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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Impeach; Impeach Credibility; Impeachment of Testimony

Term Definition Impeach; Impeach Credibility; Impeachment of Testimony - discrediting a witness by proving lies, inconsistencies or trustworthiness
Application in Divorce Impeachment is the act of proving a witness is not credible due to inconsistent statements or other conflicting evidence. Impeaching credibility weakens the case of the other party.

In litigation, both criminal and civil, this is the place where a good lawyer earns his or her money, so to speak. In this stage of a trial, fire-breathing lawyers sometimes shred the testimony of witnesses in an effort to lessen their credibility. Within the bounds of courtroom decorum, impeachment is a zero-sum game: what weakens the credibility of a defensive witness advances the case of the plaintiff. Watching lawyers "have at it" with witnesses is often the most interesting part of a trial.

Sometimes impeachment is very easy. The eyewitness testimony of a visually impaired man can be impeached by establishing that his eyesight has limitations.

In civil actions, inconsistent statements -- for example, one in a deposition and the other on the witness stand -- impeach and weaken the testimony of a witness. In some cases, expert witnesses neutralize each other’s testimony.

A witness may be impeached during cross-examination or by direct testimony or evidence of another witness.

See Direct and Cross Examination.

See also Trial.

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