Once the discovery process is complete, each lawyer will use legal precedent to construct an argument about what his or her client is entitled to. Then a trial will take place, during which the lawyers will present the judge, master, referee, or other person hearing the case with information favorable to their argument. This information is presented in the form of witness testimony focusing on whatever the lawyers decide to focus on. This is called putting on a case.
The trial may not take place for a year or more after a divorce case is filed in court. Before the trial, numerous shorter court proceedings, called hearings, may take place. The purpose of these hearings is to resolve emergency issues such as where the children will live pending the results of the trial. Hearings will also be held to address legal issues that arise during the course of trial preparation. For example, suppose your lawyer has sent the other side thirty questions to answer under oath, but the questions have been ignored because the other side claims that the questions are improper. If your lawyer requests it, the court may hold a hearing to determine whether the other side should be compelled to answer the questions.
The trial itself will proceed in front of a judge, master, magistrate, or other hearing officer and will begin with each lawyer making an opening statement regarding what he or she intends to prove. Usually the lawyer for the person who filed for the divorce makes the first opening statement. Be prepared for the opening statement by your spouse’s lawyer to include disparaging, insulting, and untrue statements about things such as your honesty, moral character, earning capacity, income, assets, and fitness as a parent.
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For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/