The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-03-2010, 11:42 AM
Asimovian Asimovian is offline
Pseudolegal
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Southern California
Posts: 7,907
What should I expect at a divorce status conference hearing?

My ex noticed on our case docket that a hearing had been scheduled for this coming Wednesday. It's a status conference and case review that is apparently automatically set by the court in any divorce proceeding.

I asked a few friends who had gone through divorce about this. All of them had been through uncontested divorces (like mine) and said they didn't bother showing up. This apparently had no negative impact on their cases. I poked around a bit on the internet a bit myself and couldn't really see how showing up was mandatory, and my ex had the same experience in her research.

My attorney, however, had a very different reaction. Bear in my mind that my attorney has only been practicing for less than a year, and didn't know anything about the hearing at all. He said he had to "do some research." Eventually, he came back with the idea that this was really important, and that he's going to appear on my behalf. This made my ex nervous because he's said some things to her that didn't make sense to us (such as basically implying that she has a requirement to file certain responses even though she's not contesting a thing), so now SHE is going to the hearing. Which means that I feel it's in my best interest that *I* show up as well.

So, now I've got to take time off to show up at a hearing that, as far as I can tell, is going to involve standing up to say that we are in the process of selling our only remaining joint asset (the house), and that everything else is already divided up, nothing is disputed, and no one wants alimony from anyone. But I'm just guessing at how this goes, and I certainly don't trust my attorney to know how this goes. So I'm wondering if any of you have gone to such a conference. What can I expect? Anyone with family law experience is welcome to chime in on this, of course.

I'm in California, for the record.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 05-03-2010, 12:06 PM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
Bear in my mind that my attorney has only been practicing for less than a year, and didn't know anything about the hearing at all.
-------
I certainly don't trust my attorney to know how this goes.

Ouch! Why did you hire this guy?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-03-2010, 12:27 PM
Asimovian Asimovian is offline
Pseudolegal
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Southern California
Posts: 7,907
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilbo523 View Post
Ouch! Why did you hire this guy?
1) He was essentially free. I have legal insurance, so many common legal procedures (including divorce) are covered in my plan.

2) The other, more experienced attorneys I interviewed came off as snobbishly bored by the idea of handling an uncontested divorce. I decided I wanted to retain someone who was going to take time to answer my questions and have an interest in my case as opposed to someone who was simply going to push paper and ignore me.

3) In combination with the first two points, I wanted to give someone new a chance to get some work and experience with a situation that I figured would be hard to screw up since so little was at stake in my circumstance. Although he's made some mistakes that are very telling with regard to his inexperience, I'd still rather have someone with an "Esq." after his name be responsible for any filing mistakes than for it to be my mistake. Especially since using him isn't costing me any cash out of pocket.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-03-2010, 02:50 PM
ThirdOne ThirdOne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
I worked for attorneys years ago (yes, in Calif.). If I remember correctly, the attorneys attended, but the clients did not. Status hearing is just that and really you should not need to attend, but for your comfort, you may wish to. It really ought to be "standard procedure," and no big deal.

Your attorney should have received notice from the court of the hearing. You can always check with the court clerk and find out if you "have" to attend or if it's status quo to allow your attorney to appear for you.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-03-2010, 08:42 PM
Fair Rarity Fair Rarity is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
I had several conference hearings. I believe I attended one or two, the other couple my attorney went without me. I think one of the ones I attended, I attended remotely. For me, they were literally just status updates with the judge/magistrate, like "Ok, how are we coming with xyz? How long till we schedule the next step? Are you doing mediation?" etc.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-04-2010, 08:29 AM
Perciful Perciful is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
In my state you can order one every three years to go over child support and if it is enough, insurance, etc. I would attend because you may want to contest a change of child support.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-04-2010, 09:56 AM
Asimovian Asimovian is offline
Pseudolegal
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Southern California
Posts: 7,907
Quote:
Originally Posted by Perciful View Post
In my state you can order one every three years to go over child support and if it is enough, insurance, etc. I would attend because you may want to contest a change of child support.
This is actually before the finalization of the divorce, and there aren't any children involved, thankfully. There's really nothing at issue at all.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-05-2010, 08:14 AM
Perciful Perciful is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
This is actually before the finalization of the divorce, and there aren't any children involved, thankfully. There's really nothing at issue at all.
Well that is good. It will be much simpler.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-05-2010, 12:13 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2008
California attorney here. I've only handled a few divorce cases and hate them. A case management conference (a CMC) in the biz is a go and say hi to the judge. Clients are not expected to attend, but may do so. It is very rare of the client to attend if a lawyer is going, but I always invite mine with that explanation so that they can see what is going on.

The judge asks how the case is moving along, is it ready to set for trial (issues in divorces are usually divided up into separate trials, which are bench trials) and whether a mediator has been agreed upon, and when can y'all come back for the next such meet and greet and do it all over again.

I am not alarmed that your newbie lawyer doesn't know a lot about it and is nervous. He/she will be nervous about every court appearance for 5 to 10 years to come. Don't let your newbie charge you hourly rates for an experienced lawyer, and don't let your newbie charge you more than 10 to 15 minutes for looking up what a CMC is. There will probably be a judicial council form for newbie to fill out 10 days before the hearing, there is in civil cases. Make sure both parties and the court get it.

Show newbie this post.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-05-2010, 03:20 PM
Asimovian Asimovian is offline
Pseudolegal
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Southern California
Posts: 7,907
Newbie lawyer didn't show up. Newbie lawyer told my ex that she *must* file a response to my filing, even though she's not required to by law and doing so would cost her $350 that she doesn't have. Newbie lawyer insisted on this to my ex even after she pointed out that it was unnecessary and expensive. Newbie lawyer told her, "Well, divorce is expensive."

And then newbie lawyer, who said he was going to show up today, decided to call the court clerk (half an hour late) and request a continuance of the hearing because my ex had failed to file as of yet. Newbie lawyer had not consulted me about this or even told me he'd planned to do so. My ex and I were actually sitting in the courtroom together when we found out this had happened. Newbie lawyer won't be representing me much longer.

On the positive side, we both had a chance to talk to the very nice court personnel, and it's clear that I don't have need for a lawyer for the remainder of the process. I'm very happy and fortunate to not have any issues of contention in the divorce.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-05-2010, 05:35 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2008
You might want to check out the Nolo Press guide on how to do your own divorce in California. Best wishes.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-05-2010, 05:43 PM
hajario hajario is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Posts: 12,980
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Second Stone View Post
You might want to check out the Nolo Press guide on how to do your own divorce in California. Best wishes.
Totally agree. That's what I did. I did most of it myself and then the ex and I jointly hired a lawyer to go over the paperwork to make sure that everything was ok. Easy peasy. We were done with the paperwork so fast that we didn't even get asked to have a hearing and it was all done before the six month waiting period was up. We actually had to wait out the last few weeks of the six months before things were actually finalized.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-06-2010, 10:39 AM
gonzomax gonzomax is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: michigan
Posts: 26,307
A friend of mine got a divorce after 45 tears of marriage. They had lots of hearings. Do not ignore them. His was simple but it took almost 2 years because his wife was a pain at every hearing. When it comes to redistributing your wealth, it can not be taken lightly, especially if you will be outlawyered.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:07 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.