Knowing how to conduct yourself in a courtroom will give you confidence and play a big part in the success of your court case.
Having your cell phone ring will be seen as disrespect for the court and will reflect on you. If you can’t take responsibility to silence your cell phone, how much responsibility can you really take? Turn your cell phone off!
Even though this seems like common sense, it should be mentioned that there should not be any food or beverages and certainly no chewing of gum or tobacco.
Always be prepared. Family court proceedings are not about “he said, she said”, they are about documentation. Do your homework, anticipate what is needed ahead of time and be prepared!
Never be late for court hearings. Judges don’t want to hear your excuses and if you are not able to take the responsibility of being on time, they will factor that in when deciding your responsibility for the care of your children. Some court houses can be mazes, so if time allows, visit the building ahead of that you know exactly where you are going and avoid the chances of being late.
Courtrooms have their own forms of etiquette and should be followed as such. For instance, it is always required for everyone to stand when the judge enters the courtroom. Never talk when the judge is speaking and do not interrupt the judge or the proceedings at any time. Always stand when addressing the judge and keep eye contact. Speak only when it is your turn and when you have been given instruction to do so. Try to speak as clearly as possible and loud enough that you can be heard by the judge. Always stick to facts and do not go into long stories or tangents. If you need clarification or have questions, inquire respectfully. You should address the judge as “Your Honor” and everyone else should be addressed as Mr. or Ms.
Above all, keep your cool at all times. Fighting for your kids is an emotional experience and you are dealing with an ex-spouse who knows how to ‘push your buttons’. Maintain a calmness at all times. The judge is watching and seeing how you act under pressure. Avoid arguments and continually stick to the facts!
Remember that you are fighting for your kids and don’t want to lose any precious time with them because of any misbehavior in one court hearing.