In the past I have talked about the behavior of clients and how the behavior could possibly alter the outcome of a custody hearing. Recently another attorney, Ben Stevens of the South Carolina Family Law Blog, wrote about being called "the devil" by his client's wife while she was on the stand testifying. The wife was saying how horrible Ben's client was and called him the devil. She then went on and called Ben the devil too. In awarding custody to Ben's client, the Judge noted the wife's behavior and hatred while she was on the stand (as well as elsewhere). It just goes to show that you cannot be too careful in what you and say and do when involved in a custody battle. Please take the time to read Ben's posting on his blog, South Carolina Family Law Blog. It is entertaining as well as informative. He leaves you with the following:
There are two morals to be learned from this story:
- Your bad actions and/or misdeeds can (and usually do) come back to haunt you at trial. I typically advise my clients to assume that they are always being recorded and not to do or say anything outside of court that they wouldn't want the judge to see/hear.
- Even if things go against you during trial, you should remain calm, cool, and under control. It will never benefit your case to call the other party names from the stand. Instead, it will almost always backfire and result in you looking worse in the judge's eyes.
Take his advice to heart if you are going through a custody battle or contemplating one.