Some family law cases go to trial despite attempts to settle beforehand. At Christensen Law, the attorneys have experience with custody and divorce cases in Utah. We have experience with both amicably settling cases and taking cases to trial.
Below, we provide some tips for those who are going to trial now or may be going in the distant future. The advice we provide here is general in nature. You should consult with an attorney for specific advice for your unique situation.
Going to Court is Not Ideal, But May Be Necessary
When a judge makes a decision at trial, it is likely that neither party will be completely satisfied. Moreover, taking a case to trial is expensive. Therefore, you should give serious consideration to settlement options at all stages of your case. This includes the day of trial. But, you should be careful to avoid agreeing to a settlement with which you cannot live. It may be that trial is expensive in the short run, but cheaper in the long run.
You Will Not Be Able to Tell the Judge Everything You Might Want to Say
The law requires the judge to make decisions based on certain information. The rules of evidence also exclude other information or evidence. The judge will disregard information that is irrelevant to what he or she needs to know to make the decisions. Nor will the judge consider redundant or prohibited evidence or testimony. We have found that this reality can be emotionally difficult for some clients. Unfortunately, too much irrelevant or redundant information can distract the judge from good arguments and evidence. An attorney can help you understand which evidence the judge needs to know and present it to your advantage.
You May Need to Change Strategy at Trial
As the trial progresses, it may become clear that the judge likes some of your arguments better than others. This means you may need to abandon your favorite arguments or exhibits and focus on backups. An attorney can help you recognize the need to shift and help you come to trial with backup plans.
There Is A Good Chance Trial Will Not Go Perfectly
No matter how well prepared you are, it is likely that trial will not go perfectly. If you testify, you will be cross-examined. Witnesses do not always say things they way you wish they would say them. And of course, the other side gets to tell their story. An attorney can help you cope with and overcome the curve balls.
Trial is Not the End of the Case
After the judge has ruled at trial, there is the potential for post-judgment motions and appeals. If you lose, speak with an attorney about your options for a post-judgment motion or appeal. If you win, do not do anything rash and be patient for the appeal and motion deadlines to pass.