My wife and I were granted a No-Fault divorce on April 30th of 2012 but we have not received the court orders yet. Our attorneys were supposed to work out certain details such as Child Support figures (kids are with me 40% and with their mom 60%). I have been unsuccessful in getting a response from my attorney as related to my greivances with my ex-wife. As a case in point, the Judge ordered my spouse to notify me of all extracuricular activities relating to our children based on my complaint in that regard. My ex-wife keeps the kids at her job after school except for Wednesdays and every other Friday and has refuted all of my offers in caring for the kids despite her claim to the contrary in court. Can I contact the Judge directly and plead for a modification of the ruling?
1. You cannot contact the Judge directly -- that would be considered an ex parte communication and those are specifically prohibited (the other party and their counsel must have notice and opportunity to be present and object, etc. in any "communications" with the court).
2. Typically, "extracurricular activities" refers to activities such as soccer games, ballet recitals, spelling bees, school plays, and activities of that nature. Unless expressly specified otherwise in the court order, "extracurriclar activities" would not include such things as afterschool daycare arrangements or social activities (like playdates or birthday parties, etc.). From the way your question is worded, it sounds like you are claiming that your ex-wife is violating the extracurricular notice requirement by not advising you of her afterschool daycare plans (i.e., taking them to work with her). If that is your claim, it is not one you would likely have any success with if you went back to court (as the notice provision is almost certainly not applicable to this particular non-activity).
3. If your claim is that the court order includes a right of first refusal to provide child care and, by taking the children with her to work, she is denying you that right, this is also a claim that you would not be likely to have much success with if you took to court over the issue. Typically, the right of first refusal is triggered when the choice of daycare provider is between the other parent and a third-party daycare provider (such as a babysitter, a daycare center, a nanny, a grandparent, etc.). IF she is dropping the kids off at an on-site daycare center at her work, then your right of first refusal should kick in and that would be a valid violation to bring to the court's attention. If, however, the kids are with her (hanging out in her office or whatnot), then technically they would be with her (the parent) during her custodial time and, so, the right of first refusal to provide daycare would not be triggered -- at least, in my opinion.
4. Your own attorney is the person with the greatest information concerning the details of your specific case, the content of any court orders or court rulings on these matters, etc., and so is the attorney who is in the best position to properly advise you on these issues. If you feel like your attorney is being unresponsive to your concerns, I would suggest that you schedule a face-to-face meeting with your attorney to address your concerns.
By having an in-person meeting, you will be assured priority on the attorney's "schedule" and 100% attention to your case for the duration of the meeting. Sometimes attorneys get very busy playing catch up with other clients whose cases have been set to the side while the attorney was devoting their attention exclusively to preparing your case and going to trial, etc. And that may be all that has happened here. Getting yourself on the attorney's meeting calendar will ensure that you are speaking to your attorney on a day and time that the attorney can be 100% available to you and your case.
If the problem is not one of access/responsiveness, but rather one of you being dissatisfied with your attorney's answers to your questions and complaints, then I guess I would suggest spending a few hundred dollars to consult with another attorney to get essentially a second opinion. If the second lawyer tells you basically the same thing that your current lawyer is telling you, then the problem may lie with your dissatisfaction in the outcome of your case (as the law has been applied to the facts of your case by the trial judge). If that is the case, then the options are to file a Motion for Reconsideration with the trial court (which can be done before the final order is entered or within 21 calendar days after the order is entered) and/or you can file an appeal (10 days for J&DR court order; 30 days for Circuit Court order).
This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is intended for general information purposes only.
I suggest that you write your attorney a letter setting forth your questions and requesting a written response by a certain date. If that doesnt work you may just need to get a different attorney. I would not recommend that you contact the court directly.
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Sounds like you need a new attorney.
IF YOU FOUND THIS ANSWER HELPFUL PLEASE MARK IT SO. This information is provided by PEGGY M. RADDATZ, Attorney At Law as a pro bono service. YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY IN PERSON who has specific expertise in the area of law you are asking about.
You definitely should not attempt to contact the Court directly. The court will accept your communication and it will only reflect poorly on you. Before concluding that you need a new attorney, set an appointment to discuss your concerns. Prior to the meeting, write each concern out, so that in the heat of discussion, points are not overlooked.
So far, your concerns appear to be:
-do you have any signed Order?
-If not, has a date to present (to have an order approved by the court) been scheduled?
-Are you divorced, or did the court simply say so and direct the attorneys to write the decree?
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