Legal Representation for Final Divorce Hearings
A final hearing is held in a divorce to decide issues that are not settled between the spouses and their attorneys. It is essentially a trial in front of a family law judge to determine issues such as custody of minor children, division of assets, spousal maintenance, child support, or parenting time. Both parties present evidence, and the judge decides on contested issues based on the evidence presented. All testimony and documents presented are subject to the Indiana Rules of Evidence.
Benefits of Reaching a Settlement Agreement Before the Final Hearing
A final divorce hearing can be a stressful process. When the spouses are unable to reach a settlement agreement, it is left up to the judge to rule on important matters. You run the risk that the court will not rule in your favor. A settlement agreement allows you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse to retain more control of issues that affect your family’s future. Divorce is a faster, less costly process and generally easier for children if the spouses can agree on the issues together.
How Court Proceedings Unfold in a Final Divorce Hearing
A final divorce hearing is conducted like a trial, in a courtroom, with a judge presiding. Both parties will have an opportunity to present evidence to the judge, which may be in the form of testimony from the parties or witnesses or written documents.
- The petitioner (spouse who filed for divorce) presents his or her case first.
- The respondent (other spouse) has an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses.
- The respondent presents testimony and evidence in his or her case.
- The petitioner is allowed to cross-examine.
Indiana Rules of Evidence apply in raising or responding to objections based on hearsay, authentication, or foundation of evidence. The trial judge sustains or overrules objections. When both parties have presented their cases, the judge decides contested issues, such as child custody or equitable division of assets, based on the evidence.
Why It is Essential to Have an Experienced Attorney to Represent You
A divorcing spouse who is not represented by an experienced divorce lawyer is at a significant disadvantage in a final divorce hearing. Parties are held to the same standards as an attorney when they represent themselves. An in-depth knowledge of procedural requirements and the Rules of Evidence is essential in a final hearing. An experienced divorce attorney knows how to:
- Lay the foundation for evidence
- Authenticate documents presented as evidence
- Recognize and object to hearsay from the other side
- Raise or respond to other objections in the client’s best interests
- Present a compelling case to the judge
Why It is Important for Your Attorney to Understand Your Primary Objectives
The role of a divorce lawyer is to support you and advocate for your best interests in the divorce process. To do so, your attorney needs to know what you hope to achieve. Before your final divorce hearing begins, make sure you know how you want the issues to be decided by the judge and why, and which issues are most important to you. Communication is essential to give your divorce attorney a clear understanding of what your objectives are. The goal in a final divorce hearing is to inform the court of how and why it should decide your case.
Emerson Divorce and Accident Injury Attorneys, LLC is an award-winning law firm. We have more than 35 years of combined experience. Our Indianapolis divorce attorneys are caring, compassionate, discreet, and professional, and we treat our clients with respect. Our approach to family law matters is both aggressive and progressive. Call us at (317) 969-8000 whether you are just beginning the divorce process or facing a final divorce hearing.
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We are available by phone 24/7 to discuss your case, and we make it a priority to answer all of your questions as soon as possible.(317) 969-8000
What Our Clients Say
Very professional and knowledgeable, and fighter when needed.”
- Tyler Height, Emerson Law Client
JR is a problem solver, he works well with people and is very comfortable in court. My ex and I are decent friends and JR made this a very easy thing for us. I hope you the same! Glad I chose JR, couldn't have imagined this going any smoother than this!”
- Amanda, Emerson Law Client