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FamilyAnswer, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  10 + years of handling Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Child Support cases
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How does a trial attorney know what questions to ask his w

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How does a trial attorney know what questions to ask his witnesses?
Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.

Good evening. When an attorney lists a witness to testify on behalf of their client, they know that the testimony will be favorable to the case. As such, the questions which they ask not only need to be relevant but go to support the cause of action and/or the defense which may be raised and used against the opposing party. The attorney will always speak with their witness prior to trial, so they are aware of what they will testify too and what they are going to be asked. Moreover, the witness is often deposed by opposing counsel prior to trial, so they know what testimony is expected. The witness is going to be used to tell a story, build a case and support the cause of action for the plaintiff or used for the defense of the defendant.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I'm pro se and can the cause of action still apply when it isn't your petition?

If you did not file the cause of action, then I presume that you are the defendant and representing yourself?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I'm responding to a petition for my x who wants sole custody and I'm trying to figure out what questions I should ask my witnesses

Do you mean FROM your ex, not FOR your ex? Also, do you have sole custody at this time or is it shared?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

we have joint custody and my x has temporary possession with a trial for sole custody

When deciding custody, the Judge is always going to do what is in the best interest of the child. The Illinois section which I have provided below, states what the Judge is going to consider and what he will need to show, as the moving party. At the trial, you and your witness are going to want to show that is it NOT in the best interest of the child for your ex to be awarded sole custody. To do this, you will want to show that custody should continue to be shared, that he is not fit to solely care for the child and that you can meet the factors stated below, just as well as he can. Your witness should testify to things which he/she has first hand knowledge about, to either support your position or to discredit his.

(750 ILCS 5/602) (from Ch. 40, par. 602)
Sec. 602. Best Interest of Child.
(a) The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interest of the child. The court shall consider all relevant factors including:
(1) the wishes of the child's parent or parents as to

his custody;
(2) the wishes of the child as to his custodian;
(3) the interaction and interrelationship of the

child with his parent or parents, his siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest;
(4) the child's adjustment to his home, school and

(5) the mental and physical health of all individuals

(6) the physical violence or threat of physical

violence by the child's potential custodian, whether directed against the child or directed against another person;
(7) the occurrence of ongoing or repeated abuse as

defined in Section 103 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, whether directed against the child or directed against another person;
(8) the willingness and ability of each parent to

facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child;
(9) whether one of the parents is a sex offender; and
(10) the terms of a parent's military family-care

plan that a parent must complete before deployment if a parent is a member of the United States Armed Forces who is being deployed.
In the case of a custody proceeding in which a stepparent has standing under Section 601, it is presumed to be in the best interest of the minor child that the natural parent have the custody of the minor child unless the presumption is rebutted by the stepparent.
(b) The court shall not consider conduct of a present or proposed custodian that does not affect his relationship to the child.
(c) Unless the court finds the occurrence of ongoing abuse as defined in Section 103 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, the court shall presume that the maximum involvement and cooperation of both parents regarding the physical, mental, moral, and emotional well-being of their child is in the best interest of the child. There shall be no presumption in favor of or against joint custody.
(Source: P.A. 95-331, eff. 8-21-07; 96-676, eff. 1-1-10.)
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