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Discovery in Divorce – The Ultimate Guide for Paralegals

I. NEW DISCOVERY LAWS, RULES, AND PROCEDURES YOU NEED TO KNOW A. Discovery Rules Update In 2015, the first time since 2006, amendments regarding e-discovery were added to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP). These e-discovery amendments included: a limitation on the scope of the discovery; a requirement obligating parties to address the preservation of electronically stored information (ESI) during the initial conference; and, a modification to spoliation sanctions for ESI. The amendments were designed to simplify and promote efficiency and cooperation between parties during the discovery process. FRCP 26(b)(1) altered the scope of discovery by adding the requirement

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Deposition Strategies In Divorce

DEPOSITION STRATEGIES IN DIVORCE Handling the Divorce Deposition in Comparison with Other Depositions Anyone who can be a witness at trial can be deposed, including the parties, their experts, and lay witnesses. Additionally, witnesses who may not be available at trial can also be deposed to preserve their testimony. Many individuals may possess relevant information – family members, teachers, counselors, and others can contribute valuable information. Do not take a deposition until you have a firm outline and strategy for accomplishing our goals with the particular witness. Otherwise, you may not be successful in undermining or limiting the impact of

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Depositions & Cross Examinations: Best Practices & Strategies

I. Researching the Opposing Party’s Experts in Divorce The deposition of an expert witness is the culmination of the opposing party’s defense or prosecution theory of the case. Before taking an expert’s deposition, the parties should have completed fact discovery-interrogatories answered, documents obtained, lay witnesses deposed. Presumably, your opponent’s expert witness has been advising the opposing attorney about documents to be requested in the course of written discovery and about oral discovery questions that should be asked of the lay witnesses, so that the fact evidence necessary to the expert’s opinions has been established. The expert’s opinions are being offered

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Custody Options, Procedures & Forms

While the laws can vary by state, legal custody refers to the legal authority to make major decisions on behalf of the child. Examples of major decisions include: where the child will go to school, the type of education, the form of religious upbringing, and non-emergency medical decisions. Legal custody options generally include sole legal custody and joint legal custody. The parent who has sole legal custody generally has the final saying in making major decisions on behalf of the child. These include decisions regarding education, religion, and medical. A parent having sole legal custody still has to confer with

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DISCOVERING UNDISCLOSED/HIDDEN ASSETS – TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

Probably the best tool for tracking down cash and other hidden assets are tax returns. This is because even a spouse who is attempting to hide assets or income through their business was probably not considering such action seven, five, or even three years ago. The first line of 1040 can be important because it provides a social security number which can be used for other searches. The W-2’s for the spouse as an employee can also be important. How does the past compare to the present? Bank Statements and Credit Cards can also prove to be equally valuable. There

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DIRECT AND CROSS-EXAMINATION OF EXPERTS IN DIVORCE

a. Real Estate and Valuation Experts – Areas Ripe for Examination One of the major issues in a divorce is dividing marital or community property, and it can easily become a source of conflict. Before dividing an asset, you need to know what its worth by completing a valuation process for the property. Valuation is especially important for real estate, namely the marital home, because it’s often one of the most valuable assets owned by a couple. Being familiar with the basics of valuation methods for real estate and the role of an appraiser can help you reach a fair

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Business Valuation in Divorce

I. Overview of Business Organization Structures When a married couple gets a divorce and one of the spouses owns a business that business is often an asset owned by the marriage and the value should be divided. A business can be created in different forms. The most common forms are sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and S corporation. The form of the business entity can have effects on taxation, ownership, and how it is divided. A sole proprietorship is a self-owned, unincorporated business. If a party is the owner of a sole proprietorship, then the business is dividable upon dissolution of

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Attacking Real Estate & Valuation Experts in a Divorce

I. Understanding the Valuation Process and the Law One of the major issues in a divorce is dividing marital or community property, and it can easily become a source of conflict. Before dividing an asset, you need to know what its worth by completing a valuation process for the property. Valuation is especially important for real estate, namely the marital home, because it’s often one of the most valuable assets owned by a couple. Being familiar with the basics of valuation methods for real estate and the role of an appraiser can help you reach a fair and reasonable agreement

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Annual Law Update on Family Law

Child Custody Davis v. Davis, 582 S.W. 3d 100 (Mo. Ct. App. W.D. 2019): Husband filed a petition for dissolution of marriage requesting that he and Wife have joint physical custody of their son. Wife requested in her counter-petition for dissolution of marriage that she be awarded maintenance. Following a bench trial, the Circuit Court characterized its judgment as awarding sole physical custody of the couple’s child to Husband and denied Wife’s request for maintenance. Wife appealed. The Court held that Husband and Wife were awarded joint physical custody. However, Trial Court characterized custody of the child as sole physical

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Advanced Divorce Law

I. Case Law Update: The Latest Decisions Affecting Your Practice A. Same Sex Marriage and Custody It is important to first establish the same sex cases that have been brought in Missouri courts concerning child custody during and post Obergefell. In McGaw v. McGaw, appellant, Melissa McGaw filed a motion to determine the parent-child relationship, custody, and visitation rights with respect to the two children to whom she is not biologically related to. The children in this case were born at a time when Melissa was involved in a romantic relationship with the children’s biological mother, respondent Angela McGaw. At

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Adoption & Surrogacy Agreements

A. Open Adoption and Ongoing Contact Agreements 1. Drafting Tips, Checklists and Forms Adoption is the permanent, legal transfer of all parental rights to another individual or couple. The adoptive parent(s) has the same legal rights and responsibilities as parents whose children are born to them. Open adoption occurs when there is some form of communication or contact between the adoptive family, the adopted child, and the birth family after the adoption has finalized. Contact and communication can range from an infrequent exchange of letters and pictures, perhaps through a neutral third party, to supervised or unsupervised visits between the

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Working With Experts in Divorce

I. Types of Divorce Experts and What They Do A child custody evaluation is a process in which a mental health expert, usually a psychologist, evaluates a family and makes a recommendation to the court for custody and visitation or a parenting plan that is in the child’s best interests. The court may assign an evaluator to you or may allow you to choose from a list of evaluators. Regardless of who chooses the evaluator and who pays for the evaluation, the evaluator should be neutral and should not have a patient-therapist relationship with anyone in the family either before

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Prenuptial Agreements Line by Line

Aspatore Books from Thomson Reuters Westlaw
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Strategies For Family Law Illinois

Aspatore Books from Thomson Reuters Westlaw
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Strategies For Military Family Law

Aspatore Books from Thomson Reuters Westlaw

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Legal Separation FAQs

Ending a marriage is never easy, and the thought of divorce can be incredibly distressing. However, if you and your spouse are having severe problems

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