Divorce Articles Section
Do's and Don'ts for the Courtroom
When it is time to actually appear in court, a number of dos
and donts can help make you more believable to the judge,
as well as to yourself.
Dos for the Courtroom
- Be careful about what you wear. Dress as you would for an important
event, and discuss your specific plans with your attorney.
- Be on time.
- Tell the truth and be straightforward. If telling the truth
means that you will lose, then consider settlement.
- Keep your emotions under control, no matter what is said.
- Try to act naturally.
- Listen to the entire question before answering.
- Speak up so that you can be heard.
- Ask to have a question repeated if you do not understand it.
- Answer, yes if asked if you and your lawyer went
over your testimony to prepare for the trial.
- Write notes to your lawyer if you must communicate with him
or her before a recess.
- Respond to the judge when he or she asks you any questions.
- Be pleasant to opposing council, even if you want to attack
- Come in with a positive attitude.
Donts for the Courtroom
- Dont chew gum.
- Dont make faces at your spouse, the judge, the lawyers,
- Dont tell lies even small ones.
- Dont try to be cute, a wise guy, or flippant.
- Dont try to memorize your answers.
- Dont act hostile.
- Dont worry if you forget something.
- Dont try to get sympathy from the judge.
- Dont act defensive or suspicious on cross-examination.
- Dont interrupt the person who is asking you questions.
- Dont use the threat of custody or withholding visitation
of your kids.
- Dont wear seductive or flashy clothing.
- Dont keep the court waiting.
Source: The Dollars and Sense of Divorce, © 1998, by
Carol Ann Wilson, Judith Briles, & Edwin Schilling