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11 Oct 17

Can I call the Family Court Judge to ask what the holdup is?

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If you are in the midst of divorce case, you may be worried that little progress is being made with your case. The reality is that the divorce process is complicated. New York laws pertaining to divorce cases are complex. Court proceedings can be confusing.

You may have reached a point in your case at which you want some answers to why you have not seen further progress in your case. You may wonder if you can telephone the Family Court judge to ascertain what is holding up your case.

Ex Parte Communications with the Court are Prohibited

There is a primary rule of judicial procedure overriding your desire to make direct telephone contact with the court to find out why your case appears to have been stalled. This primary rule is the one that prohibits what are known as ex parte communications with a judge in a particular divorce case. An ex parte communication with a judge is one in which only one of the parties to a divorce case is included in the conversation with the judge.

With extremely rare exceptions, ex parte communications with the judge in your divorce case are wholly prohibited. In other words, you are prohibited from communicating directly with the judge in circumstances in which the other party to your divorce case is not involved.

Communicating with the Court When You Have a Lawyer

If you are represented by legal counsel, you are prohibited from communicating with the judge, whether or not that communication is made on an ex parte basis. Your lawyer is the person legally permitted to communicate with the judge in your case on your behalf.

If you are having some sort of serious issue with your lawyer, the proper way to communicate with the judge is to prepare a motion for the court to consider. A copy of the motion is provided to the attorney representing your spouse in your case. The motion itself is filed with the clerk of the court, who will then transmit a copy of the motion to the judge assigned to your case.

Depending on the circumstances, if you truly are having a bona fide issue with your lawyer, you likely can substitute a letter to the court in place of a formal motion. Nonetheless, a copy of the letter must be provided to the attorney representing your spouse in the divorce proceedings. The letter will be filed with the clerk of the court. The clerk will then provide a copy of that letter to the judge in your case.

If you do not believe your attorney is the cause of the delay in your case, you must work through your legal counsel to communicate with the court. You must request that your lawyer prepare an appropriate document to address what you feel is a delay in the case.

Communicating with the Court When You Lack a Lawyer

If you are not represented by legal counsel, you still need to follow the protocols set forth a moment ago when it comes to communicating with the court or the judge. You must prepare a motion, or a suitable letter. A copy of the letter must be provided to your spouse, or opposing counsel if he or she has a lawyer. Your motion or letter must be filed with the clerk of the court. the clerk’s office will then provide a copy of the motion or letter to the judge assigned to your divorce case.

Hire an Experienced Lawyer

One of the best courses you can take to ensure that your marriage dissolution case keeps moving forward in an appropriate manner is to retain a skilled, experienced divorce attorney. You start the process of hiring a qualified lawyer by scheduling what is called an initial consultation with a divorce attorney. There usually is no fee charged to a person seeking legal assistance for an initial consultation with a divorce attorney.

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