Trial is the moment everyone has been waiting for…the end of the divorce. After years of planning, negotiating and conflict, this is the day that you have been preparing for since the idea of the divorce began.
Trial preparation takes organization, strategy and legal fees. Depending on the extent of the open issues, trial preparation usually starts weeks before your first day of trial. At the trial each side presents to the Judge the evidence that you have been gathering in support of your argument, including testimony from witnesses and identification of documents from both sides which are admitted into evidence. Both before and during the trial the two attorneys can “stipulate” to the admission of documents which they agree upon. Stipulations expedite the trial process but are not guaranteed.
At trial the attorneys give opening statements, witnesses are called by the Plaintiff first, then the Defendant. Each witness provides “direct examination” and suffers through “cross-examination.” Witnesses are used as the vehicle to introduce and explain documents relevant to the case. After all witnesses are called the attorneys give closing arguments summarizing their positions. After hearing, and examination of the evidence, the Judge will enter a written decision, called a Judgment. It can take months to get the judge’s written decision. Your patience during this time will be tested.
Always remember that the only time it is too late to settle is when the Judge has issued a written decision. If there is an agreement on ALL of the issues at any time, including after trial has begun, the judge’s decision can be avoided, and YOUR written agreement of the issues will prevail instead as a final judgment and resolution of your divorce.