Can The Court Date Be Postponed Until I Retain A Lawyer?
Divorces are incredibly emotional events in the lives of people who must live through them. No matter what the circumstances of the divorce, people will be stressed because they are having to expend financial resources on the divorce and they don’t know what the outcome of the divorce will be as far as property, custody, alimony, and other pressing issues that haunt divorce. Some people enter the process wanting to quickly “get it over with” so they can move on with their lives but quickly discover that it’s more complicated. A do it yourself is almost NEVER a good idea. The complicated issues that must be sorted through in a divorce need the careful and expert hand of a lawyer.
Sometimes a court date is set in a divorce proceeding before one or both parties have had time to retain attorneys. If you haven’t gotten an attorney for the divorce yet, it can be especially stressful to receive news that a hearing has already been scheduled. What do you do then?
The bulk of people will quickly realize that they need an attorney and then seek a continuance on the hearing. This means that the date will be postponed so that they can have time to get a good lawyer to come to court with them and represent them during the hearing. Without a lawyer, a spouse can lose handily on pretty much every issue in the divorce and for those with children or considerable assets, it’s a lifelong mistake to not retain a lawyer.
The good news is that postponing the hearing is possible if you file a motion to postpone that a judge can review. While you can technically attend the hearing without a lawyer, it’s NEVER a good idea if you have even one issue of contention with the opposing spouse. A lawyer is going to help you know the legalities of your divorce and help you play them out in a courtroom. If you don’t have a lawyer yet, it’s time to retain one.
If you haven’t already retained one, you can request an order of continuance from the court. This is accomplished by filing a motion. Perhaps even your new attorney can do so and then inform the court that they were just retained and need time to prepare for the hearing. Lawyers can’t just attend a hearing with a client. They need ample time to prepare and understand the current stage of the divorce and all of the details behind it (grounds, requests, previous actions, etc). So there’s no way that a newly hired lawyer is going to be able to spring in on a divorce hearing a couple of days after taking on the case.
The motion to postpone will be heard by the judge and at that time he will determine if there is ample evidence that you should be able to reschedule the hearing date. If he grants your motion, he’ll go ahead and reschedule another date. It is this date that you must focus on keeping with your new lawyer. Postponing more than once can begin to reflect poorly on the court, who may begin to get agitated and perhaps feel like you are stalling the divorce proceedings.
If you’ve quickly realized that you shouldn’t do a DIY divorce, you’re not alone. Many people attempt to do a DIY divorce before they realize all of the complicating factors of divorce. If you’re one of those people who finally realized you need a lawyer but you have an upcoming hearing, you need to file for a motion to postpone on the grounds that you need to find legal representation before the hearing. If the court grants your motion, you’ll get a rescheduled date PLUS a confirmation of that date. You can confirm the date yourself by calling the county clerk or checking with your new lawyer to confirm the date as soon as you can.
May 17, 2018
Spodek Law is a great firm. They are super pragmatic