Ok boys and girls. This is a fun one. I need your help. Help me fry this fish.
My case thus far has been nothing less than an iconic in representing how fubar this system is already, and now this, a most interesting development, in my favor, thank God.
I’ve had a petition for modification pending based on my daughter reaching the age of emancipation since October 2010. My ex filed a Rule to Show cause alleging child support arrearage in February of 2011. I have been to the illustrious Daley center no less than 60 times in the last six years begging for final disposition while my ex has been through 4 different law firms filing 7 different Emergency Motions to delay hearing (and a couple ex-parte requests for the same in addition!) while the State has liened my bank account, revoked my passport etc. based on a false accounting. Finally in September of 2015, hearings actually began. But with more absurd delays, the child support hearing didn’t occur until last Thursday. And look what happened.
Opposing counsel began the case by handing the judge a one page copy of an accounting from the SDU (State Disbursement Unit) for the period in question (January 2006 thru April 2012) which shows a “due” column and a Payment column that accurately reflects my payments but for the fact that it shows me owing $4,875 due for the first 5 months with no payments made. She aggressively tries to get me to concede that this represents my total payments, and when I say it does not, she asks me if I object to it’s being admitted as an exhibit, to which I do not object but state I wish to offer further explanation. I have Contempt, a Purge, and Attorney Fees at stake, mind you.
Now, quite interestingly, this is the only document she produces for hearing. Yet, in the February 2011 Rule to Show Cause filing they actually have several exhibits attached which show far more information. (I’m coming to realize a bit late in the game, to my surprise and dismay, that the judge does not read the pleadings and review the attached exhibits--- that he only looks at what is presented at hearing.) They also filed another Rule to Show Cause that is virtually identical in 2012, and an Amended in 2013, with most of the same more thorough related documents. She then puts my ex on the stand and reinforces that this is an accurate document, claiming I made no payments from January to June 2006, for a 6,000 shortfall. Wow. What balls.
In my (pro se) cross of my ex, I ask her “is it your testimony to the court that you received no payment between January of 2006 and June 2006?” She waffles. I ask her to reference her Petition, which she signed, and go to “B”, which gives a short accounting of 4,500 in payments for that period. It is not certified, but it is their exhibit. (Just before walking in, I realized that while I had paystubs from my employer showing the garnished deductions, I actually had no “proof” she received them as the accounting from direct payment to SDU didn‘t start until July, 2006. Moreover, if I produced this same document, as it is not signed or certified, it would not be admissible as proof of my payments. And the burden is on me to prove my payments. I lose. However, I realized that they had such exhibits in a couple pleadings, and was prepared to reference them feeling it impossible for the judge to dismiss as it was produced by them as evidence in their pleading. )
Now the fun part. The judge says “where did this sheet come from?” I respond, it’s exhibit B in their pleading. He flips thru the pages of his and says “Well, it’s not in mine”. Well, it sure is in mine, I respond, it’s in the copy they gave me. He asks my ex’s attorney if it’s in hers. She responds, “no, uh, no, it’s not. But, you know judge, this sort of thing happens all the time,“ she says. “Oh, there’s several petitions like that.” (There is NOT. Not one. This is the only time this has come up in 4 days of hearing). I say, judge, it’s in their pleading, it is r e f e r e n c e d in their pleading with specificity (and then I go on to read the accompanying language), it’s their exhibit, and it shows 4500 in payments made they just testified did not happen or exist. Now the judge says some sweet words, looking at the attorney.
“Well, you have a problem here. This is a problem.”
At this point, I am dying to demand some sort of consequence, but think it best to just shut up and let this play out, and the judge moves on to the rest of the hearing, saying nothing more about it. He has not ruled yet as he is doing an aggregate judgment on several financial issues. (I do always bring someone with me for accounting purposes and as a witness to what’s transpiring who saw exactly how this went down because I am concerned about something like this just “going away“ or being revised innacurrately).
There can be no question as to what happened here. This law firm has had a fee petition pending for two years asking for contribution from me alleging my ex cannot work due to some undisclosed medical condition that has not been adjudicated. This attorney’s boss (partner in law firm) and I had an extremely negative and confrontational deposition in early 2014 as a result, mostly attributable to the fact that he immediately filed asking for 15k in attorney fees from me on taking over her case after her last one was actually fired by her during “final hearing” number four in October 2013 upon getting not-so-pleasing pre-trial recommendations by the judge, and it’s become clear they want to eviscerate me as evidenced from some earlier conscious-less fabrications they have made before today that I won‘t go into.
The Rule to Show Cause, if won, wins her Contempt, A Purge, and, most importantly, substantial attorney fees for her and her firm. But without this 5k alleged arrearage, the case for Contempt is extremely weak. She needs this, so she gambles by not only omitting this document from her presentation, but removing it from the judge’s file stamped copy. There can be no other explanation, as from the proceedings overall it is abundantly clear she has been through these pleadings with a fine tooth comb. If she did in fact have such an exhibit missing, she would have read the language that references these payments anyway. In which case she was representing something she knows full well is a lie---is it then just a coincidence that the key document is missing? Of course not. Absurd. Completely.
Now what? I can’t prove she did it, I think. Unless I’m missing something? Any ideas on that point??? And what’s the consequence? Does the judge’s “You have a problem here” mean acknowledgement of an ethical violation that will result in sanctions? How do I proceed on this aspect and in making sure it is on record that she presented a file-stamped copy of this petition to the judge that lacked a most critical exhibit properly crediting me for CS payments without which her self-serving interests of attorneys fees are well served to my absolute and complete undeserved detriment (in addition to being ordered to pay 5k again and with a punitive purge on top!). Is this sufficient to file with the Bar as complaint on ethical violations? This minimally is gross incompetence but, let’s be honest, it’s a deliberate, planned, and most egregious ethical violation.
Help me out, please.
And thank you in advance