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How to present yourself and testify well in court during your divorce case, Part Two

As you can tell from the title to this blog post, we are going to be continuing our discussion on how to get ready for your day in court. One big point that I communicated in yesterday’s blog post was that it is unlikely that you will even have to go to court during your divorce case. Such is the high rate of settlements that occur in divorcecases in Texas.

With that said, it is better to be safe than sorry and the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC wanted to share as much information with you as we could on this subject.

What to wear (and more importantly what not to wear)

When I was growing up my mom would often tell my sister and I, “It’s not a fashion show” or “You’re not going to the prom”, whenever we would be taking too long to get ready to go someplace. Those words still ring out in my head whenever I overthink what to wear to an event or just out and about in town with my family.

With that said, the clothes you wear can have an affect on how you are perceived and judged. It’s not as if what you wear can change a judge’s mind on a particular subject but perception matters, whether we like it or not.

Avoid wearing clothes that show too much skin. This will not only cause your look to be more appropriate for a courtroom but it will keep your shoulders warm in the cool courtroom.

Think about what you would wear to church (non Christmas/Easter church) or to work. That is pretty much what I tell clients to wear to court if I’m asked. I fully understand that it is somewhat awkward to tell another adult what to wear someplace.

However, if I think it will be an issue I will speak. I’d rather be the rude lawyer who intruded upon your decision making than the lawyer whose client is embarrassed because he or she is under dressed for the courtroom.

Answer questions when you are ready to do so

Family lawattorneys are in court all the time. Of all the areas of civil law I believe family law attorneys make courtroom appearances more than any of them. As a result, we have developed a certain rhythm to the way that we ask questions at a hearing.

A lot of this has to do with the fact that we know what we are going to ask you next. In this way questioning a witness can be a little like a play with rehearsed and scripted lines.

On the other hand, you as the witness do not know exactly what is coming next as far as a question is concerned. On top of this you will be nervous or at the very least a little uncomfortable while testifying. You won’t be in a familiar place and you’ll be discussing topics that you probably won’t be thrilled to be discussing in front of a bunch of strangers.

Answer the questions asked of you when you feel comfortable giving a response and on your own “schedule”. Don’t feel like you need to immediately answer a question. As we discussed yesterday this can actually be a huge negative to avoid.

If you know that you have the tendency to blurt out an answer do your best to guard against this habit. The judge, the lawyers and your spouse are not going anyway. Answer clearly and when you feel ready to do so. If you answer the question when you are ready to do so it’s likely that you will make more sense and generally give a better answer.

Handling objections

It is likely that while you are testifying either your attorney or your spouse’s attorney will make an objection or two. Objections can be offered against the form of a question being asked or against the answer provided by a witness. When you hear a lawyer call for an objection, your job is to not say anything further until the judge instructs you that it is ok to respond.

The lawyers will have an opportunity to state an objection and have the other lawyer respond to that objection as well. It is important to always be aware of what is happening so that you don’t speak out of turn.

Above all else, be truthful when answering questions

If I have a client who is especially nervous for their day in court I will tell him or her that ultimately their own job is to come to court and be honest while testifying. The lawyers have to think up the questions and the judge has to make rulings. Your only job as a witness to present yourself as a good witness and to testify honestly.

Nobody- not your attorney, not the other attorney, and not the judge- expects you to do anything special on the witness stand. Sometimes people get flustered in a hearing or trial and forget the answer to a question that is asked.

Other times you can think that a certain answer will “sound” better and therefore be more beneficial to your case. I can tell you that nothing sounds better to a judge than the truth. You will not get any benefit from making an answer up or fudging the truth even a little.

Remember, you are testifying under an oath that you will be truthful. Violating that oath means not only that you can hurt your case but that you are in violation of the most basic rules of the courtroom.

Questions on conducting yourself in court? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

Thank you for the opportunity to share with you some of our thoughts on the subject of testifying in a hearing or trial during your family law case. If you have any other questions for us please contact us today. A free of charge consultation is available to you six days a week where one of our licensed family law attorneys can answer your questions.


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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. How to present yourself and testify well in court during your divorce case
  2. Tips on giving in-court testimony in your divorce or child custody case
  3. Tips on giving in-court testimony in your divorce or child custody case, Part Two
  4. Getting Ready for a Hearing On Temporary Custody Orders
  5. Child Custody Geographic Restrictions in Texas
  6. Geographic Restrictions in Child Visitation Orders in Texas
  7. The Dirty Trick of Moving Out of State with the Kids
  8. Can a Parent remove My Child from the state of Texas or from the County or Country where I am living?
  9. Children's Passports and International Travel after Texas Divorce
  10. Child Custody Basics for Texas Parents Revisited
  11. Child Custody Basics 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 Child Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our Divorce lawyers in Spring 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.


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