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Obtaining the Best Evidence for Trial

You are engaged in a contested custody case and want to help your lawyer prepare for trial. How can you help your family law lawyer? Gather these three basic types of evidence:

  1. False statements. Get specific information that shows the other person's allegations are false, exaggerated, or misrepresentative of how you typically behave. This could be in the form of statements made under oath in other court cases, police reports, emails or text messages from the person, medical records, loan applications, tax returns, or statements from friends, family or other witnesses. Think about where the other person has lied and then obtain that information for your lawyer or let your lawyer know that they should be obtaining this information for you.
  2. Patterns of abuse. Write out a detailed timeline. Many clients are surprised when they sit down to write out a timeline of notable events. Oftentimes the timeline speaks volumes in terms of what triggered the other person's abuse or why things happened the way that they did. The timeline can also be helpful in terms of helping you remember when things evolved on cross examination. Clients often believe the timeline isn't important but in reality, the timeline can make or break your case when it comes down to credibility with the judge.
  3. Truth about you. Collect information that shows your true behavior and your consistent honesty. This may be documented awards you received, military service, a written calendar of events you kept as part of your normal course of living, proof of volunteer hours, work schedule, school attendance or parent/teacher conference records, and/or social media posts. You may be surprised to find that you already have documented evidence to prove the other person is lying and that what you say should be believed. You just need to look a little harder at your daily life.

Finally, when obtaining statements from friends, family or other witnesses remember to have the witness objectively describe the who, what, where, and when of various events as well as the behavior of both parties involved. Focus only on the facts and leave any individual opinions about how either party was acting out of the written statement. Statements that have lots of detail but fewer judgments and conclusions are more credible with the court. Remember that the witness should only be describing what he or she personally observed. The witness cannot describe what they heard from someone else.

These are the basics of how to help your lawyer get ready for a contested trial. For more information talk to your lawyer about each of these key areas of evidence.