Tag: winning

Lawyers and Deadlines. By Braxton Mounteer

You have just received an email from your lawyer about a deadline that your lawyer needs your help to meet. What should you do? You are already extremely busy with your life and its responsibilities. You don’t need or have time for “homework” on top of everything else. You are paying your lawyer a substantial amount of money, why isn’t he or she handling all of this for you? The answer is simple: your lawyer cannot do what only you can do. 

Litigation is deadline driven. The rules of court set deadlines for when certain  exhibits, arguments, requests, claims, and responses must be served on the opposing party and/or filed with the court. Miss the deadline and you risk having those exhibits, arguments, requests, claims, and responses rejected. You could have critical evidence that could help win the day but if you miss the submission deadline, it won’t matter.

You could be subject to certain penalties under the law including contempt of court, awarding of all undisclosed assets to the other party, and being required to provide support beyond your means.

Ignoring deadlines won’t make them go away. Nor will it extend them. Procrastinate until the 11th hour, and you’re all but assured that your and your attorney’s work product will be rushed, incomplete, inferior, and weak.

Sometimes you can request an extension of time, but extensions are not guaranteed. Did you miss this deadline because of forces out of your control or did you just forget? You had better be ready to prove you have a good reason for an extension.

Meeting deadlines is of crucial importance. Your case’s success depends on it.

Deadlines are not “suggestions” and the work due by the deadlines is not busywork you can ignore without risking serious damage to your case or outright doing your case serious damage.

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How do you win financially in a divorce?

It depends upon what you mean by “win financially.” Man divorcing people define this term differently, and the differences are extreme.  

Some people define “winning financially” as: 

  • coming away from the divorce action either 1) with as much money and and as many assets as one can get; and 2) with as few financial obligations (i.e., to one’s ex-spouse and children and/or to marital creditors) as possible; and  
  • achieving that goal by taking an ends justify the means approach (i.e., no holds barred). 

Other people define “winning financially” as being treated fairly, i.e. 

  • getting an equal portion of the marital assets; 
  • receiving or paying alimony (and if one has minor children, child support) that is set at a reasonable, feasible, and fair amount; 
  • not being saddled with a disproportionate amount of marital debts and obligations. 

The easiest way (the risky, illegal, and immoral way, but still the easiest way) to win many issues in a divorce action, including but not limited to financial issues: skilled lying, deception, and concealment. 

The right way (the honest, risky, legal, and moral way): 

  • first and foremost, to act in conformity with the principle of Mark 8:36 (“What doth it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”) 
  • understand that winning the right way takes effort and courage, and commit to exerting both to the bitter end 
  • know what law applies to the particular financial issues of your case 
  • know how the applicable law applies to the particular financial issues of your case 
  • acknowledge the relevant facts on both sides of the issue.  
    • acknowledge those of your arguments which the facts do not support.  
    • do not try to bamboozle the court into accepting losing arguments. That only weakens your credibility as to the arguments that favor you.  
  • demonstrate and articulate clearly the relevant facts that support your winning arguments.  
  • don’t let an inattentive, incompetent, or biased judge disregard or twist your admissible evidence, relevant facts, and winning arguments. Stand your ground. Give no quarter. Have the courage to defend your arguments when you are in the right. You will likely need to do so, at least some times in the course of the divorce proceedings, to win those arguments.  

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

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If I can’t find an attorney, can it honestly be said I got a fair trial?

If I can’t find an attorney, can it honestly be said I got a fair trial?

If a person seeks legal representation in a court, and every attorney they tries to hire refuses to represent them, can he receive a “fair trial”?

That depends upon how you define a “fair trial”. Some people mistakenly believe that in the United States every litigant is guaranteed representation by an attorney in any lawsuit. This is not true. Defendants in criminal cases that involve the risk of substantial jail time are entitled to appointment of counsel, free of charge to the defendant, if the defendant so desires.

In some jurisdictions, a parent is entitled to appointed counsel if the state petitions to terminate that parents parental rights.

There is no right to appointed counsel in civil cases. so there is no right to appointed counsel in divorce actions or personal injury actions or other cases that do not involve serious, jailable criminal charges. So, if you were to claim you could not find any lawyer to represent me and to help me in my civil suit, you could not claim that your rights were somehow violated. It could thus be said that you received a fair trial, even if you were unable to find a lawyer to represent you at trial.

But if the case was a complex one, and one where a knowledge of the laws and/or regulations, as well as the procedural rules of court, makes the difference between winning or losing, having no attorney to represent you, that isn’t a fair fight. unfair, but not illegal. You have no legal recourse in those circumstances.

I have met people who have claimed that they cannot find an attorney to represent them in a particular civil action. More often than not, the reasons why are fairly clear: the person seeking representation can’t afford to pay the attorney and/or the person does not have a winning legal argument (either because that person is clearly in the wrong or because that person doesn’t have enough evidence to win or to win in the manner that person desires).

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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As a lawyer, have you ever represented a client who was not happy when you won the case?

No, thank goodness.

I did, however, have a client who got a great outcome at the temporary orders (pendente lite) phase of the case, but who was utterly disappointed with it. My associate and I were honestly very happy with the outcome; the court’s temporary orders were more than fair to our client. But he was not satisfied. So unhappy was he that he fired me. No hard feelings on my part. Then after his case was disposed of, he sued me for malpractice (and lost). That was not a pleasant experience for me.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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How can I get the custody of my child? What factors does the court consider?

How can I get the custody of my two-year-old son in court?

I am an SFG in service, not always at home, but I can give my child to my parents.

Courts do not look at child custody as “which parent gets the child” anymore. They never should have, but there was a time when society generally (and thus the courts too) believed that when parents divorce the children must spend the majority of their time in the custody of one of the two parents. . . and that parent was, 9.5 times out of 10, the mother.

Courts then (and some courts even now) just assumed the mother was “the best parent” to whom to award custody. As you can imagine, a lot of children who had crappy mothers and whose custody was awarded to the crappy mothers started raising a ruckus when they got old enough to change the law, so that “who’s the best parent?” was replaced with “what’s best for the kids?”

Moving away from sole custody to joint custody

Now states are, thankfully, moving away from the “presumption of custody in one parent” and toward a presumption of joint custody of children. It’s a rebuttable presumption, of course. Because let’s face it, not all parents can exercise joint custody of their children. If parents live so far apart that the kids would end up attending different schools in each parent’s city of residence, one parent is going to get custody. If one parent is an unfit parent, joint custody won’t be awarded. If a parent is fit, but has a work schedule that just isn’t conducive to joint custody, joint custody won’t be awarded. You get the idea.

So if you come into divorce with the goal of “I’ll get sole custody!,” you’ll be singing a tune no one particularly wants to hear. The analysis isn’t so much “who is the better parent” as it is “what’s best for the child?”

What’s best, not who’s best

If what is it best for the child is not sole custody, then you owe it to your child to seek the custody award that is best for the child, not the custody award that you want.

In your particular situation, given that you are in the military, frequently aren’t at home, and don’t know when or for how long you will or won’t be deployed far from home, your chances of getting sole custody are slim, unless your spouse’s circumstances are even worse than yours. Frankly, your chances of being awarded joint custody are just as bad, unless somehow your spouse’s circumstances are such that he/she can make joint custody work around your schedule and is willing to do so.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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