How to Present Yourself in Family Court

Posted on: 27 July 2016

If you have to appear in a Family Court, it is likely you are dealing with a legal issue such as divorce or child custody which can cause extreme emotions and reactions. However, you should be aware that your behaviour in Court can have an impact on the eventual outcome of the case. Below are 4 ways you can best present yourself in Court.

Wear appropriate clothing

It is important that the clothing you wear shows respect towards the Court. First impressions count and the first thing the Judge will see when they look at you is your clothing. If you turn up in your favourite T-shirt and ripped jeans or low-cut top and short skirt, it is likely that the Judge will take a dim view of you. You should dress conservatively. Men should wear shoes, trousers and a shirt and women should wear a suit or long dress.

Don't be distracted

Court cases can be dull. There is often a lot of administration which must be completed before a case can really get underway. However, you should resist the temptation to browse social media on your phone or to check your email. It is likely that the Judge will notice any inattention and perceive it as a lack of respect. You should be attentive and present throughout the hearing.

Keep calm

Because they are such emotionally charged places, Family Courts are often places of immense hostility and anger. Sometimes years of pent up emotion can come rising to the surface. The situation is not helped by the fact that the lawyer representing the other party will often try to provoke a reaction during cross-examination. Judges do not look kindly upon demonstrations of aggression or anger towards the other party or their lawyer. You should do your best to remain polite and calm during proceedings and avoid sighing, sniggering or raising your voice.

Stay positive

While it might be tempting to paint your ex as a monster who cannot be trusted with your child, when speaking about the other party in the case, you should try to remain positive. The judge will want to know you are calm and rational. By giving credit to the other party where it is due, you can demonstrate to the Judge that you are speaking as a well-rounded person who is thinking clearly and logically about the future. 

If you have any further questions, you should contact a family lawyer.