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JD 1992
JD 1992, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 32318
Experience:  Began practicing Family Law in 1992
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Can judge dismiss my pleadings if an overdue fee is not paid?

Customer Question

I had a judge tell my lawyers today that I have to come up with $2000 to pay the guardian or she will strike my pleadings. Can she do that?
This is in Missouri. I'm concerned my lawyers are not doing a good job
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  JD 1992 replied 2 months ago.

Can you tell me a little about your case to put this into context?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
It's a divorce case. We are fighting over business assets. There's an overdue GALfeefrom November I was t aware of. The judge said if it's not of in a week she's dismissing my pleadings . It's $2000 I don't have it
Expert:  JD 1992 replied 2 months ago.

Are you using a lawyer for the divorce?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I am using a lawyer for the divorce.
Expert:  JD 1992 replied 2 months ago.

At this stage what you have to do is focus on preserving error and setting things up for an appeal if the judge actually does dismiss the case. What your lawyer should do is file a motion and ask to set up a payment plan for the fees, explaining your finances, when you received notice of the amount, etc. and then suggesting an amount to pay. I've never seen a judge actually strike pleadings for something like this but I'm sure it has happened so what you want to do is have evidence in the record that the judge was being unreasonable and you were attempting to meet the obligation in a manner that you could. Then, if the judge strikes, you can ask the Court of Appeals to reverse because the judge didn't try a lesser method before entering what is known as a "death penalty sanction".

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ok thank you
Expert:  JD 1992 replied 2 months ago.

You're very welcome. Just so that I'm clear, what you are trying to do is show that the judge shouldn't go right to striking your pleadings without giving you a chance to comply. The Court of Appeals will look at other things that could have been done rather than striking the pleadings and a payment plan seems reasonable.

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