Q: What qualifies as a conflict of interest for a judge?
My child support modification was recently transferred to a new judge. I have represented myself up until this point but the judge just ruled against child support. Before this judge took over the previous judge had already said child support would be modified and I proved a change of circumstances. He did not rule on the amount before the case was transferred, so I have now had to file a motion to reconsider because I do not understand how she would feel differently than the previous judge. Now that things have gone this far, I am looking at retaining an attorney and the one I want to represent me is from the law firm that the new judge worked at before becoming a judge in January. Is this a conflict of interest? Does the attorney have to refuse to represent me? Is is something that would call for recusal of this judge, so that it would be moved to a different judge?
A: If the judge is not involved in the daily case activities of the former firm, then this would likely not be a conflict of interest situation. The judge has a duty to be impartial and their former employment should not play a part in their ruling. However, if you feel uncomfortable, you may exercise your one-time peremptory challenge but it must be done within 10 days from the notification of the hearing. The time to do this is very strict.
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