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...
I want to give you a tip about reading your minutes from your child custody court hearing very carefully. The minutes from court are like minutes from a meeting. If you were ever in student council as a kid there's a secretary who would take minutes.
In the courtroom there is usually some sort of assistant who takes down the minutes. In Arizona that person is called a judicial assistant and he or she takes minutes of everything that is happening in the courtroom. Then after a court hearing, usually within a few days we will get those minutes from the court.
These minutes in my jurisdiction are called minute entries, although in some jurisdictions they may just call them minutes. Your minute entries are going to contain information that is very important to your case. They will contain deadlines that you are going to have to meet, future court dates, requirements for getting your case ready for court and other miscellaneous requirements. I bring this up because in a recent case...
One of the most important things you need to do before you begin your custody case is be really clear on what you want.
You have to know what you want and you have to be able to express it to the judge. Because if you can't express it if you don't know, then there is no way you are going to be able to convince the judge in your custody hearing or the other party to give you what you want.
Another really important thing is not just know what you want but knowing the reasons why you want what you want. And making sure the reasons for your request actually support the request. I know this sounds kind of vague so I'm going to give you an example.
The other day I was in custody court on a case and I was representing the mother of a little 9-year old girl and she and Dad had been sharing joint custody several years. They had been doing really well from my client's perspective. They were also exercising an equal parenting time plan.
Out of nowhere Dad serves my client with paperwork to...
In every state family law courts have a strict set of "rules," which describe the procedure courts follow in a family law cases. If these rules are broken there can be serious consequences.
These rules govern things like the types and content of documents that can (or must) be filed, the various deadlines that attorneys (and self-represented litigants!) must comply with, etc.
If you or your attorney do not adhere by these rules you could suffer some really serious consequences for both yourself and your family for the rest of your life.
I had a case recently where the attorney did not follow the rules and it caused her client to suffer some serious consequences in her case. We were litigating a really hotly contested divorce case that had been going on for about a year. Some of the issues in dispute were child custody, division of property, parenting time and child support. However, but the biggest bone of contention was spousal maintenance and attorney’s fees.