How Biases, Prejudices and Documents Can Influence Witnesses

Clients of our firm often ask about mistakes that witnesses commonly make.


Witnesses Will Usually Have Biases and Prejudices

When there is a divorce, the witnesses will usually have a stake in the outcome because of family relationship, friendship or some other issue. It is the lawyer's job to be prepared for this and to understand the biases and prejudicial feelings that a witness is going to have. Witnesses might sound overeager to help, and this could harm the case. During interviews, these tendencies will be easily seen, and the lawyer can try to get the witness to be more even-keeled.How Biases Can Influence Witnessees


Showing a Negative Feeling Toward the Opposition Can Hurt the Case

It's not hard to spot a witness who has clear animosity toward the other party. The witness must understand that, regardless of the emotions he or she feels, clearly displayed anger will hurt the case and reduce credibility.

The witness should state the facts in the case with no obvious position one way or the other. This can be difficult for family members and close friends, but it is necessary. If there are witnesses who are lobbying to testify, they might not be a good witness for the case as they are more apt to be embellish their testimony or not listen to instructions from the attorney.


The Importance of Documents

The lawyer might refer to documents when questioning a witness. The witness should not be blindsided by this and must have an idea about the documents and the questions that will be asked concerning them. Many witnesses are not aware of how testimony is handled in the real world or how attorneys work. The witness must be prepared with examples of questions before taking the stand so there are no surprises.