One of the most stressful parts of dealing with a divorce can be testifying in court. Although not every divorce will go before the family court, divorce lawyers understand that those that do are extremely taxing for both spouses as they seek the most favorable end to their relationship. Before spouses testify in front of the judge, divorce attorneys recommend that these important tips be reviewed as part of any preparation for testimony.
Keep Emotions Under Control
A divorce can be an extremely emotional event in anyone’s life. Yet it remains essential that spouses stay calm and keep their emotions under control when testifying in front of the judge. Anger and other similar emotions only makes it harder for the judge to fully understand the facts and could affect the judge’s impression of an angered or overly emotional spouse. The court will usually favor working with spouses who can discuss and testify reasonably without becoming angry.
Always Be Respectful
Along similar lines of keeping emotions under control, divorce attorneys stress that spouses should remain respectful to everyone in the court. Respect to the judge, the attorneys, and even the other spouse goes a long way in presenting a favorable image.
Listen and Understand Before Speaking
During questioning by divorce lawyers, it is very important that spouses listen carefully to what they are being asked and understand the questions before they answer. Repeat the question internally, if it is unclear, ask to have the question repeated or clarified.
Be Careful with Complicated Questions
Spouses may at times be questioned in such a way that the question can be interpreted in multiple ways. Some questions may be compound questions, meaning they are technically asking two different questions in one. Other questions may be phrased in a way to assume certain facts are not true or give an incorrect summary of events. In all of these cases spouses must think first, make sure they understand what is being asked, and then answer carefully.
Compound questions should be answered in two parts that address both questions. Before agreeing with an incorrect conclusion brought forth by any attorney, reply by stating that this summary is incorrect and nothing more. The attorney must then ask for clarification, which is essential so that the court understands actual events and details.
Answer Questions Truthfully
Honesty is essential in a fair divorce trial. Regardless of what divorce lawyers or the judge may ask, always answer truthfully, even if that answer is painful. As mentioned above, keep answers concise, to the point, and always be honest.
Answer Questions Concisely
When answering questions, divorce lawyers stress that spouses should avoid giving extra or unnecessary information but instead provid the most concise answer possible. For example, if the question is “Do you own a car?” the answer should be either yes or no. Do not volunteer extra details like the make and model of the car as this is irrelevant and could actually work against the spouse being questioned. Answer only the question that is asked. If further information is required, divorce attorneys will ask more specific questions.
Testifying in divorce court is never easy. Divorce lawyers understand how stressful it can be, that some spouses may become nervous when testifying. The best advice for anyone testifying in front of a judge is to stay calm and prepare ahead of time with divorce attorneys who can practice the above suggestions prior to actually courtroom testimony being given.
Garza & Elizondo, LLC
680 East St. Charles St, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520
1393 East Alton Gloor Blvd, Suite
Brownsville TX 78526