Appeal, Appeals, best divorce lawyer

How Do I Prepare for My Divorce Trial in Supreme Court? Explains our Vancouver Divorce Lawyer

Supreme Court divorce trials and family trials are stressful … it even feels worse, when you don’t know what to do!

Here are few tips from our experienced divorce litigators, who run divorce trials in Supreme Court:

  1. Prepare and file the notice of trial in Form F44 within 30 days of reserving the divorce trial date.
  2. Serve the notice of trial promptly.
  3. Book your trial management conference.
  4. Serve all expert reports as required by Part 13 of the Supreme Court Family Rules. Make sure that the certification of the expert is attached to the report. If you do not serve the expert report on time, you may not be allowed to rely on the expert evidence.
  5. Prepare and serve the trial brief in Form F45 with a cover page (Administrative Notice 14—Cover Page Requirements for Application Records, Petition Records, Trial Briefs, Case Plan Proposals, Notices of JCCs and Written Submissions) at least seven days before the trial management conference. If both you and you ex fail to file your trial brief on time, then trial management conference would not proceed and you will lose your trial date. To fix this, you will need a court order to reinstate your trial management conference and extension of time to file your trial brief.
  6. Update and serve the client’s Form F8 financial statement at least 28 days but not more than 63 days before trial. It is important to do because you want the judge to know your financial position close to your divorce trial. It is possible that your financial position has changed drastically since you last filed your financial statement.
  7. Prepare an amended list of documents, if required. In the list of documents, you list all the documents that you want to rely on or the documents that the other party has requested you to produce.
  8. If a witness’s evidence will be by affidavit, prepare an application seeking the court’s permission and serve the witness’s affidavit at least 28 days before the application
  9. Prepare and file the trial record, with a certificate of pleadings if a divorce is being sought, at least 14 days but not more than 28 days before trial.
  10. Prepare and file the trial certificate in Form F46, at least 14 days but not more than 28 days before trial, if you want to make sure that your trial will proceed. If both parties fail to file the trial certificate, the trial date will be lost and you would need a court order to get your trial back on the list. If the court is really busy, you may not be able to get your trial on the list and you would have to schedule a new trial date.
  11. Prepare and serve a formal offer to settle before the trial. It is always good to see if you can settle your case before going to trial. Moreover, if you do better than your offer to settle at trial, you may able to get an order for double costs based on your offer.
  12. Contact all witnesses to make appointments for the witness to meet with you to prepare for trial. It is important that you know exactly what your witnesses will say and that you can discuss with them what questions they should expect.
  13. Prepare a subpoena to ensure that a witness attends the trial, if necessary.
  14. If you property and debt division is an issue before the court, prepare a Scott schedule of property and debts. The Scott schedule sets out all your assets and debts, the other sides assets and dents, their values as at trial. If you or your ex have an excluded property claim, your Scott schedule will also include the list of assets and debts you had at the time of the marriage or commencement of your common law relationship, whichever is earlier, and their present values.
  15. Follow up on any outstanding document production requests of the other party. Make sure you do this in writing. If the other side fails to produce documents, you may be able to ask the court to make an adverse inference against them. Make sure you that you disclose all the necessary and relevant documents that you want to rely on to the other side ASAP. If you delay document production, the trial judge may not allow to rely on those documents.
  16. Organize the transcripts from any examinations for discovery. You can prepare a list of questions and answers from the transcripts to read into the record at trial, if necessary.
  17. Prepare a list of questions to ask every witness
  18. Prepare what you want to say in your own testimony. Write a timeline of important events.
  19. Prepare the trial book. This includes the entirety of the pleadings.
  20. Prepare the book of documents. This will include the documents that you want to rely on during your divorce trial and a table of content at the front. You will need four copies of each of the document that you want to present at trial. The documents must be page numbered. Most often you also tab the binder for ease of reference.
  21. Prepare the book of authorities. Your book of authorities includes cases that you want to rely on at trial. Canlii is a great resource for finding case law.
  22. Prepare your opening statement. Your opening statement must be concise and to the point. Include the list of orders you are asking the court to make in your opening statement. You can also provide some guidance as to what evidence the court is to expect. Do not argue, your entire case at this time.
  23. Prepare your closing statements or your final submissions. Your final submissions includes:
    • a summary of the evidence,
    • case law or the authority that the court should rely on, and
    • an analysis of the law to the evidence
    • your arguments (i.e. why the court should award you the order you are seeking).
  24. Make sure you are on time for your trial.
  25. Trial is stressful, try your best to relax before the trial and get a good night sleep.

We are a divorce litigation law firm. We have experience appearing before all levels of the court in BC. If you need guidance with certain steps of your trial or you need trial representation, give us a call. We can help.