When you can’t resolve it informally, go to court and fight.

Three Things You Should Never Do During a Divorce:

1. Don’t Bring Your New Girl/Boy Friend Around the Kids Until The Divorce is Final.

Doing so will only irritate your soon-to-be Ex, who already doesn’t like the new girl/boyfriend in the first place. You will end up having to defend your new girl/boyfriend against the accusations of your soon-to-be Ex, and possibly end up with a court order prohibiting them from being around your kids.

2. Don’t Make Irritated Comments in Response. Showing emotion in court will only demonstrate that you can’t control yourself. This will make it easier for your Ex to convince the court that you did something while you were upset, and use it against you.

3. Don’t Show a “You Owe Me” Attitude. Maybe your soon-to-be Ex does owe you, and maybe they don’t. But the more you claim they owe you, the more they are going to magically remember all the things they did for you, which will likely end up outweighing the few things they remember you doing for them.

By | 2016-10-27T00:30:12+00:00 July 22nd, 2016|Categories: Civil Litigation, Custody, Divorce, Family Law-General|Tags: |0 Comments

How to Prove Your Assertions in Family Court

Blog17_ProvingYourAssertionsv2In my last post I talked about the level of certainty required in matters of Family Law, depending on WHAT you need to prove. In this post, I’ll cover HOW to prove what you need to prove.

How can I prove it? It’s a question you may not think to ask yourself until you’re standing in front of a judge, but unless your Ex makes it obvious to the court that they are a problem child, you’ll have a hard time proving their errant behavior if you don’t have documented proof.

What you can do. Keeping a calendar or simply writing down what happened at or near the time of the event is a good first step. Having family or friends observe your interactions with your Ex, then reviewing your calendar entries about these interactions is the best way to make your case. Keep a journal or a calendar to record your Ex’s bad behavior, and record it at or near the time it happens. These constitute what the court refers to as contemporaneous notes, and they carry greater weight with a judge.

But I hate keeping a journal. I get it. Writing everything down is a chore.

If that doesn’t work for you, try this. Let’s say your Ex is getting lax about picking up the kids when he or she is supposed to, or refusing to exercise their visitation, leaving you to wait endlessly because they don’t show up or call. Exchange the kids where you can buy a burger or soda, or fill up the gas tank. In doing this, you get a date/time stamped receipt while taking care of something you need to do anyway. Keep your receipts as proof that you really were at the exchange point, on time, and ready to pickup or drop off your child, and it was your Ex who showed up late (or not at all).

A picture is worth a thousand words, especially if it has a time stamp. If you’re having similar problems but the visitation exchanges take place at your home, just take a picture of them walking away from your Ex’s car. Provided you capture the image with a date and time stamp, you’ve made it very difficult for them to claim they were not late, or it was your fault, or whatever their usual excuse is. Even if they are on time, it will put your Ex on notice that you’re serious about sticking to the schedule, and able to prove it if they aren’t.

The point here is that you can’t wait until you’re standing in front of a judge to come up with the proof for your assertions. Figure out the easiest way for you to document your Ex’s bad behavior, whatever that might be. Dealing with a misbehaving Ex in difficult, but if you prepare, you can significantly improve your chances of things going your way in court.

Courtroom Instincts Result in Speedy, Favorable Outcome

This is the third post in a three part series in which I highlight positive outcomes for cases that I’ve handled over the years and what you can learn from them. This is not a representation of the outcome in your particular case, but rather an explanation of what happened in these specific cases:

CWD_Gavel_Money_v6In a recent Family Law case, it became apparent that the judge was inclined to grant the opposing party a continuance to gather more evidence. This would mean putting my client through the expense of a contested hearing.

Both sides reviewed the mediator’s report, then I negotiated with the other parent to see if a mutual agreement could be reached now that both sides knew what the mediator had recommended. During negotiations, the other parent indicated that they wanted to end things that day. Knowing this, and sensing that they were concocting allegations with no evidence to back them up, I called their bluff and requested that the judge state reasons for ordering a contested hearing when neither side had requested one.

When the other parent confirmed that they had no additional evidence, the court had no choice but to render its decision immediately based only on the evidence we had presented. Our evidence, specifically designed to disprove the accusations the other parent had concocted without proof, led to a favorable outcome.

Talking to my client to learn about the other party’s tendencies, asking questions designed to elicit information from the other parent, and relying on good instincts, can make the difference between “short and sweet,” or long, drawn-out, expensive litigation. This was a case of taking a calculated risk, but experience, paying attention, and knowing how to read people made the difference.

Negotiations are more than just giving in or giving something up. Often, you can learn things that help while still in the fight. Negotiate when you can, and fight only when you must. But if you must fight, let us fight for you.