Divorce Court Etiquette

For many, going through a divorce is a first brush with the legal system. It can be intimidating and overwhelming, especially considering the fact that going through a divorce can already, in and of itself, be a lot to cope with. The prospect of going to court and appearing before a judge is often a source of great anxiety for parties to a divorce. We want to help you with this. Knowing how to prepare yourself and how to behave in divorce court is a great way to channel some of your stress about a divorce court appearance and also a way to give yourself concrete, productive steps to get ready.

Divorce Court Etiquette

Divorce court places a lot of evidence, albeit unsaid many times, on credibility of the parties. Parties to a divorce will be scrutinized for various reasons and many will play an important role in deciding some critical matters, such as custody arrangements for a child of the marriage. Yes, how you present yourself in divorce court will matter even before you set foot in the courtroom. How you present yourself will be considered in terms of whether a judge thinks you will be a solid and responsible parent. Representation for your soon to be former spouse will also be watching you to see how you present yourself in court. How likeable are you? Are you in control of your emotions? Do you appear responsible? Are you credible? These can all influence important decisions made in divorce court.

To present yourself in the best light for divorce court, observing proper divorce court etiquette can be of paramount importance. This begins with arriving early for your court appearance. Give yourself plenty of time to allow for traffic, parking issues, and getting lost on the way to the courthouse or getting turned around once to the courthouse. Arriving at least 15 minutes early before your scheduled court appearance time can be a good goal to set for yourself. This time can be useful to gather yourself and collect your thoughts as well as go over some last minute points with your attorney.

Dressing appropriately for court is also important. While the old saying goes that you cannot judge a book by its cover, your appearance and dress will be scrutinized and taken into consideration by the court and opposing counsel. Dressing conservatively, as if going into a formal office setting, is always a safe bet for divorce court. 

Also, be sure to silence your cell phone. Few other things will agitate a judge more than a loud cell phone ringer blasting off in the middle of formal divorce proceedings. Furthermore, ringing cell phones are likely to be confiscated by an officer of the court.

Additionally, it can be important to consider how you present yourself in divorce court. This can involve walking a fine line between appearing confident without seeming arrogant. It also involves knowing how to answer questions responsively, but to know when to stop talking. Being respectful is also important and includes being courteous to the staff present in the courtroom at your hearings. Respect their time as well and the importance of the proceedings. Refrain from eating and gum chewing. Be prepared to keep your emotions in check and swallow the anger that can quickly surface during proceedings as personal as those involved in a divorce.

Florida Family Law Attorneys

Putting your best foot forward in divorce court can be important to the outcome of the proceedings and help the process move along as smooth as possible. Don’t worry. The team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou will be with you every step of the way. Contact us today.

About the Author
Andrew Nickolaou, Esq., B.C.S., is a founding partner at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. He practices almost exclusively in divorce, marital and family law. Andrew and his partner, Ophelia Bernal-Mora, Esq., B.C.S., joined forces in March 2016 to form the unique and boutique husband and wife family law team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. Together, Andrew and Ophelia take a practical and team-based approach to all of their cases and clients to deliver the highest quality experience and representation.