Family law declarations prepared for court are often the first impression you can make on the judge in your divorce or child custody case, so you should try and make that first impression as effective as possible. The judge is the person who is going to decide your case and if your initial impression on the judge is sketchy, you are likely to have turbulent time all through the proceedings.
One thing to always understand when drafting your Orange County family law court declaration is that the declaration should not exceed the required number of pages. Generally, “the shorter, the clearer” is a good rule of thumb. Your initial declaration should be no more than 10 pages but if you can say the same thing in a compelling way in less than 10 pages, do so. The judge, who has to read many of the same types of declarations day after day, will appreciate it!
Here are a few tips that will help you in making your declaration.
Less Is More
As stated earlier, the smaller the space you occupy, the better the overall look of the copy and the more powerful the effect of your message.
Don’t Use Inflammatory Phrases
This means that the declaration must show the look of being drafted thoughtfully and matter-of-fact, by someone who is calm and clear and not one who is hot-headed and easily miffed by the disparage of the rival attorney. When you give professional, organized, and calculated work, the judges are likely to appreciate your abilities.
Revise Your Declaration
5 minutes to reread are better than 50 to rewrite. If your declaration has any complex thoughts, use of acts or laws, always make sure you reread them to identify potential mistakes. Also, have someone else read your document. It is often the case that the writer is unable to find mistakes in his/her work that others can easily identify.
Make sure you have a clear view of how many lines you want to fit on the page (generally 28 numbered lines on pleading paper). Your work needs to be visually appealing as well if you want it to be appreciated. Make sure the line spacing (double-spacing generally) and the font (Times New Roman is always a good default font to use) makes the document readable. Don’t stuff in too many lines in the document that might alter its readability. Use bullet points more often. Bullet points are easy on the eye and easy to comprehend since they provide a synopsis. Also, to break up paragraphs, use underlined or bolded headings within the body of the declaration to break the declaration into logical sections which will make it easier for the court to read.
Use Emphasis Occasionally
Too many bolds, underlines, and “!” marks are interpreted as shouting. While emphasis on certain phrases in a document is important to outline the important aspects of the case, it should be used rarely. Use of capital words in between the lines can be distracting to the reader and in this case to the Judge.
Write Everything, Then Edit
This isn’t about the final declaration but about the initial declaration. When you write all the information that seems relevant to you in the case, take a close look at it. Doing so, you’ll be able to identify the points that have relatively less importance and should be edited out of your declaration. This approach will help give you a clear detailed vision of your case and produce a more focused declaration.
Gerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law attorney and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.