When the Case Has to be Tried


Sometimes, after exhausting all efforts to settle, it becomes apparent that the case has to be tried. The parties have reached an impasse, or one party is unreasonable and intransigent. It happens. And when it does, what should you do?

First of all, don’t be afraid. If you trust your lawyer (and you should if you are going to trial), he or she will know what to do. If your lawyer is recommending that you try the case, he or she must feel that you may do better with the judge than by agreeing to what your ex wants.

Second, recognize that trials are remarkable in that the essence of the case is revealed. Silly arguments and issues are not put forth by savvy trial lawyers. They know they only have a limited amount of intellectual capital with the trial judge, and will not waste it on issues that do not really matter. Many times, when things are not going well during a trial, it motivates the formerly intransigent party to become reasonable and settle the case.

Finally, understand that there is a tremendous amount of preparation that goes into a trial. It is an all encompassing, cathartic event. Plan accordingly. Make sure that you block out time, and exclude everything else. This is, after all, your life we are talking about.

Unlike what happens on television, there is rarely a smashing victory after a trial. A trial court’s decision is often a mixed bag, with one party winning on one issue, and the other side winning on another. But with the right mixture of skill and preparation, you will achieve the right result.