Divorce is not an easy time for anyone involved. If you are in the middle of a contested divorce, it can be even more difficult. With your court date quickly approaching, do you know what to do?
There are many issues at stake in a divorce. It could be your children’s relationships with their parents, your financial future or your own well-being. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are not able to come to a decision about child custody, child support, alimony or division of marital assets, it may be inevitable that you end up in court.
There are several steps in a litigated divorce, such as pre-trial hearings, settlement talks and then the trial itself. Here are some tips to help you prepare for going to court for a litigated divorce:
— Make sure you have the right attorney. You don’t want to go to court by yourself. It’s a complicated process and if your spouse has an attorney and you do not, you will definitely be at a disadvantage. Choose an attorney who has experience in the courtroom. You also want an attorney who will use a legal strategy that you agree with.
— Learn the court’s rules. Your case will be assigned to a specific track depending on what issues you and your spouse are disputing. You need to know how the process will proceed. Your attorney can give you this information or you can visit your court’s website.
— Discover what’s in your discovery. This formal legal process ensures that relevant information is shared between spouses. Property appraisals, business valuations and even psychological exams could all be included. By working closely with your attorney, you can avoid sanctions by the court for not providing requested documents.
— Keep your emotions in check when you’re in court. Answer any questions that the judge may ask calmly and completely. If you feel overwhelmed at the prospect of going to court, you might find a therapist helpful.
— Don’t bring the children. Unless the judge wants to meet with your children, it’s best not to bring them to court. If the judge wants to talk with them, it’s likely that the conversation will take place in his or her chambers and not in open court.
These are a just a few tips to help you prepare for an upcoming court date.
Source: Huffington Post, “Are You Prepared for Your Day in (Divorce) Court?,” Bari Zell Weinberger, Esq., Feb. 29, 2016