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160 N. Brindlee Mountain Parkway
Arab, AL 35016

Attending a Divorce Hearing? Follow These Tips on Courtroom Etiquette

Witness swearing on the bible in courtroom

Unless you’re an attorney or courtroom staffer, going to court isn’t an everyday occurrence. Some of us go our whole lives without stepping foot inside of a courtroom—until we’re forced to appear before an Alabama judge on our divorce case. Don’t be intimidated; it isn’t hard to learn and follow appropriate courtroom etiquette. Plus, by doing so, you can increase the judge’s sympathy and respect for your claims. Read on to learn about appropriate conduct in an Alabama courtroom during your divorce, and speak with a Guntersville divorce lawyer with any additional questions.

Wear appropriate clothing and show respect for the court

The judge overseeing your divorce has a great deal of power in making decisions regarding alimony, child custody, the division of marital assets, and other critical issues arising in your divorce. It is important that you show due respect for the power that the judge wields. It isn’t usually necessary to wear a suit when going to court as a party to a divorce, but you should wear clean, professional clothes, such as you might wear to an interview. Be sure to arrive to court with plenty of time to spare, and always err on the side of being too early. Courtrooms often have packed calendars, and judges may skip your case if not all parties are present at the scheduled start time. Should you have an occasion to speak to the judge, be sure to address him or her as “your honor.”

Let your lawyer do the talking

Smart divorcees hire attorneys to represent them in a split because they know that seasoned attorneys have a better and more nuanced understanding of the law than they do. There may be moments when your ex or their attorney says something so blatantly false or egregious that you feel compelled to object out loud, but this is an urge that you must resist. Parties are not to speak in open court unless addressed by the judge or on the witness stand, and outbursts will not endear you to the judge. You can let your lawyer know with a soft whisper or note if you think there may be something she should know, and, if appropriate, your attorney can object and address the falsehood.

Remain attentive and engaged without being emotionally reactive

Judges may not show it, but they’re watching you throughout the hearing, and not just when addressing you directly. Pay close attention to the proceedings, but if something upsets you, keep this reaction to yourself or calmly commit it to a note that you pass to your attorney. If the judge, or your spouse’s attorney, notices that you seem short-tempered, aggressive, or otherwise out of control of your emotional reactions, these reactions could fuel the court’s perception of you. This behavior could make you seem like an unstable parent if custody issues are before the court.

If you’re considering filing for divorce in Alabama and want skilled, dedicated legal help on your side, contact the knowledgeable and effective Guntersville family law attorneys at The Hawkins Law Firm for a consultation, at 256-502-4444.

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