Category Archives: General Legal

It’s NOT a Vast Conspiracy…(usually).

“Do you think the Judge was on the take?”

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There have certainly been instances of judicial corruption. However, they are few and far between. In Family Law matters, Judges wield considerable power, read as discretion. The Judge, a.k.a. Chancellor, decides what evidence is admitted, how to determine witness credibility and what weight is given both.

To help in this endeavor, there are rules which the Court must apply and adhere to. These rules deal with whether evidence may be introduced, or if certain “witnesses” may even offer testimony. The lawyer knowing these rules, or at least that they exist and where to find them, should argue the application of the rules to the offered evidence or testimony and then the Judge determines if it is accepted.

With that background, if Court did not go your way ask your lawyer first. Were they prepared? Did they make sensible arguments? Did they know the law on the issues before the Court? Because, if they were not prepared, made nonsensical arguments and did not know the proper legal standard, perhaps your loss was not due to the vast conspiracy, but do to your own efforts and that of your counsel.

99 times out of 100 your loss is not to be put at the blame of the Judge.  The Judge wasn’t bribed. Think about it. Why would the Judge risk his or her career, reputation and freedom just to give you a bad deal? They would not. Think about the checks and balances in place, the process for having rulings appealed, the fact that every word uttered in Court is taken down, recorded and documented and then look in the mirror and ask that person if they have done the right thing.

The Judge wasn’t bribed. Just maybe, the outcome was because of the facts.

Matthew Thompson is a Family Law Attorney in Mississippi and represents parents in domestic disputes regarding divorce, alimony, child custody and support.

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Don’t Send a “Novel” in a Text Message

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The first text message was sent in 1992 from Neil Papworth, a former developer at Sema Group Telecoms. Mobile phones didn’t have keyboards at the time, so Papworth had to type the message on a PC. Papworth’s text — “Merry Christmas” — was successfully sent to Richard Jarvis at Vodafonehttp://mashable.com/2012/09/21/text-messaging-history/#7WcM8gVdbZqj

A two-word message was the first text message and is a good general guide for how long your messages should be. Texting a novel is NOT a good idea. It is hard to read. Punctuation is an afterthought. Grammar rules are ignored. There is no tone in text messages.

A text message novel is a mere paragraph in an email. In an email form it is not daunting or harassing. In text form it is over the top. Send short texts. Save the longer messages for an email or even a letter.

Matthew Thompson is a Family Law Attorney in Mississippi and reminds you to avoid sending a novel length text message.

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Don’t Overplay Your Hand.

It’s an expression from the gambling world, but holds true in family law too.

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Overplaying your hand is when you think you have the advantage, but do to whatever reason you don’t. Sometimes it’s because an important piece of information was not disclosed, or perhaps overlooked, or because the opponent has the ability to make a situation appear to be something that it is not.

For instance, it’s common in custody disputes for one side to want full custody and the other to want joint. The side that wants joint describes each side’s parenting as basically 50/50 and, of course, there is no need for child support. The side that wants full custody describes the parenting as more 80/20 and seeks support. The full custody parent can also back up their claims. They know the teachers, doctors, children’s schedules, and have done the primary care-giving. The side that wanted joint, well their job did not allow them to really do joint, but the 20% of the time they were around, they did 50% of the parenting. That would have been nice to know on the front end.

The bottom line is to be sure to tell your lawyer everything.  If you do, you can be protected as much as possible. If you don’t, they may call your bluff and you could be up the river.

Matthew Thompson is a Divorce attorney in Mississippi and warns you that  sometimes calling the person who is overplaying their hand can backfire on you. So be careful either way.

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