What not to do when you testify

Legal Lotus - Family and Trial Attorneys

When you testify, always speak what’s true, no matter how destructive it may be. You should consult with your attorney ahead of time about anything that could be used against you so that you can devise a plan for dealing with it.

It is enticing to try to conceal or shuffle things in order to make things appear better but doing so usually makes you appear fraudulent in the end. 

  • When being cross-examined, do not disclose any information that has not been requested. In a follow-up discussion, your attorney may inquire about these matters.
  • Before answering any questions, make sure that it is clear to you. If not, then do not answer!
  • When testifying, do not appear unfriendly, furious, spiteful, or suspicious. You may feel these feelings, but you should attempt not to exhibit them.
  • Anything that is inappropriate will be handled by your attorney. Never confront your spouse’s lawyer.
  • When you are being cross-examined, answer the questions accurately and concisely. Don’t go into too much detail. If you’re asked what kind of vehicle you drive, say “a motorcycle” rather than the year, make, and model.
  • Never use absolute words and phrases like “that’s all I remember” or “I’m sure”.  No spite of how certain you are, you may later recall something that opposes this.
  • You are not obliged to answer yes or no if the attorney cross-examining you attempts to summarize a scenario or incident that happened and then asks about its validity. Point out what really happened.
  • As enticing as it may seem, don’t start talking to your ex or reply back to something he or she says while they are being crossed-examined or giving their testimony.
  • Speak with conviction. Make sure to make eye contact with the attorney or the judge when they are talking to you.


The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.

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