Virginia Family Law Trial Handbook: Pleadings, Evidence, and Strategies

Virginia Family Law Trial Handbook: Pleadings, Evidence, and Strategies
Publication Date: 2017
Electronic Forms: 14
Available Formats: Print (296 pages, softcover, 1 volume)
  Electronic (searchable PDF via flash drive, CD, or immediate download)
  Both Print and Electronic formats
Product #: 967

Information

Virginia Family Law Trial Handbook Highlights:
  • The Attorney/Client Relationship
  • Theory of the Case and Approach
  • Initial Pleadings and Service
  • Discovery
  • Evidence
  • Objections
  • Pre-Trial Motions
  • Witnesses
  • Presentation
  • Post-Trial Matters
  • Modification of Custody and Support

“This new book is designed to help attorneys properly approach and prepare a family law trial from the first client meeting, through the litigation process, to post-trial motions. There are many lessons which are taught the hard way, in the courtroom. We wrote this book to help you learn these lessons the easy way—by reading about them."
- Brian M. Hirsch and Danielle V. Poliner, authors

Virginia CLE® newest title, Virginia Family Law Trial Handbook, provides a practical, hands-on approach to divorce, custody, and support litigation in Virginia. It offers a number of options in a given legal situation and aids in determining the most appropriate course of action. Specific attention is given to the organization of evidence and the presentation of the case, a useful skill for attorneys of all levels of experience. Examples and advice on effectively questioning witnesses are also presented. The forms should be especially useful to those new to the field in drafting pleadings and discovery.

Family law is constantly evolving, through both case law and statutes. This first edition, current through July 2017, explores recent statutory developments, particularly regarding life insurance and pendente lite relief, as well as case law developments in spousal support. Additionally, the book explores the modern approach to parenting arrangements. Throughout, there is particular attention paid to what a lawyer “can do” in trying a divorce case versus what is actually effective.


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Table of Contents

CHAPTER LIST

1. The Attorney/Client Relationship

2. Theory of the Case and Approach

3. Initial Pleadings and Service

4. Discovery

5. Evidence

6. Objections

7. Pre-Trial Motions

8. Witnesses

9. Presentation

10. Post-Trial Matters

11. Modification of Custody and Support


CHAPTER 1: THE ATTORNEY/CLIENT RELATIONSHIP

1.1 FIRST CONTACT

1.2 THE INITIAL CONSULTATION

1.3 MANAGING EXPECTATIONS

1.4 FEE AGREEMENT

1.5 WHEN AND HOW TO TERMINATE THE RELATIONSHIP

CHAPTER 2: THEORY OF THE CASE AND APPROACH

2.1 CULLING OUT THE ISSUES AND EDUCATING THE
CLIENT

2.2 KNOW THE LAW

2.3 SHOOT, READY, AIM? – DEVELOPING THE THEORY
OF THE CASE

2.4 APPROACH: BRUSH FIRE OR FOREST FIRE?

CHAPTER 3: INITIAL PLEADINGS AND SERVICE

3.1 DRAFTING PERSUASIVE PLEADINGS

3.2 ASKING FOR THE APPROPRIATE RELIEF

3.3 TYPES OF INITIAL PLEADINGS
        3.301 Complaint for Separate Maintenance
        3.302 Divorce
        3.303 Annulment
        3.304 Sealing the Record

3.4 DEFENSIVE PLEADINGS
        3.401 Answer
        3.402 Claiming the Fifth Amendment
        3.403 Demurrer
        3.404 Pleas in Bar
        3.405 Grounds of Defense

3.5 COUNTERCLAIMS

3.6 VENUE

3.7 SERVICE OF PROCESS

APPENDIX 3-1: COMPLAINT FOR SEPARATE
MAINTENANCE

APPENDIX 3-2: COMPLAINT FOR DIVORCE ON GROUNDS
OF LIVING SEPARATE AND APART FOR STATUTORY
PERIOD WHEN PARTIES HAVE NO MARITAL
SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

APPENDIX 3-3: COMPLAINT FOR DIVORCE ON FAULT
GROUNDS

CHAPTER 4: DISCOVERY

4.1 SCOPE OF DISCOVERY
        4.101 Limitation in Family Law Cases
        4.102 How Far Back to Request Documents
        4.103 Finances of New Spouses in Support Cases

4.2 INTERROGATORIES
        4.201 In General
        4.202 Limitation on Number
        4.203 Allegations of Negative Behavior

4.3 REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS
        4.301 In General
        4.302 Copies of Hard Drives
        4.303 Financial Documents
        4.304 Entry upon Land or to Inspect Property
        4.305 Limits on Production of Documents
        4.306 Organizing and Labeling Requested Documents

4.4 REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION
        4.401 In General
        4.402 Limitations on Number of Requests
        4.403 Failure to Respond; Effect of Admission; Fees for
        Failure to Admit

4.5 ATTORNEY-ISSUED SUBPOENAS/HEALTH RECORDS
        4.501 Witness Subpoena
        4.502 Subpoenas Duces Tecum
        4.503 Obtaining Out-of-State Documents
        4.504 Health Care Records

4.6 RULE 4:10 EXAMINATIONS
        4.601 In General
        4.602 Establishing Need for Examination
        4.603 Rule 4:10 Requirements

4.7 CUSTODY EVALUATIONS
        4.701 JDR and Circuit Courts Compared
        4.702 Tactical Considerations

4.8 VOCATIONAL EVALUATIONS – VIRGINIA CODE
SECTION 20-108.1
        4.801 Vocational Rehabilitation Experts
        4.802 Good Faith and Reasonableness of Party’s
        Employment Decisions

4.9 DEPOSITIONS
        4.901 Do’s and Don’ts
        4.902 Experts
        4.903 Who May Attend a Deposition
        4.904 Objections in Depositions
        4.905 Whether to “Read” or Not to “Read”
        4.906 Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act

4.10 OBJECTIONS TO DISCOVERY
        4.1001 Generally
        4.1002 Privilege
        4.1003 Work Product Rule

4.11 PROTECTIVE ORDERS

4.12 FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH DISCOVERY
        4.1201 Order to Compel
        4.1202 Motion for Sanctions
        4.1203 Types of Sanctions Usually Imposed
        4.1204 Fee Awards
    
4.13 SUPPLEMENTING DISCOVERY

4.14 THE PRETRIAL ORDER: FRIEND OR FOE?

APPENDIX 4-1: INTERROGATORIES FOR ISSUES RELATED
TO DIVORCE

APPENDIX 4-2: INTERROGATORIES FOR CUSTODY,
PARENTING TIME, AND CHILD SUPPORT ISSUES
IN JDR COURT

APPENDIX 4-3: REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION OF
DOCUMENTS

APPENDIX 4-4: AGREED ORDER ALLOWING COMPUTER
IMAGING AND ANALYSIS

APPENDIX 4-5: REQUESTS FOR ADMISSIONS

APPENDIX 4-6: AGREED PROTECTIVE ORDER

APPENDIX 4-7: UNIFORM PRETRIAL SCHEDULING ORDER
(RULE 1:18(B))

CHAPTER 5: EVIDENCE

5.1 ELEMENTS OF PROOF

5.2 AUTHENTICATION

5.3 THE EXHIBIT NOTEBOOK

5.4 GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
        5.401 Corroboration
        5.402 Affidavits
        5.403 Adultery-Standard of Proof
    
5.5 CUSTODY CASES
        5.501 Legal Custody
        5.502 Physical Custody
        5.503 Statutory Factors and Evidence
        5.504 Essential Exhibits
        5.505 The Child as Witness
        5.506 Essential Witnesses
        5.507 Testimony

5.6 EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION
        5.601 Equitable Distribution Law
        5.602 Four-Step Analysis
        5.603 Identification of Property and Debts
        5.604 Valuation
        5.605 Classification as Marital, Separate, or Hybrid
        5.606 Division
        5.607 Comingled Assets
        5.608 Real Estate Assets
        5.609 Retirement Assets
        5.610 Businesses
        5.611 Stock Options and Restricted Stock Grants
        5.612 Whole Life Insurance Policies
        5.613 Tax Issues
        5.614 Financial Questionnaires

5.7 SPOUSAL SUPPORT
        5.701 Discretion of Court
        5.702 Statutory Factors and Evidence
        5.703 Three-Step Approach to Spousal Support: Amount,
        Duration, and Modifiability
        5.704 Retirement
        5.705 Rehabilitative Spousal Support
        5.706 Adultery and Manifest Injustice
        5.707 Life Insurance

5.8 CHILD SUPPORT
        5.801 Gross Income
        5.802 Deviation from Guideline Support
        5.803 Income Deduction Orders

5.9 SANCTIONS

5.10 ATTORNEY’S FEES
        5.1001 Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court
        5.1002 Circuit Court
        5.1003 Discretion of Court
        5.1004 Bifurcated Proceedings
        5.1005 When an Attorney’s Fees Award is Due
        5.1006 Expert Testimony
        5.1007 Court Need Not Articulate Rationale; Basis in
        Record
        5.1008 Reasonableness of Fee a Lawyer May Charge

APPENDIX 5-1: STIPULATION

APPENDIX 5-2: AFFIDAVIT OF PLAINTIFF

APPENDIX 5-3: AFFIDAVIT OF CORROBORATING WITNESS

APPENDIX 5-4: FINANCIAL QUESTIONNAIRE

CHAPTER 6: OBJECTIONS

6.1 INTRODUCTION

6.2 RELEVANCE

6.3 HEARSAY
        6.301 Admission by Party Opponent
        6.302 Present Sense Impression
        6.303 Excited Utterance
        6.304 Then-Existing Mental, Emotional, or Physical
        Condition
        6.305 Business and Other Records

6.4 PRIVILEGE
        6.401 Attorney-Client Privilege
        6.402 Statement in Contemplation of a Crime
        6.403 Inadvertent Disclosures of Privileged Information
        6.404 Disclosure of Health Care Information
        6.405 Fifth Amendment Privilege against Self-
        Incrimination

6.5 FOUNDATION (LACK OF)
        6.501 Witness Testimony
        6.502 Documents, Voice Recordings, Videos, and
        Photographs

6.6 LEADING

6.7 CALLS FOR SPECULATION

6.8 UNRESPONSIVE

6.9 ARGUMENTATIVE

6.10 BADGERING

6.11 ASKED AND ANSWERED

6.12 ASSUMING FACTS NOT IN EVIDENCE

6.13 SCOPE OF EXAMINATION (OUTSIDE OF)

6.14 BEST EVIDENCE RULE

6.15 DEMONSTRATIVE EXHIBITS

6.16 TELEPHONE CONVERSATION RECORDINGS

6.17 COMPOUND QUESTIONS

6.18 OFFERS OF COMPROMISE

6.19 PAROL EVIDENCE

6.20 VIOLATION OF RULE ON WITNESSES

6.21 IMPEACHING ONE’S OWN WITNESS

6.22 MEDIATION

CHAPTER 7: PRE-TRIAL MOTIONS

7.1 INTRODUCTION

7.2 PENDENTE LITE MOTIONS

7.3 MOTIONS FOR MEDIATION

7.4 MOTIONS IN LIMINE

7.5 MOTION TO COMPEL AND FOR DISCOVERY
SANCTIONS

7.6 MOTION FOR ALTERNATE VALUATION

7.7 MOTIONS FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF

7.8 MOTION TO DIVEST JURISDICTION

7.9 MOTION FOR CONTINUANCE

7.10 MOTION TO NONSUIT
        7.1001 Requirements
        7.1002 Assessment of Expert Witness Fees and
        Travel Costs

CHAPTER 8: WITNESSES

8.1 EXPERT WITNESSES
        8.101 Experts Typically Used
        8.102 When to Engage
        8.103 Permission Required to Name as Own Expert
        8.104 Disclosure of Expert Witnesses
        8.105 Qualification as Expert
        8.106 Rules for Examining Experts
        8.107 Outline of Questions for Expert
        8.108 Written Report of Expert’s Opinion

8.2 LAY WITNESSES
        8.201 Need for Subpoena
        8.202 Preparing Questions for Witness
        8.203 Call Client as Last Witness
        8.204 When to Excuse Witness

CHAPTER 9: PRESENTATION

9.1 COURT REPORTERS

9.2 RULE ON WITNESSES

9.3 ORDER OF PRESENTATION

9.4 ORDER OF WITNESSES

9.5 THE TRIAL NOTEBOOK

9.6 THE EXHIBIT NOTEBOOK

9.7 OPENING

9.8 MOTION TO STRIKE

9.9 REBUTTAL

9.10 CLOSING ARGUMENT

9.11 THE RULING

CHAPTER 10: POST-TRIAL MATTERS

10.1 MOTIONS TO RECONSIDER

10.2 MOTIONS TO RE-OPEN/REHEAR

10.3 PRESERVING THE MATTER FOR APPEAL IN JUVENILE
AND DOMESTIC RELATIONS DISTRICT COURT

10.4 PRESERVING THE MATTER FOR APPEAL IN CIRCUIT
COURT

10.5 ENFORCEMENT OF RULINGS: RULE TO SHOW CAUSE

10.6 SPECIAL COMMISSIONER

10.7 ATTORNEYS LIEN

10.8 BANKRUPTCY

CHAPTER 11: MODIFICATION OF CUSTODY AND SUPPORT

11.1 CHILD CUSTODY

11.2 CHILD SUPPORT

11.3 SPOUSAL SUPPORT

11.4 RETROACTIVITY IN SUPPORT CASES

11.5 ATTORNEY’S FEES

Authors

Authors

Brian M. Hirsch, Hirsch & Ehlenberger, P.C. / Reston (Expand/Collapse Bio)

Brian M. Hirsch, a partner at Hirsch & Ehlenberger, P.C., has been a divorce attorney litigating and settling cases in Northern Virginia since 1985, and is certified by the Virginia Supreme Court in Family Mediation. Mr. Hirsch is listed in “The Best Lawyers in America,” Washingtonian magazine's “Top Divorce Lawyers,” Northern Virginia magazine’s “Top Divorce Lawyers” and Virginia Business magazine's “Legal Elite.”

Mr. Hirsch is the editor of the Virginia Family Law Quarterly, the official publication of the Family Law Section of the Virginia State Bar. He is a past Chair of the Virginia State Bar Family Law Section Board of Governors and has been a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers since 2004. He is also a current member of the Virginia Bar Association Family Law Coalition, and served on the Virginia State Bar Fifth District Disciplinary Committee from 2011 to 2017. In 2015, he was appointed as a substitute judge for the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court for a six-year term.

Mr. Hirsch has lectured extensively on family law practice for the Fairfax Bar Association, the Virginia State Bar and the Virginia Continuing Legal Education among others. In addition, he has authored and co-authored many articles for the Division of Dispute Resolution of the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Virginia Supreme Court, Family Law News, and Virginia Lawyer.

Mr. Hirsch received a BA (Political Science), and BA (Religious Studies), magna cum laude, in 1982 from Pennsylvania State University, and a JD in 1985 from the American University Washington College of Law. He is a member of the Fairfax and Loudoun Bar Associations and the Virginia State Bar and is admitted to practice in Virginia.

Danielle V. Poliner, Hirsch & Ehlenberger, P.C. / Reston (Expand/Collapse Bio)

Danielle V. Poliner joined Hirsch & Ehlenberger, P.C., in April 2013.

Ms. Poliner received a BA (Psychology) from the University of Virginia in 2007 and a JD from Emory University School of Law in 2012. At Emory, she was a member of the Emory International Law Review, serving as a Notes and Comments Editor of the Law Review, reading and editing the work of her peers. Additionally, her comment on the proposed International Megan’s Law of 2010 was published in Fall 2011.

Ms. Poliner is a member of the Fairfax and Loudoun Bar Associations and the Virginia State Bar and is admitted to practice in Virginia.

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