Although you may never be fully prepared for your own experience in court, you will benefit by learning about procedures in advance. You can visit open court proceedings to see how other cases are handled and get familiar with the court room.

HEARINGS: You may be subjected to many, many "hearings" which are appearances before the judge resulting in custody orders. These hearings are a type of psychological warfare, designed to wear you down, transfer your money to the professionals, and make you physically and/or emotionally ill. It is a continuation of the family abuse, using the legal system as a weapon. The professionals collaborate in this form of abuse.

TRIALS: Or you may have a full-blown custody trial with sworn testimony from everyone, including experts. Although it may seem better to have a trial to "get it over with", unfortunately your child has an excellent chance of being placed with his or her identified abuser. You have an equally good chance of being placed on supervised visitation for alienating the child.

WARNING: If your child has accused the father of sexual abuse, you are the one on trial!

JUVENILE DEPENDENCY COURT: Juvenile dependency court is part of juvenile court. It is for children who are removed from their families because they have been abused or neglected by their family (Welfare and Institutions Code 300 et seq).

  • Sometimes your case will end up in juvenile dependency court.

  • Your child becomes a ward of the court and may be placed in foster care (W&I Code 396).

  • You child will be appointed an attorney, who is probably overworked, burned out, or doesn't care.

  • Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are volunteers appointed to speak for your child (Welfare & Institutions Code 100 et seq).

  • Although juvenile dependency court is better equipped to handle abuse cases than family court, it is a closed courtroom. Anything can happen behind closed doors in secret.

  • There is no oversight in juvenile dependency court. Records are sealed, supposedly to protect the child. In fact, sealed records protect the abusers.

  • Many of the decisions are made by referees, who are not full judges.

  • Sometimes the juvenile dependency court will make good decisions and protect your child.

  • Sometimes it won't.

  • The social worker is a very powerful figure in your case. We advise you to be extremely polite and pleasant to the social worker.

WARNING: The referees usually rely completely on reports by CPS social workers!

Judges often operate under the assumption that joint custody is best for your child (Family Code 3040 and 3080 et seq).

  • If you complain, the judge is not happy because you are causing trouble.

  • The judge is interested in which parent is most willing to share the child, to ensure frequent and continuing contact with both parents (Family Code 3020). You may be faced with orders to share your child with a molester.

  • Child support is usually automatically computed. A person who does not pay child support is pursued by the district attorney. This gives added incentive for an abuser to reverse custody and begin receiving child support from you. Often your wages will be attached.

  • Asking to move away is severely frowned upon, no matter how valid your reasons are (Family Code 3046).

WARNING: Any time you go to court, it gives the father another opportunity for custody!

New laws provide a presumption that the child's best interest is not to be in the custody of an abuser (Family Code 3044).
  • But, the abuser can go to counseling or classes, and then get custody.

  • The judge can order counseling for either or both parents (Family Code 3190).

  • Supervised visitation may be ordered. Federal funds pay for some supervised visitation centers, but other supervisors must be paid by the visiting parent.

  • The shocking reality is that in child abuse cases, often the protective mother gets put on supervised visitation indefinitely, while the identified abuser has full custody. This is based on untested mental health theories which assume the mother and child are lying.

  • The supervisor may be charmed by the abuser and reject the upset protective parent.

  • You will be forced to pay for these "services."

  • If the father keeps obeying the rules and pressing for custody, he eventually (within months or a year) progresses to unsupervised custody or visitation.

  • On the other hand, you may be placed on supervised visitation (even though you are not an abuser) for many years.

WARNING: If the abuser father is placed on supervised visits, it is usually for a short time!

Although the law states that the court shall consider and give weight to the wishes of the child in custody, this law is vague and almost never used in abuse cases (Family Code 3042).

  • Children are divided like community property.

  • Family court judges rarely talk to the children, nor pay attention to their letters.

  • However, it is good to have children's letters on the record, especially with older children.

  • It is best if the child sends letters to everyone, including the attorneys and the therapists.

  • By the time the child reaches 14 or 15, most courts do not step in if the child leaves the father's home and returns to you. However, the court order can still be enforced until 18.

WARNING: Anything your child does or says will probably be blamed on you!

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