Divorce can be one of the most difficult and emotionally-draining experiences a person will ever face. With so much on the line, the outcome can have a significant impact on your future once the marriage ends.
Since divorce is a legal process, you are required to file documents with the family law court. But does that also mean you have to attend a court hearing in front of a judge? Do you have to go through a trial? The answer depends on your situation.
The court is where legal disputes are resolved. If you and your spouse disagree on one or more divorce issues (i.e. alimony, child custody, child support, property division, etc.), then you would have to let a judge decide these issues for you.
If you have to go to court, especially if is a hotly contested divorce, you need to hire an experienced divorce attorneys. Both parties must call witnesses and submit various types of evidence, including financial statements, bills, and other documents related to your marriage.
On the other hand, if you and your spouse agree on all divorce issues and plan to separate on amicable and respectful terms, an uncontested divorce does not require going to court. Although all of the legal documents must be filed with the court, the judgment can be sent back without requiring you to step foot inside a courtroom.
However, it is possible for the court to request an informal or formal hearing. A formal hearing entails presenting the entire case to a judge, while an informal hearing involves the judge asking questions about specific facts on the divorce papers. If the terms are reasonable, the court will sign off.
It is important to understand that just because you and your spouse do not agree on one or more divorce issues, doesn’t mean that you automatically need to undergo court litigation. In many cases, disagreements can be settled through mediation. Having an impartial third-party decide contested issues can save you time and money compared to going to court.