Sample Divorce Trial Questions Used in California Courts 2024 – Secrets Revealed

Separation and divorce are never easy decisions, and the time and costs associated with the legal process can be intimidating. Knowing some sample divorce trial questions used in California courts can be a great start to ease some of the anxiety that comes with a divorce. Finding a good divorce lawyer who can navigate your …

September 16, 2023

Separation and divorce are never easy decisions, and the time and costs associated with the legal process can be intimidating. Knowing some sample divorce trial questions used in California courts can be a great start to ease some of the anxiety that comes with a divorce. Finding a good divorce lawyer who can navigate your case with a personalized and empathetic approach can ensure a favorable outcome for this challenging time.

Preparing for Questioning in a Divorce Trial

Divorce judges in California are required to ask questions that enable them to make logical, fair, and informed rulings about your specific case. The information gathered helps them to understand why you and your former partner have not been able to come to an agreement on the terms of the divorce. These questions are also designed to help both parties fully understand the future implications of any negotiations moving forward.

Specific Questions To Expect at Your Divorce Hearing:

  1. How Long Were You Married?
    The judge will need to know some background information about your relationship to get a better picture of the issues surrounding your decision to divorce and the length of marriage, specifically pertaining to the division of property. California is also a community property state, which means community property is often divided equally between both parties.
  2. Has the “Cooling Off” Period Expired?
    California law states that there is a mandatory six-month waiting period after the date that one spouse files for divorce. This is the minimum time mandated before a divorce can be legally finalized, and it helps both the divorcing couple and the courts ensure there is an opportunity to settle differences before committing to dissolving the marriage for good.
  3. What Efforts Have You Made To Reach a Resolution?
    The judge needs clarity on why you and your spouse have not been successful at reaching an agreement on your own and are taking your case to court, which can be time-consuming and costly. If one couple is resistant to reaching an agreement and the other spouse is more flexible, for instance, this is valuable insight for the judge to determine how to bring the case to a close.
  4. Do You and Your Spouse Have Children Together?
    The judge will make all decisions going forward based on the children’s interests. Children have financial, physical, and emotional needs that must be supported. Both parents must comprehend that they have a legal responsibility to provide for their children until they reach adulthood; even before the judge makes any custody rulings, they will outline these duties to ensure each factor is fully clear.
  5. Have You Reviewed the State Child Support Guidelines?
    California has a specific set of Child Support Guidelines. The formula considers many factors to determine how much, at minimum, each parent can provide for their child. The judge needs information about each party’s income, the percentage of time they spend caring for their child, and all of the ensuing expenses such as health care, childcare costs, and more.

FAQs About Sample Divorce Trial Questions Used in California

How Long Does a Divorce Trial Take in California?

For couples who go to trial on at least one contested issue, the average amount of time to finalize a divorce is 16 months. You can expect your time to include not only the mandatory 6-month waiting period but an additional 2-3 months of waiting for the trial to be held and the time taken to work through the contested issues. Hearings generally last between 15 and 30 minutes but can last longer if your situation has additional complexities for the judge to explore.

How Much Does a Divorce Trial Cost in California?

All divorce trials are unique and depend on a person’s specific situation. The average price of divorce in California is approximately $17,500, and a divorce involving children and minors runs higher at approximately $26,300. These costs include attorney fees, court fees, and potential other expenses such as mediation, appraisals, parenting classes, witnesses, and more.

It is essential to note that every case is different and has a variable number of contested issues. Matters such as child custody, spousal support, complex property divisions, significant assets, and any other contested issues will increase the time your legal team needs to represent you in court effectively.

What Do Divorce Attorneys Charge in California?

The more complex your situation, the longer it will take for your attorney to ensure every detail is given adequate attention. Even before the actual hearing, your case may require multiple attorneys and members of a legal team to work through discovery and depositions, motion hearings, and settlement conferences.  Most attorneys in California charge by the hour anywhere from $250-$500, and legal fees can add thousands to the final bill as well.

What Happens at an Uncontested First Divorce Hearing in California?

Proceedings in a divorce hearing in California depend on whether or not there are any contested issues between both parties. For uncontested cases, a judge will review the legal forms that both spouses have filled out and read through any additional evidence that illuminates the details of the case. After the judge reviews the orders provided, they may choose to ask questions of one or both parties or may simply approve the orders.

How Do I Prepare for a Divorce Trial?

Divorce trials with contested issues are much less black and white. Both you and your attorney will prepare extensively for trial so that you have a solid knowledge of the facts and can seamlessly present your testimony. Your attorney will also anticipate and prepare you for questions that may arise, and they will most assuredly know the attorney representing your spouse from going up against them in other cases in the past.

Do I Have To Be Present at My Divorce Hearing in California?

In California, all parties must be present at the hearing in which the judge reviews the legal documents and determines if the case will go to trial or not. Any pleadings and motions will be heard and considered by the judge, and the judge may ask questions of both parties for the sake of clarification. The judge will also issue disclosure deadlines and other stipulations, as well as determine any issues requiring resolution and, if a trial is necessary, when it will take place.

Put Your Trust in Lemkin Law

We offer our clients extensive resources, guidance, and peace of mind as we assist you in navigating the legal proceedings of a divorce trial. Our team is ready to alleviate the overwhelming burdens of the legal system and ensure you experience a more seamless and successful path to your future. Contact us today to get started.

Call today to speak with Hollie A. Lemkin to discuss your questions & issues!

949-734-7300

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