a family law trial occurs in the courtroom of the judge who is to hear and decide the case
A trial occurs in the courtroom of the judge who is to hear and decide the case. There are particular stages to be followed during the final hearing and for which a lawyer is absolutely necessary.
- Opening -The judge will hear the objections of the parties, usually on the inadmissibility of assertions in the affidavits. The judge will then decide which are inadmissible as evidence.
- Presentation of applicant’s evidence
- Short opening explanation
Only if required by the judge
Limited to prayer and evidence to be presented
Judge may also require respondent to give an explanation to clarify matters in dispute
- Presentation of evidence in chief
Evidence in chief is the main evidence of a party and which is contained in the affidavit
Giving of oral evidence is up to the discretion of the judge
Oral evidence may be allowed by the judge in the case of relevant matters which occurred after the filing of affidavit, if any matter has been left out in the affidavit or in order to correct errors.
Relevant matters are those which tend to prove or disprove the issues to be decided by the court or such matters that may affect the credibility of a witness.
- Witness gives evidence
- Cross examination of applicant and his witnesses by respondent
Respondent needs to make a formal written notice prior to the hearing in order to make sure that the affiants will be present during the hearing for cross examination.
If the affiants fail to appear in court despite having received the notice, respondent can move to the court not to rely on their affidavits.
- Applicant re-examines the witness
- Same procedure is to be followed for every witness of applicant
- Presentation of respondent’s evidence
Same process followed by applicant
- Case in reply by applicant
Expert witness for applicant may be presented and cross examined by respondent
- Closing address
Summarize all the matters in support of your case including citations of similar cases and pertinent provisions of the Family Law Act applicable to applicant’s case
Court may adjourn for a short time or may set another date when the decision or order will be issued.
Once the order is issued and read in court the parties should listen carefully and afterwards if there are any errors, should point them out to the judge.
Court will then send a copy of the decision to the parties.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.