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Going to court for your divorce and custody case can be very intimidating and stressful, particularly if you have never been in the courtroom before. Knowing ahead of time what you might expect in terms of courtroom proceedings and etiquette can make you feel more confident and calm. Even more importantly, understanding and following the accepted conventions can even give you a better chance of winning your case. Read on to find out more about what you can expect when you are in court.


Who Is in Charge?

The most important rule to keep in mind is that the judge is the person in charge of the courtroom. You must answer all questions asked by the judge, you must answer politely, and you must never speak out of turn. As long as you remember that the judge is the representative of not only the courtroom but also of the law itself, you will be ahead of the game.

When the judge enters the courtroom, all will stand if they are able to. You should do the same, and do not sit down again until he or she tells the courtroom that they may sit. When you speak to the judge, always address him or her as “Your Honor.” Anything that the judge tells you to do, you must do.


What Should I Wear?

Many people wonder what they should wear in court. It is important to remember that you must dress respectfully and appropriately for the occasion. Avoid wearing jeans, sneakers, t-shirts, and anything that is not clean and in good repair.

Instead, dress conservatively and professionally, as though you were attending a business meeting. Men should wear dress pants, a button down shirt, and, if desired, a tie. If it is cool in the courtroom, a suit jacket or a sweater can be worn. Do not wear a sweatshirt. If you do not have these types of clothes, you can wear khaki pants and a polo shirt, but do not wear jeans and a t-shirt. Dress shoes are most appropriate. Make sure they are clean.

Women can wear a conservative dress, a skirt that is not too short, or dress pants. A blouse or a nice sweater is appropriate. Do not wear a t-shirt, a tank top, or anything with logos. Don’t wear anything with loud or bright colors and don’t choose a sundress or a miniskirt. Pumps, flats, or another type of dress shoe is good for the courtroom, but make sure the heels are conservative. Also, watch your neckline to be sure it is modest.

A watch, a small pair of earrings, or a small bracelet or necklace can be worn, as well as a wedding ring, but don’t wear more than one or two pieces, total. If possible, cover any tattoos that you have. Make sure your hair is clean and styled sensibly. Men with long hair should pull it back neatly. Women can leave long hair loose as long as it is neat and tidy. If you have pink, blue, or another color of hair that is not a natural-looking color, consider dyeing it a more natural color. Don’t wear hats or sunglasses in the courtroom.

These rules might seem stuffy and outdated to some, but they are conventional dress etiquette when it comes to the courtroom and should be followed to avoid making a poor first impression on the judge.


How Should I Act?

In general, you simply want to be polite and good-mannered. No matter who you are speaking to, and that includes your spouse or ex-spouse, you should be cordial. Do not speak to anyone out of turn. Your spouse might make a statement that you disagree with. You can jot a quick not to your attorney, if you have one, but you must never speak out loud. You’ll get your turn to speak and you will appreciate the chance to be heard without being interrupted. When it is your turn to speak, you can politely ask the judge if you can comment on something that your spouse said, if necessary.

Of course, you will want to arrive on time. Plan to be 15 minutes early to account for traffic or any parking difficulties. To avoid these types of problems, check in advance where you should park and how far the parking lot or garage is from the courtroom.

Be aware that you will need to go through security in many cases, and plan for the time that this will take. You can call ahead of time to find out how much time you should allot for this. You cannot bring weapons or illegal drugs into the courtroom. You will likely need to go through a metal detector, so plan to remove your belt if needed.

You will not be able to have your cellphone on in the courtroom, so turn it off or set it to mute. Let your friends know that you will be in court so they are less likely to call and distract you. You also cannot eat, drink, or smoke in the courtroom.

Keep in mind that the people outside of the courtroom might be deciding your case. They could be jury members in the case of a jury trial, the judge, or the opposing party’s attorney. Keep all conversations quiet and don’t get angry, act belligerently, or talk about anything personal from the time you leave your vehicle or public transportation until the time you are off of the grounds of the court building.

Knowing how to behave in court will help you remain calm, cool and collected. Family Law Legal Group can help you get yourself prepared for court, whether you are going for a hearing or for a trial. Contact us today to find out whether we can help you with your divorce or child custody case. Our services cost a fraction of what a private attorney costs, and we can help you settle or win your case. You don’t have to go through your divorce or child custody case alone, so get in touch with us today.


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