As more and more Courts become more and more stingy about awarding alimony-and some states are working towards limiting or eliminating alimony altogether-people often ask me how alimony is going to be calculated in their case.
- Don't get into a pissing match with a skunk - Both of you will come out smelling! Never lower yourself, however tempting, to his or her level. Make them rise to yours.
- Ugly people hate mirrors - The lawyers who love to send 10 page discovery deficiency letters are also the same lawyers who cannot stand responding to "deficiency letters" sent to them. Many are not prepared because they believe it is their own unique manner of practicing law. Quote their very same objections when you can. It's really hard for them to argue their Motions for Sanctions when refusing to provide for the very same reason. Motions for Sanctions must be filed. File them as soon as possible.
- Honey goes farther than vinegar - Even against the most recalcitrant opponent, a current Magistrate always opened his letters with "I hope this letter finds you and your family (or staff, partners, etc.) well". When the other side "throws" their exhibit on your table, instead of doing the same, ask the Court permission to approach opposing Counsel to "politely" tender a copy of the proposed Exhibit to him or her. When the other side interrupts you and after you have listened to their half hour speech, do not argue, but rather, politely ask the bench if you could please continue with your position you were making before being interrupted by the Plaintiff/Defendant. (See #5)
- If it's not in writing, they may forget - With some lawyers, EVERYTHING needs to be in writing. Always put in the Caption:
Re: Jones v. JonesAlso, in your Response to Production of Documents which may used in a hearing ALWAYS note "Correspondence from Opposing Counsel" (Use bold if really a jerk). The Bench is not ignorant as to the fueling of fires, mark and admit letters from the other side (excluding settlement negotiations) to address their claim for attorney fees or for yours, etc., especially when they are calling your client an "idiot, molester, etc., who will never see the children".
THIS LETTER MAY BE USED AS AN EXHIBIT IN A HEARING OR TRIAL
- Never refer to counsel in argument - ALWAYS refer/blame it on his or her client. It achieves two goals: first and foremost, upholds professionalism over the other side, and secondly, it will inevitably, lead to his or her client questioning him or her as to why they are being blamed in front of the Judge-which clients hate. (Noting that some clients LOVE that their attorneys are jerks-just like in the movies, DO NOT give them the satisfaction!) . Resist the impulse in Court to address opposing counsel directly - always address through the Court. It will keep you more civil and calmer (and it's what the Court wants anyway).
- When the other side sends a scathing letter - Follow John L. Lewis' recommendation! Write a response. Print it. Put it in your desk. Go home. First thing the next morning, open your desk and throw away the letter and write another. DO NOT fall into your client's modus of responding to email immediately -only trouble and smelling (See #1).
Instead of responding point by point to a letter filled with false allegations, just respond with, "I disagree with your position and my failure to respond does not in any way indicate that I agree with the allegations set forth in your correspondence."
- Use recalcitrance to your advantage - Immediately serve tailored discovery that limits the issues, typically by lack of proof due to non-responsive answers. Sometimes, their case will be damaged beyond repair, and their behavior may be different in future cases.
- Confirm/document in writing - so as to preserve the story of what is happening, in a tone similar to drafting a pleading. The letters you write will be exhibits that a Magistrate/Judge will read. If you want their recalcitrance to be the subject of you gaining something for your client, you had better not put yourself in a position where the Court says "shame on you both".
- Just deal with it and prove your client's case - Some cases are harder than others because of the personalities involved---this will never change. Serve subpoenas on all relevant persons/entities: prove your case and disprove their case as if Counsel were not involved. Depending on how bad the situation, maybe ask for costs of doing their work for them. Be 100% sure of facts and law and stay succinct.
- If a lawyer makes faces and sighs and annoys - you during a deposition or over objects, try something like not acknowledging or, if it gets out of hand (with the rolling of eyes or repeated and constant sighing), simply note it on the record. Resist fighting on the record - never translates well on paper
High conflict divorce can devastate individuals, children and families. Nevertheless, it still happens every single day, in Howard County and throughout the State of Maryland.
This blog is merely a conversation starter. When you read over the below short lists, think about where you fall within them.
Howard County has five circuit court judges.
So, you want a Maryland divorce? It does not matter if you are in Howard County, Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County or anywhere else in the State of Maryland. If you want a divorce, you need to be separated for a year. Unless. . .
On April 11, 2014, I had the opportunity to moderate my annual Maryland Family Law Seminar for the Family Law Section of the Maryland Association for Justice, a section I founded nearly 15 years ago.
When you go through a divorce in the State of Maryland, you have a lot of competing thoughts going through your head. We can assume for this blog that the hearing will occur in the Circuit Court for Howard County, but it could be any other circuit court, as well.
There is a pervasive problem of parents snatching children and moving them overseas to prevent the other parent from having contact and a relationship with them. Below is the latest example of a father having no contact at all with his two daughters after the mother spirited them away to a different country.
So, you and your spouse are divorcing? You want your spouse out of the house, because it is titled solely in your name. Your spouse refuses to leave? Can you get your spouse out of the house?