Many people out there have to come to terms with the fact that they’re going to be involved in a family law trial. It can be stressful and even a little intimidating, but the good news is that a family lawyer will usually prepare their clients on what to aspect and tell them how to behave in front of the judge.
All of that can influence how the case goes, so they want you on your best behaviour and will instruct you on what you need to know. For those who can’t wait, however, here are a few basics that your lawyer will likely go over before that first day in court:
First of all, realize that the way a family court trial proceeds is not all that different from any others. Opening statements are permitted at the beginning of the trial and are usually made. This is the time to let your lawyer shine, and keep quiet! They know what they’re doing and they have a strategy so don’t cramp their style.
Once the opening statements are made, evidence is presented. This is the main body of the trial where the plaintiff (the party that filed for the trial) starts off by presenting evidence and questioning witnesses followed by the defence (the party that who was filed against) who presents their own evidence and witnesses.
This is also the point that most people recognize as being the trial in movies or shows. It’s during this time that lawyers can object to questions being asked or to an exhibit being entered into evidence. It is here, as well, that the lawyer is being paid to do his job. Whispering to the lawyer about some aspect to the case is common, objecting to something out loud and in open court is not!
The next step is for closing statements to be made. This is also where the lawyer makes a concluding speech and attempts to convince the judge that he, or she, needs to rule in your favour. It’s the same rule here as for the opening statements: keep quiet! The last thing you want to do is undermine your own case by interrupting your own lawyer during an opening or closing speech does just that!
The verdict is usually arrived at within a reasonable amount of time. The best thing to do in these cases is to keep oneself busy, because it usually takes at least a few hours and it can take quite a bit longer. Don’t worry about it if it does, just keep busy and keep your mind off of it.
One thing that a lawyer will say and a piece of advice that should be heeded is that of looking professional. No, not everyone can go out and buy a designer suit for a trial, and the judge doesn’t expect that. Simple suits aren’t expensive and are important to wear in a trial. It also doesn’t mean that someone needs to cut their hair, but they should be clean-shaven or have a well-trimmed beard.