Though a perfect night for a hot toddy and a blazing fire, a band of curious barristers braved single digits and converged on the Court House Mezzanine at 5:00 p.m. for the first program in the five-part Family Law Evening Series, Trying a Child Support Case A-Z. Fred Allentoff delivered a masterful overview on the life and death of a child support case, and the program content was enlightening to veterans and greenhorns alike. The panel members addressed many thoughtful questions from a lively gallery, members of which shared personal insights of their own on trying support cases.
Sobering perspective: While the facts may support a material change in circumstance, the material change may not justify a modification (unless, as some clients will argue, it is purely a “matter of principle”). Crunch the numbers well in advance. At first blush, the outcome may look promising, but a careful review of the guidelines and analysis of the client’s financial documents – or lack thereof — will sometimes reveal that the costs and fees to litigate a modification may far exceed any cumulative gain to the client.
Judge Cavanaugh and Master Brown provided the following helpful tips and reminders from the bench:
1. Don’t be afraid to use charts and summaries;
2. Don’t forget to provide duplicate exhibits for opposing counsel and the court;
3. Do provide the court with a copy of your client’s financial statement; and, last but not least
4. Specify the relief requested on behalf of your client and substantiate. If you believe a deviation from the guidelines is appropriate, provide the court with sound rationale and evidence to support such a request.
Attendees were each provided with handouts and a binder designed to accommodate the additional materials that will be distributed throughout the series.
Many thanks to our participants: Honorable Colleen A. Cavanaugh, Master Phyllis W. Brown, Fred Allentoff, Esquire, and Program Coordinator, Mary Roby Sanders, Esquire.
March 4, 2015 — Trying a Custody Case: Tips & Pointers: Kristine K. Howanski and Judge Nancy M. Pupura
April 1, 2014 — Trying a Martial Property Case: William P. “Sam” Englehart and Judge Michael J. Finifter
May 6, 2015 — How to Try or Defend an Attorney’s Fees Argument in a Family Law Case: Craig P. Ward & Judge TBA