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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Challenge to Fix, Modify, Change, or Set Aside Improper Results after RFO Hearings; Prior Errors or Other Mistakes

In most cases, clients file a Request for Order (RFO) in Family law to modify something, ask for different legal reasons, or claim that the other party is doing, did, or will continue to engage in wrongful conduct, etc. While properly done RFOs are usually not heard for longer than 20minutes at most, many pro se clients simply do not have the ability to make the proper arguments, especially when they do not know the procedure, laws, or characterization of what legal theory they are attempting to present. Typically pro se clients start arguing their positions but do not understand the legal theory supporting their claims, if they even have one; further, most judges do not spend much time on non legal arguments unless the case is so bad, it's obvious what has occurred (child beaten up, child abandoned, child left with drugs in home, or other adverse conditions not on par with proper care of kids.)
THEN IF "MEDIATION" is ordered, which it usually will be, clients do not have a clue as to how to prepare for it. During COVID, the parents usually do not even get the luxury of meeting the mediator, and only get to talk on the phone with mediator. This makes the case much more difficult unless attorney such as attorney herein, sets up a session to coach the client on how to handle mediation. Failure to prepare is a big mistake and often will result in losing whatever you are trying to get. However, if handled carefully BEFORE any type of negotiation or actual mediation is done, a client can be more adequately prepared and his or her chances can usually be bettered.

Attorney has long known this and has methods of doing this, while it cannot be guaranteed, it will obviously be better than NOT being prepared at all !!! Of the clients that attorney herein has interviewed, almost none of the clients know much about mediation at all, and are seldom adequately prepared. If the mediator does not go in your favor, the usual way of trying to change that is to set for trial. In many cases, the Judge will adopt the mediator's recommendation about 70% of the time, but if one has an opportunity to change that, it would have to be set for trial.

In attorney's estimation, a certain percentage of mediation reports are not on point, but in general, attorney does have an idea of what to expect simply because of what has occurred in the case, which judge is handling the case, and how good of a listener the client is. Clients with issues involving drugs, crime or arrest will have more trouble; also any abuse, whether domestic violence, or harassment or other chargeable offenses will hurt the case. There are MANY things that some parents do that can easily wreck a case.

HOWEVER there are also steps to overcome this if the client is determined. Attorney is very interested in difficult cases because of the challenges. Easy cases are usually fairly boring, and attorney is not that interested in boring issues to be honest. Just saying!!!