Is it legal for the family court commissioner to tell the petitioner (mother) to take her claim for 50 percent of an ungraduated adult child’s medical expenses back to the judge in a de novo hearing because he did not rule on it in the findings? Isn’t the judge essentially giving legal advice to a party involved in a hearing?
I am not licensed to practice law in your state. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state and can only provide you with general information concerning procedure.
I cannot tell from your question whether you or the mother had counsel at the hearing where this happened. In my experience, commissioners (and even judges) will be a bit more liberal with what they say when one or both of the parties are unrepresented by attorneys.
In your case, I don’t believe the commissioner overstepped the bounds of their role. If I read it correctly, the commissioner seems to have been telling the mother that the commissioner was unable to issue a ruling on the issue of an ungraduated adult child’s medical expenses and, therefore, the mother needed to take it back to the judge for a ruling.
The commissioner does not appear to have indicated what the judge might do/say or how he/she might rule on the issue.
Commissioners do not have the same authority that judges do. Therefore, they have to be careful and be sure that they are working within the bounds of the judge’s previous order if there is already one.
Because the commissioner doesn’t seem to have indicated how to get the matter back in front of the judge and what kind of evidence to present to the judge, I don’t believe they went beyond what their role allows them to do.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than general procedure tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your circumstances.