How to Behave in Court during your Divorce Hearing

The courtroom where your divorce case will be handled by the judge is a formal place. This is one reason why you need to behave properly during the hearing of your case. It is true that most couples become stressed out or emotional during the trial, but this is not the right way to behave as it can be considered inappropriate by the judge. The judge presiding over your case might not be sympathetic if your behavior is unsuitable for the courtroom.

The vast majority of judges are intelligent, compassionate, and concerned with doing the right thing. But judges are human and if you don’t behave properly inside the courtroom, it will create a negative impression about you. Always remember that when there is a decision to be made in favor of you or against your spouse, even the smallest details can make a huge difference in the final judgment. So, have a control over your feelings and emotions and behave like a good person.

Here are some important courtroom behavior tips:

Dress Appropriately:

Be sure to dress appropriately on the hearing date of your divorce case. The way you dress while you are present in the court conveys a respect for the court that helps in creating a positive impression. On the hearing day, professional attire is a must. Women must not wear anything too low-cut, short, tight or shimmery or anything that can be termed as too outrageous or revealing. Also wear minimal make-up and jewelry. For men, clothing should not be too flashy or anything too casual. Men should opt for a business suit or at least khakis, a dress shirt, tie and a sports jacket. Both men and women should avoid wearing a hat or a cap in the courtroom. For those who are confused regarding what to wear can even ask their lawyers for suggestions.

Never Arrive Late:

There are many cases in the court scheduled for a single day. So, when you arrive late it automatically creates delays in your hearing. Moreover, the inconvenience created by you due to late arrival will not create a good impression of you and your trial may even be delayed or rescheduled for another date.  In case of unavoidable circumstances for which you might be late, then your first duty is to inform your lawyer, so that proper arrangements can be made to minimize any disruption. Make that extra effort to reach on time. Also arriving early will allow you some time to mentally prepare yourself for the trial and avoid being flustered by arriving at the last minute.

Follow Courtroom Etiquettes:

No matter in which US state you reside, there are certain specific court rules. Certain rules that you need to follow are to stand when the judge enters the courtroom, sit upright, and pay attention to every word that is being said. Twirling your hair, fiddling with your keys or fixing your makeup while the trial is on is not correct. Eating and drinking are not allowed in the Courtroom, and chewing something is definitely a big NO. Before entering the courtroom turn off your cell phones as ringing of your cell phone during the legal proceeding will create disturbance. Never forget the fact that your future is at stake.

Remain Calm:

It is true that going to a court is a difficult task but you must stay calm and in control during the whole procedure. If you have hired a lawyer, make him take the lead and you must try to remain silent unless your attorney, or the judge, directs you to speak. Avoid negative body language such as crossing your legs or arms while speaking, laughing unnecessarily, and sounding silly. A judge will watch your every move and listen to your every word. Vulgar arguments, loud accusatory statements, shouting and name calling will in no way help your case. You need to convey a positive message via your actions and words during the hearing of your case.


Hold Back Reactions:

It is quite common to feel anger on seeing your spouse in the courtroom. But you need to hold back your emotions and concentrate on the legal proceedings. When you are in front of the judge, always remember that everyone is noticing how you are behaving. So try not to get in a fight with your spouse during your trial. You must also not try to do anything to provoke your spouse. Even when the pressure is reaching higher, always behave respectfully and calmly. Don’t lose your temper or the final order of your case will not be in your favor.

Answer Properly and Confidently:

In a courtroom, the judge may ask certain questions to both the parties. Take your time in answering questions and if you don’t know the answer, say so. Don’t make the mistake of lying in order to create a positive impression. Always remember the judge has far more experience to know whether you are telling the truth or not. Also when the judge or attorney of your spouse is saying something, you must never interrupt them. Always speak clearly, concisely, and be direct in answering questions. Always bear in mind that it is certainly not the time to be reserved, superstitious or hesitant.

Don’t Bring Your Date:

When matter what is the reason behind your divorce, you must not bring your new love interest in the courtroom. Just because it is not a legal consideration does not mean people will not think it improper behavior. If you need the support during the trial, bring one of your friends or family members. In case of children custody battle, if the credibility or position of the new person in your life can be beneficial to your case, you need to first consult your lawyer before bringing them to court.

Show Respect:

Whether you like it or not, the judge is the person who will make the final decision. Send him the message that you respect him and his courtroom. Always address the judge as ‘your honor’ and try to be respectful during the whole process. In case of disagreement with the judge preface your comments with, ‘With all due respect your honor.’ When on the witness stand always address the attorneys with, ‘yes sir and no sir.’ You may not like the attorney of your spouse but as he is also one of the important people present in the courtroom you need to show your respect. Your respect towards the judge, the lawyers and other persons present in the courtroom also indicates your trust towards the overall law system of your state.

Don’t Become Emotional:

It is a fact that divorce is an emotional experience but never makes the mistake of becoming too emotional in the courtroom. During the whole proceedings, keep your emotions in check and focus on the legal aspects of your case. When a person starts feeling emotional, then chances are high that they might behave improperly or say something that they should not. So, no matter what try hard to pull yourself together until you’re out of the courtroom and in a more private area.

Be Organized:

In a divorce case, you may need to submit many documents and important papers. This is why it is advisable to have a clear idea about your case. Prior to the trial, meet your lawyer to discuss the various aspects of your case. This will help you to become familiar with what issues will be discussed and how your lawyer is planning to deal with them. Keep all important documents related to your case in a file and don’t forget to bring it in the courtroom. Make sure it is well organized and easy to find when required.

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To conclude, with the right behavior, you can greatly improve your chances of walking out of the courtroom with judgments made in your favor. This means when you adhere to courtroom etiquette and behaves properly, it strengthens your case. Everything you say and everything you do inside the courtroom can potentially affect the terms of your divorce.

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