While most people do not cherish the opportunity of litigating their custody case or child support situation, the fact is that many cases do, in fact, require court appearances. This means that aside from making sure that your attorney is adequately prepared, you also need to make sure that you too are properly prepared as a witness. Here are 10 tips for being the best witness possible.
1. No lies. Tell the truth and nothing but the truth.
2. Answer the Question. Answer what is asked…that is it. Don’t offer extra information that isn’t asked.
3. Look the Judge in the Eye. The role of the judge is to judge the veracity of the witness. Make it easy for the judge to find you credible.
4. Control your Emotions. Custody and child support cases are notoriously emotional. However, check the emotions at the door and realize that the court needs to apply the law, regardless of the emotions.
5. Be Positive. You always have options and you always have another chance.
6. The judge sees all. Don’t stick out your tongue. Don’t flip off the other person. The judge sees these little gestures and it can impact on the outcome.
7. Remove obstacles. Recognize that your case does have weaknesses and address those. Don’t pretend they don’t exist.
8. Listen to the Questions. Think before you answer. Don’t anticipate a response or a question.
9. Stick to your Theory. Develop a case plan and theory and let everything you do focus on that theory.
10. Be the voice of reason. Be thoughtful, reasonable and logical. The court knows that the case is emotional but is looking for the logical, legally based answer. Help him/her find it through you!