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Old 11-05-2012, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by AlienatedDad View Post
I have a settlement conference scheduled in three weeks. Last I heard from my lawyer was about 3.5 weeks ago. I am very much in the dark about what is going on.

Aside from not hearing from her (despite a couple of requests), I have a very complex case and I am not sure my lawyer is up to it. I have had a custody evaluation completed (my lawyer has never dealt with a case like this, although she has dealt with the OCL).

My ex is a high-conflict personality who seems to enjoy the negative advocacy role that her lawyer provides (I wanted mediation, she went right to court). My lawyers says her court documents are the nastiest she has seen. Again, I don't think she understands high-conflict personalities.

My ex has violated the interim court order numerous times. My lawyer says not to worry about it, and that it will all be addressed at the settlement conference.

I am supposed to have joint custody over all of my children, but my ex doesn't tell me a thing about what is going on in their lives and makes unilateral decisions without any input from me. She has called the police on me for dropping the kids off in front of her house when I have visited (there is no restraining order), etc. I could on and on.

Anyway, I am get worried as the date approaches that I do not have appropriate representation. Wondering if I should change lawyers at this late date. If so, what are the costs of doing so? Can I be charged for my file? What will it cost to get a new lawyer up to speed on my case? I like my current lawyer, but me thinks she's not the pit bull I need to counter my ex and her lawyer.

Thanks for listening.
1. It is a Settlement Conference, no substantive issue can be dealt with at a Conference. Read the Family Law Rules and countless other postings on this message board regarding this fact.

2. The judge is powerless at a Settlement conference to make any order on a substantive issue without consent from BOTH parties. If you have an issue that cannot be resolved you instruct your lawyer to request a TECHNICAL request for the matter to be be heard on a *preemptive motion* or *schedule trial* for the next trial sitting. January would be your best bet but, you have to have SUBSTANTIAL conflict to get into that sitting in my honest opinion.

3. Don't consent to anything you don't agree with. Read up on the Rules, CLRA and other important aspects. Get educated NOW. You don't have to rely on your lawyer to seek out answers.

4. If you consent to anything FINAL and you don't like it. Tough luck you should have gone to trial or a preemptive motion. Fear is your worst enemy at a time like this. If you go in with fear they will play on your anxieties at the Settlement Conference and you will walk out unhappy and with the short end of the stick.

Good Luck!
Tayken