentage. If you ever wanted to drop in on a bizarre family court trial, that might be a good one. It should be open to the public.
If you attend the trial, then please tell me what you then think about same-sex marriage. I see nothing good coming out of this.
After several other boring cases, our case was called. My ex-wife had swamped the court with about 200 pages of paperwork just before the hearing. There was no evidence that the judge read any of it. I only got it by email late last night. The judge complained that our case is in the sixth volume of paperwork, and he does not understand what can be done.
I started to say something, and Judge Salazar immediately interrupted me and told me that he did not want to hear me complain about what happened in the past. I said that I was not doing that, and I was not there to complain about my ex-wife or past orders or anything else. My only point was that I have found four psychologists who are willing to do the evaluation order as written, and all I wanted was to get the evaluation done somehow.
The judge asked my ex-wife her position, but she kept launching into rambling monologues about how I have misrepresented things to psychologists in the past.
The judge asked a few questions about the problems getting an evaluation done, and about why the psychologists don't seem to understand what is supposed to be done. He said that he does not understand the order either, so he would not be able to clarify it.
Eventually the judge asked my ex-wife to pick one of the four psychologists to do the evaluation as written. She didn't exactly pick one, but said that three of the four were totally unacceptable. The fourth was not her preference, but not as bad as the other three. So the judge told us to ask him, and come back to court on Thursday and he will issue the order for that psychologist. If that psychologist turns out to be unavailable, then I guess that we will repeat the exercise with the other three psychologist.
This is a ruling in my favor. The judge is getting impatient with my ex-wife's lame excuses. There are many difficulties ahead, but at least it appears that the judge is going to make her cooperate with the evaluation as written.