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I am scheduled for a deposition in April on the 18. My

I am scheduled for...

I am scheduled for a deposition in April on the 18. My parents have filed in superior court of habersham county for custody of my child. My attorney withdrew due to none payment. I am a registered nurse but have been out of work since August due to a tumor on my spinal cord. I should be able to afford a new attorney but I’m still recovering from my surgery and am unable to work. My question is there anyway for me to postpone the deposition and/or hearing until I can afford to hire another attorney? The attorney my parents have hired will eat me for lunch and that’s the bot***** *****ne. I can’t face him alone in court or a deposition.

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?

No I haven’t filed any papers. My attorney just withdrew Friday

Lawyer's Assistant: Family law varies by state. What state are you in?

Georgia

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I don’t think so. This action is filed in superior court

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Answered in 6 minutes by:
3/25/2018
Sue
Sue, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 384
Experience: Family Law litigator for over 35 years
Verified

Hello, I’m here to help you today. I'm a licensed attorney with over 35 years’ experience in family law. I'll review your question and be right back.

Sue

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This is general information and not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed. This is for educational purposes only.

You may be eligible for free legal services from your local Legal Aid Society you can find here and here, or Legal Services agency here and here.

It may take a few days or more to complete the application process.

In the meantime, you can contact the attorney's office to ask for a continuation of the deposition date due to the need to find a new attorney.

You can file a motion to continue the hearing for the same reason.

Are you comfortable using the forms in your jurisdiction?

If not, you can send me your city and county in GA and I can do some research to see if your jurisdiction makes court forms available to the public or has a Self-Help center.

Sue

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Customer reply replied 27 days ago
Sue
I have called legal aid and there is none in my area but I will check the links you suggested.My case is in Habersham County Georgia, the court is in Clarkesville Georgia. I can find no forms online. Anything links you could suggest would be great.When I call his office do I speak with him? He is rude and hatefully. What if he refuses to change the date of the deposition? Do I legally have a certain number of days to find another attorney since the one I had withdrew? My other daughter is supposed to be deposed that day as well and she is a minor (17)...as a minor does she have any rights to counsel? Or does he just get to scream in her face as much as he likes?Thanks so much

There may be no on-line forms - not every jurisdiction has them.

It sounds like you'll be more comfortable sending a letter to the attorney's office saying you cannot attend the 4/18 deposition, and ask for written reply setting the continued deposition between X and Y dates. You can mention the need to find a new attorney or not, as you see fit.

If the attorney calls you, say you cannot speak to him at the moment. Repeat as necessary.

There's no automatic number of days to find a new attorney. I'm sure you'll move as fast as you can. If in the end you cannot find one, you've done your best.

A minor child should not be deposed in this sort of case. She is to be protected. If you are not eligible for free legal services, you can submit a Motion for Protective Order to the Court asking your daughter be protected from having to be deposed.

I'm going to take a little while to do some research into forms.

I'll be back very soon.

Sue

Ask Your Own Family Law Question

This letter and chart say the Legal Services Corporation awarded a 3 year grant to the Georgia Legal Services Program's Legal Services GA-2, covering Habersham County in 2016. The other grant is for "GA-1," Atlanta.

Like you, I was unable to find a motion form, but found this Judicial Council of Georgia site and this Habersham County Superior Court site - if you look around these sites, you may be able to find some helpful information.

Is this court action filed in probate court, or to give your parents guardianship of your daughter?

GA Probate Courts have different sites I can look in to.

Sue

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Customer reply replied 27 days ago
Sue,
No this action was filed in superior court. My ex attorney had already notified my parents attorney that she was withdrawing as my attorney so in the letter I write to them I guess it doesn’t matter if I say I don’t currently have an attorney? Can he still refuse to change the date? Also I’m still under the care of the surgeon who removed the tumor from my spine and there’s no way I can sit thru a long deposition without muscle relaxers and frequent movement. The recovery period from this surgery is fairly extensive and I don’t see her again until May for further follow up.Is there a way for me to make a motion to transfer to juvinile court? I know I’d have more options there as far as help with an attorney and I was told by child advocacy in my area that my child whom is the subject of this action would have an attorney and guardian ad lidem appointed for her protection.Thank you again for your help. You’ve been super helpful.
Customer reply replied 27 days ago
Is there a form for the Motion to Protect my minor child from deposition?

Yes, the attorney can refuse to re-schedule AND you can refuse to show up. Depositions are supposed to be scheduled and handled in a "gentlemen's" fashion, unlike the definite necessity of court appearances.

My suggestion is you take the position with the Court and that attorney that there is no way you can participate in any discovery or any court appearances until cleared by your surgeon. Post-surgery recovery is stressful and difficult, and you'll want to be in your best position to handle the court business after you've healed sufficiently.

Re: the form for the Motion for Protective Order for your daughter, I haven't found one. But you can contact the court (see below) to ask for a motion form.

Also, the Legal Services organization may have those sorts of forms available to the public, whether they find you eligible and accept your case or not.

If you file a motion for protective order for you daughter, you can include moving to transfer the case to juvenile court. Can you take some time to look into the similarities and differences in the courts' jurisdictional powers and authority between juvenile court and superior court?

Do you have a friend or trusted family member who can visit the Habersham County Superior Court on your behalf to ask if they provide any self-help assistance in filing motions? I looked for a phone number, and didn't see one on the websites I checked, but surely there is one. Whoever answers will tell you they can't give legal advice, but you're just looking for help with motion forms, you can tell them.

And just a little tip: avoid calling or visiting on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons. Mid-morning and post-lunch hour are the best times to talk to folks at courthouses.

If all else fails, you can write a letter to the court, asking for a continuance of the hearing and the depositions, and for protection for our daughter. You have excellent grounds in the very recent loss of your attorney and your medical situation. Include a stamped self-addressed envelope to save the court the cost of the stamp. They'll think you're well-prepared and thoughtful.

I've been looking for Volunteer Legal Services (family law), and so far have found only this Cornell U Law School site. If you're up for it, you can call lawyers' offices in your jurisdiction to ask if they do any pro bono work. In most jurisdiction, licensed attorneys are required or strongly encouraged by their Bar Association to provide a certain number of hours of pro bono representation annually.

A tip for that: before you call, prepare a 3 sentence summary of your case, and give that, and only that (+ your contact information, of course) when you call. Attorneys' offices will appreciate your organization and respect for their time; you'll be more likely to get a call back. You'll probably be speaking to staff, not the attorney him/herself, but that's normal, as you've probably already experienced. And don't be shy about calling back if you don't hear from someone: sometimes things just move down the pile of calls/work, but the answer may still be "yes."

This thread remains open for about 6 days, so if other questions come up, please let me know.

Sue

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Customer reply replied 27 days ago
Sue
Thanks again. You’ve been more helpful to me than the attorney I hired to start with. I’ll let you know if I have more questions. Do I rate you now? Or will that close out the thread?

You're welcome.

Providing a rating now does not close the thread.

Thanks,

Sue

Sue
Sue, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 384
Experience: Family Law litigator for over 35 years
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Customer reply replied 26 days ago
Sue
One last question: when you said that if I file a motion to protect my daughter (the 17 year) I could make a motion to transfer to juvenile court even though she’s not the subject of this action (my 8 year old) is? I think that’s the last question for you. When I send the letter today I’m going to ask them to change the deposition dates toward the middle of June. That should buy me time to get cleared by my doctor and to get a new attorney. If he replies he refuses then do I just reply to let him know that I refuse? Do I mention he won’t be deposing my minor child (17 year)? In the original letter? Can I hire you as my attorney (only kidding...sort of ��) thanks again
Customer reply replied 26 days ago
Last thing: when you say write a letter to the court you mean the judge? Do I include a copy of the letter to opposing counsel? I thought ex parta communication was frowns upon.

Thank you for accepting my answer and for the bonus!

With the additional information you provided that the subject of the action is your 8 year old daughter, yes, I think you can still add a request to transfer the case to the juvenile court. But just to be clear, is there one case in Superior Court and another one in juvenile court?

If there are two, you can phrase that part of your motion as a request to consolidate.

What kind of case is what your parents filed, a guardianship or conservatorship?

Re: the letter to the attorney, you can say you are not able to agree to the deposition date he proposed due to recent surgery and the need to secure another attorney. Be careful to steer clear of anything that would suggest you lack capacity, as that may play into your parents' arguments.

Make the letter short and concise. If you want me to review it, I can do so, but I'd have to ask for an additional payment.

Definitely include that you are not giving your parental permission for your (17 year old) minor child to be deposed.

I suggest you send your letter by certified mail, so you'll have a record of sending it. And keep copies of everything, of course.

You can expect a bit of a back and forth by mail. If the attorney's office calls you, you can tell them you are not comfortable talking (even with his staff) since you're not represented at the moment, and ask them to send any communication to you by mail. And end the conversation quickly.

Here are the Georgia Uniform Rules of the Superior Court of the State of Georgia." Scroll to p. 12, which is the 23rd page of the document in the page numbers shown on the upper left to find "Discovery in Civil Actions." Rule 5.1 says in part, (discovery must be) "completed without unnecessary delay and within 6 months after the filing of the answer." So a three month delay is not excessive.

Can you find the Answer your attorney filed? If not, you can consider your letter an Answer. You might state in your first sentence, "This is my Answer to your Deposition Notice dated XXX."

BTW, Section 6 on p. 13/24 may give you some helpful information re: Motions.

You may also find it helpful to review the section above this one, Rule 4.3, Withdrawal, because Courts are very particular about the procedure and grounds on which an attorney can withdraw from a case, especially when there is not new counsel coming on board right away. If your attorney did not follow these procedures, you can file an object to her withdrawal, and you may be able to keep her as your counsel. See in particular subsection I, "unless the withdrawal is with the client’s consent, the client’s right to object within 10 days of the date of the notice, and provide with specificity when the 10th day will occur." If 10 days haven't passed yet, you can file an Objection. Even if 10 days have passed, it's worth a try.

Back to your question, while waiting for the attorney's reply, my suggestion is to prepare the motion or letter we discussed to include a third part, objecting to the timing of the deposition ("Objection") and Request for a Protective Order to require the attorney to delay the deposition until mid-June. So, if he doesn't agree, you're already on your way to seek assistance from the Court.

Yes, ex parte communication is not allowed. Your letter is in lieu of a motion, and you can say that in the beginning of the letter, e.g., "I have not been able to secure new counsel yet, and was unable to find a motion form on line or at the Courthouse, so I'm asking this letter be treated as a motion," or something to that effect. Courts give allowances to some degree to pro se litigants. Be sure to send a copy of your letter to the attorney when you send it to the Judge.

Yes, you can address the letter, "Dear Presiding Judge," unless you know which judge your case is assigned to, and then to "The Honorable Judge X." The court clerks or a Self-Help service center may be able to tell you which judge is assigned, if one has been assigned already.

I appreciate your vote of confidence asking to hire me. Of course, JA doesn't offer that as a service, but it's nice hat you said so.

You may have more questions arising out of this information, so let me know, okay?

Sue

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Customer reply replied 26 days ago
Sue
I will definitely know if I have more questions. You have given me so much hope I thought that Abbie (my 17) year old and I were just going to have to get clobbered on April 18th.There is only one action filed in Superior Court. My parents want custody of my 8 year old daughter Sunny. They want custody and for me to have no visitation nor are they asking for child support.I certainly would like for you to proof read my letter when I get that far I’ll let you know. Thanks you again. Hope is a powerful thing just as lack of hope is also a powerful thing.

You're right about hope. I'm so glad I could help.

I'll keep an eye out for future messages for you.

If this thread runs out (~6 days) and you want to reach me again, you can put something like, "For Sue only" at the beginning of your question.

Sue

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Customer reply replied 26 days ago
Sue
Sorry to bother you again but I want to get this letter written up and out as soon as possible and I’ve been doing a little research and I can’t find the specific reference to which a minor can not be deposed without parent consent. Wouldn’t she at least need legal representation?

Good for you for your research.

There's probably not a specific rule or statute that says a minor cannot be deposed without parental consent. A basic tenant of law is that no one under the age of 18 can provide legal consent, unless specifically allowed, as some states do for health care for minors. The best example is no minor can legally contract for services, for instance. This is a legal principal that goes back hundreds of years.

It would be best if your 17 year old has her own attorney. However, you have every reason and the legal grounds to refuse your parental consent for her to appear at a deposition.

And, in your motion to the Court, you can say you object to and oppose your 17 year old daughter's deposition, and the Court will very likely respect that, since Judges hate having minors involved in custodial conflicts.

Sue

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
Sue
My plan is to visit the clerk of superior court tomorrow. What forms do I need to ask for specifically? I don’t want them to look at me like I’m an idiot and act like I have no clue what’s happening. The motion for a continuance and protection but I’d like to know exactly what they are called so I ask for them correctly.
Thanks Jodi

You can ask for a general Motion form. This form may be called a Request or an Application, or other name. What you're after is a form you can use to ask the Court:

1. to continue the hearing;

2. for a protective order to protect your 17 year old daughter from being deposed; and

3. to transfer the case to Juvenile Court.

LMK how it goes.

Sue

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Customer reply replied 24 days ago
Thanks. I didn’t a fair amount of online research and it’s what I understand is their position on giving people forms is they don’t. What I read said to find a similar case and basically copy the format and hope for the best. I will ask them I’m about to head that way

Yeah, some jurisdictions don't provide forms to the public.

Good luck.

Sue

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