While it may not seem at first that there is a lot for your attorney to do, there are actually several things that they prepare for and help you make sure are covered before and during the trial.
Preparation Before the Trial
Before the trial even truly starts, your attorney will have done a lot of prep work. Some of this work includes:
- Figuring out specific issues that the court must decide within your case
- Finding facts that are relevant to helping the judge make decisions on these issues
- Finding facts that will also help your case
- Preparing documents as well as exhibits or visual aids they will use during the trial
- Preparation to examine and cross-examine witnesses
This sounds like a fairly straightforward process, but it actually takes the years of practice your attorney has behind them to really get all this done right. You may consider not having an attorney, but if your spouse is being represented by a family law attorney while you are not, you are at a very huge disadvantage in your case.
While preparing for the trial, your attorney should also cover any questions that you may need to answer during your trial and help you prepare your testimony so that anything you say will not hurt your case. They will also prepare questions for each witness that you or your spouse could call to testify while ensuring that subpoenas are sent to the witness according to the local court’s laws.
Your attorney might also make pretrial motions, which are written requests that could potentially be critical to your case. For instance, in Georgia divorces there is a particular post-separation conduct that may not be admissible. Here, your attorney can ask the judge to prohibit the spouse from presenting any related evidence at your trial.
The Attorney’s Job Throughout the Trial
While the prep work has already been done, there are some thing your attorney will be covering as the trial is ongoing. This includes:
- Delivering the opening and closing statements to the judge or jury
- Questioning any of your witnesses brought forward
- Cross-examining the witnesses your spouse brings forward
- Entering the documents as evidence
- Making objections when appropriate
- Defending you against any of your spouse’s attorney’s objection
- Any other unexpected duties and tasks that can come up within the trial
Now that you know the actual job your attorney undergoes, you might be wonder what each task is. We will cover a few of them here.
The Opening Statement
When the trial begins, you attorney will start off by giving an opening statement to the judge or jury. This statement serves as a preview of your attorney’s presentation and outlines the case you are going to present to the court. The opening statement your attorney presents explains what you are asking the court to do, including granting you custody of the children or spousal support.
As mentioned earlier, your attorney will have questions ready for each witness that is expected to appear at your trial. In a divorce trial, the spouse who filed for the divorce will get the first go at presenting any witnesses and evidence before the court. Generally, each spouse testifies as well as other witness relevant to the tissues being discussed.
For instance, if you are involved in a custody case, then any babysitters, teachers, or doctors can testify about each parent’s roles in your child’s life. For any financial concerns, an accountant, financial expert, or a business partner can testify about the assets and debts for both you and your spouse.
You attorney will ask questions that allow the friendlier witness to fully explain themselves and challenge the more hostile witness on the statements they give. Your attorney should be objecting any time the other attorney or another witness says something that is improper or inadmissible.
There are a variety of questions that should not be asked within a court setting of the witnesses. For example, any questions that would make the witness to recount a statement made by a witness not present at the trial, this is inappropriate. By now, your attorney should know each of these rules and will use them to ensure that there is no improper evidence introduced during the trial.
Finally, at the end of the trial, your attorney will make a closing statement before the court. The closing statement will explain the main arguments for your case once again. An attorney with a lot of skills will have a statement that weaves in facts presented at the trial into a singular narrative that will explain why the judge should grant your requests for any of the issues the court needs to decide upon, such as alimony. They should also know how which points will the most important to your particular case and which will be needed to help you out in the final argument.
If your divorce case does go to trial, then you should really consider hiring an attorney. This is because there are many areas, subjects, rules, and many more to consider doing on your own as someone who is not a lawyer. If you have other questions regarding what your lawyer will be doing during your trial, make sure you get in touch with your local family law attorney.
Farbod Majd Esq.
Divorce Attorney w/ offices in Beverly Hills/Los Angeles
Services in English, Turkish, and Farsi/Persian (Iranian/American Lawyer)
8383 Wilshire Blvd Suite 646, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
310.956.4600 | Fax: 310.878.8989 | [email protected]