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Divorce Trial Procedure

In a trial, all issues that are contested (still in dispute), must be bought before the court to decide them.  The court may require the attorneys to submit a written statement, called a trial brief, prior to trial. It lists the contested issues, summarizes the relevant facts and law, gives proposals for the resolution of contested issues, and lists the exhibits and witnesses the party intends to use during trial to prove their case. The general procedure of a trial is as follows:

  1. The attorneys make an opening statement to summarize for the court what the issues are, the applicable law, and what they intend to prove.  An opening statement may be waived at the discretion of the attorneys, but typically one is given.
  2. The Plaintiff puts on their case, which includes calling witnesses to testify and presenting evidence in support of their claims.
  3. The Defendant puts on their case, which includes calling witnesses and presenting evidence in support of their claims.
  4. Both sides may wish to present rebuttal witnesses, to contradict the evidence that the other party presented.
  5. Each attorney makes a closing argument to the court which summarizes the testimony and evidence presented. The Court may request a post trial brief, summarizing the evidence presented, and why the court should rule a particular way on each disputed issue.
  6. The Judge will then make a ruling, which may be given orally, or in writing, after which, a Judgment of Divorce is prepared, containing the decisions of the Judge.

In cases where the issues are few and uncomplicated, a trial may last less than a day.  If there are complicated issues, which require many witnesses, the trial can take multiple days.  Depending on scheduling issues, a trial may not be accomplished in consecutive days, but may be spread out by the court in parcels of time over several weeks.  

Contact a Metro Detroit Divorce Attorney

Our Metro Detroit divorce attorneys provide compassionate and relentless advocacy from beginning to end in cases involving divorce. Call us at 734-254-1140 to schedule a consultation.