Legal Question in Family Law in California

Your Open Question: Is it right that a family court judge made an order if I was never served papers?

I got a notice that my ex filed for custody modification with some hand written notes on his reasons. The papers also had a mediation date which I missed because I was late - couldn't find the place. My bad big time - I know this. But before this my ex filed another packet of papers with letters and more reasons of his for custody revision. He sent them to me certified mail apparently but I never got them because I wasn't home to sign. I went to my court date and the judge told all the people in the room that if the other party has not been served papers then to do it now. He also sent all custody matters to go outside and try to work out. i asked my ex for the packet/documents so I would know what I needed to explain or justify if needed. My ex told me he didn't have them but too bad because they were sent certified mail. When it was our turn I hardly got a chance to speak. The judge ruled in his favor and shut me down. I still have not seen what's in that packet and my time with my kid is significantly reduced. Im a good mom who has dedicated her life to her son. my ex is a liar who i used to have to have a restrainibg order against. He was also ordered to anger management twice. He's an abusive guy and I don't see how this happened and why the judge wouldn't let me talk and at least say I can't see what you're seeing.. I never got served. The post office said the papers got sent back to my ex five days before our court date so he was well aware that I never saw them but told me he had proof that I did receive- again he's a liar. The order is a "temporary order" because mediation has to take place - because I missed it. I was about to break out in tears so quickly left the court room. My ex called me and said mediation got rescheduled but not until August.

My main issues:

*is there anything I can do about this temporary order because I was not served and the judge hardly let me get two words out?

Asked on 4/13/13, 4:59 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

You no-showed on mediation. You chose not to pick-up a certified envelope (yes, I know and the judge knows that you get at least two notices to go pick it up if you aren't home). The judges have hundreds of cases to hear and decide every week for people who have done everything they were supposed to do including picking up papers from the post office when necessary. They have no patience with people who take up extra court time by not going to mediation when they are supposed to, and try to further delay even a temporary ruling by claiming they didn't get papers that they choose not to go get. THAT is why this happened. The only thing you MIGHT be able to do is hire a lawyer (you are NOT going to get a sympathetic hearing from the judge by yourself after this) and see if they can persuade the judge to issue an ex parte order either to reconsider the order, or to have a new hearing on a temporary order.

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Answered on 4/14/13, 3:48 pm

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