While most divorces are finalized without going to trial, if your case is proceeding to trial your divorce attorney will help you prepare for the trial in advance.
You will be required to testify in court, so what you say and do could affect the outcome of your case.
Keep these tips from experienced divorce lawyers in mind so that you get the most favorable outcome from your divorce proceedings.
1. Always Be Honest
The worst thing you could do to potentially damage your character in a divorce proceeding and the outcome of your case is to lie about anything.
Divorce attorneys stress that you must be honest, even if the answer might be taken unfavorably.
If you make an honest mistake, say so and correct yourself.
Be yourself in court, answer truthfully, and always respect the court to make the most favorable impression.
2. Listen to Questions and Be Sure You Understand Them
Listen carefully to the questions being asked, allowing the speaker to fully ask before you assume you know the question; repeat the question to yourself and make sure you understand it.
If something is unclear, divorce lawyers suggest that you say so and ask for clarification.
3. Don’t Guess, Estimate, or Volunteer Extra Information
Never guess or estimate an answer unless someone asks you to do so.
You should instead answer using approximations if you are not positive of an exact answer and indicate it is an approximation.
Additionally, divorce attorneys stress that you do not offer any extra information other than the answer that was requested.
Answer the question correctly and concisely and give nothing more; if more information is needed, you will be asked for it.
4. Don’t Get Angry or Argue With the Counsel
Divorce hearings can be highly stressful and emotional; it is essential that you maintain control and avoid getting angry or trying to argue with anyone while in court.
It is viewed very unfavorably if you argue points with your spouse’s divorce lawyer in court to try to make him or her look bad.
5. Provide Short Answers Without Over Analyzing
It’s very easy to overanalyze the questions you will be asked in court.
Other than making sure you understand what you are being asked by divorce attorneys, answer only the initial question without thinking ahead to what else you might be asked.
Provide only short, concise answers without going into long explanations.
6. Be Wary of Compound Questions and Incorrect Summations
You may be asked a compound question, which is two questions asked in the form of one.
Watch for these questions, as the answers to each part can be different.
Similarly, divorce lawyers may also phrase their questions using summations that are inaccurate or incorrect.
In both cases, answering incorrectly could affect the impact of your testimony.
Never agree with a summation that is incorrect.
Break compound questions into two parts and provide two separate answers; correct any incorrect summations before you answer so your answers are truthful and correct.
7. Avoid Absolute Words and Boxing Yourself In
Absolute words can box you into a corner if your answers are challenged or you are questioned again later.
Avoid words like "none," "all," "never," "everything," and other all-encompassing words; instead use phrases like "as far as I know," "as much as I remember," and similar phrases that suggest you may not be fully certain.
Boxing yourself in with these answers could prevent you from being able to add other details to your testimony if you suddenly remember something.
Prepare Ahead to Testify So You Know What to Expect
When it comes time to testify during your divorce hearing, divorce attorneys know that it’s normal to be nervous.
The best way to prepare so you can testify in confidence is to go over these tips with your lawyer and use them to answer practice questions.
Learn the best way to approach your divorce hearing and hopefully you will come away with a favorable decision.