The Dos and Don’ts of Testifying in Divorce Court

The Dos and Don’ts of Testifying in Divorce Court

Going through a divorce is never easy. You are likely experiencing a myriad of emotions, including stress. One of the most daunting parts of a contested divorce is the possibility of having to testify before the judge.

Knowing what to expect from the court process is essential to set yourself up for success and get the best chance of a favorable outcome. During court, there are a few dos and don’ts to know to ensure you present yourself in the best possible way.

Do Prepare and Practice

You can set yourself up for success inside the courtroom by putting in the work before you enter it. Try your best to learn about this legal process so that you know what to expect. Then, make sure you have organized notes and paperwork you can use to practice and prepare the points you want to make during your testimony. Having financial reports of income and debts at your disposal can strengthen your arguments and confidence in presenting them. Do not be afraid to practice your testimony before your court date, whether in front of a mirror or with a seasoned legal professional. There is no such thing as being too prepared for court.

Do Not Disrespect the Judge

There is no jury in divorce court. The judge will be deciding how your and your children’s lives are going to look after the divorce. So, always be respectful of the judge. This includes the way you conduct yourself when it is your turn to speak and when it is not your turn to speak. While the judge is speaking, do not talk over them. If you have something you want to say while someone else is presenting, it is best to write it down so that you can remember it for when it is your turn to speak later. Don’t get emotional or make facial expressions when someone is testifying, even if you don’t like what they are saying because the judge is constantly observing both spouses’ demeanors during testimony. When it is time to speak, be polite and reasonable. Respecting the other courtroom personnel, such as the judge’s clerk, can also help you appear cooperative. Judges are human beings. You want the judge to like you.

Do Present Yourself Well

Respect can be shown in other ways, including your outfit choice. The seemingly trivial decision about what you wear on the day of your court appearance can represent how you feel about the legal process. Dressing appropriately and professionally shows your care and respect. Ask your attorney for guidance.

Do Not Get Distracted

Avoiding distractions and keeping your focus on the courtroom is another way to demonstrate your respect. It is important to keep your cellphone off at all times. If possible, do not bring it into the courtroom at all. A ringing phone can be a distraction and indicate that pursuing a fair and reasonable outcome in your divorce may not be your top priority.

Tell the Truth

The court will literally put you under oath to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” The truth almost always comes out in court. Judges and lawyers know when people are lying. Credibility is often the most important thing while testifying. Getting caught in a lie, especially by your spouse’s attorney on cross-examination, will destroy your credibility. This means you will lose one of the biggest advantages you can have while testifying.

Seek Legal Representation from a Skilled Divorce Attorney

While you may know the ins and outs of your marriage better than anyone, that does not mean that you do not need a lawyer in court. A lawyer has invaluable knowledge you may not have about court procedures and etiquette.

Having a seasoned divorce attorney on your side can help you feel confident in your testimony. To learn more about how to prepare for divorce court, call Moskowitz Law Group and schedule a free consultation.

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