Tips To Help You Succeed In A Dissolution of Marriage
In any litigation it is important that the client and attorney become a team working together to achieve their common goal. This is especially true in your divorce case. Divorce cases are determined by the facts presented to the Judge. While the attorney knows the law you know the facts of the case.
It is important to separate the important facts from unimportant facts. Florida is known as a “No Fault” state. The Judge will not be trying to determine if you or your spouse is to blame in your divorce. In and of themselves, adultery, fiscal irresponsibility, laziness, or being argumentative are not ultimate facts that need to be proven to the judge. Coming into your divorce case the husband or wife can be focused on wanting to fix blame on the other spouse. It is the attorney’s job to educate you, as the client, about the law and what facts the Judge needs to hear from you.
Effective communication between you and your attorney is very important. Often you will have unpleasant facts that are uncomfortable to disclose to your attorney but that are crucial facts in the case. You should not try to argue your divorce case to your attorney by putting a spin on the facts. Talking to your attorney is a time for brutal honesty.
On the other hand, attorneys should not make assumptions about the facts. The attorney must carefully question you to make sure the important facts are revealed. Grandmother may look like a good witness for the wife and a good baby sitter for the children until it is revealed that the grandmother has prior convictions for DUI and battery. The attorney must ask, and the client must reveal, all of the crucial facts. Hearing bad facts for the first time during your testimony in trial can be devastating to your case. However, the impact of bad facts can be mitigated or reduced in effect if those facts are disclosed early and in full to your divorce lawyer. Maybe that grandmother was convicted 20 years ago and has not had a drink since. If the attorney knows all the facts they will know the questions to ask to present the facts in the best way possible. Help your attorney prepare for your case from day one.
The facts of your case must be provable in order to have value in your case. Facts are proven to support the elements of the claims you have made to the court – such as timesharing, asset division, and your/your spouse’s payment or receipt of alimony. Proof of facts can come into your case by way of testimony given by you or your spouse, photographs, expert witness testimony, business records, emails or texts to and from your child’s teacher or your spouse, voicemail recordings of your spouse, your husband or wife’s social media posts and an endless variety of other types of evidence.
As the client, you and your attorney should work closely together to find and develop evidence that can be brought before the Court. For example, you may think a witness has valuable information but is reluctant to come to Court. The attorney can have the potential witness severed with a subpoena and force the witness to appear. Of course, you may not get the testimony you want if you force the witness to appear.
Sometimes a client will not disclose certain information because they think it cannot be used because it is hearsay. However, there are many exceptions to the rule against hearsay. An attorney may be able to find a hearsay exception, so the proposed testimony can be admitted. Some statements are not hearsay at all. For example, a prior inconsistent statement that impeaches the credibility of a witness is not hearsay. You and your divorce attorney should discuss all possible evidence and then spend time evaluating what can or cannot be used in trial.
A good attorney-client relationship is essential to achieve the best possible outcome for your marriage and family law case. The heart of the relationship is communication and teamwork. In a trial, effective presentation of facts to the Judge beats drama and showmanship every time. At Mario, Gunde, Peters, Rhoden & Kelley, LLC we know these basics of case preparation very well. We are proud to be in our 42nd year, in 2017, serving this county with seven attorneys and over 120 years combined experience. Contact us for a free consultation. 321-631-0506 or use the email contact form at the top of this page.