We would all like to avoid going to court for any reason but with life’s many twists and turns, we may find ourselves there anyway. It would be wise to know the proper etiquette before you adventure into such a land as the judge’s courtroom. Below are some do’s and don’ts when you find yourself there.
DO NOT be late – Leave early, take traffic into account, search out the road map beforehand or do whatever it takes but do not be late. This is heavily frowned upon in the courtroom and the judge will not wait on you and your schedule.
DO show up dressed appropriately- No one says that you have to have expensive attire to appear in court but use common sense and do not show up in cutoffs or tank tops. This is not appropriate and whether we like it or not, how we look makes a first impression. If you are going before a judge for custody or visitation of your children then by all means, make a good first impression.
DO NOT show up unprepared – The courts time is valuable and the judge will have no patience for you not being prepared. Have all the forms, signatures, and legal docs needed. Do not tell the judge that you didn’t know you needed such a form or document, make it your business to know what you need before you even step into the courtroom. Seek legal guidance.
DO NOT speak disrespectfully – No matter what the circumstances do not speak disrespectfully in the courtroom. You may have anger issues with your Ex but the courtroom is not the place to ‘have at it’ and the judges will not tolerate disrespect towards themselves or anyone else in the courtroom. If you know your Ex ‘pushes your buttons’ or is even lying, making a scene in the courtroom will not help your case.
DO document everything – When you appear in court the judge does not want to hear long drawn out stories about your life and how your Ex ‘did you wrong’. They do not want to hear “he said” “she said”. Make sure that anything that you want the judge to take into account about your case is all documented. Save your sagas for your friends, therapist, whoever, but never the judge.
DO NOT argue with the judge – You may not agree with them but it will do you no good to insult, argue or cause a scene. Do not ‘take on’ the judge because you feel you are right. The last thing that you want to do is alienate the person deciding the fate of you and your children.
Lastly, DO NOT be intimidated –If you stick to the do’s and don’ts above you should have a positive experience even if things don’t necessarily go your way. Do not be intimidated by the judge or judicial system, remember that you are fighting for your kids; you just have to know the rules of the game. So get in there, make a good first impression, stay calm and collected, be respectful and above all, be prepared!
Maintaining your ‘cool’ throughout your hearing and case will help show the judge that you are the responsible and collected parent and when they other party lashes out in disrespect, you will be viewed in better light when it comes time to signing the dotted line.
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Disclaimer: This cannot be considered legal advice or legal counsel. In no way shape or form should this be taken as a strategy to legally proceed in a family law case. Nor does this explain, define, or guarantee how a judge or court authority will decide on making final decisions. We are not a law firm or attorneys.