Thursday, June 25, 2009

Observations on a Pro Se Case, Part One: Don't Swear at the Judge

Luck has put me where I have seen some pro se cases or had to deal with the aftermath of a pro se case. Which lead me to a decision of writing about these cases.

Today's episode happened in Hamilton County last month. While waiting for my case to be called, I got to hear a pro se support case. The facts were like this: ex-husband had an arrears prior to the divorce, he had a wage assignment paying child support and the arrears since the divorce, and he figured the arrears had been paid. Seems straightforward enough, right? Wrong.

Ex-wife pointed out that the wage assignment had been put into place until weeks after the Final Hearing. No support received during this time period.

Ex-husband starts arguing with the judge that the old arrears had been paid and the wage assignment should end. Judge tried pointing out to him that he still had money owed but husband kept making comments about unfairness and unjustness. (The judge, I think, was too subtle - he was trying to not give legal advice but husband was not taking any hints, either.)

What ex-husband was not understanding was that he still owed for child support and it was in his best interests to keep the wage assignment as is.

On the way out, ex-husband made some comments about the judicial system using a variety of scatological terms and he left the building escorted by the deputy sheriff.

Ex-husband would have done better to understand a few things: 1) keep a civil tongue in your head if you want to impress a judge; 2) that while the Decree mentioned an arrears, he had increased the amount owed in child support and he would have to pay that amount some way, some time, and 3) if you are going to do it yourself, know what you are doing.

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