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Making the Right Impression at Your Family Court Hearing

You may be entering a courtroom for the first time at your divorce hearing. Understandably, the experience can be intimidating if you do not know what to expect.

These courtroom appearance tips from the Minnesota Judicial Branch can help you make the right impression on the judge and approach your case with confidence:

  • Do not be late The judge typically keeps a packed schedule and cannot generally accommodate excessive tardiness. If you fail to arrive on time, your spouse may win by default. Even if the judge allows your hearing to move forward, your lateness is likely to be viewed unfavorably by the court.
  • Know how to get to the court and where to park ahead of time Getting lost and driving around in circles looking for parking is stressful. It also puts you at risk of being late for your hearing. Make sure you have clear directions to the courthouse and to available parking. If possible, take a trial run before your court date.
  • Avoid parking at a meter Your hearing may take longer than you anticipate. No matter how well the hearing goes, after facing your spouse in court, the last thing you need is a parking ticket.
  • Bring a pen and notepad Be prepared to take notes during your hearing. Doing so will help you to concentrate on the proceedings and assist your attorney with your case.
  • Dress in your business best Wear pressed, conservative clothes that would be appropriate for a business office setting. Your choice in clothing reflects your respect for the court and your seriousness about your case.
  • Arrange for reliable childcare Do not bring your children to the courthouse for a divorce hearing. First, it may traumatize them to see their parents argue. Additionally, you need to concentrate on your hearing, not on entertaining or disciplining young children.
  • Stay calm and polite The judge, your spouse or the attorney representing your spouse may say things you don’t appreciate or agree with. Regardless, remain calm and polite while in the courtroom.

Let your family law attorney object to untrue or inappropriate statements on your behalf.

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