What to Expect:
Uncontested Final Hearing
For our purposes, an "uncontested final hearing" means the final hearing in a case that is ending with a settlement agreement, or a case in which the only issue is the divorce itself (when you have already had a settlement agreement approved by the Court). This does not apply to a contested trial or a final hearing in which the other party has never responded and is not expected to appear. If you have any questions, you should speak to your Summerville family law attorney beforehand.
At the final hearing, you may address the approval of your settlement agreement, uncontested no-fault divorce, and resuming your maiden name as part of a divorce or separation (separate support and maintenance action).
Plan to arrive at the courthouse 15-30 minutes early (allow extra time for parking if your case is in Charleston County).
You should dress "business casual" or nicer- no flip flops, shorts, mini-skirts, t-shirts with offensive slogans, or tank tops. Please do not plan to bring children with you. Children are not allowed in the courtroom except in very limited circumstances, and bailiffs cannot watch your child. Do not bring weapons (including pocketknives) of any kind. Leave your cell phone in the car.
Plan to wait a bit. Do not schedule any other commitments for the morning/afternoon, depending on when your case is scheduled. Chances are, your case will not actually be called at the time it is scheduled (but you must be on time just in case!) Judges often have to handle emergencies at the last minute, other cases run over time, etc. Often, many other cases will be scheduled for your same time slot (as many end up being cancelled or postponed, and the Court does not want to waste valuable time).
When your case is called, you will sit next to your attorney at one of two tables across from each other in front of the Judge. Your witness (if you are proceeding with a divorce on a one-year separation) will sit in the "pews" behind your table. The other party and his/her attorney (if there is one) will sit at the other table.
If one of the attorneys has prepared an Order in advance, the Order, your original agreement, and any financial declarations or other papers that need to be filed will be handed up to the Judge.
The Judge will announce the case, the case number, and identify the parties and attorneys appearing before the Court. One of the attorneys will inform the Court that the parties wish to proceed with the approval of an agreement (and any divorce/name change).
Click here to read more about what to expect if you are moving forward with the Court approval of a settlement agreement.
Click here to read more about what to expect if you are moving forward with an uncontested no-fault divorce (one-year continuous separation) at a final hearing.
Click here to read more about what to expect if you are requesting to resume your maiden name as part of a divorce or separation (separate support and maintenance suit) in South Carolina.
This page is not intended to be legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This is provided for general information purposes only. If you have a specific question, you are invited to contact our Summerville Divorce & Family Law office to request a consultation. You should always consult with an attorney if you have questions about your specific case or issue.