Saturday, January 29, 2011

Judge tries to limit trial to shrink's report

I had this exchange with the family court judge on Jan. 12, while I was trying to cross-examine my ex-wife:
Q. Do you think that I should be permitted to see the
THE COURT: Okay. If I could redirect our
focus. Dr. Perlmutter's report was prepared and delivered
to the Court on May 14th of 2010. I believe that the
Court ordered -- it was prepared or at least printed
April 30th of 2010. And I believe the court order did not
go back three years. And if we're talking about an art --
an activity or a breach of parent communication --
MR. AngryDad: No, no. I'm not alleging any
breach of any court order. I'm simply trying to determine
what role she wants for the father of her kids.
MR. AngryDad: That's what I'm trying to
determine here.
THE COURT: Our focus is more --
MR. AngryDad: It seems to me --
THE COURT: Okay. Her --
MR. AngryDad: I'll tell you exactly my
concerns. Yeah, my daughter won an art contest. I never
even found out about it.
THE COURT: Did you ask her --
MR. AngryDad: Okay. Yes.
THE COURT: -- what she was doing in school?
MR. AngryDad: I did.
THE COURT: Okay. It's not my job to ask you
MR. AngryDad: I understand. But I'm asking
[AngryMom] what role she want -- I'm trying to determine what
role she wants in my kids' life.
MR. AngryDad: That's the purpose of these
questions here.
THE COURT: Her desire for whatever role she
would like you to play is not the relevant question here.

MR. AngryDad: It's not?
MR. AngryDad: Really?
THE COURT: Really.
MR. AngryDad: Okay. You could have fooled me.
I thought this was a case between [AngryMom] and me. And I
thought the kids were supposed to be raised by --
according to the wishes of their parents.
And I thought if [AngryMom] had some concerns about
my parenting practices, then she should express those and
express those to me.
And our kids should be raised according to our
wishes, not Ken Perlmutter's wishes.
THE COURT: As an overarching ethical question,
I tend to agree with you that parents should decide how to
raise their children.
As to the reason why we're here in
court, is specifically because you are challenging
Dr. Perlmutter's report.
So unfortunately, it's not as broad as perhaps
common sense might dictate.

MR. AngryDad: Well, I'm challenging more than
his report. I mean, I'm looking for custody of my kids.
THE COURT: Right. And much of that has been
litigated previously and we're not going to tread the same
MR. AngryDad: The custody hasn't been
This astounded me. It is a custody trial. The judge acts as if the wishes of the parents are irrelevant, and the only issue is whether to adopt the dictates of the psychologist.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Family court hears vaccine evidence

UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh writes:
Court Upholds Decision Giving Parent Authority Over Child’s Medical Care Because That Parent Would Immunize the Child

The decision seems correct to me, because it is in the child’s best interests.
He has somewhat libertarian views about free speech and guns, but he endorses a family court trying to make a medical decision about vaccination.

I posted several comments there.

It is funny how some lawyers think that the court has to intervene in a case like this. A vaccination decision is far less consequential than many other parental decisions.

A reader responds to an argument that vaccines are in the public interest:
Absolutely, but why should the state treat kids in a custody case differently than kids not in a custody case?

Either make vaccines mandatory for all and eliminate all opt outs, or acknowledge the right to an opt out and then don’t discriminate based on that right.

How much of a right to opt out of medical treatments do you have if a family court judge can use that against you to take your kids away?
The mom in this case does seem to have some nutty views, but the court has no business intervening.

The same blog reports that the British court has decided that domestic violence includes "shouting" and "denigration of her personality" for the purpose of qualifying for free (welfare) housing.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Roar of the lion father

Amy Chua is still getting huge publicity for her extreme child-rearing book. Anthony Esolen has another view:
While some of Ms. Chua‘s more extreme parenting experiences have led some to wonder whether her book is intended as a work of satire (it appears that it is not, at least not completely) Mr. Esolen‘s book actually is intended as a satire. And while Ms. Chua criticizes modern American parenting as providing insufficient control and discipline, Mr. Esolen attacks the overscheduling and overregimentation of modern childhood. Indeed, in many ways, Ms. Chua has advanced precisely the argument Mr. Esolen is satirizing.
The same guy wrote Ten Arguments against same-sex marriage.

Reasonable people can disagree about these child-rearing issues. The courts and psychologists have no business preempting the parents.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Blue Valentine

Last weekend I saw the new movie Blue Valentine. It rates 8.1/10 on IMDB, which is pretty good. It is about a deteriorating marriage, with flashbacks to happier times.

I usually hate movies like this. One review said:
A complex portrait of a contemporary American marriage, "Blue Valentine" tells the story of David and Cindy, a couple who have been together for several years but who are at an impasse in their relationship. While Cindy has blossomed into a woman with opportunities and options, David is still the same person he was when they met, and he is unable to accept either Cindy's growth or his lack of it. Innovatively structured, the narrative unfolds in two distinct time frames, juxtaposing scenes of first love and youthful sexuality with those of disenchantment and discord.
Wow, either this reviewer missed the point or I missed the point. First of all, the guy's name is "Dean", not David.

Another says:
Early screenings of the film have divided audiences on which partner is most at fault for the relationship ending, but the brilliance of writer-director Derek Cianfrance is that he makes it truly the fault of neither...or both. Cindy and Dean are both good people with flaws.
I think that this movie makes a powerful statement about the modern American marriage. I won't try to assess blame. See it for yourself. There are millions of men like Dean, and millions of women like Cindy. And apparently many more who consider Cindy blameless. Consider it an education.

Here is a better review.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Did Bristol Change Her Son's Last Name?

Today's rumor:
Rumor has it Bristol Palin is so fed up with baby daddy Levi Johnston that she's changing her son Tripp's surname from Johnston (negative connotations aplenty) to her maiden name, Palin (um...).

And this rumor has traction. It was seemingly started by none other than Bristol herself, when she reportedly posted a message on her private Facebook page, simply reading, "Tripp Easton Mitchell Palin…PALIN!!!" No Johnston in sight.
The article says that there has been no legal name change. Not yet, anyway.

I have noted here and here how Bristol Palin has schemed to keep her son's father out of his life. We will soon see the destruction caused by the courts letting her get away with it.

Rant against CPS

The local Santa Cruz free weekly had an article on child abuse, and it drew this comment:
written by Mommytime gone, January 07, 2011
what a bunch of liars. the entire system is disgusting and corrupt and these sanctimonious self-righteous uneducated people have made a business of taking children away from their families, putting them in (abusive) foster homes, making up lies about their parents, slandering them, and take great pleasure in humiliating them in family court, where they are completely untouchable and their actions have NO CHECKS and Balances. They are wrong most of the time and the lies they write up in their reports are just outrageous. Believe me, I know. I have had my daughter removed from me because my (bitter) ex says he "suspected drug use" in my home. It didn't matter how many negative tests I gave them, or that I complied with their "safety plan" having supervised visitation once a week for 3 hours (at a cost of $50/hr), for 6 months, that I am a full-time
Registered Nurse in a busy Labor and Delivery of that matters. and guess what CPS says when you want to get a copy of whatever it is in their file? they say you can't see it if you don't have custody. That is illegal and a lie. I lost custody because of them, so how convenient their little rule is. It's absolutely heartless. Meanwhile the stress this has caused my baby girl is incomprehensible. It's NOT RIGHT.
Well put.

There are some many things wrong with CPS that they cannot be explained in a one-paragraph letter to the newspaper editor. She did well to summarize her case and say, "It's NOT RIGHT." Decent people should be able to understand that it is not right. It should be obvious that it is not right. Others are hard to reach.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Retroactively sealing court documents

A law professor complains:
Wolk has now asked the Third Circuit to retroactively seal parts of his response, apparently including the passages that my blog post criticized. ...

Moreover, the plan behind this motion to retroactively seal the document is apparently to build a foundation for ordering the removal of my critical blog post ...

Naturally, I intend to oppose Wolk’s motion. But in any event, I wanted to point out what seems like an innovative attempt to suppress publications that criticize a lawyers’ motions.

And I hope that other publishers also try to intervene. If lawyers may compel a blogger “to remove” publications, by retroactively sealing the court documents that those publications quoted, they could equally do the same to other online publishers, including newspapers, magazines, and more.
I had to remove some quotes from this blog, because Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph retroactively sealed court documents. No justification was ever given, except to save himself from embarrassment for his crooked decisions.

My ex-wife asked Cmr. Joseph to send the cops to seize my kids while CPS was doing an investigation. I was quoting the CPS report that said that the agent found no specific wrongdoing and was not making a recommendation. The CPS report was not claimed to be confidential by CPS. Cmr. Joseph ordered those cops to seize my kids, and ended up finding me in contempt of court for quoting the conclusion of the CPS report on this blog.

I am glad Prof. Volokh is facing this issue. He is a very well respected free speech expert, and he will get the issue before a competent judge if his opponent persists. It should be obvious that you cannot just retroactively seal a legal argument posted on a blog, just because it exposes a faulty legal process.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mom speaks up for men

Lenore Skenazy has been called the World's Worst Mom for her Free Range Kids blog and her uncommon common sense about child rearing. She believes in unsupervised play, for example. I have recommended her before here and here.

Now she writes in the Wall Street Journal:
Last week, the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, Timothy Murray, noticed smoke coming out of a minivan in his hometown of Worcester. He raced over and pulled out two small children, moments before the van's tire exploded into flames. At which point, according to the AP account, the kids' grandmother, who had been driving, nearly punched our hero in the face.


Mr. Murray said she told him she thought he might be a kidnapper.

And so it goes these days, when almost any man who has anything to do with a child can find himself suspected of being a creep. I call it "Worst-First" thinking: Gripped by pedophile panic, we jump to the very worst, even least likely, conclusion first. Then we congratulate ourselves for being so vigilant. ...

And that's not the worst. In England in 2006, BBC News reported the story of a bricklayer who spotted a toddler at the side of the road. As he later testified at a hearing, he didn't stop to help for fear he'd be accused of trying to abduct her. You know: A man driving around with a little girl in his car? She ended up at a pond and drowned.

We think we're protecting our kids by treating all men as potential predators. But that's not a society that's safe. Just sick.
This article, along with last week's advice from Tiger Mom Amy Chua, are currently the top two emailed articles on the newspaper site. I thought that those readers were more interested in currency exchange rates and pork belly futures.

These two views are quite a contrast. Chua and Skenazy probably agree on nothing about child-rearing, except that the conventional wisdom is wrong and that they can do better with their kids. They are courageous to publish their views, as they would have a hard time convincing the local CPS goons and idiots.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Perlmutter wants more money

I thought that we had paid Palo Alto psychologist Ken Perlmutter all that we would ever have to pay him. We paid him $28,000 to do a child custody evaluation, and he recommended temporary sole custody to my ex-wife, even though he could not find any wrongdoing on my part.

He also said that he was incompetent to understand the legal record, incompetent to understand an applicable psychological principles, incompetent to understand the law, incompetent to do psychological tests, incompetent to define abuse or to give any examples of it, incompetent to evaluate any parenting practices, and incompetent to follow any generally accepted practices. Yes, he admitted all of that under oath.

Hidden in his recommendation is a pitch for more money! Apparently $28,000 is not enough. He does not say anything about what should happen after 6-9 months, and just wrote:
11... The Court may also determine that the parents shall have an updated child custody evaluation in order to receive input from an update to the current child custody evaluation with specific recommendations to address the parents' then current custodial requests.
In other words, he just made his recommendation temporary in order that he could make some more money after the resulting court motion.

It seemed to me that Perlmutter was just pouring gasoline on the fire, and creating more legal conflicts for us, so I asked him about it in our June 7, 2010 deposition. When I asked him what should have been some very easy questions, he got extremely evasive:
Q. If your purpose were to maximize litigation
and prolong court supervision of my kids, how would you
do your evaluation any differently?

A. I don't know the answer to that question. I
don't understand the question.

Q. You don't understand the question?

A. I don't understand your question that you just
asked me.

Q. Okay. It just seems to me that your -- of all
the possible things you could recommend, it seems to me
you've chosen the recommendation that maximizes
litigation and prolongs court supervision as much as
possible. And I would like to know if that's true or

A. I don't know the answer to that. You're
making a statement. It's not my job to assess your
statement or give an opinion on it.

Q. But I can give you your opinion. I can ask
you that if your purpose were to maximize litigation
and prolong court supervision of my kids, how would you
do your evaluation any differently?

A. I can't answer that question.

Q. Did you think that you were resolving
something with this report?

A. That was not my task. My task was to conduct
a comprehensive child custody evaluation of this
family, to make recommendations about what custodial
arrangements would be in the best interests of your
So he was not even trying to resolve anything. He would just creating conflict so that he could make more money on an updated evaluation.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pilot holds plane for grieving granddad

A reader sends this story:
Last night, my husband and I got the tragic news that our three-year-old grandson in Denver had been murdered by our daughter’s live-in boyfriend.

He is being taken off life support tonight at 9 o’clock and his parents have opted for organ donation, which will take place immediately. Over 25 people will receive his gift tonight and many lives will be saved. ...

When he got there, the pilot of his plane and the ticketing agent both said, “Are you Mark? We held the plane for you and we’re so sorry about the loss of your grandson.”
Credit Southwest Airlines for adding a bit of decency to a terrible story. The mom probably got custody by arguing that she is safer than the dad. I don't know why family courts accept such arguments, because the kids are almost always less safe with the mom.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Another lesson from Amy Chua

I posted below about the Amy Chua book of parenting lessons. Here is one of her best:
My kids were maybe seven and four and my husband had forgotten my birthday so at the last minute we went to this mediocre Italian restaurant and he said “O.K., girls you both have a little surprise for mommy.” And my [4-year-old] daughter Lulu pulls out a card, but the card was just a piece of paper folded crookedly in half with a big smiley face and it said Happy Birthday Mom. And I looked at it and I gave it back and I said “This isn't good enough. I want something that you put a little bit more time into.” So I rejected her birthday card. People can't believe I rejected this handmade card. But she knew as well as I did that it took her about two seconds to do it.
She is not joking. She has a whole book defending these practices.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My trial continues

My child custody trial continued for another day yesterday. I was hoping that we would finish, but it will continue on Feb. 4.

The two visitation supervisors testified, and their reports were entered as evidence. My ex-wife had a very long list of questions for one of them, such whether visits ought to have 24 or 72 hours notice. There was no point to any of it that I could see.

The other supervisor had a couple of negative comments. She said that she had some safety concerns. I asked her for specifics, and she said that one time we were playing a game at the beach and I was throwing a beach ball at my daughter who was buried in the sand. At one point, the supervisor asked me to stop throwing the ball. The supervisor said that the ball was not hurting the girl, but if she had come out of the sand and if I had kept throwing, then the ball might have hurt her. That was the worst problem, if you can call it a problem.

At the end of the day, I pointed out to the judge that we have a visitation problem this month, because the supervisor is unavailable on the days required by the psychologist. The supervisor has subcontractor who can fill in, but she is a new PhD who has not yet completed her licensing requirements yet. I said that I just wanted a visit this month. My ex-wife said that she was unwilling to deviate from Perlmutter's recommendation, that an unlicensed supervisor is unaccepted, that our kids are busy every day this month, and that she is too busy to interview a new supervisor. The judge said that she cannot deviate from the Perlmutter recommendation because the trial was ongoing, and allowed my ex-wife to make a visit this month virtually impossible.

All of these excuses are ridiculous. The judge can alter visitation at any time. Does she really think that a license is needed to properly prevent me from throwing a beach ball too many times? I am not sure this judge is getting an understanding of the case at all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Perlmutter says he is incompetent again

Here is some more testimony from psychologist Ken Perlmutter in my case:
Q. (By Mr. AngryDad) Okay. But just to be clear here,
you don't know what custody we had before your appointment
and you're not competent to say, even though you read all
the legal papers. And even during the course of our
evaluation, you don't know what custody arrangement we
had. And even though you read all the legal papers,
you're not competent to say what custody arrangement we

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. But do you still contend you're not competent
to make a custody recommendation?

A. Yes.

Q. Even though you're not competent to read court papers
to determine what custody arrangement we already had?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you ask us what custody arrangement we already

A. Yes.

Q. Did I tell you?

A. My recollection is you did.

Q. And did I tell you correctly?

A. I don't know how to answer. I don't know if you were
correct or not.

Q. Okay. Okay. But you did recommend sole temporary
legal and physical custody?

A. No, I did not. I recommended temporary sole legal
and physical custody.
I am appalled that this bozo can get $28,000 for this. Wouldn't you expect that if someone is appointed by the court to make a child custody recommendation, and collects the big bucks to do it, that he would at least have the competency to determine the existing custody arrangement? If he cannot even do that, then how could his work have any merit at all?

Actually, this transcript says that he admits that he is not competent to make custody recommendations. I don't know why any court would pay any attention to him at all.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Chinese mom gives piano lessons

Parenting practices seem to vary from one culture to another. Yale law professor Amy Chua brags about her parenting in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, and plugging her new book on the subject:
Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it's like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I've done it. ...

Back at the piano, Lulu made me pay. She punched, thrashed and kicked. She grabbed the music score and tore it to shreds. I taped the score back together and encased it in a plastic shield so that it could never be destroyed again. Then I hauled Lulu's dollhouse to the car and told her I'd donate it to the Salvation Army piece by piece if she didn't have "The Little White Donkey" perfect by the next day. When Lulu said, "I thought you were going to the Salvation Army, why are you still here?" I threatened her with no lunch, no dinner, no Christmas or Hanukkah presents, no birthday parties for two, three, four years. When she still kept playing it wrong, I told her she was purposely working herself into a frenzy because she was secretly afraid she couldn't do it. I told her to stop being lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic.
I hate to think what would happen if the local family court appointed the local gay shrink to evaluate this mom, or if the local CPS investigated her. She is not doing what I would do, but no one should interfere unless they can prove that she is doing something harmful.

Before you adopt this Chinese mom's methods, you might want to read the comments of those who have contrary experiences. Some of them are very disturbing.

Chua is married to an Orthodox Jew, and has not taken his name. Her new book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, recommends saying this to a daughter practicing the piano:
If the next time's not PERFECT, I'm going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them!"
Wow, that is worse than the worst thing that I have been accused of, and the family court has taken away my kids for three years.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Man countersues for ring

Here is news from Chicago:
Vito Salerno, of Barrington, the ex-fiance who was sued for breach of promise after he got cold feet and allegedly left his onetime future bride with $95,000 in wedding expenses, has filed his own lawsuit. He wants his $45,500, 3-carat engagement ring back.
Here is more info:
Both lawsuits do agree on one matter: There was a bachelor party — featuring strippers and lap dances — at a South Loop gentlemen’s club called the Pink Monkey. ...

Another blow to the relationship, according to Salerno’s suit, occurred when his bride allegedly told him she had been treated for severe depression at the Mayo Clinic and was on medication. Earlier, Salerno claimed, Buttitta had told him she got a clean bill of health.
Do I need to tell you the occupation of the bride-to-be who filed the first lawsuit? Perhaps she read this story about how recent law school grads cannot pay off their student loans:
In reality, and based on every other source of information, Mr. Wallerstein and a generation of J.D.’s face the grimmest job market in decades. Since 2008, some 15,000 attorney and legal-staff jobs at large firms have vanished, according to a Northwestern Law study. Associates have been laid off, partners nudged out the door and recruitment programs have been scaled back or eliminated.
I am sure that there is a family court that is glad that this couple did not have kids, and some family court lawyers and psychologists wishing that they did.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Court forces schooling decision

The Christian Science Monitor reports:
When divorced parents disagree on whether a child should be home-schooled, how should courts weigh the issues?

It’s a difficult job, especially when part of the dispute is over the religious views that one parent is imparting to the child.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday in a case that pits a mother’s desire to continue home-schooling her daughter against a father’s concerns that the religion-based home-school environment is not giving her broad enough exposure to other ideas and life skills. ...

Home schooling is often a matter of dispute between separated parents, says Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute in Salem, Ore. He has served as a witness in such cases, and in his view, “the vast majority of guardians ad litem are biased clearly in favor of institutional public schooling.”
Yes, of course the guardians ad litem are biased. They should not be making the decisions. There ought to be a compromise to meet the wishes of both parents, without some outsider imposing his views.

It might seem like homeschooling is the one the one irreconcilable issue where there is no possibility of compromise between parents with joint custody, but that is just not true. Here is California we have many students who are homeschooled part time. I even know some who attend our local public school part time.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Shrink is defensive about his fees

I posted below some testimony from Psychologist Ken Perlmutter about his fees. He seemed to be a little sensitive about the subject, as it came up again about an hour later. He got visibly angry about it, and started to turn red. There is no video to show it, but it was quite a contrast to his subdued demeanor for the rest of his testimony.

Here is the official transcript:
Q. (By Mr. AngryDad) So as far as you know, there are
no examples in which [AngryMom] and I did not cooperate on

A. I think I just --

Q. In that four years of joint custody?

A. I just testified to two things. One is that [AngryMom]
indicated to me that there were several things that you
and she did not agree to, did not cooperate on during that
And number two --

Q. Okay --

A. -- and number two is that I did not assess that. I
merely listened to it.

Q. Okay. But I'm asking you about your knowledge here.
I mean, you did do a $28,000 of work on this case.

A. And you know what? You've said that many times, and
I'm going to answer that. How does the amount of money
that was spent on this evaluation have anything to do with
anything you're asking me about at this point in time?

THE COURT: Okay. So the witness doesn't get to
ask the lawyer questions, but --

THE WITNESS: I understand. But this is
something that has gone on and on and on. And I want it
as part of the record.

MR. AngryDad: Well --

THE WITNESS: So it is now part of the record
unless you strike it. But I will apologize for stating
that and we'll move on.

THE COURT: I don't think you have to apologize
for that, but you don't have to answer it. And let us go
ahead and move on.

Q. (By Mr. AngryDad) Okay. I'd like -- you -- you just
said that you thought there were a couple of examples that
[AngryMom] alleged of noncooperation. Could you tell us one

A. To the best of my recollection, [AngryMom] was concerned
about your feeding of the kids, about your facilitating
their extracurricular activities, and about some of your
disciplinary techniques. That's my recollection.

Q. Is that all you can do? I mean, I don't --

A. That's all I can do.
And I didn't take it as a fact that she was correct.
I'm telling you that I took it as a sign that you and she
were in disagreement during that period of time. I didn't
assume that what she was telling me was the truth.

Q. And that's all you're going to tell me?

A. That's all I'm going to tell you.
Since I did not answer his question in court, I answer it here.

Ken Perlmutter did a $28,000 evaluation and wrote an order depriving me of all legal and physical custody of my kids. He justified it, in part, by saying that my ex-wife are not able to cooperate. I do believe that if he is going to accept that kind of money, and take that sort of action, then he should be able to back up what he says with some sort of example. He could not. We should not have had to pay him $28,000 to learn that my ex-wife has some vague and unsubstantiated allegations.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Most international abductors are moms

Robert Franklin writes about a Time magazine article:
The Hague Convention was originally drawn up to address the problem of parents absconding with children across international borders. That was in 1980. Few would argue that it does a terribly good job of returning children promptly to their countries of residence. As but one example, the Convention states as its goal the return of kidnapped children within six weeks of the filing of a complaint. Tell that to Ronald Goldman, the New Jersey man who fought the Brazilian courts for five years with the help of the United States Department of State before finally getting back his son Sean.

Still, the Convention is what we have, but back in 2006, a British law professor looked at cases brought under the Convention and learned that 68% of abducting parents were mothers. That leads Time to ask,
So what happens, three decades later, when research indicates that 68% of the abducting parents in cases under this treaty are mothers — and that many of them are fleeing abusive spouses?
The magazine article proposes changing the law to make it easier for moms to kidnap their kids and flee to another country.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Psychologist testimony

Psychologist Ken Perlmutter did a child custody evaluation for the court in my case, and here is how his court testimony began last month:
AngryDad: Okay. Mr. Perlmutter, were you paid $28,000 for your
work in this case?

Permutter: That's an approximate total. Would you like an exact

AngryDad: No. That's good enough.
Until the accusations that resulted in your
appointment, [AngryMom] and I shared 50/50 joint custody --

Permutter: Could I go back one second? There might be a
significant error there. You said that I charged $28,000?

AngryDad: I said you were paid about $28,000 for your work in
this case.

Permutter: That's incorrect.

AngryDad: Okay. How much were you paid?

Permutter: As you know, you were responsible for advancing the
fees for the evaluation. And during the course of the
evaluation you made three payments. The first was for
$6,000. The second was for $6,000. The third was for
$7,350. The total is $19,350.

AngryDad: And how much initial money have you been paid --

Permutter: It's a total --

AngryDad: -- since then?

Permutter: From you?

AngryDad: No. How much have you been paid?

Permutter: I've been paid the fees from [AngryMom] for my appearance
at court last time and today. As you also know, you
refused to pay my deposition at my deposition. And I
believe the Court made an order that [AngryMom] was to pay
that. So that was another thing that [AngryMom] paid. I can
tell you --

AngryDad: Excuse me. I'm asking you what you know. Do you
know how much money you were paid?

Permutter: I'm going to tell you the additional payments that
you made in your case.
Since your initial completion of the evaluation --

Permutter: I apologize, your Honor. I did
not add these up in advance.

THE COURT: That's fine.

Permutter: So since the release of the
report, I have -- and the three payments that I noted that
you made, I have received three payments from [AngryMom]. One
was for $1,800. The other was for $4,500. And the other
was for $2,250. And a quick total of that is $8,550.

AngryDad: So total amount you were paid was about $28,000?

Permutter: If you would like me to add those up, then I will.
The total that I get is $27,900.

AngryDad: Thank you.
Until the accusations that resulted in your
appointment, [AngryMom] and I shared 50/50 joint custody. Is
that correct?

AngryMom: Objection; he's -- I just take
note that he's assuming -- he's stating -- "the accusation
that resulted in your appointment" is not an accurate
description of the history of the case. And so, I object
to the form of the question. He's assuming -- it's

AngryDad: I'm asking if it's a correct
statement. If it's not correct, you can say it's not

THE COURT: Overruled. You may answer.

Permutter: I don't know the answer to that
question. I talk about the questions that I had about my
understanding of the record in the report. And I
understand your theory that up until the time that the
recommended order that I made was signed into an order by
Commissioner Joseph, I understand that you believed that
you had joint legal and physical custody. And I certainly
understand why you think that's the case. And I know that
I'm not competent to make the decision about the reality
of that.
Is this pathetic or not? He took $28k for the case, but is confused about the amount. When asked the simplest question about our custody situation, he starts pleading incompetence. If you were doing a $28k child custody evaluation, I would expect you to first determine the current custody determination, and to be able to testify about it.

If he does not understand the simplest things about the case history, how could his recommendations possibly have any merit?

Monday, January 03, 2011

Bullying banned in Boston

There is a new Massachusetts bullying law:
Many dissatisfied with Mass. anti-bullying law

BOSTON -- After years of legislative wrangling it took a tragedy to get a tough new anti-bullying law approved on Beacon Hill this year.

But not all are happy with the law that was passed after the suicide of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince, a South Hadley High School student bullied by classmates, made international headlines.

Some school principals say they must rewrite successful anti-bullying programs that were in effect before the Legislature passed the new law in May. Anti-bullying advocates say the law doesn't go far enough. One legal expert warns that vague language could open the door to many cases that fall short of real bullying.

Sean Varano, a criminal justice professor at Roger Williams University, says the law allows any student to file a complaint of bullying if he or she considers any kind of problem with a fellow student as emotionally harmful.

Varano said under the definition, a kindergartner telling a classmate she wouldn't be invited to his birthday party could be charged with causing emotional harm.

"I believe that the legislation as written was a disaster," Varano said in an interview. "The legislators created a Pandora's Box and I don't think they have any idea of the implications in schools."
I am against bullying in school, but criminalizing emotional harm seems foolhardy to me. There are way to many things that could be alleged to cause some sort of emotional offense to someone.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Astronaut smacks a heckler

A reader sent this video: Buzz Aldrin punches Bart Sibrel after he claims Buzz never walked on the moon.

Good thing that Buzz is not subject to the jurisdiction of the California family court, or he would have to take a 52-week anger management class. I hesitate to even endorse such conduct, or I might have to take the class!

Happy New Year.