Family Court Motions
When you think of family court you probably mean Family Court motions. Judges rule on Family Court motions. If you want something from the court to file a motion. Essentially, a family court motion is your wishlist to the Judge. The Family Court motion results in a court order.
Here are the steps in Family Court motions:
- File your motion. Your Family Court motion is a list of your requests. The requests should be numbered. Customarily, you will start with the most important issues first. For example, start with asking for custody and parenting time of your children.
- File your certification – your certification is your story in numbered paragraphs. Again, start with the most important stuff first.
- Include your exhibits. Exhibits should be referred to in your Family Court motion. Typically exhibits are order A, B, C, etc. Relevant, prior family court orders and prior case information statements should be attached as standard exhibits.
- Most Family Court motions required a case information statement. The case information statement is a 10 page document. It is confidential. You will need to attach your income taxes and pay stubs to your case information statement. Link to case information statement on the family court website is here: Case Information Statement.
- Technically, you should submit a form of order that the judge can sign. Most Family Court motions result in a customized order. Frequently, your form order is likely to be disregarded.
- Of course, the other side has the right to respond to your family court motion. The other side can file a cross motion for a response. Likely, you will not like or appreciate the content of the cross motion or response.
- Fortunately, you have the right to file a reply. The reply should be limited to the contents of the response or cross motion. You should not be bringing up entirely new topics in the reply.
A few tips on family court motions:
- Try to stick to the facts
- Be clear in what you ask for. Remember, a confusing request gets you a confusing order from the family court judge.
- A little opinion is acceptable. A scathing opinion regarding your relationship is of no interest whatsoever to the Family Court judge.
- Settlement negotiations are not permitted in your certification.
Time for oral argument.
Clearly, you should be respectful of the family court judge and the staff. It is very easy to make a bad impression.
- Read your entire motion to the judge.
- Let your emotions get the best of you. Rehearse so that you are calm.
- Interrupt the judge.
- Ignore the Family Court judge’s question. Answer the question then give your narrative.
Expect that the judge gives you a tentative decision. This is a written preliminary decision. This tells you exactly where the judge is headed and how to tailor your oral argument.
Ask the judge to allow you to make a record. Family Court is recorded. The record is the recording that can become a transcript. Naturally, you will need a good record if you want to appeal the judge’s decision.
Family court motions can make or break your family court case. Play to win for the long run.
Remember, family court motions are not always the end of the case. Live to fight another day.