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Reged: 02/13/06
Posts: 361
Loc: Florida
What happens when you go to court?
      #144663 - 09/09/06 06:29 AM

I have never been to court except the day that I got divorced.....the child support issued was handled thru mediation, so I have no idea what happens when you go to court for other things.....who is allowed to be there....are you only questioned by the judge?? Please advise.

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Reged: 06/24/04
Posts: 2274
Re: What happens when you go to court? [Re: Simply_me]
      #144665 - 09/09/06 07:13 AM

I can tell you what it is like here. Usually a ton more people are there being is refered to as the "cattle call". No kidding. And you have like 20 total minutes to have a hearing. If more time is needed one must schedule for another hearing and tell the Courts how much time they think is needed. Then it is usually scheduled as a 2nd or 3rd sitting, which means more than likely it will be continued b/c it can't be heard b/c the Court is hearing the 1st sitting case.

Once your case is called both parties are sworn in. The attorneys, or you is your pro se, are allowed to make a brief opening statement. Then one side starts calling witnesses (usually just you and your X) and questions are asked. The other side has a change to cross-examine (ask questions to). After one side rests the other party has a chance to call witnesses and you and your attorney will cross them.

Then closing statements are made. And the Judge rules.

Usually everyone is in the Courtroom EXCEPT for the fact is you have people testifying on your behalf (or your X on his/her behalf) then they should be made to wait outside and ONLY come back in once called to the stand. They should not be in the courtroom listening to the testimony before them.

Hope this helps.

Duct tape can't fix stupid but it can keep them out of the way."

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Reged: 06/14/05
Posts: 461
Loc: RI
Re: What happens when you go to court? [Re: tsl]
      #144675 - 09/09/06 08:45 AM


If itís Family Court or a higher court. I am stuck in the higher court and the typical court day goes like this.

They want you there before 9:30am but you donít have an actual appointment. You, your lawyer and everyone else and their lawyers all rush to sign in with the court officer. Cases that day will be on a 1st come 1st serve basis. So, if you and your lawyer are on time and the other party is there on time but their atty needs to step away for 15 minutes to stand with another client he has, well your names get called and because youíre not all there you get bumped. I have never had the lawyers called up till after we have sat there from 9:15am typically till almost 11am. So youíre paying your lawyer because he has to be there, even if he is doing nothing, because he is waiting for your case to be called up.

Now, I have an upcoming hearing, but mine is more a trial, and my lawyer tells me that their will be people testifying on the other parties defense, I was told possibly 2 days of this. I am sure, due to the nature and depth of my hearing, we wont be seen by the judge till all her other hearings and status conferences are finished. I still have to pay my lawyer to sit there, almost half the doubt, but I have no choice.

Family court is quicker, sign in, wait a half hr or an hr; you get called in, 20 minutes later youíre out of there.

Either way itís no fun. Just dress respectful, make eye contact and come prepared.

Good luck!
Mom 2 Girls

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Reged: 06/14/05
Posts: 461
Loc: RI
Re: What happens when you go to court? [Re: Mom2Girls]
      #144676 - 09/09/06 08:50 AM

Oh yeah 1 more thing...

When I had a hearing yrs ago in Family court the court door was locked. The court officer oppened the door, called out the next party's names and the door locked you in the courtroom. There were only the court officer, the lawyers and clients, and the judge and a person typing everything.

In higher court its a free for all. The rear of the courtroom has rows of benches where anyone can come, take a seat and silently watch. In my case I am sure my ex will have his entire extended family there for moral support mean while I will be there alone with my lawyer.

I dont like the concept of an open courtroom. Its difficult enough to sit at the stand and testify and get cross examined without adding an audience into the mix while you talk into a microphone. Too much a 3 ring circus if you ask me.

Mom 2 Girls

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Carpal \'Tunnel

Reged: 11/07/05
Posts: 8852
Re: What happens when you go to court? [Re: Mom2Girls]
      #144680 - 09/09/06 09:05 AM

I have been to a regular divorce hearing with a friend, it WAS like a cattle call. I am pretty sure everyone there was agreeing and just showing up before the judge to finalize.

We never attend the hearings for DH's modification, both attorneys appeared by phone. Our actual trial on the modification, we were the only people there (witnesses too). I believe we had the entire morning set aside, because at the scheduling hearing basically each attorney came in with how much time they needed and they decided on 4 hours. Each party was question by their own attorney as well as opposing counsel. The judge interjected a few questions for clarification at times. The judge declared how he was inclined to rule on the big issues, and suggested the attorneys try and work everything else out because the parties were not that far apart and we had extra time (it was only 10AM by that point). So everyone went into their own room and the attorneys ran back and forth. They worked out a deal. We went back in, each party testified that they were agreeing to the terms of the deal after it was read into the record. Our attorney prepared it for signature. They took two months and still hadn't signed it. The judge then ordered them to sign it and they got it to him the next day and everything was over.

Forgiveness is...letting go of the hope that the past can be changed.

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Reged: 08/19/04
Posts: 404
Loc: KY
Re: What happens when you go to court? [Re: Simply_me]
      #144685 - 09/09/06 09:30 AM

Our "court" is very different. We don't even have a -family court- We have a domestic relations commisioner, who hears everything before the judge.

You come to court at 9 am and will be heard anytime after that. We have been there until 5 pm at times. You are called into the commissioner's office according to the dockets. If your attorney or the other is busy with another client, you get bumped. Once in the office, the commissioner is present, the two attorneys and their clients. Everything is video taped. The attorney who filed the original motion begins and the other side then gets to argue their side. I have been in front of the commissioner atleast 12 times and I have rarely been asked to speak. Occassionally the commissioner will ask a question.

It usually takes 10 to 15 minutes, After, the commissioner makes his "reccomendation" and will mail his report to the attorneys about a week later. Either party will have 10 days to make objection to the commissioner's report. If there are none, after the 10 days, the report is taken in front of the judge, confirmed, and made into an order. If there are objections to the commissioner's findings, you are given another court date that will take place with the judge. (It is extremely rare that the judge will decide something different than the commissioner, so it is usually a waste of time to object.)

This time, you start in the court room, along with everyone else, but only for the judge to decide if he will hear the objections or not. If he will, you'll later be called into his chambers and it works the same way as the commissioner's office. There are very few people allowed inside, but the judges decision is final.

All in all, it is a pretty comfortable way to have to do it - if anything court related can be called comfortable.

Dyslexic agnostics don't believe in Dog.

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old hand

Reged: 08/14/06
Posts: 701
Loc: Hillsboro, MO
Re: What happens when you go to court? [Re: Grace]
      #144763 - 09/09/06 04:47 PM

I'm in MO and this is what happens when I've gone to court. The only time I was addressed directly by the judge was at the final hearing for our divorce. I went up on the stand and said our marriage was irreperably (sp?) broken. That was basically it.

During the modification we sat in the courtroom and the judge came out and called our case. THe lawyers went before him and told them whether or not they had agreed yet. Then they went into the judges chambers to talk it out, came back out and asked out opinions, went back, came back out etc etc. When everything was agreed on Ex and I sat at a table and signed off on the modification.

Now that is what happened in St. Louis county I'm not sure if the whole state does it the same way.

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