Welcome to Tip of the Week! Judicial officers will offer a tip each week for members of the Family Law Section. Feel free to send suggestions to Mag. Kim Mattingly at email@example.com.
By Mag. Kimberly Dean Mattingly, Marion Superior Court
I have several tidbits this week. Tip-Bits, if you will (yes, I think I’m hilarious and yes, I know I’m the only one):
- Tax reform: No one claims to be an expert on the new tax laws, but at least beware that a lot is changing that affects Family Law (alimony is no longer a taxable event, no more dependent child deductions, etc). Your Family Law Section Executive Committee is working on a CLE for March and I’m told it will also be a topic at Bench/Bar as information evolves quickly in our world. (BTW, Bench/Bar registration is open already if you like to be a trend-setter!)
- Don’t look old-fashioned: stop submitting orders on change of judge that have room to list a panel for striking. Your order should direct the parties to jointly select a special judge and if they cannot, for the Clerk to assign the case.
- $0 support order: to help us comply with federal regulations that secure funding for our IV-D programs, please add language to your agreements that specifically sets child support at $0. Text about neither party paying the other child support is not as effective without a dollar sign and a zero. And remember that $0 support orders are rare; I processed an attempted waiver of a $245 per week order this week. Needless to say, it was denied.
- “Final” hearings precede only Decrees – post-Decree modifications are not set for “final” hearing. Odyssey has a particular code for final hearings and Clerks will use this code if the word Final is in your motion or order. This can mess with statistics and case status for us internally (a fancy way of saying it confuses us).
- Review LR49-FR00 Rule 508(G) with regard to DRCB and other evaluations/reports. You might even consider adding this to your contracts with your clients, who can be found in contempt for discussing a report with or in the presence of the children. Do not allow your clients to call the social workers at the DRCB to argue, question or discuss their reports or recommendations.
- Speaking of your clients, do not let them call the court either; many claim their lawyers told them to do this in order to “save money.” Chances are, we’ve already answered the question for you, the information is available online, or your client won’t understand the answer and you’ll have to call us anyway. If you want your cases processed efficiently, please keep our staffs from duplicating their efforts on the phone.
Stay tuned for a new tip next week!
If you would like to submit content or write an article for the Family Law Section page, please email Kara Sikorski at firstname.lastname@example.org.