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)

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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.