Jim Walker, Attorney
Family Trial Preparation
Hopefully Family Law matters can be resolved without going to a trial. Some areas of Family Law do require a trip to court and of course if a divorce can’t be agreed upon, you may end up in front of a judge, and he or she will decide how assets are divided. So, what happens if you do need to go to trial in a family law case?
Under the family law umbrella, there are several types of cases that could go to court or must go to court: Child Adoption, Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce and Domestic Violence.
Whatever the situation, you need to be prepared and you need a family law attorney that knows the process and is experienced. We provide a clear and in-depth summary of the family law process leading up to a trial.
The items and documents you need in preparation for a family law trial vary based on the area of family law. A summary of items is below:
Prepare an Outline of Questions – Make a list of key points you want to make for the trial. As you consider what information you want to highlight in court, frame your questions around those items. Your witnesses and evidence should point to your overall objective that you want the judge to hear or understand.
Evidence – Each side gets all of the evidence in advance of the trial, so make sure all of your evidence is provided to the opposing side well in advance of the trial. If it isn’t, the evidence will not be allowed. Although Hollywood and TV make surprise witnesses and hidden evidence to be common, it is quite the opposite in an actual family law court.
Financial Disclosure Forms – As with your evidence, make sure you supply your pay stubs and financial information to the other side prior to the trial. Check your financial statements are updated and accurate.
Pretrial Memorandum – Prior to the trial, each side is required to submit a pretrial memorandum. This is a brief statement about the facts of the case, the people involved, the issues that the Court needs to resolve and any issues that you and the other side have resolved ahead of time. Some judges provide an outline to follow or you may find one online. In any event, make sure your pretrial memorandum is also provided to the opposing side.
A family law trial can be overwhelming and very emotionally exhausting. We hope the tips we’ve provided here help you in your situation. If you want to prepare the case yourself, great. But, if you need help or feel like you are stuck, please give us a call at 214-227-9812. We are here to serve and help you in all your family law needs.