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Divorce Hearing in Court - What to expect?


Separation and Divorce Considering ending your marriage? Going through a divorce? Let us know!

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Old 7th November 2017, 4:36 AM   #1
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Divorce Hearing in Court - What to expect?

After seperating last year and spending most of this year with a Lawyer, trying to sort the financials (no children involved) I have my date for the 1st court hearing at a local court.

I just wanted to know what to expect as this all sounds very daunting.

Does anyone have any advice?
I have been told that my solicitor will do all the talking but as its quite nerve wracking (never been to court for anything before) I also wanted some advice on :

1. What to wear? smart casual, jacket, shirt, shoes?

2. What to take? I do have most of my documents in a shoulder bag

3. How long these go on for, and what will be asked etc

Thank you for any help.
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Old 7th November 2017, 4:52 AM   #2
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What kind of hearing is it? A contested divorce hearing, or an initial hearing for the financial resolution?

1. What to wear is largely irrelevant although I would avoid ripped jeans and curry stained T-shirt. Smart casual is fine. The only person who will care about your appearance is your STBX if she is there. More importantly, dressing smartly will make you feel more professional and more confident.

2. Take that shoulder bag. Anything else, your solicitor will bring.

3. Depends what kind of hearing it is. Your solicitor should advise. It will probably be one of (a) over in 5 minutes or (b) very boring.
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Last edited by PegNosePete; 7th November 2017 at 5:04 AM..
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Old 7th November 2017, 5:44 AM   #3
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Thank you!

This has been a great help..

This is the initial hearing for the financial resolution I believe.

It seems more nerve-wracking than it is probably?
I have images of a stern faced judge banging a gavel!
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Old 7th November 2017, 5:57 AM   #4
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There won't be any gavels. Yes, it probably is just some red tape. Here's a flow chart. Although your solicitor is probably the best to ask.

Flowchart for financial remedy cases | Family Court Information

Did you ever get the house valuation sorted out? Your last thread suggested that your wife was giving a very inaccurate figure. I'm just curious.
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Old 7th November 2017, 7:46 AM   #5
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You need to post these Qs to your solicitor. He/she may not want you to bring a lot of evidence to court.

Smart casual should be fine. Wear something respectful but you don't need to wear a suit unless doing so would make you more comfortable because that is something you wear regularly.

There will be a lot more waiting around then anything. Many cases are scheduled for the same time of day. You will most likely have to go through a security screening like at the airport. Other than bottled water, if you can't bring it on a plane, you probably can't bring it into the courthouse.

Do make sure to eat a little something before you go, even if you don't want to. You don't want to deal with nerves & an empty stomach. Consider packing a small snack like a granola bar, a piece of fruit or some nuts.
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Old 7th November 2017, 9:58 AM   #6
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You can expect the possibility of:

* Lots of waiting (so bring a book or crossword puzzle)

* Hearing a lot of other people's issues while you wait

* Less drama than you might expect based on TV shows and movies

* The unexpected!

Clothes should be whatever you're confident and comfortable in. Polished casual business attire......not overly dressed up in most cases, since if you end up having just a rushed 90 sec convo in a hallway with your lawyer and a lay commissioner you would feel you had wasted the suit and tie.

I agree your lawyer would know best what's likely to happen, but I wouldn't want to use any billable hours asking, myself.
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Old 7th November 2017, 10:10 AM   #7
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Can't you two reach an agreement without court involvement and lawyers speaking for each of you?

To me that's a huge waste of money to get to where you're going to end up anyway.

I'd speak to her directly if it were me.
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Old 7th November 2017, 10:16 AM   #8
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I'm in MI, midwestern U.S., so your courts may handle things differently.

Here, the first court appearance is typically to sort out the immediate issues such as temporary custody and financial orders to keep people afloat until the final hearing. We call the preliminary hearings "case management conferences".

I went into the courthouse, checked in with the clerk, and then sat in court and watched other divorce hearings while waiting my turn. After about an hour or so, the judge called our case number and we went to the judges chambers to discuss the case. We had everything (financials and custody) already worked out, so we asked the judge to finalize the divorce that day instead of waiting for another hearing some 3 or 4 months into the future. The judge agreed.

We left the judges chambers and went back into the courtroom. I stood at the podium, stated my name, age, and current address. The judge asked if the marriage had broken down beyond repair and I answered in the affirmative. He asked if I agreed to the terms of the divorce and I answered that I did. He asked my exH the same questions and received the same answers. He then stated that he was dissolving the marriage, banged the gavel, and called the next case. I waited about 25 minutes in the back of the courtroom, the clerk came over and handed me my divorce papers, and I walked out a free woman.

I brought all pertinent documents and wore "business casual" clothing.
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Old 8th November 2017, 4:32 AM   #9
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Thank you for your replies.

We have completed and about to exchange the Form E, so questionnaires have not arisen yet.. i believe these questionnaires are then answered on the day in court?

The offer my side put forward, was just ignored and no other offer put forward? so now it has come to this unfortunately. The whole thing is down to the financial split.

I am thinking smart jeans (not denim) smart shirt and jacket with shoes at the hearing, it looks smart and I am used to this attire working in the city, so smart casual would be best.
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Old 8th November 2017, 11:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikestr View Post
We have completed and about to exchange the Form E, so questionnaires have not arisen yet.. i believe these questionnaires are then answered on the day in court?
No, questions are answered in writing and should be exchanged by solicitors before the court date. This is presumably an FDA, and will probably just be some boring red tape. Maybe one side has some queries which need directions from a judge or isn't getting a response from the other side. I don't think anything will be decided and I don't think anything interesting will happen at this hearing.
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Old 9th November 2017, 11:15 AM   #11
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So if you put forth an offer and it wasn't accepted, this probably isn't going to be a simple hearing. Schedule an appointment with your attorney prior to the date to go over details.

If you live anywhere in the southern portion of the U.S., you need to wear a suit to court. At the very least, dress pants, white shirt, nice tie.
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