Who can be a witness in a divorce case? When two parties cannot reach an agreement regarding the terms of their divorce settlement and do an online divorce in Morgan County, or anywhere else in North Alabama, they will have what is known as a contested divorce. This means that the two parties will have to go before the Circuit Court and present their arguments for each contested term of their divorce. These terms generally include issues like child support, child custody, and alimony. The parties may only disagree on one term, or they may disagree on as many as all of the terms. After both parties present their case, the Circuit Court judge will use their discretion to determine how each term will be settled between the two parties.
Before going to trial, it is important that your Birmingham divorce attorney builds and prepares your case. To do this, each party will conduct discovery, which is done to find out any information that may be relevant to the case. Depositions are one type of discovery, and they are basically formal interviews where the parties and their witnesses are asked questions outside of court. Any information obtained from depositions may be presented at trial, and the witnesses may be called to appear and testify in court. Witnesses may include the parties’ children (if applicable), family, friends, coworkers, and any other relevant individuals. These witnesses are known as character witnesses because they testify to the parties’ character and any interactions that they have had with the parties that may be determinative in the divorce proceeding. Expert witnesses may also testify in court because they have specialized knowledge, training, or experience to where they can offer their objective, professional opinion regarding the matter. Expert witnesses usually include psychologists, pediatricians, social workers, etc.
Each party is entitled to know what evidence the other party is going to use at trial, which includes witnesses. Witnesses will have to answer questions asked by both parties. To ensure the best chance of their witnesses answering questions most favorably to them, attorneys should prepare their witnesses as thoroughly as possible. Divorce lawyers in Anniston, or anywhere else in Alabama, should explain that it is crucial for witnesses to speak calmly and honestly, and they should remind them that lying under oath is a crime. It would be wise to review with witnesses exactly what they said in their deposition to avoid contradicting it in court. Your Prattville divorce lawyer should instruct witnesses to listen to each question very carefully, only answer the question that was asked, and ask for clarification if they are unsure or confused. Witnesses should take their time to think before answering, and they should try to keep their answers brief. It is important that witnesses avoid rambling, arguing, raising their voice, and making up an answer.
When divorces go to trial, the parties are leaving the outcome in the hands of the Circuit Court judge. Because of this, it is imperative that the parties prepare all aspects of their case for trial. Witnesses should especially be prepared because they can either be beneficial or detrimental to the case. Attorneys should ensure that their witnesses know what to expect before appearing in court, and they may want to advise witnesses to take special notice of their appearance and to dress appropriately for court.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, and real estate closings on this website. He is always available in any of the firm’s offices or by phone anytime for a consultation. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply any feedback. We appreciate our readers and love to hear from you!