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Do NOT Do This If You Want To Be Ready For Your Custody Trial

This is something that you do not want to do if you want to be prepared for your custody trial.   A couple of weeks ago a potential client came in to see me because she was getting ready for a divorce trial and was representing herself.   She wanted me to coach her a little bit and she was a really a kind person but during the whole consultation I was cringing because she had no clue what the court had ordered in terms of getting ready for trial.

When you're getting ready for your trials you cannot ignore the court orders.  You have to read all of the minutes in your case especially the minutes where the judge set your trial.  Chances are in those minutes the judge is going to give you very important information about what the judge wants to see happen prior to trial.   For example in Arizona when the judge sets trial the judge will give us deadlines in the minutes about filing pretrial statements.

The order will state when they're due and often the judge will tell us what the judge expects us to include in those pretrial statements.   The judge will give deadlines for submitting exhibits to the court,  the judge will give deadlines for disclosure in discovery and the judge will give deadlines for disclosing witnesses.   The judge will also say this what happens if you don't do any of these things.

You may be defaulted if you miss an issue in your pretrial statement.  You may not be allowed to present it.  I was really worried for her.   She missed all the deadlines for disclosure,  her pretrial statement was coming up due in a day and she hadn't because she hadn't disclosed any of her evidence to the other side.   She didn't know she was going be able to use it at trial and she didn't have it gathered so she wasn't ready to put it in the form that the judge wanted to see.

Please, if you're getting ready for a trial one of the first things you have to do is read the minutes where your court sets the trial.   Make sure you are aware of all of the judges requirements going into that trial.  This doesn't just apply to final trials it applies to any evidentiary hearing,  a temporary custody hearing or an emergency hearing.  It even applies to an order protection hearing.