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Family Law Tip of the Week: Unwritten Local Rules - Family Law News

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Family Law News

Posted on: Jun 28, 2017

By Mag. Kimberly Dean Mattingly, Marion Superior Court

The first tip comes from a colleague: pay attention to judicial or other conferences (like the recent Bench Bar Conference) that will lead to your JO being out of the office and unable to rule on your pleadings. Do not file a motion to continue a Monday hearing on the Friday of Bench Bar and then bug the court staff about a ruling several times Friday afternoon. We realize e-filing is making everyone’s work portable and accessible 24/7, but that does not guarantee that we are going to monitor our queues while we are supposed to be engaged at a conference. Local Civil Rule 25 requires any Motion to Continue that is not filed at least 7 days in advance must be accompanied by an affidavit explaining the need for a last-minute continuance. I can count on one hand the number of attorneys who regularly do this (and I do not need all 5 fingers!)
The second tip comes from one of my favorite lawyers: do not contact opposing counsel for a position on your motion 15 minutes before you file it and then claim you reached out, but never got a response before you filed. While this is technically correct, it does not follow the Commitment to Civility that you agreed to uphold when you appeared on the case. Believe me, we all know which lawyers never return phone calls or otherwise respond, so we get it. Therefore, I will second guess a motion when it is a good lawyer on the other side who is being accused of never responding. Please don’t make us start requiring proof of your attempts to contact the other side; we’d rather you just pick up the phone and talk to each other!
The last tip is from yours truly: “object for the record” means “I have to object to look good for my client, but it’s ok to grant the motion.” “Object” means your client has a legitimate objection to the relief sought. “Strenuously object” is used only in the movies!

Stay tuned for a new tip next week!

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