Be sure to meet all deadlines for
filing any documents needed for your court date. Read the Codes and Rules
in the law library if you are not sure what to file with the Court and
when. Be aware that all facts and evidence that you wish the judge to
consider must be provided to the other party and the Court before the
hearing in the form of a written declaration sworn to under penalty of
perjury. In addition to your declaration, you may use the declarations of
need to organize your thoughts about the issues to be handled on your
court date. Think about what you want to say. Make some notes to help you
remember the main points. Gather documents that may help you remember
things that are important. You should be prepared to tell the judge what
the issues are, what solution you think is best, and why. Be sure to focus
on the issues that are the reason your court date was scheduled. The judge
cannot address issues that are not identified in the original paperwork
filed to request the hearing. If you have other problems to resolve, you
can schedule a separate hearing for that purpose.
Make child care arrangements for your
minor children. Children are not permitted in the courtroom.
If you require the assistance of an
interpreter, you will need to secure an interpreter before your hearing.
You may use an adult friend or relative to interpret for you, but minor
children of the parties cannot be used as interpreters. Also, parties are
not permitted to share a single interpreter. Interpreters are offered
without charge only for Domestic Violence and Contempt hearings.
Plan to dress for your court date as if
going to a job interview in a business office. Suits or slacks and
long-sleeved shirts are best for men. Pant or skirt outfits and dresses
are appropriate for women. If you are coming from or going to work, your
uniform or work clothes are fine. Make sure that you have made an effort
to be neat, clean, and well groomed. Try to present the best side of
yourself. After all, this is a place of business and you are going to be
meeting the Judge about something important to you.
Arrange to be in court on time. It is
very important to be on time for all scheduled court dates. Allow extra
time due to possible traffic congestion. If you are late, your case could
be removed from the court calendar, postponed, or the judge could rule
against you without you being heard at all.