Posted on by Randi

The court, with the intent being to guide parties without attorneys (or to get away with pushing cases through), are now setting custody trials and asset/debt trials for one hour.

One of our concerns which arises when we see a pretrial “Minute Entry” Order that states that the parties will have one hour for a custody trial, with added language that “you will not likely have time to have witnesses testify.”

First, one has to ask, “How am I to get DUE PROCESS OF LAW?” Second, without an attorney, are you going to know that you have a right to ask for more time? Third, a third party witness may be crucial to your case.

We recently reviewed a Minute Entry Pretrial Order from the Court, where three (3) attorneys were involved (one for each parent and one for the child). Given that the Court Order stated that, for this one hour trial, each side would get approximately 20 minutes to present their case (this was this judge’s standard Order for a trial with just two (2) attorneys (including direct examination, cross examination, redirect and presentation to ask for exhibits to be admitted and address objections.

The issue is you simply cannot get due process in that amount of time. I filed motions to expand the time for hearing to 3.5 hours and based upon the fact that the parties could not get due process in an hour. It took two (2) separate motions until the Court (days before trial) decided to extend the time.

Also, you DO have the right to inform the Court (usually 30 days before trial) to inform the Court that you do need additional time.

If you are facing a trial regarding children and/or assets,debts, trusts and/or business interests, do not settle for less than 3.5 hours. If you are interested in more information, please call 602-561-8107 to speak with an attorney immediately.

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