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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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This is in regards XXXXX XXXXX question related to RFO hearing. I

Resolved Question:

This is in regards XXXXX XXXXX question related to RFO hearing. I want to know if court will allow written testimonials from friends regarding my relationship with my kid. More specifically the people who have seen my relationship with my kid on more regular basis. Also would court allow them to testify in court on first hearing. Also does court allow expert testimony on first hearing. As I understand typically first hearings are rather short. Does court allow you to cross examine your ex for alleged allegations made on the day of RFO hearing.

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  socrateaser replied 3 years ago.
I want to know if court will allow written testimonials from friends regarding my relationship with my kid.

A: You can submit a sworn declaration from anyone you wish as part of your response to the RFO. But, if the other party objects to the declarations, the court can strike the declarations from the record as inadmissible hearsay.

Also would court allow them to testify in court on first hearing.

A: If you file and serve a witness list and subpoena the witnesses, then assuming that the court permits testimony at the first hearing, then it would have to allow your witnesses to testify. You can subpoena the witnesses, keep them on call, and then if the court says you can put on testimony, then you would have to call the witnesses and have them start driving to the courthouse.

Also does court allow expert testimony on first hearing.

A: Same answer as above.

As I understand typically first hearings are rather short.

A: True, but it frequently depends on the court calendar. The judge can hear testimony, so you can't depend on nothing happening.

Frankly, these hearings have always been a bit of a messed up process. There really isn't a good set of rules, and neither the Code of Civil Procedure, Family Court Rules, nor Rules of Court provide a decent procedure to follow. You can check the local court rules to see if anything in particular is required or allowed, but otherwise, you just have to think on your feet and be ready for anything.

Hope this helps.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.
Does court also allows one to cross examine his/her spouse on the day of hearing? Also can I hire a court certified mediator/evaluator in my county to evaluate my relationship with my kid and submit it along with my response.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Again,
1. Would court allow to cross examine my ex during the hearing for her alleged charges?
2. As I might have told you that I got remarried and now my wife is also extremely attached to my kid and now my son is emotionally equally attached to her. Also if I get the physical custody she plans to stay home and provide day care for our kid. Should I mention this to court and mediator and share pictures and videos. My last court appearance was few months back and got married right after that so court is not informed on that. Please suggest how I can take advantage of the fact that both of us together can provide a very stable environment for raising our kid who is only 2 yr old.
3. I also want to mention that in my home country kids do not call step mom by name. This might be important since my son addresses my wife as "Mumma" just like his biological mother and my wife loves it and we do not plan to change it. I hope this is not considered bad in any way in US courts.
4. Can I hire a family court certified evaluator before court hearing and have him submit his opinion.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 3 years ago.
1. Would court allow to cross examine my ex during the hearing for her alleged charges?

A: The Family Code now requires that parties must be permitted to present testimony and evidence at an RFO hearing. See Fam.Code § 217(c); CRC 5.119(e),(f). But, you must serve a witness list at the time that you file or respond to the RFO. Otherwise, you may ask for a continuance at the hearing to permit you to serve the list. And, the court may reschedule (it's uncertain as to whether or not the court must permit the continuance).

2. As I might have told you that I got remarried and now my wife is also extremely attached to my kid and now my son is emotionally equally attached to her. Also if I get the physical custody she plans to stay home and provide day care for our kid. Should I mention this to court and mediator and share pictures and videos.

A: The mediator may find this interesting. The court can't really consider this. The issue is whether or not you, not your spouse is the best parent. That said, you can certainly try to put this at issue and into the record -- but, if I were opposing counsel, I would object to your evidence as irrelevant, and substantially more prejudicial than probative. So, it's a "crap shoot."

My last court appearance was few months back and got married right after that so court is not informed on that. Please suggest how I can take advantage of the fact that both of us together can provide a very stable environment for raising our kid who is only 2 yr old.

A: Answered above. You simply cannot make this about whether your ex spouse and new spouse are better parents. You are the parent of the child, and you must show that you are to be the preferred primary caretaker.

3. I also want to mention that in my home country kids do not call step mom by name. This might be important since my son addresses my wife as "Mumma" just like his biological mother and my wife loves it and we do not plan to change it. I hope this is not considered bad in any way in US courts.

A: I could find a reason to object to the issue, were I in court, on grounds that you are trying to alienate the children from the other parent and substitute a new "mother." But, if you don't raise the issue, then it may not come up at all -- and that's probably a good idea.

4. Can I hire a family court certified evaluator before court hearing and have him submit his opinion.

A: An expert custody evaluator must be appointed by the court. If you try to hire someone to testify without the appointment, the court will not seat the witness. You will have to ask the court to permit an appointment -- which the court is generally obligated to permit.

Please provide a positive rating/accept for this new answer, so that I may receive appropriate compensation.

Hope this helps.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you very much for prompt answers.

Thanks to you now I understand the position of court on my wife. However can I tell the court that my wife would be providing the day care support if needed, as my employer that I work for allows to work from home or should I strictly stay away from idea of wife's support and just say that I will hire a Nanny to help out.

Can you please explain what is the procedure/forms for getting a legal evaluator appointed before RFO.