Navigating Legal Hearings: Understanding Each Type and What to Expect

by May 8, 2024Divorce0 comments

Legal proceedings can take an emotional and difficult toll on all parties involved. What’s more, the underlying legal terminology and processes involved can be both complicated and intimidating. To alleviate some of this stress, it is beneficial to understand the various types of hearings that occur during the process. Let’s discuss the various types of hearings that are commonly encountered, outline what each one entails, and see what you might expect from a local court in the Dayton, Ohio area. 

Scheduling or Status Hearings

Scheduling or status hearings often happen early on in the legal process. This type of hearing is used by the court for administrative purposes; to check on the status of the case, ensure that deadlines are being met by the parties, and schedule future hearings. Normally, a judge or magistrate will lead this hearing, attorneys representing both parties will participate, and there are some occasions in which the parties involved in the matter will also attend the hearing. Parties involved in this type of hearing can expect to update the court on how the case is progressing, address any issues that have arisen with the court, and schedule other hearings or future deadlines. 

Pretrial Hearings 

Pretrial hearings usually occur after the beginning stages of the legal process have passed and your case is moving closer to going to trial. The goal of this hearing is to allow the court to get ahead of any issues that could arise or have already arisen. The types of problems that can be addressed by the court can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Not complying with discovery requests. 
  • Objecting to witnesses that one of the parties intend to call at trial.
  • Procedural matters. 

Aside from addressing any potential issues, pretrial hearings also give the parties involved in the matter the opportunity to discuss any possible settlements that can be reached to avoid a trial. Pretrial hearings are presided over by a judge or magistrate and are attended by the attorneys representing the parties in the matter.  

Evidentiary Hearings for Temporary/Interim Orders

Evidentiary hearings for temporary/interim orders involve the presentation of evidence and legal arguments on specific issues, such as: 

  • Custody of minor children.
  • Child Support.
  • Spousal Support.

The parties involved in evidentiary hearings will typically argue legal points before the judge or magistrate, as well as present evidence and witnesses to reinforce the validity of their claims. After both sides are given the opportunity to argue their position, the judge or magistrate will then issue a ruling on the issue. 

Final Hearings

Final hearings mark the beginning to the end of the ongoing litigation. It is at a final hearing where both sides present their arguments and evidence regarding all the issues that have not yet been resolved or agreed to. Final hearings are typically more formal and structured than other types of hearings and often take place over multiple days. After both parties have presented and argued their sides, the judge or magistrate will issue a final judgment based on the arguments presented by the parties, Ohio Law, and relevant case law on issues that have already been decided by the court. 

Ex Parte Hearings

An ex parte hearing is an emergency hearing that revolves around urgent matters that require immediate attention. Typically, this type of hearing occurs when a party is requesting a temporary restraining order. During Ex parte hearings, only one party is present and must provide compelling justification for the court to grant their request. Participants involved in this type of hearing should be prepared to present their arguments in a clear and concise manner and emphasize that the relief they are requesting is urgent and necessary. 

Don’t Face These Hearings Alone

Engaging in any of the above hearings during a domestic relations case can be both emotional and intimidating. However, engaging with a qualified, local attorney can ensure that necessary evidence is presented in a persuasive manner that will give you the best chance of safeguarding your interests.

Schedule Your Free Consultation 

If you realize that your current marriage is not working, or circumstances have changed and post-marital relief is required, the family law experts at Kirkland & Sommers are here to help guide you through these various types of hearings. Call us today, or click on the link below, to schedule a free legal consultation.