When You Can’t Afford to Hire Attorneys

 

When You Can’t Afford to Hire Lawyers

Typically family attorneys do their fair share of pro bono work, as do lawyers in other areas of practice.  However, from what we can see, some attorneys can only accept a very small number of pro bono legal cases, which meet their specific income and subject matter requirements.  Chances are, you will have better luck going through one of the other pro bono services for your divorce, child custody case, or other family law matter.   

 Free Legal Advice from a Divorce Lawyer

Every family law litigant should have the right to compensated, competent legal representation in court, regardless of income.  However, in these days of reduced court funding, this may not be an attainable goal.  The Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Minnesota   published an article this week on where to go if your circumstances require you to go into court without an attorney.   Click Here for the link  The article is not exclusively about family law but it does apply to someone seeking divorce attorneys or child custody lawyers as well as other areas of the law in Minnesota

 Hire an Attorney for an Hour or Two

Even if you can’t afford an attorney to represent you in Court, get some legal advice to make sure you are on the right track, even if it means paying for an hour of an attorney’s time to look at your documents.  We hope you find these links useful.

 

Jennifer Moore

Jennifer.Moore@MooreFamilyLawMN.com

Plymouth, Minnesota 

Moore Family Law

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Smiles are Optional

At Your Divorce Trial

 

Divorce Trial?  Who does that?

 

Most family law cases settle long before a divorce trial, but in a small minority of cases, clients find themselves preparing for a trial in divorce court.   You may think your case is too simple for a trial, but a divorce involves summing up all the lives of any given family.  These issues can be complex, and if the family doesn’t agree on what is fair and equitable, much less the basic facts, there will have to be a trial.

 

What Happens During a Divorce Trial?

 

Divorce trials are heard by judges, not by juries.   There may be short opening statements, although they are often waived.  Various people will testify about the case, including the parties and experts (such as custody evaluators, real estate appraisers, actuaries, forensic accountants, and therapists).  In some cases, friends, neighbors, relatives and teachers may be called to testify.   Documents about your financial situation and any other issue will be given to the Judge to help him or her decide the issues in the case. 

 

Once both parties have had the opportunity to present witnesses and exhibits to the Judge, the Court will ask for closing arguments.  In family court, these are often done in writing in the form of proposed Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Order for Judgment and Judgment and Decree.   This is where the attorneys summarize the case and ask the Court to decide a particular way. 

 

What Doesn’t Happen During a Divorce Trial?

 

There is rarely an “Aha! I’ve got you!” moment.  There will be cross-examination, but the Court is not impressed with courtroom theatrics.  What might be a relevant admission to one spouse will probably not impress the Court.  I have witnessed attorneys spend hours grilling a wife about the fact that her expenses will decrease when her children leave home in five or six years.  Honestly, I think time might have been better spent talking about the wife’s current needs and the wife’s current income, since maintenance can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances.  Similarly, Minnesota does have no-fault divorce, so testimony about infidelity and other misconduct are not relevant in the vast majority of cases.

 

A Winning Strategy for Divorce Court

 

The best strategy is to appear more reasonable than the other side.  Logic and reason are valued by the legal profession (judges included), even in the midst of the difficult emotions presented in family court.  Anger and hostility are understandable, but will not win a case.  Smiles are optional – but they can help!

 

Jennifer Moore
Moore Family Law, P.A.
(763) 951-7330
www.moorefamilylawMN.com

jennifer.moore@moorefamilylawMN.com