Divorce hearing botched by clerk of court mixup! Help!


#1

I was to have my absolute divorce hearing today. Last week I stopped by the clerk of court office and got the hearing day and time. I was told it was today, Feb 11 at 10:00 AM.
I always go very early to court dates just in case I have any problems on the way. So I was there around 8:10 and waited until close to the scheduled time. Got to the courtroom at 9:30, and I see my ex leaving with her lawyer. I thought it was just for a break. When I get to the courtroom, I check the notice (printed by the court) on the door with the list of cases to be heard. My case is listed at 10:00. So I sit and wait for half an hour. Well, when the time comes and the wife and lawyer don’t show up I ask the clerk, and I am told the divorce has already been granted because I was not there. I point out I am there, it is 10:00 AM and the list outside has my case to be heard at that time. I also point out that I did not wait inside to avoid conflict by being in the same place with my ex (and there was no reason for me to be there, if the posted list said my case was to be heard at ten!!!). I was not served by mail because I moved, but I did due diligence by going to the clerk of court and asking for the information with plenty time. I was given wrong information by the clerk of court office, and this fact was corroborated by the list posted on the court room door.
I argued for a while with the clerk, managed to wrestle a copy of the list of cases with the wrong time in it, judge refuses to talk to me, they try to get me to leave. I ask to see the judge again, no luck. I sat down and waited until the end of the entire session. Then the judge asks me why I am there, I explain it all over again. Judge tells me nothing could be done right away, that the legal document is the notice of hearing and that is what counts, and that I have to either appeal or request a relief from judgement. This was a travesty of justice. Do I really have to appeal? I waited two years to have my day in court and then it was essentially denied by clerk’s mistakes. Regardless of how little I could have done during the hearing, I wanted to be there and wanted to get my chance to speak, and to continue the case if possible.


#2

You will have to file a motion for relief from judgment in order to get the divorce judgment reversed.


#3

Thank you so much. How long do I have to file, and is this something that can be handled by the Rosen Online Divorce Coach program?


#4

You have a “reasonable time”, not more than one year. I strongly suggest that you meet with an attorney to determine what affect, if any taking this route will have. You stated that you wanted to be heard at the divorce, but there would be nothing to be heard unless you took issue with the allegations of fact in the Complaint (date of marriage and date of separation), and then would likely only have recourse if you filed your Answer within 30 days of receiving notice of the claim.