While family law attorneys in Greenville, South Carolina see the inside of a courtroom fairly often, the extent of your experience with a court or trial may come from all-day marathons of Law & Order. You know the process as it’s presented on television: the bailiff orders all in attendance to rise as the judge enters and takes the bench. The jury solemnly marches in, and the foreman passes the verdict to the clerk, who reads it aloud to emotional reactions from all in attendance. Well, sorry to disappoint you, but most of those things will never happen in South Carolina Family Court.
Here in South Carolina, our family courts are avenues for people to seek remedies, rather than damages – this is called a court of equity. Decisions in family court are made by judges rather than juries, and that’s just the beginning. While your Greenville family law attorney will be able to provide insight into your individual case, below you will find the basics of how family law court works in our state.
The Basics of a Trial with a Family Law Attorney in Greenville SC
So, if not Law & Order, what might a family court trial look like? Well, first of all, before your family law case goes to trial, several things will have most likely happened. Most cases appear in a temporary hearing not long after the case is filed. In this hearing, you will appear with your Greenville family attorney and the judge will make a temporary decision on select issues, like alimony, child custody, visitation, and child support payments. Those issues and any others not addressed in the temporary hearing are held by the Court and will be decided in final at the trial, also known as the final hearing.
In addition, before your case goes to trial, any case which is contested must be mediated before the parties involved can request a final hearing. This means that you, your Greenville, SC family law attorney, and the other side’s representatives will meet with a neutral third party in an attempt to resolve some of the disputes. This process can save on the expense and stress of going to trial, but sometimes issues are just too complex, or the positions of those involved are just too far apart for mediation to solve. If this is the case, then a final hearing may be requested, and your family law case will proceed to trial.
What to Expect at Your Family Trial in Greenville SC with a Family Law Attorney
At your final hearing, both parties will offer testimony before a judge. In family court, all evidence and testimony is heard only by the judge, and never a jury. If child custody is an issue at hand, then the court will have appointed a Guardian ad Litem in order to represent the child’s best interests. The report of this Guardian will help the judge to decide what is best for the child. If there is an issue of property division, evidence will be shown regarding the values of assets and amounts of debts. In the case of an at-fault divorce, the innocent party will present evidence as to why the divorce should be granted.
Financial Declarations: Frequently Asked Questions of Greenville Family Attorneys
As Greenville, SC family law attorneys, we hear a lot of similar questions from case to case. Among the most popular are questions about financial declarations. “Why do they need to know what’s in my bank account?” or “Why does my retirement account matter?” These questions all have to do with the financial declaration process, a requirement of Family Court which catches many people off-guard.
Simply put, in almost every case, the rules of Family Court require everyone involved to submit a current financial declaration. These declarations need to be served before the first hearing, or within 45 days of serving the complaint – whichever comes first. Your family law attorney in Greenville, South Carolina can instruct you more clearly as to how to comply with this rule.
Seek Legal Counsel from a Greenville Family Law Attorney Today
Family Court trials usually are not months-long drawn-out affairs. The trial typically lasts only a day or so, particularly if the parties involved have arrived at some sort of agreement since the temporary hearing (even though it may not be on every issue). As Greenville family attorneys, we know that the experience of a family court trial is a unique one – certainly not like any courtroom scene in a John Grisham courtroom drama. However, the experienced family law attorneys at Greenville, South Carolina’s Elliott Frazier Law Firm can help ensure you are prepared.
Angela Elliot Frazier is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years now. Angela Frazier believes in helping you through one of the most stressful times of your life. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.