An evidentiary hearing with regards to family law (specifically divorce) is considered the same as a final hearing and is used to decide post-divorce arrangements. A family law court would use this type of hearing to decide matters of divorces, alimony agreements, and child custody after a divorce has been decreed. It is a formal examination of charges where any people involved may or not be sworn under oath depending on the judge and the evidence.
The best case you could make would involve a mixture of solid evidence and testimony based on a sincere want for you and any dependents to enjoy the best possible outcome from the situation. A judge is not above providing help based on sympathy and will do his best to ensure that everybody involved will emerge with the fairest possible awards and penalties.
You should also discuss with your family law attorney the best possible ways to approach the case and how you should go about testifying. Your attorney should already have served as attorney under similar cases before and should be a readily available source of information for any concerns, questions, or comments.
If you or someone you know is looking to file for divorce and need to contact a divorce lawyer, please give us a call at (480) 467-4348 or fill out a form. We understand how difficult divorce can be, especially if there are children or high-valued assets involved. You don’t have to go through it alone, contact us today!
Proceedings of an Evidentiary Hearing
The proceedings of an evidentiary hearing are very similar to an actual trial. Each party gets a chance to present their case and any evidence with it. The information presented would be very similar to something you would find at an actual trial.
Each party is allotted a certain amount of time to present evidence normally allowed in a family court like statements from witnesses, records of past finances, and testimonies of deposition. The judge would then proceed to evaluate the case and would present his verdict just as he would do in a final hearing.
How Long Does an Evidentiary Hearing Take?
An evidentiary hearing is usually shorter than most hearings; two hours or less most of the time. Each side will receive an hour to present their argument and propose their arrangements. It may seem like a short time, but unless there is a complex matter that needs to be considered further, an hour should be well sufficient.
Due to the sheer number of cases handled by family courts in a general period however, this is the time they allot. However, it is possible to request more time if either party feels that it is needed.
Who Should Attend an Evidentiary Hearing?
Since this hearing is post-decree (meaning it is held after a divorce is decreed), any witnesses would not usually be under oath. However, it is an extremely important hearing as many sensitive topics are being discussed. It is very important to have an attorney who is familiar with family law represent you during an evidentiary hearing. A skilled family law lawyer can provide the greatest opportunity for your needs to be met.
Any evidence presented here must be in accordance with policies that would be present in a normal trial. Opinions are not welcome, and all claims must be accompanied with fact when delivered to the judge. However, most judges are not above sympathy, and having sympathy is important here as the judge will hopefully be ruling in the best interests of both parties. Even counselors and psychologists can be called upon to attest to any mental trauma that may be present, and if proven you can charge for damages.
Preparing for an Evidentiary Hearing
To properly prepare for an evidentiary hearing, it is helpful to examine the court minutes and policies. Coming to the hearing prepared and knowledgeable about what will take is extremely advantageous to your position. Even if your judge is sympathetic to your situation, not understanding the procedure will turn the tables and give the other party an advantage.
It is also important to be aware of the policies regarding what evidence can be submitted. Only certain forms of paper evidence can be submitted, and it’s important to be completely aware of the rules your court has in place for them. It is also important to note any deadlines for any filings and exchanges. The court’s policy will always be one of expedience, and if there is any delay in processing on your behalf, it will both cause problems in the case, and it will compromise your credibility.
If you have any questions on policies, evidence, deadlines, etc., you should seek the council of a family law lawyer.
A strong case is imperative for the sensitive matters discussed in this type of hearing. However, it is important to not let your emotions get in the way here. This hearing is meant to formally examine evidence and though emotions will be present, evidence driven solely by emotion will likely not be considered. In the case of family law, the ultimate decision should be based on the benefit of both parties and any dependents involved.
Children and Evidentiary Hearings
If a child is present in the case, there may be a court-assigned parent coordinator present to assure that both parties are adhering to the rules set in place by the court. They will also assure that the hearing is comfortable for the child and that the child will not be too emotionally disturbed by any events that happen in the hearing room. If a party is not satisfied with the parent coordinator given, they can move to have another one assigned.
Overall, an evidentiary hearing is equivalent to final hearing, and is used to decide final arrangements such as alimony, custody of a child, and other divorce matters. It comes after a divorce decree and is presided over by a judge just as a normal trial hearing would be.
People may or may not be sworn into oath depending on the judge and the evidence proposed. The importance of this hearing for your future and the future of any of your dependents relies on the case you make. It is important to ensure that you are properly prepared for what is about to take place, and that you have discussed with your attorney about the best course of action for you to take while the hearing is taking place.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.