Complete these steps before your divorce trial

Ask for a trial date

To have your case go to trial, you need to ask for or have the judge give you a date for the trial (called setting the case for trial). Each court has its own process for how you need to set a case for trial. 

  • Many courts have you prepare a local form, serve it, and file it to have a court date set.

  • Sometimes, the judge will set your case for trial if you and your spouse cannot agree during a hearing or other court date.

When you get the trial date, the court may set other court dates and give you other tasks to complete, like a trial brief.

Finish your final financial disclosures

You must exchange your financial information with your spouse (final declaration of disclosure) at least 45 days before the first assigned trial date. 

If your trial gets rescheduled to a later date, this due date does not move.

If you and the other side wish to waive final declarations of disclosure, you may use the Stipulation and Waiver of Final Declaration of Disclosure (form FL-144).

Learn how to complete financial disclosures

Attend a settlement conference (if required)

Most courts schedule a settlement conference prior to your trial date. The settlement conference is a final chance for you and your spouse to settle any remaining issues with the help of a judge or experienced attorney. If you and your spouse can reach an agreement, the agreement is made into the judgment, and you won’t go to trial.

If you do have a settlement conference, you may need to prepare a settlement conference statement. This is usually a written statement about what issues you disagree about and your position (what you want or are offering to settle the case). 

If you need additional information, conduct discovery 

If you need more information to help make your case, there's a process to ask the court to order your spouse to provide the information you need. You can request documents that aren't included in financial disclosures or ask your spouse to answer questions. This is called discovery. 

Conducting discovery requires planning ahead. 

You must complete discovery 30 days before the first date set for trial. This means that any discovery request you serve must have a response date that is due at least 30 days before trial.

Learn how to conduct discovery prior to your trial 

Divorce Trials

What's next?

Once you've completed the required pre-trial activities, you can begin to prepare for the trial.

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