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If the parties are unable to agree to the terms of their divorce despite negotiations and mediation, then trial (also known as the final hearing) is the last remaining option. Before trial, you will need to attend a pretrial conference that will set the ground rules for trial. At trial, each party is given the opportunity to present his or her evidence and witnesses to the judge presiding over the matter.

Breakdown of Trial

  • Opening Statement

    During trial, each side has the opportunity to address the court and deliver an opening statement that generally outlines that party’s position. Basically, this is the time where each side gets to tell his or her story and offers the court how he or she plans to prove their case.

  • Witness Testimony

    Once each party has delivered their opening statements, the next phase of trial is the presentation of evidence via witness testimony. Generally, the plaintiff is allowed to present his or her case first, by calling their witnesses. Upon the completion of the plaintiff’s case, the defendant may then present their case. During each side’s case, that party is allowed to call witnesses to the stand to testify.

  • Closing Statement

    The final opportunity each party has to address the court is the closing statement or closing argument. Similar to opening statements, closing statements are times where each parties attorney may address the court and once again seek to persuade the judge to find in favor of their client.

Pretrial Conference

Before trial takes place, there will typically be a pretrial conference. The court may order a pretrial conference itself or may grant the motion of either party requesting a pretrial conference. A pretrial conference sets the ground rules for trial. At a pretrial conference the court will typically want to determine agreements and acknowledgements by the parties, admissions of fact, whether the pleadings need to be amended, scheduling a time for trial and scheduling a hearing for motions if necessary.

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