Carlton Trial Prep OutlinePage 1 of 5
FAMILY LAW BASIC SKILLSCOLORADO BAR ASSOCIATION CLEFEBRUARY 17 and 18, 2011
By Diane Michele CarltonLitvak, Litvak, Mehrtens and Epstein, P.C.firstname.lastname@example.orgI. THE STARTPreparation for trial begins with the filing of the domestic case. After the case is filed,case preparation consists of obtaining information to identify and value assets and debts,to determine the income for each party, and to support or defend the parties’ positions for allocation of parental responsibility.1. Utilize disclosure and discovery procedures to obtain necessaryinformation to establish or support the relief requested by your client.2. Retain expert witnesses as may be needed to value assets or to conduct parenting and/ or vocational evaluations.3. Interview potential witnesses-both favorable and unfavorable.4. Anticipate and develop evidence to counter the positions and strengths of the opposing parties’ case.II. SETTLEMENT OR TRIALWhen all the necessary information has been obtained and the valuations are completed,the case is ready for settlement. Settlement should always be attempted. If settlementnegotiations are unsuccessful, then preparation for trial begins. Even when preparing for trial, settlement should always continue to be considered. It is a common occurrence for cases to settle close to the trial date or in the middle of trial preparation or on the proverbial courthouse steps.III. TIMELINE AND STEPS TO PREPARE FOR TRIAL1. Read the current trial management order entered by the judge in the case,if such an order has been entered. Most of the Denver metropolitan courts enter ordersspecific to their division. Make sure the requirements contained in the order have beensatisfied. Judges will dismiss or continue cases if the trial management requirementshave not been completed.