36. Legal Office Memo
Prepare an internal office memo evaluating a client’s chances of receiving alimony.
You must use IRACC format.
Identify the “rule” completely (you will need to identify all of the factors considered by the courts in making alimony determinations, e.g. need, health, marital fault, etc.) and note what specific kind(s) of alimony may be awarded
Jim Jones, thirty, has been married to Julie Jones, twenty-nine, for seven years. They have two children, Morgan, age four, and Freeman, age six. When they got married, Jim was in his senior year of college and planning to graduate the following June and go on to get his master’s degree in education. His lifelong dream has been to be a teacher. However, Julie got pregnant right after they were married and stopped working for a year. As a result, Jim dropped out of college and went to work in a local steak house. He continues to work part-time waiting tables and earns about $500 per week. He gets no employment benefits.
Morgan was born on September 15 six years ago and Freeman was born on January 12 four years ago. Right after Morgan was born, Julie enrolled in law school. She received some financial aid and took out substantial student loans to support the cost of most of her tuition and books. Jim paid the remainder of her educational expenses as well as the household expenses for the three years she was in law school. Julie did not work at all during those years because she wanted to put all her energy into her studies. She graduated with high honors and was promptly hired at a major urban law firm where she had interned for a semester. Her supervisor was Marcus Tye, a senior partner in the firm. She and Mr. Tye became very close and Jim has reason to believe that he and Julie are having an affair, given that Attorney Tye’s wife recently filed for divorce. Although he doesn’t know for sure, Jim believes Tye’s wife is claiming that her husband is having an affair with “some new employee at the office.”
While Julie was going to school and for the couple of years she has been working, the parties agreed that Jim would stay home and manage the household and be primary caretaker for the children. He really didn’t mind, because he loves the children and always figured that his turn would come once Julie got settled in her $170,000-a-year job, where she receives bonuses of varying amounts each year and benefits including medical insurance and a pension plan. Jim and the children are presently covered by her insurance.
The parties’ only asset is the marital home, which is valued at $350,000, and they are carrying a $150,000 mortgage. Jim’s parents gave them the $50,000 for the down payment when Jim and Julie bought it. They have been very generous to the couple and have frequently picked up the slack when debts piled up and upset Jim. They figured he had enough stress. The way Jim dealt with his stress (to no one’s knowledge) was to gamble, and his gambling often ate up his pay-checks. He also ran up substantial credit card debt taking cash advances. He did have a few big hits, though, and has hidden away about $70,000, which no one knows about.
Jim recently told Julie that he feels the time has come for him to go back to school and resume his career goals. He said she is making plenty of money now and could support their expenses along with day care for the kids. In response, Julie said she had been meaning to talk with him about her desire to get a divorce and move on. It was nothing personal, she said, just that their individual lives have evolved in different directions. The life they had shared was too “low-end” for her. She said she wants to start living “the good life.” He can plod along watching DVDs and going to amusement parks with the kids for vacations, but she wants more. Jim is very hurt and angry but said he will make the best of a bad deal, and she can pay him support so that he can get his life back on track. She told him that he had to be kidding and then left the house and hasn’t come home since. He is not sure where she is.
Question Presented: In this section of the memorandum, the
paralegal identifies the legal issues presented by the facts of the
Short Answer: Provide a succinct response to the question
Applicable Law: This section gives a list of all of the authorities,
primary and secondary, used in your paper. Each source shall be
listed in Bluebook format.
Statement of Facts: Summarize the relevant factual elements
in a dispute. Ordinarily, these facts are presented in
chronological order. Remember, only include those facts relevant
to the question presented.
Discussion and Analysis: This section represents the heart of
your paper. It contains the legal analysis of each issue that needs
to be resolved to answer your question presented. It is standard
to use the IRACC method of case analysis. IRACC stands for
Issue, Rule, Application, Counterargument and Conclusion. In
the issue section, you identify the issue(s) or sub-issue(s) to be
addressed. You will have to discuss each separate issue using the
IRACC method of analysis.
MEMORANDUM OF LAW
I. STATEMENT OF FACTS
II. QUESTION PRESENTED
III. SHORT ANSWER
IV. APPLICABLE LAW
V. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS