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Respond to At-Issue Memorandum that includes Custody/Visitation

Discussion in 'Other Family Law Matters' started by us4flrm, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. us4flrm

    us4flrm Law Topic Starter Guest

    Jurisdiction:
    California
    I was served with an At-Issue Memorandum to set Trial and opposing counsel is claiming and estimated 2 days for a long cause. Also included as issues to be determined at trial are the custody and visitation judgements of our 7 year old daughter. Due to false allegations made by my husband, which zero evidence was provided to the court, and closed by CPS as Unfounded, I still am under supervised visitation. A Stipulation of temporary sole custody was entered into by the attorneys and Court Commissioner - in chambers. Under the threat of permanency by the Court, I signed the Stip with the understanding that if we both fulfilled the outlined requirements of the Order, I would gain my joint custody back. I have completed all orders while he's completed only 1. Nothing was ever done about this and he still retains temporary sole.

    My question is this: given the high conflict status of our case, she I respond to the At-Issue with an accompanied Motion and Request to Bifurcate the custody and visitation?
     
    us4flrm likes this.
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Reading between the lines, I'm guessing you don't have a lawyer of your own.

    If you don't have a lawyer of your own, it goes a long way to explain why you have been screwed so far and why you will continue to be screwed.

    If you do have a lawyer, the question should be asked of your lawyer.
     
  3. us4flrm

    us4flrm New Member

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    The lines were fairly clear IMO since I specifically said that the attorneys and Commissioner drew up the Stip in Chambers. Maybe since I didn't specify that one if them was my own attorney?

    But I appreciate you answering my question with the standard, "get an attorney" answer.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
  4. leslie82

    leslie82 Well-Known Member

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    If you have an attorney then you should follow his or her advice. If you don't think that he or she is doing a good job, find a new one.
     
  5. us4flrm

    us4flrm New Member

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    I do not have an attorney and after paying him over $6000 in 7 days just to assist in handing her over to the man who was convicted of using me as a punching bag for 2 years, I can't afford one nor do I trust them.
     
  6. us4flrm

    us4flrm New Member

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    I apologize for wasting anyone's time with my OP. I thought I could get a bit of direction to what seems like a pretty easy question for a law professional to answer. I understand the risks involved with bifurcating but I also understand the risks of having these issues included in my Disso trial
     
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You're soliciting opinions about trial strategy.
    I've held my law license for decades, in multiple jurisdictions.
    I never handicap anyone's trial strategy.
    I can only suggest to you as "pro se" litigant, it's up to you how you try your case.
    As with all the choices we make, good and bad outcomes abound.
    Your assumption about the answer being easy is flawed.
    If the answer were easy, I couldn't bill, nor could the associates working for me bill what we do.

    The law isn't a science.
    Your outcome will be entirely different than the outcome reeceived by another litigant trying the same fact pattern.

    The one glaring contradiction, possibly problem in your case is the involvement of chid services, and the fact you're working a state mandated "program".

    When SOME judges, maybe even MOST judges see that, you're additionally disadvantaged.

    The fact that the child's father battered you has nothing to do with the court's decision to award him custody.

    People can be horrible spouses, abusive spouses, and be great parents.

    Some people suck at both, and many people suck at life.

    All you can do is trust your judgment, because you're predisposed to believe ALL attorneys suck.

    On the other hand, attorneys believe some clients suck.
    Why?
    Because some clients don't know when to stop, shut up, or come forward with such a fouled up life; there's very little an attorney can do to limit the negative consequences of a person's poor life choices.

    I wish you well, perhaps you'll receive the outcome you seek.
    Give it your best shot, as that's all you have with the path you've chosen to tread.
     
  8. us4flrm

    us4flrm New Member

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    Maybe I should've kept my question less detailed and more simplified to the what I've studied in the Rules of Court and precedented case law. Although since Local Rules seem contradicting to the State's, I was hoping for just a bit of clarification as to whether it not custody and visitation can even be heard at the same trial without an order from the Court.

    CPS was involved ... Briefly. All allegations were concluded as unfounded and no evidence exists for my current separation from my daughter to be lawful. I acted on the advice of my attorney whom I entrusted to act in my daughter's "best interest." As for the domestic abuse, it absolutely would have been relevant had I allowed the three mediators to formally establish it's presence under CA Family Code Section 3040-3049. But in doing so, my husband would've been under a rebuttal presumption that would not have allowed for joint custody. Our daughter deserves both parents and he never abused her so to take HIM away from HER was not a moral ground I could live with.

    Whether to Bifurcate the issues should be something a law professional could offer an opinion on based on what they would advise their client. Admittedly, I wouldn't be seeking an answer if I knew the consequences of not bifurcating custody and visitation. I understand the financial implications but not how a judgement obtained from trial can permanently effect my rights as a parent.
     
  9. us4flrm

    us4flrm New Member

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    That being said, our Dissolution cannot possibly require 2 days of trial since we have very limited assets to divide. We have our first pre-trial conference on 12/15/16 and so I'm thinking I will just contest the timing estimation of the 2 days and if needed, request the bifurcation on that date... Once I am able to obtain solid advice.
     
  10. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    A litigant petitions the court seeking a remedy, or outcome.
    The court rules.
    What I would do before trial, if I were trying your case, settle the assets before trial.
    Present the proposed settlement to the court, seeking a court order on those matters.

    That leaves only the custody issue to be argued at trial.

    It's always best to settle whatever you can before trial, leaving the other matters to be addressed during trial.

    You're looking for a roadmap.
    There isn't one.
    There are certain constructs from which you then plan your trial strategy.
    Before you do that, you need a theory of the case, as in what remedies you're seeking, and why you deserve those remedies.
     
  11. us4flrm

    us4flrm New Member

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    Thank you for providing some type of advice. I was just seeking an answer as to whether I should ask to have these issues heard separately - or handled separately. Unfortunately, my husband has refused to settle on anything, even at my offer to let him have all of the assets and zero debt if he would agree to lift the unwarranted supervised visitation and restore some form of my custody. Seeing as settlement does look favorable, but knowing that the matters should most likely be separate, I will respond with a general Counter and cite the timing estimate to be contested, while reserving the ability to Counter other contested At-Issue matters at a later date.
     
  12. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    As long as he has a lawyer, you'll continually get steamrolled.
     
  13. us4flrm

    us4flrm New Member

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    I'm filing a Motion to Access the Community Assets in order to pay for trial representation as permitted in our ATROS per CA Family Code Section 2040 as well as the 2011 revised Family Section 2032, as a result of the Elkins Task Force Recommendations.

    If denied, well I suppose I have more than enough grounds for a solid appeal
     
  14. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You don't need to do that.
    Just meet with a lawyer or two, hire one, and the lawyer will see to it that he or she gets paid, and you'll get some emergency support money, too.
     
  15. us4flrm

    us4flrm New Member

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    Really? I consulted with 2 so far who won't take the case until i retain them, which I can't do until I access the Community. Seems like a big catch 22. There's over 25k in immediate liquidity but I guess they don't want to motion for it and take a risk on the Commissioner denying them. Nobody works for free. Lol. There has been a few very illegal acts committed by opposing counsel and the Commissioner - from judge shopping by abusing CCP 170.6 allowances for disqualifications to forging of Findings and Order After Hearings and Substitution of Attorney.

    As one attorney said after our consultation, "Even if you could afford the premium retainer I would require, I won't step foot inside the San Bernardino County Family Law Courthouse. It's a shithole of corruption."
     
  16. us4flrm

    us4flrm New Member

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    I want to thank you though. Having some real feedback is a breath of fresh air
     
  17. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    WOW, San Bernadino County has a bad reputation.

    No worries, keep trying, hang tough.

    When is the next court date?
    What issue are on the calendar for that date?
    Would a continuance of two weeks be of any value to you?
    Are you anxious to get a ruling, or will more time to prepare help you?
    If a continuance would be of value, just ask for one.
    If you need to know how, let me know, I'll try to help.
    I'm not licensed in CA, but continuances are easy to obtain in any state.
     
  18. Highwayman

    Highwayman Well-Known Member

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    Maybe that's why opposing counsel scheduled two days for trial... :rolleyes:
     
  19. us4flrm

    us4flrm New Member

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    Our next Court date is a Status Conference set for 12/15/16 to which I am unsure I can continue or how a continuation would benefit me.

    Please bear in mind that I've only seen my daughter 3 times since May 27th and I have no idea how long it will be before this trial is over. I was hoping a Bifurcation would sort of speed both along - the Disso that he filed and our evidentiary trial regarding custody.
     
  20. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Whatever occurred between you and the state child agency hangs today over your head like as did the sword over the head of Damocles.

    The court will take no notice of how long it has been since you last interacted with yoru child, as that isn't at issue in the matters before the court.

    You must learn to separate feeling, emotion, legal issues, and facts under dispute.

    Think about all of this stuff, and create a list which will eventually be comprised of ONLY legal issues, matters of law.

    On another list you'll memorialize the legal remedies you seek.
    If you know the remedies he seek, put those on another list.

    Your task is to then craft a compromise upon which this can be settled.

    Dirty little legal secret, that's essentially what a lawyer does.

    I'm sure you want this nightmare to end.

    Therefore you must endeavor to craft a proper settlement.

    You are in a more precarious position.

    He knows that, you know it, too.

    You'll have to give more than you'll get TODAY, if you want to squash the beef.

    Once you do that, you'll see a greater benefit derived very quickly.

    Gotta sometimes give more than you'll get, to gain things unknown to you today.
     

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