Contested divorces requiring a trial can drag on for months or, when there are many contested issues, even years, causing the parties to simply want it all to be over. The end of the trial should signal this, but that is not always the case. This blog discusses divorce trial rulings, time limitations for rulings, and how you may be able to get divorced now, even when there are contested issues that require a trial.
Indiana Trial Rules provide that the time for holding a matter under advisement is 90 days. However, this does not mean that judges will always withhold ruling for any amount of time, and a judgment may be made immediately after the trial. When a judgment is made at the end of the trial, the judge will announce the ruling in court and ask one of the parties’ attorneys to prepare a final order and decree containing the terms of the ruling so that he or she may sign it. In this case, the parties should continue to follow the provisional order until the final order and decree has been signed by the judge. If a judge needs more time to consider the pleadings and review the evidence presented at trial, or one of the parties has requested written findings of fact and conclusions of law, he or she will take the matter under advisement.
When a final order in a divorce is taken under advisement, the parties’ attorneys may be asked to submit their proposed final order and decree of dissolution. The judge will then take the proposals into consideration when making a final determination. He or she may sign either of the party’s proposed orders, or may prepare their own, using items from each of the proposals. In high conflict cases, or cases where one of the parties has requested written findings of fact and conclusions of law, the judge may ask that each of the party’s attorneys submit written arguments within a certain number of days. The written argument will contain statutes, rules, and caselaw supporting the party’s position as to the contested issues. The judge will then use these arguments to assist him or her in making a final ruling or preparing written findings and conclusions. While the Trial Rules allow a judge 90 days to make a final ruling, after taking the matter under advisement, it rarely takes this long.
A delay in ruling after a final hearing in a divorce can be caused by a large amount of testimony and evidence for the judge to review, many issues to decide, or even just a busy schedule. Having realistic expectations of the time it will take for a decision after the trial can help relieve some of the anxiety you may have about getting your divorce finalized. If you are feeling as if you just need to get divorced now, there is a way that you can accomplish this without waiting for a judge to make a decision on every issue. If you and your spouse can reach an agreement on some of the issues and leave the contested ones for a later trial, you may get divorced while awaiting the trial.
Bifurcation of issues and the entry of a summary disposition order means that the court can issue orders on all uncontested issues, set the contested issues for trial, and grant the divorce now. A bifurcation of issues requires that the parties file a request for bifurcation before a trial date is set. The request must be signed by both parties and include a waiver of final hearing on all uncontested issues, specify the uncontested issues, and contain a written agreement on those issues, as well as provide a description of the contested issues that need to be heard at trial. If the request for bifurcation is granted, the judge will issue a summary disposition order, finalizing your divorce, and setting a date for final hearing on all contested issues.
This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. It is for general educational purposes. The blog is not intended to be relied upon for any legal matter or issue. The blog is not legal advice. This is an advertisement.