For almost three years now, I have been forced by Support Magistrate Grey’s money judgment orders to pay for my daughters’ un-reimbursed medical expenses that could be covered by my health insurance, if only my ex-wife were to ask the provider of services to fill out the proper insurance forms. Support Magistrate Grey is currently inventing a new right for custodial mothers: the right to choose to deny insurance coverage and have insured fathers pick up the tab as a consequence. Even insurance companies, which are rather inventive in their efforts to block any reforms of the health insurance system, have not thought of that one.
On December 19 2008, I objected for the second time to Support Magistrate Grey’s money judgment order to pay $2,170 in unreimbursed medical expenses and $1,125 for my ex-wife lawyer fees. Among others, I wanted to hear the legal foundations of such a ruling. Folks, these foundations are as thin as the best cigarette paper on the market.
On March 16, 2009, Family Court Judge Jody Adams answered my objection. The start is rather not promising and will give the tone to the rest: “the Family Court Judge ‘s review is a narrow one. It is the Support Magistrate (‘empowered by Family Court Act 439 (a) to hear, determine and grant any relief within the powers of the court’) and not the reviewing judge, who was present at the evidentiary hearing and who was, therefore, uniquely able to evaluate both the evidence an the credibility and the demeanor of the witnesses bla… bla …bla….” Translation: Support Magistrate Grey is one of us, and she is bestowed with the power of the court, says the court. How dare you, criminal, question the powers of S.M. Grey who renders justice behind closed doors, without jurors and witnesses, and who is uniquely able to make sense of an audio tape, sole trace of what is going on in her court?
Then, moving to the core of the matter: Having an insurance that covers these medical expenses is no basis for objection. What is then? Moreover, goes on Judge Adams, there are no documents in the court record regarding the aforementioned health insurance policy. Well-done: my case has dragged in this court for years, my file must occupy a decent amount of space in the record office, and Manhattan family court has managed to loose a nth- times- provided key piece of evidence. Finally, about my ex-wife -lawyer fees: in her infinite wisdom, the Magistrate has the right to order the respondent to pay counsel fees upon the finding that the failure to pay was willful. And, incidentally, the Magistrate incites vindictive custodial mothers and their lawyers to keep soliciting Her Highness.
Manhattan Family court, as other family courts, is supposed to protect families.We non-custodial fathers, know that this mission is NOT accomplished. One thing is sure tough: Manhattan family court is a big family.