08 September 2010

Rule 11 Agreements and "Agreed" Temporary Orders

Over the last several months, we have browsed through hundreds of divorce/child custody case dockets online. As mentioned in our previous post regarding the OCA, there seems to be a certain group of lawyers and court-appointed "neutrals" who appear again and again in particularly nasty cases.

Shortly after the original petition or petition to modify is opened, the whores of the court make their entrance. You know who you are...the "court-appointed" custody evaluators, psychologists, and other assorted parasites who pour gasoline on the fire and literally feed themselves and their wretched offspring on the misery of others. All of the sudden things like social studies, psychological evaluations, and parenting facilitators are thrown into the equation. The value of these "services" is questionable at best...particularly in light of the dubious methods used by the aforementioned whores of the court.

But I digress...

Another theme that seems to be quite common in the early stages of these cases is the request for a "protective order" by one party against the other. A "Temporary Orders" hearing is set, and let me tell you, quite a show is put on by the attorneys to make it appear as though they are really fighting tooth and nail for their clients. But then something odd often happens: once all of the attorney showmanship and courtroom pageantry dies down, an "agreed temporary order" is entered into the court record.

If you happen to be represented by an ethical (cough) attorney, you will be well aware of this agreement and its implications. We'll get to those in just a moment. We would also point out that if an agreement on temporary orders were possible so early in the case, there would be little need for the "show trial" that took place.

There is another scenario that seems to be an all too common practice here in Collin County. In it, the attorneys decide the terms of the "agreed temporary order" prior to putting on their show in the kangaroo court. You, the client, are not made aware of this fact. Life changing issues such as conservatorship, access and visitation, and child/spousal support are decided by the two scheming lawyers. At the end of the hearing or shortly thereafter, the judge issues a "memorandum" decision in which one party gets anything and everything they had wanted. The other party loses everything. Conservatorship goes from joint-managing to sole-managing. Visitation is often ordered to be supervised. Support payments that cannot be justified by any rational logic is ordered.

The clients are told that this is what the judge ordered. And therein lies the scam. Look closely at these orders, ladies and gentleman. Notice the word "agreed" in them. The memorandum may even state explicitly that a "Rule 11" agreement was read into the court record (outside of your presence, of course). You are now required to live up to this agreement or be held in contempt.

As the case drags on for months (often into years), the various court whores make their appearances to extract their pound of flesh from the victims. We use the plural form of the word victim because it is not only the "losing" parent who is victimized. The innocent children who desperately want and need both of their parents are deprived of that right.

The whores turn their tricks and often invite other whores they work with to come enjoy the spoils. The lawyers continue to put on their show with back and forth communication between each other. The losing parent pays the price for this as they are often "ordered" to pay the attorney fees for both parties.

Eventually, the loser is unable to live up to the ridiculous terms of the temporary orders. Perhaps they have lost their job and cannot afford to pay the outrageous amount they were ordered (agreed) to pay. Or perhaps they realize that they are being screwed by whores and decide they will no longer cooperate...why should they when they have most likely lost their kids and it's looking like they may lose them for good. The opposing side may file a motion that the parent be held in contempt for their "violations."

All the while, the loser wonders what they did. The winner, who usually exhibits the characteristics of a borderline or narcissistic personality, cannot help but gloat. They believe they are actually winning because they deserve to win.

Eventually, the financial resources of the losing parent are depleted...pissed away on whores. When this poor parent can no longer pay, their attorney withdraws from the case leaving them to defend themselves "pro se" in the final hearing. Now the parent is forced to take time from work (if they still have a job) and devote themselves to trying to win their children back.

Now for the real crime...on the day of the final hearing, the losing parent is puzzled because there are no witnesses gathered outside of the courtroom. Just their soon-to-be ex-spouse and his/her attorney. As the hearing proceeds, there are no witnesses called. There is no evidence presented. Instead, the judge issues a ruling which states that the terms of the "agreed" temporary orders, along with any other Rule 11 agreements, are the final terms of the divorce. If there are any other issues that were not decided in those agreements, he/she quickly rules on those and declares the divorce granted.

To add insult to injury, the loser is often held in contempt, fined, and surprisingly often thrown into the county jail. They are ordered to pay all attorney’s fees and sometimes punitive damages. Their life is ruined forever. Their relationship with their children will NEVER be the same.

Here is the worst part. If their attorney was not such a lying piece of garbage, they would have told them that they have the right to revoke their consent at any time before that final hearing. In fact, the judge cannot make those agreed orders final if a party revokes their consent prior to that hearing. But if you do not realize this before that day, then it is too late. And you will not win on appeal.

There but for the grace of God...