A judge said Monday she was leaning against establishing a conservatorship over Peter Falk, but will hear more arguments on
May 27 in the legal battle pitting the ailing actor's wife against one of his two adopted daughters.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Aviva K. Bobb said that at this point, she is not convinced a conservatorship is necessary. However, she said she is required by law to hear more evidence because an attorney for Falk's daughter asked that she do so.
In court papers filed Dec. 12, Catherine Falk said her father, now 81, is no longer able take care of himself due to deteriorating health -- she says he suffers from Alzheimer's disease and dementia -- and should be placed under a conservatorship order to protect him and so she can visit him regularly.
"If this conservatorship is not granted, Catherine will not be allowed to see her father until his funeral," said her lawyer, Troy L. Martin.
The judge said she doubts she has the authority to order any visits between father and daughter absent the establishment of a conservatorship.
Falk's wife of 32 years, Shera Danese Falk, maintains in her opposition papers that there is no need for a conservatorship. Her lawyer, Marshal Oldman, said any visits should be at the discretion of his client.
Clark R. Byam, a lawyer appointed by the court to represent the former "Columbo" star, said the actor is getting good care and that his wife is largely responsible for that. He also said he doubted Falk would remember any visits by his daughter because of his condition.
Byam said he will do his part to encourage both sides to reach a settlement before trial.