Courtroom Etiquette

Today’s society isn’t overly concerned about etiquette. However, etiquette is a vital means of making a good impression, especially in the courtroom. As you go through the divorce proceedings, an experienced divorce lawyer will be able to guide you on the proper etiquette so that you don’t risk offending the judge. Here are a few pointers to get you started:

  • Clothes- Do not wear anything casual, such as flip-flops, shorts, or a tie-dye t-shirt. If you have tattoos, they should be concealed, as well as any visible piercings. The best attire for court is a dark colored jacket, slacks, and a button-down shirt. Women may wear slacks or a dress, although you should make sure the dress isn’t too short.
  • Hygiene- Make sure to bathe before you arrive to court. Men and women should have their hair out of their face, combed, and looking sharp.
  • Electronic devices- Keep these out of sight in the courtroom and turned off. The court is a quiet setting, and even vibrations from a cell phone can be heard. Judges do not tolerate distractions very well, and it is best to stay completely silent until you are asked a question.
  • Children- Do not bring your children to the courtroom. Instead, leave them with a babysitter or a trusted family member.
  • Food and drink- These items can be very distracting in the courtroom, and should not be brought with you before the Judge. Chewing gum is also frowned upon.
  • Behavior- It is important that you be respectful at all times, and not just to the Judge. You should do your best to be polite and courteous to everyone in the courtroom, including the bailiff, lawyers, and even your former spouse. If an attorney has an objection, you should stop where you are in your statement, and patiently wait until the judge tells you to resume your testimony. The most important thing you can do to stay on the Judge’s good side is to be polite at all times.
  • Testimony- Always answer the question directly and to the best of your ability. Judges tend to be very smart, and they will not tolerate any perceived intentions to deceive the court. While on the stand, sit still and avoid using too much body language to emphasize your points. You should do your best to be as honest as possible and avoid false claims.

It’s important to remember that the sanctity of the courts must be upheld for justice to prevail. The way you handle yourself in the courtroom, including everything from the clothes you wear to the words you say, will be scrutinized by the Judge. You should avoid over-embellishing your testimony, exaggerating details, and telling white-lies to make yourself look better. The Judge has seen many cases before yours, and they are likely to see right through your inflated facts. Keep your words genuine, humble, and concise. The more respect you can show to the court, the more respect the court will award you.