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What To Expect In Court During Divorce Proceedings

Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of a divorce is the proceedings where the divorcing couple will have to face each other in court.

For most, it’s traumatic. When they were exchanging vows, the last place they imagined they’d end up, is on opposite sides of a courtroom, pursuing a divorce.

It’s not uncommon for people to wonder while they’re in the consideration stage of divorce, whether they’ll be able to manage the court proceedings. If your mind is made up, you likely desire to know what you can expect during your case.

Short Court Appearances: Temporary Orders

When you’re pursuing a divorce, especially if children are involved, you may be involved in short hearings for temporary orders. These hearings are different from a court appearance for a lengthy trial for a decision on all issues in your case. The purpose of the short hearings may be to allow your spouse or you to formally request orders such as spousal or child support. These orders are often temporary but work well when a timely decision needs to be made regarding the welfare of your children or you. These orders can prove to be especially important in situations where domestic violence was a factor in the divorce.

What to Expect the Day Of

It will be challenging to not succumb to the emotional demands during your day in court. This is completely natural, and everyone feels a range of emotions but it’s important that you do your best to keep a clear head.

Prepare yourself before going in. This goes beyond quickly reviewing documents prior to stepping into the courthouse. You should have well-thought-out responses in mind before you begin the trial. In order to fully provide the evidence that will support your requests, you need a knowledgeable attorney to guide you.

Arrive early. Keep in mind that your behavior sends signals. Your actions, though unintentional, may give the other side an advantage, or more importantly, reflect poorly on your behalf to the Judge.

Present yourself respectfully as the witnesses speak. Each side will have the opportunity to cross examine witnesses and offer rebuttals. Be conscious of lashing out or appearing to be uncooperative. This apparent lack of self-control works against you, especially if there are children involved.

The steps involved in the trial typically include:

  • The petitioning side, or the spouse who filed presents their witnesses first ;
  • The respondent side is allowed to cross examine;
  • The respondent also calls witnesses;
  • After both sides have successfully presented their sides, with the documents and testimony submitted, the Judge reviews the requests; and
  • A majority of the time, the Judge will take the case “under advisement”, and will send the judgment to the attorneys.

If Your Spouse or You Is a No Show at Court

Failing to appear during a court date can have severe consequences. It often depends on the reason for the absence, and whether the court was notified of the absence beforehand.

If a spouse fails to appear, the repercussions may lead to a Judge ruling in favor of the spouse who did show. This means losing out on any opportunity to be heard. Many of the requests made by the spouse who did appear may be granted.

Contact a St. Louis Divorce Lawyer

To best understand your options, you should seek the guidance of an experienced and compassionate St. Louis divorce lawyer. With over 30 years of experience serving the areas of Chesterfield, Ballwin, and Wildwood, Missouri, Attorney Jay Galmiche has the knowledge to lead you to the best results for your family and you. He personally handles your case, giving you the individual attention that you need beginning with your first free initial consultation. Contact Galmiche Law Firm Today!


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