April 21, 2015 § 11 Comments
You old timers know of my fondness for what I refer to as “Checklists” — those lists of factors that apply in various cases in chancery court. Newcomers may not be acquainted with the concept, so I republish this list of checklists every now and then to spread the word. It’s a concept I’ve referred to as “Trial by Checklist.”
The idea is that the chancellor is required to address various factors in various types of cases. If you are not putting on evidence to support the judge’s findings of fact under each of those factors, then you are: (a) losing the case; and (b) failing in your duty to represent your client, as well as wasting the court’s time; and (c) committing malpractice.
Here they are:
Income tax dependency exemption.
Modification of child support.
Periodic and rehabilitative alimony.
And here are two checklists that will help you in probate matters:
Doing an accounting in a probate matter.
My recommendation is that you keep each checklist, with citation of authorities, handy, either in a notebook or accessible in your computer where you can photocopy or print them out each time you have a case involving them. For instance, in a divorce case, you might need the checklists for child custody, child support, equitable distribution, and alimony. then, as you prepare, tailor your proof to make a record as to each factor. At trial, you can use each checklist as a template for presentation of your case.
In my courtroom, I keep a notebook on each side of the room with every checklist for lawyers to have handy in a pinch.
Bear in mind that if the judge does not have the proof to support her findings on the applicable factors, your case is in jeopardy on appeal — that is, if the judge somehow ruled in your favor in the first place.
[…] concept of what I call “checklists.” I’ve posted about it here numerous times. A post with a list of trial checklists is at this link. You can also find a checklists category up there on the right in the “Categories” […]
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Excellent information. At every GAL seminar where I speak, I mention your blog and specfically your checklists. Those in attendance appreciate your information.
Thank you for your wonderful blog.
Hi, Is there a check list for conservatorship cases? Thank You
None that I know of, but the statute is pretty clear on what it takes to get one appointed. After that, you publish for creditors just like an estate, and handle all transactions like a guardianship.
Remember that if the putative ward is a recipient of VA benefits, you must, under the statute, serve the VA with a copy of the Petition and the Notice of Hearing. I’ve seen Judges reset hearings due to the failure to serve the VA in appropriate cases, and that’s not an egg you want on your face. As far as serving the VA, my judge down here on the Coast seemed satisfied that I did my service via certified mail, return receipt, upon the VA headquarters in D.C. as well as the civil process clerk at the U.S. Atty’s office in Jackson. Any thoughts on this manner of service Judge Primeaux?
I think all the VA is entitled to is notice, not to be made a party, so certified mail notice would be fine.