I am unwillingly pro per. For two years I have been in custody court and even when I had a lawyer she let opposing counsel write up every "findings and order after hearing" in the case. It has caused problems and my lawyer did absolutely nothing about. Now I am on my own and opposing counsel continues to take advantage of me by writing up the orders as usual. Only now I'm tired of her crap and want to do something about and respond or object.
After the hearing is over and I get a copy of what opposing counsel has written, how do I go about objecting and/or responding to get the orders written out properly? What can I do on my own to keep opposing counsel from being "in charge" and "controlling" the wording of the findings and order after hearing every time?
P.S.: You guys rock!
Lawyers who aren't getting paid and/or who are very busy will unwisely allow their adversary to write documents for the judge's signature.
After getting any document you don't agree with, file one document called "Objections to Petitioner's (or Respondent's) Proposed Order" that lists every error and explains why it's an error and why your Order submitted concurrently has more accurate language. At the same time, file another one called "[Proposed] Order" which has your preferred wording. You have to act quickly, because the judge may sign whatever proposed order they get without waiting for any objections, assuming that if you wanted to draft the orders, you'd have volunteered.
Even more aggressively, volunteer. At the end of future hearings, when the judge asks opposing counsel "Counsel, will you give notice, (or draft the order)?" interject that you'll do it. If the lawyer beats you to it, say "Your honor, I haven't agreed with the language in counsel's orders and I'd like an opportunity to respond to counsel's document and propose my own order." The judge may then order you and opposing counsel to work together to come up with an acceptable order, or may just allow a briefing schedule so that there will be a period of time for objections. The lawyer may then object to your objections and to your Proposed Order, but at least you'll get a chance to get your arguments and language considered. You can see the proper format of these documents from the lawyer's examples, so copy those.
It might also not be too late to request modification of the previous orders, while you're doing this.
Yes, some of us do rock.
Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.
Criminal Defense Attorney
It is difficult. You are like an amateur boxer asked to go 15 rounds with a pro. Still you can protect yourself and contain damage already done. No "Findings and Order After Hearing" should be submitted to a judge if the opposing party has not signed off on it. Similarly no judge should sign such a document unless the signature of both parties or their representatives appears on it.
If you are not being copied in advance about documents submitted to the judge you should call the court's attention to this practice. The judge should put an end to it.
Family Law Attorney
I am grateful for jurisdictions that compel their judges to draft up their orders.
I cannot think of anything worse than coming to court and having your adversary's attorney draft a quicky order for the judge's signature.
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