Testifying at a Utah divorce trial, or before trial at a deposition, is a nerve-racking experience.
I know because, even though I’m a lawyer, I had to testify at trial once.
I was anxious about the whole thing, even though I’ve done my fair share of divorce trials.
Thankfully, I followed the 16 tips we give our clients before they testify. They worked for me just like they work for our clients, steadying my nerves and giving me an effective way to answer each question.
Here are the 16 testimony tips:
- Tell the truth.
- Dress professionally.
- Treat all persons in the courtroom or deposition room with respect.
- Never lose your temper.
- Don’t be afraid of the lawyers.
- Don’t trust the lawyers (except yours, if you have one).
- Speak slowly and clearly.
- Answer all questions directly, giving concise answers to the questions, and then stop talking.
- Never volunteer any information. Wait until the question is asked, answer it, and stop talking.
- If you can answer a question with a yes or no, do so and stop talking.
- If you feel you cannot provide a fully accurate answer by saying yes or no, say: “I cannot accurately answer your question with a simple yes or no.”
- If you don’t know the answer to the question, say, “I don’t know.”
- If you can’t remember, say, “I don’t remember.” Don’t guess.
- Don’t answer a question unless you hear it and clearly understand it. If you have to, ask that the question be explained or repeated.
- Don’t interrupt an attorney when he or she is asking a question.
- If an attorney objects to a question, stop talking. After the attorneys, or the attorneys and the judge, talk about the objection, you will be informed whether you need to answer the question.