Cross-examination is a critical stage in a contested divorce case in India. It provides an opportunity to challenge the allegations made by the other spouse and poke holes in their testimony. Proper preparation and strategy are required to conduct an effective cross-examination. This article provides tips on how to handle cross-examination in a contested divorce case.
Gather Evidence to Contradict Claims
Prior to cross-examination, gather evidence like documents, photos, messages, call records etc. that contradict claims made by the other spouse. For example, if they claim domestic violence, gather evidence like medical records to show lack of injuries. If they claim dowry demand, gather evidence like receipts or bank records to show transfers were voluntary. This evidence can then be presented during cross-examination to catch them in a lie.
Prepare a List of Questions
Prepare a list of questions to ask during cross-examination. The questions should highlight contradictions in the other spouse’s claims versus the evidence gathered. Ask specific questions on dates, times, witnesses etc. to elicit precise answers that can then be contradicted with evidence. Avoid long speeches or arguments – stick to short, leading questions. Share the questions with your lawyer for review.
Remain Calm and Professional
During cross-examination, remain calm and professional. Don’t lose your cool or get angry as it may prejudice the judge against you. Politely get the facts of the other side’s claims through targeted questioning. Control the pace and flow of the questions. Listen carefully to their answers to identify contradictions and opportunities for further questioning.
Don’t Allow dodging of Questions
Some witnesses may try to dodge questions or give vague answers. Politely insist on precise, factual responses. If they say they don’t remember, then refresh their memory with evidence. Point out contradictions between their testimony and the evidence on record. Persist with questions if they evade until you get a straight answer.
Highlight Credibility Issues
Use cross-examination to highlight credibility issues with the other spouse’s claims. For example, use questions to show delay in filing the case, inconsistencies in their statements, ulterior motives etc. that raise doubts on their credibility. Establish facts that depict them negatively, like desertion or adultery on their part.
An effective cross-examination can make or break the case in a contested divorce. Proper preparation, evidence gathering and questioning technique are key to successfully handling cross-examination. Consult and involve your divorce lawyer at each stage for the best outcome.