Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Credibility, credibility, credibility

Often when there is a vicious family law fight, who gets believed can be critical to success. This is especially important when there is often a lack of witnesses, other than the sometimes predictable cheer squad witnesses for each of the parties.

This issue of credibility was raised in the latest Asista newsletter in the States, to deal with applications to remain in that country based on extreme cruelty. What is said is apt for family law disputes in Australia (although the procedure is different):

"Avoiding credibility problems

In the self-petitioner's own declaration, it is extremely important that the self-petitioner provides as much detail about the effects of the extreme cruelty on her as possible. She must come across as credible as possible, which means her representative must check the full application to ensure that facts (dates, places of residence, etc.) are consistent throughout, including documentation andprior applications on her behalf.If there inconsistencies, explain them in your cover letter, do not wait for the VAWA unit to notice them and ask you to explain them. Failing to explain inconsistencies from the beginning will raise questions about your client's credibility generally and heighten the level of scrutiny with which the adjudicator examines all your statements and documentation."

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