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Archive for the ‘Divorce Dictionary’ Category

Definition: Arrears, sometimes referred to as “Support Arrears or Arrearage” accumulates after a court order is entered for child and/or spousal support.  Arrears accumulate from the date of the court order (may be made retroactive to the date the filing for the hearing) to the date the order is modified or terminated.

Effect: Support Arrears are the darling of the legislature on both sides of the aisle and many laws abound on this subject.  In California, post judgment interest on support arrears accumulates at 10 percent per annum and child support arrears have additional penalties on top of the post judgment interest.  Do not rely on oral agreements with your spouse regarding support reductions or support suspension, the oral agreements are only as good as your former spouse is happy with you.  Once the working relationship sours, and you have no evidence of your agreement, you will find yourself facing the dreaded arrears.

All information displayed in this blog posting is the property of Sullivan & Guzman APC, and cannot be re-used without prior approval of the author.

http://www.sullivanandguzman.com

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Definition: A Subpoena is a command to appear at a certain time and date to give testimony.  You can be subpoenaed to a court hearing/trial or you can be subpoenaed to a deposition in a private attorney’s office.   If you are requested to bring documents with you, the subpoena is called a Subpoena Duces Tecum.

Effect: Your testimony, at court or in a private attorneys office, will be given under penalty of perjury.  Subpoenas are used most frequently for witnesses, or non party participants, such as percipient witnesses to events or experts.  Generally, parties are issued Notices of Depositions.  If you should receive a subpoena for a hearing or deposition, you should consult an attorney before appearing for the hearing or deposition.  Your testimony will be recorded by a court reporter in a deposition or by the court reported inside the courtroom.  Often unwittingly, witnesses will testify to a fact which is later used against them in other proceedings.  I have often felt that Subpoenas should be issued with their own version of a Miranda warning.

All information displayed in this blog posting is the property of Sullivan & Guzman APC, and cannot be re-used without prior approval of the author.

http://www.sullivanandguzman.com

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Definition: The acronym for “Emergency Protective Order” is EPO which is an order issued by Judge after speaking with responding police officers on site.

Effect: An EPO is a restraining order issued to protect against further domestic violence. The duration of the order is until the purported victim can make a court appearance for Domestic Violence Orders in court, usually 24 -48 hours.

All information displayed in this blog posting is the property of Sullivan & Guzman APC, and cannot be re-used without prior approval of the author.

http://www.sullivanandguzman.com

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Definition: De Novo is Latin Term meaning anew or afresh.  It is generally used when there is a second hearing or trial and you pretend that the first hearing or trial never occurred.  De Novo hearings can be ordered by the Court or agreed to by the parties.

Effect: In family law proceedings, a “de novo” hearing can be a very good idea for custody proceedings.  It gives a family a chance to try out a visitation schedule and see how the children react to the schedule and how the schedule works for both parents.  The downside is that you prepare for two hearings or trials which are how family law proceedings become very expensive in terms of attorney fees.

All information displayed in this blog posting is the property of Sullivan & Guzman APC, and cannot be re-used without prior approval of the author.

http://www.sullivanandguzman.com

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Definition: Discovery is a term standing for the process of obtaining information about any type of case.  There are many discovery tools, such as Interrogatories, Depositions, Requests for Production of Documents; Subpoenas and Requests for Admissions.

Effect: This is often the most expensive and least productive part of any divorce case.  If you were in the dark on family finances, this is the price you will pay for being in the dark during your marriage.  Each one of these tools when implemented will generate thousands of dollars in your own attorneys time, and not just for the preparation of the documents.  Attorneys are responsible for analyzing the information that is obtained for discovery.  Attorneys are obligated to investigate the facts of the case, but sit down with your attorney and find out what will yield the most effective results.  Prior to initiating, discovery come up with a plan with your attorney.  For example, if you don’t think your spouse will be forthright with information and documents, don’t waste your time and money on written interrogatories, send out to subpoenas to banks immediately and obtain the reliable information directly from the bank.  Relieve your attorney from issuing all forms of discovery and come up with a strategic and effective discovery plan.

All information displayed in this blog posting is the property of Sullivan & Guzman APC, and cannot be re-used without prior approval of the author.

http://www.sullivanandguzman.com

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Definition: Unbundled Legal Services are sometimes referred to as “Limited Scope Representation” or historically as “ghosting”.    All of these terms referred to hiring an attorney for part of the case not the full “retained” case.

Effect: The term “Limited Scope” is somewhat new to the legal community.  It is not an unheard of concept but the concept of “ghosting” has been frowned upon historically by the court and is absolutely prohibited in federal courts.  The courts have become more lenient in the concept of limited representation from the influx of self represented litigants, and our attempting to make legal services more affordable.  Think of limited scope or unbundled legal services as a menu of choices that you would see in a restaurant.  A retained attorney requires you to eat the full menu; appetizers, salad, entrée and dessert.  A Limited Scope attorney comes in for the entrée only or for dessert.

For instance, our firm is hired to draft and negotiate pleadings, but not appear in court.  Or we are hired to appear for an Order to Show Cause hearing but not for the trial.  While this works well in theory, it may not be the right concept for all cases, and can be frustrating from an attorney’s perspective.  I may be interviewed to come in for hearing, finding that the client has drafted the pleadings with the Family Law Facilitator’s office, or worst yet, on their own.  The pleadings are inadequate and have the effect of limiting the attorney’s ability to argue certain points, or nuances which are very important.  As an attorney, I have two choices, redraft all the pleadings and give myself the ability to argue all points to the court, or refuse the case.  On the other hand, limited scope is a good way to start with an attorney and a client to become familiar with each other and how the attorney works before making a full “retained” commitment to each other.

All information displayed in this blog posting is the property of Sullivan & Guzman APC, and cannot be re-used without prior approval of the author.

http://www.sullivanandguzman.com

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Definition: Limited Scope Representation is sometimes referred to as “Unbundled” legal services or historically as “ghosting”.    All of these terms referred to hiring an attorney for part of the case not the full “retained” case.

Effect: The term “Limited Scope” is somewhat new to the legal community.  It is not an unheard of concept but the concept of “ghosting” has been frowned upon historically by the court and is absolutely prohibited in federal courts.  The courts have become more lenient in the concept of limited representation from the influx of self represented litigants, and our attempting to make legal services more affordable.  Think of limited scope or unbundled legal services as a menu of choices that you would see in a restaurant.  A retained attorney requires you to eat the full menu; appetizers, salad, entrée and dessert.  A Limited Scope attorney comes in for the entrée only or for dessert.

For instance, our firm is hired to draft and negotiate pleadings, but not appear in court.  Or we are hired to appear for an Order to Show Cause hearing but not for the trial.  While this works well in theory, it may not be the right concept for all cases, and can be frustrating from an attorney’s perspective.  I may be interviewed to come in for hearing, finding that the client has drafted the pleadings with the Family Law Facilitator’s office, or worst yet, on their own.  The pleadings are inadequate and have the effect of limiting the attorney’s ability to argue certain points, or nuances which are very important.  As an attorney, I have two choices, redraft all the pleadings and give myself the ability to argue all points to the court, or refuse the case.  On the other hand, limited scope is a good way to start with an attorney and a client to become familiar with each other and how the attorney works before making a full “retained” commitment to each other.

All information displayed in this blog posting is the property of Sullivan & Guzman APC, and cannot be re-used without prior approval of the author.

http://www.sullivanandguzman.com

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