What to Expect: Going to Court

Posted By Hollingsworth & Zivitz, PC || 17-Oct-2012

In family law cases, there are times when a settlement between the parties is not possible. Therefore, the parties must proceed to Court. In such circumstances, often the “fear of the unknown” is a major concern for clients. Most people do not have experience with court proceedings. In the event your case proceeds to a hearing, knowing what to expect (to the extent that is possible) in Court can help to ease your concerns.

Request the Hearing . With limited exceptions, a hearing will be scheduled upon the request of either party. The request for a hearing typically includes an estimate of the amount of time it is anticipated will be needed to present the evidence. If it appears settlement will be unlikely, it is advisable to request a hearing as soon as possible to ensure your hearing is scheduled promptly.

Be Prepared . Preparation is the key to going to trial. While in Court, there is a limited time within which to present your evidence to the judge. Therefore, being prepared will ensure that you are able to present as much testimony and evidence as possible. It is important to meet with your attorney prior to any hearing to prepare your testimony and discuss what to expect at the hearing.

What to Wear ? It is not necessary to dress in a suit when appearing in Court. Clean, conservative business-casual dress is recommended.

Can My Child Testify ? As a general matter, Court’s prefer to determine the issues of a case without the child’s testimony. In the event a party would like the child to be interviewed by the judge only – rather than appear in front of all parties in the Courtroom – a party may request that the judge speak to the child in his office. There are many variables to consider in making such a request and you should consult with your attorney before making a decision.

The Day of the Hearing . When you arrive in the courtroom, you should ensure you are on time. It is likely that the parties to the case, their attorneys, the judge, and court staff will be the only individuals present in the Courtroom. When the judge enters, he/she will begin the proceeding and the Petitioner (the party requesting the hearing) will begin to present his/her case. At the close of the Petitioner’s case, the opposing party will present his/her evidence. When all evidence has been presented, the judge will consider the evidence and issue a ruling. This may be done in court immediately after the hearing, or at a later date if the judge takes the matter under advisement.

At Hollingsworth & Zivitz, P.C. , our team has the experience, the understanding, and the compassion to assist with your family law needs. If you have questions or concerns regarding divorce, mediation, collaborative law or any other family law concerns, please contact our firm at 317.DIVORCE or visit our website at www.hzlegal.com.
Categories: Divorce Talk with H&Z

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