The date of your hearing is drawing near but have you planned for it?
Here are 5 ways to help you prepare and be better equipped for your next hearing.
1. Mentally prepare
This means getting yourself into the right frame of mind for court, including thinking about where you are now, why and where you would like to be.
Take some time out for selfcare. This may include taking time off work or doing something (not related to your case) that you enjoy doing.
2. Prepare your arguments
This includes preparing your paperwork and planning what you want to include in your paperwork. If you are preparing a position statement, state clearly what your view is and make sure that the information you include is factually correct.
Be clear about what you want to ask for, and ask for it.
3. Prepare for the court process
As well as preparing your paperwork, start to prepare yourself for the process of going to court. For example, if you have never been to the court, find out where it is and make sure you know how you will get there.
If it helps, go on a recce to the court before the date of your hearing so that when you arrive, on the day of your hearing, the building and location will already be familiar points of reference for you.
4. Prepare for the unexpected
No matter how good or how watertight your case (or the other side’s case) may be, the best way to prepare is to expect the unexpected and never assume what will happen on the day.
Here are examples of things that can happen: the hearing is cancelled by the court on the day, the other party does not turn up for the hearing, a report from a third party (such as a children’s guardian) has not been prepared, the judge gives directions without giving either party the opportunity to speak.
5. Book your McKenzie Friend
If you want a McKenzie Friend to attend court with you, contact your McKenzie Friend as soon as you know the date of your next hearing. This avoids a last-minute panic or you having to go to court on your own when you would rather have assistance on the day.
Hearings are typically listed two months in advance and increasingly, a judge (or the usher) will tell you the date of your next hearing while you are in court.
Copyright © Going to Court Alone – Debbie Thomas
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