How to Find Case Law Online for Your Family Case

Hi, thank you for using Mike Court Coach. I’m Jylan and I’m going to be your instructor as we talk about the case law that can be found on Google scholar.

The first thing that you want to do is type in When you do that, this page will populate. We want to click on case law, California, and any topic that we want to research. We can type it in this tool bar right here. If there is a specific case that you want to look for, you can go ahead and type it right there.

Find Case Law Online re: Move Away

For today’s video, we’re going to focus on “move away” as an example. It shows us all of the case laws in California, (and I know it’s in California because it’s highlighted in red here) at any time period, and it’s sorted by relevance, and it’s also going to include the citations. We have the settings exactly the way that I want them.

Now, let’s say I wanted to take a look at federal courts, federal courts. I can go ahead and use those case law too, because it’s by the facts. So you can cite those in court and use them to help you bolster your arguments.

You can: 1) change the date in which you want to take a look at some of these cases, 2) do custom range, 3) sort it all by date as well as opposed to by relevance, 4) also take a look at all of the cases: California, federal, all of them.

Find the Most Cited Case Law Online

The other thing that we want to take a look at here is where I go back and sort it by relevance and the first case that comes up is Marriage of Burgess, then there’s Marriage of LaMusga, Marriage of Condon. The best thing to do before going into every single case right now is to look at how it’s cited.

Understanding Case Citations

What does the word cited mean? Well, these air quotes, you can go ahead and click on it and it’ll give you a citation. The citation is what the court uses to help find that case and when they type it up or research it, they find that it is the Marriage of Burgess case, and that is what you’re referring to. It just helps the court pinpoint what case you are talking about.

Now we want to look at how the case is cited first. The reason why I say this is because you can kind of get a feel for what this case is going to be about before you even read the entire case.

It actually helps you figure out: Do I really want to use this case or not? Is the purpose of this case relevant to what I am looking for?

This is a great place to start. Then you could also take a look at other cases that cite the case of Marriage of LaMusga and perhaps those cases might be better equipped to help you find what you’re looking for. That’s why I always say, start with how the case is cited.

Understanding the Related Articles

Then there’s related articles, which are articles that are related to the “move away” case. Those are not necessarily free and you can click on this family law opinion. It will show you the In re: Marriage of Burgess and what you can get from reading this opinion.

Opinions are not something that you can use in the courthouse either, but they can help you come up with your own arguments for your particular topic and in this case, the move away.

Then we also can see that it’s been cited 804 times cited 366 times. It can show you all of the cases that did cite this particular case. If we go back and look through one of these cases, then every single case has facts, discussion as well as the disposition.

How to Find Case Law Analysis Online

Here’s the facts, your circumstances, and then it’s going to have a discussion section. In the discussion section, you’ll find that it has, again, hyperlinks to cases that you could also use so you can read their fact pattern and their analysis as to how they came up with a ruling that might be similar to what you’re looking for. It’s very important to click on these hyperlinks and see whether they could be applicable to you.

How to Use Disagreeing Opinions

The last important thing to review is the disposition. The disposition, which you’ll find in here, is how the court ruled. It is the final judgment in the case or how the court ruled. You can see here that not all of the judges ruled the same. The majority said that this is what they decided. Then somebody from the judges’ panel said, “No, I don’t agree with this,” and they wrote why.

You can use that information to your advantage. You can read why this judge doesn’t agree with this particular opinion. It might help you with your arguments and you can use the entire case and the opinion to argue to court why the court should or should not rule in your favor or the other party’s favor.

The other thing that we should look at is these footnotes. These footnotes are amazing because they also cite to other cases. They can also help you come up with strategies or arguments for you to use in court to, again, help you in your matter.

Let’s say we wanted to take a look at a case. That’s the most recent case that has to do with this move away topic. I’m going to click on since 2020.

How to Use Unpublished Opinions

The first thing that comes up is Marriage of YL and PN. When I do that, in bold letters it says “not to be published in official reports.”

What does that mean? Well, it tells us a little bit that the California Rules of Court prohibits the courts and the parties from citing and relying on this opinion that’s not certified for publication or order published, except for this other rule. This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.115. All that means is that you can’t cite this in court.

It doesn’t mean you can’t use it or you can’t read it to help you come up with arguments to help you in court.

It just means that when you go to court, you can’t say, “Your honor, In re: Marriage of YL and PN states this or “Your honor, in In re: Marriage of YL and PN, they relied on this.” You can’t use it. You have to pretend like it doesn’t exist.

But you should read through it and perhaps the fact pattern is going to be similar to yours circumstance as well as some of the law that they’re using (which by the way is going to be current law). Then, you could potentially use that in your own case as well. So this is a great, great tool to use, even though something’s not published.

There’s a great way for you to review these different citations and it help you use it to in your arguments in court. So you can make your point across and hopefully prevail.

Well, thank you so much. We hope that you found this to be helpful.