My case is going to trial. What should I expect?

The good thing about hiring experiences matrimonial attorneys, whether in a post judgment dispute, or for your divorce, is that this attorney will prepare your case for the eventuality of trial, but hope that they are not forced to do so. For example, your attorney will have already exchanged discovery with the other side. Discovery is the process of exchanging information and making each side aware of all the facts it will bring before the court. Final disclosures of discovery, must be made not less than 7 days before the first date of trial.  There are three discovery tools utilized during divorce litigation which will require your direct participation, they are interrogatories, notice to produce or document production requests, and deposition.

Your attorney will likely also have issued subpoenas to any institutions necessary to obtain other information. For example, subpoenas can be issued when the other side will not voluntarily disclose information, or a subpoena can be issued to assure a witness’ attendance at a deposition or a trial date. For example, if you are involved in a domestic violence matter, and the incident was observed by a police officer, your attorney will issue a subpoena for the officer’s at a hearing to present their testimony and the police report they entered following the incident.

Depositions may be scheduled. These are another investigative tool attorneys will utilize to either narrow down the scope of information sought from the other side, or to obtain incriminating testimony on a particular issue. A deposition, for an experienced lawyer, is a very effective method of discovery.

Once your attorney has all of this information available to him or her, and your case has not been able to resolve by settlement, your attorney will begin trial preparations. This will involve the preparation of trial binders, including all of the evidence your attorney intends to present on your behalf before the judge. Your attorney will also prepare a trial brief, which will detail for the court the anticipated testimony at trial, the law on which the court should rely, and provide an effective road map for how the court should resolve the case.  Additionally, and maybe more importantly, your attorney will prepare you for your direct testimony and cross-examination. This may involve reviewing a predetermined set of questions to make you comfortable with the types of questions you will be asked, and it will also give you and your attorney an opportunity to discuss the most effective answers to those questions. Your attorney will want you to highlight certain facts, and avoid others. Your attorney might even discuss with you your demeanor during your testimony.  Making sure you are making eye contact, appear forthcoming, and controlling your facial responses to the other side testimony, all of which, are extremely important and effective for advocating on your own behalf before the court.

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