Family Court Is Also About Presentation

How Do I Act In Family Court?

                Not being familiar with a court room setting is a common occurrence for people; whether it’s criminal court or family court. Beginning a court case to seek custody of your child, shared or otherwise, can be an intimidating thing to do. A person will commonly have an idea of what court will be like but knowing what’s going to happen, when you should talk, when not to talk and how to present yourself in general, are all great things to have prior knowledge of before stepping in front of the judge. If you’re a parent going through a divorce and custody case with your ex, here are a few things to think about before you go to court over your children:

  • Dress to impress. If you don’t have a suit, go out and buy one. If you’re a t-shirt and shorts kinda person this might be a little more difficult. Regardless of your feelings about dress attire, looking your best in general should be a concern of yours. If you’re well dressed and well groomed, this immediately shows the judge that you’re serious and professional. A sports coat and a nice pair of shoes goes a lot farther than jeans and a t-shirt.
  • What’s my line again? In a court room setting, it’s always important not to speak out of turn. This can be hard for some. If you’re the type of person that can’t stand not being able to put in your two cents, patience is going to be your virtue. When you and your ex are in front of the judge, wait for your turn to talk and give your argument. Sometimes the other parent might throw out an accusation that you don’t provide enough for the children or you were verbally abusive during the relationship. Allegations like this can be hard to be silent about, no question. Since court room etiquette is about respect and truthfulness, exhibiting this will convey this respect to the judge and the court room.
  • What’s going to happen? Essentially, the judge doesn’t want to hear you guys arguing back and forth in the court room. This isn’t a court room setting like you see on Law & Order. There isn’t a jury or the District Attorney. It’s just you guys and the judge. They just want to see the facts about the case, perhaps review statements and counter claims from both parties and make a decision based on that. Most of the time the judge will have already read the petition before stepping into the court room. Sometimes a parent can misinterpret this as the judge not listening to them and just siding with the other parent. It’s important to know that is not the case. This can easily skew your perception about how the court case occurred.

No matter what happens, the most important thing is to present your side of the case to the judge in a way that makes sense to them and that shows that what you’re asking for, is what’s best for the child. Knowing what to say and how to say it is half the battle. Educating yourself on what to expect will give you that much more of an edge if you’re going against a lot of opposition from your ex. There are legal resources for parents seeking custody of their kids.  The internet is a great resource for finding such resources. A local legal professional in your area is also an excellent person to consult with on the matter. Arming yourself with knowledge is effective tool to win your case.


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Posted in A Childs Best Interests, Child Custody, child custody battles, Child Visitation, Courtroom Preparation, Family, Family Court
12 comments on “Family Court Is Also About Presentation
  1. Thank you. I was wondering about how to dress for my court date coming up. I will get my suit pressed and ready. My court date to fight her temporary restraining order, oddly enough, falls on our 10th wedding anniversary. Should I tell her: Happy Anniversary? I think I will just stick to talking to my counsel and the judge.

    • I think if you tell her happy anniversary with sincerity that would be fine. That is ironic that you’re going to court on the same date. Keep in mind a restraining order is just a smoke screen. In some cases, getting a visitation order established will allow a parent to see their kids without the interruption of a protection order.

  2. aliciabenton says:

    Great advice. I’ve seen too many people defeat themselves in Court because of their appearance and attitude.

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