The short answer is: “No.” Most divorces settle before trial. Divorce litigation technically occurs any time a divorce is filed and pending in a Indiana court, until the case is settled by agreement or trial. With a new divorce filing, the divorce litigation attorneys may have a preliminary hearing, if the parties cannot or will not agree, if necessary, at which the attorneys will make arguments and the court will sort out the initial issues. Classic examples of a decisions made by the Indiana trial court judge in a preliminary hearing are which party will have temporary custody, live in the marital home, and who will drive which car while the case is pending.
This work is done by your litigation lawyers initially. A preliminary order can be changed at any time and may not reflect how the judge ultimately decides the case. If the case does not resolve before or at mediation, or at some point thereafter, there will be a trial. At trial, the attorney will argue your positions and may elicit testimony from you or others on your behalf. Documents, such as appraisal of the marital home, may be admitted as exhibits. The judge will then divide the marital estate in a just and reasonable way and determine child custody and parenting time based on what is in the children’s best interests. If you disagree with the judge’s decision, a litigation attorney will know the process of appealing the judgment, and the rules of appellate procedure. For example, a litigation lawyer will know that the person who appeals (appellant) must present a trial court record that is complete with respect to any of the issues raised on appeal, therefore taking great care with trial evidence selected and put on the record (Graddick v. Graddick, 2002).
More broadly, Indiana divorce litigation is the process of a trial judge handling, managing, and overseeing the case through its lawyers from the initial filing until the parties are divorced. In addition, the process prepares the lawyer and litigant for an in-court trial, by testimony, which is the spoken words of a witness, and documentary evidence, such as tax returns or child support worksheets. However, and again, most cases are resolved without trial.
In fact, divorce litigation attorneys understand that parties do not necessarily want to have an in-court trial. Like preliminary matters, a settlement agreement on all issues may be reached between the parties and ordered by the court; this, along with a waiver of the right to a final hearing signed by both parties, and a proposed divorce decree, will eliminate the need for the parties to ever appear in court, so long as the court approves the agreement. Generally, the court will approve such an agreement so long as it is in the children’s best interest.
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