Preparing To Testify In A Family Law Hearing
Testifying can be a very scary, stressful experience, and it requires a lot of patience. For that reason, I typically sit down with my clients and help them to prepare to for their hearing. And so, I thought this would be a good opportunity to help you if you are dealing with the same issue.
The first thing to be sure of is to dress appropriately. The dress code for a court appearance is business casual. You don’t have to come in with a suit on if that’s not what you generally wear everyday, but do not come to court in flip flops, tank tops, shorts, jeans, or other casual attire. Just dress appropriately as if you were going to a business meeting.
Secondly, be on time. Be respectful of the court’s time. Do not give the court the opportunity to jump to a conclusion that because you are not timely to your hearing, you do not care enough about your case.
Once acknowledged to testify, listen carefully. The attorneys will ask you many questions which can sometimes come across confusing. If you do not understand the question simply say, “I don’t understand.” At that point, it will be up to the attorney to rephrase the question so that you can understand what it is that he or she is asking.
Answer only the question that is being asked. Do not go into lengthy details or a full-blown story about the question that is being asked. Simply reply with a “yes” or “no” or get to the point quickly. Giving the other side more information can sometimes lead to the other side thinking that you are argumentative, or worse, it can lead to you giving information that can damage your case. So try your best to stick to the question and be blunt and quick.
Do not guess. If you are asked a question that you don’t remember or you don’t know just say, “I don’t know.” That response is totally fine in court as your testimony should only include information you are certain of, not matters to which you’d need to guess.
Do not argue. You may have animosity towards the opposing council. Additionally, the opposing council may even ask you questions in a rude manner and/or be rude to you. It’s important that you do not respond in the same manner. Act professionally, be courteous, and simply just answer the question in a civil manner.
Above all, take your time. Do not let the opposing council scare you, push you, or bully you. Take all the time you need to answer truthfully and confidently. I know that testifying in court can be intimidating and stressful, so try to make yourself as comfortable as you can on the stand. Take your time, make sure you understand the question, and answer only the question that is being asked of you.
If you have questions on this topic or any other family law topic, do not hesitate to contact our office to speak with our experienced family law attorneys. Schedule a consultation to discuss your specific situation in detail and our team will guide you through your options. Contact our office at (702) 998-1188, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by scheduling a consultation online.