1. Never Lie in Court
The very worst thing you can do is lie in court. Many people take liberties with the truth in a domestic case. In most cases the Family Law Judge has to decide a case based upon conflicting testimony from the parties. Help the court choose your side by telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
2. Never Lie to Your Lawyer
Almost always, a good attorney can make the best out of a bad situation, but only if he knows the situation beforehand. If your attorney is blindsided, the damage is done and the situation may be beyond repair. You may even lose your lawyer and get the lawyer in trouble. Do not lie to your lawyer. Your lawyer can only prepare properly for your case if he or she knows all of the facts. If you lie to your lawyer, he/she cannot possibly prepare an effective case.
3. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING
Einstein would not recollect every single detail without the benefit of a documented reminder. Make notes of every important detail.
Keep a Journal, Calendar, Photo, Videos, Emails, and Receipts. Life moves at a fast pace. Documenting preserves crucial evidence that you may not recollect and will need.
4. Pay Your Lawyer on Time — Or You Could Lose Them
No one likes to work without getting paid. Lawyers are no different. The expense demands on a law firm are significant. When a client pays as expected and on time it eliminates an unnecessary distraction. Despite what you may think, most lawyers are working class people and are not sitting on bankrolls of money.
5. Respect the Court
No matter what you think of the Judge, respect the position that he or she holds.Dress at all times for success. Impressions always matter. When you speak, make eye contact with the Judge, speak calmly and in a tone of voice that can be clearly heard.
6. Time Plus Possession = Custody
The court tends not to disturb children from their present setting, if the present setting is stable. The longer they are in a stable environment the greater the likelihood that the court will leave them there. Do everything within your power to provide a stable and secure environment for your child.
7. The Most Important Factor in Any Child Custody Decision Is Stability
This includes stability of parenting, income, mood, relationships, surroundings, etc. A stable environment over time gives children a better chance at developing into healthy adults.
8. Know Your Goals
If you do not know what your goals are, and your spouse knows his/her goals, more than likely you will wind up where they want you. Most domestic litigants do not know their goals, while almost all who do have goals have unrealistic goals.
9. Give The Other Side an Out
You should not box your opponent into a corner. Give them an out, through settlement, with dignity. If they have nothing to gain, they also have nothing to lose by fighting.
10. Arm Your Attorney, Don’t Disarm Him
Do not do anything that risks your case. Instead, maintain your calm, gather information for your attorney to use in court. Live to fight another day.
(This entry is based in large part on an entry on Pikrallidas & Associates’s web page. Pikrallidas & Associates is an outstanding Central Florida law firm)