Question: I am representing myself due to finances and I think I am doing a pretty good job. We have a trial coming up and I just received something from the Court asking for a pretrial statement. What is it and what do I have to do?
Great question. A pretrial/prehearing statement is a statement that the Court is supposed to review prior to your evidentiary hearing.
Okay so what do I need to include?
First make sure that you follow the instructions from the minute entry (the document you received in the mail from the court). The trial setting minute entry will tell you that you need to prepare a pretrial statement and give you specifics for what you need to include. Pretrial statements are required by Rule 76 of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure.
What you need to include is dependent on what it is your hearing is over. Make sure that you are only including information for your particular set of circumstances. The Court often sends “boilerplate” minute entries, which can request information that is not necessary or relevant to your case.
For example, if your minute entry asks for you to include a child support worksheet but you have no children, it is obviously a generic minute entry and you can ignore that requirement. The pretrial should cover all of your cases issues. There is no particular format that individuals are required to follow when filing the pretrial as long as it is clear and addresses your issues.
There are self-service forms on the Maricopa Superior Court website that you can use as your pretrial. While helpful these forms do restrict what you can include since the spaces are so limited. If you use the self-service forms, feel free to continue writing on a separate sheet of paper and attach it to the pretrial statement. If you are not using the self service forms you would want to include your contact information at the top of the sheet including your address and telephone number.
You can also use the same forms we use at Modern Law that are easily editable. To get these forms, go to AccessLegalDocs.com
After this general information you would want to include the case caption: “John Doe, Petitioner v. Jane Doe, Respondent.” This caption should include what county the case is in along with the case number and the Judge’s name:
555 E. Street Rd
Phoenix, Arizona 85267
IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF ARIZONA
IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF _________________
|In re the Matter of:
JOHN DOE, Petitioner,andJANE DOE,
|Case No: FC2015-******
PETITIONER’S PRETRIAL STATEMENT
(March 31, 20___)(Judge ______ ________)
After the caption you would want to include a case history. This does not mean that you explain every detail of your relationship. A case history is what has been filed in the case. For example, “On March 1, 2016 Father filed his Petition for Dissolution. Respondent filed a Response on March 15, 2016. Mother and Father attended the Resolution Management conference on May 1, 2016.” This tells the Court very quickly what has been filed in the case and what got you from the Petition to trial. If you are going to skip one thing this would probably be it. While it is great to include, the court has the court record to review so even if you fail to include this you will be okay. The advantage to including it is to make everything easily accessible. This way the Court does not have to go looking for information. It is all in the pretrial statement
After the case history you would want to list the issues as well as your position on each issue. For example:
- CONTESTED ISSUES OF FACT OR LAW
- Child Support
- Attorney’s Fees and Costs
- CHILD SUPPORT
Father requests that the Court use the Arizona Child Support Guidelines to determine child support and that the order be retroactive to June 1, 2014
B ATTORNEY’S FEES AND COSTS
Pursuant to ARS 25-324, Mother should be ordered to pay all or a portion of Father’s attorney’s fees and costs for taking unreasonable positions throughout these proceedings.
After the you have made listed your position on the issue and your argument for why the Court should order the relief you are requesting you would need to include a list of witnesses and exhibits. Everyone needs to know what evidence and what exhibits are going to be used. That is why you should have already provided the exhibits you are planning to use to the other party. Please review the example below:
- The parties
- Any witness listed by Respondent
- Any rebuttal or impeachment witness
- Petitioner reserves the right to amend this list.
- Petitioner’s AFI and corresponding documents
- Respondent’s AFI
- 2012 child support order
Next you need to indicate whether or not discovery has been exchanged. This just tells the Court whether or not each of you has provided the other the exhibits you plan on using. If the other party has not provided all of the information you can object to its use at trial. You must indicate your objection in the pretrial statement or the Court can allow them to use the evidence at trial. Please see example below:
All discovery has been completed.
The parties are also required to tell the Court whether or not settlement was discussed and whether it was successful as well as how long the hearing is scheduled to be:
The parties were able to come to a partial agreement regarding some issues The parties have been unable to reach agreements regarding child support.
TIME FOR HEARING
The time for hearing is 60 minutes.
All pretrial statements must be signed by the individual that is filing the pretrial:
RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED this____ day of __________, 20___.
John Doe Petitione
The last thing you need to include it the certificate of service that tells the Court that you filed the document and who you have provided the statement to:
ORIGINAL of the foregoing filed this
_____ day of ________, 20___, with:
Clerk of the Court
Maricopa County Superior Court
201 W. Jefferson Street
Phoenix, AZ 85006
COPY of the foregoing to be delivered
this ____ day of __________, 20___, to:
Honorable ____________ _____________
MARICOPA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT
COPY of the foregoing to be emailed on this
___ day of __________ 20___ to :
- Street Dr.
This tells the Court that you sent it to the other party and that they have had the opportunity to review your positions and the evidence and witnesses you plan on using at trial.
If the Court requires a joint pretrial statement you will need to contact the other party or his/her attorney to get this prepared. It can be close to impossible to get people to prepare a joint statement. If this is the case make sure to file a separate pretrial statement. You do not want to be penalized because someone would not work with you to prepare the statement.
I hope this helps. Remember that you do not need to use this exact format but you need to make sure that Court knows 1) what your position is 2) what you are using to prove that 3) that the pretrial was filed and sent to the Judge and the other side. If you do that you are already ahead of the game. Good luck.
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