What Happens if My California Divorce Goes to Trial?
November 15, 2022, In Divorce
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At WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC, our Los Angeles family law attorney knows that each of our client’s cases is unique, which means their personal expectations and legal goals will greatly differ.
When our Los Angeles County divorce attorney reviews each client’s unique needs, we develop a customized legal strategy to efficiently pursue their objectives, so they can move forward with their new lives with confidence.
In some cases, our clients and their soon-to-be-ex-spouses can negotiate important divorce details — like property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support — in private, with their family law attorneys providing the guidance they need to make informed decisions.
In others, when divorce factors may be more contentious, mediation can provide a negotiating platform that facilitates an open discussion and allows each spouse to understand how their case will unfold if they choose to go to court. Mandatory mediation is only necessary for California when there is a dispute over child custody. Otherwise, the spouses can use the process to seek an end to the conflicting factors and develop a compromised solution.
If private negotiations or mediation sessions do not produce solutions, the next step to resolve any outstanding legal issues is to go to trial and present your case in front of a judge.
Here is what you should know about the divorce trial process.
What Happens When a California Divorce Goes to Trial?
Taking your divorce to trial means presenting your case to a California family law judge. The petitioner, which is the spouse who initiated the divorce proceedings, will present their case first.
The goal is to argue your case by presenting documents, evidence, and testimony to support your requests, which are the sticking points you could not alternatively agree to, to pursue the outcome you want.
Whether those factors involve property division, financial support, or child custody, the trial is where you will present all the pertinent details supporting your divorce demands.
The respondent, which is the spouse who was served with divorce papers, will then present his or her case, providing evidence that refutes the spouse’s claims and supports their position.
Can Each Spouse Call Witnesses to Testify During a California Divorce Trial?
Yes. Each party can call witnesses to testify before the judge on their behalf.
Witness testimony is designed to provide additional evidence involving one spouse’s shortcomings or capabilities, depending on which side of the courtroom they are on.
Common California divorce trial witnesses can be both character and expert witnesses and may include, but are not limited to:
- Family Members
- Household Employees
- Daycare Instructors
- Medical Professionals
- Forensic Accountants
Both parties will have the opportunity to cross-examine each witness to strengthen their client’s case. After, each spouse’s attorney will provide a summation of their case during closing arguments to solidify why the judge should rule in their favor.
The Judgment is Delivered and Finalized
Taking your divorce to trial means the judge has the final word on all decisions that were presented for his or her evaluation.
The trial will conclude after the judge offers his or her final judgment on the case.
The official divorce decree will be entered and legally binding, and each party will sign the document to finalize the divorce.
Contact WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you have questions about how your divorce should unfold, and what details are worth going to court over, contact our skilled family law attorneys in Los Angeles County at WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC by calling (310) 552-3505 to schedule a free consultation today. We can help provide solutions that produce results.