How To Prepare For Your Preliminary Divorce Hearing

Within a few weeks of filing for divorce, the court will set up a hearing that you and your spouse must both attend. This hearing is called a preliminary divorce hearing, and it is an important step in the divorce process. After you hire a divorce attorney to represent you in your divorce, you will need to meet with him or her to prepare for this hearing.

What Is the Main Purpose of a Preliminary Hearing?

The preliminary hearing of a divorce case is the first meeting you will have inside a courtroom. This meeting is designed primarily to create an order the couple must follow during the divorce process. The order is replaced with a permanent order when the marriage is completely dissolved at the final divorce hearing. Without this hearing, neither spouse would know what their responsibilities and obligations are during this time period.

Additionally, the order created from this hearing becomes a legal contract both spouses must follow. If one spouse fails to abide by what it says, the other spouse can take him or her back to court for being in contempt of court. In other words, you must follow exactly what the court orders at this hearing, and everything ordered will be written on the preliminary court order for the divorce.

What Should You Discuss with Your Lawyer Before This Hearing?

To make sure the court creates an agreement that is fair and suitable for you, there are things you should discuss with your lawyer before the hearing takes place. The things you should discuss can include the following issues:

  1. Your house – If you and your spouse own a house together, you must decide who will move out and who will stay in the house.
  2. The bills – Second, you will need to discuss all your bills and debts with your lawyer so you can create a plan that states who must pay for these things. You should make sure every bill and debt you have is listed on the agreement to avoid any problems in the future.
  3. The kids – When a couple divorces and has children, the couple must decide who gets custody of the kids, who pays support for them, and how visitations will work.

After you discuss these things with your lawyer, he or she will talk to your spouse's lawyer. The goal is to create an agreement that both of you are willing to agree to and follow. The two lawyers in the case are responsible for doing this, and each lawyer will fight for his or her own client's needs and desires.

What Will Happen During the Hearing?

During the hearing, both sides will state what they are asking for. If both parties agree to all matters, the judge is likely to approve everything and have it written up on the court order. When a couple does not agree on a particular issue, each lawyer will state the facts, desires, and evidence for their own clients. After the judge hears both sides, the judge will determine how to handle that particular issue. It is always better if you can come to agreements on all issues with your spouse ahead of time. If you do not do this, you will leave these issues in the hands of a judge to decide for you, and the judge's ruling might not be what either party really wants.  

If you are preparing to file for a divorce, you will need to also prepare for your preliminary hearing. If you have not yet hired a lawyer to represent you, contact a law firm that specializes in divorce cases so you can schedule an appointment to meet with a lawyer to help you through your divorce.