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Dutchess_III's avatar

How can people get away with such blatantly dirty legal tricks?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42445points) November 4th, 2015

My daughter had her oldest son in 2007. She wasn’t married to the father. He had almost nothing to do with the child for the first few months. My daughter worked hard to keep him in their son’s life because she didn’t want him growing up without his father, the way she had to.

After he was born she had a section 8 apartment (paid for by the state.) She also filed for state cash assistance. She got one check, for $350.

One day, as she was here at my house, there was a knock on the door and she was served papers. The papers stated that she had missed a court hearing and a judgement against her had been filed. She lost 51% custody of her son, and was ordered to pay child support.

The father has, and still has, a very good job with the city. He could afford attorneys and such. She couldn’t.

We managed to get a hold of a state attorney who was willing to take the case for less than the usual amount, but which was still beyond her ability to pay. She accompanied us to the next hearing, but that’s all the further she was willing to help.

Apparently, after my daughter got that one check for $350, they went after the father for reimbursement. The father got pissed, hired an attorney and took my daughter to court out of revenge.

Turns out they had sent the paperwork notifying her of the first hearing to an address that didn’t even exist. That address in no way shape or form even remotely resembled any place she had ever lived.

Apparently the judge didn’t think that was important, and the ruling, as it was, stood.

How was the father able to get away with this? Especially since, obviously, he had my address, but didn’t send anything here either, until time for the second hearing.

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5 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

I threw all the decoration on “address that didn’t even exist,” to annoy GailCalled, whereever she is. Still thinking of you.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

They didn’t serve “papers”, they sent it to the “Dead letters office”. The papers need to be signed for by your daughter, not you, or the dead letter office. Maybe by a sheriff or court appointed “process server” could hand the papers to her.
Sounds like the ex- may have pictures of the judge doing something inappropriate.

CWOTUS's avatar

You’re focusing on the wrong issue.

Don’t even try address problems that are described by “what in the world is wrong with… ?” or “how can such an injustice occur?” The answers to those questions just lead to more observations about what is wrong with the world, the ways in which people can hurt each other, whether intentionally or not, and all sorts of other problems. This question does not lend itself to finding a resolution. Questions like this lead down rabbit holes and have us focus on “all of the things wrong with the world” – and that really doesn’t help things, despite what some think. Its only purpose is to demonstrate how pissed-off you and your daughter are (rightly so; no one can deny that) ... but it doesn’t fix anything. It’s not a question worth asking except for demonstration purposes, so that you can sigh loudly and proclaim ”Look at all that I have to deal with!” Ask a question whose answer may actually improve things, if you want some kind of improvement.

So reframe the question. It’s your question (if you’re interested in fixing the problem), but I would recommend some alternate wording, such as “How can we get past this?” or “How can this be resolved?” or even “How can I get back at the bastard?” Those questions at least put you on a road to taking action to fix, overcome or resolve a problem… or at least get good revenge.

To answer the first question, if you can manage to prove that her ex-husband (himself, not via some agent that lessens his culpability) filled out a form with an address that he knew to be false or non-existent – and particularly if he then signed an attestation that the form was good and proper before filing – then you can make a good case against him for fraud or “misuse of process”, either of which can be serious misdemeanors (I believe), probably even in Kansas. If you believe (and can prove) that the judge was in on some kind of scheme to defraud your daughter of her parental rights, then that could be a very serious charge against the judge.

Yes, you would need an attorney, and probably more than a pro bono Legal Aid attorney (though if the facts support the case, you may find one to take it on a contingency basis if the money damages could make it worth the attorney’s time and risk). I would recommend separate suits against your daughter’s ex and the judge, even if you think they’re in cahoots. They would naturally continue the alliance in a case brought by your daughter, which would make that case very difficult to win.

But I’m just asking the question I think you should have asked, not the one that you actually did ask. Those questions are pretty useless to me unless I’m looking for ideas to plot a novel or something. And I’m not.

Dutchess_III's avatar

If so, @TropWilly, why did they send the second set of papers to my house? She didn’t live there. They had no way of knowing she would actually be there at that time.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@CWOTUS I appreciate what you’re saying but it happened years ago. There is nothing to get passed. We did what we could at the time with no money. No money.

The question still stands…how can they get away with it? It would scare me shitless to knowingly send legal paperwork to the wrong address.

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