A court reporter is someone who is an officer of the court whose Job it is to type and record statements and testimony given in a court proceeding. A court reporter can also take statements pursuant to a deposition. Many clients do not understand that a court reporter is not automatically provided in a divorce proceeding. It is the parties' responsibility to provide a court reporter and the party cannot rely upon the family law court to transcribe the proceeding. In domestic violence injunction proceedings only, the court will make an audio recording of the hearing, which may be later transcribed by a court reporter. But, there is no guarantee that the audio equipment is going to function properly or that the audio equipment will pick up every word that is spoken during a hearing. It is always our firm’s recommendation that a court reporter be present at every hearing in your family law case. The court reporter can provide you an official copy of the transcript so that you may reference the transcript in preparation for other hearings in your matter. It is the client’s responsibility to pay for the court reporter’s appearance and any transcript that might be ordered.
If a court reporter is not present, then often you have no remedy on appeal. If you seek to appeal an order by the trial court, you will have to provide the appellate court a copy of the lower court’s proceedings. If the appellate court does not have a transcript of the lower court proceedings, then more than likely they will dismiss the appeal and not make a ruling. There are limited exceptions to this rule that will not be discussed by this article, but just bear in mind that any limited exception will probably not protect you if you fail to hire a court reporter for your proceeding. If you have an upcoming hearing, it is imperative that you contact your expert family law attorney to make sure that a court reporter has been ordered for your case.