What Happens When a Divorce Goes to Trial?
Generally speaking, we are able to negotiate a settlement, a property settlement agreement, or a separation agreement, without having to go to trial. We do this by exchanging financial information with your spouse’s attorney. We offer proposals, back and forth. If we come to a situation where we can’t agree on something, we can go downtown and the Court will help us mediate a settlement by having one of the judge’s confidential law clerks appointed to sit down and go over the situation and come up with suggestions or recommendations.
However, in those rare instances where we have to go to trial, it’s generally going to be either a financial trial or an issue with regard to custody and visitation. One or both can be heard by a Court. Now, if it’s just a financial situation, we can oftentimes have a magistrate appointed, and have the magistrate hear the case and render a decision, one way or the other. If it’s a situation with regard to custody, however, the judge has to hear the case, and that removes us from the expedited term and brings us into a trial term before a trial judge. Those cases can be lengthened in time because of the judge’s calendar, the appointment of a law guardian, and the information that has to be obtained from physicians and doctors and what have you.