Divorce is stressful enough, especially when spouses are faced with moving, dividing assets and debts, and most importantly, child custody, but when you add in going to court – it makes it even more uncomfortable.
Unless you’re an attorney, you’re probably not familiar with courtroom procedure, and going before a judge can be nerve-wracking. Sometimes people feel as if they are on trial, when of course they are not.
Still, you are in a courtroom and it’s important that you know how to conduct yourself – we cannot stress this enough. The judge handling your case is a very busy individual, so you only have a short period of time to make a good impression.
It’s not only about looking professional, it’s about acting professional. Your courtroom demeanor speaks volumes and if you want to influence the judge’s opinion in the best possible way, you should prepare yourself for the day you go to court.
Dressing Up for Court
While you may work in one of those casual workplaces, court is not the place to wear jeans or spaghetti straps.
Pretend you’re going to a church, a job interview, a 5 star restaurant, or a nice wedding and dress in your “Sunday best.” Courthouses demand respect and when you don’t dress the part, you come off as disrespectful.
However, don’t drop a fortune on an expensive outfit; you don’t want to dress above your means. If you’re trying to fight spousal support, the judge doesn’t need to see you walk in the courtroom wearing a $4,000 Armani suit.
Have Your Attorney Brief You
You should not attend a hearing without knowing what to expect. Good divorce lawyers brief their clients on their hearings and what will be addressed ahead of time. No matter which hearing you are attending, make sure your attorney carves out time beforehand to prepare you so you’re not caught off guard.
When your attorney prepares you, you’ll feel much more comfortable when you have to stand before the judge.
Be Respectful and Polite (Even to Your Ex)
While it’s critical that you’re polite to the judge, you need to be polite to your ex and opposing counsel as well. Judges don’t take kindly to people who are rude.
Even if your spouse is making a blatantly false allegation, you still must respond politely and calmly. An emotional outburst can derail your plans of a good outcome in court. Take the high road, you’ll be glad you did.
Mind Your Behavior
It’s not only what you say that matters, it’s your body language and your behavior. Laughing at your ex’s attorney, shooting daggers at your ex, or shaking your head in disbelief will not work in your favor. Such behavior will make the judge think that you are disrespectful and that is not the impression that you want to give.
When your day in court comes, make sure that you are prepared and do your best to project an aura of strength, respect and confidence as these behaviors will go a long way in the courtroom.
If you need a Los Angeles divorce attorney, contact our firm for a free consultation.