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legal notice

Why Legal “Notice”

When ordinary people use the courts, they find many things about the ways courts work puzzling. One of those things that just seems like a pain is in reality very important. That is the requirement that you give the other side “legal notice.”

To give someone “legal notice” is to take reasonable steps to make sure that the other side knows what you are doing with the court so they have a chance to respond and participate. So when someone files a Motion with the court – a Motion is a request in an ongoing case for the court to do something or order something such as change child support or set parenting time – it is important that the other side knows that a Motion has been filed and what the Motion says.  Then, if they agree, they can say so, and if they disagree, they can say so. If one side schedules a hearing with the court, it is very important that the other side get “notice” so they can come to the hearing and participate. Everyone has a right to “due process” including a right to know and participate.

That is why everything that is filed with the court by one side has to be delivered or mailed by the person who filed it to the other side.  If a case is newly filed, there are special rules about how to give formal notice of the new case (called “service of process”).   If a case is already going, hand delivery or first class mail is required.  The person sending copies has to sign a “Proof of Service” telling the court when and how they sent the copies.

If this seems like a burden, just imagine if someone were able to do things with the court that affect you, your rights or your family without telling you anything about it.  We have to be fair by giving “Notice.”