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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 113599
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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I went to court today 4320 hearing motion change of

Customer Question

I went to court today for my 4320 hearing for a motion for a change of circumstances. It did not go well my attorney was unprepared and failed to object to many things she stated she would be objecting to at our meeting prior to the hearing. In fact I did not even get to present my 4320 factors to the court. Back in January of 2015 my husband and I settled most of our issues when it came to assets and liabilities. He kept his debt and I kept mine, he kept his furniture and I kept mine. Because he was also paying child support at the time he refused to pay more than $1792 in spousal support and continued to pay $2200 in child support until my son graduated from college. The judgment I signed did not have a provision in it that it was non modifiable. I went back to court in August 2015 after filing a Motion of Change of Circumstances. My husbands lawyer argued that the judgment was permanent and my lawyer argued it had no provision stating that it was non modifiable. The judge sided with my lawyer and ruled that indeed there was a change of circumstances and allowed a hearing to be scheduled. At the hearing that was scheduled my attorney for no reason and without warning quit my case. The only reason she gave to the court was that if she gave the reason she would be committing some illegal act. The judge granted me a continuation but stated I would have to deal with the new judge that was taking his place. I got another attorney who by all accounts seemed competent and knowledgeable. She reviewed my case and stated she felt confident
that based on my husbands income of 12K a month and his wife helping him at 3K a month and having a disposable income of over 4K a month that I should receive an increase in support. My husband was allowed to present hearsay and state
that he had been servicing over 50K in community debt during the divorce. This was untrue because the majority of the debt was acquired after the date of separation. He had no evidence to back up his claim, yet the judge allowed this. In fact the judge allowed everything he said and very little if nothing at all I had to say. I stated am on welfare and having to stay with family and friends because I was evicted from my home. He also would only allow the last four months of my life to be considered in the factors, yet he never allowed me to present the factors. I was married for 15 years, I haven't worked in
18 years I took care of a child with cancer and still taking care of him even though he is 19. The judge stated he should get a job since I pay $150 dollars for his car and by him food. He actually stated he wanted lower my support but didn't and I should be thankful that my parents are helping me. My parents make $2000 dollars on social security. My husband lives by the beach, my daughter lives with him and I cannot afford to live by her or now visit her pretty much ever again. He stated that I would never make more than minimum wage given my education. So that's what I got for 15 years of marriage from a judge with only 3 months experience in Family Court. Even his reasoning was wrong based on case law. My husbands attorney never cited any case law the whole matter was based on discretion rather than the crux of the family court which is equity. Before the hearing and at a break I reminded my attorney I wanted her to preserve my right to appeal. Honestly I don't know if she did and I feel she may have hurt my right to appeal by not bring forth objections and issues during the hearing. Could you please tell me what my rights are for an appeal, what is allowed at the appeal and how this works.
The only thing the judge did get right was my life style he did say on the record that I did live an upper middle class life. Yet I am now living in poverty because his interpretation of the judgment was that I knew that all I would be getting was only $1792 for the rest of my life even though the judgment never stated it was non modifiable! Please explain what I can do.
Prior to this hearing I met with my attorney on Saturday and I also told her in front of witnesses that she was not to go into chambers to discuss my case with the judge and opposing counsel. She disobeyed me and prior to the hearing went into chambers for over an hour with opposing counsel. When she came out she said my case had been decided and the judge would not allow the 4320 factors to be heard. This is ridiculous because the other judge allowed the 4320 hearing. My case was decided behind closed doors, obviously opposing counsel brought up many other issues that tainted my case. I never had a chance. What can I do about this judge as far as complaints, appeal and this attorney?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If the judge ruled against you on the motion and the judge got things wrong like you said above, then your recourse is you must file a notice of appeal within 30 days and get an appeal filed to the appeals division. Your attorney has an obligation to file the appeal if you give them instructions to do so. So you need to discuss this with your attorney and make them appeal.
If your attorney refuses and if their conduct was part of what led to this decision, then before you can do anything with your attorney you still need to file your notice of appeal and take this to the appeal court, meaning getting a new attorney.
Once you resolve this matter and get the appeal filed, then you can consider pursuing your previous attorney for malpractice if they did not properly present your case to the court.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you what about filing a motion for reconsideration or a new trial?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
If the judge treated you this way, a motion for reconsideration is not likely to be successful, but you can try it if you can get your attorney to present evidence that the judge did not seem to consider in the hearing.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If you file the motion for reconsideration and he rejects it. Do you still have the right to appeal?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also how soon could we get the transcripts
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Yes, if you file for reconsideration and are denied, you can still file the appeal.
Transcripts depend on how busy the court reporter is when you file the request, but typically they are ready in about 30 days.