Tag Archives: court behavior

How Your Behavior Affects the Allocation of Parental ResponsibilitiesNegotiating the allocation of parental responsibilities may try your emotions more than any aspect of your divorce. You are arguing for the time you get to spend with your children and the role you will play in their lives. A court will assume that you are both entitled to some responsibilities over your children but prefers to give a majority of the responsibility to one of you. The court will award primary responsibility to the parent who can best serve the children’s needs, and your actions during the case can influence a court’s decision. Here are five mistakes to avoid during a case to determine parental responsibilities:

  1. Do Not Assume the Outcome: A mother traditionally keeps the children after a divorce because she is often the primary caregiver. However, the law is supposed to be gender neutral. Mothers who assume that they will receive a majority of the parenting time may appear arrogant or fail to make a strong case. Fathers should not concede their parental rights without an argument because they assume they will lose their cases.
  2. Do Not Make the Case About Yourself: The court’s primary concern is the needs of your children, and each point you make in presenting your case should support that. The court may believe you are selfish if you focus on your desire to have a majority of the parenting time with your children without mentioning why it would be most beneficial to them.
  3. Do Not Behave Vindictively Towards Your Co-Parent: You have a responsibility to inform the court if your co-parent may cause actual harm to your children. However, you should refrain from bringing up your personal grievances with your co-parent. Disagreeing with someone does not make him or her a bad parent. Instead, you will appear bitter and petty, which diminishes you in the eyes of the court.
  4. Do Not Speak For Your Children: You can explain to the court why you are the best choice as the primary parent for your children. However, you should not claim that your children prefer you as the primary parent. You are being unfair to your children by implying that they have a favorite parent.
  5. Do Not Show Too Much or Too Little Emotion: Your behavior during the case should show that you care about your children and that you are a calm and rational parent. Showing too much emotion makes you seem unstable, but showing too little emotion makes you seem callous.

Determining Parental Responsibilities

You can help your case for being the primary parent of your children by showing that you will put their needs ahead of your own. A Kane County family law attorney at Geneva Family Lawyers can help you present an argument for the majority of the allocation of parental responsibilities. Schedule a free consultation by calling 331-588-6611.

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Making a Good Impression During Your Divorce HearingWhen 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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