Going through a hotly contested divorce is an emotional, expensive, and agonizing process, especially if it reaches the courtroom. But when you are in front of a judge, it is important not to let your emotions get the best of you.
How you behave in court can either result in a favorable outcome or getting the short end of the stick. You are constantly being evaluated by the judge and the attorneys, ensuring that you are a credible witness and you respect courtroom etiquette. It is wise to have your attorney go over what you need to know in preparation for your court appearance.
The following are several tips on how to behave during your divorce court hearing:
- Arrive early – Since there are many cases in the court scheduled in just a single day, arriving late can create a delay in your hearing, which creates a not-so-good impression of you in the eyes of the judge and courtroom staff. Try to arrive at least 15-30 minutes earlier than your scheduled time, allowing you to mentally prepare yourself for the trial and go over certain things with your attorney.
- Treat everyone with respect – From the judge to the clerks, be respectful at all times. How you interact with everyone will reflect back upon you. Always be engaged and show interest while the trial plays out. Never interrupt or talk out of turn when you disagree with what is being discussed. Cases are won and lost solely on the judge’s impression of you and the opposing party, so be sure to be courteous and respectful of the procedure.
- Be calm and confident when answering questions – Maintain eye contact and speak in a loud, clear voice when it is your turn to talk. Take your time when answering questions. If you do not know the answer, do not be afraid to say so. Lying will only harm your case. When the judge or your spouse’s attorney is saying something, do not interrupt them.
- Keep your emotions in check – The truth is that divorce is an emotionally overwhelming experience, but never make the mistake of becoming too emotional in the courtroom. When an individual begins feeling emotional, then chances are high they might behave improperly or say something that shouldn’t. Don’t even make any faces or gestures. Some lawyers will intentionally make inflammatory statements to incite a reaction, so don’t fall for this act.
If you find yourself in court, these suggestions will help you be on your best behavior. Do not hesitate to be more prepared for the situation with the help of your lawyer.