How Can I Get A Trial And Speed Up My Divorce?
Trial Procedures Q&A
- I am representing myself and am tired of my case dragging on. How can I finally get us a trial?
Rule 77 of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure sets out the rules and procedures on how a trial is set, if there is a schedule conflict, and what to do in those conflicts.
- So do I need to do anything to get a trial, or will the court do it on its own?
This depends. Sometimes when you attend a Resolution Management Conference, Return Hearing, Status Conference, or even a Temporary Orders Hearing, the judge will get you scheduled for your final trial. If the judge does not schedule one, or you do not receive a minute entry from the court scheduling one, you will need to take initiative to get one scheduled.
- The court has not scheduled one in my case, what do I do?
You need to file a Motion to Set requesting for a trial. In your motion you need to include the date when you will be ready, names and contact information if there are attorneys involved, if the case should be given preference if custody is at issue, and about how much time you will need for the trial.
- I got my trial date, but they only scheduled the trial for one hour. I have a lot of issues that need to be discussed and need more time, what can I do?
If you believe that you will not have sufficient time to present your case within the time allotted, you must motion to the court requesting additional time. Keep in mind that you must make this request at least 45 days prior to the scheduled trial. If you do not, there is a chance that the court will disregard your request due to scheduling issues.
- I got my trial date and realized that I cannot be there on that date, what can I do?
Scheduling conflicts arise often. The court is usually pretty flexible in moving the dates if needed. You must motion the court as soon as possible to move (or they call it continue) the hearing. In your motion, you must present a good reason or sufficient grounds for why the trial needs to be continued. You can submit a joint motion to continue with the opposing party, but remember that you still need sufficient grounds.
- What would be some sufficient grounds for why my trial could get continued?
The most likely chance that the court will continue your hearing is if you have the unavailability of a witness or party. For example, if someone cannot get off work or is going to be out of town, this is usually sufficient reason. Make sure that you notify the court as soon as possible if this is an issue. If you wait till a day before the trial, you likely will not be granted this continuance.
Another reason could be if there are scheduling conflicts between the courts. This will usually only happen to your attorney. Sometimes your attorney may get scheduled multiple hearings at the same time. If this happens, your attorney can request that one of those hearings gets moved.