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Tentative Ruling
Judge Thomas Anderle
Department 3 SB-Anacapa
1100 Anacapa Street P.O. Box 21107 Santa Barbara, CA 93121-1107

FAMILY LAW

Ruben Ramirez and Tania Sanchez

Case No: 1414524
Hearing Date: Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:30

Nature of Proceedings: Case Management Conference

The dissolution was filed on 8/2004 and judgment was filed on 7/2006. On 4/26/13 mother filed this RFO seeking modification of child custody [seeks sole physical custody]; asks for a new visitation schedule; and set a hearing for 5/21 to get Court approval so she could take the child to Bolivia. Mother filed her financial declaration; is 38 years old; has not worked since 2010; has $21,000 in liquid assets; spouse earns $8,000/mo; son and daughter [9-M-old] live with her; total monthly expenses are $11,500/mo; claims child spends 80% of time with her [I note that the Court in the original Judgment that she seeks to modify said the time share was 25% so I am not able to see why mother claims 20% time share before any modification is determined]; receives $409/mo child support; she pays all extracurricular activities including acting classes, Karate classes and other sports the 9-year old plays; she does not work because of her infant daughter; the minor attends private school [Marymount] that costs $960/mo; she has a mortgage and pays $2,000/mo [but only $360/mo interest and $92/mo property taxes]; has savings and investment of $1,500/mo. Mother’s 6-page declaration reports she lives in Carpinteria; the judgment provides that she has sole physical custody and that father and she have joint legal custody; father has minor 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends of the month from 7:30 on Friday to 7:30 on Sunday; provides for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, holidays and summer vacation [4 weeks]; wants the change in custody because father lives in a house which is being sold and father and his wife will have to find another place to live; father’s wife is a caregiver and frequently father leaves the minor with the 90-year old woman; that father will frequently pick-up the minor [the exchange is in Agoura Hills] and then drop him with off with his 26-year-old step-son for the entire weekend; father’s relationship with his mother and sister is not tranquil; he lied to mother about the minor being at the Emergency Room; father will not return the orthodontic treatment plan for the minor; minor gained 10 pounds when on the summer visitation with father in 2012 and is considered obese, a fact father ignores; father refuses to pay for healthcare expenses that are in the present order; father refused to swap Christmas vacation schedules so she could take child to Bolivia; that trip father refused to cooperate with her about; proposes father have (a) one weekend per month; (b) 2 consecutive weeks each June and July and 1 week in August; (c) suggests changes to holiday schedule; (d) neither party to leave minor in the care and company of any third party overnight; (e) all exchanges shall be at Burger King in Agoura Hills. Mother attaches numerous communications between the parties that demonstrate the basis for her frustration with father; she also submits a declaration from father’s sister, Angela Ramirez. Family Court Services reported that mediation failed. Father had unaccountably failed to file his response timely prior to the 5/21 hearing; he did file it on that very day; he also filed his financial statement; is 51 years old and earns $3,507/mo; pays $480/mo for health insurance; minimum assets; has a new spouse who has no gross monthly income; sister [does have earnings] and mother [no earnings] live with him; has a mortgage and pays $1,400/mo [does not disclose what he pays for interest or property taxes]; living expenses are $4,746/mo [$1,200/mo more than he earns, albeit sister pays some of the living expenses]; claims a 30% time share [irreconcilably different than what is in original judgment]; claims $250/mo for travel expenses so he can exercise visitation [he lives in Huntington Beach]; estimates mother’s income at zero; is self- represented. Submits a 3-page declaration of his sister, Angela Ramirez, in support of his position [the Court notes that Angela Ramirez had earlier submitted a declaration in support of mother’s position]; submits his own 6-page declaration and his response to the RFO; objects to any change in present orders; claims mother is not complying with the turn-over time of the order and wants the Court to order her to comply with the existing order; does not want to pay more than he is now paying for child support; agrees to assist minor with his health; claims the child is of average weight for his age; claims he did not want to agree to credit payment plan for orthodontist when the minor has his own plan through his job; does not know why mother refers to his actions as some sort of macho control trip when hers indicate exactly this; says mother speaks negatively about him in front of son; wants an order prohibiting her from doing so; objects to plan that mother presents where he would spend one weekend per month; reports why he did not agree to trip to Bolivia. This Court made extensive rulings on this case on 5/21; the Court permitted mother to take Jesus to Bolivia; father had expressed concern that mother interfered with his communications with the son when out of the country; the Court set July 30 for a report on how things went. On 7/17 mother filed a status update about the Bolivia trip and her “preliminary reply” to father’s responsive declaration filed 5/21; claims she complied with the Court’s orders; father did not call minor child during the trip (6/13-7/9); she insisted the minor call father 4 times; stands by her moving papers and insists father reports half-truths or pure fiction; that minor must diet and father simply is wrong when he says the child has no problems; wants sole legal and sole physical custody and father to have visitation as set forth in her RFO. On July 24 mother filed her final reply to father’s response; mother is open to an evidentiary hearing if the Court believes it would be useful; concludes it would be in the best interest of the minor child for the Court to modify the existing custody and visitation orders; submits guideline child support is appropriate; that father should not receive consideration because his new spouse chooses not to work. Rulings: 1. The Court does not find an evidentiary hearing would be useful. 2. Mother’s request for sole physical custody and to modify the present visitation schedule is denied. The Court cannot see any benefit to the minor child to limit father’s visitation time to one weekend per month; indeed, the proposal is almost draconian under the circumstances; additionally, the claims made by mother do not constitute a substantial change in circumstances that would justify her proposed change in physical custody. 3. Both mother and father have claimed the other party is not living up to the present order; the Court will not make an Order-on-an-Order; your remedy is a contempt of Court motion. 4. The child must not be left alone without age-appropriate supervision. 5. Neither parent will make or allow others to make negative comments about the other parent or the other parent’s past or present relationships, family, or friends within hearing distance of the child. 6. I find no basis for a change in child support; mother is able to be employed; I find no basis to impute income to father’s new spouse as the law does not so permit except under very extraordinary circumstances. 7. The Court cannot tell if there is in fact any request for a change of the place of the exchange [apparently in Agoura Hills] although there are comments about it in the documents; in any event, the Court makes no changes in the present location of the exchange.