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Getting Ready to Testify Under Oath

Posted on in Family Law

DuPage County family law attorney, testify under oathWhen considering filing for divorce, many people get nervous about when they think about the possibility of having to testify in court. While most divorce cases settle long before trial, testifying as part of the divorce case may be required.

When You May Have to Testify

There are typically three occasions when you may have to testify in a divorce case and they include the following:

  • At a final trial;
  • During a hearing; and
  • At a deposition.

Each of these occasions operates slightly differently. However, no matter when you testify, you will be placed under oath.

Your Obligations

As part of any legal proceeding you always have a duty to tell the court the truth. When you are called to testify and placed under oath, you are under some additional obligations—you do have to answer the questions you are asked, no matter how uncomfortable, unless your lawyer objects and the judge sustains the objection or unless you would incriminate yourself if you answered the question.

If you lie under oath, you can be held in contempt of court, or you could be criminally charged with perjury.

The Mechanics of Testifying

When you testify at a deposition you will usually be in a conference room or an office at your lawyer’s firm or the firm of the other side’s lawyer. Most of the time the other lawyer will only ask you questions. Your lawyer will be there to object to any inappropriate questions and can ask some clarifying questions; still, the deposition is mostly for the other side to ask questions. 

When you testify at a hearing or a trial, it will seem much similar to what you see on television. You will be sworn in and may even have to sit in a witness chair next to the judge. Your lawyer will ask you questions first. After your lawyer is finished, the lawyer for the other side will cross-examine you. Your lawyer may decide to ask you additional questions after the cross-examination. The judge can also ask any questions at any time.

Preparing for Your Big Day

Before you testify, you will meet with your lawyer to discuss the likely questions. It is okay to feel nervous. Make sure you look over anything your lawyer gives to refresh your memory. You should also practice answering questions without getting angry or overly emotional. 

Speak to a Skilled Illinois Family Law Attorney Today

If you are considering a divorce or believe your spouse may be planning on filing for a divorce, please consult with skilled DuPage County family law attorney. Call today to setup a consultation to take the needed steps to protect your rights.


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