06 Nov Why do Court Commissioners get to make judicial decisions in my family or juvenile dependency case?
It is sometimes to your advantage but it can also be a disadvantage to have a court commissioner decide your case instead of a judge.
Court Commissioner often take the role of a judge in the determination and collection of child support payments. The collection of child support payments is big business for the State of California. Yes, the state is double dipping. The 58 CA Counties get reimbursed for hiring court commissioners from the state. The state gets reimbursed from the welfare part of the federal Social Security Act. It is a “use it or lose it” situation for most governmental and private agencies “Show that you need it or you don’t get it” in regards to federal reimbursements. Essentially promoting unwarranted governmental interference or “UGI”.
How does having a court commissioner decide something in your case help you? If you have been in the system for years, like most parents have whose cases don’t settle out of court, and your judge disliked you from the beginning, that is one less thing he/she sees you for. Judges rarely have time to find out anything about you that they don’t think they already know or that a colluding member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts hasn’t already told them. The colluding AFCC member (even your attorney, psychologist, mediator, custody evaluator, financial investigator, etc.) usually doesn’t attend any matters heard in front of a CA county court commissioner. There is no real money in it, #NoAFCC.
How does having a court commissioner decide something in your case hurt you? If you are still in court because your case is really just all about money (including who pays child support) than none of the people who really matter are paying attention, #ResolveConflictQuickly. Also, I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice (NALNLA).
By the way, you can decline to have anything heard in front of a CA county court commissioner. I think they have stopped playing the video for the mass of people who have their matters heard in these courtrooms. The videos used to explain the laws surrounding the use of Court Commissioners. Be sure to go and research the matter for yourself according to your CA County guidelines. Usually you need to immediately claim that you are declining to have the matter heard by the court commissioner when your case is called. Mostly likely the matter will continue to be heard and decided so that you have the opportunity to change your mind after the court commissioner has decided your case. You might be satisfied, or able to live with the results, #PromoteSettlement.