If your divorce or family law case is going to trial, you may be feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Trial certainly can be daunting, especially without proper preparation, but is often a necessary step toward reaching resolution in a legal matter. Below is some helpful information on how to prepare for trial, what to expect from trial, and what trial may look like for you during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Going To Trial? Get Prepared.
- Before trial, you’ll meet with your attorney to prepare. Your attorney will prepare a Pretrial Statement setting forth your positions on the disputed issues, listing your witnesses and exhibits to be used at trial, which is typically filed one week prior to trial. The exhibits that you intend on using at trial also typically need to be delivered to the Court about one week prior to trial. Your attorney will also help you prepare to testify and how to answer questions when you’re cross-examined by the other side.
- Trial is typically held in a courtroom, but given current circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly all trials are being held virtually via video conference.Preparing for a video conference trial:
1. Plan to go to your attorney’s office, or if necessary, another private, quiet location where you’ll have no interruptions.
2. You will need a computer with a webcam, speakers, and a microphone (most laptops and tablets will have these built in), as well as a reliable internet connection
- During trial, both parties will testify. You’ll be put under oath and required to give testimony, (much like you’d see on an episode of Law and Order) Your attorney will help prepare you for this portion, but always remember: honesty is the best policy as your credibility will be judged. If your testimony appears truthful and credible to the judge, it will go a long way to ensuring the most favorable outcome. Try to get a good night’s sleep the night before – most people that are well rested are better prepared to answer questions and deal with the stress of a trial.
- If you have any comments, questions, or notes while the other party is testifying, do not verbalize them. There may be times that the other party says something that you disagree with or outright lies during their testimony. Bring this to the attention of your attorney through a note or via text message – DO NOT interrupt, yell, scream, audibly sigh and throw up your arms or take other audible/visually demonstrate actions while the other party is speaking or testifying. Not only does the judge consider it rude and inappropriate, but it will interrupt the testimony and the recording of the same for the record which may negatively impact your case in the event an appeal is necessary. Furthermore, it actually highlights that testimony that you think is wrong or inaccurate by you bringing unnecessary and unwanted attention to it through your actions.
Trial can be an overwhelming process, but we are here to help! Contact the attorneys at OWENS & PERKINS by clicking here or by calling our office at 480.630.2464 to schedule your FREE 30 minute legal consultation. We remain fully operational while practicing appropriate social distancing and cleaning regimes.