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Sunday, February 2, 2020

CVLS Volunteer Represents, Educates Client in Family Law Case

In their work, lawyers take on a variety of roles as advocate, counselor, and even mediator. In a recent parentage case, volunteer attorney Maria Burnett took on the unexpected role of teacher.

Jeremy has a five-year-old son. When he was denied contact with his child by the other parent, Jeremy formally filed for parenting time. The child’s mother promptly hired an attorney and counter-filed for child support. That’s when the case became too complicated for Jeremy to handle alone.

Maria met with Jeremy during the CVLS weekend clinic at Old St Mary’s Catholic Church. After listening to his legal problems, Maria agreed to take on Jeremy’s case herself.

At the outset, the parties both failed at following court instructions and neglected the court-ordered parenting time schedule. Maria worked with the adverse attorney and the Child Representative to establish a comprehensive agreed summer schedule…which the mother unilaterally ignored.

Maria made sure to file additional pleadings to ensure the other parent’s compliance. In doing so, she secured additional, make-up parenting time for Jeremy. Maria even went so far as to find a parenting coordinator who has offered to work with the parties for the next year.

Throughout the case, Maria educated her client on the law and stressed to both parties the need to communicate and follow court orders. She hopes the parents can keep her teachings in mind as they parent their child years past the resolution of this case.