Effective Preparation of a Case – For Mediation and Trial

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By on February 3, 2013 7:18 pm Leave your thoughts

This morning I was listening to our preacher preach, (of love, hope, and faith, the most important is love – see I really was just resting my eyes!) and pondering the subject of my next blog article.

Just a moment ago, I realized I had written it. When I got home from church, I had another frustrated e-mail from a client who finds my way of organizing a case to be confusing and frustrating. Here below is my effort to clarify it for her.

Dear (Frustrated Client):
For some reason, we have trouble understanding each other via e-mail. I just wrote below a little mantra of how to be prepared. I was NOT implying you are not focused. I was trying to answer your questions with a reminder of something we have covered several times. If you want to do some research on living expenses in Ohio, that’s great. And, I have no “new” instructions for you. I have said it several times. Here is the summary;
 
In preparing for a divorce:
              a. Gather information/evidence to establish the services provided for the children the two years prior to separation. (That is; evidence to support the estimates you have put on your caretaking functions worksheets. This includes school records of visits to parent teacher conferences, medical records showing  you took the kids to the doctor, and witness statements such as the homeroom teacher or the doctor’s PA., or neighbors, houseguests, family, and friends. These witnesses are, of course “objects” in your case.)
 
              b. Identify all assets, real estate, personal property, vehicles, cash, retirement funds, etc. and list them, and include them in our disclosure to the other side.
 
              c. Identify all debts, by creditor, account number, whether secured (car house) or unsecured (credit cards, medical bills).
              d. Ascertain all income, yours and your husband’s.
  
              e. In alimony cases, put together a plan of economic rehabilitation. And complete the three column budget, a. the household/family budget during the marriage, your budget during the divorce, and your budget as a divorced woman. All entries must be average monthly.
 
In doing these things, we follow some general principles, which I learned from the (Lexis/Nexis) Casesoft software:
 
a.      Create your object list, the people, documents, and things that make up your case. I have worksheets, but in a divorce they are a bit redundant since we have some court provided, and proprietary, forms for you to fill out which help you locate those objects, but the “object list worksheet for people” is really helpful. The caretaking functions worksheets, and the Supreme Court’s financial affidavit form are examples of forms provided by the State.
b.      Maintain, by putting a title on a blank sheet of paper, any lists of concerns, goals, questions, and suggestions. These concise lists are critically important. Example? You could have a list titled “challenges to overcome if I am going to move to Pa.”, or “Reasons I was a more involved parent than my husband.” Or “Weaknesses in my husband’s parenting skills.
 
c.      Finally, in most cases we use the information in the two lists or sets of lists, to create a chronology of events in the marriage, separation, and post separation. We also call it a timeline.
 
That’s a summary of what I explained to you in our phone meeting, and what is in the two articles from my blog, “Something Constructive; Organizing the Facts in Your Case”, and “More About Organizing the Facts in Your Case” and the video appended to the first article. (search in www.burtonhunteresq.blogspot.com).
 
You are doing well, but I fear the repetition is costing us unnecessary time/and you money.
 
I hope this helped.
 
Burt Hunter

This post was written by Burton Hunter

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