There are many reasons to settle your case without having to go to trial. But if you and your spouse can't come to an agreement with the help of your San Antonio divorce attorneys, you'll have no other choice. You can go before either a judge or a jury - even if children are involved - because Texas is one of the only states in the country that allows a jury to decide child custody issues.
Taking your case to trial requires a lot of preparation which can get very expensive. It's important to keep in mind that going to trial puts your case in the hands of someone else - and their decisions could leave both parties feeling unsatisfied with the outcome.
Trials can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. For all these reasons, your San Antonio attorney will work hard to settle your case. But if the other side refuses to compromise, sometimes litigation in a trial setting is necessary. If it comes to that point, remember that the most important factor for success at trial is being prepared.
Final Preparations for Trial: After discovery is completed, your San Antonio divorce attorney will file a notice for trial which requests that the judge schedule a trial date. Before trial, both parties submit documents that outline the issues they want resolved by the court. Issues that are typically submitted include:
The amount of time devoted to trial preparations will vary based on the complexities of the issues involved in the case. During this time however, you will be actively involved in preparations with your San Antonio attorney. Preparations may include:
More time will be spent in trial preparations than in the actual trial.
Trial: After final preparations are completed, both parties will join their San Antonio divorce attorneys in court on the scheduled date. There are several elements of a divorce trial which include:
Opening Statements - Trial begins with each San Antonio attorney summarizing the issues in dispute and explaining how the evidence favors their respective clients.
Petitioner's Case - The attorney for the spouse who filed for divorce presents their case to the court. At this time, witnesses and other important evidence are presented.
Respondent's Case - The divorce attorney for the other spouse presents their case to the court and follows the same process as the petitioner's presentation.
Rebuttals - During the petitioner and respondents' presentations, each opposing attorney has the chance to cross examine experts and witnesses.
Closing Statements - After both sides have presented their cases, the San Antonio divorce attorneys each summarize the evidence and requests that the court rule in their client's favor.
Final Ruling - After taking the evidence into account, the judge or jury makes a decision on each of the disputed issues. The ruling may be made on the same day, but it's possible for the ruling to be set for a later date.
Decree of Divorce - After the court issues the final rulings, both attorneys work with the judge to write up a decree of divorce. The decree outlines the final rulings of the court and confirms the legal dissolution of the marriage.
The judgment defines how the issues not settled outside of court will be handled - in which, both spouses must abide by.
Compliance with Judgment: The final stage of the divorce process is compliance with the terms of the divorce decree. Your San Antonio divorce attorney will oversee the transfer of property, bank accounts, and insurance policies. They will work with you to make sure debts are paid off or accounted for, and assist with any other terms ordered in the divorce decree.
Once everything is sorted out, the legal process ends. However, if one spouse refuses to comply with the orders, enforcement measures may be necessary. Fortunately, the judge reserves the right to issue additional court orders to enforce compliance with the terms. If this occurs, your San Antonio divorce attorney will immediately arrange for the judge to enact the proper measures.
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Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P.
12000 Huebner Road Ste. 200 San Antonio, Texas 78230
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