Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dad regains autistic boy on appeal

A reader sends me this S. California appeals case pdf:
In this case, the parties disagree fundamentally on how best to raise their highly intelligent son, J., who was diagnosed at a young age with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of high functioning autism. The parents care deeply for their son, but hold diametrically opposed views on the extent of his disabilities and on the efficacy of certain types of autism treatment. Mother has written a published book on autism, gives lectures on the subject, helps other families obtain services for their children with autism, and plans to write several more books about autism. Father is a special education attorney and has a master’s degree in psychology.

In 2008, when the parents divorced, they agreed, in a stipulated judgment pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 664.6 (the judgment), to submit future disputes about matters involving J. (such as custody and education) to a special master selected in accordancewith the judgment. The judgment provided: (1) the special master would be a licensed mental health professional; (2) if a party disagreed with the special master’s decision, the party could seekthe court’s intervention; and (3) the special master would report any unresolved conflictsto the court. Under the judgment, the parties shared joint legal custody of J. and divided their physical custody of him based on a designated schedule. In January 2009, mother discontinued any direct communication with father and advised him she had asked her fiancĂ© to be “an intermediary, whenever possible, for ALL communications with you.”
The mom got remarried, and tried to cut the dad out of their boy's llfe. They went to court, and the judge appointed psychologist David J. Jimenez as a child custody evaluator. His web site advertises:
Family Law Child Custody Evaluations
Full & Solution-Focused Evaluations, Relocation & “Move Away” Evaluations, Domestic & International, Attachment & Bonding Evaluations, Parental Alienation, Visitation & Parenting Plans, Collaborative Divorce

Criminal Evaluations
Death Penalty, Sexual Exploitation, Robbery, Dangerousness, Domestic Violence, Rape, Kidnapping, Stalking, Child Pornography & The “Internet”, Child Molestation & Abuse, ‘Competency To Stand Trial’, ‘Not Guilty By Reason Of Insanity/NGI’, ‘State of Mind at Time of Offense’, Substance Abuse

Dependency Evaluations
Reunification, Bonding & Attachment, Adoption

Expert Witness
He brags:
Psychological Consultation, Evaluation, Treatment, and Expert Court Testimony in Family Law, Criminal, & Dependency California Superior Court matters since 1991.

Privately Retained by Both the Prosecution and Defense.

Provided Thousands of Court Evaluations under Court E.C. 730 Appointment (PC:1368, 288, Etc.)

Provided Expert Testimony in over one hundred Family Law, Juvenile & Adult matters
He offers to do a Full Child Custody Evaluation on a sliding fee scale.

He turned out to be corrupt, and privately bragged that he had "deep pockets" clients. He sided with the mom and billed $42,000. He still has California Psychology License PSY 10629, but the state is now trying to revoke his license.

You can tell that people don't know anything about Asperger syndrome when they call it "Asperger's". The professional literature calls it "Asperger", not "Asperger's". Those who call it "Asperger's" are getting their info from the oversimplified lay press. Similarly the people who refer to the Book of Revelations are probably getting bad info, because if they read the Bible they would notice that the name is the Book of Revelation.

The only reason this case got to the appellate court was that the family court judge found Jimenez's work to be incompetent, but ordered that he be paid and his recommendations be followed anyway. Usually judges follow incompetent recommendations without documenting the incompetence of the expert.

It is common for parents to have more expertise in parenting their kids than the court evaluators and special masters. This case is unusual in that the parents had the credentials to prove it.

These parents had some minor disputes about schooling and other matters, and a settlement agreement with a mechanism to resolve such disputes. That is what should have happened. Instead the psychologist and judge went berserk trying to fleece them for money and reorganizing their lives.
The court found it was in J.’s best interest for mother to have sole legal custody. As to father, the court stated: “None of [father’s] positive and constructive involvement with [J.] will be adversely affected by [mother] having sole legal custody. He can continue to provide beneficial and very helpful assistance in doing homework, particularly math” and “can continue to try and involve his son in quality activities such as boating and even if they share a common interest in pocket knives.”
This is sick. This devalues fatherhood to just someone who pays money to the mom, helps on homework, and takes the boy boating, but is stripped of any authority or responsibility for the boy.

I cannot explain this bias against teaching math. I also had the problem of judges saying that I should not have legal custody if I teach me kids math.

Orange County Judge Clay M. Smith should be fired for this anti-father opinion.

Jimenez says that he has done 1000s of child custody evaluations over 20 years for the court. And he is not even Jewish. Psychologists like him are a menace to society. Other similarly experienced evaluators who ought to lose their licenses are: Kenneth Barry Perlmutter PSY 7053, Faren Ray Akins PSY 7110, Bret Kale Johnson PSY 10630.


Anonymous said...

"He can continue to provide beneficial and very helpful assistance in doing homework, particularly math”

"I cannot explain this bias against teaching math."

I don't follow. If the judge described it as beneficial and very helpful, why do you feel he has a bias AGAINST teaching math ?

" I also had the problem of judges saying that I should not have legal custody if I teach me kids math."

Could you simply, have just agreed to not teach them math and retained custody ?

George said...

A dad is not just someone to help with the homework. I was allowed some supervised visitation on the condition that I do not talk about math. No, I was never offered any custody under any conditions.

Anonymous said...

I don't follow. If the judge described it as beneficial and very helpful, why do you feel he has a bias AGAINST teaching math ?

George said...

The judge only allowed the dad to teach math if the mom could control and limit it however she pleased. A dad should be able to teach his child whatever he wants, without interference from the mom or the judge.

Anonymous said...

Maybe there's a problem with the father losing authority over the child, but see what the judge said,

"He can continue to provide beneficial and very helpful assistance in doing homework, particularly math”

The judge does not have some bias against math.

You said, "I cannot explain this bias against teaching math." The judge has said he has a particular bias in FAVOR of him teaching math.

The judge has a bias against the father not the subject of math.

In your personal case, they argued that you stresed the kids out about math competitions. That's what they pointed to, the competitons, not math.

I'm not saying that they were right about the competitons, or that the court treated you at all fairly.

Anonymous said...

"I cannot explain this bias against teaching math"

Really? You can't explain the bias against teaching math?

Math is logical. It requires and teaches logical and precise thinking about issues. When you confront a math problem, you look at the information, apply a formula, and achieve a result. Anyone who approaches the problem achieves the same result as long as they apply the formula correctly.

Judges hate this. They hate being told that the "right" answer is something other than what they think the answer should be. Logical, straightforward application of principles to achieve a result without biasing your analysis to achieve a desired result is anathema to judges and most of the legal system.

If dad teaches kids to look at the world rationally and logically, those kids might realize that the judges and lawyers that guided them away from their father are wrong.

I say this as a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

OK, I get what you're saying, but in this case the judge is asking that the father teach the child math in particular, right ? So, maybe judges do have a bias against math for the reasons you've brought up, but it doesn't seem like this judge has a bias agianst math, does it ?

Mark Jones said...

Sometimes, it's freaking annoying to hear how parents affect the child's relationship with them because of their decision of going separate ways. Sure it has to do with the kid also, but most of west palm beach divorce lawyers say the usual scenario of branching issues of divorce is the unsettled custody of the child, worsening the child's emotional state in accepting the setup.

Sophie Tyler Neil said...

As long as they can support their children. When I was in long island a had experienced bankruptcy and my wife left me and she bought our kids. I was the downfall of my life, but after I got back on track with my business. I hired a lawyer and now I have full custody of my children.

Ryan Donovan III said...

This story got my attention. I was in Arkansas when I heard it on the news. I was gonna contact my colleagues who are also attorneys to ask for some clarification and advices so that I could give others an idea. But when they replied, I've heard that the problem was resolved already.

Georgina Grant said...

The kids are the ones whose gonna suffer the consequences if the parents decided to separate. This will affect the child’s behavior up to its mental and psychological capacity. That’s what I heard from my friends in west palm beach court reporters, that’s why if possible couples should protect their marriage.

Charlie Riley said...

Reading this moved me. The father had a choice to not pursue his child but he did. this shows how much love he has for his boy. I am happy for both of them.