Assignment #1 family law
In this assignment, you will be asked to identify the issues in a divorce case and to develop a discovery plan. You will write a ONE PAGE interoffice memo. You will be graded on your analysis of the issues, content of your memo, your discovery plan, as well as the quality of your writing, grammar and punctuation.
Scenario: You are a paralegal working for Saul Goodman Attorney at Law. The receptionist calls you and asks if you can speak to a walk-in potential client. You go to the lobby and find a visibly upset Renee Albertson. She is tearful and asks if you can help her. You take her into the conference room where she proceeds to talk without stopping for from her rant, you gather the following circumstances:
Renee wants a divorce from her husband Walter. They have been married thirty-seven years and have three adult children: Eleanor, Edward, and Walter, Jr. They have lived their entire marriage in Ventura, California. The marriage has been rocky and each party believes that the other has been unfaithful on several occasions. The only confirmed affair occurred in 1996, when Renee became involved with a next-door neighbor and at one point moved in with him after Walter threw her out of the marital home because of the ongoing and open affair. After a month, he begged her to come home. She did, and they went to counseling, reconciled, and resumed their marital relationship. However, Walter never really trusted Renee after that. As a result, he kept all of his assets as separate as possible from hers, with the exception of a joint bank account, out of which he paid all of the expenses related to the marital home as well as the food bills and car-related costs. Renee has been depositing her entire paycheck into this account, but Walter only matches what she puts in. He earns funds from four sources: Social Security, a modest salary as a school bus driver, an investment portfolio he established in 1985 and has maintained ever since, and money he earns doing electrical work under the table, for which he is paid cash or in-kind (e.g., he does some wiring for his mechanic, and the mechanic repairs Walters vehicle with- out charging him). He deposits his Social Security into the joint account along with about 20% of his check from the bus company. Throughout the marriage, he has maintained the couples finances and largely kept Renee in the dark, although he does give her a modest weekly allowance. He has always kept extensive financial and business records on his computer. He pays his bills online and uses Turbo Tax to prepare the parties joint tax returns. The marital home (jointly held) is assessed at $350,000 for property tax purposes, but Walter claims it is worth closer to $500,000, based on work he has done building an addition that includes a den, bedroom, and bath with a hot tub in it. He spent the better part of a year doing the work in his free time. There is a $112,000 mortgage and a $20,000 equity loan secured by the property. The parties had to obtain the loan to cover income taxes (plus interest and penalties) due on previously undeclared income Walter had collected doing electrical work for friends and acquaintances. He asserts that he is not still doing this work, but Renee is certain he continues to do it and not pay taxes on the funds collected or on in-kind services received. He claims to never have any money but went to Aruba for a week in January 2015, allegedly alone, and has a new Toyota convertible, for which Renee believes he paid cash. She also saw a credit card statement that listed expenditures at two local jewelry stores and several local restaurants that she has not been to with him. In December 2014, Renee became suspicious that Walter was having an affair with his old high school sweetheart, Valentina Ferrara, with whom he reconnected at his fiftieth high school reunion. Valentina had recently been widowed. Walter admits that he is in touch with her (particularly by telephone and e-mail) but that she would never consider having an intimate relationship with him as long as he is still married. Besides, he claims that at the age of seventy, he is no longer able to function sexually. Renee believes he is seeing a doctor and has a prescription for that little blue pill. Renees heart is broken, and she wants to file for divorce on the ground of adultery and drag Walter through the mud as much as possible.
Write a one-page interoffice memo to the attorney about your meeting. DO NOT get bogged down in information that is irrelevant. Answer the following questions in your memo:
1. What method of altering a marital relationship is Renee requesting?
2. What will most likely be the grounds for divorce?
3. What are the primary issues that need to be addressed besides ending the status of the marriage? (i.e. Spousal Support, etc.)
4. List five things you need to get additional information about, and what discovery method you propose to get the information for each. Your plan should include at least one example each of formal, informal and electronic discovery methods.
TO: Saul Goodman
FROM: Your name
RE: Initial Meeting with Client Renee Albertson
CASE: Marriage of Albertson
OFFICE FILE NUMBER/ DOCKET NUMBER: 123456
Brief description of assignment: What is it that you were asked to do?
Summary of information gathered: Summarize the basic relevant highlights of the interview.
Analysis of the issues: Discuss the grounds for divorce, issues which need to be addressed in the case, and what further information is required.
Recommendations: What methods of discovery do you suggest using to garner the additional information required?
Assignment #1 family law