Senior Partner Ken Raggio made a presentation on the Pleasures and Pitfalls of Social Media and Other ESI at the Advanced Family Law Course in San Antonio. The course was attended this year by 1750 Texas Judges and lawyers. It is the largest annually held CLE presentation in the USA.
Raggio and his copresenter Kristal Thompson made points to help clients avoid being "stupid" when it comes to social media, as well as giving detailed information in his paper to help the lawyers avoid missteps in cases involving social media. (And there is virtually no case now that doesn't have some social media component or involvement nowadays!) The Powerpoint is here.Advanced_Family_Law_2014.pdf
Raggio has also lectured in other states and to the national Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers on Social Media and other Electronically Stored Information (ESI).
Shareholder Ken Raggio competed at the Texas Senior Olympics in San Antonio this month. He and lifelong friend Dr. Paul Ellis were featured in a Park Cities News blog entry. Ken won the 400 meter dash in his age group, placed second in the 800 meter race, and was third in the 1,500. He will compete at the National Senior Olympics in Minnesota in 2015.
The Texas Supreme Court has approved pro se divorce forms for couples without children or property.
The court is accepting public comment on the forms, but substantial changes are not expected, the Austin American-Statesman and Texas Lawyer’s Tex Parte Blog report.
In its order approving the forms, the court said it was confident they would help address the “burgeoning population” of litigants who can’t afford a lawyer or can’t obtain one through a legal service provider.
Three justices said in a dissenting statement that they feared the forms would result in more people representing themselves even when they can afford lawyers. The statement also expressed concern that litigants would be lulled into believing the forms would adequately address their interests.
A problem inherent in the system-with or without the forms- is the inordinate amount of time that Court clerks and the Courts themselves spend dealing with the pro se divorces. One long time Dallas County Associate family Law Court Judge recently retired, substantailly becuse the judge felt overrun with pro se litigants seeking divorces, which by experience, was wrongly requested or done. If the forms eliminate this problem, great! But the forms are likely to increase the total time and efforts OUR GOVERNMENT has to pay for to guide hundreds if not thousands of people from square one all the way through the process.
An analagy is: you could build your own car, but would you want to drive it? No, you would want someone who has done it before...
A problem with pro se divorce is the high probablility of fraud--either in procurement of signatures or in the failure to disclose property such as pension plans, or other assets that are not immediately at hand. The Supreme Court's order say that this should not be possible, but experience suggests otherwise.
We shall see.
Ken Raggio demonstrated iPad Apps that are useful for family law attorneys to aid their clients at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers held November 6-9 in Chicago. Ken and two other presenters at the Technology Symposium demoed leading apps such as TrialPad, TranscriptPad, Quick Office Pro HD, iAnnotate PDF, Noteability, Omnifocus, Skitch, FastCase, and LawBox among other Apps. Wireless display of an iPad was demoed, and the wireless display from an Intel notebook computer to a big screen TV or projector in the Courtroom was profiled.
We are a family law firm-- including within our family. The firm was, as you may know, founded by my brother's and my parents decades ago. And my son is now a lawyer inthe firm--a third generation Raggio. So we're Family...in Family Law...
But we've found a case where a couple's son--a lawyer--was allowed to represent his father against his mother in the divorce!
In Reno, Nevada, Marie Liapis filed for divorce from her husband Theodore. And Theodore hired THEIR SON Mark to represent him. Marie didn't like that and asked the trial court to disqualify Mark, which it did. But, according to the ABA Journal, the Supreme Court of Nevada disagreed, ruling that Mark could represent his father against his mother.
Talk about frosty conversation at the family gathering for Thankgiving!
This article was excerpted in the November 2012 issue of D Magazine.
Leave it to the Baby Boomers to fuel their very own trend in divorce.
While the overall divorce rate is declining in North Texas, people age 50 and older are divorcing at an alarming rate. In 1990, the 50-plus crowd accounted for one in 10 divorces. In 2008, one in four divorces involved Boomer-age couples. Nationwide, more than 600,000 people age 50 and older got divorced in 2009.
“Gray divorces are a new and different kind of process,” says Ken Raggio, whose Dallas family law firm Raggio & Raggio has developed a protocol specifically to serve this growing market of older Dallas divorce. “The normal reasons people divorce – money problems, child issues and infidelity – aren’t the reasons most older people come to see us. They’ve raised their kids, made their money and now they want the last part of their lives to be more interesting and fulfilling.”
An AARP study in 2004 suggests that women initiate almost 70% of gray divorces served by the best Dallas family lawyers. As women survey their empty nests and face decades of healthy life, many decide their parental duties are complete and look forward to more excitement than a Law & Order marathon in the evening. Increasingly, they believe “til death do us part” is unrealistic with today’s longer life spans.
Family lawyer Barbara Van Duyne says gray divorces are of prime concern to Dallas divorce attorneys. “We started seeing a trend of our friends and colleagues getting divorced after 30 to 40 years of marriage. These are the couples you look at and wonder who would ever have thought they would break up? Once we become involved in the intricacies of the Dallas family law proceedings, we become aware of the unique issues, complicated concerns and emotional turmoil this age group faces.”
“Our job, in reality, is to make certain that our Dallas family law clients receive full value for their portion of the estate,” says attorney Tom Raggio. “Frequently this process can be less than obvious and requires more than a superficial analysis. In most cases, if they are retired or near retirement, this is probably the best financial condition they can expect.
“We look at retirement accounts and other savings,” Tom says. “There’s often real estate involved, and we have to get maximum value for that. We sometimes bring in a financial planner, especially if a Dallas divorce client has not been involved in managing money. We can use conventional litigation or collaborative law, but we have to be very careful with the money they have.”
The Dallas divorce attorney must give the client an honest appraisal of the assets they have to accomplish those goals. “The home used to be the real prize in a divorce,” says attorney Grier Raggio. “Now we look very closely at the home and whether our client is better off getting that or other assets.”
Jeff Raggio, Ken’s 27-year-old son and an associate at the Dallas divorce firm, says the firm’s older clients seem to be looking for the same bright future as the younger clients he and other Raggio attorneys represent. “It’s important to make this a hopeful process,” he says, “and this is something all of us work to achieve. A common thread across all age groups in divorce cases is that one or both parties realize the relationship is no longer working. Our firm helps clients on the journey to get their lives back on track.”
Those experiencing gray divorces should have plenty of company on that journey. One researcher predicts the annual number of over-50 divorces nationwide should exceed 800,000 by 2030.
As with all other Baby Boomer trends, there continues to be strength in numbers.