Commissioned in August of 2009 by the state of California, an audit of the family court systems in Marin and Sacramento counties has found problems, including underqualified mediators and investigators and poor tracking of complaints against mediators and evaluators.
The audit was peformed by the California Joint Legislative Audit Committee based on a request by Senator Mark Leno. A number of litigants involved in family court systems throughout the world have complained of problematic and unfair treatment, including evaluators with strong recommending power who have potential conflicts of interest, with complaints of abusive parents receiving significant custody and visitation while protective parents are punished. In this case, California investigators focused the audit on Marin and Sacramento counties, where criticism has been particularly strong.
The investigator’s report released yesterday issued 13 recommendations, all of which the courts have indicated they intend to follow. While the courts and the critics have chosen to interpret the report differently and the controversy is far from over, the investigator intends to continue reviewing progress of implementation of the recommendations, with meetings between auditors and court officials slated to take place three times next year to monitor compliance. According to Senator Mark Leno, if the courts do not satisfactorily implement the report’s recommendations, there will be “legislative response to bring them into compliance.”
You can read a summary and the full auditor’s report at this link: http://www.bsa.ca.gov/reports/summary/2009-109