How Can I Make a Positive Impression in Divorce Court?

March 25, 2013  |  Elizabeth A. Schading

When you get a divorce you are putting a big portion of your future into the hands of someone who doesn’t know you very well: the judge. A judge has little to go on except what’s in the divorce papers, the arguments of divorce lawyers, the testimony of any witnesses that might be called and how you present yourself in the courtroom.
From these incomplete sources he or she will determine some of the most important issues in your life. If you have children the judge will, in particular, be trying to determine parenting rights.
First, pay attention to your conduct prior to your court date. This is a bad time to go out drinking and posting the pictures on social media. You want to make sure you present yourself in the best possible light instead of giving your soon to be ex-spouse fuel to the fire.
Assume you are living under a microscope. Assume that you’ll have to make an accounting of nearly every action you take once divorce papers have been served.
Watch what you say, both in the courtroom and outside of it. As mentioned above, this means pay particular attention to electronic communications during a divorce. Avoid threatening or vindictive statements. Assume that everything written, including e-mails and texts, will be read by the judge. Assume that recordings, such as voice mail, will be heard by the judge. Avoid putting any information regarding your pending proceedings on the internet period.
A casual text to your best friend that you’re mad and you plan to “take that jerk for everything he’s worth” could come back to haunt you later. If you must talk about your divorce proceedings with friends, stick to very neutral statements like, “The court date is on the 21st.”
When you go to court, dress like you’d dress for a job interview. Be conservative and practice good hygiene.
Be respectful. Turn off your phone, and leave your new girlfriend or boyfriend at home.
Be reasonable and businesslike when called upon to speak. Emotional displays won’t sway the judge in your favor, and may even work against you. Keep your speech and your voice organized, thoughtful and considerate.
Be respectful. Don’t swear in front of the judge. Obey instructions.
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Nowhere is that more true than in divorce court. Most importantly, listen to the advice of an experienced divorce attorney. The divorce lawyers at Barna, Guzy & Steffen have 80 years of combines experience in going to court to represent their client’s rights. Call them today for an initial consultation and trust that experience by your side in the courtroom.