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Preparing for court

Started by dipper, Feb 04, 2016, 06:54:42 PM

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I am set to go to court on February 23rd on a show cause I filed against the other party and their return filing against me.   

Do I need to turn in any of my evidence to court before the hearing?  Also, do I need to have copies for the other side as well?   Will I need to question the other side, or simply present my filing and the evidence I have to the judge?

I am thinking I need to be as concise as possible in presenting my points.   I do have recordings - Virginia is a one party consent state.   I will have those loaded on a laptop, but I have made transcripts with the minutes noted of when certain statements were made.  I do not feel a judge is going to want to hear recording after recording. 

If anyone has appeared before a judge pro se on a a show cause, I would like to hear from you on how it worked...


Well, while there are rules of evidence, I think a lot of it has to do with the tempermant of the judge on the day of the hearing.

It's really hard for us "normal" people to know what each state's rules are.  And my case or situation in WV was long ago (now), that I don't totally remember all the rules.  I remember having three copies of everything -- one for the judge/court, one for the other side, and one for me.  I remember something about having to exchange evidence before the hearing -- but that didn't always happen either.

My EX had phone calls transcribed and notorized that they were a true transcription -- and the judge got mad that he took the "time" to do all that because it was a book. 

Technology has changed -- screen shots of text messages can now be printed into a picture.  If you bring in a letter from DHR, the person who wrote the letter has to say "YES, I wrote that" -- or a police report has to be supported by a police officer.

It really does get complicated.

Are there any books from Westlaw out there that describe the rules of evidence for your state?

Or a law school near by?

Or an hour with the attorney to go over HOW to do this?


Also, here you go to hearing first (not a trial) to work it out and see what the judge is saying about what is going on. If you can not agree then it goes to a trial. DH ex represented herself during a full trial and it was like TV, calling witnesses, presenting evidence. Our lawyer put me on stand and asked me questions and then ex was allowed (but didn't) ask any questions of me. We used tape recordings but has to prove they were in a safe the whole time and no one tampered with it. We gave it right to officer when we walked in to make sure it was still considered evidence and not tampered with. We had to supply the tape recording device to play in court. We used phone records and had the someone from the company testify about records. The first hearing you should get a list of people they will call during trial so you can be prepared with questions for each one. And I agree, it depends on judge mood that day and if they want to "deal" with you and your inexperience. If you are going against a lawyer, you really are at a disadvantage. You can go to hearing and see what it going on, and then ask them to set trial date and time to get a lawyer for that ONE date. We hire our lawyer for each hearing only so it keeps costs down.


Thank you both.  I don't think anyone supplied evidence before our custody hearings, so I am thinking here we do not have to.   The recordings, I was thinking of taking in a laptop because they were recorded on phones and loaded to a laptop.   

Seeing an attorney beforehand may very well be our best option just to get input on what to expect and how to proceed.  I do feel they will have an attorney. 


Is the recording still on phone? I would bring phone as that is where the recording was made. They can say you transferred and altered it when it got to laptop. You would also need to prove it was their voice. We had it a little easier as we were the ones with the lawyer and ex did not so she did not know when to say "no that is not allowed". You do not give your evidence early just the list of people so the other side knows who they are calling in. You can usually call extra people if both sides agree. It really depends on how formal the judge will be. Have you been in front of this judge before?


I remember having to exchange something beforehand....but I really don't remember details....thankfully it was a long time ago (almost 15 years)....which is why I recommended asking an attorney.  I was pro se...

Find out how long the hearing is scheduled for on the docket.  THAT will tell you too if it's just a status hearing or a full blown hearing.


The recordings are on different phones.   We have went before this judge twice but only to say we are in agreement ....and then the mother is never in agreement within two weeks of court.   This will be the first time actually presenting anything in front of the judge.