While the area of family law is different from other areas of law, the procedures are often the same or very similar. When it comes to trials, for example, the structure is generally the same. The order usually goes as follows:
1. Motions in limine: Pre-trial motions to exclude evidence or testimony and/or narrow the issues for trial.
2. Opening statements: Where you tell the court what you believe the evidence will show.
3. Moving parties case: the moving party presents witnesses under “Direct” examination, where they are allowed to ask questions that are not “leading” (which suggest the answer) and can authenticate and present evidence such as documents, video, etc. The other side can then “cross examine” that witness, and is allowed ask leading questions that are within the scope of the direct examination. NO questions can be asked about matters that were not brought up under direct.
4. Responding parties case: the non-moving party then does the same thing.
5. Closing statements: this is where the attorneys argue about what the evidence proved and how the court should rule.
6. Statement of decision: the court issues a statement of decision of the case is less than a day and a written one if requested if the trial lasts more than a day. If you don’t like the decision, you can appeal, but most appeals are denied.