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What’s wrong with divorce mediation in Utah?

Much.

And much that you can prevent, once you know what to avoid, what to do, and why.

Profiteering mediators. It’s hard to find anyone selling goods or services these days who isn’t trying to take advantage of the client or customer. Mediators (not all mediators, but many—more than I’d care to admit) are no exception.

Overworked, understaffed judges that don’t want to do their jobs, and so they pressure divorce litigants into settling. I’ve personally witnessed judges and commissioners telling divorce litigants that they should settle because “I [the judge] will probably do a worse job with your case than you can.”

A fundamental misunderstanding of how and why successful mediation succeeds. Courts and lawyers have lost sight of what makes for good mediation, i.e., conflict resolution that is faster, less expensive, less acrimonious, more suited to the particular circumstances of the family, and more likely to result in less future litigation.

“Shuttle mediation”. If you are preparing for your divorce mediation, learn about shuttle mediation and avoid it.

  • With rare exception (such as when a party is truly terrified of being in the same room with another, or if there is a protective order in place that bars the parties from being in each other’s physical presence), shuttle mediation is an inexcusable waste of time, money, and duplicative effort.
  • Shuttle mediation at least doubles the time a mediation would otherwise take were the parties speaking to each other across the same table or in the same Zoom meeting.
  • Because the only participant in shuttle mediation who speaks to the disputing parties is the mediator (the parties don’t speak to each other directly in shuttle mediation), the mediator can manipulate the negotiation process by telling one party one thing and the other party something completely different (and many mediators cannot resist that temptation).
  • Many mediators like shuttle mediation because by doubling or even tripling the amount of time it causes mediation to take, mediators thus double or triple their fees over what they’d otherwise earn were the parties all in the same room or in the same Zoom conference.
  • The way mediation is scheduled and held is also incredibly inefficient and wasteful. Parties should go to mediation after exchanging with each other written comprehensive settlement proposals. So much time is wasted in mediation doing anything but actual negotiation.

While you are required to engage in mediation to try to settle your divorce case, you are not required to engage in shuttle mediation. If your spouse will see reason and agree to avoid shuttle mediation, then ensure that your mediator is not a shuttle mediator.

Mediation isn’t necessary if the parties and their respective attorneys are willing to negotiate without a mediator. If the parties can discuss the case and negotiate without a mediator, they are free to do so. Few attorneys, however, are willing to do this. Why I do not know. But if you are a client and you believe your spouse (and his/her attorney) is willing to meet in settlement negotiations without a mediator, try it! If such negotiations fail, you can always go to mediation next.

Parties (usually because of their attorneys) wait too long to discuss and negotiate settlement. Attorneys make less money when cases settle sooner than later. Don’t go into mediation unprepared, of course, but don’t put it off any longer than necessary.

Too much time in mediation sessions is not spent in actual negotiation. Consequently, mediation ends up being incredibly inefficient and wasteful. Often the first 2/3 of the time spent in mediation is spent “getting up to speed,” with the mediator giving an “introductory speech” about how mediation works and with both the mediator and often unprepared attorneys trying to get an understanding of the case and what the issues are. All of that can and should be dealt with before the mediation settlement conference itself.

  • The mediator should send the parties a link to his/her written and recorded “introduction to mediation” presentation to read/listen to/watch before everyone meets in the mediation settlement conference.
  • The parties should meet in mediation only after:

o   expeditiously conducting necessary discovery, so that the material and relevant facts are known to the parties; and

o   then exchanging with each other (and providing the mediator with copies of) their written comprehensive settlement proposals, so that everyone knows in advance 1) what the issues are and 2) what the initial respective positions of the parties on the issues are.

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

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How Long Does a Child Custody Court Hearing Take?

rprise that it usually takes much less time and effort to prepare for a proffer hearing than preparing for a full evidentiary hearing. In a proffer hearing the client won’t do much, if anything, during the actual hearing, with the exception of perhaps providing the occasional clarifying answer if the court asks them. No witnesses are called to testify in hearing conducted by proffer; instead, their testimony is provided by affidavit or verified declaration.

If you are unsure if your upcoming hearing will be a proffer or evidentiary hearing, ask your attorney. It could be catastrophic for your case if you show up at court believing the hearing is a proffer hearing when it’s a full-blown evidentiary hearing.

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

https://www.quora.com/How-long-does-a-child-custody-court-hearing-take/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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Is there anything that can surprise a judge during a divorce proceeding?

Is there anything that can surprise a judge during a contested divorce proceeding?  

Of course.  

We’ve all read about cases where all of the circumstantial evidence indicated the defendant is guilty, only to be surprised in the eleventh hour some piece of evidence that conclusively proves he couldn’t be guilty, but that someone else is the perpetrator.  

We know, sadly, of people mistakenly or wrongfully convicted, which often comes as a surprise (because we hate the idea that the justice system can be and in such cases is corrupt at one or more levels): 

https://nypost.com/2021/12/01/alice-sebold-apologizes-to-man-wrongly-convicted-of-her-rape/  

https://innocenceproject.org/all-cases/ 

And we’ve all, unfortunately, learned of cases where the defendant was falsely accused, which surprises some. See: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_lacrosse_case 

Of course. I will describe one common way a judge can be surprised (especially in divorce and family law cases): like all of us, judges have their own worldviews based upon their individual personal experiences, what they were taught as they grew up, their own beliefs and biases. A good judge tries to be as aware as possible of these things, so that he/she will not take a subject approach to the case but will follow where the evidence leads according to what the law dictates.  

One of the things that many subjective-minded judges tend to do in divorce and child custody disputes is believe the woman/mother to be: 

  • honest 
  • the better parent of the two 
  • financially dependent on her husband 
  • under the husband’s explicit or implicit control (whether that be financially, emotionally/psychologically, physically, or both) 
    • victimized in some way (whether great or small) by the husband, if the wife claims to have been. Extremely common examples: “He controlled all the money, wouldn’t tell me how much/how little we had, and wouldn’t give me any to spend,” and/or “He forbade me from having a job,” and/or “He physically/sexually/emotionally abused me and/or the children,” and/or “He forced me to engage in sexual acts that I found objectionable/humiliating,” and/or “He never shared in the household chores and childrearing.” 

Don’t get me wrong; many wives/mothers are all of these things, but not always. But 25 years as a divorce and family lawyer I can tell you that in my experiences some judges presume the women to be some of these things simply by virtue of them being women, and if the wife/mother makes claims to being any of these things, the judge will often treat such claims as “prima facie” established until the husband/father refutes/rebuts them.  

Consequently, it often surprises some such judges when a husband/father proves* that, while he is not perfect: 

  • he is honest and/or the wife/mother has been lying about him or on the subject of other issues in the divorce and/or child custody case. 
  • he is either just as good a parent as his wife or the better parent of the two 
    • and if he proves he’s the better parent, that often comes as so big of a shock to some courts that the court cannot/will not bring itself to accept such a concept, let alone such a fact 
  • that if the wife/mother is in fact financially dependent on him (as many wives often are, though decreasingly so in modern society), he has been forthright and transparent about financial matters with his wife  
  • that he does not exercise any kind of force or control over his wife and/or children but is decent, loving, and treats all of his family members fairly and well 

*Getting over that bar is often extremely difficult, sometimes impossible for some husbands/fathers with some judges.  

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

https://www.quora.com/Is-there-anything-that-can-surprise-a-judge-during-a-contested-divorce-proceeding/answer/Eric-Johnson-311  

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I signed a CPS safety plan but the court orders protective supervision.

What happens if I signed a CPS safety plan but the court orders protective supervision? 

The court’s order supersedes the agreement. 

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

https://www.quora.com/What-happens-if-I-signed-a-CPS-safety-plan-but-the-court-orders-protective-supervision/answer/Eric-Johnson-311  

 

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Law from a legal assistant’s point of view, week 43: Law Offices

By Quinton Lister, legal assistant 

One thing that I have noticed in my time as a legal assistant to a divorce attorney is that most law offices are difficult to work with compared to our office. I am not saying that because I like to paint all lawyers with a broad brush, but I have found that it can be extremely difficult to get anything done when trying to work with other attorneys and their staffs. 

At my office, we actually answer the phone when people call our office. And when we’re already on the phone when people call, we call back the same day or the next day at the latest. Same with email. You send us an email and we’ll respond to it same day or the next business day at the latest. Send us a proposed draft to review and we get back to you as soon as we actually can, not weeks later claiming we were “in trial”. Not so with the clear majority of the attorneys I deal with. Not even close. There are times when we go days, weeks, even months ignored by opposing counsel. 

Need to schedule a hearing? How is it that opposing counsel almost always picks that latest of the open dates? They’re not fooling anyone. It’s a running joke among the court clerks.  

It may be that lawyers are literally busy all the time, but I think there must be some unwritten rule somewhere in the lawyer world that says you cannot cooperate with another law office unless you are friends with opposing counsel, or you benefit personally and substantially from cooperating with the other attorney. Professionalism and professional courtesy is in shocking short supply. Divorce lawyers, and their clients, tend to drag their feet and elongate proceedings unnecessarily. These are people’s lives we are dealing with, so we must do our best work as consistently and as efficiently as possible, so that they get the most benefit for the substantial amount of money clients spend on their lawyers. If you are a divorce attorney reading this blog, take and return calls and emails timely. Do your best to expedite the process. It will benefit you and, more importantly, your client. 

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

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Do I need to show up for court if I was never served papers?

Do I need to show up for court if I was never served papers? I live in South Carolina.

I cannot speak for or about the jurisdiction of South Carolina because I practice law in Utah (so you need to inquire with a lawyer who is licensed to practice in South Carolina), but I can tell you a few things as a general rule of thumb: 

  • Many people are under the mistaken belief that “if they don’t give me them court papers first, the court is powerless to do anything to me”. Not true. Good faith, duly diligent efforts to effectuate service of process on you or at least—depending on the proceedings—notice to you is generally required before court action can be taken against you, but if, despite duly diligent efforts to locate you or chase you down to hand you “them court papers,” you cannot be found or served, there are other ways that a court will deem you to have been served and/or put on notice. 
  • If you hide in an effort to evade service/notice, the court will take that into account and hold that against you. No one can game the system this way. When that happens, the court can order that service on you be accomplished through alternative means. Such as? For example: 
    • the court could order that notice be mailed to your last known address (if you’re not there, that’s your problem, not the court’s); 
    • the court could order that notice be given in the form of an email or text message (to your last-known email address or phone number; if the email address or phone number used is not an address or number you use anymore, that’s your problem, not the court’s); 
    • the court could order that notice be given in the form of an instant message to an open social media account of yours (if you don’t use it anymore, but didn’t close it, that’s your problem, not the court’s); 
    • courts could (as they did frequently in the past, but not so much nowadays) give notice by publishing a notice in the “legal notices”” section of the newspaper (kids, for those of you too young to know what a newspaper is, you can click here) 
  • So if you think that avoiding service of process or closing your eyes and ears to notice is going to thwart the court or the opposing party, the joke’s on you. 
  • If you think you don’t have to appear in court merely because you didn’t receive service of process or notice (or more accurately, did your darnedest to ensure you didn’t get service or notice), again, the joke’s on you.

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

https://www.quora.com/Do-I-need-to-show-up-for-court-if-I-was-never-served-papers-I-live-in-South-Carolina/answer/Eric-Johnson-311 

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Would you want to groom your children to become lawyers?

Would you enlist your children into a pre-law school program which grooms them to become top notch lawyers? 

No. I have gone in the opposite direction. I have told my children (who love dogs and want dogs because their mother and I do not want a dog and have never had a dog) that I will buy each of them a dog, if they promise not to go to law school and become lawyers. The “legal biz” can, and often does, ruin good people who become lawyers. I don’t want to risk my children being ruined by the legal profession. There are some good people in the legal profession, but there aren’t enough good people in it to redeem it, in my opinion. 

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

https://www.quora.com/Would-you-enlist-your-children-into-a-pre-law-school-programme-which-grooms-them-to-become-top-notch-lawyers/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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Law from a legal assistant’s point of view, week 29: Be Smart

By Quinton Lister, legal assistant 

The lesson I have been learning in my time working as a legal assistant is how important it is to have legal representation. Not just legal representation, good legal representation.  

I have by now witnessed firsthand the many, many flaws and broken parts of the legal system and I am convinced that I would never want to represent myself in a lawsuit if one was ever filed against me.  

Ignorance is most definitely not bliss when it comes to the law, and trying to defend yourself when the cards are stacked against you (and trust me, it hasn’t taken me long to discover the cards are stacked against you) rarely ends well. Happy endings make for good movies, but self-represented people (also known as pro se) don’t see many happy endings.  

I think that one reason why we like those “against all odds” movies is because it helps us believe things that make us feel better about ourselves and our circumstances. At some point or another in our lives, we all find ourselves unable to handle the truth that the system is broken, and that justice is too often hard to come by. So we latch on to the fantasies where things turn out well and they all lived happily ever after.  

I am not trying to be a “Debbie Downer” or prophesy of forthcoming doom in your particular case (if you are unfortunate enough to be proceeding pro se in a lawsuit), but the realities are that 1) the legal system is in major need of reform and 2) your best protection in and against a broken system is an honest, skilled lawyer who knows both the written and the “unwritten” rules that govern it.  

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

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Law from a legal assistant’s point of view, week 22: The Rule of Law

By Quinton Lister, legal assistant

Rule of law. The restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws. 

My time as a legal assistant for a divorce attorney has been instructive and eye opening. One positive thing I have come to appreciate more fully is the miracle of the rule of law.  

I have been very skeptical of the law, even from a very young age (I think part of that is just I was always taught to respect authority yet not to take it simply “lying down”). Oftentimes, it is easy for me to say that those who are in power are there not so much because of some noble desire to serve the people but primarily (if not solely) to exercise power over people. My current experiences in the legal profession have not eliminated that view, but I have been pleasantly surprised that there are people who do respect and uphold the rule law. 

I do not need to agree with the law to respect the rule of law. I think the most effective lawyers and judges and legislators and litigants are the ones who recognize that to serve society’s interests best we must respect the rule of law (that’s how a democratic republic needs to work). No one is above the law and even though injustice exists, and for a just legal system to exist we need to be law-abiding people. 

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

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Where can I find a pro bono lawyer when being charged with contempt of child support in MN?

You may have a very difficult time finding free legal representation, BUT you may have a much easier time getting advice as to how you can and should proceed and how to defend yourself effectively. 

Many lawyers don’t have the time or desire to represent people in your position for free (it’s a mess, lawyers don’t have a lot of free time to give their services away, and lawyers don’t like doing work for free—it’s hard enough collecting their fees from the clients who ostensibly agreed to pay them), but many lawyers will volunteer at legal clinics to provide legal information and some basic advice or guidance. Law school often run such clinics as well. 

There are organizations that provide free or discounted representation under the right conditions (the main factor being that you can prove you clearly cannot afford to pay for an attorney’s services). 

Contact your local bar association and the law schools nearest you to find out where these clinics and charitable legal services organizations are (find out if they hold clinics or consultations remotely (like via Zoom). Ask about other services that may be available free of charge or at a discounted rate. 

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

https://www.quora.com/Where-can-I-find-a-pro-bono-lawyer-when-being-charged-with-contempt-of-child-support-in-MN/answer/Eric-Johnson-311  

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What questions do people ask about divorce?

The FIRST questions most frequently asked of me are:
“How much can I expect it to cost me in total to get a divorce?”
“What is your hourly rate?”
“What is your retainer amount?”
“If my spouse and I agree on all the terms of our divorce, how much will cost to get divorced on that basis?”
“Can I get the court to award me my attorney’s fees at the end of the divorce case?”
“How is child support calculated?”
“How is alimony calculated?”
“How can win custody of my children?”
“Does my spouse have a right to any of my retirement savings/pension?”
“Will my spouse having committed adultery/physical abuse/emotional abuse/other bad behavior work in my favor?”

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

https://www.quora.com/What-questions-do-people-ask-about-divorce/answer/Eric-Johnson-311?prompt_topic_bio=1

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Law from a legal assistant’s point of view, week 8: Legality vs. Morality

By Quinton Lister, Legal Assistant 

Since I have started working as a legal assistant, I have come to realize more the nuances of legality vs. morality. For the purposes of this post, I will define legality as that which is permitted by law (in other words, behavior that is permitted by law or that the law supports) and I will define morality as principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.  

I think everyone realizes that even though something is legal, it does not necessarily make it morally right. For instance, Nazi soldiers who rounded up Jews in WWII Germany were not doing anything illegal given the laws of Germany at that time (also a lack of international criminal law enforcement). However, none of us would say that what they were doing was morally right. The difference in this case is obvious. 

This is not a new observation by any means, but through observing the practice of law up close I have come to see how it truly is the case that the law does not always represent what is morally right. I think in an ideal society, that would be the case. I would think that all laws in a perfect world would represent perfect moral goodness.  

But in our imperfect legal system within the United States, sometimes the law prohibits us from doing the right thing. I think this is particularly true in the case of divorce and family law. I think that simply by trying to legislate things like child custody, child support, and alimony, more battles are created than actual justice/healing in a broken relationship. I am not saying that people who have been/are getting divorced should just get along, I am saying that whatever healing could have taken place often gets lost in a competition to get back at someone, to get “my fair share” of something, or “get what the law allows”. I think that we naturally generate that competition through trying to focus on what is legal vs. what is morally good, what is right under the circumstances.  

I am not sure what the solution would be to this problem. Law is an important part of life, even in domestic cases. I am sure there is some way to make the law less adversarial in nature, or at least my naiveté leads me to believe as much. 

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

 

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Have cameras in a courtroom ever resulted in one of the attorneys or judge asking for the equivalent of an “instant replay in football”?

Yes, in a manner of speaking.  

There are many examples of court room camera footage being referred to help establish facts that can only be verified based upon the visual record and not the audio record of what occurred in court. I personally viewed videos of courtroom proceedings where an opposing attorney or police officer is accused of stealing a file or a document off of the table in the courtroom. Sometimes the question arises as to whether someone in the courtroom made obscene or threatening gestures.  

And so while these questions may not be answered by an immediate “instant replay” kind of review, video recordings of courtroom proceedings can be and are used to resolve various issues of visual or viewable fact that may arise in a court case or in the court proceedings themselves. 

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

https://www.quora.com/Have-cameras-in-a-courtroom-ever-resulted-in-one-of-the-attorneys-or-judge-asking-for-the-equivalent-of-an-instant-replay-in-football/answer/Eric-Johnson-311?prompt_topic_bio=1  

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How long will an attorney work on your case if you can’t afford to pay them any more? This would be for a divorce and they start to realize that they’re not going to get money from the other spouse.

It depends mostly upon whether your attorney has a big heart and/or no head for business. Generally, an attorney who takes your case without being paid as he/she goes, but defers payment in the hope that he/she will be paid out of what you collect from your spouse is probably not a very intelligent or competent attorney.

Some attorneys (usually new ones or desperate ones—and desperate ones are often new ones) will work a case, even if a client stops paying for his/her work, long after the client stops paying. These kinds of attorneys do this in the desperate hope that the client will eventually pay or because they believe that by getting stiffed they are heroes/martyrs.

In truth, however, these kinds of attorneys are simple fools because clients who have stopped paying (not fallen behind but got caught up—those kinds of clients are fairly common, and we’ve all been a little short sometimes, so it’s good when a creditor will cut us a little slack, as long as we don’t abuse the creditor’s good will) almost never, ever resume paying or paying their past due balances.

To be sure, sometimes a client honestly runs out of money, and when that occurs, the attorney must understand that he/she cannot stay in business working for people who don’t pay for his/her services.

There is a class of clients who are simply grifters; they seek out the easy marks and when they find them, they exploit them. These are people who deliberately plan on paying an attorney some money up front to get a case going (and to get the attorney mentally and emotionally invested in the case), who then stop paying but keep the attorney slaving away by telling the attorney things along the lines of, “Oh, I’ve had some hard times, but I will pay you just as soon as I can, so keep working and I’ll pay you eventually, I promise,” or “Once you win me that chunk of money, I’ll pay you out of that,” or, “Please help me! I need this so badly! Think of the children!!!,” stuff like that. Such clients are poison.

Some lawyers (I was such a lawyer once) believe that non-paying clients are better than no clients, so they keep working for non-paying clients in the pathetic (but all too human) belief/hope that the client will be so happy with the great work the attorney does that the client cannot help but finally pay the bill out of gratitude and decency. Such lawyers are chumps.

Other attorneys get a sense of nobility from working without pay “to help a struggling client” and to “make my little corner of the world a better place”. Now don’t get me wrong: attorneys will, at times, volunteer to help those who are poor, but there’s a difference between choosing to work without pay and being duped into working without pay. There’s nothing noble about being a sucker.

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

https://www.quora.com/How-long-will-an-attorney-work-on-your-case-if-you-cant-afford-to-pay-them-any-more-This-would-be-for-a-divorce-and-they-start-to-realize-that-theyre-not-going-to-get-money-from-the-other-spouse/answer/Eric-Johnson-311?prompt_topic_bio=1

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Where or who do lawyers look to when they need a lawyer?

I ask my lawyer friends (few though they are because with few exceptions I find lawyers to be generally perfidious people, and I don’t like perfidious people), or, if my lawyer friends don’t have the answer, then I turn to my lawyer enemies whom I nevertheless trust to be honest with me.

If you can find a good (“good” meaning both highly “morally upright” and “competent”) lawyer as a friend and be a good friend to that lawyer, you’ll be truly blessed. A lawyer who is both good and skilled is one of the most beneficial friendships you can have.

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

https://www.quora.com/Where-or-who-do-lawyers-look-to-when-they-need-a-lawyer/answer/Eric-Johnson-311?prompt_topic_bio=1

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Did you ever go to court and realize for the judges and attorneys it’s kind of all a big game?

Yes, in my experience, there are aspects of the legal system and the practice of law that some lawyers and judges see and treat as a game. You see lawyers and judges who observe, regularly that “that lawyer/that judge did this to cause delays/burden or inconvenience the opposing party and not for the stated pretextual reason offered for doing it.”

Many bad lawyers file frivolous lawsuits and motions for fun and profit. That’s no secret.

I was shocked as a young lawyer (I’m not shocked anymore) when a lawyer who represented the losing side of a case called me up and threatened to file a meritless appeal. When I got upset with him about it he responded with, “Hey, calm down. Even if I lose, we’ll both still get paid.”

And many lawyers and litigants have experienced a judge violating the law and/or rules knowing that he/she can get away with it because the victimized litigant can’t afford to appeal the judge’s decision or complain about his/her decision for fear of retaliation. Yes, it happens. Not with all attorneys and judges, but with many.

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

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Recent thoughts about family law

Recent thoughts about family law

I’ve been prompted recently to express my thoughts and opinions about the judiciary generally in the family law context. Here are a few thoughts I feel are worth sharing:

– Too often litigants and attorneys are afraid to present certain arguments and evidence and proposals for fear that merely raising fair-game topics, much less trying to advance them within the bounds of the law and procedure, will anger and/or offend the court to their detriment.

– Judges and commissioners deciding family law cases must be far more about the law and the facts dictating their decisions and much less about subjectively picking winners and losers.

– Judges and commissioners deciding family law cases must be far more about the law and the facts dictating their decisions and much less about indulging personal biases and subjectively picking winners and losers.

– Judges and commissioners rely on/pass the buck to GALs and custody evaluators far, far too much instead of interviewing children themselves and/or permitting children to testify. Just because this can be said of every district court* (as opposed to juvenile court) in Utah does not make universal failure/refusal right.

*If there is a judge or commissioner in Utah who will/does interview children in child custody cases to avoid the obscene expense, delays, and lack of record suffered by imposing a GAL or custody evaluator on the parties and children, I do not know of any such judge or commissioner. I get told frequently by many judges and commissioners who refuse to interview children something along the lines of, “I am not afraid/unwilling to interview children, I just [insert pretextual/lame excuse here],” and there are many judges and commissioners who tell me that it is their personal policy not to interview children under virtually any and all circumstances.

There are judges and commissioners everywhere, not just Utah, who act a law unto themselves. Always? No. But any time is too often, and there are times when I’ve witnessed this more times than can be written off to mere honest mistakes. Whether a judge or commissioner knowingly acts this way, ignorantly acts this way, or both, it is inexcusable.

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Esquire? Why do attorneys often use this title on business cards and letterhead?

Why do attorneys often use the title “Esquire” in their business cards and letterheads?

Because the kinds of attorneys who use “Esquire’ are conceited and pretentious.

There’s a great article about this on abovethelaw.com entitled “Get Over Yourself and Stop Calling Yourself Esquire”:

https://abovethelaw.com/2019/01/get-over-yourself-and-stop-calling-yourself-esquire/

In a similar vein, you’ll see attorneys that will refer to themselves as “Senior Litigator,” or “Lead Litigator” or “Lead Counsel” that are self-ascribed titles that mean nothing.

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

https://www.quora.com/Why-do-attorneys-often-use-the-title-Esquire-in-their-business-cards-and-letterheads/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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Lawyers, why do some cases drag for years without a conclusive decision? Does it help to get a favorable outcome or not? Does delay help one to get a favorable outcome for oneself?

Lawyers, why do some cases drag for years without a conclusive decision? Does it help to get a favorable outcome or not? Does delay help one to get a favorable outcome for oneself?

It certainly can.

It depends upon the participants and which one(s) believe(s) the delay benefits him/her/them. I can tell you many reasons why divorce and family law cases can (and often do) drag on (not usually for years, but it does happen), and in no particular order:

  1. Clients who don’t pay their lawyers. When the lawyer is not paid, he/she does not work. When the lawyer(s) do(es) not work, the case does not progress.
  2. Attorneys who are terrified of going to trial. Most divorce cases settle. There are many reasons for this. One of the dirty little secret reasons many divorce cases settle is because many divorce lawyers don’t want the case to go to trial. Some reasons for this include: the lawyer is an incompetent trial lawyer; the lawyer is afraid the client won’t pay for all the work involved with preparing for and going to trial; and the lawyer has been lying to the client about what a “great case” the client has and is afraid that the lie will be exposed when the client has his/her head handed to him/her at trial.
  3. Opposing parties and/or lawyers who revel in delay. Delays are frustrating (maddening) and costly. Knowing this, some spouses and their attorneys cause and exacerbate delays.
  4. Attorneys and/or parties who just don’t care about the case. The case stagnates because getting the case resolved, whether by settlement or trial, just isn’t important to them.
  5. Courts that believe/hope that by dragging out the pretrial phase of the case the parties will eventually settle out of sheer exhaustion and impatience.

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

https://www.quora.com/Lawyers-why-do-some-cases-drag-for-years-without-a-conclusive-decision-Does-it-help-to-get-a-favourable-outcome-or-not/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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Why do attorneys often use the title Esquire in their business cards and letterheads?

Why do attorneys often use the title “Esquire” in their business cards and letterheads?

Because those kinds of attorneys are conceited and pretentious.

Get Over Yourself And Stop Calling Yourself ‘Esquire’

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

https://www.quora.com/Why-do-attorneys-often-use-the-title-Esquire-in-their-business-cards-and-letterheads/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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