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Custody Ruling Called Ridiculous

September 29, 1988

I read the article concerning Judge Charles R. McGrath's decision to order Pamela Besser to move from San Francisco to Ventura County or lose joint custody of her 6-year-old son, Joshua Fingert (L.A. Times, Sept. 15). Judge McGrath did so at the recommendation of a court mediator, Dr. Robert Beilin.

Apparently Dr. Beilin cares not that Pamela Besser had not lived in Ventura County for more than 4 1/2 years and had moved with court permission. Dr. Beilin cares not for the tears Joshua sheds over leaving the school he has attended for 3 1/2 years in the Bay Area. Dr. Beilin doesn't think it important that Joshua weeps over the loss of his teachers and playmates and friends of 3 1/2 years. Dr. Beilin does not seem to understand that for a 6-year-old child, 3 1/2 years is over half his lifetime!

Pamela Besser was given one week to uproot herself and her son and seek residence in Ventura County. Could you or anyone other than a street person relocate on such ridiculously short notice? Hasn't Dr. Beilin ever heard of leases? And to suggest that $1,000 would even begin to cover the cost of such a move is ludicrous. Does Dr. Beilin have any idea how much the first and last month's rent required on another residence will cost Pamela?

And what is even more disturbing--if the court can make Pamela move, then the court can make any one of us move, according to its whim. Judge McGrath could decide that anyone receiving a Ventura County pension has to live in Ventura County to collect it! I strongly feel that Pamela's and Joshua's civil rights have been violated.

I'm sure that this case has not been resolved. Judge McGrath only prolonged the issue and is helping make the attorneys in this county rich.

My suggestion to the women of Ventura County is to refuse mediation with Dr. Beilin and to consider offering Dr. Beilin $1,000 to relocate outside of Ventura County. It appears that he is no friend to the women and children of this county and ,indeed, may be a danger to all women and children contemplating divorce. Certainly there are few who will agree with him that this decision was in Joshua Fingert's best interests.



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