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Family Law

White Law Office, Co. > Family Law

Giving Testimony: High Anxiety Part 2 – The Number One Mistake

Welcome to Part Two of my series of observations on the high anxiety of giving testimony. In this part, the number one mistake made by witnesses. Giving testimony is really a fairly simple procedure. Attorneys ask questions and witnesses give answers. Most questions are about something the witness has experienced. So, a good pattern of questions is similar to a journalist conducting an interview: who, what, when, where, how and why? Simple, right? Not so much. Especially with the "why" question, witnesses often commit the number one mistake in testifying: they guess. Whenever a witness says: "I guess," "I would imagine," "I'm pretty sure," "I suppose," or "from what everyone has told me," you know the witness is heading for trouble. Most of the time the last answer "what everyone has told me" is not allowed by the hearsay rule, but if you are an attorney whose witness is guessing, any objection you make in effect says "Sorry, Your Honor, my witness is an idiot and doesn't know what they are talking about." This is not a good position to be in when it is your witness testifying, much less if it is your client testifying. Why is guessing an answer the number one mistake in testifying? Because most of the time you will guess wrong! It never fails. Most guesses given under oath are just plain wrong. Trust me on this. I have had almost 40 years' experience of listening to bad guesses. Good trial attorneys know that. This is why if it is...

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Will you marry me?

Often, one of the happiest moments in an individual’s life is purchasing an engagement ring and asking the big question, “Will you marry me?” An individual spends countless time selecting, sometimes creating, the unique engagement ring to seal the deal. Even though the trend seems to challenge traditional rules, it was reported last year that tradition has required an individual to spend two to three months of their salary on an engagement ring....

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Family Law – In Seven parts

  Part 1- Introduction to Co-Parenting. Parents enduring a divorce are often puzzled by the buzz-word “Co-Parenting.” I have read psychological studies that find divorce as one of the worst things you can experience as an adult. Worse even than the death of a spouse. If your spouse dies, there is a funeral, grieving and a chance to move on with your life. In divorce, your former spouse may be legally dead to you, but they are still walking around (kind of a weird living dead thing), especially if you are parents. While in the midst of a heart-rending divorce, being a “Co-Anything” with the spouse you are divorcing doesn’t make sense. Your spouse has hurt you beyond reason and while feelings of hurt, betrayal, and revenge, the judge will often order you to attend a “Co-Parenting Seminar.” What’s that all about? Co-Parenting is just the latest way to formulate something that I used to tell divorcing parents when I was a Judge: “You can divorce each other, just don’t divorce your kids!” Even in the most heated divorces, most of us can agree that the divorce is not the kid's fault. Yet, it is the kids who often pay a heavy price for divorce. They can be viewed as trophies whose custody is “won” or “lost.” They can be wooed or threatened to “pick sides” in the divorce. The other parent can be blamed for financial hardship for the child (“Daddy just doesn’t love you enough to pay his child support”). And many other ways to...

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