October 21, 2014
I confess: I haven’t updated this site for months. I’m rewriting it today after receiving the following email from a mother headed to Nevada County Family Court:
I found the reformers website today, and I am headed into mediation. Do you have any idea if the courts have been reformed at all? Do I need to be concerned about the court not taking the father of my sons criminal record seriously?
I am going to be strong and stand up for what I believe to be the best interest of my son. But now that it is in the courts hands I am a little fearful that they will give the father more rights than he deserves immediately. i want to take it slow.
Any help appreciated!
Here’s my response:
Things have improved in the court. The most dramatic improvement has been the new judge, Scott Thomsen. The mediators (now called child custody recommending counselors) are still problematic. Marilyn Stahl is the best of the bunch…you could try requesting her. If there’s been any history of domestic violence in your relationship, you can (and probably should) request separate mediation sessions. Don’t agree to anything you don’t feel completely comfortable signing. If the mediators write a recommendation you don’t agree with, you’ll have an opportunity to explain why you don’t agree with it to the judge (and he is very competent).
Good luck, and please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help.
P.S. If you have any proof of your son’s father’s criminal history (i.e. newspaper articles or a criminal report), it’s a good idea to include it in your filing. If not, insist that the court looks it up!
I am heartened by the improvements I’ve seen in the Nevada County Family Court. I think Judge Thomsen is conscientious and ethical. I continue to hear unflattering feedback about the mediation (child custody recommending counseling) part of the process, but Judge Thomsen is willing to override recommendations he doesn’t find reasonable. My main concern about Nevada County Family Court at this point in time is that there is still no good procedure for filing complaints against the mediators. Without a solid complaint protocol, mediators are not held accountable for the quality of their work. The only time anyone outside of Family Court Services sees any client complaint is if the complaint is about the director, Paul Jaffe. Unfortunately, the only person who reviews the complaint is CEO Sean Metroka. Metroka has no experience as a mediator, attorney, or judge. He is unfit to review mediation complaints. I have spoken to Judge Thomsen and Presiding Judge Heidleberger about this problem. I appreciated the judges making the mediation complaint form available to the public on the court’s website. The next step would be to appoint a trained professional to review all mediation complaints (not only the ones involving Paul Jaffe). If that happened, I might go into reformer retirement.
If you are headed to family court or mediation, please read the “5 Essential Tips” page before you go. If there’s something I can do to help you, please email me at email@example.com
The information found on this website is NOT intended to replace legal advice and is NOT a substitute for specific advice concerning individual situations. YOU SHOULD NOT RELY ON ANY INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE AS FORMAL LEGAL ADVICE. This website nor Nevada County Reformers shall be responsible for any loss or damage arising from your reliance on any information provided on this website.