Many divorcing couples will be concerned that their divorce will go to trial. This is mostly a concern for couples who may be experiencing a high level of conflict. Spouses who can’t agree on the terms of their divorce will end up going to trial. It’s important to note that family courts always encourage spouses to settle all of their differences out of court. If your divorce goes to trial, it could become long, expensive, and emotionally challenging. In this article, we provide tips for avoiding a trial, the costs of a divorce trial, and tools for handling your divorce if it does go to trial. In addition, we address some important legal terms that you should be familiar with before you move forward.
Tips for Avoiding a Divorce Trial
No one wants to hear that their divorce will go to trial. It’s always important to reiterate to divorcing couples that they should try to settle out of court. One avenue to help you avoid a trial is mediation. Mediation is when both spouses work with a neutral third party called a mediator. A mediator is someone who will help both parties reach an agreement on the terms and conditions of the divorce. When going through mediation, it’s important to:
- Choose the right mediator. A mediator shouldn’t be siding with either party.
- Be prepared and have all your necessary documents ready
- Be open to compromise
- Make a priority list. Know what terms you’re willing to be flexible with and what terms are the most important to you.
Sometimes mediation can take time. Couples experiencing a lot of conflicts will have to meet multiple times to negotiate, compromise, and settle. If there is absolutely no chance your divorce can be settled through mediation, your divorce will go to trial.
The Difference Between a Divorce Hearing, a Divorce Trial, and Final Judgment Hearing
Divorce Hearing: The main thing you should know about a divorce hearing is that it’s considered temporary. These are temporary court orders that are given to each party to establish some terms before the divorce trial. The purpose of these temporary court orders is to offer some stability to their situations. At a divorce hearing, a judge will make decisions regarding child custody and visitation, financial responsibilities, property management and rights, and other matters.
Divorce Trial: A divorce trial is focused on making permanent decisions. Each spouse and their attorneys will be able to plead their case for certain matters concerning the dissolution of the marriage. This will include their preferences for child custody, child support, alimony, retirement, and division of assets. You’ll have to disclose information on all of your finances, credit cards, loans, property, and retirement funds. If it’s a highly contested divorce, a divorce trial can get ugly. Each party should be prepared to defend themselves and present evidence to support their points.
Final Judgment Hearing: A final judgment hearing is also known as a Divorce Judgment and Decree. As you can probably guess, this is when a judge will make his final order. This will be the ultimate decision made on all of the issues presented. These orders are considered final and permanent and the judge will provide reasons why he or she has made these rulings.
Cost of a Divorce Trial
If you know that your divorce will go to trial, it’s important to consider the financial cost. Unfortunately, divorce trials are not inexpensive. Divorce trials can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000. These costs will be determined by where the divorce is taking place, how many contested issues there are, attorney fees, and how long the trial is. Every individual divorce attorney charges a different hourly rate or a flat rate. These fees can range from $70 an hour to $500 an hour. Remember that you’re being charged for every hour that your attorney works on your case. This could involve travel time, phone calls, pre-trial prep, and other legal work.
Tips for Getting Through It If Your Divorce Goes to Trial
Remember that your attorney is there for you every step of the way. Reach out to your divorce attorney if you have questions or concerns about the trial. The more you know and understand about your divorce trial, the less stressful it will become. Keep family members and your support system close to you. Once you realize that your divorce will go to trial, start to practice self-care such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and taking space from your ex. If this is a highly contested divorce with a lot of conflicts, it’s important to avoid power struggles or arguments with your ex. This is especially true if children are involved. Contact an experienced divorce attorney today to learn more about divorce trials and the best way to handle them.