Audit Criticizes Court – and Reminds the Rest of Us Why Attorneys Matter

The findings of a state audit released last week were critical of several California family law courts in the northern part of the state. According to the Sacramento Bee, the audit found that the Marin and Sacramento courts “fail to follow their own standards” when it comes to protecting the interests of children in child custody cases.

The paper reports that the State Auditor’s office launched the investigation “in response to concerns that the courts are too chummy with mediators and others who help decide child custody and visitation cases.” The paper notes that the report does not say in so many words that the shortcomings it identifies are placing children in danger.

According to the Bee, the chief judge of the Sacramento Superior Court issued a statement concurring with the majority of the report’s findings. He indicated that he has already initiated a process of changes to court procedures in response to the audit document. In Marin, the reaction was less welcoming. The paper reports that the county’s chief judge “wrote that the report’s title and chapter headlines were misleading and inflammatory.”

The report’s criticisms, however, do highlight how important it is for parents to have skilled legal counsel in their corner throughout any child custody and visitation dispute, be it here in Orange County or elsewhere in the state. The audit report cites what it says is poor evaluation and record-keeping by courts and calls for better policies to prevent “conflicts of interest between judges and court-appointed investigators.”

One of the most important things one acquires when hiring an Orange County family law attorney is that lawyer’s knowledge of the ins and outs of our court system – not only the specifics of the law, but local subtleties that only an experienced area attorney can bring to a case. Conflicts of interest that might affect your right to a deep and loving relationship with your child may not be apparent to a layperson unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the court system. Spotting them, and defending your interests, is one of an Orange County attorney’s most important duties to any client.

Sacramento Bee: California audit criticizes Sacramento Superior Court’s family court