Cross examination occurs when you are placed in the witness box in family court proceedings and questions are fired at you by solicitors, barristers or legal representatives who represent your opponent and are thus against your views regarding what’s best for your child.
Cross examination takes place after you have sworn the oath at court and been asked a few preliminary questions by your own legal representative.
Following being asked these introductory questions by your lawyer, he or she will ask you to remain seated and they will advise you that you are about to be asked questions by your ex partner’s lawyer read more.
It is at this point when cross examination occurs because your opponent’s legal representative will seek to explore and examine your case to probe and highlight any areas of weakness, inconsistency or areas where different or alternative interpretations can be drawn from the information or evidence in question.
As you might expect your opponent’s lawyer will pose questions which may be difficult for you to answer and which depict you in a negative or less favourable way.
You need to understand that your ex partner’s legal representative is only doing their job, just as your legal representative would do for you, or indeed you would do if you were without a lawyer and were representing yourself.
The difference is, of course, that when you are representing yourself in court, it’s a lot more personal to you, since so much is at stake.
Nevertheless, if you have to represent yourself you need to ensure you conduct yourself in an appropriately controlled and measured manner.
Failure to do so will undoubtedly harm your case and will likely be used by your ex partners lawyer against you.
It is vital that you prepare thoroughly for any cross examination, having taken the time to read the statement of the other parent and identify those areas where there is likely to be a dispute.
You need to take the time to understand how and the way they are arguing their case, in order that you can plan your counter arguments and identify any evidence which supports your case and harms or conflicts with theirs.
It will be important in your preparation to look at the case overall as if you were not personally involved and try to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the other parent’s case.
By taking the time to prepare like this and by diligently reading all the reports or statements in the case, including the Cafcass report you place yourself in the best position to deal more effectively with the cross examination questions thrown your way.