Feeling nervous or fearful before your preliminary divorce hearing is very common, especially for those going through a divorce for the first time. Divorce itself is a rocky road, so not knowing what to expect when going in to speak with lawyers and judges can make the process even more intimidating. Educating yourself and understanding what you should expect from your initial hearing will ease your mind and eliminate the fear of the unknown. Keep reading to learn a few tips from our Bineham & Gillen associates to help prepare for your preliminary hearing.
What is a Preliminary Divorce Hearing?
A preliminary divorce hearing is an initial meeting after divorce is filed to see if both sides can agree on certain aspects of the divorce and division of properties and marital assets. If the former couple can be civil and reach agreements, it will prevent the judge from making all decisions on their behalf. However, a divorce hearing is not a trial. This means decisions made during this time are not final until the judge has closed the case. If both parties have representation, they don’t necessarily have to speak during this hearing.
Do Your Homework
Although the lawyers usually speak during the preliminary divorce hearing, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know your key points and facts before showing up. Read over the paperwork you are given and try to thoroughly understand your declaration and the argument your lawyer is going to present. The more prepared you are, the more likely the outcome will be in your favor. Read over the papers your spouse is submitting as well, so you aren’t surprised by anything that is presented at your hearing. The more knowledgeable you are on all aspects of your case, the more likely you will be to make rational decisions based on facts and logic.
Take Advantage of Your Judge’s Time
Being prepared also means you and your lawyer are taking advantage of the limited time you are given to present your case. When going in for your preliminary hearing, remember that you are not the only divorce case the judge is handling – and they are juggling many things at once. Divorce hearings usually have a specific time slot and are prioritized based on importance. This means domestic abuse cases hearings will be held first followed by child custody cases and then everything else.
Compromise Saves Time
There are cases where the judge will attempt to settle the issues presented without a full-blown hearing. Remember that the judge is supposed to make decisions with both parties’ best interests in mind in a regular divorce case. However, settling on your own gives you much more certainty on the outcome and more say in the division of your things. If you and your spouse cannot come to a settlement, expect to come back for another hearing.
The most important thing to remember while going through divorce court is that you are both human, you have history and divorce is common. Regardless of whether your history is good or bad, if you and your spouse can stay civil for the hearing, things will go much smoother and the next chapter of your life will begin much sooner. If you are going through a divorce and need representation, contact us at Bineham & Gillen today. No matter your marital situation, we guarantee to make the process as easy as possible for you through education, understanding and expertise. Give us a call today with any questions you may have or to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys.