“Sometimes going to court is the only way to get to the end of the road. You have to be able to advocate for your client no matter what the forum is — negotiation, collaborative or litigation.” — Leigh Byers

Even though statistics show that more than 85% of all legal disputes are resolved out of court, the most commonly recognized process is litigation, which is generally the only option for those unable to reach agreement otherwise. Adversarial by definition, litigation requires that each party demonstrate proof in support of his or her claims and limits outcomes to those permissible under applicable law. Trial preparation usually involves a formal process of information gathering known as discovery. This process can include the requirement to produce documents and answer questions both in written and oral form; it can also include issuance of subpoenas for specific records, interviewing potential witnesses, hiring and working with experts, taking depositions, and preparing exhibits.

Because the litigation process is often slow, and the timeline is dictated by the court, some situations may require that one or both parties petition the court for a temporary hearing and order to address financial and/or custodial arrangements while the case is pending.

Nevertheless, a case that commences as contested litigation is not required to conclude with a trial. In some cases, some issues may be resolved by agreement while others have to be tried to a judge for determination. Trials may range in duration from a couple of hours to several weeks, depending on the nature and complexity of the case, and depending on the particular judge, multiple trial days may be spread out over many months rather than tried in succession. We are fortunate to have good judges in Alabama, all of whom work hard to administer just outcomes when litigation is required.