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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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  • "Tori had a thorough understanding of my situation and made excellent recommendations to resolve my concerns. She was persistent on communication and handled everything in a very timely manner. I would definitely hire her again in the future if needed." - M.K.

  • "With Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., it is like having a family physician. They are all knowledgeable, thorough, comforting, and the only call I need to make for all my legal needs for many years to come. No matter what the matter, I totally trust their advice and commitment to me and my family." - J.N.

  • "Mary from APH Law helped me thru a difficult divorce. She and the entire staff was there for me every step of the way helping me on what to do next. They listened to what I wanted and helped me achieve what matter the most to me in the divorce settlement." - Dana C.

  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties. Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.

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