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Old 02-23-2009, 08:42 AM
independentgal independentgal is offline
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We had two case conferences. Both were in closed court. No spectators(or extra family) unless both sides consented.

We came into the court and sat at the front tables between the lecturn. THe judge came in, we stood up to show respect, and then we were asked to sit. The only time you stand is when you speak to the judge.

I had a very sympathetic judge the first time(yrs ago) and a terrible harsh judge(who later ruled in my favour in motions court) the second time.

Recently, at my conference, the judge targeted me(self represented, ex was represented) and in the first two minutes, yelled at me to be reasonable(I want OCL to assess the situation, he says no) and said this conference is over now and I have wasted everyones time if I don't come to my senses and agree with him. He basically lost his mind on me. I had received much advice from a lawyer to expect this from that judge so I stood my ground even though my knees were shaking.

The judge cannot force ANY rulings on you in a case conference, it is just to try to see WHAT issues the parties can put behind them. For every issue(custody, access, child support, spousal, costs, special and extraordinary expenses etc.) have a well thought out and written position and be prepared to speak up. If your ex and you are too far apart, he/she will give his opinion. I would think that most suggestions by the judge are what other judges would rule if you brought a motion on the issue. That is, you would hope so. But in our first case conference, the judge spoke her recommendations, and my ex's counsel said with all due respectm, we decline to allow you to make the ruling in that respect.

When we were represented in our first case conference, we went out of judges chambers to negotiate(debts of business etc. ) and my ex frequently lost his temper and was pushing the table, storming in and out of the room, banging his fist, calling me names like thief, idiot. It was not pleasant. But we had a short list of what we agreed on. I had a feeling the judge heard my ex carrying on in the next room because she gave her opinions awarding everything I asked for(not that the ex would allow an order made for any of those issues).

It is a much more informal proceeding than motions court, and in my city, at motions court, I find the other lawyers and people waiting for their name on the list to come up sitting in the stands to be very intimidating as I have social anxiety. This is slightly better!

Good luck, it is a draining process.

The other parties brief