The Evidentiary Hearing is meant to give each party a set amount of time to present any evidence and testimony that will help the judge make their ruling. This is the closest thing to a trial in family court. Your attorney has spent time with you collecting a substantial amount of information and has determined what information would be the most effective for you to use. Each document is labeled with a letter or number so that it may be referenced quickly during the hearing. The judge, other party, and yourself will all have individual copies of each and every document to ensure fairness.
At this point, you are familiar with where to go, how to dress, and which hand to raise as you commit to telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth. However, it’s very likely that the other party will not have many nice things to say about you, and they will have the opportunity to take the stand at some point during the hearing. They will want to expose any flaws they believe you possess, so you must be prepared to explain your actions. If you have been fortunate to have legal counsel up to this point, you will learn quickly how useful a lawyer can be for your case. In some cases, the other party will overstep a boundary or attempt to bring up irrelevant information, and it is your attorney’s goal to prevent the other side from doing this. The term “objection” will more than likely be used a number of times, depending on how the other party presents their evidence and testimony.
Sitting quietly in a wood paneled room as someone close to you makes upsetting comments is no easy feat. Regardless of how long the hearing is set for, it may seem to last an eternity when you cannot speak your mind unfiltered. When the hearing is over the judge will likely take the matter under advisement, meaning that they will need more time to determine what the appropriate outcome should be. Sometimes, the judge will issue what are called “temporary orders,” which are put in place at the judge’s discretion and are to be followed until a “final minute entry” is signed and filed with the clerk. However, temporary orders can also be issued prior to the evidentiary hearing if either party files a “Petition for Temporary Orders.” Often times, neither party will be completely satisfied with the temporary orders, as it is simply designed to keep the peace in the interim.