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Divorce Litigation Bullet Points Part 8: Direct Examination and Opening Statements

Opening Statements and Direct ExaminationThere are many different parts to a divorce case. Whether you’re dealing with your divorce using litigation and the help of a divorce attorney like Mr. Darren Shapiro, or you’re relying on mediation, there will be various issues to think about. Couples will need to address things like spousal support, equitable distribution, child support, and more. When litigation is the chosen process for a divorce, there’s also the various components of a trial to think about.

With many years of experience in family law, Mr. Darren Shapiro has helped various clients to prepare for, and present their cases in front of a court. This includes making sure that each client is fully prepared for opening statements, and direct examination.

Creating a Divorce Case Opening Statement

When a couple agrees to get married, they’re also agreeing to join their lives together. It can often be very difficult to separate those lives when a divorce takes place. During an opening statement, divorce lawyers like Mr. Darren Shapiro can work to ensure that the courts consider the needs and best interests of his client carefully when making decisions about things like equitable distribution, spousal support, child support and child custody.

  • For some couples, litigation will be the only way to resolve the disputes in a divorce. When this happens, an opening statement might be an important part of the trial to present the case properly to the court. A divorce attorney like Mr. Shapiro may choose to use an opening statement to introduce the court to the case at hand and provide context regarding the issues to be addressed.
  • Petitioning parties in the courtrooms of New York will usually deliver opening statements before the other party can respond. Opening statements present information, but they’re not argumentative, because there is no evidence available yet to the court room. At this time, it’s not the job of the lawyer to tell a story, but to introduce the story that’s about to be told.
  • Opening statements introduce the nature of the case to the judge involved in the court room. Because attorneys are simply explaining a situation in this part of the case, they remain conversational and calm. Crucially, it’s very unlikely that an entire case will either be successful, or a failure based on the opening statement. Opening statements are not evidence and since divorces are not jury trials, they are heard by a judge who knows that an opening statement is not evidence, sometimes a lawyer may choose to forego an opening statement.
Using Direct Examination in a Case

An opening statement is the tool that divorce attorneys like Mr. Darren Shapiro can use to introduce the court and the judge to the details of the divorce. On the other hand, direct examinations are what happen when lawyers will be able to begin to get to the heart of the argument and what it means to their clients.

  • Direct examinations are the circumstances when attorneys ask their own witnesses questions to offer more context on a situation. After a side questions their own witness, the lawyer for the other side may perform a cross-examination, where they can question the witness too.
  • Attorneys like Mr. Shapiro use direct examination to highlight the details of a story with a witness, allowing as much information to come through as possible in support of their client. Direct examination sometimes asks clients why they are making specific claims, or what facts they consider to be relevant to the case.
  • Sometimes, direct examinations involve lawyers speaking to professionals who can add more information to a statement. For instance, if a client claimed that someone was hiding financial resources, a lawyer might ask an accountant or auditor to step up as an expert witness.
  • Direct examinations demand structure. They require attorneys to consider all of the aspects of a case, and how they tie together to produce a specific outcome. Direct examination sometimes requires some storytelling. However, questions often remain open-ended and short, so that the witnesses can reveal as much information as possible. Leading questions are not permitted in these circumstances.
  • Although leading questions aren’t permitted, it is possible for lawyers to use certain terms and words to push further consideration into the background of an answer that a person might give to a question. If someone said that a person appeared intoxicated when they were talking to them, a lawyer could ask them why they thought that.
Getting the Most out of Your Litigation

Structuring a divorce trial in a manner that highlights the best interests of a client isn’t easy. Lawyers like Mr. Shapiro need to be careful in the way that they present information to the judge and the court. Through solutions like opening statements and direct examination, it’s easier to create a positive outcome for a client.

If you have concerns about how opening statements work in a case, or you’d like to learn more about direct examination, you can check out the blogs on this website for more guidance. On the other hand, if you would like to discuss your own case, contact the office to schedule your initial consultation, up to a half hour is free, at your earliest convenience using our online form or call us at (516) 333-6555.

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