On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Child Custody on Monday, October 13, 2014.

How you speak, dress and act can impact the outcome in a child custody case. Judges use their intuition to size up a witness. Being aware of that can be critical.

For one mother who lost custody, the judge’s perception of her credibility seemed to have been the key issue in her case. I’ve written about courtroom etiquette before.

In the New York case, the Mother testified that she met the Father during an interview at Best Buy. They engaged in conversation which led to discussion of their common interests including music .

He flirted with her and during her training, overheard her conversation about her sexual preference, stating that if she dated the proper person her “lesbian problem would be fixed.”

He invited her to his birthday dinner, and later to his home to record music, had a drink and talked about her sex life.

She spent the night and the following day. The next night he asked to perform oral sex on her again and she agreed. Then he tried to penetrate her and she tensed up and hesitated.She testified she laid there and cried.

She testified that she did not want someone who raped her to be a part of the child’s life. During the hearing, she also testified that he was a “good guy” and a mentor to her.

The Judge, considering the Mother’s inconsistent testimony and demeanor. He did not find her testimony credible. In speaking of the alleged rape, she often smiled and laughed; showing a lack of seriousness for the situation at hand.

The Mother’s contradicting testimony and actions indicate, that if awarded sole custody, she would not be able to promote or foster a positive relationship between the father and the child which would be extremely harmful to the child’s well-being and contrary to her best interest.

When testifying, consider the solemnity of the courtroom, and understand that judges are listening and watching you carefully to determine your demeanor and honesty. The case can be read here.

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