Even in situations where relationships end amicably, a divorce can be tricky to navigate. Marriage is more than just a word or a piece of paper, it’s a legal contract which binds the lives of two people together in a variety of different ways. During a divorce, attorneys, the parties involve, and the courts need to find a way to untangle the binds of a marriage, in a way that’s fair and just.
While some couples are able to reach agreements on things like equitable distribution and spousal maintenance through mediation sessions, many other cases end up in a court room. In most cases, a professional divorce attorney will utilize a number of tactics and tools to present the argument of their client in the best possible light to the judge in question.
One of the core tactics involved in many divorce proceedings, involves crafting a succinct, informative, and engaging opening statement. This statement both introduces the court to the case, and provides context into the requests being made by a specific party.
Using a Legal Consultant to Prepare an Opening Statement
It might be worth noting that sometimes lawyers or parties to a case waive opening statements. Some might consider that there are no juries for divorce trials for most issues in a divorce (grounds only could be heard by a jury but there is little reason for a grounds trial, particularly now that New York has no fault divorce). If opening statements are not waived, it is ideal to try to compelling opening statements. Ideally an attorney wants to lay the foundations for their client at the beginning of the case, by outlining the core information the court needs to keep in mind when making legal decisions. This is why it’s always advisable for anyone pursuing a divorce case to access the assistance of a reputable divorce attorney.
However, in some cases, parties may choose to represent themselves in a divorce case, and forgo the traditional support offered by a lawyer. In this instance, the key to success for many individuals becomes leveraging the right support, guidance, and insights throughout the case perhaps by using a legal consultant. It is not advisable to represent oneself, but certainly if someone is doing it they are better served by having legal advice behind the scenes rather than none.
A legal consultant with experience in the divorce landscape may be able to offer useful instruction, feedback, and information, to assist individuals preparing for their case. Essentially, a consultant can act as a kind of mentor, advising clients on how to ensure their opening statements are impactful, without being too argumentative or overly emotional.
Though it’s always better to have a professional with you in a divorce case, to help you present the facts in the right light, the assistance of a consultant can be invaluable to those who prefer to represent themselves. Certainly, the extra support and guidance you receive will improve your chances of reaching the right outcomes when you take your case to court.
The Importance of Divorce Trial Opening Statements
Like many aspects of the divorce trial, the importance of an opening statement can be easy to overlook for those without experience in the legal sector. However, in many cases, a good opening statement can be crucial to the overall success of a case. Attorneys in the family law landscape are not permitted to comment on the credibility of the other party during these statements, or attempt to appeal to the potential prejudices of the courts.
However, divorce attorneys can use an opening statement to lay the groundwork for a successful argument throughout the rest of the case. During an opening statement, a divorce lawyer will introduce the nature of the case to the people within the court room, outlining the decisions that need to be made by the court regarding factors like custody, parenting time, child support, and the distribution of marital assets and maintenance (how much if any alimony and for how long).
An effective opening statement will ensure the people involved in the case know why the divorce trial has reached the court in the first place, and the arguments that need to be addressed. Because opening statements focus on explaining, rather than arguing, divorce attorneys will often focus on conveying a calm and confident tone of voice. They concentrate on providing a basis for the story that’s told by each party within the case, and pave the way for an effective discussion.
While constructing an opening statement might seem simple enough, it’s often difficult for someone representing themselves to separate the facts from their own feelings at the time of the divorce. It can be easy to accidentally introduce information that will be disregarded by the courts, or end up getting into an argument with a former spouse, which can reflect negatively on both clients.
This is why it’s so important for parties in divorce cases to ensure they’re leveraging their opening statement correctly, either by accessing the expertise of a divorce attorney in-person, or working with a consultant to craft a humanizing, and insightful opening message.
Making the Most of Divorce Opening Statements
In a divorce case, an opening statement may not determine the final decision of the courts, but it does play a role in influencing how the case plays out, and the perception each person involved has of the party in question. Showing a great deal of respect to the judge, acting in a polite and calm manner, and maintaining a consistent, confident tone can all be beneficial during opening statements.
Used correctly, an opening statement will prepare everyone involved in the case to approach the discussion with an objective, and informed viewpoint. Opening statements can help the judge to see the argument or story from the client’s point of view, and pave the way for a successful dialogue, but it’s easy to send a poor message, by focusing on the wrong information.
In any divorce case that goes to trial, the assistance of a divorce attorney, capable of constructing opening and closing statements on your behalf, and conducting examinations, will be extremely useful. However, if you find yourself in a position where you would prefer to represent yourself, working with a consultant can reduce your risk of making disastrous mistakes.
With a consultant to guide you, it will be easier to construct an objective, informative, and engaging opening statement, that helps the court to see you as a real, three-dimensional person. If you’d like to learn more about how you can access the assistance of legal consultant in your divorce case, contact the office of Mr. Darren Shapiro today. You can reach out over the phone, or using our contact form, to schedule an initial consultation, the first 30 minutes of which will be free of charge.