Hi all , been a couple of weeks since my last post.
My final divorce hearing is on 7th September and i am representing myself and im dreading it.
Just was wandering what to expect on the day?
Been told to expect it to take half a day.
I have heard that i will be cross examined? if so does anyone know what type of cross examination will take place ? eg from my ex's barristers? or from the judge and also what i will be cross examined on?
Basicaly she is after everything i have , house , pension , equity the whole lot
In my divorce of 1999, I was in a proper court room. I had to swear on the Bible, and sit in the Witness box during cross-examination, which is done by your ex's team, (solicitor or barrister). They'll imply as much rubbish as they can, (to catch you out!) you need only answer truthfully, and explain clearly your situation. (As much info as possible).
Your barrister will get his turn to cross examine your ex.
It's hard to know your case, but here's (roughly) what happened at mine:
His barrister: (Addressing judge): "My client put down a deposit of £160k as a deposit on the house"... (in arguing why my ex should get a bigger percentage)...
(me, reminding myself, that I wasn't a criminal!)... and thinking 'yeah-but,yeah-but, yeah-but....' and feeling all confuzzled and intimidated in that box... got a grip of self, and said:
"Yes he did put a deposit of £160k down at the point of purchase your honour"!.... (his Barrister looking smug at my admittance!)... then I added:
"But your honour, I gave my husband my half share of £80k deposit the day before, and he paid it into his account"!
At which point the judge asks for the proof, and sure enough (because all the Building Society statements are in the Court Bundles) I find the entry of £80k, from the sale of my flat, given to my husband the day before completion of our house purchase!
You NEED TO LISTEN, AND BE SMART!!!! The judge doesn't know you, or your case, so it's up to you to get your point accross clearly. Because there's no jury, the judge only will make his desicion.
Cross-examination is probably the most important part of the process. The judge may interject further, or your representative may 'object' (like in a criminal trial).
It's well nasty! But you'll soon be over it! Chin up!
My final hearing took 3.5 days, and only brought to a close because everyone wanted to get off for the Easter holidays.
I recently had a decent result at my final hearing...
So here are some tips from me...
1) There is a section on self representing in the Wikivorce Divorce guide - well worth a read
2) Mine was held in judges chambers (like headmasters office) - not proper court room
3) Prepare, prepare, prepare....I spent 4 days solid getting my court bundle together, fully indexed with every bit of evidence i felt may be useful to my case (90% of my evidence was the core financial stuff: salary slips, bills). My bundle was around 150 pages in these sections:
- Financial summary
- Other Debts
Your bundle is a selected set of the info, e.g. I had to disclosure 2 years bank statements from 4 accounts - so hundreds of pages....I selected maybe 10 pages that proved my financial fairness(e.g. record of large interim payments to ex) or questioned her financial actions (e.g. why was 5000 in cash taken out on this date?)
4) Ask up early on for judge to make process clear to you. It is easy to 'miss' the fact the judge is moving from one stage to another. e.g. I missed my chance to argue for costs because I was expecting that to come after the judgement - and it didnt. If judge says 'do you have anything more to say'...be aware that may be the very last chance you get to speak. So go back over your main points.
5) Have a skeleton arguement...mine consisted of a list of the main issues in the case (about 4) and my arguments for each of them (explaining my interpretation of the law in each area and how it supported my position - with case law examples.
6) Be courteous and respectful to judge at all times.
7) Make the judges life easy. Biggest way to do this is to supply him with a very neat bundle...but also the skeleton and what he values more than anything: a summary on 1 page of the financial situation (your and his income, outgoings, debts and assets).
8) Don't panic about some super barrister. The case turns on the law and the facts. If they point to a fair split then his barrister could be Rumpole himself and still not get the judge to veer very far from where the facts point.
9) Make a list of all your key points. Take it to court. Cross the list off as you make each point. At the end when judge says "have you anything else to say" check list and make and state any points you missed. The conversation/debate tends to meander and its easy to forget a key point.