What is a Family Law Trial?

A trial is a full hearing concerning disputed issues involving witnesses and other admissible evidence. At the end of the trial, the judge will make a ruling. Hughes Law Group attorneys regularly handle divorce and custody trials in Sacramento, Placer and Yolo Counties.

Family law trials should be rare. They are only necessary when the parties are absolutely unable to reach an agreement on an important factual issue of consequence to a dispute before the Court. These trials are usually conducted over one or two days, however, our office has handled complex cases that took more than a month to complete.

Triable issues in family law cases are generally:

  • Custody issues (legal and physical custody, custodial schedule, relocation “move away”, terms of visitation, child safety, travel for visitation) [These are hardest to settle because there may be an accusation of a genuine child safety issue],
  • Safety issues (domestic violence prevention orders),
  • Property issues (separate, community and mixed property, credits/debits, collection),
  • Cash flow issues (spousal support, child support, day care expenses, various payments orders),
  • Contempt issues (when someone has been personally served with a valid order and has the ability to obey the order but disobeys the order without valid excuse).

Divorce or custody trials are held only when the parties were unable to reach their own agreement. Now someone in a black robe (who does not know you or your children) is forced to decide where your child will live, how your property will be divided, whether you can come within 100 yards of each other, the amount of support to be paid and even (in contempt cases) if one of you goes to jail or pays for the privilege of spending weekends on the Sheriff’s Work Project picking up trash.

Don’t always rush your case to trial and ignore settlement opportunities. There is a real possibility that neither party will be satisfied with the judge’s ruling at the conclusion of the trial or that the cost of the trial was not worth the amount gained compared to a settlement offer.

If you’re looking for family law advice specific to your situation, please contact the local divorce attorneys at Hughes Law Group for more information and guidance.

family law trial