This is the next post in our series on changing child custody in Orange County, California. Our last article discussed conducting discovery in a custody modification case. It is important to understand that cases are not won with “surprise” evidence that is unveiled at the last minute. Instead, a successful case is built upon evidence that is gathered through the discovery process. In this article we will explain what one should expect during the trial process. It is strongly suggested that you retain an experienced family law attorney before taking a change of custody case to trial.
Trial in a custody case is somewhat similar to how the process is portrayed in popular media. The party requesting the custody modification will present their case first. The responding party will then present their witnesses and evidence. The requesting party will then offer “rebuttal” testimony and evidence. Rebuttal is not a time for the requesting parent to raise new arguments; this stage of the case may only be used to present evidence which directly responds to claims raised by the responding parent. After rebuttal each parent’s lawyer will make their closing arguments. The Judge will either issue a decision quickly or shortly after the trial has concluded. A written order will be signed shortly after the decision has been issued.
When presiding over a trial the Judge will enforce California’s rules of evidence. This means that evidence (such as school records, medical records, correspondence, etc.) cannot be admitted unless they are properly introduced. Failing to properly follow these rules can result in the Court not considering information which you consider vital to the case. Also, Court rules regarding pre-trial disclosures, the filing of certain documents, and more will be enforced. Not following these requirements may, again, limit your ability to present important information at trial. It is crucial that you retain a lawyer familiar with taking such cases to trial.
It is also crucial that you retain an attorney who will ensure that you are prepared for the trial process. Unfortunately there are some lawyers who do not take the time to meet with their clients beforehand and to make sure that they know what to expect. This can leave a client unsure of how to handle questioning or how to be of assistance as the matter progresses. Our Laguna Hills child custody lawyers have taken many cases to trial and take great pride in the level of service they provide. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.
We service the Orange County areas of Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.