Who Should Testify in Divorce Proceedings?

Who Should Testify in Divorce Proceedings? When a couple decides to separate and/or divorce, one or both parties may wish to resolve the process as quickly as possible. However, there may be times where a hearing or trial is necessary (regarding financial issues, the division or property, or issues involving children). In these scenarios, various witnesses may be called to testify on your behalf. People who can come forward and back up your side of the story can be invaluable to your case, but as with most things, it is typically a matter of quality over quantity.

If you are beyond the point of reaching an amicable settlement in mediation or arbitration, then you need to be prepared for having your case tried by a judge. That means carefully strategizing who will make the best witnesses to boost your claims while deflating those allegations your spouse has made.

How character witnesses may benefit you during a divorce

Many divorce proceedings require that the parties work to obtain evidence of character. Some witnesses will be helpful in displaying your good character, while others may be useful in painting a picture of your spouse’s flaws. The same goes for cases involving child custody, where obtaining physical custody rests on showing which parent will better serve the best interest of your child. Because they possess knowledge of the intimate details of your personality, behavior, and marriage, the best witnesses are often people who are close to you or your spouse.

Character witnesses may:

  • Testify as to your morals, personality traits, reliability, and behavior
  • Be questioned about his/her relationship to you
  • Explain their knowledge as to specific issues in your marriage
  • Describe your positive qualities as a parent if you have children
  • Recount what you have stated to him/her

Some people you may ask to serve as character witnesses include:

  • Friends
  • Household employees
  • Business partners
  • Coworkers
  • Neighbors
  • Family members

When you may need an expert witness for your divorce

Expert witnesses are credentialed individuals who hold a level of experience in their areas of expertise that make their testimony highly credible. Depending upon the issues that surface during your divorce, you may need evidence that can only come from an expert witness to help bolster your case.

Some of the expert witnesses that may be useful are:

  • Forensic accountants when it is believed that a spouse has hidden assets
  • Appraisers who can value a business, rare asset, or real property
  • Child psychologists/therapists who can assess the child(ren)’s best interests and needs
  • Physicians if a long-term medical condition is at issue

Hiring the right expert witness can give you leverage to tip the scales of your case more in your favor. There also may be times where you will need to consider the experts your spouse intends to use, in order to counteract any testimony that can adversely affect the outcome you want.

Why eyewitnesses can be useful at trial

Simply put, an eyewitness (or lay witness) is someone who saw something happen. They can be anyone from an acquaintance to a stranger who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Examples where a lay witness can benefit your case include:

  • If your spouse claims to have sold a valuable marital asset for much less than it was worth, the buyer may be an eyewitness to prove or disprove that fact in an equitable distribution argument in a high asset divorce.
  • If you are claiming your spouse was physically abusive in public, anyone who saw the events can become a lay witness. The same goes for witnesses who were present and can testify on behalf of your spouse that no abuse occurred.

Choosing reliable witnesses can be challenging, but having strong witness testimony can change the outcome of your divorce proceedings. A compelling statement from a credible, live person can override other evidence, making who you ultimately choose a very important decision. Your divorce attorney will help you with these decisions.

With offices in both Winston-Salem and Greensboro for your convenience, Hartsoe & Associates, P.C. is always nearby when you need us most. If you are ready to proceed with divorce, please call us at 336-725-1985, or reach out to us through our contact page to initiate setting an appointment today.