I recently concluded a lengthy divorce trial involving custody and parenting time, division of substantial assets, alimony, child support and other disputed issues. After a series of unproductive settlement efforts, the parties acknowledged that it would be necessary for a Judge to hear the facts, apply the law and determine the outcome. What is the point of this story?
Quite simply, I believe that there are certain cases which must be resolved in the crucible of the courtroom. Unfortunately, divorce trials are misrepresented on so-called television “reality shows” as shouting matches where the “Judge” functions as a smart aleck entertainer. Such outlandish portrayals do not represent divorce trials as I know them to exist. When settlement discussions are unproductive, a trial is where your client can present his or her position and call witnesses, where credibility is determined and where thorough preparation is rewarded. While settling should be your first option, don’t settle if your attorney believes that a trial is necessary to achieve the right outcome. Finally, attorneys know which colleagues avoid the courtroom when they shouldn’t. Make sure yours doesn’t.