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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 02-09-2021, 06:39 PM
OttawaDad21 OttawaDad21 is offline
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Default Questions about Trail Management

Hi, I've been searching this site, but i'm running out of time.

I'm unrepresented and my ex and her expensive attorney are taking me for a ride.

I have a temporary order

- (joint custody, she has final say.... with access only once a week and every other weekend).


Part of the reason that i don't have 50/50 access is because my attorney had a breakdown (crying) in a motion hearing (judge gave her a 15 minute recess). She returned, did not defend me. Just says if no one is going to defend this, i have no choice but to believe it (my fault in trusting this attorney).

I've been strung along for coming up on 2 years (jumping thru my ex's hoops (using the kids without stepping into traps).

We had a settlement conference in January. As i'm unrepresented, i used some of the basics (insurance coverage and death benefits) word for word from my ex's attorney. In the settlement conference, her attorney is so uncooperative that he disagrees with these to items word for word that match. The judge called it and scheduled a Trial Management conference.

My basic goal is to :

1. argue for 50/50 access for the benefits of the kids (i have the arguments and supporting data

2. argue to have a marital contract aside set aside (i have the arguments for showing the agreement for unconscionable, signed under duress, it is one sided and would have an affect on our kids)

__________________________________________________ ___________

I get understand the purpose of this conference. But it's taken me a lot of time to try to track down basic answers for the Trial Management form.

Here are my questions regarding completing the Form (17E)

Regarding question 6a (These are the witnesses whom I plan to have testify for me, the topics about which they will testify and my
current estimate of the length of time for the testimony of each witness, including cross-examination)

1. I don't plan to use witnesses. I only plan to use affidavits to speak on relevant topics. The ex did a bang up job on me with all hearsay based on my attorney's breakdown in court.

Is this common (not using witnesses). In my case there is no proof that i'm a threat to our kids.


2. What are common examples of experts used with regard to question 6b? (These are the expert witnesses whom I plan to have testify, their areas of expertise, and my current estimate of
the length of time for the testimony of each witness, including cross-examination)

I don't think i need to rely on an expert. I've been actively involved in my kid's lives up until being order to leave the marital home (my kids are now 8 and 9). I have a flood of email communication between the mom and i regarding doctor appointments, therapist, and homework. I plan to show that there are no issues with parenting with this kind of evidence. Am i taking the correct path?

3. Regarding the following, question 10 (Are there any expert reports that you intend to rely on at trial?) My ex wife attacks me with hearsay based on our kids medical and educational data. I have Individual Educational Plans, psycho educational evaluation reports and so on that show my positive active involvement.

Do i answer "yes" to number 10 and consider these as expert reports?


4. Regarding question 12 (Attach a list of the relevant orders in this case.).
Does this refer to interim orders from my previous motion hearings that include (her final say, that i vacate the marital home, temporary access schedule and so on)?

I apologize if i'm overthinking this. I'm hypersensitive and a bit stressed about making a mistake that could cost me.
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  #2  
Old 02-09-2021, 07:49 PM
StillPaying StillPaying is offline
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You're overthinking this. It's still a conference so don't stress.

You need a lawyer to know whether witnesses and/or experts are needed. The judge is trying to get an idea of how long a trial is required. If you think you may call someone, add them now and you can remove later on. I believe you have regular evidence not an expert report, but not sure. For relevant orders, add any final and interim order related to the case.
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  #3  
Old 02-09-2021, 08:11 PM
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Tayken Tayken is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OttawaDad21 View Post
- (joint custody, she has final say.... with access only once a week and every other weekend).
Um, that is not "joint custody" to be frank and fair with you. That is sole custody to the other parent with a curtesy clause. Often, people think this is joint custody but, it is not. If the other parent has "final say" they have the "only say" unless you bring them to court to dispute the "final say".

Quote:
Originally Posted by OttawaDad21 View Post
1. I don't plan to use witnesses. I only plan to use affidavits to speak on relevant topics. The ex did a bang up job on me with all hearsay based on my attorney's breakdown in court.
At trial evidence is given viva voce. So you don't call witnesses your affidavits are useless as the other party can't cross examine an affidavit at trial.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OttawaDad21 View Post
Is this common (not using witnesses). In my case there is no proof that i'm a threat to our kids.
Depends on the complexity of the issues being determined at trial.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OttawaDad21 View Post
2. What are common examples of experts used with regard to question 6b? (These are the expert witnesses whom I plan to have testify, their areas of expertise, and my current estimate of
the length of time for the testimony of each witness, including cross-examination)

I don't think i need to rely on an expert. I've been actively involved in my kid's lives up until being order to leave the marital home (my kids are now 8 and 9). I have a flood of email communication between the mom and i regarding doctor appointments, therapist, and homework. I plan to show that there are no issues with parenting with this kind of evidence. Am i taking the correct path?
Expert witnesses are just that. Experts. OCL, Section 30 custody and access assessor, doctor, etc... They are providing an expert opinion on something.

You need a lawyer based on your understanding and questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OttawaDad21 View Post
3. Regarding the following, question 10 (Are there any expert reports that you intend to rely on at trial?) My ex wife attacks me with hearsay based on our kids medical and educational data. I have Individual Educational Plans, psycho educational evaluation reports and so on that show my positive active involvement.
The expert who created the psycho educational report should be called as an expert witness to be examined (and cross examined) as to the content of their report. The report without a witness is paper and useless. You will need the expert to testify. For which you will have to pay a witness fee and pay possibly their hourly rate for the time in court.

Paper at trial proves very little.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OttawaDad21 View Post
Do i answer "yes" to number 10 and consider these as expert reports?
There is a qualification process for an expert witness and report. You need to provide CV and the expert needs to provide the report to the court etc. Again, you need a lawyer. It is a complex process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OttawaDad21 View Post
4. Regarding question 12 (Attach a list of the relevant orders in this case.).
Does this refer to interim orders from my previous motion hearings that include (her final say, that i vacate the marital home, temporary access schedule and so on)?

I apologize if i'm overthinking this. I'm hypersensitive and a bit stressed about making a mistake that could cost me.
You need a lawyer. Trials are very complex. Custody and access is a very complex issue to bring to trial.
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:55 PM
tilt tilt is offline
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I have attended two TSC and submitted the 17E and the trial record.

You are getting into an area where small procedural mistakes could trip you up. I concur that this is really an area where you need to have a lawyer assist you. The lawyer will probably want to be a limited scope contract.

Fun fact that a lot of self-reps done know is that if you are close to trial (and TSC means you are close to trial) a lawyer representing you can be Ordered by the court to continue representing you even if you don't pay. It doesn't happen very often, but it happens enough to make lawyers nervous (my ex is not in the predicament that because our trial is close no lawyer will touch him without a significant trial retainer of tens of thousands as each day in court is budgeted at around $10,000 for each attorney and costs never even come close to recouping it)

You also need to start taking parenting classes and maybe formal programs with your children so you can use those people as expert witnesses about your excellent parenting skills and can testify about how you interact with your children during your parenting time.

Two years of status quo is hard to overcome; you may want to make sure you are offering a settlement offer of 35-40% parenting time to you and full CS to the mother to see if that will solve all the problems and allow you to see your children more frequently.

The Marital Contract will be hard to put aside, have you had a couple of senior lawyers review it and give their opinion on how it may be viewed in Court?
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