Prior to the current coronavirus pandemic and resulting shelter in place orders, in many counties, there was already serious backlogs.  What that means is that trial dates were hard to come by and even motions were scheduled to be heard months after they were filed.  While the courts are not currently closed, they aren’t exactly

In an interesting unreported (non-precedential) decision released on October 13, 2010, the Appellate Division held that it was error to dismiss a case simply because a litigant was not ready to proceed on the date of a final hearing because they sought their own expert in a custody matter. 

In McCain v. Schultz the court, which had a detailed if not convoluted procedural history that delayed the matter somewhat, the court had appointed a custody expert to prepare a report.  When the report came in about 3 weeks before the final hearing date, the father’s lawyer wrote to the Court requesting an adjournment so that the father can obtain his own expert, as is his right under the Rules of Court.  The mother opposed the request allegedly given the age of the matter (but probably because the report was favorable to her position).  Rather than adjourn the matter, citing "rules" regarding timing for completion of "non-dissolution" (typically family court matters regarding custody or support between unmarried litigants) matters, the judge dismissed the matter without prejudice.  This appeal ensued.


Continue Reading What Do You Mean That My Case Is Dismissed Because I Want To Get My Own Expert?

Inevitably, at every consultation I have, a prospective client asks me two questions, near and dear to them, which seem like easy questions – or so they thought.  The questions are (1) how long with this take and (2) how much will it cost.

I am certain that the answer, "it depends" is seldom satisfying.