Today marks the day I got to declare my daughter, Erin J. Hurst, emancipated. Such a formal, due process that must be followed in RI Family Court. She is beyond 18-years of age, out of high school, and not disabled. While I can appreciate those guidelines, shouldn’t this process be managed by exception, rather than by rule? A simple trigger in their information system would send out appropriate documentation that would have the Plaintiff and Defendant sign-off to permit the expected course of action to follow. If not, a hearing date would be scheduled — duh! Perhaps we need “Managed Law” like we have “Managed Care” … ? Yes, your honor, this case has legal necessity, so I will give you the $20 co-pay, rather than to the neighboring parking attendant.
Upon arrival to the courthouse and after clearing their security scan, you are both scheduled and instructed to wait outside an empty courtroom — which was not in session today, but someone will come out and call your name. HA! Since no lawyer was required to represent me, I had no one on the “inside” to make certain I was marked “present” for their “internal” process of managing the magistrate’s case load. Guess who got “served” last?
Well, I cannot complain entirely. Someone has to be last, but it was very frustrating to hear the court clerk — who walked by me countless times throughout the morning — asking, “Where were you all this time?” Duh … I was standing outside the courtroom, as instructed, waiting like the hundreds of others for my case or name to be called … ? Was I supposed to have made my wheels squeak any louder? I am sorry, I was not raised that way, sir.
The court staff operated expertly and expedited my case, phoned Erin’s mother, Susan Coelho (she failed to appear, naturally), to confirm that all was set with Erin’s status. And within 5-minutes, I was getting my garnishment “suspended” by the judge. Joy, now I get to submit the court order to my Human Resources department and watch over that process.
Net-net: after taking a full day out of work and spending 4-1/2 hours of waiting — with no court costs required for filing or appearing — I left paying $20 to the neighboring parking attendant.