There may come a time when you and your ex are sitting in a courtroom together. If you’ve tried mediation or collaborative divorce and that hasn’t worked, going to court might be the final necessary step before moving on.
While divorce court can be difficult, it can also be an opportunity for you to have some resolution. There are a few important concepts to keep in mind when you have your day in court.
4 Divorce Court Tips to Keep in Mind
Appearance: There’s no second chance to make a first impression, and the way you dress in divorce court is particularly important. People are often under the misconception that you should “dress poor” for a court case so that the judge will take pity on you. Realistically, the judge requires documentation and does research to determine a person’s child support, alimony and financial obligations. Ultimately, your clothing should reflect your respect for the court. Dress as if you’re going to a job interview: err on the side of conservative and professional.
Attitude: A judge’s job is to evaluate you at all times in the courtroom, and if you have his or her respect, you’re in a much better position. Don’t lose your temper, and don’t do anything that could be construed as hostile or abusive. Judges see many court cases, and so there’s no need for you to visually communicate your pain or anger towards your ex. Stay composed, and be as courteous as you would in an office environment. Remain respectful of the process.
Language: Use polite language when you communicate, and try not to be overly defensive. Speak calmly and naturally, and never resort to name-calling or shouting at your ex. Be respectful of the judge as well, and remember that he or she is not your enemy.
Preparation: Be prepared-- it seems like an obvious comment, but if you’re stressed out, you may not be as organized as you usually are. Make yourself a checklist of any documentation your divorce lawyer has asked you to bring, and put your documents with your keys the night before.
While divorce court can be demanding, it is also often the end to a long and painful process.