What to Expect in Divorce Court

May 1, 2019 | Divorce/Marital Dissolution

Santa Barbara Family Law Lawyer

Santa Barbara Family Law Lawyer Explains What to Expect in Divorce Court

Divorce Court is often scary for everyone except for judges and divorce lawyers, who are use to proceedings and know what to expect. The best way to conquer this fear is to get educated about the divorce court and to have an experienced Santa Barbara family law lawyer you trust on your side.

The First Hearing

Typically, the first hearing in Divorce Court is what is called the “Calendar Call.” Usually only attorneys appear in court to give a brief overview of the case and a time estimate for how long they expect the case to take. This usually starts around 8:30 AM, but each judge typically sees around ten cases each day. Each attorney will take just a few minutes to describe the issues of the case so the judge may prioritize the scheduling of further hearings.

If the judge deems that the case is ready for trial, he or she may set the date for trial to begin or set a date for a mandatory settlement conference.

Mandatory Settlement Conference

A mandatory settlement conference is a meeting in which your Santa Barbara family law lawyer will “Meet and Confer” with the other lawyer in a final attempt to reach a resolution before the case actually begins. It is important for them to at least narrow the issues that will be discussed so the court doesn’t have to try to figure out every little detail of the divorce.

The attorneys may request an informal “Chambers Conference” if they believe it would be helpful to discuss issues with the judge in private. Sometimes the judge will pressure the attorneys to settle the case before the formal hearing and may even inform the attorneys of how he or she intends to rule.

The Court could also assign a settlement officer to help the discussions. This is sometimes a volunteer lawyer or a retired judge. This option is more common with self-represented spouses as no lawyers are present.

Settling

Your attorney should only encourage you to settle if it is advantageous to do so. Sometimes, people feel their attorney pressured them to settle before going to court because of things that were said in the judge’s chambers. It is important to remember that the chambers discussions are just that – discussions. No rulings are made in these private talks. Be wary of any attorney who pressures you to take something you are not comfortable with, especially if they are changing their minds dramatically after a chambers discussion.

The court does not want to hear your case. Courts are very clogged with cases, which is one of the reasons it takes so long to resolve a case. The court will want to hear why you were not able to resolve the divorce on your own.

A good Santa Barbara family law lawyer will have discussed their assessment of your case during the early stages of preparation. They should not leave it until the last moments to tell you what they really think while on the courthouse steps. Settlement possibilities should also be discussed ahead of time so you both are prepared during this time.

Hearings

If the case proceeds to a hearing, it can be heard almost immediately. Sometimes it is heard a few days later if the case is very complicated, but is not typically later than that. The scheduling depends on the urgency of matters as well as the schedule of the court itself. Prioritization of cases is usually as follows:

  1. Domestic violence
  2. Child custody
  3. Everything else

Hearings range in formality. Some situations require very formal proceedings in which testimony is required of the individuals involved as well as other witnesses. Informal hearings include only attorneys arguing the case. If you are to take the stand, it should be discussed thoroughly with your attorney so you know what to expect and feel comfortable in the witness seat.

Communication

It is very important that your Santa Barbara family law lawyer is communicating with you about all changes during the day of court. This should include updates on:

  • Discussion with your spouse’s lawyer
  • Narrowing of the topics for resolution
  • Updates on your case, such as when it is expected to start

Temporary Orders

Temporary orders include holdover specifications for certain aspects of the divorce until the final judgment is reached. This includes matters such as:

It is very important to seek legal representation during your divorce. Even though things may seem simple and each party is still on good terms with the other, most legal cases get bogged down and things can change quickly when it really gets down to it. Protect yourself and have an official of the law there to help buffer during nitty gritty conversations.

Call a Santa Barbara Family Law Lawyer Immediately For Your Settlement Case

Divorce is never easy and it takes the knowledge and resources of compassionate attorneys to get you to the right place to start over. Drury Pullen Law is dedicated to ensure you settle your claim that’s in the best interest for you. Give us a call at (805) 879-7523 to speak to a Santa Barbara family law lawyer.

Subscribe to Our Blog


 

Parenting in a Pandemic (Free Webinar)

Are you feeling overwhelmed and easily frustrated with your kids? Do you find yourself anxious or depressed? You are not alone. These feelings and experiences are normal. During these trying times, it’s natural to feel unsure how to support your children and take care...

Strategies for Navigating COVID-19 as a Single Parent

The COVID-19 crisis is tough on all families. But for single parents, having to suddenly manage kids whose schools and playgrounds are closed and whose caregivers can no longer come to work can be especially overwhelming. To help support single parents during this...

7 Ways to Be Better at Online Learning

As we say goodbye to this truly unforgettable summer, it is time to welcome another semester of online learning! If you or someone you know is determined to make this semester a little more productive than the last, this week's Feel Good Friday is for you. Share these...

COVID-19 Emergency Bag For College Students

If your college student is returning to campus have them pack an emergency Covid-bag in case they test positive and have to quarantine. In these uncertain times, the possibility exists that your child may test positive, and have to leave his or her dorm for a...

COVID-19 and Nutrition

To help cope with stress that may be related to the COVID-19 pandemic, take care of your body by including good nutrition as part of self-care. Certain vitamins and minerals (e.g. Vitamins C and D, zinc) may have effects on how our immune system works to fight off...

FREE Movies at the Drive-in – Santa Barbara

We have another Feel Good Friday for Santa Barbara locals! Our local drive-in theater is showing FREE movies every Wednesday and we can't think of a better way to make memories this summer. Sponsored by Montecito Bank & Trust, UCSB Athletics and Arts &...

Will COVID-19 Cause Spike in Divorce?

Should we expect a rise in divorce filings to emerge in the wake of COVID-19? Experts are saying quarantine is driving couples six feet apart - even at home. Money worries, boredom, lack of escape, conflicts over the kids or chores are just some of the stresses that...