How to Prepare Your Family for Long Island Divorce Litigation
No couple on Long Island truly wants to go through divorce litigation, but sometimes it’s necessary to protect your best interests and the best interests of your children. You might have heard stories of other divorced couples who had a contested divorce and went through litigation, and it’s unlikely they made you feel at ease. Litigation can be challenging, yes, but it gets a bad reputation. If you come into it with the right attitude and the right expectations, you can come away from it with a resolution you can be satisfied with. Here’s how you can prepare your family (and yourself) for a litigious divorce.
Be Prepared to Testify at Your Divorce
Many people go into divorce court believing that getting on the stand will finally give them the chance to tell their side of the story. This is typically not the case. New York law only allows for individuals to testify about matters that are relevant. Be prepared to be questioned by your own attorney, as well as by your spouse’s attorney. Things to keep in mind when considering testifying:
- Listen to the question. Don’t be afraid to ask the attorney to repeat it. Take a moment to think about your answer. This also gives your attorney time to object to the question if needed.
- Respond only to what was asked. Do not elaborate or volunteer any information that is beyond the scope of the question.
- Breathe. Remember that your answers are recorded. You do not have to be quick to answer, but you must answer carefully.
- Ask your lawyer to go through a mock session with you so you can get a feel for what will be asked and how you will respond.
If you have a child that is old enough to testify, ask first if he or she is willing to do so. Don’t force a child to testify if they are not comfortable with it. With the assistance of your lawyer, you can help a willing child to be confident about bringing their own testimony to the stand.
Know the Evidence to Be Presented in Your Divorce
Criminal court is not the only place that evidence exists. There will be a Discovery phase in your divorce and the presentation of evidence at your divorce hearing too. Most likely, it will be financial records like bank statements or tax returns or photos of any abuse, property destruction, or domestic violence that took place. You should be completely familiar with the evidence that not only your lawyer plans to present on your behalf, but also the evidence that your ex-spouse’s attorney will be bringing forward.
At the end of the Discovery phase, before the trial, your attorney and your ex-spouse’s attorney will exchange all evidence that is intended to be entered into court for the judge to consider. Review all the evidence carefully and take notes. You don’t want any surprises, and if your ex-spouse brings forward evidence that was not gathered and shared during the discovery phase, the judge will likely not allow it to be entered into court.
Talk About Your Emotions & What to Expect During Court
During court, you need to control your emotions. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to go away. In fact, they may intensify during the trial so it’s important that you understand what to expect and discuss the same with your family. Let your children know that the divorce litigation process may take a long time and that it’s normal to be upset or unsure of what the outcome will be. Talk together about your emotions regarding the divorce process, but avoid making any negative comments about your ex-spouse. Keep the conversations as positive as possible while still acknowledging that feeling upset, frustrated, and scared are all normal parts of the divorce process.
Older children can be made aware of the different steps of the process. They may feel better about what is going on and what types of issues will be addressed. Use your best judgment to determine what your children should and should not know — however, it’s also important that you be honest at an age appropriate level whenever your children ask questions.
Need Help Litigating Your Contested Divorce? Contact Us
Do you have questions about your contested divorce? We can help. Our Long Island Family Divorce Law Firm will be happy to review your case and determine how best to meet your current needs. Call our office today at 631-237-3409 or fill out our quick online form for a free consultation with one of our experienced Long Island divorce lawyers.
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