Court lesson: Either prep or hire an atty

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Court lesson: Either prep or hire an atty

Unread postby spritom » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:11 pm

Due to timing, I ended up sitting through somebody else's case while waiting for friend's case...here's the skinny on the other case.
Basically the dad-guy got his rear-end handed to him. I didn't see judge bias (some bias against the lady person)
The dad-guy got leeway, but he had a lousy presentation

The Start
* Guy had motioned for "full custody and time" with the kids.
* Guy seemed to have no notes, no exhibits, paperwork that the judge told him to bring
* The Ex-lady-person had
- a stack of documents loosely 3 colored folders
- a couple sheets of paper that she held, I'm guessing that was her primary talking points
- submitted probably 15+ exhibits

Dad's presentation
Dad-guy went first (it was his motion to change things and reduce CS)
* His presentation was rambling
* His points were:
- kid wanted to live with him (the story he told, the kid basically got to to whatever he wanted)
- Lady-person was a mean-ol'-shrew during the marriage (like 5 years ago)
- he said it wasn't about the money
- he still brought up money about 6 times or more (stuff was too expensive for him, etc.)
- he spent almost 5 minutes (of his 30 minutes) complaining on a CS calculation point that I calculated that would save him a whopping $10 CS
- His proof was pretty much "the [kid] said" - such as the [kid] said that the Lady-person had no bed for the [kid] at her house
* He was still rambling with the judge kept telling him to stop talking, and he's saying "just 5 more minutes" when he'd already taken 40 minutes of the hour

Lady-person's presentation
* had like 2 objections while he talked, very orderly. One upheld, the other not, small stuff
* she went through his stuff line by line for 5 minutes, pointing to exhibits accepted into evidence shooting down his statements...a few of them anyway (picture of the bed at her house for the kid, etc.)
* then she focused desiring an outcome of what's best for the kid
* she never mentioned money once
* she never mentioned herself
* the lady-person didn't try to say the dad-guy was "unfit"
* The dad-dude interrupted a couple times with rambling until the judge told him "stop talking" a few times

Finally, at the end, the judge is doing CS:
Judge: "Ma'am, how much do you make?"
Lady-person: "$28,000 showing on the papers I submitted"
Judge: "and Sir, what's your income?"
Dad-guy: "I dunno...yearly? Hourly?"
Judge: "either, I can sort it out fine"
Dad-guy: "Oh, I think it's almost like...um...under $75,000."
Lady-person: "Your Honor, the paper he submitted 2 months ago shows over $89,000"
Judge: "your taxes you submitted show $89,xxx [she mentioned the exact number] and that's what we'll use"


Result:
Before: joint custody and 50-50 parenting time
After: joint custody and 50-50
Before: Dad-guy paying like $80 CS**
After: Now he's paying $400+ CS

Basically the dad submitted the motion and got nothing of what he wanted and ended up getting CS drastically changed on himself.
Maybe there was some reason for the kid to be with him more, I dunno, it sure wasn't shown in court.


** basically there was alimony before, so his CS was lower, but after alimony ended, the dad-guy decided to file to lower the CS
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Re: Court lesson: Either prep or hire an atty

Unread postby whatever_works » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:49 pm

Interesting! $320 more a week. A lawyer would have paid back for himself in a few weeks.
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Re: Court lesson: Either prep or hire an atty

Unread postby Havalu7 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:55 am

Wow to the prepared go the goodies.

Great post Spritom.

Edit: The prepared may get to keep some of their goodies, including 50-50 with their kids.
Last edited by Havalu7 on Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Court lesson: Either prep or hire an atty

Unread postby steelmark » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:22 am

Thanks for sharing that, the lawyer-less and lurkers benefit from that type of post.

Also a good example of how dragging petty or unrealistic crap into a courtroom can backfire.
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Re: Court lesson: Either prep or hire an atty

Unread postby BartSimpson » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:32 am

A good example of visiting the courtroom first, before you go to your proceedings.
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Re: Court lesson: Either prep or hire an atty

Unread postby Trevor » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:25 pm

Not to split hairs, but hiring an atty does not exempt you from preparation. Far from it.
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Re: Court lesson: Either prep or hire an atty

Unread postby TJinCA » Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:24 pm

Trevor wrote:Not to split hairs, but hiring an atty does not exempt you from preparation. Far from it.


Fair point. But in my experience some people just don't have the skills to do the proper preparation or make a succinct, on-point presentation. Those people should definitely have lawyers to guide them.

I'm self-represented, and have found that visiting the courtroom to see how things go is invaluable. In particular, if you can visit the court of the judge assigned to your case you can get a feel for how the judge is, what some of their hot buttons are and how they work with self-represented parties.

Note also that many court documents are available to the public (for a fee). This is also an invaluable resource for a self-represented person. Find a case similar to yours and pull some of the documentation regarding support orders, etc.. In my locale (Orange County, CA) the docs can be ordered online and usually show up in the mail within a couple of days.
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Re: Court lesson: Either prep or hire an atty

Unread postby Outis » Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:47 pm

Nuances that make a case unique often don't stand out in court documents. I also believe, at least for OC, that court docs can't be viewed before purchasing - hence you're buying blind, hoping that they're relevant. And anything truly pertinent, like a 730 eval or GAL's report, isn't available for purchase and is (rightfully) sealed.

The membership here is better served with adequate representation.
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Re: Court lesson: Either prep or hire an atty

Unread postby Trevor » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:03 pm

TJinCA wrote:But in my experience some people just don't have the skills to do the proper preparation or make a succinct, on-point presentation. Those people should definitely have lawyers to guide them.

If someone has a lawyer, they don't have to make a presentation, except at deposition or under questioning at the hearing. That alone requires preparation. I'm talking about doc and file prep - managing the lawyer to stay on point about the kids, and getting closure.
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Re: Court lesson: Either prep or hire an atty

Unread postby lovingfatherof2 » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:17 pm

Ive spent a ridiculous amount of time going to court to watch cases, makes it hard to comment on this board much. I still go to court to watch from time to time, kind of like a hobby now, it all just fascinates me. But I still wouldn't represent myself. I discovered lawyers and judges are buddies and some are real close buddies. Go to court, watch lawyers do their thing and you will start to see who the judge is real buddy buddy with, hire that lawyer.

When trying to modify custody/parenting time never ever bring up money, either side. If either side does they will have a bad time. Its what sunk my ex wife in round #3. She learned the hard way.
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