The courthouse can be a stressful place, particularly when you are coming for a matter such as a hearing, which sounds formal and momentous. But a divorce hearing is a routine process that does not require much on your behalf. It is important to remember that a divorce hearing is not the same as a divorce trial. Divorce hearings are short sessions where the judge clarifies common divorce issues.
Having an idea about what to expect in a divorce hearing may alleviate some of your stress and provide you with peace of mind. You may have more than one divorce hearing before your divorce becomes final. The purpose of the divorce hearing is for the judge to narrow down issues in the divorce. Each hearing may pertain to different topics such as discovery, scheduling, and other procedural concerns.
How to Dress for a Divorce Hearing in Massachusetts
Your clothes project a distinct image. It is generally best to dress in business casual attire at your divorce hearing. It isn’t necessary to wear a ball gown or tuxedo or even a suit, but choose clean clothes that are not too revealing. Conservative judges will not be impressed by ripped or provocative clothing; wear professional clothing that reflects you as a respectable adult.
What to Expect in the Courtroom
A clerk will call your case with your last name and docket number at the divorce hearing. When your case is called, both spouses and lawyers will be asked to step in front of the judge. Your attorney will do most of the talking for you, and if any preparation is necessary, your divorce lawyer should explain what you need to know in advance. In many cases, the hearing will hinge on legal or procedural issues the attorneys need to address.
Questions the Judge Asks at a Divorce Hearing
The purpose of the divorce hearing will affect the type of questions a judge may ask. The court will seek to ensure that the divorce terms are fair and reasonable during divorce hearings. For example, if the divorce hearing involves finances, the judge will ask if your financial statements are accurate and whether your spouse’s financial statement is complete and accurate.
Similarly, if the hearing involves children, the judge will ask simple questions about how many children you have, their names, and dates of birth. A judge may ask if a wife wishes to keep her married name or return to her maiden name.
The questions you will answer will be routine questions, and your divorce attorney will prepare you for the courtroom.
After the Final Divorce Hearing in Massachusetts
After your final divorce hearing, the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court will mail you a copy of the judgment of divorce. There is a mandatory waiting period in Massachusetts after the judge grants the divorce called the nisi period. The nisi period, waiting for “Judgment Absolute,” lasts 90 to 120 days, after which your divorce is final.
An Experienced Massachusetts Divorce Lawyer Can Answer Your Divorce Hearing Questions
Divorce is a difficult time for everyone involved. At Koiles Pratt Family Law Group, we use our expertise to find ways to reduce the burdens and uncertainty so that you can move forward to your best future with confidence. Feel free to contact one of our experienced divorce attorneys to learn how we can help in your case.