Court hearings in the Oklahoma divorce process are required for varying issues.
Each county has its own local rules and requirements regarding hearings. In addition, each Tulsa divorce case is different. Some cases require more hearings, while others need fewer hearings.
A hearing is a court proceeding in which some matter, whether procedural or substantive, is presented and decided upon.
Here are some things you may want to know about hearings in the Oklahoma divorce process.
What to Expect at a Hearing
Both you and your attorney will need to prepare for a hearing. You both need to know the facts of the case. Your attorney needs to be prepared to present those facts and any underlying proof in a clear and concise manner.
Because courts are congested, it is easier to get a hearing on matters of the utmost urgency such as domestic violence, child custody or support, or certain matters that require less time to present. Some courts require a formal presentation of testimony and evidence, while others will accept testimony and evidence in a less formal setting.
Hearings vary quite a bit from courtroom to courtroom and from judge to judge. In all cases, you should be prepared.
Divorces with Children
When one or both spouses have requested joint custody of the children involved, the spouses must submit a parenting plan that covers things such as living and visitation arrangements, the handling of medical and dental insurance, education plans, and child support.
As part of this process, the parents are required to attend a parenting plan conference. The conference usually occurs in the early stages of divorce in order to allow the parties access to a forum in which temporary orders can be determined early in the proceedings. The purpose of the conference is to ensure the parents plan their parenting time with their children, to calculate child support, and to see if other temporary orders are needed.
The conference takes place before a court referee. Parents are encouraged to agree on a plan at the conference. If they are unable to agree, the court will set the matter for a hearing.
Temporary Orders Hearings
All Oklahoma divorces require that temporary orders be put in place. These temporary orders are handled in a hearing and may include such matters as child and spousal support. These calculations are straightforward for people who earn a regular income. For self-employed spouses, the court may require a longer hearing.
Oklahoma divorces require that all issues in the divorce are settled before the final divorce decree can be issued. When spouses can agree on the issues, divorces typically take less time and cost less for the spouses involved.
But not all spouses are able to agree on issues. When that is the case, a court may set a hearing on a particular matter if the court believes that the matter will take a short time to present and resolve. That might be the case when there is a single issue to resolve. When there are multiple issues or complex issues, the court is likely to set the matter for trial.
The scheduling conference takes place during the early stages of a divorce. This conference is meant to determine dates by which certain matters must be completed. These matters may include:
- completion of discovery,
- completion of mediation,
- settlement conference dates, and
- potential trial dates.
A status conference is an informal hearing in which the judge will check to see how things are going. The judge will check to make sure that discovery is completed on time and may check in with the parties about the prospects for settlement or mediation.
The pre-trial hearing is a hearing at which the judge will again check in with the parties regarding settlement. If the matter is unlikely to settle, pre-trial motions will be discussed and scheduled. Trial logistics will be discussed at length, which may include witnesses and evidence to be presented.
The trial itself can be thought of as a long hearing, covering several days.
Hearings can be stressful. It is always better to have an attorney represent you at a hearing. Your attorney will know the ins and outs of the law and of that judge’s courtroom.
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