Discovery Process Pro Se

  • By 7016490195
  • 27 Jan, 2017

 I have no doubt, that some of the worst moments in my day to day practice consist in litigating, not the merits of my client’s case, but whether some other party is complying with the rules of civil procedure. In family law cases, whether I represent the Plaintiff or the Defendant, when I am trying to obtain necessary information from opposing, it’s as though I am on the offense and the defense.

 But when one is pro se and receives documents in the mail labeled “Interrogatories and Request for Production of Documents” asking a series of questions and for personal documents, it can be daunting. “Why should I answer any of her lawyer’s questions and give her lawyer my personal information? I don’t want to help the other side! It’s not fair!” Well Mr. Pro se, you have to answer the questions and provide the requested documents unless you can properly assert a relevant objection. And, let’s be honest, “I don’t want to” and “it’s none of her business” are not relevant objections. The reason that you have a “Motion to Compel & Notice of Hearing” in your mail from her lawyer is probably because you did not answer the questions nor send the documents that were requested pursuant to the Nebraska Rules of Civil Procedure. And yes, her lawyer could get a court order for you, Mr. Pro-se, to pay her legal fees for bringing the motion to compel you to do something.

 As a pro-se litigant, you now want the same information that her lawyer is seeking from you. So, how do you do it? It’s simple, right…Do you know what you need to ask for in the request for production of documents to help prove your side of the case? Do you know what you need to ask her in the interrogatories to help prove your side of the case? Do you know how to ask the questions? Or, are you going to simply re-type what her lawyer sent you and send that to her lawyer?

 As a pro-se litigant, what if her lawyer does not send you responses to the Interrogatories & Request for Production of Documents that you sent to them? What’s to be done now? Getting in front of the Judge on a proper motion and requesting a court order for the documents takes not only time but you should also cite the rule of civil procedure that her lawyer failed to comply with.

 On the day of trial, Mr. Pro-se is confident that the Judge will agree with him even though she has a lawyer because it’s the fair thing to do. However, Mr. Pro-se gets blinded by her lawyer requesting that all of Mr. Pro-se’s exhibits be excluded because he did not turn them over in discovery and “discovery is deemed ongoing and needs to be supplemented”. What do you mean supplemented? Mr. Pro-se turned over his pay-stubs for the month that the Request for Production of Documents were due, eight months ago and her lawyer never specifically requested new ones….right? Wrong. Answers to discovery need to be supplemented as information becomes available, literally speaking Mr. Pro-se, you should have added to the documents that you sent to her lawyer to make your answers more complete. “But that’s not fair” and “I didn’t know” are not going to be valid or relevant arguments at a trial. So, even though you had the facts on your side, without complying with the rules of civil procedure, you could lose your case because of things that you “didn’t know”. In any family law case, ask yourself, is saving a few thousand dollars really worth jeopardizing your case, your children, or your property? Again, no one can answer that question for you, except you.

By Melissa M. Oestmann

Blog posts are for advertising purposes only. Every client’s situation and case are fact specific.  This blog post is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed as formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer / client relationship. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail.    

 

 

 

Oestmann & Albertsen

By 7016490195 07 Jun, 2017

So you’re facing criminal charges- what happens next? Whether a person is charged with a violation of a city ordinance or state statute, whether the charge is a misdemeanor or felony, it is understandable that one might feel a mixture of emotions. A person facing criminal charges might be confused, scared, anxious, upset, angry, stressed out, or any number of other emotions. Understanding what to expect at the very first court appearance can go a long way in helping a person deal with all of the feelings that may surface when confronted with this situation.

After a person finds out he or she is facing criminal charges, that person will be told there has been a court date scheduled. This court date is called an initial appearance or arraignment. If a person has been arrested and taken to jail, he or she might appear before a judge for a bond setting hearing prior to the initial appearance or arraignment. At the initial appearance, the judge informs the defendant of his/her rights during the criminal process. The judge may use words that are foreign to someone who has never been through the process before. What are those rights each defendant is entitled to and exactly what does each right mean?

Right to counsel: In Nebraska, if a defendant is facing possible incarceration time, the defendant is entitled to have an attorney represent him/her. If the defendant cannot afford to hire an attorney, the court will ask the defendant to complete a financial affidavit to determine if the defendant qualifies for a court appointed attorney. Many counties in Nebraska with larger populations have a public defender office. If a defendant qualifies financially for a court appointed attorney, the judge will appoint the public defender to represent that individual. Some smaller counties in Nebraska enter into contracts with private attorneys to provide public defender services for that county. If there is no public defender available in the county or the public defender has a conflict of interest in representing a particular defendant, the judge will appoint a private attorney to represent the defendant. This private attorney is appointed at no cost to the defendant and is paid by the county at an established court appointed rate.

Right to trial: A defendant has the right to a trial where the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the criminal charges.

Right to cross-examine witnesses against defendant: A defendant has a right to cross-examine and question any witnesses presented by the state at a trial.

Right to present evidence: A defendant has a right to present evidence on his/her own behalf to defend against the charges brought by the state. Evidence that a defendant could present includes witnesses, documents, pictures, etc.

Right to a preliminary hearing: The first appearance for any criminal defendant is always in county court for state charges. If a defendant is facing felony charges, the defendant has a right to a preliminary hearing in county court. At the preliminary hearing, the state must prove that there is probable cause to bound the felony charges over to the district court. The district court is where the remainder of the proceedings for felonies are held. In basic terms, probable cause means that the state must prove that a crime has been committed and that the defendant is connected to that crime in some way. At the preliminary hearing, the defendant has the right to cross-examine witnesses presented by the state and to present evidence on his/her own behalf.

After a defendant is informed of his/her rights in a criminal case, the judge will advise the defendant of exactly what charges the defendant is facing. The defendant will learn what the potential sentences for the charges are, including fines or if there is a possibility of incarceration.

After informing a defendant of his/her charges, the judge may ask the defendant to enter a plea to the charges. If the defendant does not have an attorney at the hearing, the judge may continue the hearing for the defendant to enter a plea after consulting with an attorney. The judge will advise defendants that they can enter three different pleas: guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If a defendant pleads guilty, he/she is admitting she committed the crimes as charged. A not guilty plea is exactly as it sounds, the defendant is not admitting to the charges. A no contest plea means a defendant is saying that he/she will not contest the facts of the case as the state presents them. If a defendant enters a no contest plea and the judge believes the state’s facts of the case prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt, the judge will find the defendant guilty of those charges.

After entry of a plea, the judge may address the issue of bond, even if bond has been addressed previously. A defendant can also request that the bond be addressed. A judge could require that a specific monetary amount be posted in order for an incarcerated defendant to gain release. In Nebraska judges will usually require a defendant to post 10% of a certain amount to be released from custody. A judge may release a defendant into the custody of a pretrial department who will then monitor the defendant while the case is pending. Each pretrial department has different requirements and that specific department will evaluate defendants to see if a defendant qualifies for pretrial release supervision. A judge may also determine that it is appropriate for a defendant to be released on his/her own recognizance (a PR or OR bond). A PR bond means the judge trusts the defendant to show up at court without the fear of losing money that has been posted to be released from custody. Sometimes the judge attaches a monetary amount to a PR bond, such as $1,000.00, which means a defendant would have to pay $1,000.00 to the court in the event the defendant did not show up at a future hearing.

The judge may order a defendant to follow certain conditions of bond, such as refraining from the use of alcohol or controlled substances, avoiding contact with alleged victims, or refraining from leaving the county or state.

Criminal court can be a scary, intimidating, and confusing place for defendants, especially for those defendants who are finding themselves in a new, unfamiliar situation. The best way to make it through the process is by having an experienced attorney at your side to help you.

*Disclaimer: This article generally addresses the initial appearance/arraignment process in Nebraska state court. The process may differ in other jurisdictions, including in federal courts.

By 7016490195 22 May, 2017

You’ve been through the divorce process and have your Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, you are done right? Well, maybe. Once you have received the signed Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, be sure to complete the following checklist to ensure that you have completed everything that you need to do:

1)    Retain Copies for Future Reference: This is something that you should have been doing from the beginning of the case-hence the line in all your attorney’s letters “please retain this document for your records”. If you do not have a copy of the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, Property Settlement Agreement, Parenting Plan and Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) , obtain one and put them in a safe place. You can get a certified copy of these documents from the Clerk of the District Court. You will need a copy of your Decree of Dissolution of Marriage during tax season as well as other times.

2)    Get All Your Property: If you have not done so already, remove all your personal property from your ex-spouse’s house or possession immediately. If you have property in your possession that has been awarded to your ex-spouse, comply with the Decree immediately to return all items. Take a picture of any property that you return to your ex-spouse or have your ex-spouse sign a statement that they’ve received all their property from you.

3)    Remove Your Ex-Spouse’s Name from Any Joint Credit Cards: If you have not done so already, remove your ex-spouse’s name from your credit cards and bank accounts.

4)    Remove Your Ex-Spouse’s Name from Property Awarded to You: Have your ex-spouse’s name removed from any vehicle titles, checking accounts, saving accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies and real estate.

5)    Have a Will Prepared: Now that you are finally divorced, obtain a new will designating who will have custody of your children, who will be trustee of any property remaining and who will make your medical decisions should you become incapacitated.

6)    Change Withholding Information: Notify your human resources department that you are now Single for tax purposes. You do not want to wait until the end of the year and have to owe a large amount of money since you were withholding at the lower married rate instead of single rate.

7)    Take Copies of Parenting Plan & Decree to Daycare(s)/School(s): If you and your ex-spouse are both ordered to pay a percentage of daycare, provide the daycare with a copy of that Decree. Some daycares are willing to work with both parents and bill each parent directly.

 

While most of these things seem like “no brainer’s”, if you procrastinate, you could end up with real problems and more attorney’s fees to pay in order to correct the situation.

By: Melissa M. Oestmann

Blog posts are for advertising purposes only. Every client’s situation and case are fact specific. This blog post is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed as formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic email.

 

 

By 7016490195 08 May, 2017

In the beginning of your relationship, everything seemed so simple and you were sure that you would beat the odds and never get divorced. But, here you are, considering a divorce. It’s normal to be emotional and it’s normal to be angry, after all, you are only human. However, it’s important to remember that your actions or inaction before and during the divorce process can affect your familial and financial circumstances for years to come.

Going through a divorce can be extremely stressful both emotionally and financially. While it is easy to get carried away with anger and desires for revenge, you need to protect yourself, your children and your assets.

You found your attorney, filed for divorce, now what? Here are a few tips to help you during the process:

1.       Take the Emotions Out of It : While Carrie Underwood may have “dug her key into the side of his pretty, little supped up four-wheel drive”, do not lose your cool. No matter how frustrated you are or hurt by your soon to be ex, do not let your emotions interfere with the business at hand. In reality, taking revenge out on his pick-up will cost you in the long run in your own bank account.

2.       Do Not Assume and Do Not Hide Assets : People often make the mistake that if the car or the house or the bank account is in my name alone, my ex cannot lay claim to it. The reality is that if something was earned during the marriage, it’s probably divisible—the same goes for debts. When informing your attorney about your financial situation, be honest about what is out there. An attorney would rather know about some asset that is not going to be divisible during the divorce than finding out at the last minute about that 401(k) that he has been contributing to since the wedding.

3.       Consider Compromise:  A divorce is not usually a situation where winner takes all. Divorcing spouses will often refrain from compromising out of spite. While it is tempting to want to fight your soon to be ex at every juncture, compromising could save you hundreds of dollars in legal fees. I am by no means, advocating for giving away the family farm, take into consideration whether the asset that you both want is worth the hourly rate for your attorney to fight for it. If it is, do not compromise. But, if you realize that the living room TV is only worth $300.00 and your attorney’s hourly rate is $220.00, at some point, fighting for that one item is not financially beneficial.

4.       Read & Keep All Documents: After you have retained your attorney, they are going to be sending you copies of pleadings, letters, emails etc. READ THEM! Keep copies of everything that is sent to you! Have a folder or a drawer that you put only documents related to the divorce. You do not want to be in a position where your attorney is asking for your parenting certificate and you have no idea what they are talking about because you did not read nor keep their letters.

5.       Remember Your Children’s Emotions: You are going through an emotionally stressful event in your life. Your children are as well. Support your children and remind them that while you and your soon to be ex are divorcing, it is not the children’s fault. Do not use your children as your rock and do not vent to them about the divorce process.

6.       Be Mindful of Your Behavior: It’s tempting to seek comfort in your mutual friends, it’s not always a good idea. Your friends, while trying to be helpful, could inadvertently hinder your case. While everyone likes to think that your friends will maintain your confidence, things like a “subpoena” could force your friends to tell all your deepest, darkest secrets.

7.       Dress Appropriately for Court: While the sentiment may seem like a “no brainer”, it’s important to dress professional. You are going to court, not a dance club, not a protest, so do not wear that short skirt and too low cut top to “show him what he’s missing”. There is a time and place for everything and “showing him what he’s missing” is not for the courthouse.

This divorce process is a roller coaster of emotions. You will be grieving the loss of the marriage while trying to simultaneously fight for your future. Don’t be afraid to have emotions and process them.

 

By: Melissa M. Oestmann

Blog posts are for advertising purposes only. Every client’s situation and case are fact specific. This blog post is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed as formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic email.

By 7016490195 08 Mar, 2017

Deciding to file for a divorce is a difficult decision that results in more questions than answers. Finding an attorney can be a daunting process if you do not know where to begin.

You’ve seen the commercials for certain law firms during your favorite soap opera, you’ve seen the billboards for law firms with catchy phrases, you’ve seen the Google ads and the websites but which attorney will be the best fit for you?

During your initial consultation, you have to find an attorney that you get a good feeling about-even if you have to have two or three initial consultations with different law firms. You are going to have to put your trust in this individual. It is important to trust that your attorney is looking out for you and is on your side because when the time comes for your attorney to tell you something you don’t want to hear, you have to be able to trust that your attorney is being honest with you.

Age does not necessarily reflect experience! You want someone who can answer your questions.

It is important to consider the cost. The most expensive attorney is not always the best attorney. In the same token, the cheapest attorney is not always the best way to go.

If you want an attorney who is going to be aggressive, then find an attorney willing to be aggressive. If you want an attorney who is going to work with opposing counsel to try to negotiate an amicable settlement, find an attorney who is willing to do that.

Before you go into an initial consultation with an attorney, look them up! Review their website, check if they have any bar complaints. Do your homework! You are hiring an attorney to represent you. As the client, you drive the ship and should not be hiring the first attorney that you see because you think it’s a bargain. Follow your gut instincts on someone, you either like them or you don’t. Just because your brother’s best friend’s mother’s cousin liked this one particular attorney, does not mean that attorney will be the best fit for you.

I’ve represented people who were referred by a previous opposing party who hated the outcome of their divorce! Get referrals but hire someone who is a good fit for you.

 

By Melissa M. Oestmann

Blog posts are for advertising purposes only. Every client’s situation and case are fact specific.  This blog post is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed as formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer / client relationship. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail.      

By 7016490195 17 Feb, 2017

Divorce is tricky it’s usually messy and it’s always the end to a chapter of your life. Divorce happens for a million reasons and I can assure you that your divorce story is as unique to you as your “how we met” story. So let’s talk about preparing for a divorce. Much like the zombie apocalypse preparation is key. So let’s get you a survival guide shall we?

1.      REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE. This is number 1 because it’s the thing all of my clients seem to lose sight of at some point during the process. YOU are a person, an individual. Your marriage is not all there is to you. This moment is not the end of you and it does not define you. DO NOT LET THIS DEFINE YOU. Just remember “You are good enough. You are smart enough. And gosh darn it, people like you.”

2.      GATHER YOUR PAPER TRAIL. You won’t need it on the day you get your attorney, but eventually you will need all or most of the following: tax returns for the last 3 years, proof of income for the last six months (paystubs), any information on health insurance that you have (including premiums and what is covered), a complete credit report, and copies of any bank/credit card/mortgage statements you can get for the last year. If you don’t have all of this stuff don’t worry. I don’t either. The trick is knowing where to get it…I don’t know that either. I’m kidding. freecreditreport.com will give you your credit report and you can talk to HR about the work stuff, and you can probably call your bank and press “0” until you finally get a person and beg for all that financial stuff.

3.      MAKE A LIST, CHECK IT OBSESSIVELY. Make a list of what you want/don’t want out of the divorce. Some key things to include: custody and support of the kids, the house, the stuff in the house, the cars, the dog, the cat (aka the shady roommate who poops in a box), the debt, the assets (bank accounts, retirement, etc.) You might find yourself updating this list occasionally but it’s important to have it. It will keep you focused. You’ll thank me when you can avoid spending $500 fighting over a set of Walmart dishes because your attorney will remind you IT ISN”T ON THE LIST. It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to “win” the list will help keep you and your attorney focused on the real goals.

4.      GET A CALENDAR AND KEEP IT UPDATED. Welcome to the legal world, where only the Judge is allowed to be late. You are going to have so many fun things to keep track of that a calendar is necessary. If you are cool and hip you can use your blackberry (still a thing? No…whatever). If you are like me and need to write it down get a paper calendar and then still force your staff to keep an online calendar while you hoard the paper version. You have appointments with you need to keep.

5.      GET A TEMPORARY POWER OF ATTORNEY. Why? Because otherwise your spouse gets to make medical decisions for you if you get hurt and cannot make them yourself. And that might not end well for you. Or maybe it does. Probably depends on what kind of day your soon-to-be ex-spouse is having. “May the odds be ever in your favor”.

6.      CREATE A FOLDER. Keep EVERYTHING involving your case in it. This folder is going to save you a fortune in attorney’s fees. Check your orders and letters from your attorney BEFORE reaching out and running up a bill. Have the folder out and ready to go when you call your attorney so you are both looking at the same thing at the same time.

7.      FIND A GOOD ATTORNEY. I’m sure at some point we’ll end up doing a blog post about this but let’s keep it simple for now. You need someone in your corner that you trust. Do you think Rocky would have won anything without Mickey? NO. Abbott needed Costello. David Spade really needed Chris Farley. You need a good attorney. If for nothing else that damn “who’s on first” bit isn’t going to work without a partner.

8.      BUDGET. BUDGET. BUDGET. A very wise and old attorney (I kid) told me once that his firm tells all incoming clients to anticipate spending as much as they did on their wedding on their divorce. And as much as I will never admit that he’s right…well, he isn’t wrong. A good attorney costs money, dividing your assets usually means refinancing anything from that sick boat you got last year to your house. It almost always leads to some lifestyle changes. DO NOT wait until the credit cards bills are piling up to acknowledge this. Do a budget using ONLY your income (I see you over there trying to guess what child support will be). Figure out a way to live on that (yes you can, stop it and go back to #1).

This list isn’t exhaustive, but it was exhausting to write. Everyone’s divorce is different, but this is the basics. And speaking of The Zombie Survival Guide (which I was, even if you weren’t) I’ll leave you with this: “Remember; no matter how desperate the situation seems, time spent thinking clearly is never time wasted.”


By Ashley L. Albertsen

Blog posts are for advertising purposes only. Every client’s situation and case are fact specific.  This blog post is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed as formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer / client relationship. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail.      

By 7016490195 13 Feb, 2017

Recently, I reconnected with a friend that I haven’t spoken to in over decade. When asked what I’ve been up to, I replied that I’d become an attorney. I realized later that I omitted that I’m a "divorce attorney". Why omit it? I love what I do. However, more often than not, when I tell someone that I am a "divorce attorney", people always reply with “Why” or my all-time favorite “How can you ruin people’s marriages for a living”.

I can assure you that I do not nor have I ever ruined a client’s marriage after they have retained me. By the time that someone is in my office for an initial consultation or to hire me to represent them in their divorce proceedings, their marriage is already on the rocks. As a divorce attorney, it is not my “job” to “ruin marriages”, “to come between a husband and wife”, or to “destroy a family”.  It is my “job” to explain the law to my client, to protect their legal interests, and inform the client what their options are. If a client tells me that they want to be amicable about their divorce and have already reached agreements, I am not going “poke the bear” to cause more problems. However, if a client tells me that they do not want to be amicable and feel as though they are being taken advantage of by their soon to be ex, then I fight for their legal interests.

By the time that someone is calling around to speak with an attorney about a divorce, the foundation for the marriage is crumbling. By the time the divorce process is nearing a trial, the marriage is either irreconcilable or the parties have decided to reconcile. Either way, the divorce attorney works for the client and is not pushing the client to obtain the divorce, has not come in between the spouses, and is not the root of the problem for the couple. While I’ve been blamed by some angry soon to be ex-spouse’s that their marriage is over because of me, I take the comments with a grain of salt-knowing that I did not create this couple’s problems. It is my job to guide my client through the process and reach the best possible outcome for my client and their family.


By: Melissa M. Oestmann

Blog posts are for advertising purposes only. Every client’s situation and case are fact specific.  This blog post is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed as formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer / client relationship. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail.     

By 7016490195 03 Feb, 2017

I’ve always really liked those Holiday Inn commercials, you remember those? The ones where the guy is acting like some kind of professional, like an astronaut or a pilot and then someone asks if he is that thing and he says “no, but I did stay at a holiday inn last night”. But those commercials are NOT real life. Except the one with the guy who raps. I believe in that dude. Google him.

So, you made it through to your trial day. How you holding up stud? Hopefully you didn’t get any serious sanctions against you on this pro se road. You know, sanctions, some are just financial, but my favorites are when the Judge says “your evidence is excluded!” Shoot, hope you didn’t need anything to prove up your case…

But let’s assume the best. Let’s assume you get to use all of your evidence. Did you do your trial letter? Dang it man, you needed that it was in the Pretrial Order! You did read the pretrial order, right?? You got your exhibits to opposing and the court reporter the required number of days in advance though, right? And you submitted your witness list? Subpoenaed the witnesses you would need? You got a nice suit right??? Yeah…no…that looks great. I feel like that shirt could’ve been ironed at least but I’m sure it’s fine. And those pants are so…khaki. Next time maybe something with a suit jacket. Next time. Well it’s too late now, a Judge’s time is precious.

Okay, so here we are, in the court room, on the record. Don’t you quit on me Mr. Pro Se! And please, don’t you dare start trying to Law and Order this, grand speeches are NOT gonna help. You drafted a speech didn’t you? Give it to me. Give it to me!! Okay, just say your name. Good. Hopefully you’re the defendant, at least then you don’t have to go first.

Okay, Plaintiff’s attorney is off to a great start. Competent witnesses, well thought out, easy to understand questions. Dang. You better start objecting to some of this stuff. Are you daydreaming!!??? Say SOMETHING!!! Seriously? Just “objection”??? Objection what??? Great, now the Judge is just staring at you. FIX IT!!! What did that guy from “A Few Good Men” say?? No, not “You can’t handle the truth”, never mind, bad movie choice….You need a basis for your objection. Try hearsay, or foundation. You better be able to site to the hearsay rule, last I checked there were 27 hearsay exceptions. But you got this, you watched every episode of “Ally McBeal” to get ready for this.

Okay, Plaintiff’s getting on the stand now. Stupid so and so. Trying to walk all over you. Focus!! Make those objections again. They can’t say that, can they?!!! Okay, it’s fine, we can fix this. Although that comment about your mother was completely out of line, Judge gave you that one! Score one for team Pro Se!

They’ve rested. It’s your turn. Get ‘em tiger! Please stop crying. It’s not that bad. I know, that plaintiff’s attorney is WAY better at objections than you. It’s like he went to school for this and has been doing it full time for the last umpteen years. Oh wait, he has. It’s okay, just keep going. One foot in front of the other. DANG it!! Why does he keep objecting? It’s totally throwing off your game.

Don’t forget to put on evidence about the assets. The assets. Your stuff. And your debts. Yes, all of them. What do you mean you don’t have papers on that? Crap, just say it! Talk about the kids!! No, like who should have custody of them. You know, who is going to have the kids, otherwise, you might just end up being “Disney dad”.

Don’t let the sticker price shock you when searching for an attorney for a divorce. Think about what you are trying to protect.  

 

By: Ashley L. Albertsen 

Blog posts are for advertising purposes only. Every client’s situation and case are fact specific.  This blog post is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed as formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer / client relationship. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail.    

By 7016490195 27 Jan, 2017

 I have no doubt, that some of the worst moments in my day to day practice consist in litigating, not the merits of my client’s case, but whether some other party is complying with the rules of civil procedure. In family law cases, whether I represent the Plaintiff or the Defendant, when I am trying to obtain necessary information from opposing, it’s as though I am on the offense and the defense.

 But when one is pro se and receives documents in the mail labeled “Interrogatories and Request for Production of Documents” asking a series of questions and for personal documents, it can be daunting. “Why should I answer any of her lawyer’s questions and give her lawyer my personal information? I don’t want to help the other side! It’s not fair!” Well Mr. Pro se, you have to answer the questions and provide the requested documents unless you can properly assert a relevant objection. And, let’s be honest, “I don’t want to” and “it’s none of her business” are not relevant objections. The reason that you have a “Motion to Compel & Notice of Hearing” in your mail from her lawyer is probably because you did not answer the questions nor send the documents that were requested pursuant to the Nebraska Rules of Civil Procedure. And yes, her lawyer could get a court order for you, Mr. Pro-se, to pay her legal fees for bringing the motion to compel you to do something.

 As a pro-se litigant, you now want the same information that her lawyer is seeking from you. So, how do you do it? It’s simple, right…Do you know what you need to ask for in the request for production of documents to help prove your side of the case? Do you know what you need to ask her in the interrogatories to help prove your side of the case? Do you know how to ask the questions? Or, are you going to simply re-type what her lawyer sent you and send that to her lawyer?

 As a pro-se litigant, what if her lawyer does not send you responses to the Interrogatories & Request for Production of Documents that you sent to them? What’s to be done now? Getting in front of the Judge on a proper motion and requesting a court order for the documents takes not only time but you should also cite the rule of civil procedure that her lawyer failed to comply with.

 On the day of trial, Mr. Pro-se is confident that the Judge will agree with him even though she has a lawyer because it’s the fair thing to do. However, Mr. Pro-se gets blinded by her lawyer requesting that all of Mr. Pro-se’s exhibits be excluded because he did not turn them over in discovery and “discovery is deemed ongoing and needs to be supplemented”. What do you mean supplemented? Mr. Pro-se turned over his pay-stubs for the month that the Request for Production of Documents were due, eight months ago and her lawyer never specifically requested new ones….right? Wrong. Answers to discovery need to be supplemented as information becomes available, literally speaking Mr. Pro-se, you should have added to the documents that you sent to her lawyer to make your answers more complete. “But that’s not fair” and “I didn’t know” are not going to be valid or relevant arguments at a trial. So, even though you had the facts on your side, without complying with the rules of civil procedure, you could lose your case because of things that you “didn’t know”. In any family law case, ask yourself, is saving a few thousand dollars really worth jeopardizing your case, your children, or your property? Again, no one can answer that question for you, except you.

By Melissa M. Oestmann

Blog posts are for advertising purposes only. Every client’s situation and case are fact specific.  This blog post is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed as formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer / client relationship. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail.    

 

 

 

By 7016490195 24 Jan, 2017

 When you’re involved in a civil action, you might hear attorneys talking about “discovery.” What is “discovery?” What happens during a case while discovery is ongoing? Discovery is the process that each side goes through in order to learn information related to the case. The theory is that each side should be able to find out as much information as possible about the case prior to trial, and neither side should keep secrets from the other. 

 Discovery can take many different forms, including, but not limited to, interrogatories, requests for admissions of fact, depositions, and requests for production of documents.

 Interrogatories are a set of written questions to the opposing party that the opposing party must answer in writing under oath or under penalty of perjury.

 Requests for admissions of fact are asking the opposing party to admit or deny certain facts related to the case.

 Depositions are where each side in a lawsuit sits down with their respective attorneys and a court reporter and asks questions of a witness while the witness is under oath. The parties to the lawsuit can also be required to be a witness at a deposition. The court reporter records everything that is said at a deposition, so there is a written record later of all questions asked and the answers to the questions.

 Requests for production of documents are when a party asks the other party to produce certain documents. For example, a party might be asked to turn over copies of tax returns, income statements, or bank account records.

 For all of the forms discovery can take, a party must respond to all discovery requests within a specified amount of time. Usually one must provide answers to interrogatories and requested documents within thirty (30) days of receiving the request. However, it’s important that a party read the document requesting discovery, just to make sure there is not a different time frame at play.

 It is also important that a party, especially a party not represented by an attorney, checks the court rules for discovery in his/her jurisdiction. The court rules for discovery in civil cases for Nebraska can be found on the Nebraska Supreme Court website at https://supremecourt.nebraska.gov/supreme-court-rules/ch6/art3 .

 Discovery in civil cases can take many forms. If there is a fact a party needs to find out related to the case, there is most likely a way to find out that fact. If a pro se party (party unrepresented by an attorney) is having a hard time with discovery, it may be wise to consult an attorney for help. It could be harmful to your case to proceed to trial before you are properly able to use the discovery process to figure out all the facts relevant to your case.

 Next week, keep an eye out for a blog talking about issues that can arise during the discovery process, especially for parties that are choosing to forge ahead in a case without an attorney.


By: Erin Wetzel

Blog posts are for advertising purposes only. Every client’s situation and case are fact specific.  This blog post is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed as formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer / client relationship. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail.  

By 7016490195 18 Jan, 2017
Filing a Complaint & Getting Through the Temporary Hearing Pro Se
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