County 97 Stuffy 6

You will never, ever, ever, ever be able to convince me that Alameda County Family Court isn’t biased against men. My latest court date proves it, beyond a reasonable doubt. Wait let me give you some numbers:

Total time I had physical custody of my sons: 5 years
Total time I had court approved custody of my sons 2 years
Total child support paid by me but not owed 12k+
Total legal fees paid by me 8k+
Total child support collected by me $0.00
Total jail time spent by ex on fraud charges approx 28* days
So I went to court today for a child support hearing. As Alameda County is also a party to the case my attorney also made a motion for them to return support payments I’ve been garnished through various means. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. To understand the total ass raping I’m getting, let’s start at 9:00 am.

I get to court at 9:00 am, why; well because that’s what time it says I’m supposed to be there. Apparently I’m the only one that got that order other than my lawyer, because we were the only ones ready to proceed at 9:00. The judge didn’t make an appearance till 9:20, but that was apparently to shoot the shit with the court staff. Court didn’t start till 9:40.

Now you may have noticed, I have a lawyer. That means at $300 bucks an hour, I’ve just wasted better than $150 for her to stand around picking her nose. Not that she was doing that, but at $7 per minute, at least it would have been interesting. But wait, the butt fucking doesn’t stop there, now I’m a victim of the court Calendar. See the court calendar is done as so: There are two dockets; a 9:00 docket and a 9:05 docket. The 9:00 docket has 10 parties, and the 9:05 docket has 10 parties. I’m on the 9:05 docket; information that may have let me at least have a cigarette before court (sure they’ll probably kill me, if I don’t have a stroke from dealing with court shit first).

Next is the thing that really pisses me off. For some reason, the Judge always calls all the County business first. This is despite the fact that the county has a person permanently stationed there. That means the county courtroom gives premium time to county personnel costing me even more. As a practical consequence that means my case isn’t called until 10:35. And now the fuck over begins in earnest.

This is the fourth motion for child support. The first time my Ex hadn’t filed an Income Declaration. The next two times, she didn’t bother to show up. This time she still hasn’t filled out an Income Declaration. Case continued till late August. Now let me tell you how it went for me. Me; totally unaware that proceedings are underway and I have the children in question in my home; missed first court date. Ex presents a pay stub (I assume). I’m assessed 125 per child/mo.

Next is the first motion for return of child support vs. the county that they took erroneously. County breaks out rulebook. Since my child support was in arrears**, I’m not eligible to receive a refund, unless I could establish fraud. My lawyer presents documents that in fact we are alleging fraud and my Ex readily acknowledges that yes she has pleaded to a fraud charge. Judge asks County; Ok he’s done that now what?
Well, since in the intervening years the Fraud department has switched form Welfare to the DA’s office, I’m still not eligible for a refund, but she’ll look into it. So ordered by Judge.

Cue sound of Stuffy banging head on desk.

Fuck.

*Most of these were for a forged check charge.
** You essentially start off in arrears as once the order for support is established that start collecting from the original complaint date. This, in spite of the fact, that I shouldn’t owe support in the first place.

There ain’t enough :rolleyes: in the world.

Power, brother.

I’m so sorry to hear this, Stuffy. Dang, that is one raw deal! All I can think is to focus on how good it will be once it’s fixed. Eyes on the prize as it were. Yeah I know, that doesn’t help you now. Good luck.

Stuffy, I feel for you, dude. I have a great deal of sympathy for the Family Courts personnel locally - they’re overworked, and underpaid.

That doesn’t mean that they’re actually always doing good work.

And, let’s face it, a lot of the elected persons dealing with Family Court issues have demonized men in general. It doesn’t make anything better for you, I know, but it is part of why you’re getting such a nice reaming from that fireplug.
Hang in there, dude.

Let’s see. Kids, an ex, courts, child support, lawyers, and the fact you’re a male. In California. In the Bay area.

I thought I had problems.

Hang in there man. I really hope this turns out for the best.

I have followed your posts over the years about your family. I know I’ve said it countless times, but you’re such a great dad and your boys are so fucking lucky to have you. Your ex makes me sick to my stomach.

If I’m ever in your neck of the woods, I’m taking you out for a beer or three.

Thanks for the support guys I really needed to vent. I surprised myself by not going postal in the courtroom over that bullshit “arrears” arguement. The only comforting thing about it was that I was not alone, if you could call that comforting. Before we were called there was a guy with similar circumstances (he’s had custody of his daughter since birth) and his ex (she’s a fleeing felon) filed and received welfare for two years costing him about 17k. He’s been fighting for 5 years to get his money back. The county used the exact same arguements in his case. The Judge asked him why he didn’t have a lawyer, and he said he couldn’t afford one any longer as his daughter is about to start college.

I wish I had a chance to talk to him. Seeing that, I’m contemplating not pursuing it further, I could be putting my legal fees into a college fund or something.

Dude, you’re not alone on this one.

I have full and complete custory of my daughter (the ex doesn’t even get visitation). The ex who lives in another state decided to collect welfare and claim the child. I’m slapped with a huge bill (something in the 20k range), garnished wages, and tax refunds. This was before I could even appear in court. The state just took her word and took my money.

I’ve been in and out of court, written a million letters, and ended up having to pay thousands of dollars for child support for the child I have at home.

The ex has paid zero in suppot.

The problem went on for years and years. About 2 years ago I received a letter that said “satisfied”.

In all I think I’m out 7+ grand. I’ve sort of lost count.

Hang in there.

Stuffy, just reread your OP. AIUI, here in NY, a lawyer only charges that hourly rate for consultations and for time spent actually in court. So that while they do charge a nice sized retainer to stand around and wait with you - they don’t actually charge for the waiting time. Are you sure that you’re going to pay the hourly rate for the time you were waiting?

I’m not sure, not that you mention it, I just remember having to replenish my retainer after every court date. I haven’t received my latest billing but looking at my billing for a hearing in May, including a couple of phone calls, drive time, and court time I was billed $425.00 against my retainer. I’ll ask her about it though.

Seven I got one of those “satisfied” letters last year after they took my tax refund. Hell they even sent me about $32 as change. Sounds like the welfare department in her state is no different than mine. What’s inconceivable to me is how she was able to do it multiple times. I thought part of welfare reform automatically excluded anyone who defrauded the system previously. My lawyer explained to me that it only applies to person commiting the fraud, they can still collect on behalf of minor children. Kind of makes that ineffectual no? :smack:

I’m getting a sudden urge to reread Catch-22.

The thing of it is, even if I’m right, I’m sure that your lawyer feels well-compensated for the time spent waiting, even if it’s not actually something charged to you. I just mentioned it as a possible mitigation for one of the stressors you mentioned above. :dubious: