Category Archives: DIVORCE ISSUES

ADMISSIBILITY OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM (GAL) REPORTS: How to overcome hearsay objections (20-01)

Almost every GAL report I have ever read included statements made by the parties as well as the child(ren). Sometimes those statements can be extremely prejudicial, especially those made by young children (many of whom are too young or otherwise unable to testify in court).

Statements such as: “I saw daddy hit mommy in the face” or “daddy touches my privates late at night” or “I get mad at mommy because she leaves me home alone” or “when mommy gets really mad she slaps my face and it hurts”.

Because those type of statements could form the basis for charging a party with a criminal offense, many defense attorneys will vehemently demand those statements be stricken from the report arguing that they constitute inadmissible hearsay.

Whether you are a prosecutor or a Guardian Ad Litem, how do you plan on responding to the hearsay objection? And if you are the presiding judge what legal analysis do you apply to reach a proper ruling?

The attached Training Update answers all those questions and also provides prosecutors and Guardians with a sample in-court script to follow.

Click here for a print ready copy of Update 2020-1

Please feel free to share this update with other prosecutors, guardians or judges that might benefit from it.

Spousal Maintenance & “Karon Waivers”: The #1 Rule That Every Judge (and attorney) Should Know (15-04)

Spousal_Maintenance logo

Divorce decree 1 KARON WAIVERS: The vast majority of divorces are resolved by agreement of the parties. With regard to spousal maintenance, many agreements include what are commonly referred to as “Karon waivers.” Karon waivers are prepared by the attorneys and approved by the court. On close examination, however, many “Karon waivers” do NOT contain crucial language required by both statute and case-law. In other words, a large number of “Karon waivers” presented to the court for approval are defective and legally unenforceable. This is a potential problem that is easily avoidable. Gossman v. Gossman, 847 N.W.2d 718 (Minn.App.2014).

This update explains what “Karon waivers” are and will discuss the #1 rule that judges, attorneys and divorcing parties should know in order to ensure that “Karon waivers” are valid and enforceable. 

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO READ MORE:

 PendletonUpdate.15-04

Urine Drug Testing: The Risk of False Positives – What Judges Need to Know

immunoassaysJudges rely on urine drug screening (UDS) tests in a myriad of criminal and civil settings. In criminal cases, defendants are often ordered by the court not to use or possess alcohol or mood altering chemicals as a condition of their pretrial release or probation. In family court cases, parents are often ordered to undergo UDS as part of a court-ordered child custody evaluation. The results of the UDS can have tremendous adverse consequences for defendants (incarceration or loss of privileges) or for divorcing parents (loss of custody or parenting time). The potential for false-positive urine drug screen (UDS) results presents a due process dilemma for the presiding judge. When and under what circumstances can a judge feel comfortable relying on the results of a urine drug screening test without a secondary confirmation test? This training update will address the following six topics:

  1. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FALSE POSITIVE RESULTS
  2. WHAT COMMON SUBSTANCES CAN CAUSE FALSE POSITIVES?
  3. MEDICAL AND SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY RECOMMENDATIONS
  4. WHAT SHOULD JUDGES DO?
  5. SPECIAL CONCERN – CHILD CUSTODY EVALUATIONS
  6. URBAN MYTH – FALSE POSITIVES BASED ON 2nd-HAND SMOKE

CLICK ON LINK BELOW TO READ MORE

PendletonUpdate14-20

FAMILY LAW MOTIONS – 10 BASIC RULES (12-09)

CORRECTION – THIS UPDATE CONTAINS A SMALL CORRECTION TO THE PREVIOUS UPDATE – SEE PAGE 2, PARAGRAPH 4, UNDERLINED SECTION, DEALING WITH COURT APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEMS. PLEASE DISCARD THE PREVIOUS UPDATE DATED DECEMBER 3, 2012.

PREMISE: Family law motions are controlled by statute and the rules of family court procedure. Although most attorneys follow those rules, some do not. In order to effectively evaluate a family law motion there are 10 basic rules and judicial best practices that every judge should know:

 PendletonUpdate12-09

 

 

Child Support – 5 Tax Rules Every Judge Should Know (13-04)

QUESTION: When drafting or reviewing a final divorce decree involving an order of child support, what five (5) tax rules should every judge (and attorney) be aware of?

CLICK ON LINK BELOW TO READ MORE

Pendleton13.04- Child Support- 5 Tax Rules Every Judge Should Know