Most of the time, a divorce will end up being resolved long before it has to go to trial. The majority of couples end up settling their divorce, so they don’t have to end up in front of a judge who makes decisions regarding their split. For most, the goal is to try to avoid litigation, as it tends to take longer, be more expensive, and it doesn’t always provide the outcome that either you or your spouse want. In either case, it’s best to learn as much as you can to prepare for a divorce trial against your spouse.
Of course, there are some cases where things can’t be worked out for one reason or another no matter how much you work at it. Maybe you have a spouse that doesn’t want to cooperate and who would rather go through the trouble of a trial.
Regardless of the reason, you need to make sure you are as prepared as possible for the trial. Below are some things you will want to do to ensure you are ready.
Talk with Your Attorney
Those who are going through amicable divorces or who can settle don’t always need to work with attorneys. However, when you have a divorce that is contentious or that you know is going to go to trial, you really do want to have an attorney on your side.
Make sure the attorney is up to date with everything that’s happened up to the point where you have hired them. They are going to have a range of questions, of course, so answer them to the best of your ability.
Your attorney will help to come up with a strategy for the trial. It’s at this point that you start to get some of the other elements ready for the trial, including your witness list and evidence. The earlier you start the better. In some cases, you might also need to have expert witnesses brought in to help with your divorce.
Make Sure All Documentation Is Ready to Go
Once again, you will want to start this process as soon as possible.When you prepare for a divorce trial, you never want to be running around at the last minute. Some of the types of paperwork you will need to have available include:
- Bank statements
- Retirement account statements
- Tax returns
- Proof of your current income
- Documentation of all of your assets
- Parenting plan
If you have a prenuptial agreement, you will want to have a copy of that, as well.
Of course, the exact paperwork you are going to need will vary from one person to the next. Talk with your attorney and they can let you know everything that you need to have gathered.
Keep Your Emotions Under Control
Divorce is going to bring out a lot of emotions. It’s hard to get around that fact. You might feel sad and depressed over what’s happening. You might feel extremely angry about the divorce. For many people, their emotions can change from one day to the next because it is such a big change in their lives.
However, when you start to let emotions, especially anger, take hold, it can cloud your judgment. You could make decisions that are going to harm you for a long time to come. For example, you might just agree to anything your ex says to get the divorce over as fast as possible. This could mean you end up in a worse position than you should. You might also say or do something that will paint you in a negative light with the court.
If you are feeling upset, the best thing to do is take a break from thinking about the trial. Find a way to calm down before you engage with your ex or their attorney again.
Learn What’s Expected at the Trial
You probably haven’t been through an actual divorce, or had to prepare for a divorce trial before, and you probably don’t know what to expect or how to respond. Fortunately, this is where your attorney can help you out once again. They can run you through what you should expect with your trial.
They will let you know where you have to go, how you should dress, and the sorts of questions that might be asked. In some cases, they can even do a short mock version of the trial with you to help you get prepared.
Don’t Spend All of Your Time Worried About the Divorce Trial
Here’s something difficult for a lot of people to accept. Obsessing over your divorce and the trial all of the time is not going to change the outcome. Yes, you need to be prepared. However, you don’t’ need to spend every waking minute worrying. It’s bad for your health if you do.
What you need to do is to make sure you are still taking proper care of yourself now and going forward. Make sure you are still eating right, getting some exercise, and finding ways that you can relax. Whether it’s some quiet time alone, a hike, or enjoying a hobby, make sure you still get to enjoy life.
You Could Still Settle Your Case
One of the most important things that you will want to keep in mind right up until you are in the midst of your trial is that you can still settle. Just because you and your ex can’t agree on everything right now doesn’t mean that you will still be unable to agree in a month or two when the trial nears.
Always be willing to find ways to compromise and settle. It could help you to stay out of a trial, so you can get on with your life sooner. However, don’t let fear of the trial make you settle if you feel you are not being treated fairly.
Make a List of Your Other Questions and Concerns
Although the information above can help you to better prepare for a divorce trial, you will likely still have some questions that you need to have answered. Make a list of everything else you need to know or that worries you and talk with your attorney about it. They can provide you with deeper insight into what you can expect with your case.