What are the Consequences of Missing a Court Date?
Couples who are unable to reach an out-of-court agreement regarding divorce-related issues, such as property division or alimony, are required to take their cases to trial. In these cases, judges are tasked with making determinations related to these topics on the parties’ behalf. Unfortunately, this often means that the parties will be required to attend a number of hearings and other meetings at the courthouse. While this can be burdensome for those with long running divorces, it is still essential for both parties to show up for their court dates, as those who fail to do so, could end up being held in contempt of court, which can have serious repercussions. To ensure that you are present at all of your important court dates, please contact an experienced divorce attorney who is familiar with Florida divorce procedures.
The Number and Duration of Court Hearings
Dissolving a marriage requires the resolution of a variety of legal issues, including how marital property will be divided, whether one party will be required to pay alimony, and if a couple has children, how parenting time will be divided. Resolving all of these issues can be a complex and time-consuming process that requires both parties to contribute a substantial amount of time and effort in complying with Florida’s legal procedures.
How many hearings a couple has to attend depends on the circumstances of their case. If, for instance, a case is uncontested, which means that both parties have already reached a settlement agreement resolving all divorce-related issues, then the parties are usually only required to attend a single hearing where the judge will review the agreement and finalize the divorce. Contested divorces, on the other hand, often require multiple court hearings, as the court must assess testimony and evidence provided over a number of days. For this reason, the length of a case could range from a day to weeks or even months, depending on how many issues remain unresolved and how much evidence is presented to the court.
The Importance of Attending Your Court Hearings
Whether or not a couple is required to attend one, a few, or a number of court hearings, it is important for both parties to show up as ordered by the court. Many courts have heavy dockets and so do not take kindly to the repeated missing of court dates. In fact, many judges choose to penalize those who don’t show up as ordered. How serious the missing of a court date is considered also depends on where the case is in the divorce process.
If, for instance, the missed court date occurs at the beginning of the divorce proceedings and would be the first appearance for the parties, a court could enter a default judgment in favor of the petitioner. If the missed court date occurs later on in the proceedings, however, the court will be more likely to reschedule, but also has the option of choosing to make a decision based on the evidence presented by the other spouse. The latter is especially common in final hearings where issues remain unresolved. In the event that an absence is proven to be intentional, the presiding court can hold the absent spouse in contempt of court, issue fines, and even order jail time.
Call Our Office to Schedule an Initial Consultation
Contact dedicated Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today for a free evaluation of your own case.