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Family Law Tip of the Week: Trust, But Verify - Family Law News

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Family Law News


Posted on: Aug 1, 2017

By Mag. Kimberly Dean Mattingly, Marion Superior Court

Always verify your client’s version of events before firing off a motion about what may have happened in court. Classic story: client hires you after not succeeding as a pro se litigant. Tells you a tale of all the ways he was not notified of the hearing, mistreated during the proceeding and/or how the resulting order is an abject injustice. You prepare a Motion to Set Aside or Reconsider and include your client’s version of events. Unfortunately, the judicial officer keeps very detailed notes from proceedings and even listens to the portion of the hearing alleged to be so supremely egregious, then denies your client’s Motion after verifying that the allegations in it never happened. You have egg on your face and have lost some credibility, and your client looks worse. Sure, you got paid, but next time include enough in the retainer to be able to get a transcript or go listen to the record of the hearing. Require your client to provide documentation of all of the items you intend to raise in your Motion BEFORE you file that Motion.

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