When a divorce case goes to a trial, one of the more basic functions of the Court is to make “findings of fact.” Both parties will testify, and there is often testimony from third parties as well. The Court will listen to this testimony, and then include a “Findings of Fact” section at the beginning of the eventual divorce decree. From these findings of fact, the Court will make Conclusion of Law that will ultimately resolve the issues in your case. Many facts are undisputed. But if your case is going to a trial, then chances are that there are issues of disputed fact as well. For example, you may have disputes over the value of a particular asset, incomes, budgets, and/or what parenting time schedule is in the best interest of the children.
When a Judge has to make a decision on a close call, the credibility of the parties is very important. If the decision truly is a toss-up, the tie often goes to the more credible party. For this reason, then, it is very important that you present yourself as credible. If you make wild claims that are not supported by the evidence, the Judge will likely not believe you and won’t believe what you have to say after that as well. It is very important, then, that you research the facts and issues before making assertions. Don’t assume that you know the answer to something without being certain. It may seem like a minor detail, but if it turns out that you are wrong, it can damage your credibility and spill over into other issues.
For example, I once had a client who repeatedly claimed that his wife did not communicate certain issues to him regarding the children. She claimed to have told him the information through the website Our Family Wizard. He continued to deny it. She later presented evidence that she had in fact provided the information that my client denied receiving. Rather than going back to check, my client automatically made an assumption that he thought would help prove his point. He looked foolish, though, when he was proven wrong. This damaged his credibility, and made it seem like he was crying wolf when he made claims regarding his wife on other issues.
So, if you are my client, and I challenge you to prove something before we make claims about your spouse in writing, do not be offended. I am doing it for your own good. I want to be convinced that you are right and your spouse is wrong before we make that claim. Often times it’s just an innocent mistake, but the implications can be far-reaching.
Contact Beyer & Simonson
If you are facing divorce and any of the divorce-related issues such as spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, property division, or domestic abuse matters, you need our experienced Minneapolis divorce attorneys to help you. Contact Beyer & Simonson in Edina, Minnesota today at (952) 303-6007.