I just got out of a status conference in family. My ex-wife and I were the first ones up, after some procedural matters. Neither of us had a lawyer. My ex-wife's ex-lawyer happened to be in the court, but she said nothing.
The judge said that we had each asked for things that he cannot do at an
8:30 am status conference. I had asked for a child support order adjustment to reflect my ex-wife's new job, and the judge said that I had to make a motion. My ex-wife had claims that could only be settled by trial. The judge said that he could schedule a trial, or he could move the case into some sort of limbo awaiting action from us.
My ex-wife said that the judge ought to at least order me to pay $6,500 that was previously ordered, because my appeal is technically defective. The judge asked if we had oral arguments scheduled, and I said that the appeals court will hear it next month. The judge said that if it were earlier in the appeals process, he might try to intervene, but now we should wait for the appeals court to rule in April or May.
I was surprised that the judge even said that, as it would be quite improper for the judge to intervene on any issue that is pending in an appellate court. This judge already ruled on the $6,500 a couple of times already, and it is out of his hands.
My ex-wife complained that it might take a year of discovery to prove her allegations about her money. In particular, she complained that she doesn't even have a complete list of my accounts. I agreed to give her a list of accounts in the next week, without a formal discovery request.
My ex-wife was frustrated by the judge's refusal to declare who had the burden of proof in resolving the remaining financial matters. She dreaded the task of spending many months tracing money, only to have her efforts wasted when her proof falls short. If she could just get the judge to say that I had the burden of proof, then she would have nothing to lose by requesting a trial. I'd have to do all the work accounting for the money, and if my worksheets don't add up, then she would have a shot at getting half the difference at a trial. She appeared to be very unhappy with the outcome.
The judge asked again if we wanted him to schedule another appearance. I said that this case has been going on for three years so far, and none of my ex-wifes claims have had any merit. I would like to be on a path towards resolving the case. The judge scheduled another appearance on April 25. At that time, he said that he could schedule a trial in August.
The judge apparently got my status memo okay, and didn't say anything about my defective proof of service. I had sent it in early, with a self-signed proof of service. The clerk sent it back, saying that it was rejected because I signed the proof of service myself. I didn't have a chance to get someone else to sign the proof of service, so I just mailed my status memo back to the clerk, with no proof of service at all.
Common sense would seem to imply that it is better for me to sign the proof of service myself, than to have some random stranger sign it. Common sense would also seem to imply that a technically defective proof of service is better than none at all. You might also think that an official form titled "proof of service" has proving service as its principal purpose. Actually the proof of service has an obscure bureaucratic function that makes no sense when lawyers are not involved.
I will make the account list for my ex-wife, and I'll find out in two months whether she really wants a trial.