Maybe you knew at the beginning of the suit that you’d want to have a jury trial. But, the reality is that this is usually not the case. Oftentimes, it is not until later in the suit that a party will request a jury trial. Typically, parties at least get to the discovery stage of the suit before the need for a jury trial becomes evident. In other instances, parties may have had a bad experience in front of a judge on temporary orders and the decision is made that a jury will be more fair.
You’ve had to make some tough decisions so far. Maybe you were the one that made the tough decision to file for divorce or file a custody suit. Or maybe you have been sued unexpectedly for divorce or a child custody suit. But, regardless of what decisions you have already made, choosing the right lawyer to represent you in a jury trial in a divorce or custody case is arguably the most important decision you’ll make. In this blog we’ll go over what you should consider when choosing the right lawyer.
Question: Do I Need an Attorney to Represent Me in a Family Jury Trial?
Answer: Particularly if you are choosing the jury trial route, you should hire an experienced attorney.
Attorneys have studied the law and have been licensed to represent you in your case. If you choose wisely, your attorney will have specific experience with trying a Texas Jury Trial for a divorce or custody case to a verdict. If you do not choose wisely, you may end up with a lawyer who has little to no experience trying jury trials. A divorce or custody jury trial is a complicated proceeding that typically takes weeks to prepare and days to complete.
Remember: A jury trial is a complicated FINAL hearing in your case. Outside of appeal, this will be your final opportunity to prove and/or defend your case. It is vital to have a knowledgeable attorney.
Some Advantages of Hiring an Attorney:
- The attorney will conduct voire dire on Your Behalf (This is when the attorney gets to select, or actually de-select, the members of a Jury);
- The attorney will know when and in what manner to object to evidence both before (called Motions in Limine) and during trial. This is vital because this preserves those issues on appeal (should the case be appealed) and it controls what evidence the jury does and does not hear;
- The attorney will help prepare you (& your testimony) prior to trial;
- The attorney will prepare any exhibits/evidence that will be used in trial;
- The attorney will communicate any necessary information to courts, relevant 3rd parties, opposing parties (counsel), clerks, etc. on your behalf;
- The attorney will know what the jury charge (the questions to the jury) should look like and how to argue what should and should not be in the charge;
- You will receive one-on-one guidance from the attorney on possible outcomes of the case, issues that may arise, what to expect going forward; and
- You will receive answers to any questions that you may have about your case (including questions concerning a pleading or order.
What Qualifications Should You Look for When Choosing an Attorney?
Choosing the right lawyer to represent you in your jury trial in a divorce or custody case is at the top of the list when it comes to important decisions. That means that if you already have a lawyer and he or she does not meet these qualifications, you should consider switching attorneys. What type of things should you consider when choosing the right lawyer? Here are some qualifications to look for :
- The lawyer has tried at least 5 Jury Trials in a Divorce or Custody Case in the last 2-3 years;
- The lawyer should be Board Certified in Family Law;
- The lawyer has positive feedback from other clients (Check the Attorney’s Reviews);
- The lawyer should communicate with clients and are responsive when you contact them;
- The lawyer is open and honest with you about their practice, fees, and how the legal system works (both on the attorney’s website and in person); and
- The lawyer provides you with all of the necessary information that you need.