Litigants complain about the California family courts – a lot.
The California Bureau of State Audits has been auditing the family courts in Marin and Sacramento counties for the past 17 months.
What did they find out?
According to the Marin Center for Judicial Excellence, both counties’ family courts are substandard in most every category measured.
A California senator reportedly reacted by characterizing the report as “disturbing”.
But local officials in Marin county reportedly interpreted the same reports as “proving beyond any doubt … there’s no problem”.
The Center for Judicial Excellence is particularly concerned (and requested audit specifically on) children involved in custody disputes who are placed with parents who are violent and/or sexual abusers instead of the parent who is not abusive.
But politicians in the court system may have succeeded in ejecting such issues outside the scope of this audit.
But what has come to light is not encouraging. For example, the court system could not show that five of seven of their mediators were even minimally qualified. And the mediators’ supervisor is reportedly not qualified to supervise them.
Similar criticisms apply to custody evaluators as well.
And complaints and potential conflicts are reportedly not documented or followed up on in any systematic way.
The Center also alleges “mass document destruction” hindered the audit.
The Center’s expressed concern is for the impact of these deficiencies upon children dragged through the courts.