While romance was on the mind of most on Tuesday, some found anguish in the courtroom | TahoeDailyTribune.com

While romance was on the mind of most on Tuesday, some found anguish in the courtroom

Illustration by Dan Thrift and Rebecca Enerson / Tahoe Daily Tribune

On the day when love traditionally flourishes, the emotion was difficult to notice in the family law court of El Dorado County.

In the courtroom where marriages are lawfully ended, child custody disputes settled and other relationships severed by restraining orders, Valentine’s Day had little impact.

“Love is not always in the air on Valentine’s Day, especially by spending time in family law court,” El Dorado County sheriff’s deputy Jeff Williams said while manning the metal detector machine at the court building’s entrance.

There were 13 proceedings listed on Tuesday’s court calendar in Department 12. One man, who declined to give his name, had his marriage lawfully ended by Commissioner Neil Shepherd for irreconcilable differences. The man was married for 30 years.

“I could care less,” the man said about the marriage dissolving on Valentine’s Day as tears formed and soon dropped. “It was never about hurting her.

“This is just another day for me,” he added.

Attorney Lori London represented a woman in a child custody dispute. She said the child’s father did not stress the completion of homework and was late in returning the child to the mother.

“She wants continuity and stability in her child’s life,” London said.

In his ruling that the father receive two weekends a month and two weeks in the summer with the child, Commissioner Neil Shepherd included a clause that the two not make any “disparaging” remarks about one another to the child.

Attorney fees was the next topic in the case.

The court had touches of intentional softness. Stuffed animals sat beneath a painting of a man holding a girl’s hand while the two were on a swing set during a sunny day. Where their hands met was a red heart.

But except for a court reporter wearing a pink blazer and matching pink-and-white skirt, signs of the holiday of romance were excluded from Department 12.

Deputy District Attorney Tony Sears sat in a vinyl seat in the audience portion of the courtroom watching some of the proceedings. He would prefer the lack of court intervention in peoples’ lives.

“It’s a shame that romances aren’t like they are in the movies, where everything works out,” he said.

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