For most people, navigating their way through a divorce or family law case can be stressful, especially when they are going through an emotional time in their lives. Not knowing the law and what to expect can make things harder.
While this post is not intended as legal advice or a substitute for attorney representation, it can help you prepare for family court. In our experience, the more prepared someone is before standing in front of a judge, the better the outcome.
Going to Family Court
Whether your case involves divorce, child custody, paternity, or family violence, at some point you will likely need to go before a judge. This typically happens, even if you reach an agreement with the other side. Therefore, it’s important that you know what is expected of you once you enter the courtroom.
How to dress. It is essential that you dress appropriately when you go to court. This often means wearing the same type of clothes that you would wear to church or a job interview. Men should wear a suit, if possible, or slacks and a shirt with a collar. Women should wear a dress, a skirt and a blouse or a suit. Pants shouldn’t be too tight, nor should blouses be too low cut. The idea is to look respectable and professional. Sunglasses, hats, T-shirts, shorts, and heavy makeup are not advised.
How to act. A court hearing is a legal proceeding; therefore, all individuals in the courtroom are expected to be on their best behavior. This means that once you enter the courtroom, you should treat the judge, your attorney, and even the other side with the utmost respect. A family court hearing is not the place to come across as disrespectful, not even to your former spouse or their lawyer.
Some things to remember about going to court:
- Arrive early. You do not want to risk being late for your court hearing.
- Leave your children at home, even if the proceeding is about them. Only bring children if the judge or your attorney has specifically asked you to do so.
- Before entering the courtroom, shut off or silence your cellphone.
- Do not bring food, drinks or chewing gum into the courtroom.
- Do not whisper, pass notes, or speak to anyone, unless you are answering your attorney’s questions directly.
- Ensure that all of your responses to the judge are verbal (no shaking or nodding of the head).
- When responding to the judge, address him or her as “Your Honor,” “Sir,” or “Ma’am.”
We hope this information helps. If you are facing a family court matter in Katy or the Greater Houston Area, contact Hunt Law Firm, PLLC to schedule your consultation.