I have a Mandatory Settlement Conference, I will not have my brief ready in the 3 days required. What will happen to me
I am Pro Per and I thought it was going to be easy, but I was wrong so its my fault, I hired a paralegal to help me but she says she will not have it ready in time. She says I will have to walk in the conference with it in hand.
3 attorney answers
It probably won't affect anything if you bring it with you. Most judges in San Diego won't do anything. Some might scold you but that's usually the extent of it. If the other side has an ability to pay some of your attorney fees you might want to seek a pendente lite attorney fee award to hire an attorney.
This is not a comprehensive answer and it is impossible to provide a meaningful response without a consultation.
The most important thing is to be as prepared as you can. You do need to have a MSC brief with you because this document allows the MSC judge to understand your side of the case. Yes, you should contact the MSC judge and the other party's attorney and let them know you will be bringing the brief with you. It's not as good as providing it early, but it's better than not having a brief at all.
Here is the link for the form on the San Diego County Website. http://www.sdcourt.ca.gov/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/SDCOURT/GENERALINFORMATION/FORMS/FAMILYANDCHILDRENFORMS/D246.PDF
Ideally, you should have an attorney (not a paralegal) review your brief before the MSC. If you're pressed for time, then just do your best. However, most of the MSC judges (because they do volunteer their time, which is very valuable) are committed to helping self-represented litigants achieve a result that is consistent with the law. So do your best to allow the MSC judge to see your side of the story by bringing your brief with you. Otherwise, the MSC judge will only have your spouse's brief as a written reference or may need to continue the MSC conference. It's often difficult for the courts to find MSC judges to volunteer time, so try to be respectful of this opportunity and do the best you can.
It will only delay the MSC settlement officer from mediating the settlement as both will have to read it. you won't win any friends by not doing this. Don't suggest that you proceed any further without an attorney as a trial won't get any easier. If there are CP funds, then these could be used to pay for attorney fees.