More and more court cases are being resolved through settlement every year, and divorce cases are no exception. Divorce settlement allows the parties to save money, shorten the process, and retain a degree over control over how their case will be resolved. However, this is not always possible. When parties are not able to resolve all of their issues through settlement, they will have to proceed to a final hearing. Going to the trial can be stressful, and having an understanding of what to expect from a final divorce hearing can be instrumental in easing your anxiety and assisting you to prepare.
What Happens at a Final Divorce Hearing?
During a final hearing, both parties will be required to present evidence to support their respective positions. For example, if you and your spouse disagree on the division of parenting time for your children, then you will both need to present a proposal to the judge as well as introduce evidence to show why your proposal is in the child’s best interest. This evidence can often come in many forms.
You should expect that the vast majority of the evidence introduced will be through questioning witnesses. Both attorneys will have the opportunity to question each witness. Accordingly, when you take the stand to testify, expect that not only will your attorney be able to question you, but also your spouse’s attorney.
Even though you should expect cross examination and the subject matter of the case is naturally personal and sometimes inflammatory, you should not expect for the questioning and attitudes of the attorneys and witnesses to reflect what you may have seen on television. In general, most proceedings are relatively calm, and judges do not enjoy or tolerate yelling or harassment from the attorneys.
Another thing you should expect from your divorce trial is that you will very likely have to wait for a decision. Sometimes judges will make an immediate choice about how to rule on particular issues; however, especially where the issues are complex or numerous, a judge may decide to think about the case for a time before handing down a ruling.
Each party may have the opportunity to submit a proposed order and a legal memorandum in support of his or her position. It could take several months for the case to actually end, even after the trial itself has concluded.
We know that divorce trials are stressful. Contact us today at (320) 299-4249 for a consultation. We have extensive experience in helping our clients to navigate this process.