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Tag: arguments

What are the biggest mistakes lawyers make when presenting their case?

What are some of the biggest mistakes lawyers make when presenting their case to a jury?

  1. Being long-winded, repetitive, rambling, imprecise, boring.

But here’s the kicker: if you are clear and concise, then what you think are “in the bag” issues may not be, what you think are minor points may be major points in the court’s opinion. And so if you ignore the “in the bag” or “minor” points, then the court might hold that against you. In other words, it’s impossible to know if you’ve said too much or too little. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Closing arguments can drive you mad, sometimes.

  1. Believing the court didn’t make up its mind long before closing argument.

But here’s the kicker: if the court really hasn’t made up its mind already (it has been known to happen), then you can’t in good conscience “phone in” your closing argument because i) that’s unprofessional and unethical; and ii) you don’t want to wonder what might have been had you tried your best.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-of-the-biggest-mistakes-lawyers-make-when-presenting-their-case-to-a-jury/answer/Eric-Johnson-311?prompt_topic_bio=1

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Do I have to respond to discovery questions in a divorce?

Do I have to respond to discovery questions in a divorce?

Yes, unless you can persuade the court that some or all of the discovery requests:

  • violate the rules governing discovery, such as exceeding the number of discovery requests allowed;
  • are unreasonable and/or disproportional (given the needs of the case);
  • are not legitimate but instead serve the purpose of causing you annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense; and/or
  • are not reasonably likely to lead to discoverable evidence can be sought through discovery.

If the court agrees with these kinds of arguments, then the court can order that you are under no obligation to respond to the improper discovery requests.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/Do-I-have-to-respond-to-discovery-questions-in-a-divorce/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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Which Is Better: spending thousands on GAL/custody evaluator or $0 on a judge interview?

Which Is Better: spending thousands on GAL/custody evaluator or $0 on a judge interview?

How could it be better to spend thousands on a GAL or custody evaluator when the judge can interview children free of charge?

This post is the sixth in series of 15 posts on the subject of custody evaluations and the appointment of guardians ad litem (“GALs” for short) in Utah child custody cases when the judge could simply interview the children instead. You do not have to read all 16 posts to benefit from this series. Read as many or as few as you wish.

The purpose of this series is to make the case for the proposition that an interview by the judge is a faster, more accurate, more particular, more reliable, and less expensive form of evidence than what a GAL and/or custody evaluator provides.

How could it be better to spend thousands on a GAL or custody evaluator when the judge can interview children free of charge? In 24 years of law practice, I have never had a judge agree to interview children in lieu of having a private guardian ad litem appointed and/or having a custody evaluator appointed. I submit that it’s not because my arguments lack merit. Indeed, I have yet to encounter a valid, let alone a compelling, argument for why it is better to spend thousands, even tens of thousands, on guardians ad litem and or custody evaluators when the judge can interview children directly, free of charge (as opposed to obtaining so-called “evidence” via court-sponsored hearsay in the form of second, and often third hand information of interviews with the children that allegedly took place but were never made part of the court’s record). There are two main excuses one will hear for why judges should not interview children: 1) judges interviewing children is inherently traumatic for children and/or “puts them in the middle of their parents’ disputes” and thus unjustifiably traumatizes them too; and 2) judges are not qualified to interview children where guardians ad litem and or custody evaluators, and only guardians had lied them and/or custody evaluators, are qualified to do so. Neither justification holds water, as I have explained and will continue to explain in these videos. If anyone would like to hold a debate on this subject, it would be of benefit to everyone involved in child custody disputes, from the child to the parents to the parent’s respective lawyers to the judge.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

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What are ways divorcees reach a mutual agreement when splitting up their assets?

What are ways divorcees reach a mutual agreement when splitting up their assets?

What they often do (but shouldn’t): rationalize and justify their greed and pettiness in advancing their “arguments”* for why they should get what they want. This results in claims for obviously lopsided divisions of marital property and to false and fatuous claims that what is marital property is actually “my separate property” and “that was a gift from my parents to us, so now that we are divorcing, it’s mine.” Being greedy and petty in the division of marital assets is self-defeating because it often leads to wasting more time, effort, and money than the property is worth.

What they could—and usually should—do: 1) think like your divorce court judge will think and do what the law requires your judge to do, i.e., divide all marital property equally (meaning an equal division of the value of the property), unless there are clearly evident exceptional circumstances that equitably warrant an uneven division of marital property.

*the definition of the word “argument” is not what many people believe. An argument is not the same as a quarrel. An argument is “a reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong.”

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/What-are-ways-divorcees-reach-a-mutual-agreement-when-splitting-up-their-assets/answer/Eric-Johnson-311?prompt_topic_bio=1

 

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What are ways divorcees reach a mutual agreement when splitting up their assets?

What are ways divorcees reach a mutual agreement when splitting up their assets?

What they often do (but shouldn’t): rationalize and justify their greed and pettiness in advancing their “arguments”* for why they should get what they want. This results in claims for obviously lopsided divisions of marital property and to false and fatuous claims that what is marital property is actually “my separate property” and “that was a gift from my parents to us, so now that we are divorcing, it’s mine.” Being greedy and petty in the division of marital assets is self-defeating because it often leads to wasting more time, effort, and money than the property is worth.

What they could—and usually should—do: 1) think like your divorce court judge will think and do what the law requires your judge to do, i.e., divide all marital property equally (meaning an equal division of the value of the property), unless there are clearly evident exceptional circumstances that equitably warrant an uneven division of marital property.

*the definition of the word “argument” is not what many people believe. An argument is not the same as a quarrel. An argument is “a reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong.”

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/What-are-ways-divorcees-reach-a-mutual-agreement-when-splitting-up-their-assets/answer/Eric-Johnson-311?prompt_topic_bio=1

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Do lawyers write down their arguments in full, or just have brief notes?

Do lawyers write down their arguments in full, or just have brief notes?

It depends upon the lawyer. And there are lawyers who use either or both methods to present their arguments.

Some lawyers are quick on their feet and have little trouble recalling the pertinent facts, so they can and do work from a simple outline, bullet points, or brief notes to keep them organized, then they fill in the details from memory, present their argument in the order the circumstances may dictate, and/or improvise as necessary.

Other lawyers are smart enough but get nervous easily or other reasons cause them to have a hard time memorizing everything they need or want to present. So these kinds of lawyers often find it better to write out their arguments word for word to ensure they state the argument correctly and don’t overlook any crucial points.

There are other lawyers who utilize a combination of the two methods described above, writing down their entire argument to refer to if needed (i.e., if they find themselves panicking or drawing a blank), but also having an outline to work from and being ready to go “off script” when necessary, so that they don’t get too dependent on word-for-word arguments that may get interrupted by questions from the judge and so they can re-arrange the order and presentation of their argument as circumstances may suggest or require.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/Do-lawyers-write-down-their-speeches-in-full-or-just-have-brief-notes/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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Why should judges not be political?

Why should judges not be political?

I think they shouldn’t be barred from expressing their political and social views. They obviously have them.

It’s silly to act as if they don’t. Better to know who and what they are than to treat them as having no political and social values and opinions. I’d much rather know that my judge leans liberal or conservative because that way I’d know better how to formulate, couch, and present my arguments.

I’d rather deal with a judge whose values I know and who does his/her best to be impartial than to engage in a legal fiction. If I know a judge’s values then it’s easier (not harder) to determine whether the judge’s decisions are impartial.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/Why-should-judges-not-be-political/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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