When it comes to divorce, going to divorce court should be the last option. Collaborative divorce or mediation are often the more affordable alternatives for both sides of the divorce; but those options are all about being able to reach an agreement. If no agreement is possible, you’re left with no choice but to head to divorce court and fight it out. However, while not on a criminal trial, being in the hot seat even in divorce court can make you feel like you are. It is nerve-wracking, and being nervous can cause you to forget your goals. This is why you should be fully prepared for divorce court or risk derailing your divorce case.
Know What to Expect in Divorce Court
When preparing for divorce court, your lawyer will walk you through the process of what is going to happen. However, divorce lawyers dislike asking you mock questions that may come up because it may make the answers sound rehearsed. Yet, going through what will happen in the process can help you feel a little more at ease.
Your lawyer won’t want to coach you on what to say so as to not sound rehearsed. However, the good news is that you aren’t given a lot of options for answers to a question. When asked questions in divorce court, you are under oath and you will want to tell the truth. However, if you’re unsure of what the answer is, it’s okay to say you don’t know or cannot remember. In fact, it is often the better option than making a guess. Furthermore, if you’re confused by a question, it’s also okay to ask your attorney to clarify it for you.
Pause Before Answering a Question
When answering a question, it is always best to take a moment to pause before answering purely as a favor to your lawyer. Often objections can be made and your lawyer can make it so you don’t need to answer certain questions. However, if you are rapid-fire with your answers, it gives your lawyer limited time to object.
Keep Answers Concise
It is a long-standing courtroom rule that you never want to offer more information that necessary, even if you think it will help. Giving out extra information in the courtroom is giving your ex-spouse’s lawyer more information for their case. Simple “yes” and “no” answers are best when applicable, but otherwise it is best to give a concise answer in as few words as possible.
Your divorce lawyer will prepare you for several tactics your ex-spouse’s lawyer may use in divorce court to try to get more information. These situations include:
- Fishing expeditions – The defense may ask a series of questions that they hope to use in order to get information to use to plan their next attack. These situations are referred to as fishing expeditions. Your lawyer will step in if it goes too far off course, but it is best to not give out more information than required.
- Awkward silence – There may come a point where your ex-spouse’s lawyer just doesn’t say anything after you answered a question. They are hoping you will grow nervous and fill the silence with more information for them. If you answered the question, it is just fine to sit in silence.
- The same questions, worded differently – The lawyer questioning you may end up asking what is essentially the same question, just worded differently. They are hoping for contradicting answers, and you don’t want to give it to them. It is fine to just give the same answer every time.
A lot of preparing for divorce court actually lies with talking with your lawyer. You want someone knowledgeable to help get what is yours, but you also want someone to make you feel both calm and confident in your case. If you are preparing for divorce and already know that mediation is probably not going to be likely, contact us today to see what we can do to help ease the burden of divorce.