Q: How can a judge enter a default judgment in custody case 5 days before pre trial conference?
My son started a custody case 6 months before he became extremely disabled due to MVA on New years eve. His attorney dropped his case for non payment while we were waiting on social security to start. I have guardianship and conservatorship of him now. Received a notice of court date for ptc for October 17th 2022. Judge enter a judgment of default for paternity custody and child support. His kids mom took the kids away he hasn't seen them for 6 months prior to his accident. I care for him alone and we are very limited on income. How can I continue my sons fight to see his kids? His recovery from brain injury is going to be a very slow process. We deserve to see his kids. I lived with them for 18 months prior to her moving out and helped babysit and support my grandbabies. She us trying to marry and have them adopted. This is cruel and heartless. Where can I get help?
I am sorry that your family is experiencing something like this. It appears to be very strange that a judge would just enter a default judgment so abruptly like this. Are you sure that a court date or two was not missed? Normally, the court gives pro se litigants (individuals proceeding without an attorney) lots of latitude to find another attorney or appear to respond to the case. Why did the judge enter a judgment while there was a Pre-trial Conference yet to occur on 10-17-22? There are many unanswered questions and missing facts that prevent me from answering your question. However, your son should be able to file a modification to get some custody of the children or as a grandparent, you should be able to file for visitation or third party shared custody. These cases can be very expensive. Since your funds are limited, you could try contacting Legal Aid of Eastern Missouri or Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry to obtain legal assistance. You can also contact the area law schools to see if they have a clinic that would assist you free of charge. The schools in the area are Washington University School of Law and St. Louis University School of Law. You should be able to google to find these entities. Good luck, and take care.
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