Divorce Information – Petitions, Discovery, Settlement and Trial
Quattrone Family Law ensures every client has the divorce information and family law resources they need to understand the divorce process and know what to expect. A divorce does not need to be be a long process, and preparation is key in minimizing the length of your case.
Early in the process, parties may file motions for temporary orders to address any pressing issue that cannot wait until the end of the divorce.
But most parties make serious efforts to arrive at an acceptable temporary arrangement without going to court. Avoiding temporary orders will help keep down attorneys’ fees. Your attorney will assist in making the decision that is right for you.
Discovery is the process of gathering information that will build and strengthen your case at trial. During discovery, you will gather information about yourself for your attorney to present to the court.
But equally important is anticipating your opponent’s case. Winning a favorable judgment may meanthat you are prepared to deal with your spouse’s allegations.
You will very likely be required to attend mediation in your family law case. This is an opportunity for you and your spouse or other party to resolve your disputes and craft an agreement that meets your needs, instead of putting decisions about your life into the hands of a judge, who does not know you or your family well and may make decisions that are not favorable to you or your family. Your attorney will attend mediation with you and guide you through the process.
It is common for cases to settle, and most do. This may happen at mediation, on the day of the trial, or at any point in your case. . The settlement agreement has important advantages. A reasonable settlement agreement allows you and your spouse more control over your judgment. Many clients prefer to avoid the anxiety of wagering their lives on a judge’s decision.
Additionally, time and money considerations may lead to a settlement. Litigation can be expensive, and sometimes it is necessary; however, it is generally the last option for clients. If a fair and favorable settlement is possible, your attorney will work hard with you to reach it.
Finally, as tempting as it is, it is almost always a mistake to negotiate directly with your spouse without legal advice and guidance. Even in circumstances that the parties are on good terms and can have meaningful conversations, it is necessary to be informed of the law and your rights before making any agreement.
A pretrial conference is typically required and occurs in advance of trial. These conferences force the attorneys for both parties to discuss the merits and issues of the case, with the benefit of input from the judge.
Often, it is during pretrial conferences that both sides fully realize the emotional and financial expenses of a trial. Afterward, they may engage in negotiations more rationally.
The demeanor of the judge during these hearings is very important. He or she will likely encourage the parties to resolve their differences, if it all possible.
Although only a small percentage of all divorces go to trial, the odds vary depending on certain factors including salary level, length of marriage, substance abuse or mental health issues and comparable incomes of the parties. The length of your trial will depend on the time the court allocates and the number and complexity of issues to be decided. Your trial may last anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
The Petitioner presents evidence first by calling witnesses and presenting exhibits. Once the Petitioner “rests,” it is the Respondent’s turn to make his or her case. After both sides have rested, the Court may permit the Petitioner to present “rebuttal” testimony by responding to the Respondent’s evidence.
Although trial is a last resort, the attorney at Quattrone Family Law is an experienced trial attorney. You will be well prepared before entering the courthouse, and your attorney will strongly advocate for you and your best interests.
Divorce proceedings can unleash a torrent of emotions ranging from anger to anxiety to depression. But as difficult as this experience is, you cannot simply call in sick, because your (and your children’s) interests hinge on your ability to push through and make rational decisions. So you must work to separate grievances that are meaningfully related to your children’s welfare from those that are offensive to you personally, however grave.
Remember that you are not walking this path alone. Your attorney will be your key advisor, but many of the pivotal considerations are not within his or her province. Therefore, it is usually helpful to seek advice from others whose knowledge and judgment you respect, including a counselor.
Always talk to your attorney first. Friends and family may help, but they also might pour gasoline on the fire or provide well meaning, but poor, advice. Knowing when to tune in also means knowing when to tune out.