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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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  #1  
Old 12-02-2008, 01:27 PM
independentgal independentgal is offline
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Default Settlement Conference today gone awry

Well, just got back from a disappointing Settlement Conference. This was unusual in that we were in regular motions court on Friday, the judge threw up his hands because of all the material(complex) and said that we needed to compromise and needed a settlement conference( we had a case conference 4 years ago). So we both agreed and went this am for a Settlement Conference. Right off bat the judge got angry and stood up to leave saying I was not compromising. I had asked for OCL involvement with my son to determine access and custody in motion on Friday. I again asked for OCL today. I am not budging on that. My son has been put through hell from his dad not exercising access and not returning phone calls(all admitted in Questioning that he hates me so much that he wont take our son because that means talking to me, wont return sons calls etc.). I am willing to compromise about the money issues but not putting my son through hell(money issues never came up).

I am consulting a lawyer that specializes in custody access, and she is adamant my son should not be seeing his dad with the current situation. She is adamant OCL should be involved. She helped me draft the motion I brought last Friday as my ex already served me with a Notice of Motion, so I wanted my issues dealt with too.

My ex has not seen his son for an overnight in 11 months. He saw him for a 9 hour period in the last 11 months. In that visit, he and his current partner bad mouthed me to my son. They say terrible things about me at every visit- two visits ago my ex and his girlfriend were telling my 7 year old I would be soon going to jail, that I was a terrible person, that it was my fault they couldnt see him etc. My ex is seriously angry at me and taking it out on my son. I hope that one day he gets help with his anger problem and I hope that one day we can work back up to an alternate weekend regime but it is not feasible at this point.

The judge ended the Conference early because I would not agree to make binding minutes of settlement re access. The same judge is going to hear the postponed motion on Friday of this week again. He told me flat out he is going to rule in my exs favour as there is not enough evidence in my material about danger to my son. He is also going to make a substantial cost award in favour of my ex if we go ahead on Friday. The sad part is this judge has been angry with me from the beginning last Friday. He stated that I must get out of the past, I have to stop bringing all these motions etc. I have not brought a motion since July 06 in these proceedings. It is my ex that has 5 motions outstanding. Where do judges get their misinformation?

Anyway, it is too late to serve and file additional material to support my motion for OCL involvement that would satisfy this judge. What do I do? Help!
  #2  
Old 12-02-2008, 06:49 PM
standing on the sidelines standing on the sidelines is offline
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Is there anyway to get another judge? It is obvious that he is biased against you.
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Old 12-02-2008, 07:52 PM
#1StepMom #1StepMom is offline
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It will be hard to request a different judge. After all, they are ALL supposed to be equal in their rulings, right? (Whatever!)

Is there any way you can get this lawyer you spoke to to represent you? I know it is costly, but sometimes, it's what you need to get by. The judge may just think that because you're self-representing, you don't know anything and are simply motion-happy.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:17 PM
independentgal independentgal is offline
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Thank you so much for your comments! It means the world to get feedback on my situation from others going through the same situation.

I actually just got emailed an offer to settle that is so outrageous and unfair and not even on the same planet as a fair settlement. It expires prior to the Motion on Friday.

The Offer also states that since my representative mentioned the judge is biased( my stepmom asked the judge why my exs counsel went into the judges chamber immediately after the motion last Friday) then he will be seeking costs in the sum of 8500.00 if the judge decides not to rule because of my step moms comment. Combined with the judges bias and apparent reading of only my exs material my step mom actually "suggested" the judge was not objective. Well, he blew his stack(obviously!) and now he "may not make a ruling on the adjourned motion". The judge asked if I had a problem with him ruling and I stated I wanted some time to contact someone to give me legal advice( the lawyer who has helped but cannot/will not take file on due to complexity and the exs lawyer who she hates) but the judge said no, he would be sitting on this issue this Friday and that I must argue the point in front of him if I feel he should not rule on the Motion, otherwise he will be ruling against me on the relief I seek and ordering costs against me.

The lawyer that has helped me has gone above and beyond for me already. She cancelled all of her appts last Monday so she could help me type, swear,serve and file the Motion and Affidavit. It was a very humbling experience I must say. She even called me last night(at 7 pm) to see how I was. She is continually badgered by my exs lawyer when they see each other in court(on unrelated cases), he asks whether she is going to get on the record for me or is she going to continue "to lurk in the bushes". She will not take case on for me as she knows it is not cost effective, and just encourages the exs lawyer to run up the bill by bombarding me with material, letters etc.

Should I do an Offer to Settle that I can live with and send it to the Ex by Thursday? I am so confused.
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Old 11-23-2009, 10:25 PM
Alextu Alextu is offline
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hi there i feel for you...no matter how angry ex spouses are with eachother (mine had anger issues to) children should never be pawns...im a firm believer we all get what we deserve in the end and your child will know you did what was best for them......i made an offer to settle within 6 months of separation although everyone around me except my lawyer said not to do so....i do have representation but soon I will have to represent myself as Im paying for my home all my kids expenses with not much help from the ex.....all my family and friends told me dont give him more now when you did everything for him and paid for almost everything during the marriage but its worth it just to move on so if you can live with offering to make a settlement i suggest you do it so you can move on from dealing with those jerks...the ex and that judge....judge sounds like an ass....you must have lots of patience because i think i would have ended in contempt of court based on how youve been responded to..take care
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Old 11-23-2009, 11:25 PM
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How in heaven's name has this matter been allowed to fester and ratchet up conflict for 4 years?????????

Your child has been forced to be the centre of what sounds like a vicious battle throughout his formative years. He must be a mess.

Instead of arguing for an OCL investigation that will entrench you further into the system for another six months at least, do whatver it takes to get your asses out of court and remove your child from the horrible conflict between the two of you.

It sounds like that judge, rightly or wrongly, is fed up with the fighting. You have a status quo that puts primary residence with you. And due to the high level of conflict joint custody is not an option. You also have sole custody in your pocket. Don't jeapordize it. Figure a way out of the system at all costs.

Last edited by dadtotheend; 11-24-2009 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 11-24-2009, 09:26 PM
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I guess I missed something but what exactly is it the Dad is asking for that you oppose. You say he brought the motion, for what purpose?
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Old 11-25-2009, 12:07 AM
independentgal independentgal is offline
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Sigh, this is still ongoing. My ex's pleadings have now been struck for contempt therefore it has been proceeding without him. He brought another motion to be let back into the proceedings so now it is adjourned until a judge makes a ruling whether to let him into the trial which was proceeding as a summary trial(only my evidence and pleadings).

His intial motion that you are inquiring about tried to argue trial issues(equalization, net family property, Child support, business issues(joint business) in a long motion(2 hrs) instead of cross examination and full financial disclosure by him. He also argued FOR access that he did win but has not taken regularly(and now refuses to see our son at all, like before) since he won it. Changing access was a power trip for him I see now, as he has seen him less than 20% of the time awarded to him 11 months ago, and I just got an email saying he isn't going to see him going forward now too.

I wish he was either in my son's life OR out, not this limbo that my son is going through. It is truly sad.
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Old 11-25-2009, 12:51 AM
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And, for my 700th post in this forum......


Figure a way out of the system at all costs. I mean it.
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Old 11-25-2009, 11:49 AM
NoahsDaddy NoahsDaddy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dadtotheend View Post
And, for my 700th post in this forum......


Figure a way out of the system at all costs. I mean it.
dadtotheend is right here...try your best to resolve it outside of the system. The courts will try everything to avoid a lengthy (and expensive) trial.

To put some perspective on this - I have joint custody of my son and never went to trial. However, we went to THREE settlement conferences...each with the same judge. At the first one, I got raked over the coals a little bit and then my ex was slammed by the judge at the two subsequent conferences.

The cost associated with obtaining joint custody was insane; I spent 41 (forty-one) thousand dollars, in about 10 months, on my family lawyer...setting me back about 6 years financially. Honestly, while I can't put a price on being able to be a significant part of my sons life, it was every cent that I had and I truly wish that my issues could have been resolved without lawyers and courts.

Looking at what I spent, I don't even want to imagine where I would be if I had to go to trial. Say a trial takes a week and, in my case, your lawyer is $375 an hour. 8 hours per day times 5 days = another 15 thousand dollars just for being present at the court for the trial...this doesn't include any costs associated with getting ready for the trial itself.

The whole thing is ridiculous. In my case, I hired the best lawyer in town because I was determined to be a part of my sons life. Even if my ex spent half of what I did, you have to figure that we (collectively) spent 60 thousand dollars on lawyers....and for what? We just spent the cost of sending our son away to University for 4 years with room and board etc. to really accomplish nothing.

In the end, I submitted an offer to settle that was more than reasonable and it was accepted with no order to costs. The irony in this was that my offer to settle was, essentially, what I had asked for before I was served with papers. Do your best to resolve it without courts; it's very difficult to stay positive and upbeat while you're enduring the stress of legal proceedings and dumping every cent that you have into lawyers. Your child needs you to be there for them and having court dates, nasty letters from your ex' lawyer and everything else hanging over your head makes it really difficult to concentrate on being the best parent that you can. When my court proceedings were finally over, it was like someone had lifted a thousand pound weight off my back and I felt like a completely new person.

Do everything you can to resolve it...as I tried to explain to my ex, you're really just flipping a coin with a judge. The judge does not know you, your ex or either of you as parents. All they know is what they've read in court documents; the vast majority of which (trust me) are gross distortions of reality.
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