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Can witnesses can be used at first hearing for legal separation?

Stockton, CA |

Respondent responded 36 hours before our hearing with so many demands and accusations that I have no way or time to prepare. Plus, he's bringing a witness to testify against me and to credit him. I didn't even know we could bring witnesses the first time around...I thought that was a trial function not hearing. He has an attorney...I have no income because he controls access to our money and keeps me on a small allowance for me & the kids (not enough, naturally). What can I do tomorrow at the hearing? Can I as the Petitioner ask for a continuance or is there some way to not allow this witness to speak yet?

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

It is up to the court whether they will allow testimony at an initial hearing. Generally the do not hear testimony unless there is a specific issue that is being decided that day such that the witnesses information may help determine that issue. You can ask for a continuance to better prepare but you cannot keep the witness from testifying if the court wants to hear from that witness. You can object in open court but again if the court wants to hear from that person, they will be allowed to speak. I strongly suggest you interview several attorneys until you find someone who can work with you financially. With your husband being in control of the money and children involved, this is important so you don't get railroaded and not get what you and you children need.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your quick reply. After talking to many attorneiys 2 backed out (no contract signed) and I have one now who has told me if I can get fees awarded tomorrow, she'll take me on after that. So, I'm running out of time and gotta get through tomorrow on my own and was only privy late last night tothe dirty game my husband is playing. If they choose to let her speak, I have saved texts & voicemails from this witness that will immediately discredit her testimony and show she is lying. When I say, "I object" is that when I say I have proof otherwise? The judge is also gonna read very character damning lies about me in ex's declaration that paint me as a bad parent. In custody mediation yesterday, the mediator did look at evidence I provided and testimony I told him of what my ex has done to us and my belief he is emotionally & mentally I'll and after talking to my husband, the mediator is reccomending to the court that psych evaluations be done first which is what I have been hopeful for for years., How does that come into play at the initial hearing?

Asker

Posted

Also, I have several calls into the attorney that said she would help afterwards but no calls back yet. That's why I am relying on avvo to get me through.

Christine James

Christine James

Posted

Just go to court and do your best. Object to the witness testimony before she is heard and state your reasons. The court will likely hear from her. When she is done tell the court you would like to respond and present your evidence the contradicts what she says. Good luck.

Asker

Posted

Thank you very much.

Posted

I agree with Attorney James, the court can decide to hear from the witness if they so choose, so get yourself a lawyer so you are not put at an extreme disadvantage in your case. You will lose far more than you will have to pay the attorney.

Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only.

Posted

Find a local family law atty who can help you file a motion for atty fees so you can afford an atty.

Posted

It's not clear what SORT of "first hearing" is coming up. If it's a trial setting or status conference, then the court probably will not want any testimony from you, him, or any witnesses; the court is going to handle trial calendaring. If it's a "trial" "Request for Orders" ("RFO") Order To Show Cause", or 'Motion" then the court may take testimony ON THE SUBJECTS OF THAT HEARING. If you obnly got a response 36 hours before the hearing, you should let the judge know, and ask (a) to have the hearing continued long enough to let you prepare and that he be ordered to pay enough child support and spousal support in the interim that you and the kids can survive until the next hearing.

Asker

Posted

Thank you very, very much! That last part especially was so helpful.

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