by Leesa M. Poag, Attorney
Prior to the beginning of each session of court, a calendar call takes place. Family law attorneys across the Triad are familiar with this process in which hearing dates are selected prior to an upcoming session of court. Though it may seem simple to select a date for your hearing and report it to the court, there are several factors that must be taken into account prior to selecting a hearing date.
The first consideration for calendar call is what issue has been calendared for hearing during the session. Is it one that will require a trial, such as custody or equitable distribution, or is it only a motion that needs to be heard, such as a motion for summary judgment or motion to compel? You must be clear on exactly what it is that has been noticed for hearing before selecting a hearing date.
A second factor that should be considered prior to calendar call is whether the issue is ready to be heard. Before a hearing can occur, the opposing party must be served with notice of the issue that you are asking the court to hear. Without proper notice to the opposing party, the court will not be willing to hear your case, and you will be forced to continue your hearing to another session of court. If you have only recently filed the complaint with the claim you want heard, you should also consider whether the opposing party has had time to respond to your complaint. If the opposing party’s time to answer has not expired, this could also cause the hearing on your claim to be delayed.
The status of the case as a whole is also important. There are some claims that should be heard before, or at the same time as, other claims. For instance, since the custody arrangement will affect the calculation of child support, it is often most efficient to hear child support either at the same time as custody, or after a custody order has been entered in order to prevent duplicative hearings.