First impressions count and every time you appear in front of the judge an opinion will start to be formed and bad ones are hard to change and good ones can be lost because of basic mistakes. When you read the list below, since it is not your case, it will be easy to see how simple the ideas are but of course in the heat of the moment clients make mistakes and the results can affect their contested divorce case everytime it is before the judge. The list includes things to do and things to avoid.
1. Be on time, don't make the court wait for you. While the judge may not get to your case on time, you never know when the judge will be ready and you must be timely.
2. Be dressed appropriately for court. No shorts, cutoffs, tee shirts, or tank tops. Dress as if the matter is important and of course it is. The judge's decisions affect your finances and your children. Dressing properly is a way of showing respect for the court and the legal process.
3. Make sure your cell phone is turned off or on vibrate. I have seen judges get infuriated when a cell phone starts ringing in the courtroom.
4. Do not make faces, roll your eyes or laugh at what your spouse or attorney says to the judge. Even if the statements are completely wrong, there is a correct way of responding to the statements without the exaggerated facial responses.
5. Do not interrupt the judge when the judge is speaking. Not listening to the judge and interrupting is disrepectful.
6. Do not talk over and interrupt your spouse or spouse's attorney. You and your attorney will have a chance to respond.
7. DO NOT LIE. Once the judge realizes that you do not tell the truth your credibility is damaged and everything that you say is doubly scrutinized because of the lack of trust. Once you lose your credibiity with the court it is extremely hard to get it back.
8. If you make a statement about your spouse, be prepared to prove it. Don't make it up as you are going along especially if it is something that can easily be disproven by a document.
9. Don't lose your temper in the courtroom. You will be labeled as an angry person with anger issues and seen as an atagonist. Say what you need to say but do not yell at your spouse or attack their attorney.
10. Even if the judge is not in the courtroom, the court officer, court clerk and stenographer are there and they are observing your conduct as well and they may tell the judge what they saw or overheard.
If you follow these basic suggestions you will be helping your case while at the same time your spouse is damaging his case. Judges are people and they form opinions about who they like and who they want to help. Your choice of your divorce attorney is important because an attorney with the respect of the court and known to be excellent by the court helps the client as well. Judges are aware which attorneys that practice regularly in their courtroom are reliable and truth tellers and which ones make it up as they go along. Choose your lawyer carefully because the lawyer's experience and reputation can always help turn a bad day into a good day in court. I have been handing divorce cases in Suffolk County for over 22 years and want to help you win. Please call my office and meet me so that you can have the benefit of my experience.