It took nearly 2 years and 3 separate courts and judges to get a Child Support agreement, a visitation schedule, an Order of Protection, and a final Divorce Judgment. Even though the husband and wife agreed to consolidate the Family Court matters with the divorce so everything could be heard before one judge in one court, the “system” did not allow it.
What SHOULD Have happened?
The matters brought before the courts were intrinsically related, and should have been addressed at the same time, before one judge.
Why Does This Matter?
There is no rational reason that this family’s legal issues should have taken so long, with so many court appearances, prolonging an already difficult situation in their lives.
What DID Happen:
The woman filed for an order of protection, sole custody, and child support in Family Court. A week later, her husband filed for divorce in Supreme Court. He served her first, but she had filed first. The Family Court gave the client separate return dates for her Child Support (CS) and her Child Visitation (CV)/Order for Protection (O/P) cases.
At the first CV/OP appearance, an attorney for the child and a forensic were assigned. The parties agreed to consolidate all the family court cases with the divorce. The divorce did not hold a preliminary conference until after the Child Support return date. A temporary order was issued at the Child Support court date.
Three weeks later, the parties appeared before the judge in Supreme Court for a preliminary conference. The judge refused to consolidate the CV/OP cases (despite the parties’ consent) because an attorney for the child and forensic had already been assigned. The Child Support case was consolidated.
The OP/CV cases dragged on for a year, which held up the finalizing of the divorce, which had settled earlier. The case went on for about a year and a half between two courts (originally 3), and then took an additional 5 months to get the Judgment of Divorce signed.