Preparing to Testify in Court

In Child Custody, Separation & Divorce by Carly Baker

When it comes to the legal issues that surround a divorce, such as property division, alimony, child custody, and child support, it is far more common for people to reach agreements than to take these issues to trial. This is because trial is risky and expensive, and people are generally more inclined to avoid that risk and try to settle on an arrangement they can control. Having said that, however, there are times when it is necessary to take issues before a judge. Therefore, it is important to have some idea of what to expect if you have to testify in court.

Come Prepared

The best way to testify with confidence is to know what you’re talking about. This means to spend a good amount of time preparing for court. Talk to your attorney about trial preparation and follow their advice regarding what information you need to review prior to your testimony. Locate and review all the information that your attorney suggests to you. In addition, create a timeline for yourself of important dates and events so that you have a firm grasp on the facts of your case.

Answer Honestly and Concisely

When parties present evidence that is in conflict, the judge or jury are the only people who can decide what to believe. This involves deciding which witness they believe to be more credible. If you lie as a witness, and get caught lying, this is devastating to your credibility and can prevent you from the outcome you want.

In addition, while it is important to be honest, it is also important not to over-share information or to provide answers to questions you weren’t even asked. Instead, focus on the question that is asked of you, and answer that question briefly and accurately.

Don’t Fight From the Stand

When you are cross-examined by an opposing attorney, you are probably going to feel like you are being attacked. This will make you angry. However, if you have some snappy comebacks that come to mind in the moment, save them. Don’t go tit-for-tat in trying to put that attorney in his or her place. This will never work in your favor.

In fact, some attorneys intentionally try to get a rise out of opposing witnesses and parties so that they can paint you as a hothead, as a person with an attitude and anger issues. This creates a bad impression of you in the eyes of a judge or jury. Instead, trust your own attorney to handle the other attorney and to address questions that you feel were unfair or hostile.

New Direction Family Law

Contact New Direction Family Law if you need help resolving issues revolving around a divorce, including property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. Our attorneys are smart and experienced in reaching agreements, resolving matters through dispute resolution, as well as taking cases to trial. Wherever your case takes you, we will stand by you and fight for your interests. We proudly serve Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Call New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment, or contact us at our website.

Carly G. Baker
New Direction Family Law

New Direction Family Law
(919) 719-3470