Anticipating a family law case or hearing can be stressful. There’s almost certainly a lot at stake, even in relatively simple matters. Being prepared for court is essential; appearing disorganized or disinterested can destroy your case. Your Nampa, Idaho family law attorney will try to settle your case if possible, but this is never guaranteed. These are some tips for preparing for the big day in front of the judge.
Document everything you can. Be prepared to answer numerous, detailed, even painful questions from your lawyer (as well as opposing counsel). Giving testimony is an essential part of a trial, because testimony is a form of evidence. But remember the old adage: a picture is worth a thousand words. Imagine having a screenshot of a particularly damaging text message, and not simply describing it on the witness stand. Gather all emails, texts, photos, and screenshots you can. Keep communications with the opposing party in writing. Having physical evidence could resolve a disputed point in your favor.
Know the details – and make sure your attorney does, too. Every family law case has important history behind it. It is critical that your Nampa, Idaho family law attorney knows the relevant details of your story. Never assume that any piece of information is irrelevant; let your attorney be the one to make this call. This is especially true with potentially damaging details. You don’t want something like this in the hands of opposing counsel, while your own attorney is in the dark.
Try to predict what the opposing party might say. Of all the people in court, the one with the most information about the opposing party is probably you. So why not use this knowledge to your advantage? It’s important to try to anticipate what the other side will argue – for him or herself, and against you. You should also try to predict the sort of testimony that other witnesses might offer. Tell your Nampa, Idaho attorney what information or arguments you think these individuals could bring to court.
Dress (and act) professionally. Although it may seem obvious, you need to appear and behave professionally in the courtroom. Not all spouses and parents follow this simple piece of advice, unfortunately. Wearing jeans or a tee shirt (while the opposing party wears a suit) can unintentionally bias the judge against you. Show the judge you take the trial seriously by treating the court with respect.
Confidently and clearly answer questions. You and your attorney should rehearse questions before the trial or hearing. This will help prepare you to give clear answers on the witness stand. If you and your lawyer don’t practice, and don’t prepare, you may give inaccurate or rambling answers in court. Doing this will force your Nampa, Idaho lawyer to have to work harder than necessary. At the end of the day, it doesn’t make for a convincing argument. Give confident, clear answers so there’s no question that the judge understands your side of the case.
Be ready for cross-examination. The opposing counsel will have the chance to cross-examine you. This means he or she will ask questions you probably would rather not answer. But giving vague or evasive answers to difficult questions could backfire. You probably won’t have to answer every question, because your attorney will likely successfully object to some. However, repeatedly trying to avoid the tough questions comes across as shifty and untrustworthy. That’s not an impression you want the judge to have, and will only encourage opposing counsel to dig even deeper. Ask your Nampa, Idaho attorney how to handle a difficult cross-examination while maintaining credibility.
Keep your emotions in check. Family court is an understandably emotional experience, especially if child custody is at issue. There’s nothing wrong with being emotional, unless it overtakes your arguments. Judges want to hear facts, evidence, and reason, so they can make the best possible decision. Don’t let your emotions define your case.
A Nampa, Idaho Attorney Will Prepare You for Court
Family court is difficult, no matter which side you are on. But having a good strategy, presentation, and appearance can take away some of the stress. An experienced attorney is your best ally in making this happen. The Idaho Divorce Center is here to help you prepare for your trial or hearing. Call us today.