How to Structure Any Legal Argument
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Help! My Family Law Judge ignores me. They let the other side say whatever they want, but I don't even get to tell my story. I can't tell you how many times I've seen that.
Hello World, I'm Alexander Baker, your legal expert. Recording live from Planet Family Court. Welcome to another Ask Alex.
Today, we're going to go through the basics of how to make a legal argument. Any legal argument. No matter what the issue, the formula is the same. We're going to learn how to present and argue an issue in a way that makes sense to your judge. I'll teach it exactly like it is taught in First Year Intro to Legal Writing class in every law school. It's called the IRAC method. I, R, A, C. We'll go through my outline with examples that you can play along with at home.
But before we get to the outline, the very first point I want to emphasize is this. Judges only consider the issue in front of them for that particular hearing. Not your whole case. Not your whole story. So before you prepare for any hearing, you first have to know what is at issue for that hearing. Which side actually brought the hearing, and what is the judge being asked to decide today?
A Family Law case is broken down into many separate issues, like child custody, visitation, restraining orders, child support payments, spousal support, property division. If you want the judge to make an order in your favor on any of these issues, you have to bring a motion raising that issue, and setting it for hearing. In California it's called a Request for Orders. R, F, O. Pleaded on for FL-300 form. That's how you get your issue in front of the judge.
So many times I've seen people showing up to court responding to the other side's motion, and they want to explain all this important stuff to the judge. And the judge won't listen, because its not relevant to the issue before the Court on that day. It's incredibly frustrating. If you want orders in your favor, you have to know how to bring your motion, and how to argue your motion.
Let's have a look at the outline.