I was served papers to appear in court a week from Tuesday. I am in shock because my ex and I always worked things out amicably and I never had to seek legal representation before. The two issues being brought to court are him demanding my unvaxed DDs get a pertussis shot to protect his wife's baby that is due to be born in a month, and him wanting my oldest to go to public middle school next yr (DDs currently attend a private Montessori school that we mutually agreed on. It goes thru 6th grade so DD1 could stay there another yr, or she could go to a prestigious all-girls school she was accepted to, buy he just doesn't want to pay tuition anymore. We had been splitting tuition 50/50 and his income is in the 6-figure range while mine is at poverty level. Even though it's a burden, I am happy to keep paying tuition because a good education is priceless to me, but I can't afford it without splitting it). Can anyone recommend a good family law attorney near Pittsburgh who would take this case on short notice? I might be able to get some financial help for this...
Pittsburgh--need lawyer FAST
I also don't live or know anyone in Pittsburgh. I just wanted to reassure you that the school issue ought to more-or-less go your way. Unless he's had a major change in income, the court will likely support continuing the education to which your daughters have been accustomed. If the school to which your older daughter has been accepted has significantly higher tuition - and you'd like to start her there after your ex begins the expense of an additional child - that may be a different matter. But finishing the Montessori school shouldn't be much of an issue. Obviously, the vaxing is trickier. I hope you're pleased with your eventual outcome.
Thanks for the support. I'm so stressed out! I got served these papers when I was literally on my way to FL to take my kids on vacation. I'm not supposed to get back until the day before the court date, so I'm trying to scramble to find legal counsel and do research--it's ridiculous! I should add we are in PA and I have exemption forms that both my ex and I signed, stating our ethical objection (which falls under an umbrella religious exemption in our state), so I do have that form of evidence in my favor. But in our state "best interests" rules family court and most mainstream judges are clearly going to think that vaccine protection is in the child's best interests. :(
I should think you'd get an extension. You can file that on your own. Just look up a form online. You may be able to file by fax, too. Call the court and ask. Be sure to explain the circumstances, so they know you're out of town and may not be able to get an original copy in their hands, via mail, before the court date. I know all of that is a pain to do, on vacation, but it's better than getting everything ready to go to court the day after you get home! The worst that can happen is that the judge would deny your extension. But, in the 9 years and bezillion hearings I've been around for, in my husband's custody case, not one request for postponement was ever denied, no matter how last-minute, inconvenient or outlandishly unreasonable. Just briefly and specifically explain the dates on which everything has happened, the dates of your vacation, how far in advance you had planned it, and that you need time to find representation. I can't imagine you not getting more time!
I did decide I should try to request postponement. I called the courthouse Monday but since no one was available I left a message as directed by the phone system. No one has called me back yet, which is highly irritating. I tried calling back again yesterday at 4:35, but didn't realize they close at 4:30 instead of 5. I will try to call again today. I think you're right, postponement is the best option at this point...But I'm still going to try to get some legwork done on the case this week.