If you’ve ever watched a courtroom drama on television or in a movie, you’ve probably heard one of the attorneys refer to “Exhibit A” as evidence. In a divorce trial, exhibits can take many forms: statements of property and income, bank statements, bills, receipts, printed emails and text messages, telephone records, school reports, lab test results, photographs, audio recordings, clothing, testimony and much more.
During a trial, presenting intricate financial information in an organized format is quicker and more efficient than distributing and keeping track of lots of loose handouts. One of the main goals at trial is for the Judge to understand your client’s point of view and arguments. When that is involved, presenting written evidence in a clear, easy to read format is imperative. What you need is an exhibit book.
What an Exhibit Book Does
An exhibit book is a method for organizing all the written supporting evidence for the main points in your trial. Creating an exhibit book offers at least seven benefits. It can:
- help you and your attorney prepare for trial
- minimize courtroom confusion and delays
- save time in court
- reduce court and attorney fees
- help the judge grasp the issues quickly
- serve as a persuasive tool for your arguments
- contribute to the outcomes you want
What makes for an effective exhibit book?
- The exhibit book is organized by topic and bound in a three-hole binder.
- Each exhibit is marked by a letter or number, and date- and time-stamped.
- A cover sheet lists all the exhibits included in the book.
- Each page is numbered
Organizing exhibits topically will help you, your attorney and the judge focus on one argument at a time. Proceeding in this manner is important in divorce trials where there are many unresolved points of contention, such as division of property and debt, child custody, child support, spousal support, marital misconduct, attorneys’ fees and so forth. Jumping back and forth can be confusing, especially for a judge who hears numerous cases each week.
In the world of technology, many Judges and attorneys are moving to electronic exhibit books as opposed to binders with tons of pages.
Be sure to provide courtroom copies of the exhibit book to the judge, opposing counsel, Guardian ad litem (GAL), and the witness stand. The judge will find it useful when making a decision.
In any trial, there will be numerous variables you cannot control. Being organized can make all the difference, whether it’s in the divorce proceedings or taking charge after the divorce. Having an attorney who pays attention to details can help you achieve the outcomes you desire.
All of us here at Raza & Jones, LLC understand this is a challenging time for our clients. As a family law firm, under St. Louis County’s Order pertaining to COVID-19 we are considered an essential business, and we remain open and available to all our clients. Our entire firm is working remotely, using our videoconference account to meet with clients or speaking by telephone. We are committed to delivering the same high standard of compassionate, effective representation we are known for, in the face of rapidly changing circumstances.
With a combined 30 years in family law, the attorneys at Raza & Jones, LLC, will provide the legal guidance you need. For questions, or to schedule a confidential consultation, call 314-449-8830.