Friday, September 19, 2014

Custody Court Reorganization Proposal Unanimously Approved

Yesterday, I told you that President Judge Stephen Baratta has proposed a sweeping reorganization of custody court that will reduce the time it takes to resolve matters, as well as save $45,000 a year. His plan is to inject more court participation in order to finish these matters in four to six months. Though Council fought abut everything else, Judge Baratta's proposal received their unanimous support.

I also have to apologize to Court Administrator Jill Cicero for referring to her by her previous name yesterday. I've got early onset dementia, Jill.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The people who have been put in my path as a diversionary tacktic have not been helping the matter but interogating me as if I were a crimnal and not the father I have become? The courts have strpped me almost of all my paternal rights with no advocate alloud to stand in for me as well as put lies to print to make this legal with no representation for me eithier for me to explain for me to understand what is going on?

This aniquated system put in place to protect the children and look out for there best intrest for them to become a productive adult in this civilize nation is helping i the destruction of the most important institution in a childs life?
redd
patent pending

Anonymous said...

Don't worry Bernie. I've been diagnosed with Alcoheimer's.

Anonymous said...

Bernie , why would Baratta even take this to Council ? Doesn`t the court have power to make program changes ?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Absolutely, but Council has to sign off on the personnel changes. They control the purse strings to some extent.

Anonymous said...

I am not a lawyer, and nothing to brag about, but I happen to have a lot of acquaintances who are.

While I wish Baratta and NC well with this change, it is my understanding that the issue of languishing custody cases which are often very complex, may have been exacerbated some time ago when someone, don’t know if it was Baratta or who, stripped the part-time masters of their authority to make a real decision combined with their policy of scheduling only one-half hour custody hearings. If someone else, can verify or deny this---please chime in.

If true, then this appears to be an attempt to cleanup backlog that was at least partially self-inflicted. There are apparently significant differences between how Northampton deals with this issue as compared to Lehigh. I’m not saying Lehigh is better----only statistics might shed some light on that---but the “appearance” is that it works better in Lehigh with three or more masters and longer scheduled hearings.

The core issue of too many custody cases, (and PFA’s too) is largely societal due to many factors, not the least of which is an unacceptable divorce rate. Too often judges and masters are faced with the choice of the “lesser of two evils” with far too many parents being unfit.

Another contributing factor appears to be the apparently low threshold for an aggrieved parent to “reinstitute” a change of custody action---repeatedly—wielding it as a sword where no or little change in circumstance has occurred—courts and masters across the nation appear to have difficulty---“judging” where this approaches harassment.

Then of course, very unfortunately, there are those among the legal profession who would prefer to not settle anything at all---stretching the billable hours beyond belief. This is true of other professions as well, so NO flames from lawyers please!

Anyway, I hope the proposed changes work, but not convinced they will.

P.S. I am told there are numerous other PA County’s with far worse backlogs. The unwillingness of any individual County to template their system based on successful systems elsewhere is a parochialism I will never understand.

Anonymous said...

9:19 am

You go LOW trying too cover your moose tracks that fall out of that place on your face like bernies shit slinging stories about Angle?

redd
patent pending

Bernie O'Hare said...

Judge Baratta had nothing to do with the previous custody court arrangement. he has only been PJ for about two years. But whoever it was, it was not set up to make things harder.

Anonymous said...

Government is filled with examples of good intentions having unintended consequences.