What to Expect in Family Court: Tips & Etiquette
Sometimes having an amicable divorce isn’t possible and you will need to go through family court to help settle your differences. Even though this is a hard decision, it can sometimes be the best one especially when the situation is complicated and involves children.
Do you Know What’s Expected of you in Family Court?
Going to court is a challenging and emotional situation, and the way you handle it can make an impact in your case. Being able to conduct yourself properly and professionally shows the judge that you are capable, responsible and willing to reach a resolution. Being prepared to compromise and negotiate appropriately will help your case progress quickly. Come to court prepared and focused on what’s best for your children.
When you enter the courtroom, the judge will sit at the front of the room on a platform, or dias. In front of them will be a court clerk, and a reporter. Family court is recorded and open to the public, be aware you may see people walking in and out of the courtroom.
In front of the judge, there are two counsel tables. The applicant will sit at the table to the judge’s right side, and the respondent will sit at the table to the judge’s left. Your family court lawyer will sit next to you, or if you are representing yourself you may request to have someone sit with you who is not a witness in your case.
If you arrive before your case is called, take a seat in the public gallery seating to the rear of the room and wait quietly until it is called. This may be a good time to learn how a courtroom operates.
Knowing what the expect can be one less thing to worry about on a stressful day, and can help the process go more smoothly. Read our list of 10 tips and etiquette below to help you prepare for your day in family court.