If you are fighting a family law case in Utah, you need the assistance of an experienced Utah family lawyer. Not everyone is aware of the family law in Utah. The lawyer will explain the law and the court process to you. If you have never been to a court before, chances are you may be nervous about the lawsuit. Speak to an experienced Morgan Utah family lawyer. The lawyer will explain the court process and how the court system in Utah functions.
During the time before trial, as elsewhere throughout the adversary process, the parties play the dominant role in directing the litigation. But the increasing presence in the judicial system of more complex cases, expanded discovery, and the sheer bulk of litigation, especially in urban areas, has caused judges to take a more active role in managing the litigation in the interest of promoting efficiency. Judicial management of the pretrial process takes several forms.
Court rules and practices frequently specify that the attorneys must participate in a series of pretrial conferences designed to assess the status of the case, decide preliminary matters, and generally move the casealong. At an early stage the judge might hold a discovery conference in which everyone agrees on a plan for the schedule and amount of discovery to be taken in the case. Closer to trial, many courts require a pretrial conference between the attorneys, the judges, and occasionally the principals in the case.
A major function of the pretrial process is to encourage the parties to settle the case before it gets to trial. Especially in busy urban court systems, where judges are under considerable pressure to conclude as many cases as possible, the judge may use the pretrial conference as an occasion to persuade, cajole, and pressure the attorneys to settle the case before trial.
Two key features shape the trial process. First, the trial is the most intense manifestation of the adversary system; the lawyers for the parties shape the trial, and each side tries to do so in the way most favorable to its position. Second, in most civil cases the parties can choose to have the case tried before a jury; the central place of the jury has shaped civil procedure and even substantive law. Both of these features are controversial. A trial is supposed to be a search for truth, and an adversary battle before an untutored jury may not be the best way to find the truth. Once you understand how the trial process in Utah functions, you will be more comfortable. That’s why an experienced Morgan Utah family lawyer is your best friend and guide when you are in the midst of a family dispute.
After the opening statements the plaintiffs begin presenting evidence that supports their view of the case. It is customary to talk about the plaintiff and the defendant, but all of this is really done by their lawyers. The plaintiff always goes first because the plaintiff bears the burden of proof. The burden of proof reflects a basic principle of law: Under our system, no one is liable for anything unless there is a good reason to hold them liable. Suppose that neither party presents any evidence at a trial. Who wins? The defendant wins, because the plaintiff has not met its burden of proving that there is a good reason to impose liability on the defendant. Now suppose the parties present evidence but the jury determines that the evidence is equally persuasive in each direction; it is just as likely that the gas tank was defective as it is that the tank was not defective. Again, the defendant wins because the plaintiff has not met its burden of proof, but in a different sense. The plaintiff must prove its case by a preponderance of the evidence, so that the judge or jury is persuaded that it is more likely than not that the plaintiff’s version of the case is true.
After the plaintiff presents its evidence, it is the defendant’s turn. Like the plaintiff’s lawyer, the defense lawyer calls and examines witnesses to support its side of the case. When the defendant is finished, the plaintiff may have a chance to present rebuttal witnesses, addressing issues raised by the defense. When everybody is finished, each side makes a closing statement to the jury, summing up its case. Then the judge instructs the jury on the law, and the jury deliberates in private and returns its verdict.
You may have seen court proceedings in movies and on TV shows. They may give you some idea but they don’t give you the complete picture. Before you file your evidence in a family law case, Speak to an experienced Morgan Utah family lawyer.
The major difference between the presentation of evidence on television and in real courtrooms is the level of drama. Because of the availability of discovery, the mundane nature of most cases, and the requirements of the law of evidence, seldom does a witness suddenly reveal a “smoking gun” piece of crucial evidence, break down in tears, or confess to a crime. Most witness examinations are methodical, step-by-step recitations of detailed facts. Many people who watch real trials on television or in person quickly become bored, as the attorneys use a seemingly endless series of questions to establish all of the details of a case.
In addition to witness testimony, the presentation of evidence at trial may include the presentation of documents and physical evidence. Sometimes the attorneys or witnesses, particularly expert witnesses, will enliven their testimony with charts, drawings, models, or even computer animation and videotapes, in an attempt to clarify their testimony, be more persuasive, and maintain the jury’s interest. The parties also may agree that some evidence is undisputed and stipulate to it, so it can be summarized for the jury instead of having to be presented by detailed witness testimony. Sometimes depending on the nature of your case, your Morgan Utah family lawyer will suggest that you hire the services of an expert witness.
The law of evidence involves a balancing act. The court needs to allow the parties to develop their own cases, bringing in all of the evidence that might influence the judgment about what happened and how the case should come out. But the court also wants to operate efficiently, focusing on what is really important, and sometimes it wants to serve values other than simple truth-seeking. The court may not accept all the evidence that you present. Make sure that the evidence you present in court is acceptable. Because the court does not want to waste its time on matters that don’t have anything to do with the decision of the case at hand under the prevailing legal rules, the basic proposition of evidence law is that only evidence that is helpful in establishing a legal proposition involved in the case may be considered. This is the basis for the most common objection to the introduction of evidence: when one attorney claims that something is irrelevant.
A similar principle motivates the other bit of evidence law many people have heard about–the inadmissibility of hearsay. Hearsay evidence is second-hand testimony, or the introduction of an out-of-court statement offered to prove the truth of the content of the statement.
In two circumstances, however, the law of evidence deliberately excludes relevant, potentially useful evidence. The first instance concerns evidence that may be more harmful than helpful in deciding the case. An example is character evidence, which is defined broadly as any evidence showing a person’s general tendency to act in a certain way. The second basis for excluding evidence is when the use of the evidence conflicts with some legal policy outside of evidence law. The evidence you present in your case must comply with the evidence law.
In a Utah family law court case, it is the Plaintiff who has the burden of proof. This means that the Plaintiff, the person who files the lawsuit must prove whatever he claims in the lawsuit. The defendant need not prove anything. All that he has to do is deny the claims. If the defendant denies the claim of the Plaintiff, the Plaintiff has to prove the claims with evidence. Otherwise the case will be thrown out. If you are a Defendant in a Utah family law court case, do not admit any of the claims made in the case unless you have spoken to an experienced Morgan Utah family lawyer. By admitting a claim, you are in effect agreeing with the Plaintiff. Seek the assistance of an experienced Morgan Utah family lawyer to fight the case against you. The lawyer will represent you in court.
In some cases under Utah family law, the burden on proof is on the Defendant. For example in a third party petition for the appointment of a guardian, the person for whom the guardian is sought to be appointed must prove that he or she is competent enough and does not need a guardian to look after his or her affairs. If someone has filed a guardianship petition seeking the appointment of a guardian for you and you believe the petition is not in your interest, contact an experienced Utah family lawyer immediately. It’s important that you fight the case against you.
What happens after trial?
The trial isn’t necessarily the end of the story. The losing party, or even a party who wins only part of what it wanted, can appeal the case to a higher court. Not every loser does appeal. The lawyer might decide that there is not a good enough basis for appealing, or the party might be unable or unwilling to invest more money in the litigation. But in every jurisdiction, a losing party at least has the right to consider having the case reviewed by an appellate court.
The appeals process is not designed to achieve a correct result or to guarantee a perfect process in the case. Instead, it tries to balance the fundamental values of the litigation process. An appellate court will correct errors in the courts below that substantially impinge on the fairness of the process or the effectuation of the values of substantive law that are involved, but it tries to do this relatively efficiently, by not interfering too much, causing undue delay, or preventing finality in the process.
First consider when someone can appeal from the trial court. Here courts see the route to efficiency and finality in different ways. Most courts observe the final judgment rule, which, as its name indicates, permits the review only of actions of the lower court that are final, completely settling the matter before it. Other courts allow an appeal at any time when a substantial right is implicated in the trial judge’s decision. Next consider what the court of appeals did not do. Because the appellate process follows the same adversary ideal as the rest of the system, an appellate court will only answer questions that it is asked.
Finally, think about how an appellate court reviews what happened in the lower court. If the issue brought before it is a question of law, the appeals court will usually be willing to use its own judgment as to the correct result. The appeals judges know that law as well as the trial judge does, so they will consider the matter afresh and give no deference to the trial judge’s ruling. If the issue is one that involves the facts, however, the appellate court will be more circumspect. They see only a portion of the transcript of the proceedings in the lower court and the parties’ attorneys’ arguments. They have not heard the witnesses or considered all of the evidence, so they are in a weaker position to evaluate, say, whether the gas tank was defective. Accordingly, the appeals court will give more deference to a factual determination, especially if it is made by a jury and not overturned by the trial judge. If you want to file an appeal against the decision in your family law court case, consult an experienced Utah family lawyer.
Morgan Utah Family Lawyer Free Consultation
When you need legal help with a family law case in Morgan Utah. Whether it is a guardianship, conservatorship, adoption, divorce, child custody, paternity or other matter, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
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84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506