How long do we wait for a court judgment in Family Law?

Divorce trial judgment in family lawGoing through a divorce or family law matter can be a tough experience.  In some cases, parties are not able to settle their case and the case goes to trial.

A trial can be gut-wrenching for those going through it.  They likely testified.  The other party/spouse likely testified.  Other witnesses (expert and non-expert) may have testified.  And lots of different types of evidence may have been submitted in court.

Trials in a divorce or family law matter can sometimes be done in a day.  In other cases, a divorce or family law matter can take multiple days or more based on the circumstances.  The more complex the case, the more time it might take to have the case heard.

After a trial finally ends, many wonder how long it will take for the judge to make their decision.  Many have watched courtroom television shows and might think that the judge rules from the bench at the end of the trial.  If that does not happen, many can become very disappointed.

The reality is that every situation is different.  What happens can vary greatly based on the jurisdiction, venue and the judge who has heard the case.  Thus, it is vital that a party speak to an attorney who is licensed and competent to practice law in their jurisdiction.

But in a general sense, parties oftentimes need to temper their expectations in terms of the length of time it takes for a judge to issue a judgment.  In many instances, it can take a judge weeks, if not months, to enter a decision after the conclusion of a divorce or family law trial.

When parties hear this, many are confused and dismayed.  “Why does it take so long many ask?”  “Why can’t the judge just rule from the bench after the trial?”

Truth be told, the judge might not have made up their mind after the trial.  They might need some time to think it over.  If there were lots of evidence submitted, the judge may need the time to review it all.  The judge may want to go back and review the trial transcript as it relates to certain evidence.

Judges also may have to make specific legal findings and findings of fact in a written judgment pursuant to the laws in the state in which the case was heard.  Thus, it might be inappropriate for the judge to rule from the bench without issuing a written judgment that explains what they found and what law was relied upon.

Some judges might feel that they may be better able to explain what they did and why they did it in a written judgment versus trying to explain it from the bench.  There is also a risk as well that parties might be better able to understand the judge’s decision by reading it some time later versus hearing it when emotions are still high right after a trial has ended.

Judges also can hear many cases, have busy dockets and other important items on their agenda, etc.  This can result in a waiting period as well.  Of course, there might be other reasons, but those are some of them.

If you are going through a divorce where a trial might be necessary, Stange Law Firm, PC can help.  You can call us at 1-855-805-0595.

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