Sunday, July 26, 2020

How Weird Is This?

I ran across an article titled,  Paying Alimony: The 5 Types of Alimony on FindLaw from 2009 (the same year Spring was divorcing me) which states that one of the factors which can be used to determine alimony is the, "gender of the party seeking alimony". Wow!
What makes alimony calculations difficult to predict is the fact that each state court has its own method of determining the amounts. Some factors commonly employed in deciding how much alimony will be due and for how long include:
  • how long the couple was married
  • how long the couple was separated
  • the age of the ex-spouses
  • incomes of the ex-spouses
  • future financial potential of each party
  • gender of the party seeking alimony
I should not be surprised as Spring's lawyer Nelly Wince did explicitly use the fact that Spring was a women as a reason for the court to award alimony.

Factoring in gender as reason to for awarding alimony is about as sexist as you can get. According to the custody evaluator Spring was not the primary parent, the employment evaluation states she could make as much money as me, she never used a dime of her earned income for the children or me, and she clearly committed fraud yet she was given permanent alimony by the court. It is utterly unfair and unjust. And sexist.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Perjury in Our Family Courts

FindLaw has a good read on Perjury in Our Family Courts: Family Lawyers BEWARE! from a few years ago. The article is specific to Nevada but is applicable to most states. 

The article discusses why it is next to impossible to prosecute perjury against a litigant (which, by the way is reason it has become so common) but warns lawyers that they may not get away with crime quite so easily.
The savings clause contained in Rule 60(b) provides that a party may file an independent action for relief from a judgment, order or proceeding for “fraud upon the court.” In order to prevail on this ground, the burden is on the moving party to show by clear and convincing evidence that “an unconscionable plan or scheme... designed to improperly influence the court in its decision” had been perpetrated.
Prosecution of perjury cases in the domestic law arena remains infrequent. In Nevada, such perjury prosecutions are virtually non-existent, and there is little likelihood that any criminal perjury prosecution will occur in the future — unless, of course, the prosecution is against the divorce attorney for suborning perjury.
Even more disturbing, however, is the fact that our family court judges appear to be reluctant to find a person who has presented perjured testimony to be in contempt of court. Perhaps our family court is lenient in this regard because the court understands the emotional stress and anguish a party in a divorce or family law proceeding experiences during the course of the proceedings, thus causing the court to rationalize that “bending” the truth is to be expected. Perhaps, too, it is the province of our family court’s mantra — that it is “a court of equity and not punishment.” If this is, in fact, the philosophy and rationale of our family courts, we, as family law practitioners, must take it upon ourselves to urge the court to exercise its inherent power of contempt. Unless such contempt power is exercised, there is little doubt that perjury will continue to be prevalent within our family court system.
Nevertheless, we as family law attorneys must recognize and understand that it is we who are at risk. The family law attorney should — and must — strive to maintain the integrity of our family court. Moreover, the family law attorney must recognize that, in all likelihood, he or she stands a far better chance of facing disciplinary action for a client’s perjury than the client stands to be punished for committing the perjury. If we as family law practitioners take a proactive stand against the proffering of perjured testimony and falsified evidence in our cases, we no doubt can and will bring integrity into the family court system.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Family Court Corruption — Lawyer and Judge Whistleblowers

Steven Krasner writes in Medium about why it is so hard for judges and lawmakers to follow their own professional rules of conduct.
Hurdles to address areas of professional misconduct are many times insurmountable — due to many of the entities designed to investigate having been proven to be ineffective and shielded by a cumbersome process that filters out legitimate cases of wrongdoing.
In 2015 the State of New York’s “Judicial Accountability” and “Ethics Enforcement Agencies” both received the failing grade of an “F”. Such findings offer little solace to any person, within the industry or outside of it, who would venture to report violations of professional or judicial misconduct on the part of lawyers and/or judges.
The most difficult thing for me is that although the law is good and clear and the lawyers rules of professional conduct are exceedingly well written and fair, both the law and the rules are simply ignored in family court. Not only is there no penalty when lawyers break the law and violate the rules, there are vast financial rewards to do so. The result is endemic corruption within family court.
Ultimately this creates a system where abuses of power and authority prosper at the expense of parents and children while sustaining an industry where profits appear to come before people.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

When Judges Are Friends With Attorneys And Litigants

Should a judge become Facebook friends with a litigant? The Wisconsin Supreme Court says it creates the appearance of bias
The ruling, which now places the case before a different judge, was the latest in a series of examples across the country where a judge’s actions on social media call into question their ability to fairly consider cases before them.
We should all be disturbed when judges form personal relationships with litigants but an even bigger issue is when judges have personal relationships with the attorneys.

In my case, Judge Mearly openly stated he personally know Nelly Wince and vouched for her character even before reading the evidence against her. If that is not clear bias I am not sure what is.