In most divorce cases, efforts will be made for the spouses to reach agreements regarding all of the major issues in their divorce. Such issues can include property division, child custody, spousal support, and more. If the spouses can agree, the judge can review and approve the settlement agreement and the dissolution of marriage can be finalized without a trial. However, if the spouses cannot agree on even one issue despite settlement negotiations, mediation, and more, the resolution of that issue will have to be determined by a family court judge at trial.
While going to trial can be more stressful and costly than reaching a settlement agreement, a trial is sometimes in a client’s best interests. In some situations, a spouse may refuse to be reasonable and, therefore, it is best to leave it up to the judge. Before making their decision, a judge will hear the arguments of both sides according to specific trial procedures.
Trials require extensive preparation as your attorney will need to obtain certain information from your spouse, as well as prepare witnesses and evidence to present in your favor. Your attorney can also file pretrial motions if needed for the judge to rule on certain questions before the matter goes to trial.
You should always arrive early on the day of trial and you should be prepared to wait as the court may be hearing other family cases before yours. While a few states allow jury trials for divorces, these matters are decided by judges in Connecticut. Your attorney will advise you on how to address the judge when needed.
Both attorneys will give opening statements and then will each have the opportunity to call witnesses. When your attorney calls a witness in your favor, your spouse’s attorney will then get to cross-examined the witness, and vice versa.
A judge will not simply believe assertions made in court – instead, you must present evidence to prove your assertions by a preponderance of the evidence. A skilled attorney will be prepared to properly present persuasive evidence in line with all applicable rules to best try to get a ruling in your favor. Both sides will then be able to give closing statements as final arguments.
A judge will consider all evidence presented in line with Connecticut law when making their decision, which can take time. Once the judge rules on all necessary issues, the court will issue the final judgment. One risk of going to trial is that you have little control over the final judgment and risk a court order that is not necessarily in your favor. On the other hand, a trial decision can be more beneficial if your spouse fights against any reasonable settlement agreement.
The decision of whether to go to trial should be carefully discussed between you and your experienced divorce attorney. If you need assistance with a divorce case, please call The Law Offices of Piazza, Simmons & Grant at 203-348-2465 or contact us online learn more about how we may help you.