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What type of witnesses are called in a divorce trial?

It may seem ridiculous that you have to sue your spouse to end a marital relationship, but a marriage is a contract, after all. And like other types of cases, there are certain procedural markers that define the scope of divorce litigation.

First, the filing of the divorce petition sets the clock ticking on certain procedural deadlines, starting with effecting service of process on the other spouse. In addition to requesting the dissolution of the marriage, the petition may also sets forth the other relief requested by the party in matters of child custody, spousal maintenance, or certain property division requests.

Motions for temporary relief may also accompany a petition. In such event, the spouse that was served with process will have a deadline to respond. If a hearing date has already been set on the motion, that notice will also accompany the petition.

After service of process and the resolution of any temporary motions, the discovery phase of the case begins. This is each party’s opportunity to request information and evidence that may be relevant to any of the divorce issues.

What kind of evidence might be presented in divorce litigation? The answer depends on the specific issue that is being contested. Financial documents, like tax returns, wage and/or account statements may assist in getting a complete picture of the marital estate’s assets and liabilities. That information also provides context for spousal support discussions.

For the issue of child custody, witness testimony might describe the type of home environment that each parent could provide. That context might include details about a parent’s work schedule, income, relationship to the child, and whether the proposed living arrangement would provide continuity in the child’s life. If children are old enough, their testimony might also be included to held the court determine their preferences and feelings.

With an attorney to represent your interests, you can participate in these phases of a divorce case with greater peace of mind.

Source: FindLaw, “Family Court and Final Judgment,” copyright 2016, Thomson Reuters

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