A Few Housekeeping Hints

July 16, 2015 § 1 Comment

Mostly for young lawyers, but some of you old geezers may need a reminder:

  • The first question to ask any witness by the party calling that witness is to identify himself or herself. “Would you please state your name for the record?” And then follow with any other helpful identifying information. “Where do you live?” “You are the aunt of the defendant, are you not?” (hint: leading questions are okay in preliminary matters). It seems lately that I’ve had a rash of lawyers in hearings neglecting this important tidbit of evidence. It’s not enough to say,  “We call Ethel Mertz as our next witness.” You have to ask Ethel to identify herself, and it helps for her to be asked if she is Lucy Ricardo’s neighbor and landlady.
  • You need to sign the pleadings you file. It’s required by MRCP 11(a). Failing to do it can get you sanctioned, per MRCP 11(b), and repeated failure, particularly after having it brought to your attention, can be considered intentional.
  • Remember that a non-collusion affidavit per MCA 93-5-7 is required in all divorce cases except complaints seeking a divorce on the sole ground of irreconcilable differences.
  • It’s always within the discretion of the chancellor whether to require personal appearance of one or both of the parties in an irreconcilable differences (ID) divorce. And the chancellor decides what is sufficient in the record to support a finding that the parties have made adequate and sufficient provision for the support of minor children and for division of the marital estate. You need to contact the court administrator and find out what the judge requires before you go traipsing off three counties distant to present your ID divorce.

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