Appeal contempt to pay attorney fees


#1

CSE and I had a hearing on my motion to modify support ( upward), I won that and support increased by 70%, ex has to pay arrears monthly ( case filed in December) and ex has to maintain medical and dental now ( which she didn’t before).
Problem is that ex’s attorey served me discovery and it asked for documents that were prior to the entry of the order. I sought unbundled advice on answering and the Attorney noted they asked for items prior to the entry of the order, as well as things not relevant and not likely to lead to admissable evidence. We made objections on rule 26 that it was outside the scope…etc.

Also since it was a guidline case ( not deviation) and objections were made that ex requesting my expenses was not relevant , when I submitted bank statements I redacted only my expenses, leaving all deposits and credits open to see.

I submitted discovery to Ex to which I got no response in 30 days,I had to file a motion to compel in order to get ex’s discovery ( just a few days before the hearing).

Interestingly Ex objected to exactly the same questions using exactly the same Rules and verbiage.

In Ex’s attorneys motion for contempt she clearly states that while she initially asked for tems that were not within the correct time period, but that I should be found in contempt for not providing the documents

Judge was displeased wth both sides and continued hearing for 3 days and told BOTH parties to return with:
3 years tax returns and W-2s, and unredacted bank statements.That he would review them and decide on income based on that.

I complied fully, but ex only furnished State returns , not federal saying she thought that was what he wanted.

After ruling for the upward modification, Judge said he felt there was to much “gamesmanship” and ex’s attorney presented a bill of fees nearing $4000, Judge said it was excessive and ordered me to pay $1400 in 45 days.

Judge did not recite any findings of fact or conclusions of law in finding me in contempt.
My discovery objections were valid ,and made upon advice of Counsel.
The other attorney admitted they asked for items from prior to the entry of the order.
CSE attorney objected and cited that both sides made the same objections to the same discovery items.

QUESTION:
Can I get CSE to appeal the contempt, if not can I do it pro se ( how?),
based on above what are my chances of success,
and if not how can I arrange get more than 45 days to pay this ( thru other attorney or the court), since I am the custodial parent of 2 elementary age children and only working part time now.


#2

You may appeal the judges decision to hold you in contempt just as one would appeal any civil judgement. Appeals are much more complex than a regular court hearing or trial, and I would not recommend you file pro se.

Practically speaking, the cost of an appeal would likely be exponentially more expensive than the $1400 in attorney’s fees you were ordered to pay.


#3

OK, sounds like I am stuck with it.
New question, if I am unable to pay the attorney fee in full in 45 days. How can I get an extension of time or make payment arrangements of perhaps $150 per month.
I only work part time and thr only asset I have is a very small IRA, if I had to liquidate it, I would have a 30% penalty and that would be punishment exceeding the fees.
Do I talk to the other attorney, or to the court. What would your suggestion be ?


#4

I would suggest you try and negotiate a payment plan with her attorney.


#5

You can negotiate with her attorney for the payment or try to claim for some extra duration.
Hope it will work.