Family Law | Why the proper presentation of evidence to the judge is so important

February 29, 2012

in Child Custody, child support

Believe it or not, lawyers don’t always do the best job presenting evidence at trials and hearings.  Don’t mistake me – I’m not saying that these lawyers are bad lawyers, instead, I am suggesting that the proper presentation of evidence is often difficult and many lawyers don’t always do it right.

What is one possible underlying factor for a lawyer’s failure to present evidence?  I would suggest that in a hotly contested divorce trial or other family law hearing, the lawyers may be too focused on one issue.

For instance, my clients usually come to me with specific complaints.  One common complaint is that they want custody of their child because the other side is abusive or maybe the other side is an allegedly bad parent.  Ok, I can usually help those people.  However, it is difficult to get the client to understand that not only do we need to fight for child custody, we also need to fight for their interest in the marital estate, and child support, and many other issues.

My point is that clients often want their lawyers to focus on very specific things.  Often, in family law, people are upset and they may want to use their lawyer to “get back” at the other side.  I see this all the time.  It is one of the reasons that family law is a difficult legal field to practice in.

Furthermore, the lawyer knows that he or she should focus on all the issues, but it can be difficult when the client is insistant that the lawyer focus on the one issue that the client really cares about – such as child custody.  But, the lawyers must ask themselves, what about child support and dependency exemptions?

I’ve presented evidence at a trial where a day of testmony was presented solely on the issue of who should get child custody.  I have forgotten to present good evidence on income and expenses of the parties.  The other lawyer did the same thing because both of us were probably too focused on the custody issue.

Now, I realize that the mistake if two-fold:  (1) it is the lawyer’s job to focus on the case at hand and consider all of the issues, and (2) the client must realize that their are inevitably going to be other issues that need to be focused on.  Neither the lawyer or the client want to be in the position of trying to present legal arguments and post-trial briefs and motions when the judge can’t make a ruling simply because there was no evidence presented on the issue at trial.

Apple Valley MN family law attorneys and their clients must remember that a judge can only make a decision based on evidence presented.  If there is no evidence presented on an issue, the judge simply cannot make a decision on the issue.  I know it sounds simple, but, when a very emotional issue like child custody is at stake, it can be hard to remember that fact.

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Joseph Flanders of Flanders Law Firm LLC is a family law and estate planning lawyer. For further information, check out his website or you can contact him by sending an email

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

D. James Rice March 11, 2012 at 12:06 pm

If you would need a relatives law solicitor, then you are going to want to make confident that you get the right an individual to fulfill your demands. Perhaps you have a agency of solicitors that you use for house issues, but will they be the most useful many people to hel with your divorce?


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