No one who gets married hopes to get divorced. Furthermore, no one who gets divorced hopes to go to court. Unfortunately, in some instances, alternative dispute resolutions such as arbitration, mediation, and collaborative divorce aren’t viable strategies for a divorce settlement agreement. Traditional litigation before a judge may be your only option, and it’s a daunting one. To make the most of an undesirable situation, you need a strong advocate and preparation on your own part. Once you’ve met with your legal representative, learn how to prepare when your divorce is set for trial so that you can secure the best possible outcome.
You should always have a paper trail, and you want this one to be as straight as possible. That means compiling all tax returns from your marriage, along with bank statements, pay stubs, and other financial documents. Collect all possible documentation relating to homeownership: that means mortgage statements, utility bills, and property tax forms. This information will help the court determine how to allocate assets and liabilities in the divorce.
Basketball players don’t step onto the court without a game plan, and you don’t want to step into the courtroom without one, either. Confer with your attorney on how to approach the trial. Ask about any witnesses you’ll be bringing in on your behalf. Learn how your attorney will formulate opening and closing statements and how your own testimony will come together.
In the United States, two sides make their respective cases, and an impartial authority makes a decision. Ensure you retain your composure and conduct yourself professionally and maturely. A judge who sees you as irrational, erratic, or prone to anger will not look upon you favorably.
New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra provided us with many phrases in his time. One such observation, “It ain’t over till it’s over,” is relevant to how to prepare when your divorce is set for trial. This doesn’t mean holding out hope that you and your spouse can reconcile. Instead, it means that you can still arrive at a settlement agreement before the judge makes a ruling, narrowly avoiding high court costs and undesirable outcomes. Your Illinois family law attorney from the firm of Schiller DuCanto & Fleck can see your case through litigation if necessary, but can also try to secure a settlement even at the eleventh hour. As you prepare for trial, don’t give up hope that you and your attorney can avoid the courtroom and the final gavel.