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What happens if the petitioner failed to file a trial brief in a paternity case?

Palmdale, CA |

We attended mediation 6 months ago and did not agree so a trial by judge date was set. I filed my trial brief on time but the petitioner did not file any required paperwork. I currently have full custody of the minor child and am requesting it stay that way. Can the petitioner testify without the proper paperwork filed?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Although judges often say trial briefs are required the failure to file one would not usually prevent someone to put on a case. It is always better to file one, but it would not be as problematic as failing to file a list of witnesses or exhibits where that was required.

    THIS RESPONSE IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. IT HAS BEEN PROVIDED FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Mann is licensed to practice in the State of California. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this educational exchange. Moreover, the facts provided by you were not sufficient to allow Mr. Mann to advise you specifically regarding what you should or should not do. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Mann is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter, or to take any action whatsoever.


  2. The party is usually always allowed to testify but exhibits or witnesses may be excluded.

    This is not a comprehensive answer and it is impossible to provide a meaningful response without a consultation. Call us for more information. 619.797.5456 www.mataelelaw.com


  3. Depends on the judge. They have discretion. if parties are pro per, likely more lee way from the judge.


  4. Do not get over confident because Petitioner failed to file paperwork. The Petitioner can still testify. The standard is still "best interest of the child". If Petitioner does not show up for the trial most judges would give you almost all of what you're asking for. But, it is written into the code that it is normally in the best interests of the child to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents. So full custody that excludes time with the Petitioner is unlikely. A trial brief is not evidence, it is just a "road map" where you outline for the judge what you intend to prove at trial - you still have to prove it by proper evidence and testimony.

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