Uncertainty of being heard on trial dates

Trial date in divorce & family lawDivorce and family law cases can take a lot of time. When a case does not settle, it can take many months to get a trial date in most instances. In some circumstances, it could even take more than a year, although courts generally try to prevent this from happening.

Every state and locality is different. Even within the same locality, different judges can run their dockets differently. Some judges might have more cases on their dockets than others.

The reality as well is that there are only 365 days in a year. Courthouses are closed on weekends and holidays. Judges also take vacations, get sick and have days where they cannot hear cases.

For many parties who are unable to settle, they may finally get a trial date set. This is often after other court dates have already taken place, like settlement conferences, pre-trial conferences, scheduling conferences, etc.

Many parties think the are guaranteed to have their case heard on their schedule trial date. In their mind, a trial date is a trial date after all.

However, the reality is that divorce and family court judges often set more than one trial set on the same day. In some instances, there could be several set. They might have these trials ranked in the order of preference. The preference may be set by the length of time the case has been pending.

The judge might even denote the cases as the #1, #2, #3 or #4 trial settings for example.  Then, if the #1 case does not settle, it would usually be heard. But if the #1 ends up settling, then the #2 case would be heard and so on.

All of this can be quite confusing to a lot of clients. The reality is anybody who is set for trial has to be ready to have their case heard. But if their case is not heard, the reality is that the court end up re-setting the trial date.

Many may wonder why courts set multiple trials the same day? Again, court and jurisdiction is different. But the reality is that dockets are often quite backed up.  If one case was set for trial, and that it ended up settling, this would ultimately result in court dockets being even more backlogged because the judge would not be hearing any case on that day.

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


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