Attending any family court hearing can be intimidating, especially if it is your first one. If you are currently bound to a family law agreement (such as a divorce or custody agreement), and you or another party wishes to alter that agreement, a Motion to Modify will need to be filed. Modification hearings will be different than the initial hearing that decided the agreement. Our firm has provided a list of helpful information you can use to prepare for your modification hearing.
Forms and Documentation
- Bring your copy of the current agreement, parenting plan, or whatever you wish to modify.
- If your case involves child support modification, you will need to bring a Form 14
- Parties petitioning to modify family law agreements will need to bring a proposed judgment (what exactly they wish to modify).
There may be other forms and documents that you need to bring to your hearing, so it is a good idea to check with the court, or have your attorney check with the court, on what documents and how many copies of those documents you should bring to your hearing.
Day of the Hearing
- Call the court clerk – Be sure to check in with the clerk at your court to make sure all the necessary documents are on file and all the other necessary stipulations are in place.
- Familiarize yourself with the case – An attorney can help you significantly here. People who represent themselves are sometimes at a disadvantage, because not only are they dealing with the emotional anxiety that these cases can bring, but they also have to remember all the technical details. An attorney can take care of this for you.
- Arrive promptly and be respectful – Be sure you leave yourself enough time to get to the courthouse on time, turn off all electronic devices, and dress appropriately.
During the Hearing
- The judge or commissioner will call you when he or she is ready to hear your case. Address him or her as “your honor” and be sure not to interrupt them when they are speaking.
- Whoever is making the petition to modify will speak first, then the individual who was served the summons.
- Both the petitioner and the served individual will have an opportunity to be heard, as well as any witnesses.
- A written judgment will only be issued at the close of the case after the judge or commissioner makes a final decision. This could be immediately after the case, or the judge could take additional time to decide.
If you need to modify an agreement or you have been served a summons to modify an agreement, an experienced family law attorney could be vital to the outcome of your case. Contact The Buxner Law Firm today for a free case evaluation – (314) 863-6000.