By Anna Judson
MERCED – “I do not know a Carlos Chavez,” said a mother here last week in Merced County Superior Court, challenging official paperwork that apparently misidentified the father of her children, and even had her on court-ordered probation. The judge ordered the file corrected and set a new date to fix the problem.
In the family law case, regarding the custody arrangements between the two parents, the Merced mother Christina Vargus brought in her copy of the recommendation paperwork she received from the Family Court Services, charging that the paperwork had extensive errors.
Vargus cited numerous concerns about recommendation and rationale paperwork that had been submitted to the court.
“There are many, many mistakes on the paperwork… There is some information that is correct, and there’s a lot that’s not,” she said, noting, “It says I’m on probation for acting out. I’m not on probation—I have never been on probation. It states that my childrens’ father is Carlos Chavez. I do not know a Carlos Chavez.”
In describing what it was like to appear in court after receiving the paperwork, Vargus admitted she “was very upset, offended, and scared.”
The errors in the paperwork included: incorrectly naming the father of her children, incorrectly listing the proposed custody arrangement, incorrectly listing the birth dates of the children, incorrectly listing there was a 2005 CPS case with the family, incorrectly mentioning sexual abuse within the family, as well as incorrectly listing the context for Vargus’ involvement with the Merced Superior Court.
Attempting to understand and explain why the mother received paperwork with so many errors, Judge Shelly Seymour observed, “I see that there is definitely some mixing of information. Some of this is accurate and some of this is not. Some of this looks like it’s coming from another file.”
Although the possibility that paperwork was merged with another file was not heavily explored, the errors in Vargus’ paperwork appeared to be a major concern for the court.
To try and reconcile the mistake, Judge Seymour agreed to address the mistakes with the Family Court Services Director and ordered that the clerk un-file the rationale and recommendation Vargus received.
Judge Seymour added, “There are so many errors, it could be very misleading for anybody reading this in the future. It will be un-filed. It will not be a part of the court record, and I will give you this copy back for your records.”
This case is set to reconvene Aug. 13 at 8:45 a.m. Judge Seymour noted there would be a family mediator on-call that day in the event that additional assistance is needed in determining the parents’ custody arrangements.
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