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Before Attending a Hearing or Trial in Your Divorce, Learn about Courtroom Etiquette

Judge in trial

It’s very possible that your first encounter with a courtroom will occur during your divorce trial. The rules of appropriate behavior in a courtroom aren’t complicated. That said, it’s critical that you follow these rules diligently, keeping in mind that the eyes of the judge and opposing party will always be on you, watching for indications of your character and credibility. Read on to learn about how to conduct yourself appropriately in a courtroom, and contact a knowledgeable New York divorce attorney with any additional questions.

Always be on time

A typical courtroom will have a fully-booked schedule every day and must remain on schedule at all costs. Judges frown on parties who don’t arrive on time and may even have to skip ahead to the next matter on calendar. Leave yourself more than enough time to get to the courtroom and plan out what you’d like to see happen with your attorney, accounting for time you may need to find parking and get through courthouse security.

Show respect through dress and speech

It isn’t always necessary to wear a business suit to court, but it is necessary to dress appropriately. You should dress for court like you might dress for a job interview or important meeting. If you’re addressed by a judge, always refer to them as “your honor.”

Know the court’s rules on electronic devices

Check ahead of time on whether the court you’re attending allows you to bring in your laptop or cell phone. If you are allowed to bring these devices into the courtroom, be sure to silence your device in advance, or risk getting it confiscated by courtroom staff.

Let your attorney handle any arguments

You’ve chosen your attorney based on their experience and knowledge of the law. Allow them to handle any arguments and address any exaggerations or untruths that you hear opposing counsel raising. It is considered highly inappropriate for a party to speak up in court. Instead, write notes to your attorney if you feel that there’s something they should know.

Stay composed and interested in the process

Betraying your anger, boredom, or frustration with the process—even if only through body language—can cause you to lose credibility or respect from the judge, which you do not want. Remain highly engaged and composed while in court.

If you are in need of dedicated, skilled, and trial-ready legal help with your New York divorce case, contact the Hudson Valley family law attorneys at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP for a consultation at 845-331-4100 (Kingston), or 845-236-4411 (Marlboro).

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