The First Phone Call to the Attorney; What to Know?

The first step is always the hardest!


When you call a Family Law Attorney for the first time there are some basics that are pretty universal.  Be ready with this information.

  • Your full name and that of your spouse/defendant
  • Whether anything is on file in any Court
  • Critical deadlines, trial dates, hearing dates, etc…
  • Who the attorneys are, if any
  • Who the Judge is
  • What Court you are in, if so
  • What County is home for you
  • Date/Place of Marriage
  • Date/Place of Separation
  • Ages of children
  • Job description and approx. income
  • Whether it will be contested or Agreed

These are the basics that any family law practitioner is going to need to do a conflicts check and to do a proper evaluation of your case.

Matthew Thompson is a Divorce Attorney in Mississippi and encourages potential clients to educate themselves and know their stuff!

Follow the blog:#BowTieLawyer Visit the website: #Thompson Law Firm  You may also contact Matthew with your family law matter or question at (601) 850-8000 or


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Filed under Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce, Irreconcilable differences, Modifications, Opinion

The 3 Best Kept Surprise Secrets for a Happy Marriage…(you will not believe #3!)

Happy Marriages are not only in fairy tales.  They take work, but do exist in the real world.


So, what are 3 of the best kept secrets for a happy marriage?

  1. Work out.  Exercise is good for your physical and mental health.  Exercise results in your body releasing enodrphins which make you feel good. Also, one partner working out and being healthy may well help encourage the other party the inspiration they need to do the same.  You do not have to go crazy, just go.
  2. Cook a Meal for the Other.  Cook they’re favorite meal.  Even if you cannot cook, try.  It’s the “trying” that gets you the credit. Alternatively cook together.
  3. Hire a Lawn Service. But, you just said to work out, but mowing the yard and weed-eating are awful.  More fights over when, who and whether the lawn gets cut Friday, Saturday and Sunday are had every week than fights about oil changes. Obviously expense may be a factor and a few poor souls may find their satisfaction from yard work, but if you are like most folks it is a thankless, hot, annoying chore that always needs to be done, seemingly.

Matthew Thompson is a Divorce Attorney in Mississippi and while these may or may not be the secrets that make your marriage magic, striving for things in common and focusing on the important parts of life are never a bad thing.

Follow the blog:#BowTieLawyer Visit the website: #Thompson Law Firm  You may also contact Matthew with your family law matter or question at (601) 850-8000 or


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Filed under Marriage, Opinion

War Stories; A “Bump” in the Road

Originally posted on BowTieLawyer.MS:

Client sabotages own case.  Story at eleven.

FACTS:  A mother lost custody, temporarily, due to being arrested for driving on a suspended license.  The father was given the child and while mom was in jail he filed a fault based divorce, sought custody and had her served.  Mom was finally released and began the process of regaining custody.  Mom filed an Answer and a claim for custody herself.

At a temporary hearing, which is a legal band-aid to address custody and finances, mom presented her case.  Upon being cross-examined there were numerous questions about alleged drug use.  Well, fortunately, mom had been thoroughly interviewed and prepared by her lawyer.  Her ONLY dirt was the suspended license.

Mom denied the drug allegations as laughable.  Some of mom’s financial records were introduced that showed her in some shady parts of town at unseemly hours.  This was shown through ATM transactions.  However…

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Filed under Divorce

“Should I take my nose ring out?” a.k.a. Attire for Court

Recently I was asked about appropriate attire for Court.  Specifically, I was asked about the propriety of wearing a piercing in Court.

“Should I take my nose ring out?”

While dress codes in Court are not what they used to be you still have to dress appropriately for Court.

What is proper attire?

  • conservative/church attire
  • slacks/dress pants
  • button-down/collared shirts
  • suit
  • appropriate dresses

What is not proper?

  • shorts
  • t-shirts
  • sleeveless shirts
  • short dresses/skirts
  • gaudy jewelry
  • hats

…so, should you take your nose ring out?                 

“Yes, yes you should.”

Matthew Thompson is a Litigation Attorney in Mississippi and while you may not lose your case because of your attire or appearance, everything you can do to help should be done.

Follow the blog:#BowTieLawyer Visit the website: #Thompson Law Firm  You may also contact Matthew with your family law matter or question at (601) 850-8000 or



Filed under Divorce, General Legal, Opinion

Child Testimony in Court

Whether a child should testify is a struggle in every instance when it arises.  I have previously blogged on the law, the Jethrow standard that the Court applies in determining the process of a child testifying.  (Click here).  Today’s is a practical view on how the Court conducts children testifying in a Civil case.

Stuart Miles /freedigitalphotos. net

So, how does child testimony work? It depends on the Judge.  I have seen the following;

1)  The Judge clears the Courtroom of all persons except the Judge, the Court Reporter and the child.

Here the Judge does the questioning.  The Judge is trying to determine the child’s truthfulness, their intellectual capacity for the retaining and reporting the information sought and whether is admissible and relevant.  This process takes as long as the court deems necessary.  I have stood in the hall for an hour while the Court conducts the interview.  Upon the Court concluding, the parties and lawyers are brought back in and the Judge summarizes the child’s testimony.  There may or may not be an opportunity for questioning.

2)  The Judge takes the child and the Court reporter to his/her chambers (office).

Again the Judge does the questioning, but it is in a less intimidating setting.  The judge’s office is usually much more “familiar” and personalized than the Courtroom.  Judge’s do this to put the child more at ease.  The relative same process of above is used, just in a different location.

3)  The Judge, the lawyers, the child and Court Reporter go into the Judge’s chambers.

Here the Judge let’s the lawyers do the questioning.  Now, the Judge is making sure that the lawyers maintain a respectful and appropriate tone and the child is not subject to interrogation or cross-examination in the true sense of the word, but the child is responding directly to the lawyers.  The Judge determines what is relevant and admissible in all instances.

And finally,

4)  The child takes the witness stand and is questioned by each lawyer and possibly the Judge, in the presence of the parents.  For a very young child this procedure will not be used.  For an older child, say 14 and up, this is more common.

Ultimately, the age of the child, the issues at hand and the wishes of the parent’s are the deciding factors in how the child testimony is handled.  The famous quote from the Jethrow case is;

“We reiterate that parents in a divorce proceeding should if at all possible refrain from calling any of the children of their marriage, of tender years at least, as witnesses, and counsel should advise their clients against doing so except in the most exigent cases. The reason and wisdom behind this precaution need no amplification. We also hold, however, as we must that no parent can be precluded from having a child of the marriage in a divorce proceeding testify simply because of that fact.” Jethrow v. Jethrow, 571 So.2d 270, 274 (Miss. 1990).

Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody Litigation Attorney in Mississippi.

Follow the blog: #BowTieLawyer Visit the website: #Thompson Law Firm  You may also contact Matthew with your family law case or question at (601) 850-8000 or

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Filed under Child Custody, Divorce, General Legal, Modifications, Visitation