Three Mistakes To Avoid If You Have To Testify In Court
The majority of divorce cases in Florida are resolved through mediation or simple negotiations between the two parties. In these cases, there is no need to testify before a court. Sometimes though, the couple cannot reach an agreement on certain terms and so, they have to enter litigation. During litigation, a judge will make all final decisions in the case, after hearing testimony from both parties.
Testifying in open court is intimidating for those that have never done it before, and it is easy to make mistakes. It is important to avoid these mistakes, as they could ultimately hurt your case. Below, our family lawyer in Orlando explains the three most common mistakes people make when they testify, and how to avoid them.
You will have to answer many questions while you are testifying and if you know the answer, you may want to provide it immediately after the question is asked. This is a natural instinct, but it is better to take a moment and think about your answer. If you answer too quickly, you may simply say the first thing that comes to mind, which may or may not be helpful. You may also provide more information than is really necessary, which could also hurt your case. Any time you are asked a question, take a brief pause to think about your answer before giving it.
People generally know not to interrupt people when they are speaking. However, when you are on the stand and testifying, it is normal to become nervous and that sometimes causes people to interrupt. In other cases, people sometimes have information they feel is very important and they simply want to make it known.
Whatever the reason, it is always important to make sure you do not interrupt a lawyer or the judge. Wait until they have asked the question before attempting to answer. You may be asked a different question than you thought and again, you do not want to provide any information that was not asked of you. Also, the court reporter can only record what one person is saying at a time. If you interrupt, it could result in an incomplete transcript.
You may feel as though you are under pressure when testifying and that you must provide a complete answer for every question asked. While you do have to provide an answer, you can always say you do not know or you do not remember. This is much better than guessing while on the stand. If you guess and you are wrong, the court may think you were intentionally dishonest and charge you with perjury, which is very serious.
Our Divorce Lawyer in Orlando Can Prepare You for Trial
If you are considering divorce, you should know there is always the potential it will end in a trial. At Anderson & Ferrin, P.A., our Orlando divorce lawyer can prepare you for litigation so you have the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us today at 407-412-7041 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.