Divorce is stressful, and trial can create added pressure and anxiety. You and your attorney have spent extensive time and resources preparing your case and compressing the details of your marriage into what will result in just days — or even hours — of trial. Your attorney will prepare you for what it is to come, and now the day has arrived… you go to court. Set forth are three simple tips to help you prepare for your day in court.
Make sure you know how to get to the courthouse, through security and to your specific courtroom. We realize this idea might sound totally obvious, but for many of our clients, a divorce proceeding is the first time he/she has actually been to the courthouse or dealt with the court system in any way. You must know not only how to get to the courthouse, but also where to find parking, as well as estimate any additional time you need to deal with potential traffic delays. It is important to arrive at the courthouse on time and dressed appropriately (like you were attending a job interview) in order to make a positive impression on the Judge.
When you are in court, the most important person to control is yourself. Commit to keeping your emotions in check for your own benefit. Try to respond to all questions in a calm and respectful manner with the highest degree of accuracy. Avoid dramatic or emotional facial expressions and/or outbursts. Do not roll your eyes or mutter under your breath… you will be surprised how difficult it is to maintain your composure in a divorce proceeding. Have faith that although justice is blind, your trial Judge probably is not. Particularly when you are on the witness stand, stay calm and focused even if you feel hostile toward your spouse and his/her attorney, or they behave antagonistically toward you. Keeping your cool on the witness stand is usually indicative of someone who has nothing to hide.
Even though your domestic case has gone to trial despite all of your best efforts to settle amicably, make sure you keep your options open. No matter how long your domestic case has gone on or how contentious is may have been, you can still make prudent choices. Talk with your attorney about your options. Do not let emotions and/or anger ruin your chances of a settlement just before or during trial, even if the other side has been pervasively acrimonious in the past.
In divorce, the emotional and financial stakes are high. Make sure you have selected the right legal counsel to represent you through trial if necessary. There is no substitute for clear legal guidance from a trustworthy counselor who understands how divorce plays out, both in and out of court. Retain a proven and dedicated family law/divorce lawyer with an established record of successful outcomes. In court, the loudest voice does not necessarily prevail and adversarial tactics are usually not appreciated by the Judge. A Judge’s job is to ensure a final resolution that is both fair and just, not one that is dictated by the lawyer who makes the most noise.