Administration: 020 7251 6575 Each page of the bundle should have a letter and a number, for example A1, A2, B1, B2. This legal guide is designed to give information on how to prepare for a court hearing in the Family Court. Deadlines for exhibits to be submitted, for Proposed Final Orders, and to submit lists of witnesses may all be set by the pretrial orders. Failure to do so could lead to an objection, a default judgment, or the exhibits could be precluded from the record. A guide to preparing for court hearings and safety in the Family Court. A position statement is a short document which sets out your position for that particular hearing. Tips for giving evidence. This will limit your contact with the other party when you are not in front of the judge. Step 6: It didn’t go well! How do I prepare my witness list? So your family law case is heading to a final hearing. You may be required to provide a supporting letter from the doctor or psychiatrist. Bring copies of all of the documents you have received from the court and all of the documents you have provided to the court. If you are bringing a McKenzie friend to court, you should tell the usher when you sign in at court. However, a witness can be precluded from the final hearing if they haven’t been listed on a timely-submitted witness list. If a litigant does not have a lawyer they are called a litigant in person. I offer very affordable flat rates as well as reasonable hourly rates for family law legal services, research, document preparation, trial and trial preparation. It is helpful to provide a position statement to the court and the other party before the hearing. Always contact the court a few days before a hearing to make sure your special measures have been arranged. Sometimes the court misplaces documents or files and it may be helpful to provide the court with a spare copy or a particular document when you are there. If you prepare a position statement you should ideally send it to the court and the other party at least a day before the hearing. Step 3: What should I use for exhibits? You should not use previous Court Orders as exhibits. Finally, take note that in New Hampshire, contested divorces do not become final until their listed Judgment Day, which is 30 days after the Final Orders are issued. Were pretrial orders issued? In the most serious cases, you may request to attend the hearing via a video link or live link so you do not have to be in the room with the other parent. This can include, for example, wheelchair access and communication aids. In the Family Court the party who started the proceedings by making an application is usually called the applicant. For certain hearings the court will require all the documents and information that the court has to consider to be put into a file in a certain order with an index. Please see Family Division Rule 2.24 for more information. When the judge is ready to hear your case you will be called into the court room by the court usher. You may call anyone with case information to be a witness. A McKenzie Friend can sit with you, take notes, provide suggestions to you and help you organise documents. Rights of Women publishes a number of other legal guides that may be useful including Children and the law: when parents separate and A guide to financial arrangements after marriage breakdown and Domestic violence injunctions. If the other party approaches you without your permission or if the other party becomes abusive, seek assistance from the court usher, or call the police. Either you, or a witness you call, should be able to verify that the document is authentic and accurate for the Court. You may want to label them with letters or numbers (Exhibit A, Exhibit 1, etc). Step 1: Was there a pretrial hearing? There should be an index, which is like a contents page, at the beginning of the bundle that lists all of the documents and page numbers. Proposed final orders should reflect what you want to happen in your case. You should provide the court with details of any adjustments you may require to take part in the hearing, at the earliest opportunity. You should inform the judge if you feel the lawyer is being aggressive or taking advantage of the fact that you do not have a lawyer. You will need to inform the judge that you are bringing a McKenzie Friend to assist you. You need at least one for you, one for the Court, and enough copies for all other parties involved to each have one. If you are concerned about your safety, or that seeing the other party face to face will make it difficult for you to take part in the hearing then you should consider the following: An example of why you may need screens or a live link is if you have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and being in the room with the other parent will trigger a reaction or make it difficult for you to participate in the hearing. 52-54 Featherstone Street, Again, this is very rare and there will need to be strong reasons. Position statements should not usually be longer than 2 sides of A4 paper. The personal support unit (PSU) is a charity which provides assistance for people attending the Family Court who do not have legal representation. The party responding to the application is called the respondent. If the applicant does not have a lawyer, then the respondent’s lawyer should prepare the bundle. The court will pay the interpreter’s fees. If you intend to request screens or a live link you must inform the court as soon as possible to ensure that the equipment is available at the hearing. Parenting Plan (Minor children / Custody), Decree on Parenting (Unmarried parties, custody cases. After you have been through security you need to find your court room. This guide is designed to provide general information only for the law in England and Wales. Nobody should have to go into a trial alone without an attorney to help them through and make sure that all of their rights are protected. The kinds of things you may wish to include in a position statement: A position statement should not contain evidence. Generally, McKenzie Friends will be somebody you know. Just because a party is on a witness list doesn’t mean that they must come to court for the hearing! The judge will decide whether or not to allow the screens. Read carefully your notice of hearing or your court order from the last hearing. For further information about which courts they operate in visit their website: www.thepsu.org. You should also submit proposed Final Orders to the Court in compliance with any applicable deadlines from the Family Division Rules, and any pretrial orders. How to Prepare for the Final Hearing in a Family Law Case Step 1: Was there a pretrial hearing? This person is called a McKenzie Friend. This makes it easier for a judge to access the correct exhibit at the right time. Family cases are unique in that they often do not settle – it is, understandably, hard to compromise or settle a case where our children and our emotional connections to romantic partners are concerned. to tell you the other party’s position or views for the hearing. If your court case is about your child then you may also be approached by an officer from Cafcass who will want to find out your views and discuss issues that you may be able to agree upon. Depending on the case, prepare the following: Parenting Plan (Minor children / Custody): Decree on Parenting (Unmarried parties, custody cases): Again, all copies of proposed final orders must go to all parties in compliance with deadlines. You can ask the court to provide you with a separate waiting room to wait in before you are called in front of the judge. If the judgment was not favorable, then you can file a Motion to Reconsider. Before each hearing you will receive either a notice or a court order from the court, which states the time and place of the next hearing. London, EC1Y 8RT. You should seek up-to-date, independent legal advice.