I am an In Pro Per litigant, over my head with court. I have been through one hearing concerning visitation, scheduled to return to court in two months. During the hearing concerning visitation, the Judge ordered the Respondent to exchange our child with no excessive delays. The Judge verbally instructed the Respondent (who had legal counsel present) to not supervise or impose on my visitation. However, the Respondents Attorney has emailed to me his 'draft proposal of the Order' (Findings and Order After Hearing) and ignored the Judge's verbal order instructions, and wrote that the Respondent will 'supervise' the visitation. Now, the Attorney for the Respondent wrote to me that if I do not sign his 'Draft Proposal of the Order', he will file it without my signature to the court. Can the Attorney for the Respondent do this, modify/change, the Judge's verbal instructions which were made during our court hearing? Thank you for helping.
3 Answers from Attorneys
No, but he will get away with it if you don't object. The procedure you should follow is to write up the order as YOU understand it. You can start with what the attorney sent you for format, and the content you agree with, but put in your own version of the content that you think is wrong in his draft. Then send that to the court with a letter BRIEFLY explaining why yours is different and you refused to sign the attorney's version. Do this IMMEDIATELY. If the judge gets his version without getting yours, he or she probably will not go back and check the minutes of the hearing and find the errors. The whole reason for the attorney sending you a draft to approve is so that the judge will get two versions as a red flag if the parties cannot agree on the wording of the order. Only then will the judge check the notes to see what the order really should say.
While its understandable that you are trying to handle this complicated child custody matter by yourself, please consider hiring an experienced family law attorney to assist you.
I agree with both Mr. McCormick and Ms. Kock. The best thing that you can do right now is get a copy of the court's minute order, and any reporter's transcript of the hearing.