After roughly two years, my divorce was finally finished and signed off by the judge. It wasn't fun, I didn't get the best outcome, but those are details for another day and time. The point is, the divorce was official and final. During those two years that it took to obtain a final decision, I foolishly operated on a simple assumption: we all will continue to live in the same county. Not once in the last two years did my ex ever express a desire to relocate. Not once.
Yet 34 days after the judge's signature hit our decree, the ex told me she was moving out of county. Read that again. Thirty-four days. I filed for a change in custody based on this, and the judge ordered a 730 eval. If you aren't from California, or if you just want to read up on the specifics of a 730 eval, you can find plenty of information here, here, and here. (To note, I am not affiliated with any of those sites, companies, owners, operators, bloggers, writers, attorneys, courts, etc. This is just a sampling of information on the 730 eval from a variety of sources, the last being a county court in California.)
The ex and I both met with the evaluator, separately. The evaluator contacted a few people, and, in accordance with court rules and state statute, submitted a written report to the court summarizing the findings and recommendations.
The evaluator reviewed our current custody arrangement, and reviewed the proposal of my ex for a post-move arrangement. The evaluator concluded that, because my ex stated she's not trying to reduce my time, there is no actual reduction of my time. Yet, when the schedules are put down on a calender and compared side by side, I go from 40% pre-move, to 30% post-move. This considers summer, spring break, holidays, etc. So, if my time is reduced by 25% (40% - 30% = 10%, and 10% / 40% = 1/4 , or 25%), how is this not a reduction?
Are evaluators truly unbiased? Are they actually professionals that are qualified to examine such issues? If basic math, particularly in the calculation of a custody schedule, is something that escapes an "expert", does that not point to a serious need for reform in the system and process? Is such an error not truly egregious in nature? I understand these are largely rhetorical questions. Yet such is the state of California's current child custody system, one in which fathers must fight every single detail, and one in which even those that are supposed to be unbiased show a clear bias by simply taking mothers at their word.
Sound off in the comments. Let's hear your thoughts and stories.