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Divorce Hearing vs. Divorce Trial: What’s the Difference?

The terms “divorce hearing” and “divorce trial” might sound interchangeable, but there are differences between the two.

When a divorce is uncontested, both parties agree on splitting up their marital property and handling custody of any children. This means the breakup can be finalized by a judge with a hearing.

A divorce trial is only needed when you and your spouse are not on the same page about parts of your case, including property division or child custody.

What Happens at a Divorce Hearing?

A divorce hearing (also called a court appearance) is the first step in the divorce process.

It’s a mandatory conference where you’ll meet with your spouse and a judge or mediator to make sure that you understand what’s going on, address any issues that may come up with the divorce papers, and figure out how you’ll divide your property and debts.

You’ll each have a chance to tell your story, but it’s less formal than a court trial. There won’t be any lawyers or other witnesses involved, and you won’t have to stand up in front of everyone to give your statement.

The purpose of the hearing is for you and your spouse to work out some of the details privately so that everyone leaves knowing what will happen next.

A divorce hearing is a benefit to the divorcing parties and their attorneys, who can use this opportunity to streamline the process of dividing assets and debts. You’ll also have an opportunity to tell the judge any questions or concerns about the division of property.

What Happens at a Divorce Trial?

When you go to a divorce trial, many things can happen. It depends on what you and your spouse agree or disagree on. If you both agree, then a divorce trial will not be necessary. However, if there is something that either of you wants that the other does not want to agree with, it will go to trial.

For example, if one person wants sole custody of their child and the other parent does not want them to have sole custody, the matter will go to trial.

What happens at a divorce trial? The spouses and their lawyers meet before a judge and present arguments about how the assets should be divided, custody granted, and child support calculated. The spouses deliver testimony about their incomes, expenses, debts, and financial needs.

If minor children are involved in the case or if the custody agreement is contested, parents may also present evidence about their parenting skills, ability to keep a stable home for the children involved, and time spent with the children.

The process can take several months to several years, depending on how complex the issues are and how quickly they can be resolved. The judge will then make decisions based on what was presented in court, creating agreements for the two parties which dictate their custodial rights, property division, and more.

Navigate Your Divorce with Michigan’s Experts

Divorce is a complicated process that can be overwhelming, especially when children are involved and there are financial concerns. Michigan residents who want to secure the best possible future for themselves and their families turn to Gucciardo Family Law.

The compassionate team at Gucciardo Family Law can provide you with guidance and expert knowledge as you navigate your divorce. Contact us today for a free consultation and learn more about how we can assist you.

Too much information?

We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

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