Making a Good Impression During Your Divorce Hearing
When attending a divorce hearing, you want the court to judge the issues in questions without prejudice. However, inappropriate behavior and appearance can undermine your case because people form biases based on how you look and act. Looking disheveled and acting rudely suggests that you lack respect for the court and the hearing. From there, a judge may further question whether you are responsible with your financial decisions and parenting duties. Before your divorce hearing, you should prepare yourself to look and act professionally:
- Dress for Success: It is better to be overdressed for your court hearing than underdressed. Treat it like you would a job interview. Men should wear at least a jacket and tie, if not a full suit. Women should dress conservatively in a skirt or pants suit. Wearing a T-shirt, jeans or cap is completely inappropriate. You may be sent home to change your clothing if you dress that way.
- Grooming: You want to show that you care about your appearance and hygiene. For men, comb your hair and either shave or groom your facial hair. For women, do not overuse makeup to the point that it makes you look gaudy.
- Timeliness: Make sure you show up to your hearing on time or early, if possible. Arriving late will anger the judge because you are putting everyone behind schedule and showing a lack of respect for the court.
- Calmness: You do not want to be known as an agitator and malcontent during the hearing. Make sure you remain calm and professional throughout, even when your spouse says something that may upset you. Speak when asked to and stay on the subject. Let your lawyer do the objecting and arguing on your behalf.
- Body Language: How you act when you are not speaking can tell the court a lot about you. Slouching or staring off into space makes you seem disinterested. Fidgeting in your seat or playing with an object in your hands makes you seem nervous and impatient. Scowling or smirking shows disrespect towards the person who is talking. To look professional, sit up straight with your hands on the table. Focus your attention on the person who is speaking, while not letting your facial expressions betray your emotions.
- Obey the Rules: Courtrooms have certain etiquettes you are expected to follow, such as rising for the judge, not eating and not using your phone. Adhere to these rules to show that you respect the legal process.
Preparing for Court
Your attorney is your best resource if you have questions about proper etiquette in a courtroom. A Kane County divorce attorney at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio can coach you on how to dress and behave at your hearing. Schedule a free consultation by calling 331-588-6611.