Divorce is a challenging process for everyone who experiences it, and going to court for divorce in Tulsa, OK, is one of the most difficult possible avenues for ending a marriage. If divorce litigation is unavoidable in your situation, you should know what to expect from the litigation process and how your divorce case is likely to unfold. An experienced Tulsa, OK, divorce attorney is your best asset for preparing for a divorce case. Take time to review the following frequently asked questions and their answers to learn essential foundational information about the divorce litigation process.
Q: What Is Divorce Litigation?
A: Divorce litigation is the process of settling a divorce in court. The process plays out like most other civil cases; the two parties meet in the courtroom, offer their respective testimonies and evidence, and their attorneys perform cross-examination before the judge delivers a ruling. The litigation process is notoriously time-consuming and complicated, and it is also expensive due to the time an attorney must spend representing their client in court. If possible, you should try to avoid divorce litigation whenever possible by exploring alternative dispute resolution.
Q: Do I Need to Hire an Attorney for a Divorce Case?
A: If you are taking your divorce to court, then you should undoubtedly have legal representation on your side throughout this process. While hiring an attorney will incur legal fees, you are putting yourself at a tremendous disadvantage if your spouse hires their own attorney, but you do not have legal counsel of your own.
Your Tulsa, OK, divorce lawyer will handle your procedural requirements with the court, manage required court filings, and prepare you for every stage of litigation. This can include preparing you for cross-examination, helping you with gathering evidence and documentation, and coordinating expert witness testimony to support your side of the case if necessary.
Q: How Long Does Divorce Litigation Take?
A: Divorce litigation can easily stretch for months or even longer than an entire year, depending on how quickly a divorcing couple can cover every aspect of their divorce case. Courtroom proceedings are lengthy, and it is doubtful that a divorcing couple will achieve divorce terms as expeditiously as through alternative dispute resolution.
The time required for your divorce to proceed through the family court system hinges on the number of factors the court must consider, you and your spouse’s willingness to compromise, and how forthcoming both parties are with the required information. Ultimately, you should expect divorce litigation to take at least a few months to conclude.
Q: How Much Are Legal Fees for Divorce Litigation?
A: The amount you pay in legal fees for your divorce depends on two factors: the manner in which your Tulsa, OK, divorce lawyer bills their time and the time they must spend working on your case. Most divorce attorneys bill by the hour in 10- or 15-minute increments. This can add up very quickly, especially in complex divorce cases. Before you agree to any attorney’s legal services, be sure you understand how they bill their time and try to get a reasonable estimate of how much work your case entails to get a rough idea of the legal fees you can expect to pay.
Q: How Can I Improve My Position in Divorce Litigation?
A: Divorce litigation is an intense and stressful process. If you want the best chance of making a good impression on the judge handling your case, be sure you always show up on time (clean and well-dressed) for every court appearance. Be sure to have all the materials you need and come prepared for every court session. Your attorney can provide more specific guidance as to how you should approach each phase of your case. In some cases, it is worth taking time to gather character references from relatives, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
It is also essential to provide a complete and accurate financial disclosure. The judge will appreciate that you are transparent and forthcoming with the information they will require to rule on your divorce case. If your case involves complicated financial issues or other problems, your attorney may coordinate expert witness testimony to support your position.
Q: Is There Any Way to Avoid Divorce Litigation?
A: Ultimately, it is best to avoid divorce litigation whenever possible, and the way to do this is by taking advantage of alternative dispute resolution. Mediation is the most popular form of alternative dispute resolution; it allows a divorcing couple to privately negotiate divorce terms in a laid-back atmosphere. However, for mediation to work, both spouses must agree to the process.
Remember that you can still take advantage of divorce mediation even if there are some issues that you cannot resolve in private negotiations. Generally, the best approach to any divorce case is to attempt to handle as much as possible in mediation before moving to litigation to settle the rest of the case.
Q: Can I Appeal the Judge’s Ruling on My Divorce Case?
A: Family law does not have an appeals process. Instead, anyone beholden to a family court order has the right to file a petition for modification of the order. For example, your divorce order may include a child support obligation. If you suffer an injury and develop a disability that prevents you from working, this will materially influence your ability to abide by the support order, and you could file a petition to modify the order in light of your new circumstances.
If you find the judge’s ruling unfair or unreasonable, or if you later discover information that should have been disclosed during litigation, consult your attorney to determine whether you have solid grounds for petitioning for a modification to your divorce order.
Hopefully, this information will help you approach the divorce litigation process with greater confidence. However, the best thing you can do to improve your experience with divorce litigation is to hire an attorney with solid experience handling cases like yours. Schedule a consultation with a Tulsa, Oklahoma, divorce lawyer as soon as possible once you have decided to divorce, and they will help you understand what to expect from your situation.