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Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The way you get things done in family court is you submit motions to the court. This means that if you have a problem and you would like the court to do something about it, you file a motion. (If you are interested in what a motion looks like, ask the clerk to give you a copy of a few court files so you can look at some examples. Most court files are available to the public upon request.)
By filing a motion, I mean that you write up your motion indicating that you'd like the court to do something and give it to the clerk in the clerk's office. The clerk will then date and time and place stamp it and place the motion in your court file. If you are smart, you will have an extra copy for yourself which the clerk can also date, time, and place stamp. Then if the court says, "I have no idea what you are talking about. I've never seen such a motion" you have proof that you gave it to the court clerk.
The other less recommended approach is to fax your motion and staple the receipt to the motion for your files. That works if you don't have time to go to court personally.
Do you need proof that you filed a motion? Yes, you do need proof. If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong, particularly in a Court of law, so protect the butt, protect the butt, always protect the butt.
Once you have submitted the motion to court and the court clerk has taken it, date, time, and place stamped it and placed it in your file, the motion will then go on the court calendar for a hearing in about two weeks. On the Friday before the hearing, you have to call up the clerk by telephone and mark the motion as ready. There are specific instructions for doing this which the clerk states very clearly in his message. Follow those instructions to the letter.
Also, send a notice in writing to the opposing attorney indicating that the motion is ready. If you fail to do these things, you will find yourself in court and the judge will refuse to hear your motion and the opposing attorney won't show up. Too bad for you!
If you have an attorney representing you, make sure that the attorney does all these things that I've described to you. Otherwise, nothing will get done in your case and you'll get not even a double whammy, instead you'll get a multiple, multiple whammy when your case goes to trial, none of the preliminary issues have been settled, and you find yourself in major, big time, hot water.
Now, any questions???