How to Get Ready For Your Court Date

How to Get Ready For Your Court Date

Getting ready for court, whether it’s for a divorce, child custody, or alimony, is an important affair. It’s crucial that you present yourself in the best way possible in front of the Judge. Doing so can help your odds of winning and showcase your strengths. Here are some tips that will set you up for success:

Get There Early

Get to court early! Nothing will look worse than you showing up late to what is supposed to be an important matter. Arriving early will also allow you the opportunity to speak with your attorney beforehand, find parking, and find the courtroom before your session begins.  

On the contrary if you’re trying to build your reputation back up after losing custody, breaking the custody agreement, or have a number of things going against you, every little point in your favor will help. Showing that you’re responsible enough to be punctual every single time will help prove you’re a fit parent. 

Stick to the Plan 

You and your attorney will likely have developed a game plan before going to court. It’s important that you stick to that plan. Don’t go rogue, don’t get any last minute crazy ideas, just stick to the plan. Remember, your attorney knows best. They know the Judges, the law, the clerks, and they’ve had years of experience dealing with your exact issues. 

The last thing you want, is to do or say something that will throw your attorney off and affect the outcome of the case. However, if you feel it’s necessary to bring a matter up, this is all the more reason to show up to the courthouse early so you can speak with your attorney before you’re in front of the Judge. 

Dress Appropriately

Court attire needs to be business casual. No jeans, sneakers, graphic t-shirts, or hats. Again, the better you present yourself, the more you’re likely to win over the Judge. It’s always better to overdress than underdress in this case. 

A good rule of thumb to follow if you need ideas is a nice pair of khaki pants, a collared shirt, collared jacket, and a pair of dress shoes. It’s not too fancy, yet you’ll win points for looking professional.

Have All Your Documents Ready 

Keeping your court documents ready can help make the day run smoothly. Securing all your case paperwork in a folder or binder will ensure you’re organized, look professional, and will be easy to sort through. 

This can be said for all the paperwork you receive from your attorney, not just what you need to bring to court. You will likely receive a LOT of information throughout your relationship with your attorney. Keeping it sorted will make it easier to navigate the chaos that can surround hiring a lawyer.

Don’t Take the Bait

During court, it’s best not to interact with the other side. Oftentimes, tensions can be quite high between the two parties. The other side may try to bait you, say things to rile you up, or attempt to get a reaction from you. Don’t fall for it. The best thing you can do is not speak, look, or acknowledge the other party unless absolutely necessary. An outburst can be one of the worst things you can do. It shows that you are quick to anger and can’t control yourself, which doesn’t look good, especially when dealing with family matters. 

It’s also important that when you’re sitting at the table with your attorney, stay calm and remain focused. Do not react negatively or out loud to anything the opposing party or attorney says no matter how much it upsets you. Calmly write down what you want your attorney to know and slide it to them to view at the appropriate time.

Reactions of any kind can also extend to family members or friends who may be there to speak on your behalf. While they may do it with every honorable intention of defending you, just know, it will reflect badly on you. Therefore, if you have a loved one with a short fuse, it may be best to leave them at home. 

Don’t Speak Unless Spoken To

Speaking to the other side can absolutely fall into this category, but it mainly emphasizes the fact that you need to represent yourself in a respectful manner. So as a good general rule to follow, don’t speak unless you’re spoken to. This includes asking your attorney questions during a trial. If you have questions or thoughts, write them down and speak with your attorney after court. 

This can also show that you are taking the process seriously, taking notes, and are staying engaged. Most of the time you will not be required to talk in court so get ready for a lot of listening and writing.  

Understand Courtroom Etiquette

 Lastly, let’s go over some Courtroom etiquette:

  • Make sure your phone and smartwatch is turned OFF or on silent. Nothing looks worse than when your phone starts to ring and you scramble to turn it off. Even on vibrate, it can be disruptive. 
  • No chewing gum. Chewing gum and eating can be incredibly distracting. The last thing you want people to hear is you smacking your gum or fumbling with a wrapper. Water, cough drops, or tissues can be great alternatives. 
  • Be respectful. This goes for the Judge, courtroom staff, and the other party. Don’t raise your voice, get an attitude, or get too emotional. 

While these tips can help, the most important factor in all of this is that you trust your attorney. Do some shopping around and find one that you connect with. If you’re in the market for a North Carolina family law attorney, click here or call 919-213-7449.