Divorce cases can be very complicated. There are many factors which can impact the way a judge will rule. Even when the facts support your claim and you have a highly experienced divorce lawyer advocating on your behalf, you are not assured of achieving your desired outcome. In some instances, acting inappropriately in court can potentially sway how the judge will decide your case.
It’s important to remember that divorce cases are often emotionally charged. This can increase the likelihood of acting impulsively, expressing outbursts of anger or frustration, and failing to portray the best possible version of yourself. These risks are often exacerbated by being in an unfamiliar courtroom environment and facing the high stakes associated with the judge’s ruling.
If you let your emotions get the best of you, it can potentially anger the judge or portray you in a negative light. Ultimately, this may cause the judge to rule against you even if the evidence is in your favor. For this reason, it’s crucial that you speak and act appropriately at all times while you are in front of the judge.
The following four actions can negatively impact the judge’s opinion of you and potentially turn the tide of a case that seemingly is in your favor. Make sure to avoid them at all costs:
- Failing to show up/arriving for your hearing late – You are expected to show up for your court hearing on time. If you don’t show up or arrive late, the judge will most likely view it as a sign of disrespect. This will create an uphill battle when trying to convince the judge to rule in your favor. Ideally, you should plan on arriving at least 15 minutes early for your hearing so that you can confer with your lawyer and ensure you are prepared for your court appearance. But under no circumstances should you show up late or fail to make your court appearance.
- Dressing inappropriately – You wouldn’t show up for a job interview in a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. You shouldn’t show up for court in such casual attire either. It will be viewed as a sign of disrespect by the judge, and it can potentially impact the way you are perceived. To make the right impression and show the proper respect, plan on wearing a conservative-looking suit and tie to court. Similarly, dressing too lavishly may also undermine your claims of financial hardship, so leave the Rolex and fancy jewelry at home.
- Failing to keep your emotions in check – When the issues in a divorce are hotly contested, it can cause you to become emotional. However, an emotional outburst won’t help your cause in court. These issues will need to be resolved based on the facts and the laws which govern your case. When you are asked to speak, keep your remarks calm and factual. If others make statements that you think are false or that make you angry, keep your feelings to yourself. Don’t roll your eyes, shout at the person speaking, insult your ex (or the judge for that matter) or release a sarcastic, heavy sigh of disbelief. These reactions won’t paint you in a positive light. Instead, maintain a tone of respect at all times.
- Acting like a jerk – Divorce can bring out the worst in people. While it’s understandable that you may not be the best version of yourself
during this difficult time in your life, it’s important that you are the best version of yourself when you are in front of the judge. Make sure to avoid rude actions which may negatively impact the judge’s opinion of you. Always turn off your phone before coming into the courtroom to avoid it ringing accidentally and to prevent you from giving into the urge to constantly check your texts and emails while the judge is speaking to you. Don’t interrupt others when they are speaking. Always stay engaged in the proceedings, and speak politely when you are addressed by others. Most importantly, show the judge, the other attorneys and all court employees the respect they deserve at all times.
Of course, it’s not a guarantee that these kinds of actions will ensure a losing outcome. But they may potentially have a negative impact on the way the judge views you and jeopardize your chances in court, especially if your actions are egregious enough.
Les Martin understands the importance of thorough preparation when taking a divorce case to trial. He will prepare you for your court appearance to ensure you understand how to speak and act in front of the judge. These small details can mean the difference between getting your desired outcome and leaving court wondering what went wrong.
If you need assistance with a divorce matter, please contact Leslie Martin, Attorney at Law or call (516) 222-0900 today to schedule a consultation. Mr. Martin serves clients in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens Counties, and throughout all of New York City.