Reprise: The Vital Importance of Checklists

June 10, 2020 § 1 Comment

Reprise replays posts from the past that you might find useful today.

Trial Factors aka “Checklists”

March 6, 2018 § Leave a comment

The MSSC threw down the gauntlet in 1983 in Albright v. Albright, mandating that trial judges must make findings of fact as to certain specific factors when making an award of child custody.

Since then, the number of factor-driven cases has multiplied. There are 13 now, by my count.

I call it “Trial by checklist” because you can reduce every list of factors to a convenient checklist that you can use at trial. I suggest you copy these checklists and have them handy in your trial materials. Build the outline of your client’s case around them. In your trial preparation design your discovery to make sure that you will have proof at trial to support findings on the factors applicable in your case. Subpoena the witnesses who will provide the proof you need. Present the evidence at trial that will support the judge’s findings.

If you don’t put on proof to support findings of fact by the chancellor, your case will fail, and you will have wasted your time, the court’s time, your client’s money. You will have lost your client’s case and embarrassed yourself personally, professionally, and, perhaps, financially.

If the judge fails to address the applicable factors in his or her findings of fact, file a timely R59 motion asking the judge to do that, because failure to make findings with respect to the applicable factors is cause for remand  — an expensive do-over. But remember — and this is critically important — if you did not put the proof in the record at trial to support those findings, all the R59 motions in the world will not cure that defect.

Here is an updated list of links to the checklists I’ve posted:

Attorney’s fees.

Attorney’s fees in an estate.

Adverse possession.

Child custody.

Child Support.

Grandparent visitation.

Equitable distribution.

Income tax dependency exemption.

Modification of child support.

Periodic and rehabilitative alimony.

Lump sum alimony.

Separate maintenance.

I try to remind folks twice a year about the importance of using checklists in making your cases.

§ One Response to Reprise: The Vital Importance of Checklists

  • Hank Zuber says:


    If you have the time/desire, would it be possible to do one for the new GAL/Conserv. statute? Thanks!


    Henry B. “Hank” Zuber III

    996 North Halstead Road, Suite A

    Ocean Springs, MS 39564

    228-875-1097 – office

    228-400-1404 – fax

    Confidentiality Notice: This email and any attachments may be confidential and protected by legal privilege. If you are not the intended recipient, be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution, or use of the email or any attachment is prohibited. If you receive this email in error, please notify me immediately by replying to the sender and deleting this copy and reply from your system. Thank you for your cooperation

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