Step 11 - Representing Yourself in a Contested Hearing

 
Make sure you arrive at the courtroom before your scheduled time and identify yourself to the clerk.
 
When the judge enters the courtroom, stand up. Give the judge your name. Tell the judge you are representing yourself. The judge may tell you what to do next.
 
“When you are in court, stay calm, cool and collected. Keep your evidence organized and be prepared to deal with other parties who may not always be truthful.”
 
Otherwise, the person who filed the application speaks first and explains what he or she is asking the court to order and why. You will be referring to the evidence set out in your affidavit. The parent/guardian (or his/ her lawyer) responds; then the grandparent who filed the application responds to those comments. The judge may ask questions of either person.
 
The case is decided on evidence written in the affidavit and people are not allowed to speak about any new issues. The affidavit is the main or only evidence before the Court. In a court hearing, parties do not speak to one another – they only speak to the judge. When the judge speaks, make careful notes about what the judge says.
 

Hearing different than case conference

Note: When the judge enters or leaves the courtroom, always stand up. If the judge states his/her decision at the hearing, write down the details. If you do not understand any part of the process, stand up and ask questions.
 
The judge may choose NOT to make a decision at the hearing but to wait until a later date to give a decision.

Court Costs

At the end of the hearing, the judge will decide whether the other party (parent/guardian) should pay any part of your court costs, or whether you should pay any part of the other party’s costs.
 
Note: If you did not ask for court costs in your application, the judge cannot order the other party to pay your costs.