Hearing & Final Decision
1st - Know the Terms
- Permanent Orders - This will be the Court's final decision.
2nd - The Paperwork
- This kit has all the forms for this step in one document.
- Pretrial Statement - JDF 1129
- Sworn Financial Statement - JDF 1111
- Witness List
- Exhibit List
- Subpoena - JDF 80 & 80.1
- Motion for Absentee Testimony - JDF 1309 & 1310.
Learn More: Filling Out Court Forms.
3rd - Plan for the Hearing
Why do This?
At the hearing, you will report what you want and why.
Use this draft outline to help plan your report.
- Issues - Know what is left for the Court to decide.
- Law - Know what the Court considers when giving answers.
- Facts - Know which facts the Court can use to apply the law.
A witness gives facts to the Court by answering your questions.
- Select which people have facts the Court needs.
- Write questions you want to ask each witness.
- Prepare the witness by reviewing with them the questions you will ask.
- A witness can volunteer to come to the hearing.
- Or, you can require them to come.
A witness can talk about the documents you provide.
- Select which documents contain facts the Court needs to know.
- Organize each document. Label it with
- Know which witness can talk about that document.
Learn More: Evidence | Witnesses | Exhibits.
Learn More: Custody Issues & Law.
4th - Pretrial Statement
What is It?
This form outlines the remaining problems the Judge will need to decide.
It will also include:
- A list of people you want to talk at the hearing.
- Witness List
- These are your witnesses.
- A list of the documents you will present at the hearing.
- A copy of all the exhibits.
- An updated money summary.
Who Files This?
- If neither parent has a lawyer:
- Then you will both file a statement.
- If one parent has a lawyer:
- Then that lawyer will file a statement for both of you.
- Send your portions to the lawyer 14 days before the form is due.
When is This Due?
- Seven days before the hearing.
5th - Go to the Hearing
Give Your Position
- Presenting facts.
- Focus on facts that will help the Judge to decide the issues.
- Ask questions to your witnesses.
- This is called Direct Examination.
- Ask witnesses about your exhibits.
- Tell your story
- Let the Court know your position and why.
Respectfully Oppose Other Positions
- Ask questions of their witnesses.
- This is called cross-examination.
- Or, you may present exhibits that show that a witness is not telling the truth.
- This is called rebuttal evidence.
- The hearing is your one chance to show that a witness is lying.
Learn More: Flow Chart & Tips for the Hearing.
6th - The Decision
What Will the Court Do?
The Court will set the:
- Parenting plan and
- Child support payment.
How Does the Court Decide?
The Court will:
- Look at the facts by
- Listening to the testimony, and
- Reviewing the exhibits.
- Determine the Truth by
- Resolve any conflicting facts by:
- Deciding which fact is more likely to be true.
- These, along with the undisputed facts, are called the findings of fact.
- Apply the law by
- Taking the findings of fact, and
- Deciding what the law requires.
When Will the Decision Come?
- Sometimes, it's the same day as the hearing. Or,
- The Court may take a few weeks.
- Either way, written orders will be mailed to you.
Manage your Disappointment
- Know that you won't get everything you want.
- The Court has a hard job in making these tough decisions.
- The Court is trying to do what's best for the children.
- Know that strong emotions make it hard to recognize reasonable decisions.
- You will be a parent with the other party forever.
- Your kid needs both of you.
- Now is the time to start building a positive relationship for the benefit of your child.
You have reached the end of the custody process.
I'm confused or stuck, and I want additional materials or resources.I Need More Information
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