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Archive for Monday, April 23, 2012

Kansas court to consider custody case appeal

April 23, 2012

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— The Kansas Court of Appeals is set to hear a child custody case next month that addresses the role of case managers in custody matters in the state.

The case, which is scheduled for a May 15 hearing before the appeals court, involves Karen Williams, who lost full custody of her child in March 2011 after a case manager recommended to the judge that custody go to the child's father. Williams said the decision to separate her from her daughter was made based on confidential conversations between the judge and the case manager.

Williams and her attorney argue that she has a constitutional right to a hearing in which the case manager must present the evidence to back up her custody recommendation and allow Williams to respond to it, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported Monday.

"I've not been allowed due process, and I want a day in court," Williams said.

In Kansas, case managers, who work with parents in "high-conflict" relationships on their visitation schedules and custody, are appointed by judges and aren't required to have a professional license.

"The only qualification currently is that a judge appoints them," said Ron Nelson, a Lenexa lawyer who specializes in family law.

Nelson said the use of case managers has been authorized for about 10 years, and concerns about them overstepping their bounds have mounted due to a lack of clear guidelines about their responsibilities and authority. He said the case management concerns are about non-judicial officers making custody decisions that should be the purview of the courts. .

The Legislature is also considering a bill requiring specific qualifications for case managers. It would restrict judges to appointing only licensed psychologists, psychotherapists, counselors, therapists, social workers or lawyers.

Rep. Joe Patton, R-Topeka, a lawyer who serves on the judiciary conference committee, said he has "mixed feelings" about the bill.

"It's certainly very important to have someone qualified," he said. "It's very possible someone can be qualified without a particular license, but as a general rule we want someone qualified."

Cheryl Powers, the case manager on Williams' case, declined to comment on the Williams brief with the hearing pending. But she said she believes the backlash against case managers is coming from a group of disgruntled lawyers.

"There are certain attorneys that are less than happy with the fact that some of us have quasi-judicial powers without a license," she said. "They're attorneys and don't have that much power. They are not happy with that."

Comments

LadyLuck 2 years, 8 months ago

"...appointing only licensed psychologists, psychotherapists, counselors, therapists, social workers or lawyers." Really, lawyers are on that list? If we're going to fix something, lets fix it right.

AngelFury 2 years, 8 months ago

Child Custody Evaluations, Parenting Evaluation, Parenting Plans... Case managers, Psyhco anything.... is not a Court of FACT is a Court of personal opinion and beliefs. This is not Justice, this is a scam and a highly profitable one. Reevaluating the Evaluators: Rethinking the Assumptions of Therapeutic Jurisprudence in the Family Courts http://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/child-custody-evaluations.html

PSYCHOLOGY; CUSTODY EVALUATIONS; THERAPY Forensic Psychology; Guardians ad Litem; Therapeutic Jurisprudence The sociological and psychological research on families and child well-being impacts public policy and the issues of child custody in family law. The research frequently is misrepresented, and mis-cited by mental health professionals, lawyers, forensic psychologists and others, as well as interest groups lobbying for laws. Also review the sections pertaining to the issues impacted by the "therapeutic jurisprudence" http://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/child-custody-evaluations.html

Welcome to Kansas, Welcome back to the dark ages where we stupidly believe that any one other than a Judge is a a 'Judge'. Enough already, get back to FACT get rid of opinion and open up those records for public scrutiny.

I am pleased that this is going to appeals court, I am mortified that our KS Legislature is even thinking of giving these psych's 'law' to further their personal and highly profitable agenda's.

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