Interesting Case for Custody Evaluator Lawsuit / Immunity Rebuttal

Davis v Medical Evaluation Specialists  

(I’m only going to copy over the relevant parts – see the bold / underlined parts of what I have copied)
Appellant pleaded that local plaintiffs attorneys had detected a bias against claimants by doctors affiliated with MES. For example, appellant’s pleadings alleged that when MES physicians were involved, the reports allegedly all read the same, and the result was allegedly almost always a 0% impairment rating. Appellant thus alleged that MES and its physicians were not participating in good faith in evaluating workers’ compensation claims.(FN2) Appellant contends that MES was subverting the TWCA by recruiting physicians who would ignore the American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines and knowingly assign false and fraudulent impairment ratingsthat would attract insurance company business.  

The TWCC then designated another doctor to evaluate appellant (A Second Opinion). The new designated doctor examined appellant and assigned an impairment rating of 21% under the AMA guides.  (second opinion was in disagreement with the bias doctor)  

(The bias doctors) moved for summary judgment, claiming absolute derived judicial immunity and qualified “good faith” immunity.   ( The trial court granted immunity) 

In point of error one, appellant contends it was error for the trial court to grant the summary judgment motions of MES, Dr. DeFrancesco, and Dr. Dozier based upon either absolute derived judicial immunity or qualified “good faith” immunity.    These appellees rely heavily on Delcourt v. Silverman (which Sherry relies heavily on)

(The second opinion) affidavit created a fact issue as to whether Dr. DeFrancesco and Dr. Dozier acted in bad faith when they assessed appellant
These appellees rely on Putthoff v. Ancrum, 934 S.W.2d 164, 166-67 (Tex. App.–Fort Worth 1996, writ denied), in which the plaintiffs complained that a negligent autopsy prevented them from proving their daughter was murdered. The pathologists claimed qualified judicial immunity, and their motion for summary judgment was denied.  

In City of Lancaster v. Chambers, 883 S.W.2d 650, 656 (Tex. 1994), the supreme court adopted a good faith test consisting of “objective legal reasonableness.” This standard applies in all qualified or official immunity cases. Murillo v. Garza, 881 S.W.2d 199, 202 (Tex. App.–San Antonio 1994, no writ). The element of good faith is satisfied when it is shown that a reasonably prudent person in the same or similar circumstances would have taken the same actions. City of Houston v. Newsom, 858 S.W.2d 14, 18 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 1993, no writ). To controvert summary judgment proof on good faith, the plaintiff must do more than show a reasonably prudent person would not have taken the same action; “the plaintiff must show that ‘no reasonable person in the defendant’s position could have thought the facts were such that they justified defendant’s acts.‘” City of Lancaster, 883 S.W.2d at 657 (emphasis added).  (No reasonable person like the list of a dozen experts that have come in behind Sherry with second opinion reports??)
plaintiffs did not lose because the defendants’ affidavits were unassailable. They lost because their own controverting affidavit was inadequate. All it stated was that the defendant doctors were negligent; it wholly failed to say that they acted in bad faith. See id. at 173.  

“We must also bear in mind that it is not appellees’ burden to disprove good faith, but merely to raise a fact issue.” Murillo v. Garza, 904 S.W.2d 688, 692 (Tex. App.–San Antonio 1995, writ denied).  

The appellees claim that (the second opinion) affidavit was conclusory and unsupported by any medical or other objective data. We (the appellate court) disagree.  We sustain the first point of error.

Delcourt, 919 S.W.2d at 787. This argument must fail because we have found above that the physicians in question are not immune if they acted in bad faith, and a fact issue was raised on this question. Unlike the court-appointed psychiatrist and the attorney ad litem defendants in Delcourt, and unlike the corrupt judge in the Delcourt hypothetical, appellees are not entitled to common-law absolute derived judicial immunity. They are immune by statute only for their acts “in good faith.” For acts in bad faith, they have no immunity. Tex. Lab. Code Ann. §§ 413.054(a), 402.010(b). These appellees’ contention that they derive immunity from Dr. Dozier and Dr. DeFranceso fails for the same reason.  
We sustain the second point of error.

We reverse the judgment and remand the cause.  

Arguments for Custody Evaluator Immunity in Lawsuit

Sherry cites Jones vs Sherry case in support for her immunity  Quotes from that appeal:
“When a person is entitled to derived judicial immunity, he or she receives the same absolute immunity from liability for acts performed within the scope of his or her jurisdiction as that of a judge. Dallas County v. Halsey, 87 S.W.3d 552, 554 (Tex. 2002) (concluding that court reporter was not entitled to derived judicial immunity)” 
“Applying the functional approach and considering Dr. Sherry’s relationship to the judicial process in the underlying divorce proceedings, we conclude that Dr. Sherry is entitled to derived judicial immunity for any acts performed within the scope of her delegated authority ” 

Most importantly Sherry violated the Texas Family Code (§107.108) to abide by all standards of care and all ethical standards guidelines ;
AFCC Rules –  Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluation ESTABLISHING THE SCOPE OF THE EVALUATION 
The scope of the evaluation shall be delineated in a Court order or in a signed stipulation by the parties and their counsel.

At no point does the Jones appeal discuss the fact that Sherry did not perform within the scope of her delegated authority, and does not mention that Sherry did not follow the laws and codes as stated in Sherry’s own signed stipulation by the parties.   Sherry citing the Jones appeal is irrelevant because the cases are brought about on totally different claims.   Sherry’s scope of the evaluation was delineated in the signed agreement between the parties that stated

  1. Alissa Sherry and her corporation would, and were required to abide by the ethical standards of Psychologists, The Texas Psychologists Licensing Act, and the rules of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists.  
  2. Forensic assessments conducted through Legal Consensus PLLC are conducted with the highest regard for the ethical standards for licensed psychologists and the ethical standards for forensic psychologists
  3. Alissa Sherry and her corporation would be as legally, professionally, and financially independent of the parties as possible.  In this way the examiner maintains his/her personal integrity
  4. Alissa Sherry and her corporation would provide an independent, neutral, objective examination

Sherry specifically did not complete her contract within the above scope of the evaluation by violating the following laws and codes:

The Relevant and Controlling Statutes and Board Rules

  • The determination of whether or not Legal Consensus fulfilled or breached its contractual obligations requires the Court to consider the applicable contract terms, the relevant statutes, Board rules, and the American Psychological Association (“APA”) Ethical Principals and Code of Conduct applicable to the Legal Consensus Fee Agreement:

  • Tex. Fam. Code:
      • (a) A social study evaluator who has a conflict of interest with any party in a disputed suit or who may be biased on the basis of previous knowledge, other than knowledge obtained in a court-ordered evaluation, shall: (1) decline to conduct a social study for the suit; or (2) disclose any issue or concern to the court before accepting the appointment or assignment.
      • b) A social study evaluator who has previously conducted a social study for a suit may conduct all subsequent evaluations in the suit unless the court finds that the evaluator is biased.
      • (a) Unless otherwise directed by a court or prescribed by a provision of this title, a social study evaluator’s actions in conducting a social study shall be in conformance with the professional standard of care applicable to the evaluator’s licensure and any administrative rules, ethical standards, or guidelines adopted by the state agency that licenses the evaluator.
      • (c) A social study evaluator shall follow evidence-based practice methods and make use of current best evidence in making assessments and recommendations.
      • (e) To the extent possible, a social study evaluator shall verify each statement of fact pertinent to a social study and shall note the sources of verification and information in the report.
    • §107.0514. ELEMENTS OF SOCIAL STUDY.
      • (a) The basic elements of a social study under this subchapter consist of:
        • (2) an interview, conducted in a developmentally appropriate manner, of each child at issue in the suit who is at least four years of age;
        • (7) assessment of the relationship between each child at issue in the suit and each party seeking possession of or access to the child.
      • (b) The additional elements of a social study under this subchapter consist of:
        • (1) balanced interviews and observation of each child at issue in the suit so that a child who is interviewed or observed while in the care of one party to the suit is also interviewed or observed while in the care of each other party to the suit;
        • (2) an interview of each individual residing in a residence subject to the social study;
        • (3) evaluation of the home environment of each party seeking conservatorship of a child at issue in the suit or possession of or access to the child, regardless of whether the home environment is in dispute.
      • (c) A social study evaluator may not offer an opinion regarding conservatorship of a child at issue in a suit or possession of or access to the child unless each basic element of a social study under Subsection (a) has been completed.
    • §107.107 provides that: “before accepting appointment as a child custody evaluator, the person must disclose to the court, the parties’ attorneys, any conflict of interest, any relationship or confidence or trust the person believes the person has with an attorney in the suit, and or any other information relating the persons relationship with an attorney in the suit that could affect the ability of the person to act impartially in conducting the child custody evaluation. After appointment, the person shall immediately disclose to the court any conflict of interest.”
    • §107.108
      • §107.108(a) provides that: A child custody evaluator’s actions must be in conformance with the professional standard of care applicable to the evaluator’s license and any ethical standards or guidelines of the licensing authority that licenses the evaluator.
      • §107.108(c) provides that: A child custody evaluator shall follow evidence-based practice methods, and make use of current best evidence in making assessments and recommendations.
      • §107.108(d) provides that: A child custody evaluator shall disclose to each attorney of record any communication regarding a substantive issue between the evaluator and an attorney of record representing one of the parties. 
      • §107.108(e) provides that: A child custody evaluator shall verify each statement of fact pertinent to a child custody evaluation and shall note the sources of verification and information in the report.
      • §107.108(f) provides that: A child custody evaluator shall state the basis of the evaluator’s conclusions, in the extent to which the information obtained limits the reliability and validity of the opinion and the conclusions and recommendations of the evaluator.
    • §107.109(d) provides that: The additional elements of a child custody evaluations consist of balanced interviews and observations of each child.
    • §107.112 (c) provides that: Except for records obtained from the department in accordance with Section 107.111, a private child custody evaluator shall, after completion of an evaluation and the preparation and filing of a child custody evaluation report under Section 107.113, make available in a reasonable time the evaluator’s records relating to the evaluation on the written request of an attorney for a party, a party who does not have an attorney, and any person appointed under this chapter in the suit in which the evaluator conducted the evaluation, unless a court has issued an order restricting disclosure of the records.
    • §107.115 provides that: The court shall award the person a reasonable fee for the preparation of the evaluation that shall be imposed in the form of a money judgment.
  • Texas Board Psychology Rules (Tex. Admin. Code Title 22 part 21 §461.1 et seq) 
    • 463.8- Licensed Psychological Assistant
      • must practice under the supervision of a licensed psychologist and may not practice independently, unless meet certification standards
  • 465.9 Competency

(a) Licensees maintain current knowledge of scientific and professional information that ensures competency in every area in which they provide services.

(b) Licensees provide services in an unfamiliar area or involving new techniques only after first undertaking appropriate study and training, including supervision, and/or consultation from a professional competent to provide such services.

(c) In emerging areas in which generally recognized standards for preparatory training do not exist, licensees take reasonable steps to ensure the competence of their work and to protect patients,clients, research participants, and other affected individuals from the potential for harm.

(d) Licensees are responsible for ensuring that all individuals practicing under their supervision are competent to perform those services.

(e) Licensees who delegate performance of certain services such as test scoring are responsible for ensuring that the entity to whom the delegation is made is competent to perform those services.

(f) Licensees who lack the competency to provide particular psychological services to a specific individual must withdraw and refer the individual to a competent appropriate service provider.

(g) Licensees refrain from initiating or continuing to undertake an activity when they know or should know that there is a substantial likelihood that personal problems or conflicts will prevent them from performing their work-related activities or producing a psychological report in a competent and timely manner. When licensees become aware of such conflicts, they must immediately take appropriate measures, such as obtaining professional consultation or assistance in order to determine whether they should limit, suspend, or terminate the engagement in accordance with Board rule §465.21 of this title (relating to Termination of Services)

  • 465.10 provides that: Basis for Scientific and Professional Judgments:
    • Licensees rely on scientifically and professionally derived knowledge when making professional judgments.”

  • 465.11- Informed Consent.

(a) Except in an inpatient setting where a general consent has been signed, licensees must obtain and document in writing informed consent concerning all services they intend to provide to the patient, client or other recipient(s) of the psychological services prior to initiating the services, using language that is reasonably understandable to the recipients unless consent is precluded by applicable federal or state law.

(b) Licensees provide appropriate information as needed during the course of the services about changes in the nature of the services to the patient client or other recipient(s) of the services using language that is reasonably understandable to the recipient to ensure informed consent.

(c) Licensees provide appropriate information as needed, during the course of the services to the patient client and other recipient(s) and afterward if requested, to explain the results and conclusions reached concerning the services using language that is reasonably understandable to the recipient(s).

(d) When a licensee agrees to provide services to a person, group or organization at the request of a third party, the licensee clarifies to all of the parties the nature of the relationship between the licensee and each party at the outset of the service and at any time during the services that the circumstances change.

(f) At any time that a licensee knows or should know that he or she may be called on to perform potentially conflicting roles, the licensee explains the conflict to all affected parties and adjusts or withdraws from all professional services in accordance with Board rules and applicable state and federal law. Further, licensees who encounter personal problems or conflicts as described in Board rule 465.9(i) of this title that will prevent them from performing their work-related activities in a competent and timely manner must inform their clients of the personal problem or conflict and discuss appropriate termination and/or referral to insure that the services are completed in a timely manner.

  • 465.13
  • 465.13(a) In General:
    • 465.13(a)(1) provides that: Licensees refrain from providing services when they know or should know that their personal problems or a lack of objectivity have the potential to impair their competency or harm a patient, client, colleague, student, supervisee, research participant, or other person with whom they have a professional relationship.
    • 465.13(a)(3) provides that: Licensees do not exploit persons over whom they have supervisory evaluative, or other authority such as students, supervisees, employees, research participants, and clients or patients.
    • 465.13(a)(4) provides that: Licensees refrain from entering into any professional relationship that conflicts with their ability to comply with all Board rules applicable to other existing professional relationships.
    • 465.13(a)(5) provides that: Licensees withdraw from any professional relationship that conflicts, or comes into conflict with, their ability to comply with Board rules relating to other existing professional relationships.
  • 465.13(b) Dual Relationships:
    • 465.13(b)(1) provides that: A licensee must refrain from entering into a dual relationship with a client, patient, supervisee, student, group, organization, or any other party if such a relationship presents a risk that the dual relationship could impair the licensee’s objectivity, prevent the licensee from providing competent psychological services, or exploit or otherwise cause harm to the other party.
    • 465.13(b)(2) provides that: A licensee must refrain from a professional relationship where pre-existing personal, financial, professional, or other relationships have the potential to impair the licensee’s objectivity or have any other potential to harm or exploit the other party.
    • 465.13(b)(5): provides that A licensee considering a professional relationship that would result in a dual or multiple relationship shall take appropriate measures, such as obtaining professional consultation or assistance, to determine whether there is a risk that the dual relationship could impair the licensee’s objectivity or cause harm to the other party. If any potential for impairment or harm exists, the licensee shall not provide services regardless of the wishes of the other party.
    • 465.13(b)(6) provides that: A licensee in a potentially harmful dual or multiple relationship must cease to provide psychological services to the other party, regardless of the wishes of that party.
  • 465.15- Fees and Financial Arrangements
    • (a) (3) Licensees shall not withhold records solely because payment has not been received unless specifically permitted by law.
    • (b) Ethical and Legal Requirements.
    • (2) Licensees do not misrepresent their fees.
    • (3) Licensees do not overcharge or otherwise exploit recipients of services or payers with respect to fees.
  • 465.16
    • 465.16(b)(1) provides that: “Licensees verify… that every evaluation… recommendation… evaluation statement… is based on information and techniques sufficient to provide appropriate substantiation for its findings.”
    • 465.16(b)(3) provides that: “Licensees who… utilize psychological assessment techniques… do so in a manner and for purposes for which are professional or scientific-based.”
    • 465.16(c)(1) provides that: “Licensees include all information that provides the basis for their findings in any report in which they make findings or diagnoses about an individual.”
    • 465.16(c)(2) provides that: “Licensees identify limits to the certainty with which diagnoses, judgments, or predictions can be made about individuals.”
    • 465.16(c)(3) provides that: “Licensees identify various test factors and characteristics of the person being assessed that might affect their professional judgment… when interpreting assessment results, including automated interpretations.”
    • 465.16(c)(5) provides that: “Licensees provide opinions of the psychological characteristics of individuals adequate to support their statements or conclusions…”
  • 465.17
    • 465.17(e)(4)(A) Disclosure of Conflict and Bias provides that: “Licensees shall comply with all disclosure requirements set forth in Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §107.107.”
    • 465.17(e)(5)(A) Elements of Child Custody Evaluation provides that: “Licensees shall comply with Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §§ 107.108, 107.109, and 107.1101 when conducting child custody evaluations.”
  • 465.18
    • 465.18(a)(3) provides that: All forensic opinions, reports, assessments, and recommendations rendered by a licensee must be based on information and techniques sufficient to provide appropriate substantiation for each finding.
    • 465.18(b)(1) Limitation on Services- A licensee who is asked to provide an opinion concerning an area or matter about which the licensee does not have the appropriate knowledge and competency to render a professional opinion shall decline to render that opinion.
    • 465.18(c)(4) provides that Describing the Nature of Services. A licensee must document in writing that subject(s) of forensic evaluations or their parents or legal representative have been informed of the following:… (4) The identity of the party who will pay the psychologist’s fees and if any portion of the fees is to be paid by the subject, the estimated amount of the fees…
    • 465.18(c)(7) The approximate length of time required to produce any reports or written results
    • 465.18(e)(6)(A) provides: (A) Licensees shall comply with the requirements of Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §107.112  regarding:
  • (i) the disclosure of communications between evaluation participants;
  • (ii) the creation and retention of records relevant to the evaluation; and
  • (iii) access to evaluation records
  • 501.351- General Authority to Delegate

A- A psychologist licensed under this chapter may delegate to a provisionally licensed psychologist, a newly licensed psychologist who is not eligible for managed care panels, a person who holds a temporary license issued under Section 501.263…

B- Delegating psychologist remains responsible. Individual administering the test must inform each patient that the person is being supervised by a licensed psychologist.

C- The board may determine whether the test/service may be properly and safely delegated.

Custody Evaluator Immunity Exceptions

see attached:  Appellate court determined that an amicus attorney was immune but only as long as there were no exceptions to immunity (bad faith, malice, willfully wrongful, fraudulent).  This person lost however only because they didn’t produce any evidence that would prove the exception.  
         On appeal, Black argues that Tanner had no right to sue her because she had immunity. Section 107.009 provides that ” an amicus attorney” appointed to assist the court is immune from liability for civil damages ” arising from an action taken, a recommendation made, or an opinion given in the capacity of . . . amicus attorney.” Tex. Fam. Code § 107.009(a). However, this statutory grant of immunity is not absolute; an exception to immunity exists for a recommendation made or an opinion given ” (1) with conscious indifference or reckless disregard to the safety of another; (2) in bad faith or with malice; or (3) that is grossly negligent or willfully wrongful.” Id. § 107.009(b). Immunity under section 107.009 is an affirmative defense. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 94; Zeifman v. Nowlin322 S.W.3d 804, 808 (Tex.App.–Austin 2010, no pet.); Kabbani v. Papadopolous, No. 01-07-00191-CV, 2009 WL 469546, at *2–4 (Tex.App.–Houston [1st Dist.] Feb. 26, 2009, pet. denied) (mem. op.). A defendant raising an affirmative defense must plead and prove all elements of the affirmative defense in order to be entitled to judgment in his favor. See, e.g.,McIntyre v. Ramirez109 S.W.3d 741, 748 (Tex. 2003); Vu v. ExxonMobil Corp., 98 S.W.3d 318, 320–21 (Tex.App.–Houston [1st Dist.] 2003, pet. denied).  

Once Nowlin conclusively established as an affirmative defense that she was entitled to the statutory immunity afforded an amicus attorney, the burden of production shifted to Zeifman to present evidence sufficient to create a fact issue on at least one element of either the affirmative defense or an exception to the affirmative defense. SeePalmer v. Enserch Corp.,728 S.W.2d 431, 435 (Tex.App.-Austin 1987, writ ref’d n.r.e.) (citing Moore Burger, Inc. v. Phillips Petroleum Co.,492 S.W.2d 934 (Tex.1972)). Zeifman did not produce or file any summary judgment evidence at all in response to Nowlin’s motion, relying instead solely on the allegations contained in his petition.

Custody Evaluator Immunity

First few paragraphs go over immunity

Psychologist Can’t Be One Sided Expert


Kelly v. Kelly
No. 46748
(Idaho Supreme Court, September 10, 2019)
The magistrate court abused its discretion by permitting husband to retain psychologist to perform a parenting time evaluation as his expert, in divorce proceeding when child custody was a contested issue; parenting time evaluators can be selected only by stipulation of the parties or by appointment of the court, in either case, the chosen expert must be neutral, and not beholden to either side, and psychologist was ultimately paid over $105,000 to conduct the parenting time evaluation on behalf of husband. Further, the magistrate court abused its discretion when it ordered wife to undergo a psychological evaluation and counseling, as recommended by psychologist, husband’s expert, during child custody portion of divorce trial; a judge had no authority to order medical or psychological treatment in a child custody case unless there was direct testimony that such treatment would be in the best interest of the child, and there was no language indicating a psychological evaluation was in the best interests of child

October 15, 2019 meeting of the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council 1

October 15, 2019 meeting of the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council

October 15, 2019 meeting of the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council

The council will oversees and regulates the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors, Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners, and the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists.

Child Support Custody And Visitation

Guidelines The Court Uses To Determine Child Support, Custody, And Visitation

Child Support Custody And Visitation

When going through a divorce with minor children or determining paternity, one of the many decisions you will need to make is how much time each parent will spend with the minor children.

It is important to note that the amount of time spent with the children can also affect child support.

The goal of any agreement affecting children should be to protect the children’s best interest.

However, due to the emotional nature and financial implications of custody and visitation, many parents struggle to reach an agreement.

In the event parents are unable to find an agreeable solution the Court will intervene and create child custody and visitation orders based on several factors, including the children’s best interest.

Once the Court determines child custody and visitation, it will then use guidelines dictated by statutes and a child support worksheet to determine which spouse owes the other child support.

Determining Child Support, Custody, And Visitation

Child Support

In California, both parents are financially responsible for minor children. However, child support can be ordered to help provide for the children’s housing, clothing, food, extracurricular activities, and other needs.

Child support is based on several factors including each parent’s gross income, mandatory deductions, tax deductions, amounts paid for healthcare, time spent with each parent and more.

Most often, the higher-earning parent will pay child support as they have more disposable income. For families who have 50/50 or close to equal timeshare with the children, the parent who claims the minor children as dependents could be ordered to pay the other parent support.

With so many factors and variables in determining support, it is important to speak with a professional to review all available options and develop the best child support agreement for you and your children.

Imputing Income

If you or the other parent is unemployed or underemployed, the Court can still order child support. In either situation, the Court will review employment records and education history to determine if gainful employment is feasible and determine what their earning capacity may be.

The Court may also consider other factors, including the length of time you have been out of work and the current state of the job market.

If the Court finds one parent is underemployed or willfully not working, the Court could assign income to that parent based on previous salary or current earning capabilities determined by work or educational experience.

The assignment of income, also known as imputing income, can result in Court-ordered child support.

If a parent fails to meet their financial obligation and does not pay child support as ordered, arrears will accrue, and the parent could face additional penalties.

State Disbursement Unit (SDU)

In the past, child support was paid directly to the receiving parent. When a child support order dictated automatic deductions, the paying parent’s (payor’s) employer would withhold the amount ordered and send it directly to the other parent.

However, in 1996 the federal government passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act, requiring states to create a centralized location where parents pay child support. The creation of State Disbursement Units facilitated payment by collecting child support and distributing to the receiving parent.

When a child support order utilizes SDUs to facilitate payment through employers, payors can have up to 50 percent of their wages deducted.

In addition to facilitating payment, the 1996 Act changed how payment was distributed if a payor had more than one child support order.

Prior to the implementation of the SDUs, child support orders were prioritized by date. For instance, if a payor had orders to pay child support for children from a previous relationship and for the most recent relationship, and the amount ordered for the first relationship more than 50 percent of their income, the first family would get the full amount while the second family would receive partial payment or nothing.

After 1996, a paying parent’s child support amount can change based upon how much the payor parent earns or if there are other child support orders or arrearages are owed by the payor parent.

The SDUs can adjust the distribution of child support to ensure all children receive support. This can result in a reduction of child support received if the amount owed for all orders exceed 50 percent of the payor’s income.

However, the original amount ordered is still due and arrearages will build up unless the paying parent pays the difference directly to the SDU.

Child Custody and Visitation

California recognizes two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody.  Legal custody refers to the ability to make decisions that affect the child’s health, welfare, and safety. Legal decisions include what doctors the child sees, what school the child attends, participation in religious activities, when the child can get a driver’s license, and more.

If one parent has sole legal custody, they are not obligated to consult the other parent when making decisions.

However, if parents have joint legal custody, they will both be able to make decisions. Ideally, both parents would communicate and agree on any decisions that affect their children.

Physical custody refers to the time spent with each parent and where the child resides. Joint physical custody, when children live with both parents, is the most common arrangement and the goal of California Courts.

However, it is not the best solution for all families, especially if domestic or substance abuse is an issue. If one parent has primary or sole custody, the other “non-custodial” parent has visitation.

Visitation schedules can vary depending on the relationship between parents and their children and work or school schedules. Common visitation schedules are unsupervised visits every other weekend, bi-weekly visits, alternating major holidays, or supervised visits once a week.

It is highly suggested that both parents work together to create a parenting plan detailing visitation, pick up/drop off times and more.  If you are unable to reach an agreement, a family law attorney can help you create a parenting plan that not only benefits the children but considers the parents’ schedules. In the event, you are unable to come to an agreement the Court can hear your concerns and create custody and visitation orders.

However, court orders will dictate the amount of time each parent spends with the children, which can result in orders that neither you nor the other parent agree with and have financial ramifications for many years.

Custody Disagreements

In some cases, the parents may not be able to come to a custody agreement. Regardless of how you feel about your spouse, you should not bring your children into the argument.

Nor should you try to dissuade your children from seeing the other parent. The Courts will consider this when making a custody decision.

In most cases, the Court will not let a child testify as to which parent the child wishes to stay with as it is not fair to make the child choose.

When determining custody, the Court will review several factors such as the amount of time each parent spends with the children, domestic violence issues, substance abuse, involvement in educational or extracurricular activities, and general care.

Child Custody Evaluations

In some situations, the Court may order a child custody evaluation to help resolve a custody dispute. If ordered, the court can appoint an evaluator, or the parents can choose a private evaluator.

In either situation, both parties are responsible for the cost of the evaluator. The evaluator’s role is not to treat patients, but to provide an objective evaluation with informed opinions to help the Court determine the most appropriate custody outcome. The evaluator will conduct an investigation and interviews to decide which parent can provide the best situation for their children.

Evaluators weigh several factors to make their decision, including reviewing interactions between parents and their children, if the parents allow contact or visits with the other parent, and how the children behave in front of each parent.

Spoiling a child will not get you extra points!  Once the evaluator has completed their investigation, they will submit their opinion to the Court for consideration.

An Attorney for the Child

In addition to a child custody evaluation, or in place of an evaluation, the Court may appoint an attorney for the child, referred to as Minor’s Counsel.

The role of Minor’s Counsel is to protect and advocate for the child’s best interest. As with the evaluator, both parties share in the cost of the child’s attorney. While the Minor’s Counsel generally has wide discretion in their investigation, it often involves multiple interviews with the children, and sometimes the parents.

Upon conclusion of their findings, Minor’s Counsel will present their recommendation and the children’s wishes to the Court for consideration when creating orders.

Following Court Orders

Parents who fail to follow court orders can be in contempt of the Court, resulting in fines or worse.

Parents of children who refuse to visit the other parent according to their visitation orders can also be held in contempt and face financial fines or even jail.

However, the success of contempt charges depends on several factors, including the child’s age and the concept of parental control. If your children are refusing to see their other parent, it is imperative you contact a family law attorney as soon as possible.

An experienced attorney can listen to your situation, advise the proper course of action to protect parental rights, and against contempt charges.

The Best Outcome

Even if you and your spouse cannot get along, it is better if you are able to create a parenting plan with the help of your attorneys.

The focus of any agreement should always be protecting the best interest of your children.

Consistent, cordial communication with your co-parent can help you and your children transition to the new family dynamic.

Additionally, discussing decisions surrounding the children’s health, safety, and welfare together can help avoid the stress of costly court appearances. In the event an agreement can’t be reached, an experienced family law attorney can help you protect your children and your parental rights.

The post Guidelines The Court Uses To Determine Child Support, Custody, And Visitation appeared first on Divorced Moms.


Stupid Pathogen: Damaged Executive Function

Stupid Pathogen: Damaged Executive Function

The pathogen can’t reason.

The set of damaged information structures in the attachment system, damaged by childhood trauma, the pathogenic structures that are at the root of this family conflict pathology moving across generations, that pathogen shuts down frontal lobe “executive function” systems for logical reasoning, foresight, and planning.

That’s why I call it the “stupid pathogen” – I’m highlighting this symptom feature of the trauma pathogen, it’s inability to track logical reasoning.

The reason it’s unable to reason, is that unresolved trauma needs to alter reality in stressful situations in order for the person to remain emotionally and psychologically organized and regulated. If the trauma-impacted person doesn’t alter reality perception, then they’re going to collapse into painful psychological and emotional disorganization.

So the trauma-impacted brain alters reality perception as a coping response to stress. And reasoning, logical reasoning, gets in the way of that.

If the person needs to alter what reality is, then they can’t be held within the confines of structures like logical reasoning. So the brain inhibits the operation of these systems for reasoning. Have you ever watched Monty Python’s She’s a Witch? Logical reasoning is lost in trauma pathology.

As we’ve been resolving our trauma across historical generations, our reasoning is getting better (Childress & Pruter, 2019; deMause, 1974; Grille, 2013), look… the industrial revolution, the information revolution.

“I got better.”

But we’re still rippling trauma, and it’s captured by the symptom feature of ignorance. The trauma pathogen shuts down frontal lobe executive function systems for logical reasoning.

Ever say or hear this said to the allied parent:

“What do you mean you can’t “force” the child to xyz?  Can you “force” them to go to the dentist, can you “force” them go to school?”

That’s people responding to the “illogic symptom” of the trauma pathogen. I use it in my clinical interviews, the “illogic symptom,” it’s one of the symptom features of unresolved trauma – the inability to track a logical sequence; damaged frontal lobe, unresolved trauma.

The other thing the frontal areas of the brain do, the executive function systems, is they anticipate into the future – it’s the executive function systems that do all the “what if” scenarios needed to plan ahead.

That’s why 18-20 year old young people are okay with reasoning, their frontal lobes are mostly active, but it’s their anticipation, planning, and foresight that are still fragile until about 22-24. It’s a brain maturation thing… frontal lobes for reasoning and foresight-planning are the last to develop (Sapolsky)

A Web of Lies

The pathogen has three defenses, it hides, it seeks allies, and it attacks threat to put the threat of exposure on the defensive.

The pathogen lies.  All the time.

It fluidly “creates” its reality, remember what I just said about it needing to alter reality to remain regulated?  The pathogen lies – that’s it altering reality.  The point of my repeating “all the time” is to indicate that, yes, indeed, it is ALL the time… because it is a symptom feature of the pathology – the lies (distorting-altering reality).

It’s not actually “lies” so much, it is a symptom feature of delusional pathology, the continual fluidity and distortion to consensual reality… it constantly twists and distorts reality, that’s the impact of unresolved trauma.  It’s analogous to a “black hole” in the psychology of the person, we can’t see it directly but we can see its effects, its influence on surrounding gravitational bodies, it distorts reality.

The pathogen loves ignorance, that’s it’s ally.  It uses ignorance to hide.  Ignorance believes the lies.

The pathogen hates knowledge.  Knowledge knows reality, knowledge sees the lies.  The pathogen can’t understand knowledge, it’s reasoning systems are shut down.  The pathogen fears knowledge, it can’t understand knowledge.

The pathogen hates knowledge.  Ignorance is the ally of the pathogen.

And knowledge, then, becomes the anti-viral agent that cleanses the pathogen’s allies from the system.  When we require knowledge, the allies of the pathogen in professional psychology, the ones with their own unresolved trauma (called “counter-transference”), won’t be able to understand knowledge.  What will they do?

They will resist, and then they will flee.  The pathogen is timid, you see, it’s afraid.  It hides and savages because of its fear, it manipulates and controls, and it hides.  When it is exposed, however, when it is seen… it is afraid.  The allies of the pathogen will not stand their ground on ignorance, there is no ground to stand on.

Their frontal lobe reasoning systems are shut down… stupid pathogen… does she weigh as much as a duck?  When knowledge is required, ignorance will move on, into other cracks in the dark fabric of unresolved trauma.  But it will be gone from here.  We are cleansing the pathogen by cleansing ignorance from professional psychology.

We are standing on true, and just, and proper grounds, anchored in the established foundations of professional knowledge, Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck, van der Kolk, Tronick, anchored on the bedrock foundations of professional practice as codified in the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct for the American Psychological Association (Standards 2.04, 2.01, 2.03, 9.01a, 3.04a, duty to protect, Principle D).

The allies of the pathogen will resist the application of knowledge… because learning knowledge is beyond their capability.  They only survive in a professional world were everyone makes up whatever they want.

Know and apply actual knowledge?  Uh-oh.  The pathogen-brain, a brain with unresolved trauma, can’t know knowledge…  the frontal lobes are not working.

That’s AB-PA.  It’s an anti-pathogen, anti-viral agent.  It’s entering the meme-scape (Dawkins) of professional psychology, it is designed to cleanse the allies of the pathogen (ignorance) from professional psychology… it’s knowledge… AB-PA… Foundations… is the application of knowledge.

No “made up” stuff – no “new theories” – no, stupid pathogen… it’s the application of knowledge.

Once ignorance is gone, and once knowledge is applied, the lies are exposed, truth and reality are fully evident, we stop the pathogen’s pathological manifestation of its unresolved trauma, and we fix things so the children can have their normal childhoods back.

Children need love from mom, lots and lots of mom-love, 100 mom-love – and children need love from dad, lots and lots of dad-love, 100 dad-love.

This is not complicated.  Diagnosing the pathology is incredibly easy… when we apply knowledge.

Ignorance will solve nothing.  I know.  Ignorance is an ally of the pathogen.  Of course, ignorance will solve nothing.  It wants nothing solved.

Ignorance is the pathogen’s ally.  The pathogen loves ignorance… and hates knowledge.

Changes.  Knowledge.

Well guess what’s on the way, stupid pathogen… knowledge.  Betcha didn’t see that one coming, did ya?  I know, damaged foresight and planning – not a clue as to what’s coming, no anticipation, very now-focused orientation.

A trauma-impacted brain that contains the pathogen-structures is very now-oriented, whatever works now, whatever needs to be said now, truth and reality are irrelevant – now, constantly regulating themselves now.

No frontal lobe for planning.  That’s why none of your families have treatment plans… no foresight or planning.

Written treatment plans require foresight and planning.  The pathogen-brain won’t be able to do that.  Unresolved trauma is inhibiting frontal lobe executive function systems for foresight and planning.

So… let’s start asking for written treatment plans.  That will be spot-on the vulnerability of a trauma-impacted pathogen brain, the ally of the pathogen.

The pathogen thinks this is “new theory” – that’s what it’s been playing for 40 years with the Gardnerian PAS “experts” – “new theory.”

Now it thought it had a “new theory” again – Dr. Childress (Gardner) and AB-PA (PAS).  I know, stupid pathogen.  Because you can’t reason, and you don’t have knowledge… because knowledge doesn’t make sense to you… too complicated, all that knowledge stuff… keep it simple.

That’s the pathogen-brain of unresolved trauma, damaged frontal lobe executive function systems for logical reasoning and foresight-planning.  What AB-PA does is inputs a… meme-structure… an intervention… a catalytic agent… that divides brains in professional psychology.

One set of psychology brains will see the knowledge and apply the knowledge.  AB-PA will be adopted by them, because they understand that there is no such thing as AB-PA, there is only knowledge, the scientifically established knowledge of professional psychology.  They know knowledge, they apply knowledge… that is an attachment-based model of “parental alienation” (pathogenic parenting surrounding divorce).

A second set of brains will be unable to learn and comprehend knowledge, Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck. These are the brains of ignorance, that make up things, that lack knowledge, that are the pathogen’s allies of ignorance in disabling the immune system response of professional psychology to a pathology-toxin of severe family conflict.

When ignorance is the “expert,” we are in the world of unresolved trauma… if she weighs as much as a duck, she’s a witch, the ignorance of trauma, damaged frontal lobe reasoning and executive function systems.  Truth and reality become fluid constructs, supposed knowledge housed in the anointed “experts” of special understanding, the “inquisitors” and “evaluators” judging human frailty.

Science is based on research.  Dr. Childress is not strong enough to leverage change in systems, no “new theory” provides solution.  With AB-PA, however, I stand on the shoulders of Galileo, Newton, Faraday, Darwin, Bohr, Bowlby, Beck, Tronick… science.

In the world of science, questions are answered… “What does the research say?” – then that’s the answer. 

Not what do “experts” say… that’s not science.  Opinions are all very interesting in that they might lead to research, but opinions are not relevant… what does the research say?  Even Einstein got it wrong sometimes (cosmological constant), everyone does, even Aristotle, even Issac Newton, even Freud, everyone.  We don’t do “expert” – we do science.  It’s called science.  We follow where the data and research leads.

What does the research say?  That’s the answer. Whatever the research says… that’s the answer to whatever the question is. That’s called science.  The scientifically established knowledge of professional psychology: Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck, van der Kolk, Tronick.

Returning from Complex Trauma

We’re cleansing professional psychology of the pathogen’s allies.  The pathogen uses their ignorance to hide beneath its lies.  Bye-bye.  Knowledge is required, as is planning and foresight, written treatment plans.

Stupid pathogen. It’s not “new theory” – it’s Dr. Childress.  I’m a clinical psychologist.  That’s all.  That’s enough.

A clinical psychologist knows everything there is to know about the pathology they work with… including you, stupid pathogen.  I see you as clear as day.  I know you’re afraid, nothing bad will happen, everything is going to be okay, for everyone.

Unresolved trauma rippling through generation; AB-PA.

The application of knowledge, Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck.

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

Monty Python: She’s a Witch




Q Emails Expose Sex Trafficking Rings to Sacramento Judges and Los Gatos Police Officer Silva


California Sex Trafficking Rings Tied to Sacramento Judges Matthew Gary and Judge Mize – Chief Justice Tani Cantil Sakauye knew !

From Sacramento’s sleazy Paula Salinger sleeping with Judge Matthew Gary to Judge Mize ripping children from Grandparent’s Q has been overwhelmed with over 200 emails in the past month following a report from the State Auditor claiming state watchdogs have failed to protect the public when it comes to bad judges and lawyers.  Q will begin posting your emails to better connect you in each county, by judge, lawyer , CPS or custody evaluator issue. Please do not put anything in the email that would reveal the litigants or case. Briefly identify your issue. the judge and the lawyers involved. Q is monitoring how self- represented litigants are being treated by family court judges, and is tracking unethical lawyers. Santa Clara , LA. and Orange County are rising in corruption claims. 
If it looks unfair, it probably is. 
If it feels unfair, it probably is. 
If you think your rights have been violated, they probably were. 
If if you think they will stop harming families and children, they won’t , unless they are exposed in the Court of Public Opinion.

If you would like your letters read on a podcast, or YouTube video, please let Q know. 



FBI  and Orange County Register Ask for Help From Jane and John Q Public

What does a jailhouse snitch have in common with a divorce attorney? The FBI and reporters at Orange County Register are investigating that very question in a collaborative investigation of Orange County family and criminal courts. 

In late 2016 Santa Clara County helped smuggle several snitches out of state in an effort to cover up crimes committed by police officers all over the state of California.  

As early as 1994 ,  district attorney Tony Rackauckas  obtained jailhouse and courthouse recordings that documented some of the worst crimes committed by cops and lawyers acting in the local courts.    Cops who raped victims and kids, judges who sodomized little boys and elaborate networks of divorce lawyers, cops, judges and custody evaluators who trafficked children into sex slavery or abusive homes for some of the wealthiest  families in California. The recordings were even used to prosecute Santa Clara County DA Alan Nudelman who attempted to prosecute a cop for raping his partner. The recordings also exposed what was happening in divorce cases   involving Facebook, Oracle, Google and Yahoo executives where hundreds of millions of dollars were paid to lawyers and private judges, as mainstream media informally placed a blackout on covering these cases. 

By the early 2000s the a criminal enterprise had expanded into Silicon Valley and signs of that enterprise were largely ignored. A young mother working for Oracle jumped to her death because of her divorce, and no media covered it. Another mother could not afford to pay to fight to protect her daughter from an abusive father, and no media  would cover it.  That father later drugged, raped and killed his own daughter and cops in the San Joaquin Valley just watched as many were involved in similar crimes themselves.

Wives married to men trafficking drugs as was exposed by San Jose Mercury Reporter Gary Webb in the 1990s were screaming for attention, and no media covered it. Much of this was captured on the Rackauckas recordings, that until now remained largely a secret. 

By 2016 court clerk David Yamasaki was operating  a machine of corruption that took homes from families, traded children in custody battles and charged fees and fines to the poorest of families as he built an empire that no state agency or law enforcement agency would touch. Then he moved to Orange County in 2017 and started it there. 

This time, there is a new DA in town. Todd Spitzer won the 2018 election for district attorney and sent former DA Tony Rackauckas packing, Then Spitzer got to work hiring an elite team to uncover the people behind the snitch scandal, and to investigate claims made on social media about the county’s family courts. 

This website has been an important part of that investigation. Reporters from Orange County are asking for more information. Currently being investigated are divorce attorneys Tom Tuttle, Keith Dolnick, David Weinberg, and CPA Drew Hunt who is said to have rigged accountings in order to  help sex and drug trafficking enterprises in divorce and custody cases. Rebecca Bailey. PhD and unlicensed reunification camps torturing children by court orders are a top priority in the investigation. 

                               FBI INVESTIGATION : OPERATION  BROKEN HEART 

Grand Juries and FBI investigators  monitoring  social media sites connected to this blog are asking for your help. They are asking for court documents, names, and photos to support their investigation.  While this investigation was brought to the FBI and DOJ by newly elected Orange County DA Todd Spitzer , the investigation has now been opened to include Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Napa, Solano, and Sacramento counties. 


Contra Costa’s Grand Jury began interviewing people associated on social media who gathered for a May 2018 protest. Testifying before the grand jury several residents reported horrific stories involving Child Protective Services and Family Court Services where court executives including David Yamasaki have been the masterminds and architects. 

Funding what is certainly a criminal enterprise are court reporters who prepare transcripts and only accept attorney trust account checks or cash payments, bailiffs who transfer cash to lawyers and judges in courtrooms without detection and litigants who pay with traveler’s checks, Bitcoin and other currency that is being converted to pay off the mortgages on the homes of judges and other elected officials. 

Most scandalous are the reunification camps operated by Dr. Rebecca Bailey where court ordered payments send children into what is essentially concentration camps costing divorcing parents $40,000 or more. Bailey’s program weaponizes children for wealthy abusers. Children are reporting being tortured until they agree to live with an abusive parent and reject the parent, usually a mother, trying to protect the child. 

Bailey’s contact are also appearing on leaked papers and accountings known as the Mitchell papers. Information from those papers show Bailey worked with lawyers appointed in divorce cases and government lawyers to cover up large sex trafficking rings that kicked off perks of sexual favors to cops and judges. 

If you suspect your divorce lawyer or former spouse could be involved in sex or drug trafficking and you are facing retaliation  and abuse in the courts, please contact us immediately at: or contact the Orange County Register and ask to speak to any reporter working on this story with District Attorney Todd Spitzer.