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Going to Court

For most people, going to court is a new experience. You will be better prepared to present your case if you understand the process. This page offers pointers to help you prepare for your court hearing.

Finding Legal Help

The law can be difficult, and some cases are too complicated to do without a lawyer. Your case may seem simple, but talking to a lawyer at the outset can be helpful. Even if you don’t hire a lawyer to represent you in court, a lawyer can give you advice tailored to your own case. This will help you better represent yourself.

Application to Waive Filing Fees and Service Costs

Most initial court filings and requests for relief require a filing fee. The court has an Application to Waive Filing Fees and Service Costs, sometimes called an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, that you can file if you feel you cannot afford the fees.

Getting a Marriage License

In Vermont the town clerk issues marriage licenses. If you want to get married and live in Vermont, contact the clerk in the town where you live. If you do not live in Vermont, you can contact any town clerk within the county in which the marriage will take place.


The court will give you advance notice of the date and time of the hearing. Do not miss the hearing. The court may rule against you at the hearing or dismiss your motion if you do not attend. If you have a conflict, you should make every effort to reschedule. If for some very good reason you cannot get to the court on the date and time of the hearing, you must ask in writing for a delay.

A written request for a postponement is called a “motion for a continuance.” You can use the Motion form:

You must give a good reason for the request (i.e., illness, witness cannot be there, etc.) and say whether the other party agrees or objects to the continuance. The judge will reschedule the hearing only if you have a very good reason. The hearing is still scheduled for the date on the notice provided by the court unless the court grants your motion and changes the hearing date.