Court staff advocates for pro se litigant
This happened to me this week. I was representing a client who was trying to fight an increase in child support. As he never married the mother of the child, the case was under the FD docket. The FM docket is for divorces and post-divorce cases. Most people who have FD cases do not have attorneys whereas most people with FM cases do. Thus, it is rare for two attorneys to be on an FD case.
Because most people with FD cases are pro se, they would clog up the court system if all of their cases went before a judge, or so the thinking goes. Thus, the court staff tries to resolve the cases without the case going in front of a judge. There was another issue in the case and after I discussed it with the court staff, I reminded them that there was still an issue of child support. The woman I was dealing with told me that child support is based upon the income of both parties. Needless to say, I was shocked at this incredible revelation.
After assuring her that I did not land from Mars yesterday, I explained that the pro se Plaintiff’s motion was not properly before the court because there were no changed circumstances. She then said that moving from one state to New Jersey is changed circumstances. I said that I would object to that argument as there is no law to support it and it was not included in her moving papers. She then said that pro se litigants are granted lee way when it comes to the court rules. I reminded her that this is improper and asked her if she was the plaintiff’s lawyer now? She didn’t know how to respond to that so she left to speak with the judge.
When she came back, she said that I was correct (of course) and that the child support would not be increased. What if I wasn’t there? This is just a small example of how crazy our system can be when you don’t have a good lawyer in court with you.
Our Burlington County Child Support Lawyers can help you with any child support motion in any court. Call us right now to discuss your case.