The following list most certainly doesn’t cover every objection you might hear used in Family Court or any court for that matter.  However, these are some of the most common ones you’ll likely encounter when you’re going through a divorce hearing or child custody proceeding.  Read and learn…

Objection, your Honor!

The question is hearsay! This one is used when a witness attempts to testify on behalf of another person’s words, actions, etc. The witness is prompted to offer an “out-of-court” statement in an effort to prove truth on a specific issue in divorce or child custody court. There are exceptions to the hearsay rule.

The question is irrelevant! This one is used when the question asked prompts the witness to give testimony or evidence on an issue not relevant to the divorce or child custody case at hand.

The question is speculative! The one is used when the question asked prompts the witness to speculate about an issue or answer based upon conjecture.

The question is leading! This one is used when the question asked prompts the witness to answer in only the way the counselor wants them to answer. While objectionable on direct examination, leading questions are permitted during cross-examination.

The question has been asked and answered! This one is rather common. When a lawyer asks the same question over and over, perhaps in different ways, in an effort to get the witness to answer differently or contradict themselves. The witness has already answered the question about that matter.  You’ll see this approach a lot in divorce and family court.

The question assumes facts not in evidence! The question asked presumes unproven facts to be truth. For example: “When did you stop abusing the children?” In this example, This question assumes that the witness has been abusing the children.

The question is argumentative! This objection can take place due to several issues. It may be asked to persuade a judge or jury in the lawyer’s favor rather than elicit information about a specific issue. The question may not call for any additional facts but rather prompt the witness to concede inference drawn by the questioning attorney (from either proven or assumed facts). The question asked may require an argumentative response in reply to an argumentative question.

The question is ambiguous! The question asked my be misunderstood by the witness and/or call for an answer that can be interpreted to have more than a single meaning.

It’s not enough to expect that you would read the definitions and examples above and gain a complete understanding of their use.  Still, whether represented or handling a case pro se (on your own) – it is one of the important elements of a divorce hearing or child custody proceeding that you should work hard to learn and to understand.

See also: Visit the Court House and Learn