From No Fault to Yo’ Fault

The clever title to this blog was proposed by an attorney friend of mine that handles some family law matters, but practices extensively in other areas of law.

We were recently discussing how “No Fault” cases get derailed.  While Mississippi is technically not a true “No Fault” state, there are provisions for an Irreconcilable Differences divorce.  (commonly referred to as “No Fault,” blogged prior.)

We were discussing what gets them off track.  The parties, after getting over the initial shock of divorce, decide they will be adults and agree.  They think they can agree to the divorce and resolve their differences.   After all, they did manage to get along for 9 years, have two kids and bought a house.  What could go wrong?   Perhaps they searched online and looked at divorceyourself.com.  A very risky idea!

Well, the old adage that the devil is in the details is never truer than in divorce.  The No Fault idea gets derailed when the fellow realizes he will have to pay 20% of his income towards child support, plus health insurance and alimony. Yikes!  He realizes it’s cheaper to keep her.  (sorry for the cliché)  The wife gets squirrely when she realizes that her half of the retirement account is consumed by balancing the equity in the house, or that the money she gets cannot be realized without significant tax consequences.

Parties to a divorce don’t realize child support is until 21, not 18 in Mississippi.  They don’t know the types of custody, or what that means.  They agree to things that they cannot legally agree  to and fail to consider the consequences.  They agree to “legal terms” that do not exist in Mississippi law, because they saw it online.  And lastly, one of them is finally convinced to see an attorney by a close friend or family member and when they do and realize the consequences of what they were about to do and back out, the other side becomes angry and backs out too.  All of a sudden an easy deal becomes complicated, expensive and adversarial.

Want to keep your situation from going from No Fault to Yo’ Fault?  Do your homework, have an assessment with an attorney that practices family law, keep the peace, and be smart.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney that can handle your divorce whether it’s your fault, their fault, or somebody else’s.  Trust the Bow Tie.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer

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If the CIA Can’t get Away With an Affair What Makes you Think you Can?!

Unless you live in a cave, or in the path of Hurricane Sandy, you have heard about the CIA director’s recent revelation that he was having an affair.  It resulted in his immediate resignation which was accepted by the White House.  While the full details will likely never be known, the fact remains that the head of the CIA, arguably a person who could keep a secret, had a big secret of his own exposed. (I realize conspiracy theories abound as to why, but that’s not the point.)

I am often asked what are some signs of an Affair. Below are some common red flags to look for;
  • Guarded of the Cell Phone.  The phone is password protected and/or never off of their person.
  • A Second Cell Phone.  They have a 2nd phone without a need or the other phone is secret.
  • Change in Attire.  The spouse is dressing in trendier clothes or “younger” or more “revealing” clothes.
  • New Undies.  Provocative undergarments appear that you don’t see in use.
  • Working out.  A sudden change in their workout regimen, without a scare from the Dr. and it’s not New Year’s Day.
  • Body Grooming.  Manscaping, or new cologne, perfumes, etc.
  • Tanning.  A sudden desire to tan.
  • Teeth Whitening.  All of a sudden caring about hygiene when they previously did not so much.
  • Body Augmentation.  Having lifts or lipos.
  • New Career.  A career shift that is out of the ordinary.
  • Longer Work Hours.  Having to work late, a lot more often, and out-of-town travel when they previously did not.
  • Unexplained Absences.  Going to the store for some milk and being gone 6 hours.
  • Bad On-Line Habits.  Surfing at all hours of the night, deleting the browser history.
  • FaceBooking Old Flames.
  • Financial Shenanigans.  Raiding joint accounts or creating new accounts and directing their monies to those.

If you see a number of these warning signs, keep your eyes and ears open, your wits about you and go see an attorney.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi and believes if the CIA can’t cover up an affair, you probably can’t either.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@wmtlawfirm.com.

Deposition Imposition; What is a Deposition?

Depositions are routinely taken in lawsuits, and are common in family law cases.  A deposition is a part of the “discovery” process where the parties or a witness are asked questions, under oath, outside of Court, so that the attorney will know what they will say when in Court.  You have heard the old maxim that an attorney should never ask a question that he doesn’t know the answer to, well the deposition is the mechanism where you can ask that question.  A wide variety of questions may be asked in the depositions even those that likely would not be relevant in Court.

Depositions are usually at the attorney’s office. The attorneys, the parties and a Court reporter are typically the only persons in attendance.  Depositions are transcribed and may be videotaped.

Questions about the witnesses education, work, finances and efforts with regards to the children are all fair game.  The dirty details of fault are also fair game. Naming names and being specific are part of the process too.  Depositions are a tool to gain information as well as pin witnesses or parties down on what their “story” is so that it does not “change” later.

I had an instance where I took the father’s deposition in a custody modification case. Both parties had remarried.  Step-parents always have a bull’s eye on their backs in custody modification cases. I made sure and asked the father several times and different ways if he had any issues with step-dad.  The answer was “No.”  Well, it took several months to get to trial. At trial the father tried to change his tune.  He attempted to say he had serious issues with step-dad and had for as long as he had been in the picture. I asked the father if recalled his deposition. He stuttered. I showed him the specific page and questions asked. He said he must have forgotten about the serious issues at the time of the deposition. Right.  He backed off on his assertions and the deposition “saved” the day.

Objections are rare in family law depositions, or at least less common than in trial.  They are typically limited to the “form of the question,” being made to preserve the right to object in the future, but the deponent usually still answers the question.  Questions regarding crimes, however, can be objected to and those are usually not answered – with the deponent pleading the 5th.  The 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives all persons the right to not incriminate themselves.  How does this come into play in family law? Adultery is a crime in Mississippi (blogged previously).

The bottom line in depositions is, while they are nerve wracking for the deponent, ultimately you are just answering questions and your job is to tell the truth and rely on your attorney.

Thompson Law Firm, PLLC     (601) 850-8000      Matthew@wmtlawfirm.com

Divorce, Child Custody & Child Support, Alimony, Contempt, Modification, Youth Court, Adoption and Appeals.

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