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Custody Without Court

Orientation to Family Court Mediation and Child Custody Recommending Counseling

We feel upset because we cry a lot. We feel sad and mad and angry. We were surprised and shocked when we heard the news. I used to feel sad, but now I feel mad and sad, and sometimes a little crazy. Most of us feel some amount of confusion; confusion about what is happening in our families and confusion about how we feel. As a sixyearold I was just confused, and I was wondering how my life was going to change. And I didn’t have any siblings to go through it with so I kind of had to do it on my own. I was confused a lot, but until I was maybe 12, it was just quot;go with the flow.quot;.

The voices you just heard are a tiny sample of the millions of children who have experienced changes in their family that also involve the family court. Whether parents have been married and are now separating or divorcing, or whether parents have never been married and need to make custody arrangements regarding their children, the court system in California is designed to assist families through this sometimes overwhelming experience. It was difficult watching my daughter go through various levels of grief. It took some years, it was frustrating at times, but I hung in there, as did her mother, and we kept everything about the best out come for our daughter. California law requires that parents attend mediation if they do not agree about custody or parenting time with their children.

This process is referred to as Child Custody Recommending Counseling in some courts. Mediation and Child Custody Recommending Counseling are similar in most ways. My name’s Dan. How are you? I’m going to be your mediator today. Narrator Mediation is a process in which parents spend time with a neutral, specially trained professional Narrator (cont’d) who will listen to their concerns and help them develop a parenting plan that meets the needs of their family. What bothered me the most was that I wouldn’t get to see my daughter every day, and that kind of weighed on me. When parents first come to court it’s scary, and anxiety is heightened, and people are just not able to focus like they normally would in every day circumstances.

They have a fair amount of pessimism about what can possibly be achieved in there, and when you think about it it makes sense, because people come to court precisely because they can’t talk, and then the first thing they’re told to do is please go and try to talk. So as mediators we try to acknowledge those feelings and recognizing, as well, that people do heal. We want to give them an opportunity to consider all kinds of options and an opportunity to come up with their own plan that they can develop and customfit to the needs of their children, focusing not on Mom’s rights or Dad’s, but, again, getting both parents to channel that energy into what’s best for the kids. Most courts in California have a Family Court Services program or other mediation program to help parents mediate their parenting concerns.

What I explain to parents is that there are three goals in mediation. The first goal is to try to help them come up with a plan. The second goal is that that plan needs to be in the child’s best interest, so it’s not necessarily what either parent may want, but it’s what’s going to be best for the child. The third goal is to help the parents reduce acrimony and bitterness between them, so that the children won’t suffer as a result. Child custody mediation is conducted by court mediators who are skilled professionals in the field of psychology, marriage and family child counseling, or social work. By statutory requirements everyone is trained in the area of domestic violence, the impact of domestic violence on children, also substance abuse, family dynamics, issues of child abuse….

A lot of us have experience in the field working either as therapists with families, with kids… Because of our education and training, we’re able to navigate some of those very difficult situations that parents and children face. This whole single parent custody, it was all new and it didn’t really… I had not been here before, you know, I didn’t feel like it came with an instruction packet, so I didn’t really know what to do. My job is to work with you and see if I can help you come… Narrator Mediation provides an opportunity for parents to work out their custody and parenting arrangements. There’s three really important issues that we need to cover in each session. One is the concept of legal custody, the second is the concept of physical custody,.

And then the third, of course, is the custodial schedule. The court would like to have people write comprehensive schedules, schedules that are detailed, for how parents are going to spend time with their children. It really depends. For younger kids it might be a schedule that enables them to remain with the primary caregiver and spend time with the other parent, maybe three or four days a week for a few hours at a time. As the children get older, or they’re already used to overnights, everybody defines their weekend in a unique way. Some parents, a weekend is from after soccer on Saturday until after dinner on Sunday. Another type of issue that we often see is move away requests, where one parents is looking to move out of the area with the kids.

Jail sends woman to court without pants

I’m sentencing you to a. How long have you been in custody? Um, Well, they picked me up in Fayette Sunday morning. And you have no charges anywhere? No The jail would also refuse to give her pants, and any kind of hygiene products that she needed. No pants, what? No pants. I’ve been wearing this since. I came in with this on Sunday. Um.

Excuse me? As well as other hygiene products that she greatly needed, and requested, which she said. Excuse me? This is super outrageous. Is this for real? This can’t wait. I’m sorry. This is going to take a little bit. Hi Jenny, this is Judge Wolf in courtroom 102, how are you today? I’m fine, I’m actually calling to talk to Director Bolton.

Or anyone who can come to my courtroom and tell me why there is a defendant a female defendant, standing in front of me with no pants on. Um, and she’s been here for how many days, ma’am? I got here um, like three days ago, 2 3 days ago. She’s been in our jail for three days, and reports to me that the jail has refused to give her pants and feminine hygiene products Uhhuh I’m not trying to embarrass you. I’m very sorry.

Can we give her something to cover up with? Anything? Anything. Anything. I don’t care what it is. Did you want to sit in the back until.? Yeah, let’s take her back. Also I’m changing your sentence to a hundred dollar fine, credit time served for that. Who.? It’s a shoplifting charge. A first time shoplifting charge.

75 days? No. we’re not giving that. What? Is this. Am I in the Twilight Zone? what is happening? It’s one of these days. Yes. Alright. This is judge Wolf in courtroom 102. How are you today? I have a defendant who has been in your all’s jail for three days who was standing in front of me completely pantsless, has no pants on.

She has requested pants for three days, and had been denied pants for three days. She has no pants and she’s in court. And she has also been denied feminine hygiene products. What. The hell. Is going on? Absolutely and I am holding her here until she is dressed appropriately to go back to the jail. This is outrageous. No audio. 3:143:16 This cannot happen.

And she was brought in from Fayette County and I don’t know what happened to her pants, but she says she’s requested pants and they have been denied to her for three days while she’s been here. And she is not dressed from the waist down in my courtroom. Thank you. And she’s gonna be released today but I want her dressed before she is taken back over to the jail Audio time code jump Before I bring her back out, can we discuss this? Sure. Inaudible I’m the one Inaudible you spoke to.

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