What Happens at the Final Divorce Hearing? / by Cassandra Hearn

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Divorce is an unpleasant and life changing decision for everyone involved.  However, once the decision has been made and the process begun, it is very common for all the parties involved to just want the case to be over.  Divorce can be emotionally and financially exhausting, and finishing the case means being able to move on with your life.  If you are not able to come to a settlement on all the issues in your case, you and your spouse will have to go to a final hearing before the family court judge. Knowing what to expect during the final hearing can help substantially reduce the stress associated with going into court.

First, you should expect the court room and proceedings to be relatively calm.  Unlike on television when a lawyer is often yelling or arguing with a witness, this rarely occurs in a real court room.  Judges require that all parties maintain a calm demeanor and do not allow attorneys or witnesses to turn the court room into a dramatic demonstration.

Next, both sides will be permitted to present evidence.  Typically, the party who filed first will present his or her evidence first.  This includes calling witnesses as well as tendering documents and other exhibits for the court to consider. Both attorneys will be allowed to question every witness.  You should anticipate that there may be some questions of a deeply personal nature that you do not want to answer, but you may be required to do so nonetheless.

You should also expect that both attorneys will occasionally make objections.  The attorneys are well-versed in the rules of evidence and procedure, and will object if the other attorney is not following those rules.  The judge will need to make a decision on the objections before the case can go forward.  In some situations, this means allowing the attorneys to both discuss why he or she believes the evidence should or should not be allowed in.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge to make his or her decision.  However, the judge does not always make the ruling right away.  In some cases, the judge will “take the matter under advisement,” which means he or she wants to think about the evidence for a while before issuing a ruling.

Divorce procedure inside the court room is important and we have extensive experience navigating these proceedings.Contact us today to discuss your case and your divorce.