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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Mag. Kimberly Dean Mattingly, Marion Superior Court
This week’s tips are from my colleagues here in CCB. Most are verbatim, so you’ll have a sense of the level of frustration that accompanies them:
- Please stop sending a separate order with or without a caption that says "Settlement Agreement Approved." If you submit a separate decree, it says that in the decree. If you want us to sign off on the S/A, please include an “Approved and Ordered” Signature page on the S/A.
- Don’t get your briefs in a bunch if a new client comes in with a notice of initial assessment or notice of mediation assessment. That is only scheduled for cases where both litigants are unrepresented. When an attorney enters an appearance and requests that it be vacated, it will be.
- Familiarize yourself with the meaning of combining cross and direct. Some objections (leading, for example) apply only to direct and not cross. There are advantages and disadvantages to combining; courts generally like combining because it saves time but don’t feel obligated to try your case this way.
- Where did everybody get the idea that Substitution of Counsel was a thing? New lawyer has to file an appearance and old lawyer has to withdraw. How hard is that? Otherwise, it is likely that old lawyer will remain attorney of record and new lawyer will not be attorney of record. Substitution of Counsel can be used only for lawyers within the same firm/organization.
- Also, would you tell them again that if a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage contains a request for preliminary relief, that should appear in the caption of the pleading. If requesting a preliminary hearing separately from the Petition, I.C. 31-15-4-2, you must include an affidavit from the client re: relief requested.
- Reminder: parties must sign off on statutory factors for a Decree to be approved. They cannot appear only in the Decree unless the Decree is signed. Please make a habit of including them in your PSAs. The court cannot make findings that are not signed off on by the parties.
Stay tuned for a new tip next week!
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