Any time a divorcing spouse must attend a hearing, he or she wants to make a favorable impression so the judge will make unbiased decisions. Although most of us have been advised never to judge a book by its cover, the truth is that everybody makes split-second judgments about other people based on first impressions. Someone’s appearance, dress, and demeanor can help them appear respectable and responsible, but it can also do the opposite. Especially when important decisions are at stake, like the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, it is important to never give a judge reason to question your capabilities or behavior. Here are five tips for making a great impression in a divorce courtroom.
Be Well Groomed
Even if it only seems superficial, appearance and hygiene matter. Men and women should appear as clean, healthy, and capable of caring for themselves as possible – especially if there are children involved. If you are a parent hoping to be allocated parenting time, you do not want a judge wondering if you can barely manage yourself. Having clean nails, brushed teeth, combed hair, and conservative makeup can only help your case.
Men and women appearing in court can show respect to the court, the judge, and themselves simply by dressing well. Research suggests that in addition to enhancing how other people see you, dressing well can actually improve your behavior too. Experts advise dressing as you would for a job interview, erring on the side of looking too conservative rather than not conservative enough. Some judges have even been known to send people home to change.
Keep a Calm Demeanor
Judges do not look kindly on people who disturb proceedings with disrespectful or agitated behavior. Remain calm and professional, even if you hear something you find upsetting or believe is untrue. Speak only when spoken to and trust your attorney to do any necessary arguing.
Watch Your Body Language
Slouching, spacing out, goofing off, or otherwise appearing not to be interested in the outcome of the case will not bode well for you in court. Likewise, fidgeting, scowling, or smirking can all come off as disrespectful and even hostile. Sit up straight, keep your hands in sight, and look at the person speaking – all while trying to maintain a neutral expression. Sound like a tall order? Practice at home.
All the aforementioned tips contribute to a person’s credibility, but perhaps none do so much as a willingness to be honest and forthcoming with a judge. If a judge asks questions and you do not answer truthfully or are clearly dodging part of the question, a judge is bound to get irritated. Getting caught in a lie is one of the worst things that can happen in court. When you step into the courtroom, do everything you can to appear to be a credible person.
Speak with a Hinsdale, IL Divorce Lawyer
Even in the best of circumstances, spouses need to appear in court before a judge to get their divorce decree approved. For help with your divorce case and guidance on how to make a good impression in the courtroom, meet with a DuPage County divorce attorney with Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio. We take pride in advocating assertively for our clients and will work hard to protect your rights. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation; call us at 630-920-8855.