For my observation, I chose to observe a civil case that had to do with a divorce. I did some research on the cases, and chose one that was similar to an experience I went through. My parents are currently separated, and my father simply refused to pay child support. He lives outside of the state, so it was hard for my mother to have face to face confrontation with him. She got tired of raising three kids on her own, and finally decided to take him to court. I was required to serve as a witness. This took place in 2009, so I was thirteen years old and didn’t really understand much of what was going on. I timidly walked to the stand and was sworn in. I then answered the questions the attorney asked me.
The divorce case I observed has been ongoing since 2010, and I expected the debate to be over child support. I expected to see a debate between both parties. I also expected to see the defendant being placed under arrest due to his failure to pay child support. I expected to learn how a case in court is presented, but this time on a more mature level.
I went to the Cobb County Superior Court on November 19, 2013. I already knew what a court room would look like because I had to appear in court as a witness. I walked into the courthouse, and had to go through what felt like airport security. After the security walkthrough was over, I asked one of the officers if it was ok for me to just walk into a courtroom. I’m an extremely shy person, and the thought of walking into the courtroom after the case had already begun was nerve-wrecking. He told me to just walk in and take a seat in the pews. The case I was observing was being seen by Judge Reuben Green, so I rode the elevator to the fifth floor, and walked to his court room. I sat outside of the room for a few minutes debating whether or not I really wanted to go in; the last time I’d been in court wasn’t a happy memory for me.
When I arrived, I quickly walked in and took a seat in the very back. There weren’t many people in the room, and no one really paid attention to me when I walked in. To my surprise, I wasn’t the only person sitting in the pews. There were two women sitting opposite of me, so I felt better about watching the case. I slowly got my notebook out and began taking notes.
Although I had arrived after the case had begun, I had a little bit of background knowledge and could easily follow what was going on. The case was between Joseph B. McCarthy and his ex-wife, Annie J. Ashment McCarthy. Joseph was the defendant, and Annie was the plaintiff. Annie had a lawyer by her side, and Joseph stood alone. Annie’s lawyer was Brad E. Macdonald. The defendant had failed to pay child support and owed his ex-wife an arrearage of thirty-thousand dollars.
When I walked in, the defendant was seated on the stand, and he was telling the judge that he had filed for custody of his four children. As he was explaining why, Brad Macdonald, the ex-wife’s lawyer, objected. His reason for objecting was...