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Summary Statements:  Use and Content

Summary Statements are mandatory.  Failure to file a Summary Statement by either side may result in your case being reset until compliance with this requirement has been met.  Tell the other side of this requirement.

Summary Statements are used to focus the efforts of the parties to the germane matters at hand, to advise the court of the gist of the matter to be heard and to save time. Saving time in the court room ultimately works to the client’s benefit by reducing the waiting time for scheduled hearings and ultimately by reducing the time billed on a given matter.

Summary Statements are to be filed by all attorneys and pro se parties in all temporary orders hearings, whether pertaining to original petitions for divorce, modifications, enforcement or other situations in which temporary orders are being requested. Summary Statements are not required for final orders hearings.

At least two working days prior to the scheduled temporary orders hearing, counsel (or the pro se party) shall file a summary statement of their position with the court, either in person, via mail or via email. To the extent possible, please avoid faxing your summary statement. Mail your summary statement in sufficient time for it to be in the court’s hands two days prior to the hearing. All deliveries are to be at the Hempstead address shown on the Web site.

The summary statement is not a confidential document. It is an advocacy document intended to set out for the court the position and contentions of the party and the key witnesses of that party. It is more in the nature of a written opening statement designed to focus the court’s attention on the position of the parties. A copy of the summary statement is to be delivered to opposing counsel at the same time as delivery to the court. Opposing counsel shall not specifically cross-examine on the summary statement itself as it is an advocacy document, but certainly may examine the positions outlined in the summary statement.

The summary statement is expected to be factually correct although positional interpretation is allowed. It may be in letter, pleading or memorandum format, single spaced and must be at least 12-point or larger type, and no more than two pages long. The cause and style of the case should appear at the beginning of the summary.

The idea is to compress as much advocacy information into the two pages as is reasonably possible, allowing for readability and proper grammar. This is not a legal brief.