Welcome to Probate

I took on a pro bono case through a bar association. It is a divorce case. I’ve never done a divorce case. I didn’t take family law. But when I signed up they told me not to worry, they would assign me a mentor.

I’ve only had the case for two weeks but there has been a lot of drama so I felt the need to go court. I would ask my mentor what to do but…she’s busy.

I make my way to the courthouse and go to the clerk’s office. There is a huge sign that says DIVORCE so I head over there. I go up to clerk lady number 1. She has bleached blond hair, long nails and a heavy Boston accent. I hand her my motion, and tell her this is my first divorce case. She raises an eyebrow and asks me where my where my file is. I don’t know so she sends me to Filing.

At Filing, there is a man clerk.

Man Clerk: Do you know what happens in 2012?

Me: What?

Man Clerk: The world ends!

Me: Can I have my file.

It’s not in Filing. They send back over to DIVORCE. Lady Clerk 1 huffs a couple of times, hands me my motion and sends me to Scheduling.

The Lady Clerk in Scheduling has long nails, a heavy accent but she’s a brunette.

Me: This is my first divorce case.

Lady Clerk #2: Well, happy birthday to me. Where’s your file?

Me: I don’t have it.

She sends me back to DIVORCE. Lady Clerk 1 pulls a file and hands it to me. I go back to Scheduling, but Lady Clerk #2 immediately sees that I have the wrong file. So it’s back to DIVORCE. Lady Clerk #1 looks at me and says, “What are you doing here again?” She sends me back to End of the World guy. End of the World guy makes a few phone calls and then I finally have my file. I’m sooo happy.

I go back to Scheduling, and she sends me to the Case Managers. The Case Managers are not there, so I go back to Scheduling. Lady Clerk sighs heavily and says she would send me down to the judge but, “Kath* is working down there. She’s going to rip your head off.” She calls Kath and sends me down to Courtroom 5.

Courtroom 5 is down three staircases, past a men’s room, a huge filing area and the janitor’s closet. Did I mention that I was wearing the world’s most painful heels?

I finally find Courtroom 5 and walk in. And there behind the huge desk is Kath. She has the blondest hair, and the longest nails of all the clerks. She is tapping on the computer and doesn’t even look at me. She just motions for me to put the file down. She looks at it and says, “What do you think you are doing?”

I explain the problem, and then she says, “You haven’t served the other party. Have you? You don’t need a constable, but you have to serve them. I don’t understand why you are here. Go sit down. The judge will probably allow your motion.”

And then I wait for like 2 hours by myself in the court room. The judge finally comes in and Kath is right. It takes him 2 seconds to allow my motion. I was so happy I thanked him, ran out the door and up the stairs to scheduling. I get up there and I realized, I forgot the file. So I went back down  the stairs and through the filing room to Kath who is rolling her eyes at me.

I am finally done. My feet are killing me and I’m hobbling down the street.   I look up and I see all of the lady clerks smoking on the court house steps. They look at me and shout, “IT’S YOU!” I yell that I got my motion! Lady Clerk #2 screams, “Welcome to Probate!”

* Names have been changed, of course.

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8 thoughts on “Welcome to Probate

  1. It is notorious for being the most awful of all the courts. Everyone who works there should have been fired years ago. Although its hard to believe it is possible, the way they treat pro se is even worse.

  2. Welcome to Probate, indeed. In Massachusetts they have laid off so many people in the court system they now limit the hours you can get information from Probate. Thankfully, I don’t do much Probate and Family law work (by choice).

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