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Divorce in a Global Pandemic- COVID-19 and Family Court

What to Do if you Are Divorcing During a Pandemic 

For the past five years this website has been run by an all volunteer team trying to bring attention to California’s family courts. Each month thousands of reporters, lawyers and divorcing spouses have come to this site trying to understand what has been happening in divorce courts across the country. 
 
Major news outlets regularly refuse to cover family court, but reporters including reporters from NPR, Center of Investigative Reporting, ABC, NBC and the San Francisco Chronicle have been reading this website for years. But few ever actually report what is happening inside these courtrooms. 

Covid-19 and the related global pandemic and economic crisis have created a crisis in homes in every neighborhood across the globe. Now family matters will be handled differently. 

For the past 30 years, lawyers and judges have acted to corrupt our courts. Lawyers in family court can appear before the same judge so often, it is impossible to not be corrupt. However, now that courthouses are closed, and law enforcement agencies appear ill- prepared to handle domestic violence. Divorcing children and their children are looking to websites such as these to navigate their deeply  emotional and financial matters. 

We are now going to use this platform to teach children about our family courts and the players behind them. If we can’t explain family court to a 5th grader sheltering in place in the middle of Silicon Valley, then we have failed. 

​In the spirit of  Judy Blume’s  best selling coming of age novel, Are you There God? , It’s me Margret, we are pleased to bring you this important information. The stories contained herein come directly from the Santa Clara, Monterey, Sacramento, and Contra Costa Family Court Files dating back to 1970.  

Warning: If you are an attorney, judge, lawyer, custody evaluator, court transcriptionist, baiiff or court staff member who did harm to families and children before this global pandemic, we are going to expose you here on this website in order to protect families and our legal system in the future. 

What if My Mom and Dad Didn’t Get Married? 

Marriages are different all over the world. Some people get married in the churches they have belonged to all of their lives, and some get married in a courthouse. Marriage is deeply personal and involves the culture, history and family of parents that happened long before they have a child. 

In California 40% of children have parents who never get  married. This can be for several reasons., In a global pandemic it can mean parents couldn’t get married because churches and courthouses were closed! Whatever the reason,  children of unwed parents are treated differently in California’s family courts. 

In California a mother presently have the full right to determine how her child’s birth certificate will be written and this can matter most if parents get into fights. A mother who is abused or hurt by her child’s father might decide not to put that father’s name on the birth certificate. If a father doesn’t know about his baby before it turns 2, California law says he is not the real dad. 

If the dad is on the birth certificate, he may never know he has children.  This is not much different than what we have seen during times of war. For soldiers assigned to Japan, Vietnam and Iraq, they have sometimes learned that they had babies they never knew about until those children were grown. 

Perhaps the best way to explain this best is to tell you the story about a little girl named Audrie. 

The Real Story of Audrie Lazarin Pott

Most little girls are given the last name of their father. When Audrie was born  on May 23, 1997 her mother decided to put a man, Larry Pott,  on Audrie’s birth certificate and Audrie went home to live with her mother, and Larry. 

A few months later, Audrie’s mother decided to take Audrie to live with her real father, Michael Lazarin. As Audrie grew, her father surrounded her with love. He played with her, and cared for her while Sheila was at work. Her grandparents were sad they had missed their granddaughter being born, but they loved her so much, they forgot they had missed any time with her. Audrie loved them too. She loved visiting Arizona and eating food that was different than the food her mom made. When they went on trips, her grandma and grandpa loved to come too. 

Audrie’s mom worked a lot. She had fancy clothes and shoes and loved to go shopping. Sheila Pott was very important at work. She made lots of money and had lots of houses. Audrie liked the house her dad had best, and that was near the Rose Garden in San Jose, California. In the Rose garden her dad played with her and gave her all of his attention. Her mom was so busy with her important work, but her dad  made up for it and was always there. He made her laugh, and she made him laugh too. She remembered her dad always watching over her. Always smiling and always happy. The sounds in Aurie’s house were always happy. Her mom was always working. Aurie’s mom was always shopping. She was always busy, 

The Year Christmas Died

Aurdrie loved that she looked like her dad. She could see his soul smiling back at her each time she looked in his eyes. She could feel his love always staring back at her. Everything she did with her dad felt happy, safe and comfortable. 

When Audrie was 7, she and her dad were decorating the Christmas tree. The lights sparkled the way  her dad’s eyes did when he looked at her. Each ornament carried a special memory and was carefully placed on the tree. Audrie knew their were presents and she couldn’t wait for Santa to come. She and her papa laughed and sang songs as they hung each ornament to make the most beautiful tree Audrie would ever see. 
Before they were done Audrie’s mom came home. She was with another man and wanted to talk to her papa alone. After the talk Audrie had to go with the man and her mom. They drove to their other house and as they did, colorful lights dotted every house. Audrie missed her dad. ” Is Papa coming in a different car? , she asked her mom. 
” No” said Shelia. ” 
Audrie’s room felt cold that night. She missed her Papa’s eyes. Her mom came in before sh fell asleep, but not to read Audrie a story as Papa would do, no Audrie’s mom came in and told Audrie that her Papa was not her real dad and she would not be going home. 

Audrie screamed and cried for her Papa. but he did not come.  In the morning, Audrie’s mom told her that her grandparents weren’t her real parents. In the morning Audrie’s mom went to work and Audrie went to school. All day Audrie thought about her Papa. She knew he would pick her up at the end of the day. But he never did. 

To Be Continued. . . . . . . . . . .

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