OPTION B. If you and the Petitioner DO NOT agree on all of the terms to be included in the Order Modifying Child Support and Judgment for Arrears, you will need to have a trial.
A. Trial. If you and the Petitioner cannot agree on all issues, your case will have to be heard and decided by a Judge at a trial.
Caution: It is strongly recommended that you hire or find an attorney to represent you at trial, though you may represent yourself. You proceed at your own risk and will be expected to know the laws.
B. Request a trial date. If the Petitioner has NOT done so, you will need to request a hearing by completing a Request for Setting. Write in "trial" where it asks the type of hearing. Indicate how much time you think it will take for you and the other party to present your evidence and write that in (usually one (1) to three (3) hours). You also need to decide whether or not you want a Court reporter to record the proceeding. SEE BELOW FOR DETAILS ON GETTING A COURT REPORTER. It is very difficult to appeal the Judge’s decision if you do not get a Court reporter to take down everything that is said at the trial.
You must file the Request for Setting and the Order Setting Modification Trial and Requesting Pretrial Statements with the Clerk’s office, and the Court will fill in the hearing date and time and mail a copy to you and the other party. You will need to provide an addressed, stamped envelope for you and the Petitioner to the Clerk.
Once a trial date has been set, do the following:
C. Pretrial Disclosures. - Both parties must provide to other party AND PROMPTLY FILE WITH THE COURT the Pretrial Disclosures regarding the evidence that it may present at trial. If you have questions, you should contact an attorney.
When are the Pretrial Disclosures due? Unless otherwise directed by the Court, these disclosures must be made at least 30 days before trial.
Take the original and two (2) copies to the Clerk for filing. Keep one copy for your records and send the other copy to the Petitioner (or his/her attorney).
Settlement before trial. In the event that your case settles before the trial, you must present the Court with the completed and signed Order Modifying Child Support and Judgment for Arrears in writing before the Court will take the trial off of the schedule. There will be no continuances or canceling of the trial date based on telephone calls. If you need a continuance, you should contact an attorney for assistance in seeking one.
Court reporter. If you wish to have a court reporter you are required to make a request by phone to the appropriate official court reporter as soon as possible, but no later than three (3) working days before the matter is set for hearing. You can provide notice to the court reporter by phone or by submitting a written request. Please note that if providing notice through the mail, the request must be received by the court reporter no later than three working days prior to the hearing. The Clerk will be able to inform you which court reporter to contact. The three-day notice requirement will not be waived by the Court. The notice is required for all civil matters including jury trials.
Evidence and witnesses. At the hearing, you will need to present your evidence and witnesses. If the Order Setting Modification Trial and Requesting Pretrial Statements is entered (signed by the Judge), you must follow the terms and provide the Court with the information requested in that document, including copies of exhibits you want to introduce at the trial and a list of your proposed witnesses and what their testimony is going to be about within the time frame ordered (usually 3 to 5 days prior to the trial). Under the law, the Judge cannot help you or assist you at trial. You are on your own without an attorney.
Final Decision (Order). Following the trial, the Judge will make a decision or may take the matter under advisement, meaning he or she will need to think further before making a determination. If the Judge instructs you, you must take that decision and type it into the Order Modifying Child Support and Judgment for Arrears incorporating the Judge’s decision.
You are again reminded that, if you choose to continue without an attorney, you are expected to know what to do and how to do it. The Judge will not guide you through the trial/hearing, tell you how to proceed or advise you on the law.
When will your child support order be modified? Your child support order will not be modified until the Judge signs the Order and it is filed with the Clerk of Court. This process may take time if the Judge requires changes to the proposed Order. You must verify with the Clerk’s office that the Order has been file-stamped before you can be sure your child support order has been modified. The time limit to appeal the Order begins to run from the day the Order is filed with the Clerk’s office.