Overview

           Perhaps one of the most important parts of a custody and visitation hearing is the testimony of the parents themselves. There are discovery and pretrial rules however,that must be followed to ensure that anyone, including the parties themselves, are allowed to testify. If one fails to follow those rules, it can havesevere consequences.

 

Case Study

            In Sitahar v. Al-Jawahry, Father’s interrogatory requests to Mother included a question that required her to list “any potential witnesses” and a summary of what their anticipated testimony would contain. Mother failed to “list herself” as a witness or provide a summary of her anticipated testimony. As a result, at trial, the court did not allow Mother to testify during her case-in-chief (though she was allowed to testify during her rebuttal, though that testimony was limited to topics raised by Father). The parties received joint legal custody, with Father having the tie-breaking authority if the parties could not agree, and Father to have physical custody during the week and Mother to have physical custody during the weekend. 

 

Conclusion

            As confirmed in Sitahar v. Al-Jawahry, it is crucial to make sure that all pretrial requirements are confirmed and completed. It is important to choose a law firm that has systems and weekly meetings in place so no details are missed when everything involving your family is on the line. The attorneys at Smith | Strong, PLC are diligent in ensuring that deadlines and requirements are met. 

Editorial Assistance by: Kala Swenson

H. Van Smith
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Trusted Virginia Family Law Attorney Serving Richmond to Williamsburg