Responding to a Petition for Rule to Show Cause

Responding to a Petition for Rule to Show Cause

Last updated: December 2012

Get Adobe Flash player

A Petition for Rule to Show Cause is used when one party believes that the other party (you) has violated a Court Order or Judgment. Violating a Court Order or Judgment is a serious matter. Punishment for violating a Court Order or Judgment ranges from warnings, to fines, or going to jail. The Petition for Rule to Show Cause should: State which Order or Judgment you have violatedGive some details about what the other party thinks you did or did not doWhen you get a petition for Rule to Show Cause, you should also get a Notice of Motion. The Notice of Motion tells you when the court date, time, and location will be.Click on words that appear like 'this' to learn what these words mean.What is a Petition for Rule to Show Cause? A Petition for Rule to Show Cause is used when one party believes that the other party (you) has violated a Court Order or Judgment. The Petition for Rule to Show Cause should: State which Order or Judgment you have violatedGive some details about what the other party thinks you did or did not do What will happen to me if the judge decided that I did violate the Order or Judgment? A violation of a Court Order or Judgment is a serious matter. The punishment that you can get ranges from warnings, to fines, or going to jail.When is my court date? When you got the Petition for Rule to Show Cause, you should have also received a Notice of Motion. The Notice of Motion tells you when the court date, time, and location.What should I do before my court date? Before the court date, you should decide if you want to represent yourself or get a lawyer. You can click on the "Find Legal Help" tab to find free legal help. What if I can't get a lawyer before the court date? If you cannot get a lawyer before the court date, you can go to court and ask for a continuance to try to get a lawyer. A continuance means that you are asking the court for more time. If the matter is very serious and you have very little money, you should tell the judge that you don't have money to pay a lawyer and ask the judge to appoint an attorney for you. In some instances, the judge may appoint an attorney to represent you. But, you should be prepared to represent yourself in the event the judge denies your request. The judge may suggest that you try to find a lawyer at one of the legal aid organizations in your area. If you have already tried, then you should tell the judge which organizations you have already contacted. Do I have to respond to a Petition for Rule to Show Cause? The judge may require you to file a written response to the Petition for Rule to Show Cause. Even if the judge does not require a written response from you, it may help you to file a written response. Your response should tell the court why you believe you did not violate the court order.If you did violate the court order then your response should explain why the violation was not intentional on your part, or it should state that you violated it in the past but are now following the order.If the Petition makes statments that are false, then your response should explain why the Petition is false.If you ask the judge for a continuance in order to file a written response, the court will usally give you time to write the response.How do I file my response to the Petition? Take the original response and 3 copies to the counter in the Clerk's Office for the County and Division where the case is pending. The Notice of Motion attached to the Petition should tell you the name address of the courthouse where the case is pending.For example, if the case is pending in Chicago, in the Cook County Domestic Relations Division, then take your documents to the Domestic Relations Division on the 8th floor of the Daley Center. If your case is pending in Chicago, but in the Cook County Municipal Department, then take your documents to the Municipal Department on the 6th floor of the Daley Center. If your case is pending in suburban Cook County or downstate, then find the civil division of the court clerk's office and file your papers there. Please note that, in Chicago, the clerk's office for Parentage Court or Child Support Court is NOT located in the same buildings as the courtrooms. Child Support Court is located in the basement of the Daley Center. But, the clerk's office for child support court is located across the street from the Daley Center at 28 N. Clark Street, room 200.Hand the original response and 3 copies to the clerk. The clerk will stamp all copies, keep one and give the other three back to you. Do I have to send a copy of my Response to the other party? Yes. You must send one copy of your response to the other party, at the address the other party has listed on the Petition. If the other party has a lawyer, then you must send the copy of the response to the lawyer. You should keep the last two copies for yourself. Can this case be resolved before a hearing? Depending on the situation, you may want to try to settle the case with the other party. Or, you can ask the judge if he or she will conduct a pretrial conference (a meeting before the hearing) to see if the matter can be resolved before a hearing. If the case is not settled by the parties, then the judge will schedule a hearing. What if we can't settle the case? Then the court will set a hearing date for both parties to go to court, give evidence, and argue their case. What will happen to me if the judge decides that I did violate the Order or Judgment? A violation of a Court Order or Judgment is a serious matter. The punishment that you can get ranges from warnings, to fines, or going to jail.What will happen at the hearing? At the hearing, both you and the other party will have a chance to present your case to the judge. If you did not obey all the terms of the court order, but you tried your best, or did not follow the order for a good reason, then you should present evidence of your efforts to obey and ask the judge to take your efforts into consideration.After the hearing, the judge will decide if you violated the Court Order or Judgment. If you have violated the Court Order or Judgment the judge will also decide what punishment you should get. What if I violated the Order or Judgment in the past but I am now following it? Even if you violated the court order in the past, you can often avoid being punished by the judge if you start to follow the order and pay back any money that you owe the other party as a result of your violation. Judges do not like parties that violate court orders. Some judges are quick to send parties to jail for violating court orders. However, if you start to follow the court order and continue to follow it then the judge will probably not punish you.Fill out Your Forms The judge may require you to respond in writing to the Petition. Even if he or she does not require it, it may still be in your best interest to file.You can find out the necessary forms in the "Forms/Letter" section:Response to Petition for Rule to Show CauseNotice of FilingMake 3 copies of each form. File Your Response to the Petition for Rule to Show Cause Take the original response and 3 copies to the counter in the Clerk's Office for the division where the case is pending.Give the original response and the 3 copies to the clerk. He or she will stamp all copies, keep one, and give the other 3 back to youNotify the Other Party You must send a copy of any forms that you file to the other party. Send one copy of your response, along with the Notice of Filing, to the other party. Keep the last 2 copies for yourself.What to Take to Court A copy of the Judgment or Order that the other party claims you violatedThe Petition for Rule to Show Cause you received from the other partyYour response to the Petition for Rule to Show Cause that you filedThe Notice of Filing for the Response to Petition for Rule to Show CauseGo to Court and Argue Your Case Go to court on the hearing date. Dress like you would for an important business meeting. You should get to court about 15 minutes early. When you get to the courtroom, sign in with the clerk. The clerk will be sitting to the right of the judge. After you check in, sit in the back of the courtroom and wait for your case to be called. When your case is called, go to the front of the courtroom, state your name and that you are the defendant. Then you and the plaintiff will both have the opportunity to present your evidence and argue your case.

Feedback

We welcome your comments and suggestions

User Survey - Please take a moment to fill out our User Survey to help us to provide better service.

Please do not email legal questions or information about your problem. We will not answer legal questions or provide legal assistance. You can find referrals to legal organizations that may be able to help you by clicking here.