In case you missed it, you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here
Your Day in Court – Part 3 – Court Conclusion
With no further witnesses or additional evidence, your side of the case as the Applicant is finished. It is your former partner’s turn now in the witness box. You arrive at Court at 9.30am.
At 10:10am the Judge asks the barristers some questions. You don’t really understand what is happening. After some comments back and forth between the Judge and the barristers, your former partner is sworn in to give evidence. Similar to you, their barrister asks them their name, address and occupation and then sits down. Your barrister then begins to cross examine your former partner and later on their witnesses, stopping for the morning tea break at 11:00 and the lunch break at 1:00pm. The single expert witness (a psychologist in your case) gives their evidence and is cross examined by both your and your former partner’s barrister. The Judge tells the barristers that the Court is ready to hear closing submissions.
Directing the discussion to the Judge, your barrister summarises the evidence you and your witness gave, the expert’s views and reasons as to why the Judge should make the Orders as sought by you. Your barrister talks to the holes in your former’s partner’s case and the arguments against making the Orders as sought by them. Your former partner’s barrister does the same.
The Judge then adjourns the case.
Your solicitor and barrister begin to pack up. You go into a conference room with them and they explain to you that the Judge will deliver their judgment in a minimum three months’ time, although sometimes it can take a lot longer, sometimes more than a year! Your legal team explain that any existing interim Orders made will continue until the Judge hands down their decision.
You’re disappointed. Although the process has been explained to you, you don’t understand why the Judge couldn’t or wouldn’t give their decision then and there. You don’t feel like the Judge really got to know the real truth about your former partner, the truth about what happened or how unreasonable your former partner has been. You thought you’d have the opportunity to tell the Judge your side of the story and have your former partner listen to you—about how they have upset you, hurt you and have been unreasonable. You wonder if your children will really get the best possible outcome and whether you and your former partner will ever learn to be civil to each other at family events.
You regret going to Court. There must be a better way. You wish that when your lawyer talked to you 18 months+ ago about the process option of collaboration, where you and your former partner engage Settlement Lawyers to settle your case (not go to Court), that you had chosen that path instead. You think about all the time, money and energy that you’ve spent in getting your day in Court and you wonder if it has all been worth it.
To find out more about using Settlement Lawyers and the Collaborative Law process, we recommend visiting: http://collaborativepracticecanberra.com.au/
Look out for a future blog on ‘The Settlement Experience’ using Collaborative Law.
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