A man recently lost his attempt in family law court to lower his child support obligation from $1,000.00. According to court papers, about two years after the support order was made, he was only working about 20 hours per week and making $640.00 a month as a telemarketer. He then filed new paperwork that showed he only worked 10 hours per week and made $600.00 per month. The man argued he was having problems because of a back injury and the economy.
In January, 2014, the Family Law court issued a job contacts order, requiring the father to conduct five job searches per week, 20 percent to be done in person. When he went back to court, the judge found that he had not fully complied with the court order, in part because he was applying for employment positions which he could not do.
The father (and former husband) appealed, arguing among other things that his due process rights were violated because the matter was heard in the Central Civil West branch of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. According to the Court of Appeal, “Gash suggests that because judges at Central Civil West who preside over support proceedings were once district attorneys in the child support enforcement department, the process is fundamentally unfair; i.e., it is the same as ‘having your divorce case decided by your mother-in-law'”.
The Court of Appeal, however, in a 3-0 decision, rejected this contention, noting “[t]hat the judicial officer once was a district attorney and that support proceedings are heard in the same building that houses the child support enforcement offices does not show that either the process or the judge was biased against Gash”. Also, the panel observed ”the mere fact a judicial officer rules against a party does not show bias'”.
The case was Marriage of Gash v. Ben-Noun, Court of Appeal case no. B258645.
The trial judge was the Hon. Marshall Rieger. The appeals decision was written by Justice Dennis Aldrich. The case was not certified for publication, which means it cannot be used as precedent by other judges or lawyers. However, this is an example of what arguments work and what arguments are ridiculous.