One of the questions that invariably arises during family law cases is the subject of court. How often will I have to go to Divorce court? What happens when I go? And, do I even have to attend? While there is no secret formula or guaranteed answer, this article will attempt to address those common inquires.
The initial hearing Divorce Court hearing
The initial hearing will depend on several variables such as the county where the court is located and whether minor children are involved in the case. While the law remains the same throughout the state, practice and procedure may differ slightly.
For example, in Oakland County cases, divorces that involve minor children begin with an Early Intervention Conference. These hearings are held at the Friend of Court and presided over by a referee. Attorneys accompany parties in this brief hearing where the referee learns what is at issue in the particular case and helps parties navigate the divorce process with children.
In other counties, parties may simply attend child support investigation hearings without attorneys as it is simply to run numbers for child support. Child support is based upon a formula that attorneys and courts use in calculating potential outcomes.
If there are no minor children, the first hearing may take place before a referee or a judge. Depending on the county, this event is called a pretrial, status conference, trial date, or something akin.
Typically, the matter will not be finalized on the first court appearance but is an opportunity to get dates to be on track with the court.
Throughout the case, there may be various check-in dates with the courts such as status conferences, which is to apprise the judge the status and direction of the matter.
Divorce Court Motions
Some issues need to be brought before the court’s attention prior to the resolution of the case and require a referee or judge to issue a ruling. The formal way of doing so is by a written motion and court appearance. Not every case requires the filing and scheduling of motions, as each case is different. However, when needed, these types of hearings can occur throughout the case.
Divorce Court – Settlement or Trial
If the case settles through either negotiation or mediation, the filing party and attorney will go to court to put on proofs and the settlement on the record with the judge. If the matter does not settle, a trial date is set where the relevant, legal issues are litigated.
Divorce Court – Appearances
Who attends and who is exempt from attending the hearing depends on the court, type of hearing, and status of the case. To be prepared as a party, plan to attend the various court hearings but always check with your attorney to see if it is required.
Understanding More about the formal Divorce Court process – The steps of a Michigan divorce.
At Findling Law, we are well-versed in the various court proceedings all over the metro Detroit area. Talk to an attorney at Findling to learn more about the process and how to prepare for court dates. As prepared counselors, the professionals at the firm are ready to assist you with your legal needs.
About Findling Law
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I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan for over two decades. The attorneys at Findling Law all share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles. We are compassionate, creative and always prepared. We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances.That is why we provide more free information on divorce and family law than any other Michigan law firm. We want to help you manage your situation. Allow our exceptional legal team to help you navigate the change in your life, without compromising principles.
By: Daniel Findling