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Divorce Court: What the Judge Wants to See and Hear

14-03-12 Newsletter Divorce Court

Recently my son and fellow attorney, Ty, accompanied me to a dinner hosted by CPA firm White, Zuckerman, Warzavsky, Luna, Wolf, and Hunt, where the Honorable Judge Lloyd C. Loomis was the guest of honor.  Judge Loomis shared his “Do’s and Don’ts” for clients and lawyers; in other words, What the Judge Wants to See and Hear.  Whether you are an attorney, client, or other professional, I believe this will be a valuable read:

In court, deadlines are of the essence.  The party who has filed timely obtains a distinct advantage in the courtroom.  Clients sometimes put off filling out Income and Expense declarations; there are very good reasons why your lawyer asks you to fill out forms, and the sooner, the better.  Also, honesty is absolutely necessary. 

Judge Loomis suggests that lawyers can do a better job of educating their clients about what to expect when they appear in court.  In his experience, it is not unusual for the parties to seem confused and frustrated by the process.  Such feelings are natural when parties are under stress, but having information will make the process easier.  If you have questions about court, ask your lawyer.  They will be happy to answer them.  What exactly is a ‘Meet and Confer?’  Judge Loomis finds that it’s something many lawyers ignore, and many parties object to.  Meet and Confer provisions are part of the Code of Civil Procedure.  Before appearing in court, lawyers and parties ought to meet and confer with each other in a sincere effort to settle matters.  Failing to meet and confer in good faith inevitably leads to a waste of time and legal fees.

When dealing with child custody, Judge Loomis puts the well-being of children first. He wants to see co-parenting plans that emphasize frequency and regularity of visits for both parents, and he believes it is healthier for siblings to stay together rather than be split between parents.  He appreciates custody plans that plan ahead; too often the plans seem designed only to solve an immediate problem and not to address changes and challenges that may appear in the years ahead.

Most importantly, civility, between lawyers and between parties, is important in court.  Some clients wonder why their lawyers are being friendly and polite to each other and to opposing party.  The California State Bar “Guidelines of Civility and Professionalism” require this behavior, and so does our society.  Judge Loomis wants to see those rules followed in his courtroom.  In a divorce case, a lawyer who observes these rules sets an example for those he deals with.  Face it, as a society, we need more civility.  If you’re curious, the Guidelines can be found in the “Civility Toolbox” in the Ethics section of the State Bar Website.

Your friend,

Ronald Melin Supancic
Certified Family Law Specialist
The Law Collaborative, APC
(: (888) 852-9961  F(888) 852-9962 |