Friday, August 4, 2017

The Anatomy of a Divorce Trial


The Great Unknown

Divorce is stressful for all parties involved.  Not only is your marriage falling apart but you are having to live as a single person and a single parent.  Divorce is the "Great Unknown".  Not only is divorce stressful in this context, but it is in the legal context as well.  Most people know the general idea behind the divorce process, but the exact details, the ins and outs and the general minutiae are a mystery to most people.  Today, I would like to jump to the end and talk about the Anatomy of a Divorce Trial.

The Typical Divorce

Most people think that you pay your attorney, file for divorce, fight with each other more and then go to court and the judge decides your fate.  While this is an exaggerated description, it is what most people think.  There is a sense of mystery surrounding working out all the details and getting the parties divorced.

In general, you can have a divorce that goes smoothly and amicably, one that is a knock down drag out fight or, more likely, one where there are details to be worked out, hoops to jump through and negotiating to be done.   It is that type of divorce that I would like to focus on here as it is the most common.

In this type of divorce, the parties generally agree on some things.  Often they will agree on how to split the debts and the property or they will agree on how to parent the kids.  However, even though they have a lot of agreement, there may be sticking points; things they just can't agree to even with the help of mediation.

So what happens then?  If this is the type of divorce you have found yourself in, it is likely that your attorneys will help you negotiate what you can and in the end you may be left with a few issues to present to the judge.  This is where your divorce trial will be.

The Divorce Trial or Trying the Issues

In these situations you aren't really having a full blown trial, you are trying the issues.  Your divorce attorneys will present your issues, along with your evidence to the judge.  Unlike other legal cases, the judge may indicate to the lawyers that he or she will not hear the issue and that the parties need to work it out themselves.  Obviously, if they cannot work them out the judge ultimately decides, but what the judge is saying is, "Come on you guys.  This is your stuff.  Figure it out".  If you get this message from your attorney, it means the judge thinks the parties together would make a better decision than the judge and the judge then is giving you the opportunity to make the best decision.

What type of issues present themselves in a Trying the Issues case?  Really any issue can be a sticking point or be presented to the judge.   You can have child custody issues where the parties can't agree on a visitation schedule.  You can have property issues where the parties cannot agree on a division of the community property.  Often you have matters of principle.  Grounds for the divorce, for example, can be a place of contention.  Sometime a party won't agree to agree unless the other party agrees that the divorce happened because of adultery or extreme cruelty instead of irreconcilable differences.

Trying the issues is by far the most common resolution to a divorce next to the parties actually negotiating an agreement with the aid of their divorce lawyers.

If you are need a Boise Divorce Attorney or have questions, please give us a call at (208) 472-2383 or visit us at our website or our sister site.  You will be glad you did.


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