For your divorce, you might have more than one visit to the court house, but you’ll have at least one. Some divorces are quick and tidy. The participants agree on everything and the case proceeds amicably. They will still have to stand in front of a judge and tell him or her everything that was agreed upon prior to the hearing itself. There could be continued court hearings after the first even if they agreed on everything.
What to Expect at the First Hearing
The court will mail a notice about the first hearing. It’ll include date, time and the courtroom where your case will be heard. The spouse who filed for the divorce has to be in the courtroom, but the other spouse isn’t required to be there.
When a divorce is uncontested and the spouses agree on everything, the court will still have questions, and there are procedures to be followed. You’ll be asked your name and address as well as details about your marriage. The judge will ask for a copy of your marriage certificate and verify the date of the marriage. The judge will ask how long you’ve been living apart and whether there are assets or real property to be determined.
As the divorcing wife, the judge will ask if she wants to revert to her maiden name. He’ll also ask about children the couple has together. He’ll ask about child support, custody and visitation. The judge will ask for annual incomes from both spouses as well as who will cover healthcare and childcare for the children.
If the other spouse didn’t show up for the hearing in an uncontested divorce, the judge will want you to answer all the questions. As long as your spouse isn’t contesting the divorce, he or she doesn’t have to be there, but the judge might determine that the splitting of assets, child support amounts or visitation agreements don’t meet with his or her approval. She might decide to schedule another hearing and issue a temporary order.
At a contested divorce, the first hearing will be held to determine where there are problems and disagreements. When there are areas of discord, the judge will have to schedule another hearing. At the second hearing, the judge will want to hear evidence regarding the contested areas of the divorce. This is when a lawyer will be your best ally. The divorce lawyer can help you with disputes regarding support or visitation.
The judge may issue a temporary order in the first hearing regarding custody, child support or visitation for the children. She might force the spouses to disclose assets and provide temporary spousal support. There’s no way to appeal temporary orders.
What to Expect at Subsequent Hearings
There could be many court appearances required as the divorce progresses. It depends on how contested they are. The judge might need to see more evidence, circumstances change or child support wasn’t paid. Numerous court appearances mean a divorce can continue for years since it might be months before the judge can find space on her calendar for the hearing.
Instead of seeing you and your spouse for many hearings, the judge might order you to attend mediation. This will help the two parties agree on issues like child custody or visitation. The mediator is a trained professional who will remain neutral. This person doesn’t make decision or recommend anything to the judge. Mediation is meant to facilitate conversation between the spouses in a neutral environment.
There might be only one hearing in front of a judge regarding your divorce if both parties agree on everything. If there’s a disagreement about any parts of the divorce, there will be more than one hearing.