Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Resources for learning divorce law?

Would like to start taking on clients for divorce/dissolutio saulgoodmanwannabe01/27/17
Befriend someone in the practice area, take CLEs in the subj jd4hire01/27/17
No idea about Ohio but you can learn from CLE courses, and R cocolawyer01/27/17
The wild west description appears to be universal, but the r thirdtierlaw01/27/17
The money is the only reason people do it. I have not run in cocolawyer01/27/17
Yep. Unfortunately, that means that some family lawyers tend guyingorillasuit01/27/17
No argument on that either. Most cases can be dealt with sim cocolawyer02/01/17
Absolutely no argument there. thirdtierlaw01/27/17
Absolutely correct. For me just reading the entire Title 31 brownwhite99905/03/17
Best option: working for a good local divorce lawyer for a y guyingorillasuit01/27/17
My #1 tip is to go down to the self help center (which most onehell01/27/17
saulgoodmanwannabe (Jan 27, 2017 - 8:44 am)

Would like to start taking on clients for divorce/dissolution matters and wondering how to become familiar with the subject so I can get to a level of competence for handling this sort of thing?

Should I just read the entire Title 31 of Ohio Revised Code? Are divorces generally easy to represent if both parties agree to it, no kids, etc?

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jd4hire (Jan 27, 2017 - 8:56 am)

Befriend someone in the practice area, take CLEs in the subject matter, and go from there. Where I practice, family court is the wild west of litigation with very relaxed court rules (procedure and evidence). There are many nuanced aspects for the practicality of how they do things as well.

I'm not in Ohio nor remotely close, but the above applies where I practice.

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cocolawyer (Jan 27, 2017 - 6:42 pm)

No idea about Ohio but you can learn from CLE courses, and Rutter Guides. Start with easy cases and build yourself up.

It is true Family Court tends to be the wild west, where the Court can practically do anything they want. For instance on a normal OSC schedule yesterday OC brings a live witness without notice. I object as we were not in an evidentiary hearing, and witness was not noticed prior to the hearing. The local rules explicitly state no live witnesses without notice and no evidence will be presented at a 15 minute OSC. Court says "counsel let me just ask him a few questions." Court asks the witness two questions. Later on Counsel again asks for live testimony from Girlfriend. I object again. Court begins berating me telling me "yes it is...a live witness gave testimony." Its the WTF moment when the Court disregarded the rules to allow someone to testify and you that testimony to piggyback into an evidentiary hearing. This is not abnormal behavior for the Family Court.

No idea why you would want to.

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thirdtierlaw (Jan 27, 2017 - 6:57 pm)

The wild west description appears to be universal, but the reason you do divorces is that they are a quick way to make a couple grand, assuming it isn't a complicated case, and it is a great way to get your name out into the community.

I have gotten ALL of my civil cases as referrals from my past divorce clients. Most people's only exposure to attorneys is either a DUI, a house closing where they didn't even speak to the attorney prior to that day, or a family Court matter. So when their friend needs an attorney they recommend the person who did their divorce. We don't even advertise that we do civil work, yet people still call.

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cocolawyer (Jan 27, 2017 - 7:19 pm)

The money is the only reason people do it. I have not run into one Family Law attorney who actually enjoys being a Family Law attorney. The client's are difficult, collections impossible, opposing side insufferable, and the Court completely unpredictable.

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guyingorillasuit (Jan 27, 2017 - 7:25 pm)

Yep. Unfortunately, that means that some family lawyers tend to over-litigate cases to earn a profit.

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cocolawyer (Feb 1, 2017 - 12:07 pm)

No argument on that either. Most cases can be dealt with simplistically if the parties and counsel are fairly reasonable. My clientele tend to want to blow all the community on litigation. I swear I give a depose at least 4 people per month. If you are conducting depositions in Family Law related matters it usually going to be a 15-20k case.

Honestly, if I could find any position (law or out of law) that paid similar I would take in a heartbeat. A bit of me dies every day doing this job.

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thirdtierlaw (Jan 27, 2017 - 8:01 pm)

Absolutely no argument there.

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brownwhite999 (May 3, 2017 - 2:38 am)

Absolutely correct. For me just reading the entire Title 31 will not make you sufficient.

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guyingorillasuit (Jan 27, 2017 - 7:17 pm)

Best option: working for a good local divorce lawyer for a year or two.
Second best option: find a mentor, and start sitting in on family law court hearings for a couple months. Find out how things play out in court, and how different attorneys and judges interact.

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onehell (Jan 27, 2017 - 9:02 pm)

My #1 tip is to go down to the self help center (which most family courts have nowadays, may even be online) and grab all the forms and instructions they have for the pro pers. these things are great because most cases are handled by people representing themselves these days, and these materials will walk you through most basic situations while assuming no prior knowledge. Unless the parties have significant assets or interstate jurisdictional issues, the forms teach enough to handle most cases. That's because most of the people who walk in the door when you're a n00b have nothing but debt and nothing to fight over but child custody/visitation/support. So you get the retainer up front, have a motion to withdraw at the ready for when they don't replenish, and dive in. Might want to learn bankruptcy too, there's going to be a lot of cross-pollination there.

Also, read the family law rules of procedure, which are likely to differ markedly from regular civil cases, and the child support guidelines. It is pretty shoot-from-the-hip, and the judges will often disregard even the few procedural protections that have been left in place under the simplified rules, but you gotta know the rules so you can at least try and hold the judge to em, preserve issues, etc.

The actual experience when you walk in is likely to be similar to small claims or an administrative hearing, but more emotional (and protracted because the cases never end because people will never stop fighting over kids).

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