Judgement and Representation

If a judge bases his decision(through his own admission) on a faulty assumption, can anything be done? Basically if a woman is on Social Security/Disability for documented medical reasons, and received an overpayment a year ago, through no fault of her own, can the judge hold that against her in a custody hearing? Even if she is repaying it? Also, should a judge in NC not speak to a 12 year old child regarding their wishes, despite the objections of either attorney? What age does a child need to be to speak for themselves?

Secondly, her attorney arrived at a hearing which is a week before the subpoena dates for her witnesses. It was supposed to be for motions and the like, but the judge, citing his busy schedule forced them to proceed with the case even though her witnesses were not present and had not been served with subpoenas yet.

There are serious questions regarding the preparedness of this attorney, they are difficult to contact, frequently never returning calls. There are fees outstanding, and due to the fact that they showed up to court unprepared and frankly surprised that court was going to proceed that day, does the client have any recourse regarding fees and possibly having the custody case reheard? She went from the husband having supervised visitation only, because of the same judge citing a flight risk with the child and the husband’s criminal record to shared custody. In fact, her attorney was in another county when the hearing was supposed to begin yesterday, and didn’t show until the judge forced her to yesterday afternoon, causing the action to be delayed until today. Should there not be some accountability for the attorney in this matter?

A judge may rely on any relevant factor in determining custody, including his perception of a party’s morality. A judge may, in his discretion, speak to a child to ascertain the child’s wishes and perceptions of the situation. There is no specific age requirement.

With respect to the attorney, I would suggest contacting the State Bar and filing a complaint and/or fee dispute.