Trial and evidence

AuthorAnnette J. Szorosy/Stephanie Matalon
ProfessionGeneral Magistrate/General Magistrate
Trial and Evidence
This chapter provides insight for family lawyers regarding pretrial procedures, trial and evidence. It includes
the results of a survey of family court judges regarding trial dos and don’ts. Included also is the judge’s process
and procedure in ruling in a family law case.
The family law trial should be a formal proceeding practiced with civility and professionalism, to minimize the
emotional issues that are inherent in family law. This chapter provides a practical outline for trial preparation
and presentation in a family law case.
A. Winning and Losing Trial Tactics
§19:01 What Judges Recommend
§19:02 Trial Tactics to Avoid
§19:03 Meeting Immediately Prior to Beginning of Trial
§19:04 De Minimis Assets and Expenses
§19:05 Effect of Cumulative Awards
B. Judge’s Path to Ruling
§19:10 In General
§19:11 Judge’s Pretrial Preparation
§19:12 Judicial Individuality
§19:13 Case Management Conference
§19:14 Pretrial Conference
§19:15 Court File Review
§19:16 Legal Research and “PEACE”
§19:17 Emotional Stages and Children’s Developmental Needs
§19:18 Burdens, Presumptions, Factors, and Findings
§19:19 Opening and Closing Argument
§19:20 Note-Taking
§19:21 Allowing Evidence to Flow
§19:22 Credibility in Courtroom
§19:23 Questioning by Judge and Suspension of Trial
§19:24 Analysis and Synthesis
§19:25 Evaluation and Finalization
Florida Family Law and Practice 19-2
C. Lawyer’s Path to Trial
§19:30 Court Reporter
§19:31 Decorum in Court
§19:32 Know Your Judge
§19:33 Be Careful When Speaking to Your Client
§19:34 Judge as Aural or Visual Learner
§19:35 Proposed Findings or Final Judgment
A. Usual Pretrial Matters
§19:40 Pretrial Compliance Generally
§19:41 Witness Lists
§19:42 Exhibit Lists
§19:43 Joint Pretrial Stipulation
§19:44 When Case Is Ready for Trial
§19:45 Setting for Trial
§19:46 Pretrial Conference or Calendar Call
§19:47 Creative Trial Alternative: Expedited Trial
§19:48 Lack of Prosecution
B. Other Pretrial Matters
§19:60 Bifurcated Trial: Validity of Prenuptial Agreement
§19:61 Notice of Unavailability
§19:62 Party in Jail
§19:63 Attorney Withdrawal
§19:64 Continuance
§19:65 Calendar Conf‌licts
§19:66 Motions in Limine
§19:67 Summary Judgment
§19:68 Dismissals
§19:69 Judge Disqualif‌ication
§19:70 Requests for Accommodations by Persons With Disabilities
A. Papers and Issues
§19:80 In General
§19:81 Path to Trial Is Trial Preparation
§19:82 Pleadings Review: Tried by Consent
§19:83 Mandatory Information to Court
§19:84 Duty to Supplement Disclosure
§19:85 Document Management
§19:86 Trial Deposition and Exhibit Management
§19:87 Financial Aff‌idavit Review, Amendment, and Update
§19:88 Burdens, Presumptions, and Required Findings
B. Client Preparation and Control
§19:100 In General
§19:101 Reality Check: Monetary and Other Costs
§19:102 What Client Wants and Why
§19:103 Financial Aff‌idavit Is Outline on Financial Issues
§19:104 Time and Place and Judge
§19:105 Prepare Client for Questioning on Cross-Examination
§19:106 Prepare Client for Questioning by Court
§19:107 Client to Say and Do Nothing in Courtroom Unless Questioned
§19:108 Demeanor and Bearing
19-3 Trial and Evidence
§19:109 Credibility
§19:110 Motive and Intent
§19:111 Client and/or Witness Perjur y: Impact of Duty of Candor
§19:112 Tax and Cash Issues
§19:113 Wiretapping or Interception of Documents or E-Mails
§19:114 Proof of Residence
§19:115 Party’s Testimony as to Value
C. Witness Preparation
§19:120 Practice Examination
§19:121 Child
§19:122 Witness Opinions
§19:123 Cumulative Evidence
§19:124 Subpoenas
D. Lawyer’s Self-Preparation
§19:130 Trial Strategy Redef‌ined
§19:131 Organization
§19:132 Time Estimation
§19:133 Judge’s Shadow File
E. Preparing for Evidence Presentation
§19:140 Lawyer’s Evidence File
§19:141 Summaries of Records
§19:142 Telephone Testimony
§19:143 Proffers
§19:144 Judicial Notice
A. Commonly Applied Rules of Evidence
§19:150 Types and Admissibility of Evidence
§19:151 Documentary Evidence—Originals and Duplicates
§19:152 Requirement of Originals
§19:153 Admissibility of Other Evidence of Contents
§19:154 Admissibility of Duplicates
§19:155 Government Photographic or Electronic Copies
§19:156 Introduction of Evidence
§19:157 Handwriting: Comparison of Disputed Writings
§19:158 Business Records in General
§19:159 Depositions Into Evidence; Summary of Testimony
§19:160 Use of Photographs, Letters (or E-Mails), or Recordings
§19:161 Use of Police Reports
§19:162 Use of Aff‌idavits
§19:163 Use of Video as Demonstrative Evidence
§19:164 Use of Client’s Calendars and Diaries
§19:165 Use of Summaries
§19:166 Use of Medical Records and Drug Testing Records
§19:167 Use of Home Study Reports and Parenting Plan Recommendations
§19:168 Use of Guardian Ad Litem Reports
§19:169 Presumptions
§19:170 Legal Objections
§19:171 Weight Versus Admissibility
§19:172 Impeachment in General
§19:173 Procedure for Impeachment: Prior Statements of Witnesses
§19:174 Compromise and Offers to Compromise
§19:175 Judicial Notice of Records and Proceedings

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