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Just… Don’t Say This in Court.

We decided you’d perhaps like to have some more practical advice… and the best way to do that is to give you examples of flame-outs we have seen (or assisted) in court.

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This occurred while I was sitting in the courtroom with my own client.   A man had called his ex-wife into court; he alleged that his 16-year-old daughter has developed a drinking problem while living with Mom.  When the Judge asked Mom what she had to say, she responded:

“My daughter doesn’t have a drinking problem.  She just drinks to feel better after she’s been at her dad’s.  There’s no alcohol there.”

Yep.  Dad got sole physical custody.

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This involved an attorney from our firm. We had obtained a temporary restraining order against our client’s soon-to-be ex-husband, and we were at an evidentiary hearing seeking a permanent restraining order.  Follow along:

Attorney:  “Your Honor, he jumped on the hood of her car right before he was served with the temporary restraining order.”

Him [interrupting]:  “Nunh-unh!  Your Honor, I did that AFTER she served me with the restraining order!”

Attorney:  “And why did you jump on her car?”

Him:  “I wanted to stop her from leaving.”

Yep.  We got the permanent restraining order, and he was later convicted for violating the temporary restraining order.

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Another fine example of what not to say, overheard in family court in our fine county.  The self-represented Dad was trying not to lose custody of his children.

Dad:  “No, sir, I didn’t take the kids in the bar.  They’re too little! I’d NEVER do that!”

The Court:  “So where were the children while you were in the bar for two hours?”

Dad:  “I left them in the car! I’d never take them in a bar!”

Yep.  You guessed it.  No more unsupervised custodial time for Dad.

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Last one for today.  This occurred years ago, and was actually observed in a courtroom.  Husband had accused Wife of having stolen various assets (quite expensive!) including all of his jewelry, right down to his watch.

Attorney:  “Did you say Wife took all of your jewelry?”

Husband:  “Yes.”

Attorney:  “Did she take your watch?”

Husband:  “All of my watches.”

Attorney:  “And you never got any of that back?”

Husband:  “No, and I asked and asked her to give it back.”

Attorney:  “I notice you’re wearing a pretty nice watch right there.”

Husband shakes it out, smiles:  “Yes, this is my favorite.”

Attorney: “How long have you had it?”

Husband:  “My dad gave it to me when I graduated college.”  [He was at least 50 years old].

Yep.  Husband was not only charged for all of the assets he claimed Wife had taken – he had to pay for a hefty chunk of her attorneys’ fees, as well.

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And the moral is:  Think before you speak.  Especially in court.

Tags:
  • alcohol
  • custody
  • omitted asset
  • restraining order
  • Visitation