How Divorce Cases Are Decided In Courts
If you have tried working through an agreement on your divorce out of court using divorce mediation or on your own, but it hasn’t worked for you, you might find yourself having to fight it out in court with your ex. Here is what you should know about how courts decide cases that come to them.
First try mediation
Use courts as your option of last resort. Unlike the divorce mediation process where you have a measure of control on the way things go, and the final outcome, in courts it works a little differently. Once a divorce case reaches a court, it is up to the divorce attorneys to negotiate on your behalf and make a strong case for you on whatever the issues under debate are. When it comes to things like child custody, spousal support or child support, leaving it to the courts may not always go in your favor even if it seems like you have water tight case.
Understanding the process
To kick off the process, you will need to file divorce papers at the court. The Petitioner will then need to ‘serve’ the papers, usually at home. Discovery requests and temporary spousal support or child support requests as well as the date on which the court will hear the initial motion, as well a deposition notice might be sent. Be sure to meet these deadlines because not showing up or not responding will be seen by the court as your ‘admitting’ to whatever is under question.
You may be called on for a deposition under oath in the presence of a court reporter. Close friends and family as well as neighbors may also be called upon. In addition, the court will factor in expert testimony. For instance, the judge may consider views of an expert in deciding whether or not you are fit to look after your children.
Documentary evidence will play an important role. Financials of both parties, details of assets, children and other critical factors that could impact the terms of the final judgment will be reviewed.
Lastly, the ability of your attorney will again come into play on the actual day in court. Witnesses including expert witnesses and you and your spouse may be called to testify and submit to cross-examination. Both sides will present closing arguments that could again sway things.
It’s not just about the facts, but how they are presented
A judge tries to treat the individuals involved in the case as fairly as possible. This means things like equitably dividing the income. Besides the actual documentary evidence, there is a fair measure of skill needed by attorneys when presenting their case for you. It is about how well reality is presented to the judge to work in your favor.
Getting divorced in California can be complicated. Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.
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