Preparing for Your Family Court Appearance
So you have filed for divorce, and your case is moving along. Now it is finally time to get down to brass tacks and meet up in family court. You will find the courtroom experience to be quite different from other daily experiences, so a few tips on how to prepare might be useful. Even if you have a video court session because of the current covid-19 circumstances, there are some essential considerations to keep in mind:
- Dress Appropriately: Women and men should wear modest outfits, avoiding revealing clothing or blaring colors. While it is important to look your best, do not feel the need to overdo it. As long as you are clean and pressed, you will send the message that you understand the proper decorum for court. While you want to look nice, you need not go out to buy something new for the occasion. Remember that your appearance involves more than just your clothes; you will want to project a conservative look, particularly if child custody is an issue. Imagine the judge’s reaction to your appearance, and try to amp up your image to reflect a calm, dignified parent. Avoid gum chewing, and do not bring your Big Gulp into the proceedings.
- Be prepared: Courts are generally overburdened, and judges have little patience with tardiness or poor preparation. When communicating with the court, remember to address the judge, not your ex or one of the attorneys. If you hear something from the other side that you wish to dispute, avoid getting into a shouting match. Instead, evenly request an opportunity to speak your piece from the judge, and then carefully and steadily present your side of the story.
- Respect the court: You can demonstrate your respect for family court with the manner in which you behave. Avoid raising your voice or using a defiant tone. Particularly if you sense the judge is being unfair, it is essential that you properly address him or her as “Your Honor,” and display genuine deference at all times.
- Tell the truth: Although it may be tempting to exaggerate the facts, you will always be better off if you simply relate your points honestly and thoroughly. Even a tiny misrepresentation can lead a judge to question the validity of every other aspect of your presentation.
- Be reasonable: Understand that divorce will generally involve a series of compromises. If the judge senses that you are reluctant to give up any ground, it could influence him or her in a negative way. Whatever comes your way, it is important to be able to let go if the need arises.
You are Not Alone
Going to family court or any other courtroom is generally not something most people look forward to, but there are things you can do to make it a less nerve-wracking experience. At Beck Family Law P.C., our experienced team will help to prepare you for what to expect long before your court date arrives. If you live in Mendocino County, Lake County, or Sonoma County, contact our office in Santa Rosa to schedule a confidential consultation today.