Mediation Tip #2: Be Prepared!

To maximize the chance of a successful mediation, you must be prepared. You cannot show up for mediation without thinking about about your case and expect it to settle favorably.

The best way to settle any lawsuit is to be ready to try the case. The same is true in family law cases. If you are prepared to take the case to trial, you will know the strengths and weaknesses of your case. When you are not prepared to go to trial, you are shooting in the dark. You have to know your case. You have to know the likely or probable outcome in court. You have to know your best case scenario and your worst case scenario. You gather that information and determine your position through experienced legal advice. Continue reading

Facebook, Infidelity, and Court

An interesting article appeared in SmartMoney today, entitled “Does Facebook Wreck Marriages? This short article examines whether social media–and Facebook in particular–put marriages at risk of affairs.

Author Quentin Fottrell identifies three dangers. First, users who would otherwise remain faithful to their spouses can easily become tempted by the people they interact with online. “The social network is different from most social networks or dating sites in that it both re-connects old flames and allows people to “friend” someone they may only met once in passing.”

Second, even if an affair was not caused by social media, Facebook may lull users into a false sense of security, where they feel safe to post information that might tip off a significant other. “It could be something as innocuous as a check-in at a restaurant, he says, or a photograph posted online.”

Finally, when couples find themselves in divorce court–whether there was an affair or not–information from social media can and will be used as evidence to determine child support, alimony, and even custody. The article quotes attorney Randy Kessler, the current chairman of the family law section of the American Bar Association, that “any pattern of behavior that’s recorded on Facebook relating to parenting skills, excessive partying or even disparaging remarks about a spouse that violates a court order could be admissible in court.”

I encourage you to read the entire article, and to exercise extreme caution in your social media activities.

Testifying in Court

The judge weighs the witness's credibility.

The judge weighs the witness’s credibility.

It can be a scary and intimidating experience to testify in court. Most people don’t have to testify in court very often. It is okay to be nervous. Most people are nervous when they testify.

To some extent, testifying in court is uncomfortable because it is unnatural: Witnesses can’t just come into the courtroom, talk directly to the judge or jury, and say whatever they want. Rather, they have to answer questions posed by a lawyer, while the judge and jury listen to the exchange.

If you are being called as a witness it is either because you are a party in the case or one of the attorneys believes you have important information that the judge or jury needs to consider in making a decision. Whenever I am preparing a witness to testify, I give them the following instructions:

Continue reading

Testifying in Court

The judge weighs the witness's credibility.

The judge weighs the witness’s credibility.

It can be a scary and intimidating experience to testify in court.  Most people don’t have to testify in court very often.  It is okay to be nervous.  Most people are nervous when they testify.

To some extent, testifying in court is uncomfortable because it is unnatural:  Witnesses can’t just come into the courtroom, talk directly to the judge or jury, and say whatever they want.  Rather, they have to answer questions posed by a lawyer, while the judge and jury listen to the exchange.

If you are being called as a witness it is either because you are a party in the case or one of the attorneys believes you have important information that the judge or jury needs to consider in making a decision.  Whenever I am preparing a witness to testify, I give them the following instructions:

Continue reading