Category Archives: Uncategorized

It has been awhile…

It has been awhile since I posted any comments on this blog. Long
story short: I lost…but not as badly as I thought it was going be. At
the end of the day, the court of Commissioner Marshall Reiger found
that the audit was somehow valid and that I owed back child and
spousal support and interest in the amount of approximately $1450.
While maddening, this is a far sight better than the $4400 that the
DCSS had originally said that I had owed. Of course, this new amount
was arrived at when DCSS ran yet another audit on my child support
payments account and arrived at the newer lower amount. Of course,
there was no explanation of the methods or processes that the DCSS
employed to arrive at this new amount …let alone the amount that they
originally said that I owed. For those of you not familiar with my
tales of woe, please take a moment to read my previous postings. It is
far too maddening and absurd to retell now. After many unread and
disregarded court filings, I found myself disgusted with the
pointlessness of trying to get a fair hearing in a rigged system. No
wrong doing or malfeasance on the part of the DCSS was ever going to
be found in the court of Commissioner MR. Given this scenario, it was
hard to motivate myself to continue on the hopeless quest of having
some bureaucratic legal entity see the injustice that was being
perpetrated upon me. I was disgustedly resigned to the serve out the
remainder of my 35 months as an indentured servant to the Department
of Child Support Services and my ex-wife. I would pay my child support
in full and on time. In addition, I would make a payment towards the
principle and interest on the amount that was still owed as a result
of a vindictive and retaliatory audit conducted in July 2013. There is
no point fighting a rigged system. That was until I received the letter.

The letter, which I am including as an attachment to this posting(bottom of the post),
lists in great detail the many abusive methods that the DCSS had at
their disposal to compel me to pay the monies owed because of this
audit. This letter of vindictive harassment is contradictory to the
results of the proceedings relating to this audit. As pathetic and
unsatisfying as the court hearing on January 27th 2014 was, it did
establish a payment plan of twenty dollars per month over and above
the base child support. The $20 was to be applied towards principle
and interest on the audit amount. It’s all in the official
transcript…if the people who mailed this form letter ever cared to
read it.
As I stated earlier, before I received this letter from the DCSS I was
resigned to serving out my time in this state of continual oppression
for the next 35 months. After losing and losing in almost every
instance, one is left with a sense of how hopeless and rigged the
entire Family Court bureaucracy is. This DCSS letter changes all of
that. This letter threatens all sorts of coercive…please read it and
make your own assessment. The same goes for the attached transcript of
the hearing on 1/27/14. This threatening letter has finally made clear
to me the fact that there will NEVER be any way to run from this
fight. I have to bring an intense vigor to this fight and it will not
end until I am no longer under the oppressive bureaucratic thumb of
the Department of Child Support Services(DCSS). With any luck, that
will happen 3 years from now. Until then, it’s game on with these evil
clowns. I have had it with this abuse and I may not be successful in
my efforts, but the presence, intensity, and validity of this fight
will be known.
Granted, it has been awhile since I posted anything on this blog. It
has been hard to summon the motivation to post and pursue complaints
against these oppressive bureaucracies. It is so easy to just fall
into the mantra of,”just move on.” It is clear to me now, that is not
an option. This post is almost done, but it is the first of many. Here
is a sampling of what to be looking for in future posts:
–       Complaint to California Commission on Judicial Performance regarding
the performance of Commissioner Marshall Reiger
–       Libraries and how they facilitate to improve the lot of noncustodial
parentsmeeting
–       The Divorce Corp: where does it succeed …where does it fail
–       The CA Department of Child Support services and its perceived structure
–       The nature non-custodial parents and their mental stability
–       And so much more…

That is all for now
DougO

transcript12714

threatletter

 

Divorce Corp…an affirmation at last!

1/19/14

On January 10th, the film, “Divorce Corp.” opened at a number of locations across the country. As any reader of my blog knows, the subject matter strikes a very deep chord with me. The film dealt with the financially motivated injustice and inequity of the Family Court system. Ironically, the film made me feel slightly better about my seemingly trivial situation when compared to some of the tragic stories told in this film. That comparative feeling was cold comfort to the overall feeling of hopelessness and depression that the film and following panel discussion left me with. “Divorce Corp.” related case after case of people who had been entrapped and ensnared in a legalistic system designed to extract ever increasing amounts of money and misery out of them. The few words that I that I write here cannot do justice to what this film has to tell. I implore you to go see this documentary…or at least take a look at the trailers. You can see them on Apple Trailers or Facebook.

I mentioned that there was a sparsely attended panel discussion with attendees of the film as well as couple of people associated with the film. Unfortunately, the “discussion” devolved into a series of venting rants by people who had been abused by the Family Court system. I guess in order to have a discussion, there has to be talking AND listening going on. There was very little listening going on that evening.

This brings me to a reality that all NonCustodial Parents, as well as anyone else who is having contentious relations with the Family Court systems must confront: often times, they are their own worst enemy. The panel discussion after the film affirmed what I had known from reading many of the vitriolic, self-absorbed postings by NonCustodial Parents throughout the years. The demeanor and presentation of many NCPs can com off as strident at best and mentally unbalanced at worst. This off putting tone runs counter to achieving any productive progess on Family Court reform. Throughout the last 1.5 years as I’ve been fighting the LA DCSS, I have gained very little traction and response with my elected representatives or news media that I have contacted. Honestly, I think part of it stems from the fact that my fight is being seen through same incredulous lense that many see NCPs through. This is regardless of the fact that my, in my opinion, my fight has been deliberate, well reasoned, and not overly hostile.

This is not to say that the contentions of the NCPs who are in conflict with the Family Court system are illegitimate. Most of the time, there is great merit to the frustration and vitriol that the feel towards the Family Courts. In fact, most of the time, it is often the conflict with the Family Courts…and the Ex spouse that has left them in a mentally unhinged state. The courts have a legitimate perspective in calling many NCPs irrational actors. The Family Court should know. They played a major role in making them that way.

///

That’s all for now. A week from now I will be appearing telephonically to present my case to the Family Court of Los Angeles County. It is my sincere hope that the issue of this audit can be resolved and settled at this time. We shall see. While I’m sure that many would advise me to curtail my posts as the date approaches, I disagree. I’ve always felt that openness, not obfuscation, to be the most productive in these situations.

A New Year…and the same old crap…

Below you will find a posting that is essentially the entirety of a Declaration that I am about to file for my next hearing on Monday 1/27/14. If you are interested in the supporting documents that I refer to, I’m more than happy to show them to you. Just let me know…ricketsondouglas@gmail.com

!!!!

I cannot recommend this film enough…and I haven’t even seen it yet!

http://divorcecorp.com/

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE LINK!

It opens in the Bay Area at the EmeryBay theatres on Friday 1/10/2014.  I am very encouraged that this reknowned team of documentarians is taking on the frustrating and maddening  quagmire of the Family Court Industrial Complex

…till I post again

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While it has been less than 6 months since the California Department of Child Support Services – Antelope Valley (DCSS) conducted an audit on my child support payments account. Much has happened during those six months. I would have thought that this matter would have been resolved much sooner. I understand and appreciate the fiscal challenges that the courts face at this time. Unfortunately, in the Court of Commissioner Marshall Reiger, sufficient time or presence has not been made available to me so that I can present my perspective on this case. Hopefully, this will change on Monday, January 27th 2014.

This Declaration will present the following points for consideration:

  1. EXHIBITS: I offer for the Courts consideration my child support statements from July 2013 to November 2013. These show the erratic nature of the account reporting coming from the DCSS. Also, I offer yet another Notice Intent to Suspend my driver’s license as well as the the response from the DCSS – Antelope Valley Office. Finally, on the subject of the documents that I offer for the Court’s consideration, I provide statements from the DCSS’ very own website that attest to my compliance with my payment obligations.

  2. REQUEST FOR DOCUMENTS: There are documents that relate to the most recent audit as well as ones that I have already requested that have not been provided by the DCSS

  3. REMEDIES REQUESTED: My thoughts on what the appropriate remedies or desired actions that the Court should take

  4. FINAL THOUGHTS: What does this all mean to myself and to the family courts in general

 

EXHIBITS:

The statements included with this declaration cover the 4 months from June 2013 to October 2013. These statements begin with my payments being ahead in June to being almost $4,000.00 in arrears in August to the last statement that I received in November that states that I am “only” in arrears by $1594.85. I am particularly interested in the account adjustment that was made in October of 2013.

I have specific questions related to the provided statements:

 

  1. How did the BALANCE ADJUSTMENT in October come about?
  2. Was a newer audit conducted on my account to generate these updated numbers?
  3. If the above is the case, then why is the original audit flawed? Of course that flawed audit was conducted on an account, that according to DCSS, had inaccurate balances for 5 years?
  4. Where is the December statement on the DCSS website? Why is it not there?
  5. Why was this audit run in July of 2013 when the DCSS had ample opportunities to do so during one of the many conflicted interactions that I have had with the DCSS? Please see the DCSS website documentation of the payments made to me in 2012 for overpayment on my Child Support account.
  6. Can you explain the interest charges on the November statement? There are $836.21 in interest on a principle amount of $758.64. Until this audit was conducted, this principle amount was not even known. Don’t you think that a small principle amount generating this much interest in a period of 4 months is a bit absurd. I have certainly heard of usurious loan sharks, but if this number is held to be credible by the Court then the DCSS could certainly put them to school.
  7. Now, all of the above incompetence and deceitfulness taken in total, does the DCSS really believe that anyone with a shred of intelligence would believe anything that the DCSS says about anything?

REQUEST FOR DOCUMENTS:

As I have specific questions above, I have requests for documents as well.

 

  1. I request copies of any and all audits that were run subsequent to the original audit in July 2013
  2. I request any and all documents relating to the $2987.29 BALANCE ADJUSTMENT referenced in the November statement
  3. The above documents requested are in addition to the previous requests that pertain to any communications by DCSS employees or officials relating to this audit and case. This would include statements for the previous 5 years.

 

REMEDIES/DESIRED ACTIONS

As the audit reports and DCSS statements have been shown to have little or no credibility, I request that the court rule in my favor by removing the remaining arrearages and dismissing the contentions of the DCSS – Antelope Valley.

Better yet would be for the the Court to rule this: let the audit stand…and compel the California Department of Child Support Services to pay it out of their Billion dollar budget. The DCSS is the party responsible for the errors relating to this case, the should be the entity compelled to pay the supposed arrearages. While small, this would serve as an effective punitive act for not just the DCSS Antelope Valley, but every other branch of the DCSS in this state.

With all due deference and respect for the Court….take your pick of the above.

 

 

CLOSING THOUGHTS:

I find little need to review the points regarding the statements that I have submitted. They stand by themselves as testament to the arbitrary and unfair nature of the behavior by the DCSS. If one can get past this, then you can’t get past the inaccuracy and callous disregard for simple competence of the documents.

This fight…this conflict really began over a year ago when I successfully removed a mandated Wage Assignment and contested and won a Termination of Medical Support because it was deemed unreasonable given my income level and what coverage I had available to me through my employer. My relations with the CA DCSS during the last 13 years have been very contentious. After I succeeded in court, the DCSS, through the application of an unjust and unwise law, attempted to seize my CA driver’s license. This was the final straw for me. I complained and was finally given the opportunity to present my case to an administrative law judge. Immediately prior to this hearing, the DCSS decided to conduct an audit of my account. I find the timing of this audit highly suspect and implausible as a random event. I find it to be an example of targeted harrassment of me because I dared to challenge the authority of the DCSS. While I was ultimately unsuccessful in pressing my case, the administrative law judge, Carla Nasoff, pointed out that there was no flaw in how the law was applied, she told me that I had a problem with the existence of a law that allows and enables the DCSS to seize and rescind my driver’s license for what is tantamount to a minor accounting error. True that. The penalty far exceeds the infraction.

The above is my individual, anecdotal case. There are certainly bigger issues under consideration It is not the role of the Court to make law. It is the role of the court to administer and apply it. I can only wonder how many other Non-Custodial parents have experienced what I have. My experiences and reactions to them give voice and fight to the thousands of Non-Custodial parents who have been through ordeals similar to my own. How many have simply accepted without question the determinations of the DCSS as the law of the land. Well, “the law” is a living and malleable entity designed to grow and change to meet the needs of society. Given my experiences, I can attest with a deep-throated conviction that the family law industrial complex is in dire need of reform and change.

That is why whoever reads to the bottom of this Declaration will see that its recipients include my elected representatives. At the risk of conducting a condescending civics lesson, they’re the ones who actually make the laws and oversee the entities, like the DCSS, that administer it. Leaders only lead when compelled to do so. Every elected official reading this has constituents who have been subjected to experiences similar to my own. They are our brothers and sisters…our mothers and fathers…our sons and daughters. We are at juncture in our society where we are debating proper role and function of government. How can people have faith in government entities when they are confronted with monstrosities of corruption and ineffectiveness like the Family Court System? It is my hope that the bright light of scrutiny will motivate mine and other elected officials to reform and rebuild a family law system badly in need of it. I have faith. I have faith that the mechanisms for change are available to us. The legislature and executive branch of this state have oversight of the DCSS. I believe that change can happen…if it is made to happen.

Although the writings leading up to this point would seem to contradict me, I am generally not a contentious combative person. I consider myself to be a reasonable individual…particularly when I am treated with reason and respect. It would seem that the DCSS would be far more effective in their efforts in achieving compliance with support orders if they treated Non-Custodial parents with more common courtesy and respect. Of course, given my experiences, it is not an excessive stretch of paranoia to believe that the DCSS incentivized to entrap and ensnare NCPs into ever deeper arrearage charges. On its face, such an assertion might seem absurd, if not for the fact that 2/3 of the funding of the CA DCSS comes from Federal sources. The larger the overall Non-Custodial parent obligation, the more the DCSS receives from the Office of Child Support Enforcement(OCSE). It’s not so paranoid, just obvious where the incentives lie. One of the reasons why people have lost so much faith in government is because of entities like the DCSS have come to regard people as fodder to be fleeced, not citizens to be served. Bureaucracies like the DCSS have become self-promulgating entities that put their own existence ahead of the purpose they were intended to serve.

Finally, over the last 13 years it seems like I have been fighting with or fending off the DCSS for much of it. Frankly, I certainly have better things to do with my time. I know I have more productive things to do with my time as does the DCSS. With that, I respectfully request that you find for my position in this case and compell the DCSS to adhere to the remedies that I have requested earlier in this declaration.

 

 

Waiting for Reiger…

 

On November 15, the situation surrounding the audit detailed previously, was supposed to be resolved. Well, I was sitting by the phone at 8:00 am on Friday, November 15th …waiting. I was waiting by the phone to be called by the LA DCSS…or the court ….or the clerk….or whoever facilitates these telephonic court appearances. Well, I waited until I could wait no longer. It was about 8:30 am when I decided to call the court at the Central Civil West courtroom. After being transferred several times, I eventually made contact with Don Matthews, JR., the attorney for California Department of Child Support Services(DCSS). He informed me that they would be calling as soon as my case came before Commissioner Reiger. Well, I waited for another 2.5 hours for a call…nothing. I finally phoned the court to find out what the hold up was. Mr. Matthews informed me that Commissioner Reiger had not even show up for court that day. No reason was ever given for his absence.
Eventually, an hour later, I was told that there was no chance of the case being heard on that day. It would have to be rescheduled. It was rescheduled for Monday, January 27th , 2014. I had specifically requested that the case be heard on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday as those are my days off from work. I did not believe this to be an unreasonable request as the hearing was over 2 months into the future and because I had already lost one day’s wages by taking a Friday off of work. I did not want to lose another. Regardless, it will be another 2 months before this morass even has the possibility of being resolved.
On another front, the same day that the fiasco at Central Civil West is transpiring, I prepare and send a claim for damages to the Victim Compensation & Government Claims Board(VCGCB). You may not be familiar with this state agency. It is the agency that reviews all claims for damages against the state. If they or the agency in question deny your claim, you then have the right to bring a civil suit in a court of law. My claim has been rejected by the VCGCB because it was too “complex and outside the scope of analysis and interpretation typically undertaken by the board.” What this means is that, “The Board’s rejection of your claim will allow you to initiate litigation should you wish to pursue this matter further.” In other words: I CAN SUE! I now have standing to sue the Los Angeles DCSS. I will be filing this suit in the appropriate small claims court. I feel that this is the appropriate forum to air my grievances and present my claim for compensation by the LA DCSS.
At first, I felt that I could not sue the state for damages. As it turns out, you can. I simply had to throw off conventional notions of what is possible and what is not. I may not win in my battle with the DCSS, but at least I will know that I was able to bring my case to a forum that is not as systemically biased as the California Family Court system.

The tale of the audit…

Hello,

Just gearing up for the next round in court on Friday November 15th. Fortunately, I will be appearing telephonically so I will not have to make the trip down to LA Superior Court System. My motivation in fighting the LA DCSS – Antelope Valley is not deterred, but my optimism for prevailing in this particular battle is waning.

Below is a posting that was published on the National Parents Organization. The original appears below.

 https://nationalparentsorganization.org/blog/21316-a-father-s-fight-for-child-support-justice

Thanks to everyone who read this telling of my current battles and the support that you’ve shown.

 

Thanks Again!

DougO

 

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Hello. My name is Doug Ricketson…and I am a non-custodial parent. Over the last twelve years, my ex-wife, the family court, the Department of Child Support Services have made me feel like a third-class citizen. I was saddled with an unsustainable child and support order, and threatened with almost 6 months in jail for contempt of a court order. 8 years after my divorce I found myself in such a profound and deepening state of debt that I could not envision myself as anything but an indentured servant for the rest of my life. The cherry on the cake is the fact that my children were indoctrinated to hate me. Nice.

The above, as miserable as it has been, is not why I am writing today. If you want to read the full chronological tick-tock of the misery that I’ve been through, please take a look at my blog, it will fill you in on all of the details. https://ricketsondouglas.wordpress.com/

No, I’m writing about the latest episode of misery: an audit of my history of payments to the Los Angeles Department of Child Support Services. In order to get the full effect, we have to start 6 years ago. In 2007, my mother passed. I inherited enough to pay off the substantial amount of child and spousal support arrearages that had accumulated. As harsh as it sounds, my mother’s death gave me a new lease on life…or so I thought. In April 2008, I paid the Los Angeles Department of Child Support Services $43,175.00. I thought that this payment would take care of everything. Everything would be covered: past due child support…spousal support…interest on each of them…EVERYTHING. I would be current. I believed that I would be current in my obligations because actual employees of the LA DCSS gave me that impression. Being current in my obligations is very important to me. It’s important because my ex-wife earns 10% on any arrearage that is outstanding. This is no small feat given the level of support payments that are expected. From that point forward, I resolved to make sure that all future payments would be on time and in full. This resolve is reflected in the fact that for the following five years, all of the statements sent to me by the Los Angeles Department of Child Support Services showed me as either current or ahead in my payment responsibilities. I have these statements. They’ve been submitted as an exhibit for my current hearing before the Los Angeles Family court. Imagine my dismay when on July 12th, I was informed that my account had been audited and that I had been found to be owing over $4000 in principle and interest on my child and spousal support. How could this be? Hadn’t the vast majority of the statements from the LA DCSS indicate that I was either ahead or current in my obligations? It is a funny coincidence that this audit occurred at the same time when I was beginning to find my voice to complain about the living hell that the LA DCSS had ladled upon me. The this conflict began in October 2012 when I took great exception to the wage assignment and health insurance obligation that the LA DCSS sought to impose upon me. Finally, the case officer overseeing my case, RaeLynn Block, relented and agreed that neither a wage assignment or a health insurance imposition were valid given my financial situation and consistent history of payments. Regardless of Ms. Block’s findings, I had to appear at two separate hearings to have these findings affirmed and an Order After Hearing was filed in both of these instances. Basically, I won…twice. On the day after the 2nd hearing, in a maddening twist of timing, I received a letter from the CA DMV. It contained a Notice of Intent to Suspend…my driver’s license. Again, how could this be? All the statements reflect that I am current in my payments of child support obligations. Well, it seems that because of the DCSS’ inability to properly apply payments in a timely manner, my account was flagged as delinquent. Fortunately, by contacting the DCSS I was able to rectify this situation. My driving privileges are no longer in jeopardy and are now in good standing.

All of the statements from the LA DCSS include very prominent forms to use to lodge complaints. Well, the first stop on this complaint train is with the ombudsman’s office. While it’s commendable in theory, it’s a fairly useless agency. My experiences indicate that they provide little more than administrative cover the unreasonable policies of the LA DCSS. Fortunately, there is an appeals level above the ombudsman’s office. At this point, your complaint gets heard by an Administrative Law Judge and a final decision is rendered. Unfortunately, this judge ruled that the LA DCSS acted properly and within the parameters of the law. This finding was more of a condemnation of the law than a vindication of how the DCSS conducts itself. I find the threatened seizure of my driver’s license to be extreme and out of proportion with the situation.

Regardless of how the ALJ ruled, it would seem that this complaint of mine somehow triggered an audit to be conducted by the Los Angeles DCSS. As I referenced earlier, this audit alleged that I owed over $4000. I can’t emphasize enough how this stands in stark contrast to all written communications that I have had from the LA DCSS in the last 5 years. I relied upon their monthly statements in paying my Child Support obligations. At the time, If I had known the accurate principle amount, I would have paid it. What is even more astonishing to me that I’m expected pay interest on a bill that I never received. As you’ve probably gathered this situation has driven me to extreme angst and frustration.

My hopes were held on a microthin silver lining of a hearing to be held on 9/18/13. At this hearing I would be afforded the opportunity to present my case that most or all of the arrearages were unfair and unreasonable. Well, that opportunity was never given to me. With a total of 44 cases on the docket for that day, I was not given any more than 5-10 minutes to present my case. I took great exception to this, as I had prepared declarations and exhibits to present to the court. In order to accommodate my right to present my side of the case, the judge set another hearing for Friday November 15th. Apparently, litigants are given more time on Fridays because there are fewer cases scheduled. Sure…fine…whatever. Regardless, the judge in the case made no secret of his sympathies towards the DCSS’s position in this case. While I intend to present my case with strength and vigor, I feel that persuading the judge to rule in my favor will be a challenging task.

So that’s where we stand. I am left with no resolution, but many questions. The primary question being this: How can the LA DCSS fail in their fiduciary responsibilities by misrepresenting how much is actually owed on my Child Support account for an entire 5 years? Also, a related question has to do with the nature of the audit. What set it off?  And why now? Why after 5 years was the audit done now? What was the motivator? I think that I am entitled to answers to these questions.
    Now, the above relates to my individual case. This is my personal fight. My experiences during this audit does give me pause to look at the larger picture. I’m wondering how many other Non-Custodial Parents are going through situations like my own…or worse. Throughout the 12 years since my  divorce, the LA DCSS and the rest of the Family Court Industrial Complex, I’ve come to feel like a third class citizen. For me, this has gone beyond just my case, it has become a cause.
    Above, I posed the question as to how many other Non-Custodial Parents are encountering problems similar to my own. If my experiences are any indication of what other NCPs are going through, then changes are in order. NCPs have been subjected to arbitrary, unfair, and wrong. It is easy to get discouraged as I contemplate the fight before me. The family courts and the related bureaucracies seem completely intractable. As hopeless as this situation seems, there are small rays of optimism and possibility. This hope takes the form of our elected officials, news media, and organizations like National Parents  Organization who can serve as paths for seeking justice on NCP issues.
    In closing, I have to remark on the litany vitriol and hatred that has been spewed by NCPs in situations such as my own. While  heartfelt,  the emotional pain and frustration in these writings is understandable. Unfortunately, these words can also be counterproductive. In this respect, NCPs can be their own worst enemy. By indulging in hateful and contentious speech and writings, the NCPs further the stereotypes of them as being irrational and unreasonable. What will bring about change to this area of injustice is if NCPs adopt an open informed, coherent position on what needs to be changed. Ultimately, the importance of changing those laws for the betterment of society should be the motivating directive, not redress for personal injustice. For NCPs to have success, the importance of reforming these laws as a function of good government cannot be stated strongly enough.

 

Utterly contemptible…

It costs 1.20 to get money order at United States Postal Service. Over the next few months, I will be using that service several times. That $1.20 is on top of the $5.60 that it costs to send a priority mail envelope. You see, I find it necessary to use priority mail because of the delivery confirmation that this method affords me. I cannot trust the CA State Disbursement to properly apply my payments in a timely fashion. At least the USPS will tell me exactly when it was delivered! In the last blog post I wrote on July 20th, I related the events surrounding the “audit” that the LA DCSS conducted on my Child Support payment history. After that audit, I’m suddenly $4000 in arrears and a levy was placed upon my checking account and the funds in it seized. This is the reason that I have to use USPS Priority Mail to make sure that my payments arrive and are properly applied. This is important to me and my personal freedom. You see, if they are not made in full and on time, I would be in contempt of a court order. As I have come to learn, being in contempt of a court order would potentially land me in the Los Angeles County jail for a period of five days for each offense. For now, the $6.80 is a good investment in keeping my ass out of jail. More soon…

The First Post of Many…

Hello, My name is Doug Ricketson. This will be the first of many posts relating to my miserable Child Support case. 

September - 2000 Separation from Pamela McHale 

Jan - 2001 Residency Established by Pamela McHale in Palmdale CA & Papers served 
I made a profound error in judgement in allowing Pamela Thomas to re-establish residency. During the period immediately after our separation we were on cooperative terms. Our marriage license was signed in Alameda County and our residence was in Contra Costa County for the entirety our marriage. If I had exercised more self-interested judgement, all of these proceedings would have taken place in Contra Costa County. This was extremely bad judgement on my part. I regret it profoundly. 

March - 2001 Order established based upon income as Senior Data Analyst from Nortpoint Communications -The amount of money that I earned at Northpoint was the highpoint of my earnings during my adult life. My child and spousal amounts were based upon this high amount. Again, I certainly have some culpability in the 3 intervening years of not getting the amount reduced. I did, however, hire an attorney for the specific purpose ofhaving my Spousal and Child support levels reduced to an amount that was more reflective my earnings subsequent to my time at Northpoint communications. That attorney was useless to the task. Finally, after much complaining and imploring, I was able to have the amount of Child support reduced and Spousal support removed in April of 2004. 

March - 2001 Mass Layoffs at Nortbpoint communications -dramatic decrease in income levels 

April - 2001 Full-time employment at MACadam computers established at less than halfprevious wage 

May - 2001 Services of Palmdale attorney, William Koch retained

September - 2001 House at 419 -33rd street put up for sale 

December - 2001 House sells 

February - 2002 a garnishment is attached to my wages at MACadam computers 

July - 2003 Family law facilitator gives poor advice on how and where to file motions in this matter(! was not 
told that I needed to file and serve these papers on the DCSS case worker as well) 

August - 2003 I am finally granted a hearing for this case, I travel 375 miles to the Palmdale courthouse only to be told that the presiding Judge, Mark Juhas would not be able to hear the case because he has jury duty

October - 2003 Not wanting to waste my time or money, I am able to set a court call hearing date. Yet again, I am thwarted because I'm told that this wasn't a "DA Day" (essentially a day that the child support services would be at the court house). Not satisfied with my experience with Court Call, I get a date in November for the matter to be heard. 

November - 2003 I arrive at the Courthouse in the hopes that I would get a hearing. I am now presented with 30 counts of Contempt of a Court order. The situation now becomes a criminal matter. An arraignment date of January 5th, 2004 is set. 

January - 2004 I establish that I cannot afford an attorney. I am assigned Ms. Nancy Boase as an attorney. I plead Not Guilty and a trial date of 4/14/04 is set. Unfortunately, due to a scheduling error by Ms. Boase, the date ofthe trial is rescheduled to 5/26/04. 

April - 2004 After an extensive amount of complaining to everyone in DCSS as well as all of my state-elected representatives, Child Support Services of Los Angeles County in downtown Los Angeles reevaluates and reestablishes child support to $674 per month. Even though this is a significant improvement over the completely unrealistic $1400 that child support had been set, it still constitutes almost 45% ofmy net income. It is the only time that I am able to have any effect on my situation in the LA County Family court system.

May 26th, 2004 Prior to the beginning of the trial, an agreement was reached where I will pay $200 per month towards the arrearages of spousal and child support. This additional amount makes the total that I am paying $874 per month. That means that I am now paying almost 55% or my income. Ofcourse, because I have been found to be delinquent, I'm having 50% of my net income taken via a wage assignment. This means that between the wage assignment and the agreed upon monthly payment, I am paying $1000 per month. I only earn (before paying for health insurance )$1600 per month. I'm expected to live on $600 per month. Given the cost of living in Northern California, this is completely unrealistic. 
** It also should be noted that Nancy Boase, the Court appointed attorney fails to properly file the motion relating to this agreement to the relevant entities, namely the DMV and my driver's license is suspended. I finally reestablish my driving priviledges 2 months later.

July - 2004 In a subsequent hearing I was able to have the spousal support removed. 
***please note that during this time period, a huge arrearage amount is earning Ms. McHale/Thomas 10% interest and this interest is adding to the huge arrearage amount. 

FAST FORWARD TO JULy 2007 
July - 2007 Due to my mother's passing, I am left with an inheritance of approximately $200k. At thls point, I am living off of investments and meeting all chlld support obligations including the interest that is accruing on the arrearages. 

February - 2008 I am presented with an offer from Pamela Thomas that states that if! give up all parental rights, she will renounce all arrearages and not hold me responsible for any future chlld support payments. 
Mid February 2008 -I retain the services the services of Wallin & Klarisch in thls matter to make sure that my interests are protected. 

April - 2008 Exasperated at the foot dragging and lack of communication from Pamela Thomas' attorney, John Bigler and Thomas herself, I pay the arrearages that are owed, essentially killing any hope of that deal/offer going forward.

May 2008 to December 2010  I pay my child support amount of$674 on time and in full for this period. 

December - 2010 LA DCSS garnishes my wages from my employer at that time, Sloat garden center. Because of the headache and the hassle of fighting thls wage assignment, I decide to not fight or contest it. 

January - 2011 Pamela Thomas and Scott Thomas(her now husband) propose the following communicated in an e-mail: Scott & Pam Thomas (thomas.adpt@gmail.com) is not on your Guest List IApprove sender IApprove domain I 
Doug, We have received your letter dated January 3, 2011 in which you indicated that you are ''willing to surrender my parental rights in exchange for removal of any future financial obligations ..." in regards to Joe and Regina Ricketson. Ifthis in fact means that you would give your consent to Scott Thomas legally adopting the children as set forth in Mr. John Bigler's letter to you dated February 5, 2008, then we thank you for your decision and will commence the adoption proceedings. The process, with respect to your involvement, is relatively straightforward. If you wish to retain an attorney you are welcome to do so, however, from our research on the adoption process it does not appear to be necessary, nor will we be responsible for any legal fees you might incur. The only thing required from you will be your signature on the California state form AD 2A --"Consent to Adoption by Parent in California Giving Custody to Husband of Wife or Domestic Partner of Other Parent" . You will need to sign an AD 2A form for each child in the presence of a Superior Court Clerk and return the forms to us by mail. The AD 2A forms, filled out for each child, are attached. You may print and use them, or wait for the hardcopies we will send by mail with a return envelope for your convenience. 
Here is a list of Contra Costa County courthouse locations: http://www.cc-courthelp.orgiindex.cfm?fuseaction=Page. viewPage&pageID=21S2&stopRedirect= 1 Ifyou have any questions regarding this matter, please correspond with us via this email address 
(thomas.adpt@gmail.com) or by mail. Thank you, Scott & Pamela Thomas 

March - 2011 Again, given the lack of communication from Pam and Scott Thomas I am left with the realization that this is merely yet another cruel trick by them that would lead me to believe that I would be rid of them and California Family Court system forever. They stop communicating via e-mail or any other way. October 2012 -I am informed that my wages from my current employer, Berkeley Horticultural Nursery would be garnished and that there was now an expectation of providing healthcare for Joe and Regina as well.  

October - 2012 I am informed that my wages from my current employer, Berkeley Horticultural Nursery would be garnished and that there was now an expectation of providing healthcare for Joe and Regina as well.

November - 2012 Also, at this time, I request a hearing to remove the wage assignment that is currently in force. A date of January 7,2013 in Central Civil West is given.

January - 2013 I am granted the removal of the wage assignment. Largely because Pam Thomas failed to show up for the hearing. Now, because of improper service,there will be a hearing on April 18, 2013 regarding my compliance with Family Code section 3751: the demand that I provide medical insurance for Joe and Regina Ricketson. This hearing is taking place regardless of the fact that RaeLynn Block, the Child Support Representative, has determined that, "it(medical coverage) is not available at a reasonable cost." Please see photocopy provided. 

Those are the events up to this point. These are the events to the best of my recollection and perspective. They are true and accurate. I take the words at the bottom of this page relating to perjury very seriously. This recollection is true and correct. It will be interesting to see If Pam Thomas shows up to the hearing to refute my version of events.

It is not a pleasure reliving this misery. I think, however, that it is necessary for the court to accurately get a sense of what I have been through the last 12 years. I've lived through a recession, a stock market crash and the passing ofboth of my parents. The "bad faith" actions of Pamela Thomas has not made this situation any easier. Regardless of my trials and tribulations, at this point... ironically , I consider myself one of the "lucky" ones. This assessment is particularly true in comparison to other noncustodial parents. I am making my payments, in full and on time and there are no arrearages that Pam Thomas can "earn" 10 percent from. One way or another, I will endure this.  

For all the reason listed above, I ask you to agree with RaeLynn Block, the DCSS representative that found that medical insurance is "not available at a reasonable cost." It is the right and fair thing to do. 

I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct. Date: 3/14/13
/////

Now, the above is from a Declaration that I filed with the LA Superior Court. Fast forward to right after I won both the removal of a wage assignment as well as Medical Insurance Imposition. Literally the day after my final hearing, I get a letter from the California DMV with a notice to suspend my driver's license. Even though I am ahead on my Child Support payments, the LA DCSS felt compelled to trigger this Notice that the DMV then executed. Well, I finally successfully quashed this Notice by contacting the Child Support representative, RaeLynn Block, and having her terminate it. I wasn't entirely happy with this outcome. It was maddening to think that I could be ahead on my payments(I have the statements to prove it) and get this sort of notice. I had to complain up the chain about this. I started with the Ombudsman, and I was not happy with the determination that was rendered. The next step was a review by the Administrative Law Judge. The Judge heard the evidence from both sides of the issue and will make recommendations in 30-45 days. I will be posting on that hearing at a later date. Unfortunately, for both myself and in the future for the DCSS, the LA DCSS decided to conduct an audit on my child support account. What did they in this suspiciously timed find? By their interpretation, I owed an additional $4000 plus dollars in child support and interest payments. This issue of arrearages will be the subject of a hearing on September 18th in Los Angeles. This will be a long arduous process to achieve some measure of justice and equity from the Los Angeles Department of Child Support services. I am at the very beginning of this process. Thanks for taking the time to read. 
DougO