In addition to the names, you need to list addresses and phone numbers for the witnesses. If a witness is not listed on your witness list prior to trial, the Judge will exclude them from testifying. Once this is turned over the other side has the ability to contact your witnesses and even set them for depositions if they wish.
However, you will have the same ability with their witnesses.
You would need to subpoena any witness you plan to call to trial. If you do not issue a subpoena then the Court would have no remedy if the witness did not show up to trial. It is important to make sure you review the Financial Affidavit which was submitted to the Court and make any changes necessary prior to the trial.
The Financial Affidavit is a sworn to statement listing your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities.
At the actual Pretrial Hearing all parties need to be present. The Judge will review the submitted Pretrial Memorandums and go over the probability of the case actually going to trial as well as the following preliminary matters:. Your trial will be at the courthouse. This is really an opportunity for your attorney to do two things. First, your lawyer wants to communicate with the other attorney to see if there are any additional agreements that can be made.
Sometimes we can resolve the entire case the morning of trial. Maybe more often, we realize during trial prep that there are some things that can be stipulated, which will save time and expense during the trial and cut down the amount of time the trial will take. Judges love this. When we go in front of the judge, remember that the judge is the person listening to the evidence and making decisions. There is no jury in family law court. The benefit of this is that judges will often have trials in little courtrooms or in their chambers. This can be much more comfortable and less scary than having a trial in front of a big courtroom.
When we go in, the judge will greet everybody and ask the attorneys if they are ready. The attorneys will likely say yes, and the trial begins. Your attorney wants to outline the different issues in the case time-sharing, asset distribution, alimony, child support, and everything else.
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Your attorney establishes credibility in the opening statement by stating facts accurately and precisely. Examining witnesses : after the openings are done, the case goes right into examining witnesses. The petitioner who filed the case usually goes first in calling his or her witnesses. These witnesses include:. Direct examination : when your attorney asks you or his own witnesses questions, we call that direct examination.
Cross-examination : when the other side asks you questions, this is called cross-examination. This is the opportunity for the other side to probe your direct testimony. You can expect that the other side will ask you a lot of leading questions. By leading, we mean yes or no questions. Closing argument : the final part of the trial is closing arguments from both sides.
At this stage, all of the evidence is been presented to the judge. All of the exhibits have been entered into evidence. Now, the attorneys will restate important evidence to the judge and apply it to the law to support whatever conclusion the attorneys are asking the judge to make. Often, the judge will ask for both attorneys to submit proposed final judgments. In other words the judge is asking for attorneys to pretend that they are the judge and write the order that they want the judge to make.
These orders are often given to the judge in a Word format. After the final judgment, the case is complete. However, because this is America there is always the opportunity for either side to appeal if they think the judge made an incorrect ruling as a matter of law. We help our clients deal with the difficult process of divorce.
Filing for Divorce in Different States & Other Out of State Divorce Questions
However, did you also know that you have a right to file your own Petition for Dissolution of Marriage against your spouse even though you've already been served with your spouse's Petition for Dissolution of Marriage? In other words, you have a right to sue your spouse back even though they have already sued you first.
When a party files their own Petition for Dissolution of Marriage after they have already been served with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage from their spouse, the second Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is called a Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. As a result, you will incur an additional filing fee if you file a Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
The Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage basically indicates that the person who was originally served with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage also wants the divorce.
In fact, the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and the Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage will look very similar, and may even allege the same facts or request the same outcome of the case on division of property, parenting time, and other issues. If that is the case, then why would a responding party pay extra money to file a Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage that says the same thing as their spouse's Petition for Dissolution of Marriage?
The answer is: filing a Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage protects you from having your case dismissed even when you still want to get a divorce. When a party files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, they are asking the court to open their case and grant their divorce. However, the party who files the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage has the right to withdraw or dismiss their Petition for Dissolution of Marriage at any time for any reason.
However, if you had filed a Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, the Court could still move forward on your Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage even if your spouse decides to dismiss their Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. As a result, as long as you file a Counter-Petition, your case will not be dismissed even if your spouse decides he or she wants to dismiss your case.
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For example, say your spouse initially filed a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage against you requesting a divorce. You appeared in the case, answered the Petition, and motioned the court for maintenance, but did not file a Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
The Court grants your motion for maintenance. If your spouse does not want to pay you the maintenance, your spouse could simply dismiss his or her Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, resulting in a dismissal of the entire case. However, had you filed a Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, your spouse would not be able to dismiss your entire case in order to skirt his or her maintenance obligation. Rather, he or she could dismiss his or her Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, but the case would continue on your Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
I always strongly suggest my clients file a Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage if their spouse is the party who initiated the divorce proceedings. Although you have to incur an extra filing fee to file a Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, in my opinion, it is worth it and could save you a lot of money and grief later on. If your spouse were to ever decide to dismiss his or her Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and you have no Counter-Petition on file, your entire case will be dismissed regardless of how much progress you have made in the case.
If the case is dismissed and you still want the divorce, you have to start over from scratch and file your own Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, at which time you will have to pay a filing fee anyways. For instance, I once had a client whose case was dismissed the day of trial, simply because he chose not to file a Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage at the beginning of the case to avoid the filing fee.