Understanding Cross Examination for Child Custody Cases
In cases of child custody, divorce attorneys like Mr. Darren M. Shapiro, and the courts of New York must work to consider the standard of "best interests" for the child. Towards that end, there are numerous paths for dispute resolution available. Mr. Shapiro not only works as a child custody lawyer, but at times clients might choose an alternative dispute resolution process. Mr. Shapiro is a collaborative lawyer and trained mediator, allowing couples to choose a range of options through which to negotiate the outcome of their separation. Of course, it's worth noting that there will always be cases in which the only reasonable option for the clients involved will be litigation.
When presenting a case to the courts of New York, divorce lawyers and child custody attorneys like Mr. Shapiro will use all manner of strategies in their attempt to present their client as the ideal caregiver for the child in question. The idea is to use cross examination and direct examination to help the court make decisions about the best interests of the child. Both cross examination and direct examination can be used effectively in family law to present specific elements of a case.Direct and Cross Examination
In the case of direct examination, the aim of the child custody lawyer or divorce attorney is to ask a witness to provide their account of facts that support the case of the party who originally called the witness. The lawyers of the other parties then have the option to cross examine the witness. Cross examination is used to support the party on whose behalf the examination is being conducted. Questions might be designed to deliver facts that support the cross-examiner's side of the story when it comes to outlining what is in the best interests of the child, or may be used to impeach the credibility of the witness that just testified.
The primary difference between direct and cross examination, is that cross examination may include the use of leading questions to push a witness into revealing the complete facts of the case. Sometimes, the cross-examiner may not be adverse to the party who had their witness testify with direct examination. In certain cases, the cross examiner may ask questions that support what the witness said during direct examination. However, the cross-examining divorce attorney or child custody lawyer may ask leading questions that the examining lawyer was prohibited from asking.
After the attorney for the plaintiff or petitioner in a child custody case finishes their direct examination, the attorney for the defendant or respondent will be able to cross-examine the witness. Usually, there will be an attorney for the child who then gets their turn to cross examine too.The Concerns of Cross Examination
A child custody lawyer responsible for performing a cross examination will look to control the witness. Since a trial is a storytelling exercise, the cross-examination divorce attorney will need to devise which questions support their client's side of the story. Short questions in the form of statements can be vital in these situations. For instance: "You went to the house?", "You saw the baby?", "The baby was crying". These questions may seem like statements, but inflection and tone can be used to make them questions. Looping information from one question to another can provide some smoothness to the experience. For instance, "Now I'm going to ask you questions about the night of June 20th, 2017", "You saw the child that evening?"
In the case of child custody matters, the cross-examination process can be complicated and painful, as the process will often attempt to undermine the credibility of witnesses by showing that they are unreliable or misinformed. However, cross examination is also crucial to protecting the best interests of the child by showing the full truth. In a child custody case, the attorney may attempt to outline that the witness is biased or prejudice towards a specific party in the case. For instance, of a grandmother speaks on the behalf of their daughter and says that the daughter was the primary caretaker for the child, a cross-examination helps to show the obvious bias.
Cross-examination helps to show that not all direct examination testimonies are entirely reliable or complete. Additionally, it can help to show that other testimonies must be taken into consideration to understand the whole story of each case.Using Cross Examination in Child Custody
In child custody cases, the aim of cross examination and direct examination from a child custody lawyer and divorce attorney is to help the court decide which parent is most capable of offering care in the best interests of a child. Additionally, cross examination may be used to outline that a parent shouldn't allowed visitation rights or parenting time for the safety of the children involved. For instance, in a case of child custody wherein the plaintiff claims that the defendant was abusive, cross examination may prove that abuse. On the other hand, cross examination could also outline that the abuse never happened.
Ultimately, the idea is to give the court the best possible understanding of the situation as it relates to the best interests of the child. Both direct and cross examination in a child custody case are used together by divorce attorneys and experts in an attempt to show the courts the whole truth of the matter at hand. When direct examination is used by itself, this could lead to the omission of certain facts that could show a completely different side of the story, which makes the best interests circumstances for the child clearer for everyone involved. In cases of child custody, the courts can only look back on the past, and try to determine which parent can offer the best future for the child based on actions that took place and behavior that may have been shown. In these cases, the more information cross examination can reveal, the more accurate the judgement can be.
To discover more about the details of cross examination, and other tactics used in child custody and family law cases, contact Mr. Darren M. Shapiro today. You can connect with him either through his online form, or over the phone at (516) 333-6555.