Pickled pigs feet anyone?

When you are so unfortunate to jump into the world of DIVORCE, you get to meet some fascinating people. Most of the time they are people you will most likely grow to seriously dislike and maybe even hate! Some might be the best friends that money will buy! Reasonable people get through this process most often well; your lawyers are present to assure that all paperwork is done efficiently and protects the agreement you wish to make with each other, reasonably. However, “Da But,” when you want to get the “revenge factor” going, and that desire for a pound of flesh from one or the other, that is when your life will be in the hands of complete strangers. Then just short of getting hit with a cattle prod right in the area of your genitals, you enter the land of “Silly and hateful.” This will be one hell of a financial “ride of your life,” the ultimate ride of misery and tears. You, your stuff and money. All in the hands of strangers. These people, your new “friends,” will make all your worldly decisions for your future, and that of your children, if you have any. Even your dog and or cat! The ultimate decision maker will be “The Judge.” At this point, you are pretty much screwed, he or she is the ultimate decision maker for you and your future.

One of the most dangerous of those who will be in your “new life” is the “Visitation Monitors.” These are the people that the attorneys ask the court to be required to be present when you visit with your children. Their job is to observe and to document your interactions with the kids. (the accusation is that you say inappropriate things to your kids) Monitors can also terminate a visit if they see a need, and can also call the police if the occasion should need such action. And all of this is based on your behavior. Enjoy, you are paying for this too.

For the sake of clarity, I happen to be a “Certified Monitor.” However, I have been critical of this bunch (visitation monitors) for years. Where is the danger? Well, except for the classes we take to become certified and the fingerprinting, it is an unregulated part of the world of DIVORCE. Almost anyone can become a monitor, and as long as they come up clean on the fingerprint check, they are in business. Hello!

Ain’t enuff coffee to help that.

Now to get a monitor assigned to your ass, it is sometimes a complete setup. How you ask? Oh, let’s see. One party or the other makes those wonderful accusations as to your inability to parent, or be sober, or the ultimate accusation is that you have a perverted desire to have sex with one of your kids. Again, before jumping in the “DIVORCE Twilight Zone,” you were a great dad or a wonderful mom…not anymore. You will have a paid shadow to observe you and listen to your conversations with your children…fun! Of course, generally, many of us can see it coming with the usual complaints to those wonderful, and at times incompetent “Those Dogs Can’t Hunt” at Family and Children Services. (As a former cop, I also ran a juvenile division for a police department and spent many hours with these folks. All I can say as to that experience is it was interesting)

The only “monitoring” I do personally is when appointed directly from a sitting judge, I do not work for any private agency. I am not going to put up with most of the people who are required to be monitored at $100.00 an hour. Not going to happen. For me, it is pretty simple. When I do get assigned to an assignment, my regular hourly rate I get as a private investigator of $495.00, plus all costs, is what the fees will be. Very nice!

Hi! My name is TM and I’m a jerk!

Some monitors, I have found, bill from $20.00 to $125.00 an hour. There is travel time, there is report writing time, and there is also an intake charge for the interview of both the “CP” (custodial parent) and “NCP” (noncustodial parent). The average I have found is between $50.00 and $85.00 an hour, and you want to be sure to have a contract signed between yourself and the monitor so that there are no misunderstandings. (Inevitably one parent, or the other, is shopping for price only and not ability. The other big issue is who is going to be paying….generally, it is a 50/50 split. That is unless one parent requiring such services is a bonafide threat and or a total butt wipe, as many are!) While on the subject, if the NCP is a real jerk the visit can be held at a controlled facility. Sometimes this is the safest for all parties and keeps the “troublemakers” ability to cause trouble very limited.

Please understand that some monitors do this work solely for the money and could care less of what their responsibility should be to either party. I have observed “monitors” dozing off on a park bench in the nice warm sun in Beverly Hills…we have photos…or be tied up on their phones while the MP (monitored party) and MC (monitored child) are off on their own, or my favorite, sit down, open a book and read! I have found monitors who refuse to do a report, or if they do a report, it is weeks late and done poorly. Reports are very important. Reports are important as to how the children and monitored parent are getting along. The report should not be a sentence or two long….it is a report! Most recently I was privileged to be around for a “monitor” laying on the couch and being served breakfast by the “monitored child.” No, you say? Yes. I could not make this stuff up. And you have the other group of “Ne’er-do-wells” that have no real idea of what to do or how to do it but seem to bluff their way through these assignments.

The monitor you are looking for is the smaller agency who takes pride in the work they do and will get the reports to you quickly. Another asset is that you should be sure that the Visitation Monitor is insured, are current on their training and are fingerprinted by Live Scan. This seems simple enough, but guess what, many are not insured, and many are not current on their Live Scans. Imagine that!

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, i’ll be rich and famous….

Another issue that needs to be addressed is “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Monitors can become too comfy and begin to lose focus on “Neutrality.” Being “Neutral” is a critical component in dealing with all parties. To be sure that both parents get a fair break, the reports should also reflect facts. Like the old TV show, DRAGNET’s Sgt Friday said “Just the facts, ma’am.” A neutral third party is very critical to the whole show, the only interest to a good monitor is the safety of the children, and when the bullshit gets too crazy, to have the guts to cancel a visitation and notify all parties immediately as to why this action was taken.

Personally, I feel that some agencies are too big and the owner gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for the services their employees provide. Personally, they are not involved and are frankly out of touch. Some agencies employ people I find personally questionable. I recommend to our clients that they look for an agency that the owners are active in the daily operations and if they do have employees, that they limit it to maybe 10 or less.

On the other hand, monitors can have a real problem with the lunatics that they are required to monitor. Some “NCPs” have severe mental issues and have problems with doing the right thing at the right time, often due to the stress of the “World of DIVORCE.” And many, but not all, were horrible husbands or wives and nasty moms or dads CP and NCP cannot screw with each other involving the kids, sooooooo “lets screw with the monitors.” This can be dangerous, as I have seen some very vindictive monitors. If a monitor wants, he or she can report on every little nuance of the NCP, and guess what? Oh for sure, the immediate response of the opposing counsel with the “crazy” NCP will want to “terminate the monitor” and get another one. Remember, CP and NCP need people to blame, anyone at any time, for any reason that CP and NCP can keep the “flame of hatred” glowing brightly. The other huge controversy is “cost,” and the game of who will pay the monitor? Keep in mind a monitor could cost you to lose custody of the kids or be placed in a “secure location” to visit with your children.

When dealing with monitors, always be sure that all communications between the monitor and yourselves are copied to all parties, CP, NCP, and lawyers on both sides. This is very important so that one side or the other does not try and make accusations of the monitor is not neutral.


If the gov’t can get away w/o paying for things, why can’t I?

Sometimes it becomes an issue that CP or NCP don’t want to pay for the report. Oh yes, some of these people charge for the report, and just like everyone else that is in your life as your “employees,” time is time and it all billable! Those reports can be helpful, as to the behavior of the NCP. However, after everything you are already paying for, sure go ahead and skimp on the report….” Penney Wise and Pound Foolish.”

Look, the bottom line is that this story is trying to focus on Monitors. These folks bring an important service to those with real concerns. Concerns about abductions and or inappropriate behavior. The work is tough on the monitors, and it can be equally tough on the parent that has to be monitored. For most parents, and those going through a DIVORCE, it is, and can really feel like another old TV show, called the “Twilight Zone.” Wondering if your monitor likes “Pickled Pigs Feet?”


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By John Nazarian
©Straight Talk with John J. Nazarian, Private Investigator
February 8, 2018
All Rights Reserved, do not reproduce in whole or in part without the express written consent of the author

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