Children are literally our future. When parties divorce or in paternity actions or subsequent custody modifications, most litigants (Mothers and Fathers) make three key mistakes multiple times. Sometimes this impacts their custody objective and causes negative outcomes when they are avoidable. This blog explores these three key mistakes and how to avoid them. The first is testifying in terms of “absolutes” or without qualification. Everyone has done something they are not proud of or that is illegal or both. In the acidic ...
Law, trial process, and litigation is highly evolved by rules, cases, and statutes to allow trial court judges to receive the most accurate and relevant evidence, subject to tests of veracity, to make a fair and impartial decision. Often these technical rules provide confusion to divorce and custody litigants. This blog post explores the three most common evidentiary rules for these types of matters. The first is hearsay. Other than what one party said to another ...
February 17, 2016 / Divorce Mediation
Just a few short years ago, civil litigants had two basic choices to resolve their disputes. The first was to find a way to settle the matter between counsels and themselves or go to trial. Then mediation started to “catch on.” This is where a neutral party but not a judge, who is usually experienced in the issue at hand, tries at the direction of the court to help the parties reach an agreement themselves with their counsels’ assistance. Later, the ...
Indiana’s few trial court judges, magistrates, commissioners and pro tems hear and decide a staggering number of cases (tens of thousands) each year with speed and accuracy. However, approximately 4,000 are appealed to the Court of Appeals as a matter of right. In consultation with their attorneys, litigants help to decide what issues to raise on appeal. Four common mistakes with litigants in selecting issues. Every “Mistake:” The first is trying to appeal every actual or perceived mistake made a trial. No trial is “perfect.” ...
Trial is a nerve-racking experience for litigants, many have not been in the courtroom before. Indiana’s judges and lawyers want you to have your day in court and the case decided by a neutral fact finder. However, with the pressures of property and children in the balance, litigants do all sorts of little things that can help or hurt their case, sometimes in profound ways. Here are some recent observations. Things that can hurt your case: Having your cell phone ring during court. Trying ...
When the Court of Appeals issues an opinion, why do some say “For Publication” and others say “Not for Publication”? And what does this mean?
January 28, 2014 / Appellate Practice
In Indiana, the Court of Appeals issues written opinions for every case that is taken up on appeal. However, each opinion is distinguished as “for publication” and “not for publication” (or “NFP”). The word publication is commonly meant to construe to mean making content available to the general public. In Indiana, all opinions, regardless of if they are for publication or not, are provided on the Indiana Court of Appeals’ website. Thus, ...
Often we receive calls from litigants who are seeking to appeal a trial court order that was unfavorable to us, and one of the first questions we always ask is “when was the order issued?” This is an important question, because, while every litigant has the right to one appeal (to the Court of Appeals in Indiana), there are very specific deadlines to filing the Notice of Appeal, and if the Notice is not filed on time, the litigant ...
October 30, 2012 / Family Law
In family law disputes, whether it be a divorce, paternity, grandparent visitation or third party custody, or post-divorce decree (original determination of custody of some type) issues, sometimes the result is unfavorable. There is an old saying that everyone loses in divorce. But what if the result is unfavorable to you, and it is incongruent with the law and the evidence? What remedies do you have? There are several options ...
September 6, 2012 / Hidden Assets in Divorce
One crucial task during a dissolution proceeding is to determine the assets and liabilities for the parties to divide and to determine how same will be divided. The general statutory rule is that the Court will presume the parties shall divide all assets and liabilities equally (50/50)1. The other companion general rule is that a party may not dissipate (hide or spend) assets during the pendency of a dissolution proceeding. If assets are dissipated, this can be used as evidence in Court ...