What to Expect at a Family Law Hearing

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By: Bill Henry
PublishedOct 9, 2020
1 minute read

The family court deals primarily with the problems of children and their families. Going into court it’s hard to know what to expect.

The inside of a courtroom.


Family Law Attorney here to discuss with you what a hearing in family law looks like. Now on the one side of the spectrum we have criminal law where you see law and order style TV shows that present a jury, a judge, attorneys and some other individuals and there’s lots of confrontation and there’s lots of drama.

Then on the other side you have something like reading of a will where there’s an attorney present and there’s not really a structured hearing or any sort of judge presiding and family law I think would fit somewhere between these two extremes if you will.

Who’s Present in the Hearing?

Family law will oftentimes result in a hearing if you’re going through divorce or a child allocation process, however, those hearings don’t look like your criminal hearings, you don’t have a jury, you just have the parties, which will be usually mother, father, or husband, wife, the attorneys if there are more than one attorney and then the judge.

Because of this more intimate nature, the rules of evidence can sometimes be relaxed, however, you are still held to the same standard as you would be in a criminal trial to present evidence and advocate for your client in the same way.

At the conclusion of a the family law hearing, you’ll have a judge who will issue a written or a ruling via their notes that they’ve taken over the course of the hearing and it is up to the attorney or attorneys to transcribe what the judge’s ruling is and then provide that back to the court for signature at a later date.

As for what testimony actually looks like during a family law hearing well, if you are in a contested hearing, you can expect to be called to the stand to testify to certain issues like you would in a criminal case. That means that your attorney will be asking you direct examination questions, open ended questions such as, who, what, when, where, why type questions, whereas the other side or the other attorney, if there is an attorney on the other side, will be asking questions with leading answers such as yes, no type questions, isn’t it true you did this or isn’t it true you did that?

The important thing is to know the difference between the types of questions and how to answer them accordingly.

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