Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Continued custody trial

My court hearing continued today. I am trying to get some custody of my kids back. We were scheduled for 9:30, but did not get started until nearly 2:00. I got two witness on the stand. Three others waited around all day, and never got to testify. The trial will continue on Dec. 14.

I am not sure whether I am making progress with the judge or not. She has had to rule on a assortment of minor procedural matters, and she seems to have some bias against me. But she has not had to address the meat of the case, so I really don't know.

I will report more details later.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dads have rights in Lebanon

A Massachusetts family court refused to respect a Lebanese child custody decision, because their law is too favorable to dads. Here is how the court described Lebanon law:
“Based on the evidence, it is clear that male children in Lebanon go to the Father at the age of two. The parents are not evaluated equally when determining the best interest of the children and which parent should have physical custody. Although the Mother can obtain custody, it is only if the father is a criminal or cannot or will not care for the children. Unlike Massachusetts which requires that the court determine the best interest of the child and which parent should have custody based upon the ‘happiness and welfare of the children,’ it is clear that the Lebanese law does not take that into consideration unless the father is unfit. G.L. c. 208, § 31.”
The court then reasoned:
The issue before us, whether the substantive laws of the Jaafarite Court in Lebanon are in substantial conformity with those of Massachusetts, turns largely on the question whether the Lebanese Jaafarite Court considers the best interests of the children, as that standard is understood under the laws of the Commonwealth. ...

The best interests of a child is the overarching principle that governs custody disputes in the Commonwealth. “[T]he touchstone inquiry of what is ‘best for the child’ is firmly rooted in American history, dating back to the Nineteenth Century.” What is in a child’s best interest depends upon the particular needs of the child, and is left largely to the discretion of the judge, who “may consider any factor pertinent to those interests.” ...
So because American judges have the discretion to decide child custody however they please, and Lebanon actually has some laws about it, then American judges do not have to respect Lebanon law.

That drew this comment:
If you change the genders, it would roughly fit Massachusett’s de facto standard. At the time of my divorce not so long ago, approx. 90% of custody was awarded to the mothers in MA. I envy the men whose ex-wives actually took the best interest of the children at heart and had more equitable arrangements.
And this:
As BlackX notes, American judges are much more dishonest than foreign judges: in particular, much more willing to recite neutral principles of general applicability before rendering wholly politicized decisions based on the race, sex and religion of the parties involved.

Many people prefer it this way, including most lawyers I think, hypocrisy being the tribute vice pays to virtue.
I wish that I could say that American law is more advanced that some chaotic Mideastern country, but it is really not.

Here is another good comment:
“The parents are not evaluated equally when determining the best interest of the children and which parent should have physical custody.”

The court just described every single United States court.

Let’s be honest, a mother could bring a child to court in America, beat it with a stick in open court while spitting on it, and the judge would award her custody and double normal child support rates for showing extra attention to the child.
It is just laughable for an American family court to look down on another court in this way. I have been following our family court for six years now, and I have never seen even one example of the parents being evaluated equally when determining the best interest of the children. It does not happen in the USA, and these judges are hypocrites for pretending that it does.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Agnostic dad gets custody reduced

A reader sends this story:
Religious Discrimination in America: Father's Custody Reduced Because He Is Agnostic

Craig Scarberry, a father of three, shared 50-50 custody with his ex-wife until last week, when he learned that time with his kids would be cut to just four hours a week and every other weekend.

According to Indianapolis' Fox 59,

Searching to find out why, he found Judge George Pancol wrote, "the father did not participate in the same religious training as the mother, and noted that the father was agnostic. It goes on to say that when the father considered himself a Christian, the parties were able to communicate relatively effectively.
I actually think that it is plausible that Christian dads do better than agnostic dads, on average. But even if that is true, there are several things wrong with acting on it.

First, we don't believe in punishing people for stereotypes. Even if, say, Swedes were better than Hungarians on average, we would not have a court policy of favoring Swedes over Hungarians.

Second, we don't believe in holding people accountable for their religious beliefs. Religion is a very personal thing to most people, and they should not be judged on how they articulate those beliefs.

Third, this is blatantly unconstitutional. Any judge who is willing to do something like this is probably willing to do unjust harm in all sorts of other ways as well.

Unfortunately, family court judges can make biased and subjective decisions in all sorts of ways. If this judge is upheld on appeal, the judge will just learn to do the same thing without mentioning religion in his decision. We need to get rid of all of the subjective biases, not just religion.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Teen Mom charged with felony domestic violence

Here is reality TV star news:
Police in Anderson, Ind., have officially charged "Teen Mom" star Amber Portwood with two felonies and one misdemeanor for domestic battery.

During a September episode of season two of the MTV hit show, Portwood was seen repeatedly slapping, punching and kicking her then-fiance, Gary Shirley. Police said that Portwood is facing felony charges because Portwood and Shirley's young daughter, Leah, was present when the alleged violence occurred.

Portwood faces fines of up to $10,000 and three years in jail if she's convicted.
Three years in jail for a fight on a reality TV show? All because a toddler is a witness? Of course no toddler will testify -- they will just use the MTV tapes.

Apparently the teen mom has been dating 3 other guys, besides the dad. She likes being a TV star. Her toddler is living with the dad.

What we have here is a feminist man-hating domestic violence law being written in a sex-neutral manner, forcing silly prosecutors to throw the book at a girl who actually initiates the attack. They probably disapprove of the behavior being shown as acceptable on TV. And the dad takes responsibility when the mom turns into a nut case.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Custody trial, day 1

I was supposed to have a child custody trial today, from 10:00 to 4:30. We did not get started until 1:45, and went only until 4:00.

At 1:45, I started to put my first witness on the stand, but my ex-wife made a serious of proposterous objections. She said that my witness should not be able to testify because he had been criticized by her witness. She said that he is not a psychologist, and therefore should not be allowed to have an opinion on child custody. She said she did not have adequate notice of the witness, even tho he had been on my witness list all along. She said that he did not follow the procedures that he would have had to follow if he had been a court-appointed evaluator. She complained that I used the internet to transmit some pre-trial documents. She complained that her witness proposed restricting my ability to make motions for custody and visitation, so I should not even have the hearing.

The amazing was that Judge Heather Morse was buying into her kooky objections! The judge ruled in favor of her a couple of times, and I had to spend about 30 minutes arguing with her and explaining the unfairness.

I had to explain that the rules on court-appointed child custody evaluators do not apply to other witnesses. I had to explain that I am entitled to a rebuttal witness under the statute. I had to explain that the current order was issued by juvenile delinquency commissioner without any input from my ex-wife or me, or any opportunity for a hearing. I had to explain that if I were limited to witnesses who had interviewed my ex-wife and the kids, then I would have no opportunity at all.

The judge had to concede some of these points, but kept going back to ridiculous arguments such as saying that my rebuttal witness could only go after my ex-wife's witness. I had to remind the judge that she was the one who required my witness to go first.

Eventually I did get my witness on the stand, but with a limited scope of testimony. I had no time for the other testimony that I planned.

This is not going well. The trial was supposed to finish on the 30th, but there is no way that we can get all our witnesses on that day. The judge said that the next open days are in March and April 2011.

The worst part was the judge's dogged determination to make up bogus excuses to reject my witnesses. That is a bad sign.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Calling CPS to avoid questions

In Seattle Wash., a hospital might call CPS if you ask too many questions:
SEATTLE – Charlie's family never gave up the fight for their premature baby boy. But just when they thought Charlie was out of the woods they faced losing him to a new danger. The state's Child Protective Services tried to take Charlie away after his parents asked for a second medical opinion. Our Problem Solvers team investigated what it took to "Save Charlie." ...

But what led to Charlie's medical emergency? Why did the hospital call CPS? And why did CPS sue to take Charlie away?

The Graggs think it's because they were "too" involved.

"It's in the notes," says John Gragg, referring to the Mary Bridge Hospital records. "'Parents ask endless questions – seems repetitive – it's annoying.' Of course we want to ask these questions; we want to know what it says; we have every right to understand and know what's going on."

The Graggs asked the Problem Solvers to investigate. We found that the Gragg's desire for a second medical opinion, along with questions about Charlie's tracheostomy tube, are at the core of what happened. ...

The Graggs say Mary Bridge officials just kept insisting, in spite of medical reports that show no evidence of reflux, that Charlie had reflux and needed a different feeding tube.

"I says, well we'd like to get a second medical opinion; we want him transferred over to Children's," says John. "Doctor looks right at us and says if you don't sign the consent form to do this, we're gonna get a court order to do it."

Staff at Mary Bridge then called CPS.

"The concerns that were presented to us was that the parents were not consenting to that treatment," said Regional Children's Administration Manager Barb Geiger.
Many medicos do hate it when you ask too many questions.

In this case, it appears that the hospital was trying to get the parents to sign a consent form for treatment contrary to what the records indicated. Maybe the records were wrong, or maybe the surgeon was wrong. Or maybe the parents misinterpreted the records, I have no idea. But if they are asking for the parents' consent, then the parents ought to be asking about any concerns that they have. There is a reason that it is called a "consent form". Obviously the hospital is used to intimidating parents into signing these forms without understanding the issues.

CPS is the abuser here.
But four days after CPS was called in, the state decided it was "medical neglect" and sued, asking the court for custody of Charlie. ...

Geiger told us they have to rely on the information they receive from doctors and nurses: "We're not medical professionals; we're social workers."

In the meantime Charlie was transferred to Seattle Children's Hospital. The Graggs got their second opinion and consented to the surgery. But the state did not drop its suit. Instead it had a foster family prepare to take Charlie home.

We asked why the state continued to seek dependency after the surgery was performed.

"We were very concerned for the baby," Geiger says, "and wanted to make sure that he had the necessary care once he was released from the hospital as well."

However, records show that the day after the Graggs' attorney sent the state copies of Charlie's discharge orders, his reflux tests and information about the trach suction depth, the state dropped its suit, agreeing there was "no" medical neglect and Charlie would stay with his parents.
So it took a two-month investigation and a lawsuit to determine that it was okay for the parents to seek a second opinion?

You don't have to be a medical professional to know that it is reasonable for parents to ask questions and get a second opinion before signing a consent form. Geiger meant to say, "We're not evil; we're idiots." I think that CPS is evil.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ethics of shrinks and lawyers

A fellow angry dad writes:
Geez, is there no end to the evil of lawyers and psychologists? Redistribution of wealth by means other than the govt.
He sends two recent NY Times stories, Psychologist in Terror War Is Subject of Complaint and Investors Put Money on Lawsuits to Get Payouts.

The vast majority of these professional do not take part in supporting torture or anything like that. These stories do not prove that they are all bad. But they do show the limits of holding them to their professional codes of ethics. Those codes allow all sorts of bad behavior.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Seven signs of a wimpy parent

I rarely praise psychologists, but here is some uncommon good sense from child psychologist Gregory Ramey, on the signs of a wimpy parent:
I have evaluated numerous children whose only problems are that they live with loving and dedicated parents who are wimps. There is no psychological test yet to diagnose this disorder, but here is how you can assess yourself and perhaps avoid a visit to a therapist’s office.

1. Are you more concerned about your children’s feelings than their behaviors?

2. Do you praise your children excessively?

3. Do you give in on your discipline?

4. Do you feel guilty after disciplining your child?

5. Are you inconsistent in your application of discipline?

6. Do you talk endlessly to convince your children that your discipline is fair?

7. Do you typically place your children’s needs above those of you and your spouse?
You can find more of his opinions here. In one essay, he says, Children should know that evil exists.

His opinion is refreshing because most child psychologists teach parents to be wimpy parents.

I mentioned below that Communist countries use forced psychiatry to force dissidents to conform.

I once had gay family court psychologist Bret K. Johnson recommend that I be ordered to do this:
10. Counseling/ Related:

A. 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. Possible therapists in Santa Cruz County may include: Jay Goodman, Ph.D., Jay Muccilli, Ph.D., CJ Neusdater, LMFT, Sheilah Seigel, Ph.D., Judy Zappacosta, LCSW.

B. Mother shall seek counseling as needed.

C. The parents shall sign appropriate release authorizations and provide documentation for written communication between the counselor(s) and Court regarding level of participation, number of sessions completed, issues addressed and progress.

D. The counselors shall be provided with a copy of this and other relevant Court Orders and reports.
There were no actual health or safety issues mentioned in his report, but just gripes from my ex-wife about my parenting style.

I was particularly struck by the phrase "insight into his own needs versus the children's" because there was nothing about this in either his report or the court papers. It seemed to be just a boilerplate psychologist phrase for demoralizing parents. No matter what the dad says and does, he can be accused of now always putting his own needs (and those of other loved ones) ahead of the children's. He can also be accused of lacking insight and empathy. No dad would dare stand up to a court psychologist who holds the power to order forced counseling to continue "until released."

I do think that psychologists are evil when they use the authority of the court to order psychological punishments that are not grounded in any generally accepted psychological wisdom. That includes Johnson, Perlmutter, and the Chinese Communist shrinks.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another Nazi CPS case

I posted before about parents losing their kids because of Nazi sympathies. Now, from Canada, is a story about kids being taken for the opposite reason:
Early this morning, five thugs broke into the home of anti-racist activists Jason and Bonnie Devine. Their four children were asleep upstairs. ... Enter Calgary Social Services.*

Unbelievably, they are threatening to apprehend the Devine children unless the Devines stop their anti-racist activity.
Somebody needs to tell these folks that World War II is over. And CPS has no business meddling with political beliefs.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Assertive Chinese Held in Mental Wards

The NY Times reports:
Xu Lindong’s confinement in a locked mental ward was all the more notable, his brother says, for one extraordinary fact: he was not the least bit deranged. Angered by a dispute over land, he had merely filed a series of complaints against the local government. The government’s response was to draw up an order to commit him to a mental hospital — and then to forge his brother’s name on the signature line. ...

Mr. Xu’s ordeal exemplifies far broader problems in China’s psychiatric system: a gaping lack of legal protections against psychiatric abuses, shaky standards of medical ethics and poorly trained psychiatrists and hospital administrators who sometimes feel obliged to accept anyone — sane or not — who is escorted by a government official.

No one knows how often cases like Mr. Xu’s occur. But human rights activists say confinements in mental hospitals appear to be on the rise because the local authorities are under intense pressure to nip social unrest in the bud, but at the same time are less free than they once were to jail people they consider troublemakers. ...

In annual performance reviews of local government officials, reducing the number of petitioners is considered a measure of good governance. Allowing them to band together, and possibly stir up broader unrest, is an significant black mark that can lead to demotion.

The most dogged petitioners are often classified as crazy. In an interview last year, Sun Dongdong, chief of forensic psychiatry at prestigious Peking University, said, “I have no doubt that at least 99 percent of China’s pigheaded, persistent ‘professional petitioners’ are mentally ill.” He later apologized for what he said was an “inappropriate” remark.
The old Soviet Union was also famous for using forced psychiatry and re-education camps to marginalize and punish political dissidents.

The USA is not as bad as China, of course, but the family court here does use psychologists to punish psychologically healthy parents in order to shut them up and force them to submit to oppressive policies.

In my case, the court-appointed psychologist, Ken Perlmutter, refused to do the evaluation until he could talk to Commissioner Irwin Joseph and find out who he was supposed to punish. Perlmutter could not find any psychological disorder, and did not recommend counseling. He did not find anything wrong with my parenting practices or my relationship with my kids. But he recommended that the custody of my two kids be changed so that my ex-wife gets sole legal custody. His only reasoning was that Cmr. Joseph did not like me, and that it would be more convenient for the court if my spirit were crushed. He had no psychological evidence to back up his recommendation, and he is no better than those Chinese psychologist lackeys who commit healthy dissidents to mental hospitals.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Family court meeting

A local Santa Cruz SCORE family court self-help group is meeting tomorrow (Sat) at 3pm in Scotts Valley, California. Everyone is welcome. Free.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Talking intimate is emotional abuse

A newspaper advice columnist accuses a husband of emotional abuse of his wife. The man did not have an affair with another woman. He did not make degrading comments to her. He tells her that she is beautiful and sexy. So what did he do?

He talks to a friend about their marriage relationship, and mentions it to his wife. That's all.

I've had women tell me that they share the most personal details of their lives with all their friend, and proceed to tell me the most personal details of all their friends' lives. When I ask why they would even talk about such stuff, they assure me that all women do that.

Men don't. Most men do not want to even listen to it. If a man wants to talk about such stuff, he sometimes has to find a woman to listen. That is what the husband in advice column does. And the columnist says that it is emotional abuse. By that standard, I am guessing that 80% of all wives are guilty of emotional abuse.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Canada takes cars from dads

A Canadian newspaper reports:
It’s the end of the road for motorists who drive drunk or while under licence suspension.

Police services across Ontario will have the power to order a vehicle impounded for seven days if the driver has an administrative license suspension, a blood alcohol limit of more than 0.08, refuses a breathalyzer or does not have the required ignition interlock device beginning Dec. 1.

Parents who have been stripped of their driver’s licence for failing to pay child support are included in the new impoundment rules.

“We’re looking for ways to require those parents to be responsible to their kids,” Ontario Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne said Monday. “And so separating someone from his or her vehicle is a pretty significant deterrent.”
No, taking a man's car is not requiring him to be responsible to his kids. It is the opposite.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Why so many unwed moms

AP reports:
Seventy-two percent of black babies are born to unmarried mothers today, according to government statistics. ...

The black community's 72 percent rate eclipses that of most other groups: 17 percent of Asians, 29 percent of whites, 53 percent of Hispanics and 66 percent of Native Americans were born to unwed mothers in 2008, the most recent year for which government figures are available. The rate for the overall U.S. population was 41 percent. ...

There are simple arguments for why so many black women have children without marriage.

The legacy of segregation, the logic goes, means blacks are more likely to attend inferior schools. This creates a high proportion of blacks unprepared to compete for jobs in today's economy, where middle-class industrial work for unskilled laborers has largely disappeared.

The drug epidemic sent disproportionate numbers of black men to prison, and crushed the job opportunities for those who served their time. Women don't want to marry men who can't provide for their families, and welfare laws created a financial incentive for poor mothers to stay single.
This last argument seems to be the hardest for people to understand. People always respond to financial incentives. Every time they pass a law to benefit unwed moms, it increases our percentage of unwed moms.

You might think that child support laws would have no effect on the rate of unmarried moms rearing kids. What woman would rather collect child support than be married, you might ask. You would be wrong. Take Economics 101. There are always people on the margins, and there are millions of kids being raised by single moms because of the child support laws.

Update: Here is an unwed mom wannabe. She says:

"I immediately make it obvious I'm only after a one-night stand and most blokes are always up for that. ...

"Obviously, I encourage them to have unprotected sex, but some men want to use a condom.

"If they do, I always have one that I have pre-pricked in my handbag. That way the sex isn't a waste of time."

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Canada has alimony for unmarried girlfriends

A Canada newspaper reports:
MONTREAL — Unmarried Quebec spouses seeking alimony and assets from ex-partners won a partial victory Wednesday in the province’s highest court thanks to the ex-girlfriend of a billionaire.

The Quebec Court of Appeal struck down a section of the province’s civil code that says only married partners can receive alimony.

A Brazilian woman nicknamed “Lola” is seeking $50 million plus $56,000 a month for a seven-year relationship that ended in 2002. Lola and her ex-partner “Eric” cannot be named to protect their three children.

Lola won’t get paid immediately. The court suspended its ruling for one year while Quebec revises the law, after which time the woman can re-argue her case before a lower court to seek the beefed-up payments.

In a 51-page ruling, the appeals court found that section 585 of Quebec’s civil code discriminates against more than 1.2 million Quebecers who lived together but were never married.

“In ignoring de facto spouses, as current legislators do, more than one third of Quebec couples find themselves excluded from a measure of protection for the family unit,” Justice Julie Dutil wrote on behalf of colleagues Marc Beauregard and Lorne Giroux.

Dutil added that alimony helps spouses, mainly women, meet their financial needs following breakups. She added that these women have the same needs as married ex-partners.

Quebec, the only province that doesn’t allow unmarried partners to claim alimony, says it will study the ruling before deciding its next move.
I am sure that $50 million will buy a measure of protection for the ex-girlfriend.

Quebec is more socialist than I thought, according to this:
Around 1984, Quebec made it illegal for a wife to take the name of her husband. ... In 1989 Quebec enacted legislation putting every married couple into a 50/50 situation for all major assets. ... In 1994 a new law stated that the free government hospital/clinic may not inform the parents about the free government abortion performed on their 14-year-old daughter, ... The same Family Law eliminated the word “parent,” replacing it with “the holder of parental authority” ...
If it is illegal in Canada for marriage law and family courts to discriminate between married and unmarried couples, then marriage has lost its meaning. It is no longer possible for a couple to enter into a traditional marriage based on mutual promises. The relationship is defined by some wacky judges who are trying to re-engineer social policy with their leftist ideals.

Last week, Iowa voters kicked out three state supreme court judges for trying to rewrite marriage laws.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Lesbian lover wins long fight

mentioned in 2006
the child custody dispute between the Vermont lesbians. The mom took the kid to Virginia, which does not recognize lesbian marriages. But Virginia does recognize out-of-state visitation orders, and the mom refused visitation to the Vermont lesbian.

The dispute continues and the mom argued to the Vermont Supreme Court that kid doesn't even know the ex-partner anymore, so visitation would not be in the Best Interest Of The Child (BIOTCh).

This is, of course, one of many problems with the BIOTCh. It encourages illegal and destructive behavior by the parents. So the court ignores the BIOTCh when convenient, which is most of the time. In the Vermont case, the court weaseled in this way:
I do not lightly note this inconsistency. As we have recognized in the past, the family court should not construe the application of the § 665(b) best-interest factors in a manner that gives incentive for wrongdoing by a parent. See, e.g., id. That said, we likewise cannot ignore the plight of children whose relationships are significantly disrupted and/or distorted when one parent chooses to prevent another from contact. Parental kidnapping is the most common form of abduction in the United States with more than 200,000 children victims each year. Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, The Crime of Family Abduction: A Child’s and Parent’s Perspective iii-iv (2010), available at http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/229933.pdf. Its impacts last far longer than the search for and recovery of a missing child, especially for a child whose trust in both parents may have been seriously damaged. See id. at 37 (“To many parents, the recovery might seem like a moment of celebration, but to the child, it may feel like another abduction.” (citation omitted)). Simply because Janet had a strong relationship with her daughter before the current estrangement, the family court cannot assume that such a bond still exists.
This has some similarity to my case. The court-appointed evaluator, Ken Perlmutter agreed that my ex-wife wrongfully got custody by lying to the court, but uses the BIOTCh as an excuse not to do anything.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Dad was falsely imprisoned

ABC TV 20/20 has a show at 10pm this evening on a man who was imprisoned for 20 years based on false accusations from his kids. A lot of people don't realize how easily kids can be manipulated into lying.

Update: It was the story of Ray Spencer, and you can see more here. A bitter ex-wife used their kids to frame him.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Wife wants more evaluations

I just got this message from the court-appointed evaluator:
I received this e-mail.
It sounds like you only want me from 1030 to Noon and 130 to 430 on Nov. 30.
Is that correct?
In other matters prior to trial either the Court determines what additional information I am to review or the attorneys come to agreement on it.
If the Court does not address this and you and George cannot agree then I don't know what to do.
As regards the time I spend possibly reviewing new documents I can let you know that after it is clear what I am going to review.
If I am not going to need to be in court from 9-5 as previously budgeted then I would credit you for the time I already billed for.
Thank you for the information on parking.
I will wait to hear from you on the matters stated above.
Ken Perlmutter
My ex-wife sent him my trial brief, and proposed that he evaluate that as well as some additional documents.

He already did a $26K evaluation in which she sent him about 3K pages of documents. He recommended that I lose joint legal custody and that our kids remain under court supervision until they are 18.

Perlmutter is very petty about his procedures, and had instructed my ex-wife not to send him documents like this. I am surprised that she did it. She did not tell me that she was going to do it, or ask me about it. My guess is that he would not want to see any documents that might change his opinion.

Meanwhile, I asked the court clerk for a list of their court reporters. She said that they have no such list. If I wanted a record of my trial, I should consult the Yellow Pages. So I called a court reporter, and she said private reporters do depositions, but she never heard of the court needing a court reporter. She asked me why I don't just use the court reporter provided by the court. I had to tell her that they all got laid off, and the family court does not use any in-house court reporters anymore. If I want a record, I have to hire my own. Weird. I never heard of a court operating like that.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Feminists against DNA tests

A UK feminist writes in a magazine:
DNA tests are an anti-feminist appliance of science, a change in the balance of power between the sexes that we’ve hardly come to terms with. And that holds true even though many women have the economic potential to provide for their children themselves. ...

Now I can see that some men might rather welcome an end to the old-fashioned scenario whereby they find themselves held to account for the paternity of children born to girls with whom they just happen to have had sex. The actor Jude Law recently found himself in just this position, and unhesitatingly and ungallantly demanded a DNA test.

By contrast, the old situation, in which women presented men with a child, and the man either did the decent thing and offered support, or made a run for it, allowed women a certain leeway. The courtesan in Balzac who, on becoming pregnant, unhesitatingly sought, and got, maintenance from two of her men friends, can’t have been the only one. Uncertainty allows mothers to select for their children the father who would be best for them.

The point is that paternity was ambiguous and it was effectively up to the mother to name her child’s father, or not. (That eminently sensible Jewish custom, whereby Jewishness is passed through the mother, was based on the fact that we only really knew who our mothers are.) Many men have, of course, ended up raising children who were not genetically their own, but really, does it matter? You can feel quite as much tenderness for a child you mistakenly think to be yours as for one who is. ... But in making paternity conditional on a test rather than the say-so of the mother, it has removed from women a powerful instrument of choice. I’m not sure that many people are much happier for it.
Yeah, the sluts committing paternity fraud are not happy about it. They would like to have babies, and have separate men for sexual relations, genetic fatherhood, and financial support.

There are many women who could be supporting their kids by themselves, but it hardly ever happens. If the father is not in the home, them the mom is nearly always getting some sort of welfare or similar support.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

How CPS does harm

I posted before about CPS investigations doing more harm than good. It might seem hard to understand how well-meaning govt social workers could be doing harm by investigating suspected child abuse.

First of all, I do not concede that they are well-meaning people. They do not become social workers because they are noble and saintly, but because they are battling their own personal demons. Some of the social workers are seriously emotionally damaged, and they can be careless, sloppy, malicious, vindictive, bigoted, and have all the other faults that other people have.

The bigger problem is that it is nearly impossible to make people change their lifestyles. Suppose that a social worker discovers some parents doing a lousy job of rearing kids. Maybe the parents get drunk frequently, fight a lot, ignore the kids, watch too much TV, eat too much fast food, let the kids get fat on candy, fail to make the kids do homework, yells at the kids, etc. Suppose a well-meaning CPS agent sees this situation, and decides that it is not good for
the kids.

If she sees criminal child abuse or neglect, then she can turn the case over to prosecutors who can charge the parents with a crime and put the kids in foster care. That is not a good situation, but at least we have some standards for when such an action should be taken.

But what if the kids are getting substandard treatment that is not bad enough for permanent removal of the kids? Then CPS may be able to temporarily put the kids in foster care, but the kids will ultimately go back to the parents who will probably be just the same as before.

I know of one case where CPS put the kids in foster care for a year. I heard the story from the mom, and I saw the paperwork so I know the CPS story as well. The facts were not in dispute. The details are irrelevant for my point. The parents adamantly deny that they did anything wrong. The kids were not harmed by anything that the parents did. Maybe they are good parents, and maybe they are lousy parents. Reasonable people can differ. But ultimately the kids went back to the parents after the foster care, and the CPS intervention seemed entirely destructive to me. And yet the CPS agents would probably say that they did good by ensuring the safety of the kids for a year.

There is also a larger cost when we permit CPS to actions like this. We are not free if we empower govt agents to bust up families according their personal standards of how people should live. Our civilization has always been based on parents having the discretion to rear their kids as they see best. If they are constantly subject to CPS second-guessing, then they are not doing what they think is best. I think that CPS is harmful, both in their actual interventions and in their threats of interventions.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Trial date confirmation

I just got out of court. The appearance was just to confirm our child custody trial date for the end of the month.

For once, Judge Morse did not put us off to the end. She let the lawyers go first with their cases, but then called us after that. My ex-wife and I were unrepresented.

The only non-lawyer case before us was of a 300-pound woman in blue jeans and sandals who flew in from Virginia to try to finalize her divorce. But the judge could not do it, because she did not submit a proof of service. "Are you saying I flew out here for nothing?", she said. The judge asked if her husband was still in San Quentin. That is a big nasty California prison. The woman said that she did not know, and acted as if she had no way of finding out. The judge seemed to know more about the husband than the wife. Obviously, the problem was not just the proof of service. She had made no attempt to get the divorce papers to her husband, and he is entitled to notice about his court case.

Our case was called next. We both presented witness lists for the trial. The judge said that the trial would not start until 10:30, and my ex-wife complained that there may not be enough time for her witnesses. I asked for a second trial date. The judge suggested a date in January, but my ex-wife said that she would be out-of-town that date. I guess my kids will be out of town also; no one ever tells me. The judge then looked for a date in February and March. At one point she said that she had a an opening on Nov. 19, but that was too soon. "Too soon? I thought that sooner is better.", I said. So she gave us that date. I am taking a chance that I will be able to get my witnesses on that date.

I asked about a court reporter, since there wasn't one in the court at the time. The judge said that if I wanted a court reporter, then I was on my own to find one and hire one! I never heard of a court having a trial and not supplying a court reporter. It is a good thing I asked.

My ex-wife complained that I had been order to prepay the fees for her psychologist witness to testify, but she was concerned that I might not pay him, so she paid him. Now she wants to get reimbursed. The judge said that she had ordered me to pay the witness, so now I am ordered to pay her. There was also a complaint about orthodontics bills. I still don't understand that issue. I guess that I am supposed to pay half of out-of-pocket emergency medical expenses, but I really don't see what that has to do with discretionary orthodontics for which I was never consulted.

I told the judge that I was submitting a pre-trial brief that names my witnesses, and outlines their testimony and my arguments to be given at trial. The judge said that she had not read it. I guess she was making a joke since it was still in my hand. I had given a copy to my ex-wife shortly before court this morning, so she had a chance to read it quickly. She complained to the judge that I had given a description of the history of the case that was slanted to my point of view, and that she disagreed with how I framed the issues. The judge told her that she was welcome to write her own trial brief, if she wishes. My ex-wife is a lawyer, so her complaint seemed odd. Didn't she take a class in law school in how to write a slanted brief?

I had a new rebuttal witness, so I asked for permission for him to see the court case documents. I said that I don't think that permission is needed, but I was asking anyway just to make sure the trial goes smoothly. The judge asked my ex-wife for an objection, and she said that she objected to me springing this issue on her without following procedures, and she finds this annoying because I did it before. But she had no substantive objection and the judge granted permission.

My ex-wife also complained that my brief was a sneaky attempt to revisit issues that were settled three years ago, and that she had gotten Commissioner Joseph to order me not to do that. The judge started rustling some papers, and looked like she was going to order me to follow previous orders. But I assured her that I was filing a brief today that explicitly says that I do not intend to re-litigate any issues that have already been litigated. The judge was satisfied with that.

My ex-wife complained that she was on my witness list. Her position was that I was already found to be the bad guy, and the court psychologist agrees with her, so there is no reason that she should have to testify. That argument was so ridiculous that the judge ignored it.

My ex-wife also complained about how I might use the reports from the visitation supervisor. She said that the supervisor should testify if I am going to use her reports. So I agreed to put the supervisor on my witness lists. My ex-wife then complained that it was conflict of interest for the supervisor to testify, but the judge said that there was no such conflict. My ex-wife also wanted copies of any additional reports that the supervisor writes. I said that I would be happy to give her copies of any such reports.

My ex-wife complained about not having gotten her Nov. 1 child support check. I paid her right after we walked out of court.

Now I have to prepare for a trial. This is my big chance to win some custody of my kids back.