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10 Tips for Going to Court

Aug. 1, 2020

If you are in a traditionally litigated divorce, you almost inevitably will end up in Court for a hearing. Here are some quick reminders of what you should do.

These rules apply even if you are having a Zoom hearing in Court.

1. Dress appropriately. Business or church type clothing will work. Shorts won't get in the door. Very casual makes a bad impression on the Judge. Dress nicely. Don't show a lot of bling.

For a Zoom hearing, be fully and appropriately dressed.

2. Be on time. They might start without you or they might cancel the hearing, or the Judge could penalize you, if you're late. Leave home early so you can get to Court on time. Don't be surprised if there are traffic jams or accidents at rush hour.

For Zoom hearings, being on time is very important because we are so limited on the time available.

3. Be respectful to the Judge. Don't talk back. Don't look or act mad. Be very polite to the Judge.

Remember, the Judge can see and hear you on Zoom.

4. Be reasonable — even if your spouse isn't. Think long term and remember the value in getting the case resolved instead of getting caught up in a long Court battle.

5. Don't volunteer information. Just answer questions directly and briefly. Volunteering information almost always leads to trouble. The Judge and attorneys may view things differently than you do, and that may mean trouble for you if you say the wrong things.

6. Bring the information you need. Bring all the documents and other information you need for the hearing. They won't stop the hearing and let you go home or to your vehicle to get something.

You need to be organized and have everything available for a Zoom hearing. We don't have time to search around for documents.

7. Control your emotions. Don't show anger and don't get a big grin if you think you won something. Stay calm and let the Judge and attorneys manage things.

Remember, the Judge can see and hear you, even on Zoom.

8. Expect delays and resets. It's very common for the Court to move slowly through the cases. Everyone takes longer than they say they will. Cases get reset all the time for lots of different reasons. Don't be surprised or get angry if there are delays and the case gets reset until later.

9. Don't expect a scene from a TV show or a movie. They aren't realistic. Pay attention to what your attorney tells you.

10. Prepare with your attorney before you go to Court. You can meet with your attorney and discuss what to expect and how to handle questions. You can also find out what information you need to bring. If you will follow these suggestions, your date in Court should be a lot more comfortable!

Make sure you can join the Zoom hearing and arrive early to enter the waiting room.