If you have never been a party to a divorce that will involve a trial before, there are some things you should be aware of. These tips will help you to be professional during your case so that you can obtain your fair share of the agreement.
A divorce trial has much more in common with a civil trial than a criminal trial. All the matters (besides child custody) will be about money, property and other assets, so a professional attitude and demeanor are appropriate in court. The court is not the place for venting extreme emotions, so if you are having trouble coping with yours, get counseling or join a support group. The trial may be months or even years away, so you will have some time to get it together.
Avoid These Things
Even though judges go by laws and precedents, they are still human. It is not wise to annoy or anger them, because there are some gray areas in the law where the judge has discretion to rule as they see fit. You don't need to suck up to them, but you should show respect for them and the legal process.
If there are custody issues at stake, you won't want the judge to draw inferences from your behavior and appearance that you are unstable, immature, or otherwise unable to be a responsible parent. You also do not want to give the impression that you would try to harm the children's relationships with the other parent.
Things that can only hurt you include:
- Interrupting and saying things out loud in court when someone else is giving testimony.
- Chewing gum. It makes you look juvenile and like a wise-cracker.
- Coming to court dressed inappropriately. From head-to-toe you should appear as businesslike as you would when going to a job interview that you really wanted.
- Using facial expressions or gestures to express your disgust or disagreement with what is being said by another in court. Adopt a poker face during trial.
- Audibly sighing or groaning.
- Not being prepared and wasting everybody's time. Your attorney will advise on proofs you need, so cooperate with them promptly to have the evidence available by the required dates.
- Letting your ex or their attorney rattle you from day one. Be mentally prepared for these tactics so you won't become intimidated or overly emotional in court.
- Not being clear on what you want and waffling back and forth.
- Pestering your attorney all through the trial so that they can't concentrate on their strategy. Instead, take notes when things come up and talk about during them during the breaks.
- Appearing like you have a vendetta against your soon-to-be ex.
Be Confident That You Will Be Heard
During a divorce trial, be confident that your side will be heard. Both sides get a chance to question the witnesses. This process can continue back and forth until each side has had their say. When you are being questioned by the opposing attorney, listen carefully and answer what is asked, even if it is a tricky yes or no question.
Remember that your attorney can object to the question, or will ask you further questions later to give you a chance to expound on your answers.
Be Ready To Negotiate
With all the breaks, the day's court proceedings may not be very long in actuality, but attorneys often charge for a full day's services, so it is in your best interests to negotiate what you can out of court. Dragging things out only postpones the inevitable: at some point you have to let go and move on.
Think ahead about your bottom line on what you want and what you need. That way you have something to go by when considering settlement offers. If you are willing to compromise on certain aspects, your ex may become more willing to compromise on the things that you need.
Some divorces never go to trial because couples have been willing to negotiate on their own or work things out in mediation. However, sometimes issues come up that you may need a judge to decide on. So clear away what can be settled out of court first, and then concentrate on making a good case on the rest of it. If you need a family law attorney, visit Ritter & LeClere APC Attorneys At Law.