The Debacle of Family Court
A family law attorney’s article in today’s Los Angeles Daily Journal gives us a current status report on this court’s procedures, and California law or lack thereof, under which decisions affecting human relationships are made.
We are told the following, as of now, in this Year of our Lord 2005:
– That pre-marital or post-marital agreements are a good thing to enter into with the help of attorneys and accountants, but they may or may not be upheld in court.
– That custody “move-aways” may or may not be upheld, depending on circumstances.
– Domestic Violence Allegations proved with the help of attorneys “trained in both Criminal and Family Law” to be either true or false, should determine the outcome.
– Support Waivers in pre-marital agreements only to be permitted if the agreement was made with both sides having attorney representation. However, a court can still rule that the agreement is “unconscionable” if enforced.
– Contracts made during marriage between spouses regarding property ownership have conflicting views in the courts and may or may not be upheld.
– Valuation of goodwill generated by a celebrity through endorsements, record contracts, movie contracts, and public appearances is nil. But a self-employed professional earning $200,000 a year (attorney, accountant, therapist?) could be assigned goodwill of $125,000.
– As of January 1, 2005, it is unclear whether the courts will uphold community property and support rights of “registered partners” retro-actively.
– Collaborative Law. This is an alternative method of divorcing which involves a team that works together to resolve the issues brought forth by the breakup of the family. The team consists of the parties’ attorneys, coaches for the parents to help with the emotional side of the conflict, a financial planner, and a parenting specialist for issues of custody and visitation. One kicker is that in the event it falls apart, both attorneys must resign, and the cost easily exceeds the more usual methods!
– California Family Code section 2024.6 can have the court seal any pleading that reveals the assets and liabilities of either party at their request.
– Child abduction. The States have come up with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, and the Feds have come up with Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act. And internationally, there is a widely signed Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
I SUBMIT that the nature of the above material is misleading garbage to the underlying issues in order to save a flourishing industry. Read my sidebar, The Plight of the Pro Se.
I SUBMIT that the authorities are simply busy throwing out the baby with their stale bath water.
I SUBMIT that the average Joe and Jane on the street care about their kids, conceived their babies in love, and simply want to be a part of their growing-up years.
I SUBMIT that a baby is initially organically and viscerally a part of the psyche of the parent, both of them.
I SUBMIT that due to the failure of the authorities (read the legislators, the courts and the attorneys) to come up with an answer that embraces this fundamental human concept, there are Joes and Janes in this world who, distrusting the enormous powers of the authorities, will do drastic things including killing either themselves and/or their partners and/or their babies. And/or other people unrelated to their domestic problems.
I SUBMIT that such people CAN SOMETIMES lose their sanity, and their ability to survive in the new world selected for them by attorneys, forensic accountants, medical experts, child “evaluators”, judges, the courts, and at the end law enforcers.
WHENEVER I READ ABOUT A PUBLIC TRAGEDY, SUCH AS LAST WEEK’S TRAIN WRECK WHERE A SUICIDAL MAN CAUSED THE DEATHS OF ELEVEN PASSENGERS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PROPERTY DAMAGE, I say to myself that investigation of the circumstances will reveal that a domestic issue in crisis lies at the bottom of it. And even these same authorities say that there is no form of security or protection existing that will protect the public from that type of incident.
I CALL UPON OUR GOVERNOR ARNOLD SCHWARTZENEGGER, FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD, TO USE HIS AUTHORITY TO FORM A TASK FORCE FOR THE PURPOSE OF FINDING A SOLUTION.
IT WILL SEEK TO BREAK THROUGH THE FAMILY COURT LEGAL RITUALS WHICH ARE NOT UNDERSTOOD BY MOST PEOPLE, ARE SELF-DEFEATING AND TIME-CONSUMING AND SUBJECT TO FINANCIAL FRAUD AND ABUSE, TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE LIVES OF OUR CHILDREN AND THEIR PARENTS, AND BREAK NEW GROUND. IT WON’T BE POPULAR WITH THE ABOVE MENTIONED LEGAL COMMUNITY, MANY OF WHOM ARE MEDIA ATTENTION SEEKERS WITH A BUILT IN CONFLICT OF INTEREST, BUT IT MAY PREVENT FUTURE “ACCIDENTS” THAT TAKE THE LIVES OF INNOCENT PEOPLE.