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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Pro Se Organization - Family Law - It Matters

"The law should be a shield for the weak and powerless, not a club for the powerful."  
                                                             -Gov. Roy Barnes, 2004 Equal Justice Conference

STANDARD CASE CONSTRUCTION

Whether you are coordinating a pro se case for an upcoming hearing or for issues to bring to the NH Redress of Grievance Committee/Legislators and/or a new Attorney you need to coordinate your paperwork. The following is an example of a frequent complaint in the NH system and a suggestion for coordination of paperwork to bring issues with supporting documentation to a fact finders attention the initial layout which is standard for most coordinating most cases; this is not intended as or to be construed as legal advice but may add in organizational and research technique's.

Start by making the following piles with the most recent date on top:

1. All Motions starting with the initiating motion
    and then the Response

2. ALL Orders

3. Correspondence/Assessments to a court by a GAL Guardian Ad 
    Litem NH RSA 461 -A

4. Correspondence between DCYF NH RSA 169-C for division 
    protocols whether for abuse and neglect and/or domestic 
    violence see the Attorney Generals website
    http://www.doj.nh.gov/criminal/victim-assistance/protocols.htm
    Obtain all contact logs and 3rd party documentation

5. Evidence what was accepted and what was not accepted

6. Correspondence between you and your attorney

7. Outline the facts, orders and how it effected and/or affected your 
    case

THE CHILD PROTECTION ACT
These piles especially the first 5 allow a fact finder to easily cross reference the information in your file.  And for you to pull and copy information to explain where in your case you feel your rights were abridged; with supporting rules, and/or protocol's which are part of the law under NH RSA 169-C:34 &/or 169-C:38- a. which can only  be changed before a legislative committee and/or laws that were not applied.

Review your information and determine how you think your rights may have been abridged.  Now set out to prove the how, when, why, where or what caused the injury, how your rights have been abridged by DCYF or someone else and/or what is a fair conclusion to an abnormal situation.

THE GAL
For example a noted complaint to legislators is about GAL's (Guardian Ad Litem's) -the GAL in NH exceeded the $1000.00 standing order without a motion prior to exceeding to exceed.  Where would a standing order be: http://www.courts.state.nh.us/fdpp/adminorders/index.htm
then click on the GAL http://www.courts.state.nh.us/fdpp/adminorders/2011-03-AdministrativeOrder.pdf this shows that the cap is $1000.00 based on the Parties ability to pay and court order split of payments.

For any other administrative court orders that may pertain to your case it would be http://www.courts.state.nh.us/fdpp/adminorders/2011-03-AdministrativeOrder.pdf which clearly states if one party is indigent a court can not appoint an GAL due to some of the following: 

1st. what does the law say? Check the statute on the GAL in your state in NH it is http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XLIII/461-A/461-A-16.htm cross reference with the OCC "office of cost containment" see http://admin.state.nh.us/occ/gal.asp

If you are unable to pay the court ordered amount you could have contacted the OCC at http://admin.state.nh.us/contactus2.asp?division=Office of Cost Containment; in the past or call them at 603-271-1416 as of 7/5/12 a Chris at that office has confirmed that are no funds available due to the changes in the law.  Unconfirmed; however, it appears that because the Judicial Branch received a cut in their funding they decided to retaliate by cutting funding to the publics most vulnerable - those who are indigent.

After receiving an order to pay for a GAL because one has been arbitrarily appointed; you may also need to file a motion indicating that you have an inability to pay and/or reiterating it as describe in the NH RSA 461-A:18 at this link http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XLIII/461-A/461-A-18.htm check  461-A:17 Guardians Ad Litem and Mediators; Liability for Expenses. "The judicial council shall have no responsibility for the payment of the costs of a mediator or guardian ad litem for any party under this chapter."

RESEARCHING THE LAW IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

For full text of the Law your researching go to http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/indexes/search.html
1. type in the RSA main number like 461-A
2. a series of RSA's will appear
3. click on your title and read the law as it pertains to your case

OUTLINING THE CASE
Document the complaint for an attorney or yourself (Pro Se) where the law was not applied or considered not relevant in your case show where in the motions and/or orders it was brought up. The order against and the Law and Rules that are suppose to apply.  As you will find here, the Law controls, Rules and orders are second (case law), your federal constitutional rights are the controlling factor found here http://www.house.gov/house/Constitution/Constitution.html amendments are in the upper right hand corner a click away see notes at the bottom of the page to see if a later amendment may have affected your rights, in the amendment that most closely resembles your case. States can only enhance your federal rights they can not take away from them so then you need to check your state constitution in NH it can be found at: http://www.nh.gov/constitution/constitution.html

However, under 461-A:18 Repayment. – it connects to the OCC office ... the fees and expenses paid on the party's behalf as the court may order consistent with the party's ability to pay, such ability to be determined by the unit of cost containment.

The above areas that cover the payment and assignment of GAL's appear to contradict themselves and it is best to get the advice of an attorney.  If you can not afford one you should attempt by "Motion for Clarification" to a Court to the full picture.  Ask and/or bring to its attention that you have an inability to pay, do not understand your rights because of conflicting and overlapping laws and administrate court orders and/or bring to the attention of the legislators with all of the documentation to support your claim in as brief and direct a matter as possible.

For instance the past redress of grievance/legislators have reported receiving numerous complaints that mimic the following:

I was assigned a GAL with out the court determining the parties ability to pay based on submitted financial affidavits;
I was assigned a GAL that exceeded the $1000 cap per case;
The GAL prior to submitting a Motion to Exceed - Exceeded and when I objected the Court ordered it anyway and/or did not assess my ability to pay.  DCYF did not advise me of my rights. DCYF went out of their jurisdictional area to get a Judge to sign an order to grant them emergency custody of my child.  DCYF fabricated evidence and/or did not look at all evidence. Players to be aware of.

These complaints/Motions can be answered by what should have happened based on the law, court rules and or standing court administrative orders.  Administrative orders in the Family Division are put out by the Administrative Judge of each court; in Family Matters in New Hampshire that is Judge Kelley and these orders are directed at the Judges who work under him to protect your rights because of changes in funding, administration and/or changes in the law.

461-A:6 Determination of Parental Rights and Responsibilities; Best Interest. –
III. In determining parental rights and responsibilities under this section, including residential responsibility, the court shall not apply a preference for one parent over the other because of the sex of the child, the sex of a parent, or the financial resources of a parent.


If you feel your rights were abridged due to any of the above bring it to the attention of the court your in and read your Motion to the Judge and answer clarifying questions and then bring it to your legislators to get the laws strengthen, the Court's can only interpret the law as well as the law is written. It is a bit of work but you can't correct a problem unless you make people aware there is one.

The inconsistency's between the courts and how they operate in New Hampshire is the main complaint.  Coordinating evidence, protocols and your rights is necessary to protecting and asserting your rights. 

If there is any way I can make this article better and/or easier to follow please do not hesitate to leave a comment or email me at dmvc@live.com.  I often seek to update, modify and or simplify my work so that others may benefit from my experiences in the legal field.


"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."     
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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