Most California people will never have to go to divorce court according to statistics. But if you do find yourself visiting divorce court Rancho Cucamonga, not only will you need a qualified divorce lawyer, but you may also want to take note of the hints about how to present yourself to make the best impression.
Worry about Your Appearance
Your mom probably always told you how important appearance and first impression are, and she wasn’t wrong. This holds doubly true in divorce court. Remember you’ll never have a second chance to make a first impression, especially on the divorce court judge. Be careful though because over-dressing can be as detrimental as under-dressing.
I know it sounds silly to say this, but try not to show up dressed in your dirty work clothes, or looking like you’re ready to do some weekend gardening. This is not the time to wear your comfy clothes. And while you want to dress to impress, it’s possible to overdress as well. If you trot out your very best outfit you could be seen as too prosperous and this will work against you in the eventual judgment. It’s best to appear average, so try for a business casual look.
This is probably a bit harder to control than your appearance, but it’s no less important. When it comes to language, you need to make it appear as if you are emotionally vested in the outcome of the case. Usually this is harder for men than women as they tend to focus more on the financial issues and hide their feelings.
Honesty is Important
It is crucially important that you are honest when you’re in court. If the judge finds out he was lied to by you, you can be sure he will be furious, and any decisions he makes will be colored by this. In addition you will lose all credibility and anything you say from that point on will be viewed with suspicion.
Remember too that divorce court is different from civil or criminal court when it comes to rulings. The judge is bound by laws, but he has a great deal of discretion in how he rules. This can go for you or against you, and your body language and actual language used can have a large impact on this. Avoid arrogance and mud-slinging as it won’t help your case and could hinder it.
Finally, always be sure to be respectful to the judge and his staff. Address the judge as “Your Honor” and the courtroom staff as “Sir” and “Ma’am”. And avoid informal responses and slang.
Emotion has no Place in Divorce Court
While divorce is a very emotional event, there is no place for your emotions in divorce court. As mentioned above, the judge has great leeway in how he decides, and your courtroom behavior will have a large impact on his eventual decisions. Keep your emotions in check at all times, in any way you can. You might get angry or frustrated at times, but remember that your attorney is there to speak for you and you should remain silent unless directly addressed by the judge or other court member.
This isn’t to say you can’t cry if you feel that way. Judges can become more sympathetic when you cry, but try not to overdo it. Remember that you will be seeing the same judge every time you come back to divorce court for additional proceedings and court dates. The judge is human and will form an opinion of you, so do your best to make sure it’s a positive one.
Be Organized, Be Prepared
While you are counting on your attorney to be prepared, that doesn’t excuse you from being prepared as well. Attorneys can make mistakes, and if you’re prepared you might be able to cover for any mistakes your attorney might make. This means you should bring copies of every necessary document along with you to divorce court. Even if you think your attorney should have it, bring it anyway. Consider it as your insurance policy in case something unexpected happens. Keeping organized also helps engage the logical side of your brain and keeps you from dwelling on emotions.
Don’t Bring Others
You might be tempted to bring someone along for support, but ignore that temptation. This is especially true if your support will be your new boyfriend or girlfriend. Also avoid using your cell phone to make calls or text people while you’re in court.
There are times when you’ll be tempted to speak your thoughts out loud, but don’t do it. If you need to communicate with your attorney use the notepad provided, and write your thoughts and concerns. Courtroom microphones are more sensitive than you think, so avoid whispering in your attorney’s ear because what you say could be heard by the court reporter and transcribed. Finally, always be respectful to the judge. Don’t address him unless invited to do so, and always thank the judge at the end of each hearing.