Brief history: My ex-wife is suing me for contempt for money she claims I owe her (don't want to give too many details here, but I truly believe I don't owe her; it's not money for child support or anything like that, BTW). I was not happy with my attorney's work, and also can no longer afford to pay his $300/hr, so I had to end that relationship and have ended up representing myself.
Now that I don't have an attorney, her attorney has filed an Order of Referral to General Magistrate for this matter, requesting that it be referred to a specific Magistrate. Here are my questions that I hope someone can help me with:
1) I'm not an attorney (obviously), and don't know who this Magistrate is. I am thinking I should object to it. My thinking is that if her attorney is making this move and requesting a specific Magistrate, she might know her (the Magistrate) and know which way she might rule in this particular case. Am I being too paranoid? I understand that it shouldn't matter and there should be no preference, but I don't believe that's how it works, and I think if the attorney and this Magistrate have a history together (work, social, whatever), it might affect the outcome against me.
2) What are my options if I cannot afford an attorney? I make very decent money, but between child support, alimony, mortgage, general expenses and debt I've gotten myself into, I am literally living in the negative every month by almost $3k. I also work full time, so it's hard to find time to educate myself enough to represent myself properly. I understand judges don't cut you any slack either, if you're representing yourself, and expect you to follow everything to the letter as far as documentation and procedures. What to do?
Thanks in advance for any responses.