What Happens if Someone Lies in a Divorce in Arizona?
I often say that the difference between the truth and lie is sometimes a matter of perspective. However, there are situations when a person knowingly testifies to “facts” when he or she believes them to be untrue. There was, in fact, one instance where a witness testified she hadn’t previously made a statement to her husband after the court and the witness had just listed to a recording of her making the statement. The person admitted it was her voice on the recorder, but still denied making the recorded statement.
The best thing you can do to protect your self against a deceitful witness in an Arizona Divorce is to be prepared. The first step in preparing for someone who may present false testimony is to take his or her deposition. A deposition is a proceeding that occurs at your attorney’s office and, in the presence of a court reporter, is put under oath, to tell the truth. Your attorney can then ask questions of the witness and his or her answers are taken down as part of the deposition record. You can later obtain a written copy of all of the questions and answers.
If the witness lies in her deposition, you have time to gather the evidence to prove the falsity of the person’s deposition testimony. There is a phrase in Latin – “falsus in unum falsus in omnibus“. This term simply means false about one thing then false about everything. Remember, a judge has the prerogative to believe some of what a witness says, some of what they say, or none of what they say. A witness caught in a lie can lose some, if not all, credibility. A witness caught in multiple lies will likely have no credibility and your attorney can argue their testimony should be given little to no consideration from the court.
Now that you know what the witness will say from their deposition and you have prepared to contradict them, you are prepared to discredit them in the presentation of evidence and their own testimony at trial. Oftentimes, a liar cannot keep their lies straight. When you lawyer has dutifully prepared for the questioning of the witness at trial, he or she should use the deposition transcripts and point out every contradiction between what the said in that deposition versus what they are saying at trial. If they do stay consistent with their deposition testimony, you are prepared to present the evidence that proves their statements are false. Either way, a liar in a case can box themselves into a corner whichever direction they go. This only works if you are not prepared to box them in with their own words.
In Arizona, knowingly making a false statement while under oath, to tell the truth, is a class 4 felony, pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-2702. However, none of our attorneys are aware of any prosecution occuring when a witness lied in an Arizona divorce case.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article to ensure everyone has access to information about family law in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and, quite frankly, actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce or family law case. In short, his practice is defined by the success of his clients. He also manages all of the other attorneys at his firm to make sure the outcomes in their clients’ cases are successful as well.