Most family law cases are resolved before a trial. However, in some cases, the parties just cannot come to agreeable terms. In those cases, the parties must appear before a judge who will hear testimony, make factual determinations, and issue an order consistent with the law. Because this is a rare occurrence, most people experience the court process for the first time in their family law case. Below are just a few guidelines in cases where the issue must go before a judge.
HOUSEKEEPING MATTERS IN COURT CASES
Some basics of any court appearance include:
- Dress appropriately
- Be on time
- Be respectful to all.
Of course, you want to dress appropriately for court. Choose clean clothes that do not have stains or missing buttons. If you regularly wear a suit, a suit is fine for court. However, if you don't own a suit, you can still show respect for the court wearing a simple pair of khaki or navy slacks and a button-down shirt.
When you calculate how long it will take to get to court, include time to find a parking spot, as well as time to get through security. These things will add several minutes to your commute. Few things are as frustrating as being late unnecessarily.
From the time you pull into the parking garage through the time you appear before the court, make an effort to be respectful to everybody you encounter. You probably have no idea who the judge is, or who the judge's clerk is. Being respectful to everyone, regardless of whether you know who they are, ensures you will not walk into court and be identified as that person that cut off the judge in the parking garage.
KEEP YOUR REMARKS DIRECT AND TO THE POINT
If your lawyer, the other lawyer, or the judge asks you a question in court, take a deep breath and a moment to think about your answer. Keep your remarks direct and to the point. Answer the question that was asked of you, not the question you think should have been asked of you. Do not add extra detail that does not answer the question or brings up new topics.
REMAIN CALM AND TRUST YOUR LAWYER
Going to court can feel like an out-of-control experience. Do your best to remain calm. Take slow deep breaths to assist you in slowing your heart rate. This can also help you focus on the present, rather than dwelling in the unpleasant past. As scary as this may be for you, recall that your attorney has experience with family law matters. This is not scary for him. Your attorney knows what to expect at these hearings. Trust your attorney to let you know if there is a need to be overly concerned about something. At Frost & Kavanaugh, we always say, "Don't worry. I'll worry about this for you now. I'll let you know if you need to worry, too."
DO YOU NEED A FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY?
If you need a family law attorney, call the office of Frost & Kavanaugh. Attorney David Kavanaugh specializes in matrimonial and family law. Call today for a consultation at (518) 730-4222.