This is the next post in my series on changing child custody in Melbourne, Florida. My last article discussed the discovery process in change of custody cases. It is important to understand that the discovery process is crucial to gaining evidence in a case and, without such evidence, it can be difficult to obtain a custody modification. Discovery is a complicated process and it is suggested that you retain an experienced family law attorney to assist you. In this article I will be discussing what it is you should expect from the trial process. If you are approaching trial in the Brevard County Courts then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Trial in Family Court cases are somewhat similar to what is portrayed on television except for the fact that there is no jury. The Judge will decide all issues. The process will begin with each side making an opening statement. The party requesting the change of custody will then present their case to the Judge. The responding party will present their evidence and the requesting party will follow with a short “rebuttal.” Rebuttal is not a time for new arguments; the Movant may only use rebuttal to address issues which were directly raised in the defense. At the close of evidence each side will make a closing argument. The Judge may issue an immediate ruling but, under most circumstances, will typically issue a Decision and Order within a few days.
It is important to understand that the rules of evidence and other Court procedures are strictly enforced at trial. Not understanding these procedures can result in evidence not being admitted, in witnesses not being allowed to testify, and in other potential problems. If information is not correctly presented to the Court then the Judge will not be able to consider it when they are making their decision. Retaining an experienced attorney, who is comfortable with taking a case to trial, will assist you in the process.
I am a former prosecutor who now devotes her practice to assisting families. If you wish to change your current child custody order then contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne lawyer. My office also services clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.