Understanding the steps leading up to and including the family court process is crucial when dealing with a legal issue involving family Law Offices of John A. Bledsoe. If your legal disagreement cannot be settled through ADR processes including mediation, negotiation, or judicial settlement, it will be transferred to a family court.The goal of the family court system is to develop equitable solutions that will strengthen families.
What Kinds Of Disputes Do Family Courts Typically Settle?
When a dispute arises between family members, it’s often necessary to seek a resolution in family court. This category contains cases involving the following subjects:
- Conciliations in cases of divorce
- Placement in adoptive families and foster care
- When it comes to the home, violence is never acceptable.
- Money Paid for Support of Children
- Legal issues related to custody of a child
- Assorted Domestic Conflicts
Process Of Settling A Dispute Without Going To Court
Though having legal representation is highly recommended during any sort of mediation or negotiation, it is not strictly necessary. In such cases, legal counsel can
- Explain the client’s legal position and available remedies.
- Assist them in reaching an agreement and drafting related documents.
- Verify if the agreement has been signed and is acceptable to a family court.
- To avoid having to take their issue to court, the parties may attempt to negotiate a settlement.
Mediation consists of a single, supervised meeting with an impartial third party. This impartial third party will not issue a judgement like a judge might in a court of law.
The best possible outcome is a compromise reached through mediation or negotiation. It’s possible that a judge will make a decision that you think is unfair when your case goes to trial. If settlement is reached through mediation or negotiation, the parties will create an agreement to submit to the family court. Assuming the following conditions are met, the judge will rule in favour of the agreement following a hearing:
- It’s equitable for all involved.
- Each party freely agreed to the terms.
- Both parties came into the transaction with their complete financial information.
- Judge approval and a formal court order will follow if all parties are happy with the terms of the agreement.
- In the event that a fair resolution cannot be found through informal means, such as negotiation or mediation, the matter will move to a formal trial.
- In the process of receiving a temporary order,
The next step, if mediation and negotiation have failed, is to file a summons and complaint with the court. As an additional option, a motion for preliminary injunction might be submitted. Before the scheduled court date, this motion asks the court to make a preliminary ruling on a single matter. Temporary injunctions could be sought for any of the following reasons:
- Legal issues related to custody of a child
- Obligations regarding child support and parental visitation
- Settlement of joint debts or short-term legal fees
- Property rights in a marriage
There will be a temporary hearing for the temporary relief request. The court will make its decision based on the sworn testimonies of witnesses rather than on live testimony presented at this session. Each side, or their lawyers, is also given an opportunity to present their argument. Before the trial can begin, the court imposes a temporary order.
Procedural Steps In Family Court
When parties are unable to settle their differences amicably, one of them will typically file a summons and complaint in court, outlining the other party’s demands. In order to start a lawsuit, this document must be served on the other side.
The discovery phase of a case begins once an action has been initiated. Each side may now make discovery requests of the other for use in building their case. Divorce cases, however, never settle out of court and hence lack access to these procedures. The following are common elements of a discovery:
- Two parties exchange information and make requests of one another.
- During negotiations, each party will provide the other a list of questions.
- Recognition of the obvious. Each side sends the other a list of allegations or assertions to confirm or refute.
- Make a demand for output. Bank statements and other relevant documentation are requested by both parties.
- Witnesses and litigants alike give depositions under oath.
When the discovery phase is complete, the parties can try to settle the dispute amicably through mediation or negotiation. The family law matter will proceed to trial if a settlement cannot be made outside of court.
When a family law case reaches trial, all parties have an opportunity to present their side of the story to the judge. Each side has the option of presenting its case through witnesses, who are then subjected to cross-examination by the other side’s lawyer. The court may also consider papers and records that are admissible as evidence. When the judge has heard all the evidence and arguments, they will render a ruling. Everyone involved should accept this judgement since it is binding under the law.
A successful appeal, however, is not certain and may be a waste of time and resources. Confidence in the legal process is key when dealing with any family law situation; an experienced family lawyer can help.