The final stage of family law litigation occurs when the case is either settlement by agreement or is resolved in Court. The overwhelming majority of cases are resolved by agreement. In fact, most Courts require the parties to attend mediation before a trial can be held.
The decision whether to resolve a family law dispute by agreement involves manner important considerations:
- Is the value of the contested property worth more than the legal fees being incurred?
- Can the parties reach a better agreement with their lawyers than a judge who is unfamiliar with the parties and their children?
- Will the Court give us enough time to hear all of our issues, or will we run out of time?
- How long will it take to get a trial date, and what will happen to the children and/or property in the mean-time?
These questions are part of the reason why most cases resolve by agreement. However, it is not uncommon for the parties to simply be unable to agree. In these instances, a final trial will be held.
When a family law dispute goes to trial, it is generally decided by a judge instead of a jury. While jury trials are available in family law cases, they are extremely expensive compared to trials decided by a judge. Additionally, judges are generally more experienced in handling child-related issues than a jury.
Aside from the decision-maker, a family law trial is generally what most people see on television. A family law trial attorney makes opening statements, cross-examine witnesses, introduce exhibits, questions their own witnesses, and make objections and closing arguments.
What is different in family law cases is the emotional element. For example, the parties to most lawsuits are unrelated and detached emotionally from the other side. However, family law trials are far more intimate and difficult for the parties. As a result, preparation for the trial is extremely important.
Gerald Tadlock is an experienced family law trial attorney who knows the emotional pain his clients feel when walking into a courtroom. Being required to give testimony against their former loved one can be extremely hard. In addition to this difficulty is the fear of the unknown experienced with going into a courtroom environment. When combined, these two factors can be overwhelming.
Preparing is extremely important in these cases because it helps alleviate the fear of the unknown.
Once the case is resolved by agreement or by a decision in Court, a final order is prepared. At that point, your case is generally completed (unless a party appeals a court’s decision). When the case closes, you are on the path to resuming a normal life. Gerald Tadlock works hard to make this transition as smooth as possible for his clients.