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Family Law Litigation

The California family law litigation process usually involves several steps, including gathering evidence in discovery, pre-trial motions or “Requests for Orders,” settlement proposals and counter-proposals, and (possibly) a final trial. The large majority of cases do not go to trial, but when trial is unavoidable or otherwise worth the endeavor, our Family Law attorneys are experienced and tenacious trial litigators. 

What is the Difference Between "Hearings" and "Trials"? 

The main difference between a hearing and trial is that a hearing results in a court order, and a trial results in a final judgment. Court orders are generally temporary and will only remain in effect until the final judgment is entered. A judgment is entered either by agreement, or if no agreement is reached, then after trial.

In California Family Law Court, a pre-trial motion for temporary orders is called a "Request for Order". Request for Order hearings are similar to trials in that both parties are able to present evidence and call witnesses. However, if a Request for Order hearing requires several witnesses or will otherwise take more than a few hours to complete, the matter might be set for trial.

Oftentimes, even in highly contested cases, the parties will agree to incorporate prior orders into their final judgment, in which case they do not need to go to trial on that issue. This makes sense if, for instance, circumstances have not changed since the court made the  prior orders.

When is Trial Necessary?

If, after one or several hearings, the parties are able to agree on the orders that should be incorporated into the judgment, their attorneys will prepare the judgment and submit it to the court without a trial. If, however, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, they will have to go to trial on the contested issues. 

Contact Our Family Law Trial Attorneys

If you engage MacKay & Martin, LLP, our legal team will begin preparing your case for trial from the outset. Our legal team is mindful of preserving our clients' financial resources and delicate family ties and, therefore, strives to favorably settle issues and cases when possible. But if trial is the only option, our family law attorneys are skilled and formidable courtroom opponents, with a stellar record of wins in the courtroom.

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