The following article will cover:
- The importance of preparing clients for trial in family law practice.
- The documents used in preparing clients for trial such as custody questionnaires, factor charts, and event timelines.
- Proper timelines for preparation and submission of such documents.
How Do You Go About Preparing Your Clients For Trial?
Preparing a client for trial is a crucial aspect of family law practice. To start, if there is a possibility of custody being contested, we send out a custody questionnaire, factor chart, and event timeline to the client.
The custody questionnaire is a detailed document that provides us with as much information and background on the parties as possible. It includes a “skeletons in the closet” questionnaire to ensure that we are not caught off guard at trial. Once the client completes the questionnaire, we schedule an appointment to go over it together.
The custody factor chart is also a critical document as it constitutes every conceivable factor that the court considers in a contested custody determination. We have separate columns where the client fills in all the positive and negative factors on their end, as well as the other side’s.
Similarly, for financial issues, we prepare asset distribution charts, maintenance distribution charts, and child support variance charts. These documents lay out all the statutory factors and allow the client to provide relevant facts and circumstances for both positive and negative factors on their end and the opposing party.
Additionally, we ask the client to fill in an event timeline, including all relevant events and any corroborating evidence such as emails, text messages, videos, or audios. This timeline ensures that we have a comprehensive understanding of the case’s history and can form a script of the direct examination and presentation of the direct case.
It is essential to prepare for trial as early as possible and not wait until trial dates are set. In my practice, I start preparing for a trial as soon as I perceive the possibility of a contested issue. Although it is ultimately up to the client to complete the documents, we encourage them to fill them out early on in the case to ensure that we have all the relevant information to present the strongest case possible.
With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Family Law Cases, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we’ll make it look easy. For more information on Family Law in New York, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (347) 797-1188 today.
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