The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC understands that if you are facing a Temporary Orders Hearing in your divorce or child custody case that you will be nervous and a little apprehensive about the process.
That is normal. After all, the future of your case and at least the immediate future of your family depends in large part on what occurs in this temporary orders hearing.
By far the most common concern that I have heard expressed by clients is that they do not want to “mess up” while testifying.
If you’ve read through the most recent articles written in this series on temporary orders hearing you can see that much of the words committed to this subject have been on your testimony.
As we begin to wrap this series of articles up, however, I believe there is some advice that is so essential to feeling confident and testifying confidently that it needs to be shared.
What follows is the advice that I consider to be among the most important pieces of advice you will receive in regard to preparing for a temporary orders hearings.
When Testifying: Understand the Question
This may appear to be sort of a “no brainer” at first glance. How else, you may be saying, would I answer a question if I didn’t understand what was being asked?
My response would be that you can think that all you want, while you sit in front of your computer in the comfort of your home, but when you are on the witness stand and a tad nervous you may answer questions that you ordinarily would not.
When your adrenaline starts to flow and you already don’t feel all that sure of yourself it is easy to open your mouth and lets words come out without much regard for their content.
Before answering a question from either your attorney or the opposing attorney it pays to take a moment and think to yourself- “Do I understand this question?”.
If you do go ahead and answer. If you do not- either ask the attorney to ask the question again or to rephrase it if you simply don’t understand what he or she is asking.
Lawyers in real life are not like the lawyers you see in movies or television. Our questions do not come from Hollywood script writers.
The words we use or the order we put them in are not perfect. If something asked of you doesn’t make sense do not try and guess at what the lawyer was asking. Make sure you know what is being asked and then give your honest answer.
Answer the Question that is asked and then move on
Without attempting to be evasive, difficult or nonresponsive altogether it is important to know that you do not need to present your entire theory on why you should get the boat and your wife shouldn’t when responding to a question in court. I tell clients all the time that I approach the questioning of a witness like I’m building a house, brick by brick. I’m not going to have the house built with one brick, but by asking a series of ordered questions hopefully we’ll have a house by the end of the day.
You can approach your answering of questions in the same way. Don’t think of it as a necessity for you to provide a lengthy and comprehensive answer when asked a simple question. An example of what I’m talking about is as follows:
Attorney: “Sir, do you know what time it is?”
Client: “9:30 a.m.”
If your attorney were to ask you do you know what time it is the best answer would be a simple, “Yes.” In the everyday world we live in you would have answered that question in the most logical way, but in court unless you are asked, “What time is it?” your response would not be appropriate.
Listen to the question asked, make sure you understand it, and then answer it as clearly and simply as possible.
When a Yes or No Answer is not enough
Especially when being cross examined by an opposing attorney, I will tell clients that if you can answer a question with a “Yes” or a “No”, then go ahead and do it. Why give the other side any more ammunition in terms of your responses than they already have?
Volunteering information when a question does not call for that information to be given is typically something to be avoided when responding to cross examination.
Often times a question is asked of a witness that requires further explanation than a one word answer. Especially if the question is a one that points out a negative part of your own history the other lawyer may want to attempt to plant a seed in the judge’s brain about your past behavior.
If you are asked a question like this, you should make sure that before you allow the attorney asking the question to move on that they understand that you are going to provide a more thorough answer.
It isn’t necessary for you to grandstand or take a full minute with a response but context is important to provide the court when answering certain questions.
Your attorney is there with you to make sure that the judge provides you an opportunity to answer the question in full. Lawyers will sometimes push you to reply with only a yes or no response. Do not be intimidated by this. Present your answer in full to the best of your ability.
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC: Client Oriented Family Law Attorneys
When preparing yourself for a day as important as your temporary orders hearing, having effective and strong advocates behind you is crucial.
The family law attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC take our responsibility to represent you, your family and your interests very strongly.
If you have questions about your family law situation please contact us today to schedule a free of charge consultation to discuss how we can help you and your family.
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”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- 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
- Temporary Orders and Temporary Restraining Orders in Texas
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Houston 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, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Houston, 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.