Tips for Testifying at your Divorce in New Jersey
Providing Testimony with Help from a Divorce Attorney Handling your Case in NJ
Testifying in court is an experience that tends to elicit a stress response in us, regardless of the conditions or how well-prepared we are to take the stand.
Even more stressful is testifying in a case that directly involves you, such as a divorce hearing. When you are testifying in your divorce proceedings, it is important that you remain calm, cool, and collected and provide direct, honest, and succinct answers to the questions you are asked. Though you can feel discombobulated by such an experience, there are considerations you can stay aware of as you prepare for testimony that will help you navigate the process in service of the most aligned outcome for you and your family.
Preparing for your Testimony
The best way to ensure that you say what you want to say and feel calm doing it is to practice giving your testimony. Nobody knows the case better than you, and you can provide insights to the judge that no one else has. However, if you are nervous, it may be difficult to recall that information. Practicing giving your testimony after jotting down key points that you want to include is key to maintaining your stature during the hearing. Part of practicing giving your testimony is meeting with your attorney to understand the types of questions they will ask you. Your attorney will not put you on the spot with a surprise question, so getting clear about what they will be asking and preparing your response will support you getting your intended points across to the judge.
Additionally, it is important to know and understand all of the evidence and documentation that has been submitted in the hearing. Your answers, of course, will need to corroborate with this evidence. Because you won’t be allowed to bring any notes with you as you testify, ensure that you’ve reviewed submitted evidence and such specifics as marital finances before your testimony.
With your divorce attorney, you will consider any possible cross-examination questions from your spouse’s attorneys. Consider dynamics and routes they may take to obtain more of the marital assets and custodial time with your children, but don’t get caught up in the emotional push and pull that may have existed between you. Remember that you’re preparing for this testimony to support the cutting of unhealthy emotional cords with your ex so that you can each move on, justly resourced.
Giving your Testimony
When it comes time to testify, there are some things to keep in mind that will help you give clear and complete testimony supporting an ideal outcome. The first thing to keep in mind is that there is no rush. Feel free to take your time processing a question before responding to ensure that you understand. Ask for the person to repeat the question if you doubt what is specifically being asked. Because you are testifying under oath, you must provide true information, and misunderstanding a question could jeopardize this serious oath.
Be succinct and honest. This is easier said than done. When we speak the truth, especially a truth that doesn’t show us in our highest light, we provide additional information to pad the truth or provide justification. All yourself the mistakes of the past, and be brutally honest and succinct in answering specifically the questions asked, even if it contains damaging information to your character or past choices. When it is a simple yes or no answer, you can answer just like that: with yes or no.
See the testimony as an information gathering session. Try to be as objective as possible and provide the judge what they need to have information to make a just decision regarding your divorce hearing, the division of assets, and child custody. During such an emotionally trying time as a divorce hearing, it can be not easy to maintain a clear head and not take things personally. Often we project from our wound instead of from our witness. Spend ample time before and during the testimony breathing, centering, and giving yourself love so that no matter the outcome, you will know that you have offered your answers in integrity. You yourself are the route to the love, security, and belonging you need – no outcome as a result of your testimony can change that.
To ensure that your rights are upheld in a divorce, you must seek the support of a qualified family law attorney.
Contact our Divorce Lawyer for a free and confidential consultation
If you are navigating a divorce and want to ensure that your testimony provides a solid resource for the judge to work with to ensure a speedy and fair division of assets and custodial arrangement, we are on your side.
At Bronzino Law Firm, we successfully represent clients serving in Brick, Sea Girt, Toms River, and Wall Township and across the Jersey Shore.
Speak with Peter Bronzino and our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation about your divorce. Please contact us online or through either our Brick or Sea Girt, NJ offices at (732) 812-3102.