Posts

Want to resolve your Texas family law case outside of court? Remember these rules of engagement

Want to resolve your Texas family law case outside of court? Remember these rules of engagement

Originally published by The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Blog.

Going to court to resolve a family law case is not a fun experience for anyone involved. You probably didn’t need me to tell you that, but it is the absolute truth. There is nothing glamorous about it. You will not have the moment in time where you get to call out your ex-spouse for the bad behavior he engaged into the delight of your family watching in the audience and the shock of the judge. If you are after truth, justice, and the American Way, then a family court is not the place to go.

What you are more likely to experience is a judge who is engaged but not sympathetic and an opposing party who is slinging mud at you based on issues that may or may not have ever occurred. Do not expect your ex-spouse to be contrite in response to any of the accusations that you hurl at him. I’ve seen enough men and women who have done bad things go on the offensive against a “victim” ex-spouse enough times to know that family court doesn’t deliver results in the way that you may anticipate.

With all of that said, it would make some sense to attempt to appeal to your spouse’s reasonable side and attempt to settle any family case outside of the courtroom. Mediation is a great resource for parties and attorneys alike when it comes to attempting to reach a middle ground on the important issues of your case. The nice part is that the judge in your case will likely require that you mediate your case at least once before you get anywhere near a courtroom. Odds are good that your case will settle and a potential courtroom drama can be averted.

What happens from the beginning part of your case until you get into mediation can have a lasting impact on the chances of your case settling. When it comes to co-parenting with a person who you may not see eye to eye with, getting along may not be an option. In these high conflict family court cases can you do anything to avoid disagreement and disaster?

Today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan will seek to answer that question. We actually took up the issue at the conclusion of yesterday’s blog post and we will continue to run with it in today’s blog. This is an important subject that you need to know about sooner rather than later. Learn what will work when it comes to co-parenting and avoid problems before they occur.

Be accountable to your co-parent

Whether you were married to your child’s other parent or not, you now have a sizeable amount of history with that person. You should feel some degree of responsibility to be held to your word. Basically, you should do the things that you say that you’re going to do. Just as importantly, you should avoid doing the things that you have said that you will not do. That shows that you take seriously the responsibility you have in raising a child with this person.

Even if you couldn’t care less how your child’s other parent views you, remember that everything you do in this case should be done to benefit the life of your child. Do not put your child in a bad position because you cannot be trusted or because you think it’s unimportant to be held to account for your actions. Taking the easy way out may seem better at the time (especially if doing so could harm your ex-spouse) but remember that in a co-parenting relationship you will often find yourself facing similar circumstances down the road.

Although you cannot control what your child’s other parent will do in response to your actions in the future, you have complete control over how you act at the moment. If you say that you are going to do something- do it. It’s as simple as that. Even if it means going out of your way or doing something that doesn’t seem like much fun if you said something your actions need to back those words up.

Keep a journal of interactions with your ex-spouse

If you are not a big fan of organization you may want to pay particular attention to this section of our blog post. Keeping notes of what you say and what your ex-spouse says in relation to your child is an important trait to pick up. For one, it will help you to remember better what was said so that you do not operate under mistaken assumptions and memories of things that did not occur. We’ve all been there- absolutely sure something happened, but as it turns out nothing close to that having occurred.

Before you consider filing a family lawsuit- whether that is a modification or enforcement lawsuit- I would recommend that you review those notes to determine how your memories line up with the reality of the situation. You may find that your emotions are not justified by past events as they actually occurred. It is a good practice to be able to check yourself by keeping notes of your meetings, interactions, phone calls, etc. Better to know exactly what took place than to run off to an attorney for no good reason.

Mediate, and mediate again (if necessary)

As I noted at the outset of today’s blog post, your case will very likely be decided in mediation rather than in a courtroom. Family court judges in most courts will mandate that you mediate your case at least once before stepping foot into their courtroom. When you and your ex-spouse find yourself facing a situation that is too big for you to resolve on your own, it is a good idea to push your attorneys to schedule a mediation early in your case.

Many times I will encourage clients to mediate their case even if an agreement is in place before the case is filed. Let me explain. Suppose that you and your spouse are getting a divorce. You know that you are getting a divorce- there is no chance to reconcile with your husband and divorce is the only alternative that you can seek at this point. You feel good that you all sat at the kitchen table and hammered out an agreement that will allow you to avoid having to go to court.

The next thing one of you does is walk into our office and tell one of our attorneys that you have an agreement for your divorce. All you are looking to do is have a lawyer draft order based on the agreement and you will be on your way. This sounds reasonable and in many ways is exactly what you should have done before coming to see a lawyer. However, I will add one thing to this discussion that should encourage you to seek advice from an attorney and mediator.

Here is that information- even if you have an agreement with your spouse in place for a divorce settlement, there is nothing guaranteeing that your spouse will stick to their word and honor that agreement. A lot can happen in between the time you all agreed to something at the kitchen table and the time where a judge can sign an order. An order has to be drafted, both sides must review the draft and signatures from you and your spouse must be collected. We’re talking at least a couple of weeks.

In the event that you or your spouse change your mind on the terms of your agreement, there is nothing to protect you. You could come up with an agreement only to see your spouse change their mind at the last minute. As long as he hasn’t signed the divorce decree he can turn his back on the process. This is completely legal and happens all the time. Before you start to worry, here is where mediation can solve this problem.

By going to mediation and resolving your issues there, you assure yourself of two things. For one, any agreements that you reach are going to be memorialized by a Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA). You, your spouse and your attorneys will sign the MSA along with the mediator. This is significant because once it is signed there is no going back. I will tell clients that you cannot call me the next morning in a panic and tell me that the MSA needs to be tossed out because you realized you made a mistake of some sort. The final decree of divorce will be drafted off of that MSA.

Next, not only will you have an agreement in place that is unbreakable, but you also will ensure that you have accounted for all of the areas that are necessary for a divorce. Divorces can be complicated and touch on a range of issues. By coming up with your own settlement you are possibly missing out on a number of subjects that you had failed to account for. By having multiple attorneys and an experienced mediator look at the MSA you are almost guaranteed of having an agreement that takes into account all the areas you needed to account for.

What happens if you cannot agree on compromises after an order is established?

Once all the parties and the judge have signed off on an order it is set in stone. In the future, if there are any disagreements between you and your ex-spouse you can go back and refer to the order to see what your responsibilities are. That is reassuring to have a guidepost like that, but it can also be frustrating due to the fact that your family may “outgrow” the order.

In the future, you and your ex-spouse are free to resolve issues on your own without even filing a lawsuit. This is what judges assume will happen- the two of you will work together and resolve problems on your own without too much difficulty. You will save money and time by not filing a lawsuit and in the end, you will reach conclusions that are better tailored for your family than anything a family court judge could have come up with.

In the event that you have a problem that cannot be solved by negotiation and compromise, remember that the order is what controls the situation. Think of the order as your fall back provisions. Whatever you cannot agree upon means that your order takes center stage. As long as have a mutually agreed upon solution to a problem, you can go off of that solution. However, once one of you no longer agrees to abide by the compromise you must go off of what the order has to say.

This is important for you to know since you cannot be assured that you will always be able to come up with solutions to your problems on the fly. So, what you should take away from this discussion is that your orders had better be workable for your family- both now and in the future.

Questions about visitation problems? Come back to our blog tomorrow to find out more

As children age, and as your own circumstances evolve it may become apparent to you and your child’s other parent that your visitation orders need to be re-worked. What can you do in situations like this? If you find yourself in this sort of position, I would recommend that you return to our blog tomorrow. We will spend some time discussing this subject and how you can work around problems like this.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about today’s blog post or anything another subject in family law please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys can schedule you for a free of charge consultation six days a week. These consultations are a great opportunity to ask questions of our experienced attorneys and to receive direct feedback about your particular circumstances.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



Read More –>

Texas Court May Not Make Substantive Change When Clarifying a Custody Order

Texas Court May Not Make Substantive Change When Clarifying a Custody Order

Originally published by McClure Law Group.

By

Most Texas custody cases are between a child’s parents, but in some cases other family members may be involved.  In a recent case, an uncle challenged a modification of the access and possession terms of a court order related to his brother’s child.  Although the trial court expressed an intention to clarify the original order, the appeals court found it had improperly made a substantive change.

The child’s father is deceased.  In 2016, the father’s brother filed suit to be named as the child’s primary conservator.  The uncle and the mother ultimately reached an agreement, which was incorporated by the court’s order.  The order gave primary possession to the uncle and periodic possession to the mother.  The uncle had the right to request the mother undergo drug testing once a month.  She was required to appear for drug testing at a designated location within 24 hours of the uncle sending notice.  The uncle was prohibited from sending notice Friday through Sunday at 9:00 a.m. If the mother failed to appear within 24 hours, the results would be deemed positive.  If the drug test results were positive or deemed positive, the mother’s periods of possession would be suspended until there was a further court order.

The mother moved to enforce the order a month after it was entered.  She alleged the uncle did not make the child available to her during her time.  She sought criminal and civil contempt, additional periods of possession, and attorney’s fees.  She also asked the court to clarify the original order if it found any part of it was insufficiently specific to be enforced through contempt.

 

The trial court found the terms of the order were not sufficiently specific to be enforced by contempt.  The court added language requiring the uncle provide notice of the drug test “at a reasonable time” and give the mother 24 hours notice to comply. The court found the uncle in violation of the original order by failing to give the child to the mother on two occasions.  It also ordered him to pay $1,500 in attorney’s fees to the mother’s attorney.

The uncle moved for review of the attorney’s fees.  The judge confirmed the award but also specified it would be enforceable as both a debt and as child support.  The uncle appealed, arguing the court had not merely clarified the order but had made substantive changes to the terms.

A court may clarify a previous custody order, but may not generally modify a previous order unless certain conditions are met and the modification is in the child’s best interest.  A clarification cannot make substantive changes to the order.  Although a clarification can correct an error in the original judgment, it can only correct a clerical error, not a judicial error.  The clarification, therefore, cannot correct an error resulting from judicial reasoning.

The appeals court found the original order’s “possession and access terms were specific, non-ambiguous, and could be enforced by contempt.” The order allowed the uncle to request a drug test once a month.  It provided the method of the request and limited the times when he could request it.  The appeals court found the trial court had used judicial reasoning to add the requirement that the uncle send the request within reasonable time that gives the mother 24 hours notice.  The appeals court found the original text was unambiguous so the trial court did not have the authority to clarify.

The original order provided that a level of marijuana higher than 3.66 picograms would be deemed positive, but the modification added language limiting this provision to ingested marijuana. The appeals court found this was a substantive change.  The original order was unambiguous.

The appeals court struck the language purporting to clarify the previous order.

The uncle also argued there was no evidence that the enforcement of the order was necessary for the child’s physical or emotional safety or welfare, which would be required to enforce the attorneys fee award as child support.  The trial court did not find the uncle in contempt or enter a finding that enforcement of the original order was necessary to ensure the child’s health or welfare.  There was no evidence supporting characterizing the fee award as child support so the appeals court struck that portion of the order.

This case serves as a reminder that a Texas trial court’s ability to change a custody order is limited.  The court may not clarify an order by making a substantive change to its provisions, even if those provisions seem unfair.  An experienced Texas custody attorney can help you seek or oppose a clarification or modification of a custody order.  Call McClure Law Group at 214-692-8200 to schedule a consultation.

 

 

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



Read More –>

Court Must Assign Value to Lease in Texas Divorce

Court Must Assign Value to Lease in Texas Divorce

Originally published by Robert Epstein.

By

A trial court in a Texas divorce must divide community property in a just and right manner.  Property can be somewhat broadly defined as it relates to property division in a divorce case.  Many people do not realize that a lease of someone else’s property is subject to division in a divorce, unless the lease is shown to be separate property.

In a recent case, the wife challenged a property division that did not include a recreational lease held by the husband.  The wife appealed the property division, arguing error in the trial court’s division of property.  She argued the court failed to include a recreational lease in the community estate and that the court unfairly allocated the husband’s tax debt.  The court had allocated all of the tax debt to the husband, but the wife argued the court erred in using it to offset the value of the assets awarded to the husband.

At trial, there was evidence the husband signed a written lease for a ranch during the marriage.  The husband’s friend owned the property and testified the husband had helped him build or enhance some of the improvements on the property.  The owner testified he would sell the ranch to the husband for a significant discount and indicated he would extend the lease to the husband indefinitely as long as he paid the rent.

 

The wife argued the husband was an owner of the ranch and was hiding his ownership interest from the IRS.  The trial court found the husband did not own the ranch.  The wife moved for reconsideration, arguing the court should assign value to the lease.  The court rejected her argument.

The wife did not argue the husband had an ownership interest in the ranch on appeal.  She argued that the leasehold interest should have been included in the property division.  A lease of property acquired during marriage is generally subject to division unless it is shown to be separate property by clear and convincing evidence.  The ranch lease was executed during the marriage and extended beyond the divorce; therefore it was presumed to be community property.  No evidence otherwise was presented.  The appeals court found it was not within the trial court’s discretion to find the lease was not community property.  The court, however, should have determined if the lease had enough value to affect the division of the estate.

The trial court did not assign any value to the lease, and there was not sufficient evidence presented for it to do so.  Community property is generally valued at “market value.” That is, the amount a willing buyer who wants to but has no obligation to buy would pay a willing seller who wants to sell but is not obligated to sell.  If there is no market value, the parties may show the property’s actual value to its owner.

There had been evidence at trial of the market value of the ranch itself, but not the value of the lease.  The only related evidence was the amount the husband paid for rent, but there was no evidence regarding whether that amount represented the actual value of the lease, or if the husband had possibly received a good deal due to his relationship with the owner.  The appeals court also noted it was possible the nearly $200,000 the husband would pay in rent over the 10-year lease term could be greater than the value of the lease.  The appeals court found there was insufficient evidence to determine if the lease was a community asset, community debt, or was too inconsequential to have an effect on the property division.

The appeals court noted both parties have a responsibility to provide sufficient evidence regarding the community estate’s value to allow the court to divide the property in a just and right manner.  In some cases, courts have held that a party who fails to provide sufficient evidence of property’s value cannot later challenge the trial court’s division of the property on the grounds it had insufficient evidence.  The appeals court noted this type of waiver may be appropriate where there was some evidence of the property’s value or where the unvalued property would have little effect on the total division.  With no evidence of the lease value and its total omission from the property division, the waiver would not be appropriate here.  Without evidence of the value of the lease, the trial court could not achieve a “just and right” property division.

The appeals court affirmed the divorce, but reversed the property division.  Because the appeals court reversed and remanded for a new property division, it did not address the challenge regarding the tax liability.

If you are facing a complex high-asset divorce, the skilled Texas divorce attorneys at McClure Law Group can help you fight for a fair property division.  Call us at 214.692.8200 to talk about your case.

 

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



Read More –>

Picture

Contra Costa Protests Catch More CPS and Family Court Staffers in Child Abuse and Trafficking Rings

Picture


A former member of the Contra Costa County Grand Jury has leaked information that indicates  2018 parent protests  and new laws  mandating the termination of privately run foster homes resulted in an investigation of staff employed in the county’s CPS and family court services.  That investigation found that CPS workers were not following the law when they acted to remove children from their family homes. 

A recall effort that had wiped Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky off the bench was threatened by parents in Contra Costa, which caused an immediate investigation of three of the county’s judges.

Turns out, parents were right.  The investigation revealed Judge Hardie and Judge Fannin had direct ties to money laundering operations that take children from loving parents and sell those children into sex trafficking rings, while non- profits collect fees for the children placed into foster care. 

” It was the parents protesting in the streets that was very embarrassing to the upscale Walnut Creek community, that protest launched not only a criminal investigation by the FBI. but also the local grand jury.’ said the former grand juror who asked to speak off records. 

The juror also expressed frustration in the lack of media coverage on the topic. ” We never saw this coming because mainstream media never covers what is really going on in the county’s family courts,

Judges in the county appeared rattled over the investigation, which is leading to supervised visitation  and reunification camps where judges hold financial interests through their spouses and family members to avoid disclosure. 

Of the $153 million budgeted for foster kids. less than 1 percent was determined to be going to benefit foster youth. Worse were the judges who ignored the law and took children from their parents for no legal reason. 

SANTA CRUZ – Judge Hell

A Santa Cruz mother described the year  a CPS worker took her 2 year old, causing the mother to pay $40,000 she paid to get her child back.  

” The payment felt like a ransom” , explained the young mother, “we had to pay to defend  CPS worker’s allegations’: 

The Grand Jury didn’t investigate the use of supervised visitation, where several judges have a financial interest. 

Read More –>

Texas Court May Not Ignore Stipulations in Property Division in a Divorce Case

Texas Court May Not Ignore Stipulations in Property Division in a Divorce Case

Originally published by Francesca Blackard.

By

Generally, a trial court in a Texas divorce case has the discretion to divide marital assets.  A trial court can, however, abuse its discretion if it divides property without reference to guiding rules or principles and without evidence to support the ruling.  An appeals court recently found that a trial court abused its discretion by mischaracterizing separate property as community property and improperly divesting the husband of his separate property.

Both parties had been married previously, and both asserted throughout the trial that they had separate property.  They each pled and testified that they had separate property and submitted documentation showing they had separate property.  Additionally, each submitted sworn inventories and filed proposed property divisions admitting the other party had separate property.  Neither party ever disputed or contested the other’s claims. There were only two disputed issues before the court at the time of the trial:  how to divide the wife’s retirement account and whether there were any reimbursement claims against the separate property.

The trial court, however, issued a letter ruling dividing all of the assets as though they were community property, despite the various agreements, stipulations, and uncontested submissions.  The husband moved for reconsideration, and the wife filed a short response in opposition.  The appeals court noted she had received the majority of the husband’s separate property under the letter ruling.

 

Following a hearing, the trial court denied the motion, stating that neither party proved their separate property by clear and convincing evidence.  The court entered its final divorce decree in accordance with the letter ruling.

The husband appealed, citing three issues.  He argued the court erred in failing to confirm separate property to which the parties had stipulated, that the trial court improperly divested him of his own separate property, and  finally, that the court failed to make a just and right property division.

The wife argued the appeals court should uphold the final decree because the parties had not rebutted the presumption of community property by clear and convincing evidence.

There is a rebuttable presumption that property owned at the time of a Texas divorce is community property. If a party claims assets are separate property, he or she has the burden to prove they are separate property by clear and convincing evidence.  The evidence does not have to be undisputed or unequivocal, but it must be sufficient to give the trier of fact a firm belief that the property is separate.

Texas law identifies certain property as separate, including property that was owned prior to the marriage or property that was received by one spouse by gift, devise, or descent.  In Texas, the marital estate only includes the community property, and the trial court does not have the authority to divest a party of his or her separate property in the divorce decree.

Parties may stipulate certain issues.  Stipulations are agreements, concessions, or admissions made by the parties in a court case.  If issues are excluded by stipulation, those issues are excluded from the court’s consideration.  There is no need for proof on an issue that is stipulated.  A stipulation of fact is conclusive as to the issue it addresses and is binding on the court.

Both parties stipulated that they did not dispute the other’s claims for separate property.  They filed sworn inventories.  They each submitted proposed property divisions or final decrees requesting the other’s separate property be confirmed as separate property.  The appeals court found that the trial court did not have the discretion to issue a ruling contrary to the stipulations, admissions, and undisputed evidence.

The appeals court found the trial court had unjustly divided the marital estate.  The trial court had mischaracterized separate property as community property, and then it had awarded the wife a large percentage of that community estate.

The appeals court found the trial court abused its discretion in divesting the husband of his separate property.  The appeals court affirmed the divorce but reversed the rest of the judgment and remanded for the trial court to confirm the separate estates in accordance with the stipulations, admissions, and undisputed evidence and to divide the marital estate in a just and right manner.

This case shows that courts sometimes act beyond the scope of their discretion.  If you are facing a high-asset divorce, a skilled Texas divorce attorney can help protect your rights and your assets.  Call McClure Law Group at 214.692.8200 to schedule a consultation.

 

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



Read More –>

Divorce Attorney Elise Mitchell's Private Files Document Blow Jobs to Judges

Moms, Dads  and Women District Attorneys  (Diana Becton  and Nancy O'Malley) – Take on Family Court Judges, CPAs  and Divorce Attorneys

​As newly elected district attorney Todd Spitzer investigates family court clerks, custody evaluators and private judges involved in custody and divorce cases in Orange County, California’s two most powerful female district attorneys began to look at family court cases that have been ignored by male their male counterparts for decades. 

CONTRA COSTA DA  DIANA BECTON &
IRS INVESTIGATE CPAs USED IN DIVORCE CASES 

Diana Becton became Contra Costa County DA following the exposure of criminal activity involving Mark Peterson. Peterson was indicted, blasted in the news and disbarred by 2017 in large part based on  public outrage that a DA had corrupted the cozy East Bay communities  and allowed family courts to run amok for the past two decades. 

Becton is reportedly mindful that family court reformers have managed to get the Grand Jury to investigate the county’s CPS and Family Court Services staff investigated and now Becton has an opportunity to investigate CPAs including Jack Peth, Charles Burak, Sally White, Michael Thompson, James Butera and others who are known for not adding properly when it comes to the fair division of community property in divorce cases.

A small group of accountants have been regularly acting in appointed or retained capacities in family law cases, and many of these CPAs have been cooking the books, concealing corporate profits and helping law enforcement officers, tech executives, and even judges engage in tax fraud and tax evasion for decades.  Criminal IRS investigators are also reportedly conducting an investigation of several CPAs who acted in high profile divorce cases in a manner that concealed income from the government. 

Ms. Becton was recently named to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Judicial Selection Committee. It  is reported she is mindful of the public outrage that led to an audit of the CJP, the agency that disciplines the state’s judges. Many in California’s  court reform movement come from family court experiences and were largely responsible  for getting the audit, and recalling Judge Persky in Santa Clara County in June of 2018. 

ALAMEDA  DA  NANCY E. O’ MALLEY ASKED TO INVESTIGATE LAWYER PERJURY

District Attorneys across the state are asked on a daily basis to investigate perjury and filing of false documents in family court cases. 

” We have divorcing couples send  transcripts of their former spouse testifying in family court and ask us to investigate perjury related to that testimony.  Sadly, while the general public may believe perjury is clear cut, it is not. It is very difficult to prove and frankly we don’t have near enough  resources to investigate these crimes, ” described public corruption investigator John Chase of the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office after a perjury charge involving attorney Bradford Baugh was brought to his attention in 2015. 

What Mr. Chase refused to investigate in 2015 has now landed on the desk of Ms. O” Malley where Mr. Baugh appears to have committed perjury in a video deposition conducted by a former client. Mr. Baugh has been appointed to represent children in San Mateo and Santa Clara county divorce and custody cases for over two decades. 

As many lawyers express they aren’t worried Ms. O’Malley will actually start prosecuting perjury in family law cases, a few admit that the perjury of divorce attorney Bradford Baugh would be significant given Baugh’s involvement  in hundreds of Silicon Valley’s high profile cases, including cases before Judge Persky, where Mr. Baugh represented he served in Vietnam. 

One lawyer regularly  appointed to represent children in San Mateo and Alameda County noted he has been aware Mr. Baugh has been court appointed to represent children in addition to typically representing high asset earners in Silicon Valley’s tech and social media industries. 

” I thought Baugh served in Vietnam as I heard him discuss it in court before Judges on a regular basis. Pretty sure Judge Persky, Judge Swope , Judge Hill ,and Judge Towery believed he was in the military as well. Certainly doesn’t seem that anyone should be appointed to represent children if they spend decades lying about having served in the Vietnam war”, the attorney said asking to remain off the record. 

Bill Dok, Baugh’s former partner claimed to be embarrassed he had been partners with Baugh when Baugh was lying to the family law community. But Mr. Dok may have more than embarrassment to worry about if Mr. Baugh was earning money that paid law firm expenses as Baugh committed perjury in a deposition with a former client. 

BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILDREN 

In the name of the best interest of children, family court judges have issued orders that have resulted in billions of dollars being spent on lawyers, custody evaluations  and sham therapists. These judges have done little for children and more for a crony network that has highjacked California’s legal system. 

Lawyers willing to lie, judges willing to cheat and Rule of Law that has been abandoned in family court has inflicted more harm on children than at any other time in California’s history. 

WHAT IF INJUSTICE HITS YOUR HOME? 

Due process is not alive and well in California’s Courts. Q has been dedicated to matching families with like issues and regional areas. If you have suffered injustice in California’s Family Courts, Email us with your case number, judge, lawyers and experts. Post comments naming the judges and lawyers under anonymous name to prevent retaliation. 

All contacts will be carefully vetted and audited before connected to others. Judges and lawyers have been known to read this website and act in a retaliatory manner when the get caught. 

Read More –>

Picture

Orange County DA Todd Spitzer to Break Up Family Court Corruption

According to a source connected with  newly elected Orange County DA Todd Spitzer, the FBI has been called in to investigate  several court clerks, judges and divorce attorneys  for obstructing justice in CPS, divorce and custody cases following the transfer of court executive David Yamasaki from Santa Clara County in early 2017. 

Orange County  has been fraught with jailhouse snitches and federal investigations of the county’s traffic court cases, Recent emails leaked from the DA’s office indicate family courts are being investigated for covering up money laundering, drug enterprises and sex trafficking rings. 

RECRUITMENT

Ambulance chasing is to personal injury lawyers as case rigging is to  California’s family law attorneys. These lawyers chase divorces involving private businesses with crimes to conceal and family homes with millions of dollars in equity. 

Divorce can put companies at risk. Inflated expenses, cash funds, and tax evasion secreted away from shareholders can be exposed when an ex spouse’s lawyers and accountants dive in to determine the value of community property. 

According to sources involved with the investigation, since 2000 ,  small groups of lawyers have been rigging cases to get before certain elected judges or appointed private judges. 

Emails discovered in a private email account of Mr. Yamasaki and  a Silicon Valley divorce lawyer known as “Black Tulip”  indicate large payments flowing to lawyers, family court services and experts who are handsomely paid for court appointments. 

Cases appear to be  rigged when court clerks assign a case to a judge during an exparte request, or when cases are originally assigned. Clerks investigated during the 2015 traffic case scandal who were not indicted, appear to have moved either to divorce cases, or into private businesses benefiting from the criminal activity.  These individuals troll new divorce filings and in some cases work with lawyers before the case is filed to get it before a corrupt judge. The ” clients ” have no idea this is occurring such that a disqualifying 170.6 challenge can be lodged. 

SILENCE THE SPOUSE 

A critical component of this enterprise involves the emotional, financial and physical abuse of former spouses who may know too much .  Secret surveillance, personal computer hacking and cell phone Stingrays are regularly  used to discover what a spouse knows. If that spouse is determined to be a threat based on an ability to expose a former spouse’s secrets, the enterprise moves in to have reports issued to a judge that  that  claim a former spouse is ” crazy” . ” abusive ” or mentally unfit to parent children, or to remain in the family home. Stripping women in particular of their home and their children is so destabilizing, it changes the game for the enterprise.

Staffers in Family Court Services, or CPS,  appear to issue reports favorable to the enterprise such that the report can be rubberstamped by a judge, which helps the enterprise avoid detection.

Spouses busy fighting move out or supervised visitation orders are too fragile to challenge the financial aspect of a divorce case.  

Before mandatory JCC,  or emergency screening hearings occur, the enterprise has already rigged the outcome of custody decisions  with judges working for the enterprise in return for future employment in private judging, mediation and arbitration once they leave the bench 

 The FBI investigation has focused on Dr. Rebecca Bailey, and her reunification camp following news reports by NBC Bay Area.  Parents scouring the courthouses for other victims of the enterprise have also become investigators best sources, as few DA offices are prepared to properly investigate family courts and related cases. 

SECRET AGREEMENTS- FLEAs (Family Law Elite Attorneys)  

Divorce lawyers calling themselves ” Elite” Family Law Attorneys  (FLEAs)  have been known to law enforcement, and the courts since 2000. Little has been done to stop these lawyers, whose work  and misdeeds remain largely underground. 

FLEAs operate regular legal practices in the area of family law, where 80% of cases are quickly resolved or settled. For the other 20% , FLEAs identify a spouse with secrets to hide and focus on destroying the other spouse in a divorce case in order to protect secrets could result in criminal charges. This conduct serves to protect clients who are  vulnerable to a criminal enterprise orchestrated to protect the secrets from the IRS, the DOJ and the FBI. 

Businesses in the  marijuana  industry, transportation, professional sports organizations and tech are the main flow of cash to the FLEAs. Bad cops collecting cash and turning away from drug and sex traffickers act as a freeway for cash payments and bribes to elected politicians, judges and private divorce lawyers. Above board these lawyers are paid with the sale of the family home, or rental properties, but behind the scene far more money is moving in illegal payments. 

Well paid lawyers are loyal and protective of the criminal enterprise. 

In Orange County, as designed first in Santa Clara County, lawyers, minor’s counsel and private judges are assuring payments of cash to pay off loans on the properties and investments of the judges whose disclosures are carefully monitored by the press. 

CALIFORNIA’S REAL ESTATE HOLDS THE KEY

Divorcing spouses are often surprised to learn a former spouse is willing to sell real estate to pay legal costs in effort to drag out cases. And many spouses are surprised to learn courts willing to sell these houses to pay the enterprise, rather than preserve community property as the law provides. 

Victims of the criminal enterprise report high conflict custody disputes left them ill prepared to recognize the scheme to sell the family home. 

Most alarming has been the discovery that elected judges in Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Diego, San Francisco, LA and Orange County regularly fail to disclose their real properties on the required From 700. Worse are cases involving private judges with real estate holdings that are not required to be disclosed.

Emails between Black Tulip and Court CEO David Yamasaki indicate Rebecca Bailey has been one of bad actors assisting the enterprise in laundering money, abusing children and silencing the parents who dare to speak up. It is estimated that Mr. Yamasaki has orchestrated the illegal transfer of billons of dollars of California home equity in the state’s family court cases caught up the web of a criminal activity designed to separate children from their families, and sell off the family home in order to operate.   

Read More –>

Divorce Attorney Elise Mitchell's Private Files Document Blow Jobs to Judges

Santa Clara County Politicians Tied to Sex Trafficking in Family Court Cases

After months of sifting through documents reportedly left at a Catholic high school by Silicon Valley divorce attorney Elise Mitchell it appears  attorneys Heather Allan, Nicole Ford,  BJ Fadem, Jessica Huey, Irwin Joseph, Michael Smith, John Schroder, James Cox and Nat Hales have spent the past 2 decades using a complex money laundering scheme to traffic children through Silicon Valley’s family courthouses.

The enterprise appears to be expanding to Contra Costa, Santa Cruz and Orange Counties through court staff, judges and administrators. 

CAPTURING CHILDREN & MONEY 

The enterprise includes workers from CPS and Family Court Services and  appears to require cooperation from  court appointed experts including  Matthew Sullivan, Leslie Packer, Valerie Houghton, Ken Perlmutter, John Orlando and Michael Kerner. The players are different in every county, but the enterprise is easily detected with assistance of documents and secret recordings parents have been making for decades. 

Leaked documents and  secret recordings made at a ” Power Lunch ” appears to implicate Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez who made  comments to local judges and members of the district attorney’s office that indicates she and Supervisor Dave Cortese have full knowledge that that the sex trafficking operation exists in the local courts, and elected judges and politicians are on the take for the enterprise. 

Family courts are often a source of strife in a child’s life. Family Court Services and CPS social workers appear to have  been using divorce and custody cases to identify children who offer the greatest potential for trafficking. These children are then marked by judges who appoint lawyers to assure the children are separated from loving or protective parents. 

At risk children are those whose parents have been involved in divorce or custody cases for more than 3 years. Judges then appoint lawyers to represent children and within a year these lawyers make recommendations to isolate the children from a loving parent. 

Payments recorded in the documents put Judges Stuart Scott, James Towery, Judge Roberta Hayashi, and  Joshua Weinstein at the center of the corruption. Court appointments made by these judges correlate to children being separated from their families, based on reports issued by corrupt custody evaluators . The activity is especially insidious when private judges are appointed to hear these cases. 

Donelle Morgan, Bradford Baugh, Mark Erickson, James Mc Manis, Catherine Bechtel, Jim Hoover, Travis Krepelka and Julia McDowell appear to be charged with assuring payments to private judges are delivered in the form of loan payoffs for personal homes, and real property rentals. 

Once a court appoints a lawyer to represent children, or to act as a private judge, this group of lawyers moves in to sell families homes, and later kickback fees to the private judges from fee awards the private judges make. 

Documents indicate Chavez and Cortese have been getting political contributions and kickbacks where transgender and gay children  are taken from their families in cases where Walter Hammon is involved.  Cortese, who is running for the California State Senate reportedly kept news of pedophile persists from making local headlines, assuring donations to local non- profit news organizations who kill stories that could expose the enterprise. 

Family Court Services staff are heard in the recording talking about how BJ Fadem works behind the scenes to take gay and bisexual children form their families, where they are more vulnerable t0 being trafficked through the local courts. Once the children have been alienated from protected parents, they are easier to get into sex trafficking rings. 

Digging through the documents, and searching titles of local properties parents have found court appointments made by Judge James Towery, Judge Stuart Scott, Judge Roberta  S. Hayashi   and Judge Joshua Weinstein to be the forefront of the trafficking activity, which has been known and supported by Santa Clara County Supervisors Cindy Chavez and Dave Cortese for several years. 

Payments to court appointed experts show that 

Read More –>

Picture

Santa Clara County Politicians Dave Cortese and Cindy Chavez  Tied to Sex Trafficking in Family Court Cases

After months of sifting through documents reportedly left at a Catholic high school by Silicon Valley divorce attorney Elise Mitchell, it appears  attorneys Heather Allan, Nicole Ford,  BJ Fadem, Jessica Huey, Irwin Joseph, Michael Smith, John Schroder, James Cox and Nat Hales have spent the past 2 decades using a complex money laundering scheme to traffic children through Silicon Valley’s family courthouses.  Pedophiles are paying top dollar for white affluent children at the center of a divorce or custody case. Court CEO Rebecca Fleming and David Yamasaki appear to be the linchpin of the operations. 

The enterprise appears to be expanding to Contra Costa, Santa Cruz and Orange Counties through court staff, judges and administrators. 

CAPTURING CHILDREN & MONEY LAUNDERING 

By  including   workers from CPS and Family Court Services, and gaining   cooperation from  court appointed experts including  Matthew Sullivan, Leslie Packer, Valerie Houghton, Ken Perlmutter, John Orlando and Michael Kerner, the enterprise has thrived for the past two decades. 

The players are different in every county, but the enterprise is easily detected with the assistance of documents and secret recordings parents have been collecting over the past three years. 

Secret recordings made at a recent  ” Power Lunch ” appear to implicate Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, Dave Cortese and employees in the DA’s office in RICO activity that sells children to abusers and pedophiles, White children raised in Silicon Valley’s elite neighborhoods bring as much as $1 million to the enterprise in the form of cash and loan payoffs on real estate transactions. Attorney Sharon Roper has recently been selling properties as a temporary judge in a manner that has poured over $100 million dollars into the enterprise to strengthen and expand the operation.   

Family courts are often a source of strife in a child’s life. Family Court Services and CPS social workers appear to have  been using divorce and custody cases to identify children with the potential for being trafficked without detection. High conflict custody cases often lead to children ” running away” , or so the public is told. In fact these children are taken in through religious organizations, or non- profits assured funding by local politicians, only to disappear as a ” nanny” or child needing placement in foster care managed by the county. 

Payments recorded in leaked documents put Judges Stuart Scott, James Towery, Judge Roberta Hayashi, and  Joshua Weinstein at the center of the corruption. Court appointments made by these judges correlate to cases where parents are placed on supervised visitation, children are sent to reunification camps, and foster care programs are introduced once children have been isolated from ” problematic parents”. 

Judges are issuing Domestic Violence Restraining Orders to keep these parents permanently from their  own children. These orders often label a parent as ” abusive ” or ” crazy” to justify the orders.  

The Mitchell documents tie divorce and custody cases to the enterprise, where judges  appoint lawyers to represent children,  or act as private judges,  where the enterprise can be further secreted.  The documents show Judge Joshua Weinstein has been issuing appointments directly and indirectly as he prepares to leave the bench and go into private judging where other judges will regular appoint him to divorce and custody cases with the most money, real estate and children.  The Mitchell documents appear to indicate that in the average middle class divorce case minor’s counsel are assured appointments with $10,000 retainers, and private judges earn up to $200,000 in fees. 

Buyers of the children appear to be hiring young women to work as  a nanny, and young boys are promised scholarships and internships as a cover. In fact these children have reported they are essentially groomed to perform sex acts.

One young woman described her experiences  in family court where she was told her protective mother was alienating her from her father. The father then got fully custody and went on to  rape his own daughter  several times a week. When she tried to go to doctors or teachers for help, she was returned to her father.

The lawyer appointed to represent this women during  her parent’s divorce case,  only met with the young client once, but continued to represent to the court the girl did not want to see her mother.  The girl repeatedly heard her father on the phone with the lawyer demanding recommendations to the court that would maintain his custody position.

The young woman  noted that her brother was sent to live with a man who suddenly gave her father a home after the family home had been sold in the divorce to pay all the lawyers. The girl was told her brother was ” working ” for a Silicon Valley tech executive, she has had no contact with him for the past five years. 

The Mitchell documents indicate affluent white children bring millions to judges, lawyers and others acting in Silicon Valley’s family courts.

Local politicians know what this sex trafficking enterprise is doing and refuses to act in order to assure their reelection. Dave Cortese, a Santa Clara County supervisor  is running for California’s state senate in 2020. Mr. Cortese has reportedly been told he will have the powerful support of the Catholic church and support of the state’s judges in return for his silence. 

Read More –>

Court May Order Battering Intervention and Prevention Program in Texas Custody Case

Court May Order Battering Intervention and Prevention Program in Texas Custody Case

Originally published by Robert Epstein.

By

In Texas custody cases, the best interests of the child are the primary consideration, and the court uses broad discretion in determining them.  If the court finds it is in the child’s best interest to do so, it may limit a parent’s visitation with the child or increase a parent’s time with the child, but only if certain conditions are met.  A father recently challenged a court’s order that he would have to complete a Battering Intervention and Prevention Program before the possession schedule could change.

The parents lived together with the child until the mother moved out of the home.  The father filed suit, asking to be named joint-managing conservator and to have the exclusive right to designate the child’s primary residence.  A jury found the parents should be joint-managing conservators. Although the jury gave the father the exclusive right to designate residence, it placed a geographic restriction on that right.

When the court issued the order, it left the temporary orders for possession in place until the father finished a Battering Intervention and Prevention Program. The mother was granted the exclusive right to consent to invasive medical procedures, make decisions regarding the child’s education, and possess the child’s passport.  The father requested findings of fact and conclusions of law, then appealed.
Continue reading →

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



Read More –>