Thursday, June 10, 2010
Losing legal custody
My ex-wife has been seeking sole legal custody of our two kids since 2004. She has repeatedly petitioned the court for it, and the court has always made it unmistakably clear that she would not get it even if all of her allegations were true. It is extremely rare for a father to lose joint legal custody unless he voluntarily relinquishes it or he commits some horrible crime.
On May 21, she finally got temporary sole legal custody of our kids. Here is how it happened.
She persuaded a crooked Palo Alto California psychologist named Ken Perlmutter (pictured on the right) that she deserved sole legal custody, and he sent a letter with a recommendation to Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph of Santa Cruz county. Perlmutter knew that Cmr. Joseph was not the family court judge but he also knew that Cmr. Joseph was prejudiced against me and has acted unfairly against me in the past. On the day that Cmr. Joseph got his pink slip, he signed Perlmutter's proposed order to terminate my joint legal custody. There was no hearing or court appearance.
I have never heard of anything like this happening before. I once asked a lawyer about whether a judge could act on a psychologist's recommendations, and I was told that unless there was some sort of emergency, the court would have to hold a full court hearing with witnesses. Since then I've seen judges order psychologist recommendations temporarily at a court status conference without any emergency, but only if a trial was immediately scheduled. I've never seen a parent lose joint legal custody except by failing to show up for multiple court appearances.
Here is the chain of events that is so wrong.
My ex-wife tells Perlmutter that she has sole legal custody, even tho the court has denied it every time.
Perlmutter confronts me on this point, and I show him the court papers that prove that I have joint legal custody.
Perlmutter writes in his report that he checked the court orders, and my ex-wife has sole legal custody.
His report accuses me of falsely claiming to have joint legal custody.
His report says that he very much disagrees with how Cmr. Joseph had acted against me.
His report recommends that my ex-wife "continue to have temporary sole legal and sole physical custody of the minor children."
He sends the report to Cmr. Joseph, who has not been the family court judge for 1.5 years.
Cmr. Joseph rubber-stamps the recommendation as an order, without any due process.
Perlmutter does not even claim any legal or psychological justification for terminating my joint legal custody. His position seemed to be that Cmr. Joseph wanted to terminate my parental rights, but did not have an excuse to do it. It was Cmr. Joseph's order that put $20k into his bank account, so he was going to give Cmr. Joseph the dagger to stab me in the back.
I think that Ken Perlmutter is dishonest, incompetent, crooked, and despicable. He should lose his psychologist license at the least.