How Many Days Before Family Law Hearing Must a Response to a Declaration Be Filed? 

In family law cases, how many days before a family law hearing is just a response to a declaration is filed? The answer varies by state, but the general rule is seven days. The response must be filed three days before the hearing. The length of the document can be up to 10 pages, although there are limitations on total pages and the number of pages. The timeframe for filing a response to a declaration will depend on the specifics of your situation and the court’s rules. 

(Looking for a Divorce Attorney in Missoula? Contact us today!)

3 days 

Depending on the type of motion and the county’s local court rules, a reply to a declaration is due one to three days before the hearing. If you are unsure about how to write a response to a declaration, you can hire a facilitator to guide you through the process. A facilitator is the least expensive option, and they can answer some basic questions. However, you should note that reply declarations often have strict page limits and exclude supporting documents and exhibits. These are counted towards the page limit. 

Regardless of whether the parties are represented by attorneys, they must file the necessary paperwork electronically, including the response to the declaration, to be filed and served in time for the hearing. PCLGR 30(b)(5) specifies the requirements for filing this paperwork electronically. The hearing is scheduled to take place on the date indicated in the response. If the court does not grant a motion, the hearing may be continued or a judge may decide to issue a limiting order. 

10 pages 

Unless otherwise authorized, a court can only receive ten pages of a party’s response to a declaration. This includes declarations contained in mandatory forms and affidavits in response to motions. Exhibits, such as expert witness reports, will not count toward the page limit. Exhibits may include financial documents, court orders, police reports, and out-of-state background checks. To request more than ten pages of a document, parties must first consult with their assigned court commissioner and schedule a time to discuss the matter. 

A party may file a response to a declaration as early as 9 days before the hearing. The responding party may also file its response documents ten days before the hearing. However, the responding party must personally serve the paperwork on the date of filing. This means that they must add two days if they mail the documents by regular mail and five days if they send them via overnight delivery. Consequently, it is crucial to file the response documents at least 10 days before the hearing date. 

Limitation on number of pages 

If you want to make an impact at a family law hearing, your declarations should not exceed ten pages. There are some exceptions, however. Exhibits, financial documents, and expert witnesses are not counted as part of the ten-page limit. Family law judges are busy people and they don’t have time to read long declarations. To make this rule work, attorneys must avoid wordy rhetoric and clever turns of phrase. 

As a general rule, your declaration cannot be more than five pages in length, unless you obtain the court’s permission. In addition, your declaration must be relevant to the case and be unaltered. For instance, your opposing party may claim that they have no liquid funds. Adding a bank statement proves that they have liquid funds. Be sure to redact sensitive information. 

Limitation on the total number of pages 

The limitation on the total number of pages of a response to a declaration before a family law hearing applies to the entire document, not just the response to the declaration. Family law declarations are limited to a combined total of fifteen (15) pages, and no single document may exceed five pages. In addition, the document must not contain exhibits or supporting documents, which count towards the page limit. 

While writing a declaration, consider asking someone who is not personally involved to read it and give an unbiased opinion. This person may be able to spot flaws in your presentation and point out the parts of the document that do not pertain to your case. As the declarant, it’s best to avoid including personal opinions about the co-parent, since it’ll reflect poorly on you and hurt your case.