What is pleading paper?
A pleading paper is a court document that you file with a court before a case. It contains an outline of your defense or your claim. The main purpose of this document is to clearly demonstrate to the court and the other involved party what has allegedly transpired.
It gives substance to your claim on whether there are any facts upon which you can figure out a defense. Pleadings are important because they present all of the allegations to the fact relevant to your case.
It includes details that you and the other party must prove should the matter go into trial. Just remember that that the role of this document is not to contain all of the evidence which you will depend on to prove your defense or claim.
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When do you need a pleading paper?
Although civil cases may vary in nature, they all possess similar motions or pleadings. A pleading refers to the process of filing a pleading paper whereas a motion is a request made by you or another party to a judge.
Before making your pleading paper template, here are the most common pleadings or motions in civil cases that warrant a court document template:
This is a written document that presents a victim’s case with a description of what the defendant did or didn’t do that led to a breach in their duty and caused the victim harm. Moreover, it also requests the courts to order some type of monetary relief called “damages.”
After a plaintiff files a complaint against a defendant, the latter will receive a time frame to respond with an “answer.” This is a short document that contains the response to the pleads and allegations for an “affirmative defense.” This is anything that challenges the defendant of any liability.
There are some instances where a defendant might choose to pursue their own damages from the same incident. This is the counterclaim and might apply in situations like car accidents, especially when there is no clear designation of fault.
This rarely happens. A cross-claim involves a party on one side of the argument filing a claim against another person who is on the same side.
- Pre-Trial Motions
The most common pre-trial motions include asking a judge what evidence they can use (evidentiary motions) and any motions to dismiss the case.
- Post-Trial Motions
There are certain procedures any of the parties may choose to invoke even after the conclusion of a trial. However, these motions rarely succeed as they require a lot of solid proof. Despite this, the motions you can still make post-trial motions, especially if the stakes are very high.
Formatting a pleading paper
A pleading paper is a document you draft then file in a court of law. The filing of this court document template triggers a complaint against another individual in a civil court. It can also be a document that answers a complaint filed against you.
The document can even serve as a formal notification to a judge in your case that something has transpired that requires judicial intervention. To effectively draft a pleading paper Word, you should know how to format it.
If you have a complicated case or one with a lot of issues, then it’s recommended to seek the advice of a lawyer before drafting your legal pleading. Then you can follow these steps:
- Learn the requirements
Some courts have pleading forms where you either check a box or fill in the blanks to provide the required information. This makes the process a lot easier. The first thing to do is to see if your court has form pleadings. You can find this information listed on the court’s website. If the court has no website, call, and ask them.
Most counties and states have their own local rules that address the formatting of pleadings. Sometimes, they post these rules on the court’s website. Another way to make things easier for you when drafting your document is to find an example to copy.
- Format your document
If you must write on special paper, you must abide. You can purchase this paper online from the court’s website. The paper used for this document is a legal paper with numbers from 1 to 28 on the left-hand margin.
The next thing to do is insert a caption that specifies the court where you will file your case. Also, indicate the parties involved, the case number, and even the type of case.
State the plaintiff’s complete name on the left side of the document. On the next line, input the word “Plaintiff.” Two spaces down, input letter “v,” which is an abbreviation of “versus.”
Two spaces down, input the defendant’s complete name. On the next line, input the word “Defendant.” After filing the case, the clerk of the court will assign a case number. If you’re the defendant, you can find this number on your copy of the document. If you’re the one filing the complaint, input “Case No.” then leave it blank.
After listing the information of the parties involved in the case, move two spaces down then start drafting the body of your document. This includes whatever relevant information you want the judge to know.
Present this information using the appropriate format. If your draft is an answer to a complaint, you have to number each of the paragraphs. Make sure that you use two spaces for the whole body. Underline, capitalize, and place the headings in bold. Also, add page numbers at the bottom and in the middle of each of the pages.
The next step is to sign the document and add the date. After finishing the body of your pleading, move down two lines again. This is where you will affix your signature. Across from your signature, write the date when you created the document. Under your signature, input your complete name.
Attach a certificate of service too. You can attach this certificate at the bottom of the page. You should center the phrase “Certificate of Service” and type it using all capital letters. Then you can state that you gave a copy of the document to the other involved party.
How to make pleading paper in Word?
Using Microsoft Word can make things easier for you when creating your own legal templates for Word. They have an automatic program that creates and formats the pleading paper Word. To create your pleading paper using Word, follow these steps as a guide:
- Launch Microsoft Word
On the File menu, click on New.
Click on Legal Pleadings.
Double click on PLEADING WIZARD. This starts the “Pleading Wizard” program that takes you through the steps to create your own template.
Choose Create a new pleading template for another court.
Click on Name of the Court and input the information.
Make sure the alignment is at the Center
- Page Settings
The next thing you have to do is choose the following settings:
Font: Times New Roman
Line Spacing: Double
Page Size: 8.5” x11”
Margins: 1-inch on all sides
Do you want line numbers?: Yes
Start pleading at line: 1
Line numbers start at: 1
Line numbers in increments of: 1
Borders: Right – Single, Left – Double
Caption Box: Style 1
- Information at the beginning of the pleading
Attorney and firm names (your name and address)
In the Footer: summary of pleading title
Do you want a signature block: Yes
Sign with: Plain (don’t include the name and address of your firm)
Next, the software will guide you through the steps in adding the information in the caption. At this point, you have to make sure that you have added all of the information exactly as you want it to appear.
How to edit pleading paper?
Different courts can have their own set of requirements that you must follow when it comes to the format of a pleading paper. These may include:
- The widths of the margins on the right and left side.
- The number of lines with numbers to include.
- The point and font sizes
- The vertical border lines at the right and left sides of the document.
Because of this, different sites may offer varying options for the needs of your legal pleading template. If you choose to download a template, you have the option to customize it however you like.
Microsoft Word also offers you some of the features and styles available for legal pleadings. Just activate the Pleadings toolbar by checking the box that appears when you choose Toolbars under the View drop-down menu.
From there, you can add legal headers, citations, caption boxes, footers, and other customized formatting you need. Here, you can also change the point size, font size, and more.
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