The State Bar of California

How to Prepare for Your Hearing

What to Review Before Court?

Before your hearing, it is helpful to review the documents that were filed with the court, whether by you or the opposing party. This includes any Motions or Applications for Orders, and any Responsive Declarations which were filed.

If you have already received a copy of the Mediation Report (also known as a Child Custody Recommending Counseling Report), review that as well. If you have not received a copy of the Mediation Report, you will receive a copy on the morning of the Hearing.

The Judge will give you time to read the Mediation Report and discuss it with your attorney before the Hearing.

What to Bring to Court?

If you have any photos or documents that support your position, show them to your attorney before the court date and also bring them to the Hearing.

If child support or spousal support is an issue, bring a copy of your most recent tax return and your last 3 paystubs.

What to Wear to Court?

You do not need to wear a suit to your Hearing, but you do need to dress respectfully. Dress as if you are attending a job interview. Do not wear baggy pants and t-shirts, low-cut tops, or short skirts. Do not wear heavy or expensive jewelry, as you will need to take it off to go through security as you enter the courthouse.

How to Get to Court?

Directions to each courthouse are located here

Be sure to allow plenty of time to arrive at the courthouse, find parking, and go through security before your Hearing.

During the Hearing?

While you are in the courtroom, all cellphones must be completely turned off. The court also does not allow any gum, food, or drinks in the courtroom, except for bottled water.

There is also no talking allowed while you are sitting in the courtroom waiting for your Hearing to begin. For this reason, attorneys often sit separately from their clients in a different section of the courtroom.

Children under 18 years old are not allowed in the courtroom. The only Family Law courthouse with childcare available is the Hayward Hall of Justice. Information about the Children’s Waiting Room in Hayward is located here.

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