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Can we do anything without a lawyer if the judge says one thing in court and writes something different in the order?

Brooksville, FL |

We filed a motion for contempt and the judge forced the respondent to pay off the vehicle that was in both his and my fiance's name and then in court after we presented calculations and proof the judge did his own calculations and came up with the same numbers as us and said that he owed around $1900 in arrearage and around $1100 in past due support. The judge said he would add these together for a total of about $3000 and make it all arrearage and increase the monthly payment. But the order after court said he owed $1100. We wrote a letter to the judge and he said the order stands. He owes less now then before court. Can we do anything about this without a lawyer?

Attorney Answers 6

  1. Yes you can. I would file a Motion to Clarify Court's Order dated (insert date). Indicate in the Motion what you understood that the judge said and how it differs from the written order. Then properly coordinate a hearing on your motion with opposing counsel or the opposing party. Just make sure that when you state things in your motion that you are very respectful and err on the side of being extremely humble. (i.e.) Good luck!

    Please be advised that any answers or information disseminated above do not constitute legal advice and that the attorney responsible for this posting is merely attempting to participate in a Q & A session intended to be helpful but certainly not intended to be legal advice. It is important that you understand that no attorney-client relationship has been formed and that the attorney has no obligation to follow up with you with your legal issue unless you separately contact said attorney and arrange for him to legally represent you.

  2. Probably not, but if the hearing was transcribed, get a copy and present it along with a motion for clarification which you will have to make up.

    R. Jason de Groot, Esq., 386-337-8239

  3. I agree with my peer, and as I stated in your follow up question, you will most likely not find a Motion to Clarify on-line.

    In addition, you have already filed what the Judge must have considered a Motion to Clarify. At this point, of the Judge has already said the Order is correct, you really need to consult an attorney who practices in Hernando County.

    This information is a general answer and is not specific to any particular case. Carin Manders Constantine, Esq. 727-456-0032/ 727-488-8272

  4. The judge made an initial mistake. Unless the car debt was in the nature of alimony which you didn't mention it is distribution of debt and cannot be subject to contempt although there are other ways to enforce it. Only the support or 1100 is enforceable by contempt. You can also get a judgment for it and still use contempt although most judges don't believe it until you show then the statute

    This answer was provided as a courtesy to you and no attempt was made to establish any type of attorney/client relationship.

  5. You can appeal the order and also file a motion for rehearing, both of which have to be done asap.

  6. Did the Judge set a hearing on the letter you wrote? If not, I agree with the above that the proper vehicle is a Motion to Clarify Order. The case law reflects what is said in court trumps what is written in the order, presumably to protect against scrivener's errors. With this said you should be entitled to be heard by the Court to prove what was said in Court. I practice in the area and would be willing to meet with you for a free consultation. E-mail me at if you're interested.

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