The courtroom is a formal place. While it is completely understandable if you are nervous, stressed out or emotional during your divorce trial, unfortunately the judge presiding over your case might not be sympathetic if your behavior is unsuitable for the courtroom.
The majority of divorce cases in New York are decided by a judge only (jury trials for divorce cases are rare) so the judge is the person you need to impress.
This article will review 5 tips of how to act in court to win your divorce.
Tip #1: Dress Appropriately
Your trial is not a fashion show; however, professional attire is definitely preferred. If you have any concerns about what to wear, dress in the clothes you plan to wear to court in a meeting with your lawyer before your trial date and ask for candid advice.
Tip #2: Be Early (and Be Prepared to Wait)
Arriving late creates delays for the court. The inconvenience you create for the judge and court clerk will not create a good impression of you and your trial may even be delayed or rescheduled for another date. If you are going to be late, inform your lawyer as soon as possible so that arrangements can be made to minimize any disruption.
Ideally, you will arrive early. Arriving early will allow you some time to mentally prepare yourself for the trial and avoid being flustered by arriving at the last minute. That said, delays are very common so be prepared for a long wait.
Tip #3: Follow Court Protocols
In addition to arriving on time, do not interrupt the judge or anyone else who is speaking. Judges in New York City face very high case loads so they tend not to look favorably upon anything that slows down the process. Your divorce lawyer will know when it is appropriate to intervene. Remember, sometimes it is a good strategy to let the other side ramble on so that your lawyer can make it seem like they are wasting court time.
Other important court protocols are to avoid chewing gun, eating or drinking, smoking or talking on your cell phone.
Tip #4: Do Not Provoke or Be Provoked by Your Spouse
Do not spend court time scowling at your spouse or getting in a fight during your divorce trial. If your spouse picks a fight with you, you spouse will look bad in the eyes of the court. Do not make this mistake. Do not do anything to provoke your spouse and do not engage if your spouse is being unreasonable toward you. The court tends to punish parties that have not made an effort to keep the marriage intact so you want to come across as calm and reasonable.
Tip #5: Remain Calm
Even if are unhappy with the outcome, there may be options to appeal or request variances. Also, the result might not be as bad as you think once your lawyer has explained the technical details to you. To avoid embarrassment and improve your chances in future court actions, remain calm at all times in the courtroom.