In the Law Office of Bryan Fagan’s final installment of our series of blog posts whose subject is preparing for a temporary orders hearing in Texas, we will discuss some final pieces of advice and advance knowledge regarding testifying in a hearing.
The finer points of testifying in front of the judge can be just as critical to your case as the more generalized advice provided in earlier blogs. Let’s start our discussion today on a subject that many clients have questions about: attorney objections to testimony or questions.
Objections to Questions and Responses in Temporary Orders Hearings
While yourtemporary orders hearing will most likely not resemble something you’ve seen on television it is likely that you will encounter objections of various sorts from the lawyers in your case.
If you are answering questions from either attorney in your hearing and you hear an objection act like it’s a red light and stop before saying anything. Do not try to get an answer out before the judge makes a ruling one way or another on the objection.
The judge can “sustain” the objection, meaning that he or she agrees with the objecting attorney and will not allow a particular answer or question on the record.
Deny or Overrule
The judge can also “deny” the objection and disagree with the objecting attorney’s attempt and will allow a question or answer on the record.
You should not base how you answer on whether the objection was sustained or denied. You will still need to answer the question (or a new question) truthfully. Also- if the judge gives you a specific instruction you should listen without saying anything and then respond according to the instruction from the judge.
The beauty of giving testimony is that you don’t have to know any rules of evidence or other techniques of testimony. If you can tell the truth and follow the sort of advice provided to you in this series of blog posts you will be more than prepared to testify well.
Notes to your Attorney
When your spouse is testifying you will be sitting at a table next to your attorney. It is completely understandable that if you hear testimony that you believe to be incorrect or an outright falsehood that you would want to alert your attorney to this fact.
While your attorney is questioning the other party is not an ideal time to share these thoughts by tugging on their sleeve or whispering in their ear.
My advice would be to write these issues down on a piece of paper and give them to your attorney at the conclusion of the opposing party’s testimony.
At that time your attorney can decide when and how to utilize this information when he or she has another opportunity to continue questioning the witness. This way you can express your thoughts to your lawyer but not in a way that will compromise their attention while questioning the witness.
Referencing your pre-hearing preparation while on the stand
As a general rule, it is not against the rules to prepare for a temporary orders hearing with your lawyer. In fact it is recommended (I mean, why else would we have written these blog posts for you!?).
The opposing attorney cannot ask you what specifically you and your attorney discussed because that would be asking you to essentially void the attorney-client relationship. Private communications between you and your lawyer are privileged unless that privilege is waived.
If you have talked to any other person- your mother, father, pastor, friend, etc.- about the testimony that you will be giving in court that is ok as well. In the case of your attorney, he or she should not be instructing you on what to say or how to say.
For me personally, I always tell clients to just speak the truth. If you’re able to do that nobody can be upset at you for the answers that you provide.
Tell the Truth and Do Not Speculate
An additional rule to the general “Tell the Truth” piece of advice we’ve provided throughout this series of blog posts is not to speculate when responding to a question. Simply put, do not guess at an answer.
If you cannot remember something or aren’t exactly sure of something it is perfectly ok to respond that way. You will not be judged as dishonest or unintelligent or anything like that. This is a much better plan than to take a guess at something because you are sort of sure that the answer is the right one.
This is especially true when being questioned by the opposing attorney. Usually the other lawyer will not ask you a question unless he or she is reasonably sure of what the answer is.
If you give an off base answer it is likely that the next few questions asked of you could expose your answer as being false. Credibility is important when testifying in court and you want to protect your credibility at all cost.
Concluding thoughts of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan on Temporary Hearings
As we’ve touched on in prior blog posts it is impossible to prepare for every circumstance that can arise during a temporary orders hearing. However, you are much more likely to put forth the sort of presentation that you desire if you prepare diligently. This means having the sort of communication with your attorney that ensures he or she knows what you know in terms of your case and the details of it.
The Tomball divorce lawyers with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan thank you for your time in reading these posts. It is our belief that the community that we live in should be well read and knowledgeable of the laws that can affect the futures of their families and themselves.
If you have any questions about the subject matter we’ve written about do not hesitate to contact our office for a consultation with one of our family law attorneys. These consultations are free of charge and are not limited to a specific time frame. Call our office, come on in and sit down with one of our lawyers and have your questions answered in a judgment-free environment.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Preparing for a Temporary Orders Hearing in Texas, Part Six
- Preparing for a Temporary Orders Hearing in Texas, Part Five
- Preparing for a Temporary Orders Hearing in Texas, Part Four
- Preparing for a Temporary Orders Hearing in Texas, Part Three
- Preparing for a Temporary Orders Hearing in Texas, Part One
- Preparing for a Temporary Orders Hearing in Texas, Part Two
- Do I need Temporary Orders in my Texas Divorce?
- Temporary Orders and Temporary Restraining Orders in Texas
- Getting Ready for a Hearing On Temporary Custody Orders
- The Divorce Temporary Orders Guide
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Tomball, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Tomball, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Tomball TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Tomball, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.