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Friday, March 4, 2011

Letters to Minor's Counsel - 7

Attorney at Law
            JUNE ADLER                                                                                   
                CERTIFIED SPECIALIST - FAMILY LAW                                                                                                        
                        CALIFORNIA BOARD OF LEGAL SPECIALIZATION                                                                                                   
                        OF THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA                                                                                                                                      


                                                                         April 14, 2005

Bruce Abramson, Attorney at Law
Lenske and Abramson

            Re:            Marriage of Karaiskos

Dear Mr. Abramson:

I am in receipt of your letter dated March 30, 2005 and a response from Mr. Sobel dated March 31, 2005. 

Neither Mr. Karaiskos nor I am aware of any or order that suggest he may not contact you directly about matters concerning the children in this matter.  If you would like me to instruct him not to contact you directly about these types of issues, please indicate so.  Mr. Karaiskos is concerned, however, that because of the very little contact you have had with your clients, the children are reluctant to call you when problems arise in their lives.  Mr. Karaiskos feels he has been put in the position of having to be an advocate for what the children feel their best interests are, even when their outlook is in conflict with his own concerns for their best interests (their desire to remain in their current school for example).  Mr. Karaiskos is hoping you will take the time to find out what the children feel their own needs and best interests are soon, because it is far more likely that a reasonable settlement might be achieved if the children's desires and best interests were more accurately taken into account.  You have indicated that you will interview the children when they have had two therapy sessions each.  At this time, {Daughter} has had two recent therapy sessions and {Son} and {Son} have each had one.

Mr. Karaiskos is also concerned about {Son}' grades.  He has collected but not passed on to you, more recent failure notices from the school.  While Mr. Karaiskos appreciates your suggestion that an educational therapist might be helpful for {Son}, Mr. Karaiskos feels he has demonstrated repeatedly that {Son} will do his homework when he is in Mr. Karaiskos' home.  It doesn't seem reasonable to assume this is a psychological problem when it only occurs at one parent's home.  This appears to be a parenting problem - of one parent letting {Son} get away with no homework and the other insisting that it be done.  

Mr. Karaiskos will not be teaching the 4 week class at Highland Hall as expected.  The teacher of the 7th grade, Mrs. Knight, who asked him to step in and teach the class has taken ill and will be out for the remainder of the year.  This left the final decision in the hands of the school administrators.  A substitute teacher will teach the class for the remainder of the year.  Mr. Karaiskos experience has come to the attention of another teacher.  Mr. Karaiskos has been asked by the physics teacher, Mr. Mellett, to supply teaching materials, input and possibly to lecture to the 10th grade students on mechanics.

With regard to the children continuing their education at Highland Hall, Mr. Karaiskos suggests you may have read too much into his willingness to help the children.  Mr. Karaiskos' commitment was to the students, not to the school.  Mr. Karaiskos is involved in the community and has the support of many parents, teachers and staff, despite his open criticism of the school administrators and the underlying philosophy.  As long as the Karaiskos children go to this school, Mr. Karaiskos supports the school community in many ways as an example to his children.  Mr. Karaiskos has not changed his mind about the institution itself - as it is mired in a religious philosophy that is problematic.  The idea that the children would attend this school must be predicated on equally divided custody - and that would have to include the school year.  Mr. Karaiskos' requirement to monitor the children's education at this challenging school is the cornerstone of this compromise and without fulfillment of this custody requirement, Mr. Karaiskos will not accept this school for the children in any settlement. 
So, to answer your question, the trial issues still pertaining to your clients are custody and school.  Mr. Karaiskos feels a reasonable compromise can be achieved only when the custody issue is examined in conjunction with the school.  Please note that equally shared custody was in place for three years before formal divorce proceedings were initiated.

I would also like to respond to Mr. Sobel's March 31, 2005 letter here.  Again, I have to wonder if I have been told to tell my client not to contact you.  I suggested he call you directly about the vaccination issue because no response had been given to his reasonable request to vaccinate his children. 

There is no official document that suggests that Mr. Karaiskos would be teaching at Highland Hall.  This was done as a person-to-person agreement between Janet Knight, the 7th grade teacher, and Mr. Karaiskos.  At this school, things are done informally.  Mr. Karaiskos prepared an outline of the mechanics class and submitted it to the leadership team of  Lori Gardner and Laura Ferris, per their request so the school might decide whether or not Mr. Karaiskos might teach the class in Mrs. Knight's absence.  That is the only written documentation.  Mrs. Knight told Ms. Gardner and Ms. Ferris that Mr. Karaiskos would be teaching this lesson block and they contacted him by phone to ask for his outline.  Mr. Karaiskos has subsequently been invited by the physics teacher, Mr. Tom Mellett, to lecture and provide support on Mechanics in April for his 10th grade science classes.  Mr. Karaiskos has accepted this invitation.

Mr. Sobel seems confused that appointments were made at Kaiser for the children.  I don't know the basis for his confusion.  It was clear in correspondences that Kaiser was available for the children and that the availability of therapy there should be exhausted before other therapists were utilized.  Furthermore, you prepared a stipulation dated approximately February 11, 2005 that stated in paragraph 2:

"Initially, all three (3) minor children shall utilize the counseling services afforded through their Kaiser Health Insurance coverage.  These services shall continue until such time as to each minor child, when such child's therapist/counselor deems that further counseling is not necessary, if such services are no longer available through Kaiser (having been exhausted), or if the counselor recommends that a different counselor be utilized.  Issues to be addressed in {Son}'s counseling shall include his attitude toward school and his failure/refusal to complete the schoolwork assigned to him."

While the stipulation was not signed by all parties for other reasons, it bears the signatures of both Mr. Sobel and Ms. Karaiskos.  When Mr. Sobel pretends to be surprised that "Mr. Karaiskos apparently took it upon himself to unilaterally schedule appointments for the children with mental health professionals at Kaiser.  This came to my client's attention when she received a letter from Kaiser indicating that appointments had been set for each of the three children." - I would suggest he would not be as surprised if he and his client actually paid attention to the documents they signed.  Mr. Karaiskos interpreted your stipulation, signed or not, as expressing a directive - that the children should be placed in counseling immediately.  That is exactly what Mr. Karaiskos took upon himself to do.  Ms. Karaiskos was immediately made aware of the appointments and agreed to them.  Both parents participated equally in the process.

{Daughter} went to therapy on Tuesday, March 16th.  Mr. Karaiskos took her to the therapy and my client has expressed that the therapist, Ms. Flynn, suggested he stay in the session for some period of time - certainly not half the session.  It was upon Mr. Karaiskos' own suggestion that he left the room.  At Ms. Karaiskos' suggestion, and an email will confirm this, Mr. Karaiskos also took {Son} to his therapy session on March 30th (during Ms. Karaiskos' custody).  Mr. Karaiskos has described to me that again he was invited into the therapy by Mr. Perrin and {Son} asked that Mr. Karaiskos stay.  Mr. Karaiskos describes it as a very positive session.  Toward the end of the session, Mr. Karaiskos excused himself so that {Son} might have some opportunity to talk with Mr. Perrin one-on-one.  Mr. Karaiskos also informed Mr. Perrin that {Son)  would be in to see him the following day and that he should perhaps look at school and homework issues when he works with {Son} - again based on your directive in the unsigned stipulation.  Both {Daughter} and {Son} had appointments on March 31st.  Mrs. Karaiskos took them.

With regard to Mr. Sobel's claim of Mr. Karaiskos' "unilateral submission" of the children to therapy, this type of characterization is simply a waste of everyone's time.  In fact, Mr. Sobel himself indicated specifically that Mr. Karaiskos could make the children's appointments but that they would have to be agreed to by Ms. Karaiskos (and they were).  The claim that Mr. Karaiskos took this initiative unilaterally while it was in accordance with your instructions, Mr. Sobel's conditions and the knowledge, approval and participation of Ms. Karaiskos is absolutely without merit.  Mr. Karaiskos has, however, left it up to Ms. Karaiskos to make the next appointments.  So far, two weeks have passed and no effort has been made by Ms. Karaiskos to continue the children's therapy.  It seems Mr. Karaiskos will, again, be taking the initiative to schedule appointments for the children.

June Adler